Rhythms for Life: Spiritual Practices for Who God Made You to Be, By Alastair Sterne

Rhythms for Life

Spiritual Practices for Who God Made You to Be

by Alastair Sterne

Rhythms for Life
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: September 29, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3197
  • ISBN: 9780830831975

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Who are you becoming? And how will you get there?

Spiritual transformation is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Each of us has a particular identity, gifts, values, roles, and purpose. Thus we each need distinct spiritual rhythms that are designed to help us live out that vocation and calling.

In this practical book Alastair Sterne shows how we can craft a life of more intentionality, becoming Christlike in ways that fit who we are. First we discover who God made us to be, in all our distinctiveness. Then we enter into spiritual practices that flow out of that particular sense of identity, with fourfold rhythms that point us upward to God, inward to self, withward in community, and outward in mission. Our vocation is our identity uniquely lived out before God, bringing our being and doing together.

You can live a life that is more aligned with who you are meant to be. Discover spiritual rhythms that move at the pace of grace, and align you with your unique identity and calling in Christ.

"Who did God make me to be? is seldom asked. We tend to focus on our sins, weaknesses, and inabilities. And even when the question is asked, it is not easy to find true wisdom. Rhythms for Life by Alastair Sterne is a happy exception. It assists us to see the reality of who each of us is uniquely created to be and then gives a grace-filled path to get there."

Todd Hunter, bishop in the Anglican Church in North America, author of Christianity Beyond Belief

"At once deeply personal and immensely practical, Alastair has written a powerful book that can change the way we move through the world. He inspires us to cultivate rhythms that enable us to experience deep contentment, joy, and peace in our everyday life with God."

Ken Shigematsu, pastor of Tenth Church, Vancouver, British Columbia, and author of Survival Guide for the Soul

"As people on a faith journey, an essential ingredient to our continued development is the ability to take the intangible and make it tangible, to make the foreign and unfamiliar personal and intimate. This book provides an invitation for the intangible, foreign, perhaps vast and unfamiliar aspects of faith to have invitations in the daily, the present, and the very much 'right here' of our lives. I'm grateful that this book exists to help us know and experience what is always true: that God loves us and can be found right here in the rhythms of life."

Hillary McBride, therapist, author, and podcaster

"I've known Alastair Sterne for over a decade now. From our initial introduction in one of my courses, he stood out as a deeply formed and committed disciple of Jesus. We connected over our shared interest in church planting and missional engagement. This book shows the 'secret sauce' that allows Alastair to remain a deeply formed and committed disciple of Jesus. Better yet, he points the way for all of us. Rhythms for Life is not simply another book on spiritual formation. There are plenty of those. This is a field manual that all God's people can follow to set themselves up for long-term growth in God's grace. Alastair writes with theological and biblical depth in a fully accessible manner for our post-Christendom contexts. He begins with the critical need to uncover our true identity in Christ and then moves to the crafting of a personal rule of life. I found the worksheets and exercises to flow seamlessly from the teaching and to be profoundly enriching. In short, Alastair introduces the great tradition of spiritual formation for a new generation. I hope this book becomes a classic with a long shelf life. I know that my soul has been warmed anew while reading this and working through the exercises."

Brian Russell, professor, associate provost, and dean of the Asbury Theological Seminary Orlando School of Ministry

"There is only one you. God's creative design template for your life includes rhythms and relationships that express the true you in the context of your community. Alastair Sterne gently encourages his readers to pay attention to God's unique thumbprint graced upon them and embody it abundantly."

Stephen A. Macchia, founder and president of Leadership Transformations, author of Crafting a Rule of Life

"In virtually every area of life, the condition of flourishing is supported by an unwavering commitment to practices. Flourishing athletes work out and eat well, flourishing musicians repeat their scales, flourishing students abide by rigorous study schedules, and flourishing family members engage attentively, to name a few. Likewise, the flourishing that comes from being formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ doesn't just happen to us as we sit passively 'letting go and letting God.' Rather, it happens as we respond to God through active participation in long-standing, proven practices that support the flourishing of our entire selves. In Rhythms for Life, Alastair Sterne has provided an excellent road map for this very purpose."

Scott Sauls, senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and author of Jesus Outside the Lines

"Rhythms for Life is a practical guide to spiritual formation within Christian community for missional engagement where you live, right now. And it's written by a pastor who understands how people work and how the Holy Spirit changes hearts. Work through this book with friends or family—or your whole congregation—and you will be enriched."

Brandon J. O'Brien, director of content development and distribution for Redeemer City to City

"All theology should be applied theology, at least that was the argument of one of the best teachers I know, and the insight is ancient. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel, 'The reason you don't understand is that you don't do the truth.' That disconnect is a perennial problem, even when we yearn for more integrity. Alastair Sterne has written a book for all of us, but specially so for those who want to understand the integral relationship of what they believe with the way that they live. In Rhythms for Life he has woven together theology and experience with a rare wisdom born of his years of loving people who long for more flourishing in their lives for the sake of their cities."

Steven Garber, author of The Seamless Life and professor of marketplace theology at Regent College

"A big part of following Jesus is knowing who you are and how he created you to be, so you can use your unique gifts to glorify his kingdom. This book will guide you through the process of discerning just that and establishing rhythms to live out your vocation. It is a must-read for any season and rhythm of life."

Albert Tate, cofounder and lead pastor of Fellowship Church, Monrovia, California

"It seems to me that the healthiest Christians are the most ordinary people—but they did not arrive there by accident. They have had the painstaking struggle of knowing themselves, being faithful in the small things, not ignoring the gifts of their community, appreciating the discipline of Scripture, and . . . voila! An ordinary, faithful Christian. God give us more of them! Thankfully Alastair provides a clear path for churches who desire to be a breeding ground for Christians like this."

Julie Canlis, lecturer for Whitworth's graduate studies in theology program, author of Calvin's Ladder and A Theology of the Ordinary

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: Rhythms for the Journey

Part One: Discerning Who God Has Made You to Be
1. Identity
2. Gifts, Talents, and Personality
3. Virtuous Values
4. Roles
5. Vocation

Part Two: Rhythms for Living Your Vocation
6. Crafting a Rhythm for Life
7. Up—Upward to God
8. In—Inward to Self
9. With—Withward in Community
10. Out—Outward in Mission
Epilogue: Godspeed

Appendix A: Crafting Your Rhythms for Life in Community
Appendix B: Resources for Spiritual Practices
Appendix C: A Simple Guide to Discerning a Call to Ministry


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Alastair Sterne

Alastair Sterne (DIS, Fuller Theological Seminary) is a creative director turned pastor. He partnered with Redeemer City to City and founded St. Peter's Fireside, a creative liturgical church in Vancouver. He is the author of Rhythms for Life: Spiritual Practices for Who God Made You to Be. Alastair and his wife, Julia, write and podcast together at ordinarymatters.org and collect joy with their daughters in Victoria, British Columbia.