Posts Tagged faith
boIn Which Diligently Searching God’s Word Leads Us to Truth
Few disciplines are as essential — or as dangerous! — as studying the words and works of God. Used in the wrong spirit, theology can become a heavy burden or a useless distraction (cf. Matthew 23:4). But when taught by the Holy Spirit, God’s word becomes the very source of life itself (cf. Luke 4:4). The challenge to us, as to Timothy, is whether we will apply God’s word rightly…
Memory Verse: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” — 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline
- 5. Study
Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
- 2. Bible Intake (Part I)
Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
- 6. Help: “Oh, Blessed Be God! He Didn’t Go Off & Leave Us!”
Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms
- 3. Scripture: Encountering God Through Lectio Divina
In Which Our Souls Find Hope Amidst Suffering
Hope is the primary virtue of the Soul. It provides Reasons to encourage positive Emotions, and the Emotional energy to search for better Reasons. It can be defined as “the ability to joyfully pursue a higher purpose — even when painful.”
Hope is particularly needed by the Mocker, who is driven by both the need to control (due to fear) and the illusion of control (due to pride). Yet if they can unclench their soul enough to hope in God’s wisdom, Mockers may yet discover that true freedom comes from giving up control.
Though such learning usually only comes after great suffering…
In Which Unseen Faith Transforms the Visible World
Faith is the primary virtue of the Mind. It enables us to base Decisions on Reasons, as well as to deduce Reasons from Decisions (axioms). It can be defined as “the ability to believe what is true — even when difficult.”
Faith is particularly needed by the Simple, who otherwise would only trust what they can touch and feel. Yet God’s invisible wisdom is in reality more powerful than all the armies of flesh and blood which rail against it. And thus pursuing that wisdom, in faith, is actually the most practical decision of all…
[click to enlarge image]
In Which Our Character is Conformed to God’s Name, Via The Pursuit of Wisdom
In our first twelve-week series on Theological Foundations, we focused on what it means to be “baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit“, moving from sin to sanctification as the body of Christ entering into His Kingdom.
In this our second series, we focus on how we can appropriate that “name” in our own lives — as well as those of the people we lead and serve. This is the essence of Christian Character, the second leg of our “LEAD” tripod (the third and final one being “Skills for Service”, coming in Spring 2009).
The goal of character formation is to bring our “whole person” into alignment with the “whole name” of God — His identity, character, and purpose. We can define the whole person using the “triplet” model below, which has:
- Our Spirit at the center…
- … working through our Heart, Soul and Mind… (cf. Mark 12:30)
- … which together produce Emotions, Reasons, and Decisions…
- … that manifest in actions of our Body
- theological education
- character formation
- skill development
Having finished writing the lessons for Part A, we now turn out attention to the second trimester (which the class will start in January). This blog post is for the initial outline; as before, the final version will be part of the living syllabus at http://2transform.us/lead/
Read the rest of this entry »
In Which We Become the Church, As We Grow Into Christ Our Head Via His Gifts
Continuing the theme of Sanctification, we explore how we are discipled into the name of Christ through His body — the Father’s principle vehicle for forming His Kingdom, by His Spirit. Specifically, we see how the fact that we serve One God requires us to worship Him as One Church.
[Note: I am now using the New King James Version for my interlinear; hopefully this will increase the readability.]
In Which We Are Set Apart For Obedience to Jesus, And Suffer For It — Becoming Holy in The Process
This week we round out our discussion on salvation and conviction by focusing on sanctification, or holiness, words that include being both “set apart” and “made righteous.” The overall idea is forming God’s character in us the way we were originally created to be, before mankind was corrupted.
Continued from “Three Stones“…
[I open my eyes. I am lying with my head on Jesus lap. I am a child, perhaps a tween. We are in a garden -- beneath the cross. It is early morning, but already hot. A light mist blows from somewhere, cooling us. It is very peaceful and secure. I could lie here forever with my Jesus.]
Good morning, Ernie.
Good morning, Jesus.
How are you feeling?
With you, I am at peace. I feel secure, loved. Dead to all the obligations of this world. Nothing else matters when I’m with you, since if anything did matter you would tell me.
But the part of you that is not with me?
If I had to pick a word, I’d say “grieved.” For him and the anger that drove him to atheism. For her, and the fear that weighs her down. For myself, and the pride and insecurity that keep me out of your kingdom.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Yes, Lord, and I thank you for that comfort. [pause to soak it in]
What do you want from me?
Huh. The same question I asked Sandhya last night. The cliché answer — at some level the real answer — is that I want your kingdom to come; in me, through me, around me. But obviously there’s more to it than that.
First of all, I want to be whole, or perhaps free. I feel like I’ve been wearing this skin of insecurity and pride all my life — certainly since 5th grade — and it is starting to chafe. I want out. I want to be naked and unashamed before You. I don’t want to “act out” in domineering ways, but I don’t even want to “act in”– do the right things for the wrong reason. I want to want the right things, if that makes sense.
More or less. Go on.
Second, I want to love my wife with a redeeming, transforming love. …So, I finally think I have enough of an understanding to pray. But am I praying the right way? Am I loving her the right way? Should I do more? Less?
And of course there’s the larger problem of my near-inability to pray, except through contrived means like this. Which would probably be my third request. I don’t really care how, but I want to accomplish those things (or rather, see you accomplish those) which can only be accomplished through prayer, versus those that can be achieved through my efforts. I want my reach to exceed my grasp, rather than turning inward toward only that which I [think I] can control.
Very good, Ernie.
Not really. I mean, sure, there’s lots of things I want. Alan’s salvation, success at work, happiness etc. But, those seem subsidiary to these. In fact, these three are probably all interrelated, and may even reflect a deeper need I haven’t articulated.
So, ultimately, I guess I want what you want for me — or at least I want to want that!
Well said. But how badly do you want that?
Bad enough to die. Slay me with your love, Lord Jesus, that I may live for you.
[Jesus looks at me for a long moment. He lifts his arms, and plucks a red ruby from his right hand, and a green emerald from his left. They are somewhat small -- perhaps a centimeter across -- but exquisite.]
These are your re-birth stones, Ernie. Part of the new name I give you, that is known to nobody but you. Forged in the heat of the cross, out of the fuel of your sin.
What do I do, wear them?
Ingest them, Ernie. They are like vitamins circulating in your body, to counteract the deficiency diseases of Insecurity and Pride. The red one, to treat insecurity, is “My Beloved.” It is made of Hope, Love, and Faith. Hope that you will accomplish great things in the world in my name — not yours. Love, because of the undying love I have for you. And Faith — faith that everything will work out because I am in control.
[I take, and drink the red one. It is like my first communion wine: potent and warming.]
The second is “My Child.” You are still a child, Ernie. You know in part, you understand in part, you desire in part. You will always be a child, Ernie. This gem/pill is made of Humility, Innocence, and Peace. Let go, Ernie. Let it all go, that you might inherit everything I long to give you.
[I eat the second. It is like an entire field of wheat, bursting with the earth's bounty.]
And what of the third stone, my Lord? The pebble of Self?
There is no gem for that, my beloved child. There is only my Spirit. Receive him now.
[He breathes upon me.]
Father, I receive your holy Spirit. I accept my identity as your beloved, and as your child. Forgive me for trying to build an altar to myself, out of insecurity and pride. Teach me to eat the real food of you, and drink your real drink. That I may hunger and thirst no more. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (The Message)
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
12-15With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn’t notice. They didn’t notice it then and they don’t notice it now, don’t notice that there’s nothing left behind that veil. Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can’t see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there’s nothing there.
16-18Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.