Using Spiritual Disciplines for Transformation - Adele Calhoun - Episode 8

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (MA, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) has worked in Christian ministry for over forty years, and she and her husband, Doug, currently work with Highrock Church in Arlington, Massachusetts. As certified Enneagram instructors, they enjoy resourcing spiritual leaders and pastors through spiritual direction and teaching the Enneagram. Adele is the author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Invitations from God and the coauthor of True You and Women & Identity. Spiritual Rhythms and the Enneagram: a Handbook for harmony and Transformation comes out this spring.

Previously, Adele and her husband copastored Redeemer Community Church in Needham, Massachusetts, and she was formerly pastor of spiritual formation at Christ Church in Oak Brook, Illinois. A retreat speaker and trained spiritual director, she has taught courses at Wheaton College and Northern Seminary. In the early 1970s she helped pioneer student work with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She has also worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in New England and Canada and with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in the West Indies and South Africa.

You can find blogs and articles written by Adele at

Or check out the books she's written on Amazon.

You can find out more about Adele's latest work at


Celebration of Disciplines by Richard Foster

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Doug Calhoun, Clare Loughrige, and Scott Loughrige

Adele's work with InterVarsity Press

Episode Audio:

Chapter 1 - What Makes a Spiritual Discipline?

There are a lot of self-help practices filling the shelves of pretty much every book store you can find. And it doesn't take too long to see a Christian inspirational video on Facebook meant to help you live a better life. Some of these practices are great, and you can actually become more like Christ by adding them to your life. But some aren't so great. How can you know the difference? Adele's 30 years of experience in ministry and helping others use spiritual disciplines to grow gives her unique insight into what makes a spiritual discipline a spiritual discipline. The answer is more simple than you might think.

Chapter 2 - How to Cultivate a Desire to Keep Company with Jesus

Practicing the spiritual disciplines gets tough. You wake up at 6:00, roll out of bed, and, a little begrudgingly, open your Bible to spend time with Jesus. Sure, you want to do it with joy like all the other saints on Instagram, but how do you get from a desire to go back to bed all the way to having a desire to spend time with Jesus? Adele's tips for cultivating a desire to keep company with Jesus are simple and yet profound: Ask him to grow your desire, and then put yourself in places that encourage that desire.

Chapter 3 - What if My Desires Aren't for God?

What does your heart truly desire? You may want to answer, "Jesus!" but dig a little deeper. Is he truly the desire of your heart that motivates every decision you make? Today we continue our conversation with Adele and talk about how we can cultivate good and healthy desires when our hearts long for things other than Jesus.

Chapter 4 - Using the Enneagram for Spiritual Growth

You've probably taken one of those personality quizzes on Facebook that tell you which Marvel character you're most like or which country best fits you. When it comes to spiritual growth, you may be tempted to look for a simple personality quiz that tells you exactly who you are and lays out an unmistakable path in front of you. Adele notes the Enneagram doesn't quite function like these Facebook quizzes though. Instead, it's a tool for transformation that creates space for God to do a work in your life with the help of the body of Christ around you.

Chapter 5 - How to Believe in Jesus when Life Hurts

Life can be painful. But Jesus didn't promise a world without pain. He said, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." In other words, there will be pain, but I have been there and I've experienced all the pains this world has to offer. Adele's life of following Jesus has led her down paths of pain. But looking back over it all, the most valuable lesson has been solidarity with Jesus.



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