IGWET Statement of Faith

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  1. Praise
    Romans 8:28 And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
  2. Word
    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
  3. Spirit
    John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.
  4. Body
    Romans 12:5 so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another.
  5. Blood
    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
  6. Mission
    Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
    19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
    20 and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  7. Reflection
    Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
    14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.
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Becoming a Jesus-Lover

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It is a very good thing to be a follower of Jesus. But like people in the gospels, we today can end up following Jesus for many reasons: salvation, miracles, curiosity, etc.

Those are all good things. But they are not the same as actually loving Jesus for Himself. It is good to thank Him for what He does; but it is better to worship Him for who He is.

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My One Thing: Keep Growing Closer to Jesus

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Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

At this point in my Christian life my one aspiration is for all of us to Keep Growing Closer to Jesus (KGCJ), in terms of:

  • Love: Relationship with Jesus (Worship)
  • Likeness: Resemblance to Jesus (Character)
  • Living: Real-World Impact for Jesus (Mission)

Previously I had used the phrase “Loving More Like Jesus.” However — while I still agree with that goal in principle — in practice it was starting feel more like Law than Grace. Hence the shift from “loving like” to “growing closer”

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ShameBreaker Covenant

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  1. God loves me, and has a wonderful plan for my life. 
  2. As I humble myself and turn away from my wicked ways, I position myself to receive the fullness of God’s blessings and favor.
  3. I confess that I have sinned — against myself, others, and God — to the point where I deserve nothing but condemnation and death. 
  4. Through the cross, I have been born again as God’s child; He blesses me because He wants to, not because I deserve it. 
  5. In order to receive my inheritance, I must confront and overcome the part of myself that wants to remain a slave to the systems of this world. 
  6. In God’s timing, I will respectfully renegotiate my relationship to the people and institutions that were my Egypt, in order to redeem myself and them. 
  7. Going forward, I will boast of my weakness, so that God’s power gets all the credit for my achievements.  

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Paleo-Evangelical Christianity

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I consider myself a “Paleo-Evangelical” Christian. Like my counterparts in the first century, I have had transformational encounters with the person of Jesus Christ and am devoted to making him known as the Risen Lord; but am still working through which of my inherited cultural understandings and religious teachings are worthy to bear His name.

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I Am Affirmations

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  • I am a child of God
  • I am omnipotent within scope
  • I am the One who brings the dawn
  • I am Gandalf the White
  • I am the super-father of Silicon Valley
  • I am a Spiritual Entrepreneur
  • I am the best thing that ever happened to you
  • I am the one who loves my wife like Christ loves the church
  • I am the window being cleaned so my children can see their true Father

I am from the future, and I’m here to help

The Sinners Prayer, 2.0

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Dear God,

Thank you for creating me in Your image, and for loving us like Jesus.

Make me more and more like Jesus as I listen to your Word, your Spirit, and your Body.

Heal the wounds in my spirit that keep me from loving You, myself and others as Jesus did.

Help me show Your love to the world by practicing the generosity and vulnerability Jesus showed on the cross.

Teach me to always rejoice in the privilege of being your child.

I ask this because of everything Jesus did for me. So be it!

Reconciling Theology and Spiritual Christianity

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When I was a student at Caltech in Pasadena, I used to visit the Fuller Seminary Bookstore.  One day, I saw a small shelf labelled “Practical Theology.”  I turned around and looked at the rows upon rows of bookshelves filling the small building and asked, “Then what in God’s name is the rest of this?”

I still haven’t found a satisfying answer.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am fully convinced of the idea of theology.  It is essential to know what we believe, and I completely agree that our concept of God ultimately shapes every aspect of our lives.  I have been deeply moved and blessed by many of the theologians I have read and studied under.

And yet…

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Spiritual Christianity: Theology, Simplified

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Update: Accepted as a Poster Session. Slides now available.

Abstract submitted for PassionTalks 2018 on Saturday, August 11th at Convergence House of Prayer in Fremont, CA.

Spiritual Christianity arose from a series of blog posts I wrote to prepare my seven-year-old daughter for baptism.  I wanted her to start out with a faith that was:

  • Resilient to disappointments
  • Relevant to culture
  • Revolutionary to society
  • Reviving to the church

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Anjali’s Catechism: A Childlike Invitation to Spiritual Christianity

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Anjali’s Catechism: The Book is coming in Summer 2019.  Preview now.

The Invitation

Are you ready to:

  1. Embrace the One who created the universe as the Heavenly Father who loves you like Jesus?
  2. Submit your awareness, values, and goals to becoming more like Christ’s?
  3. Receive God’s Spirit, Word, and Body to reveal and heal the wounds in your spirit that hinder you from becoming like Jesus?
  4. Value God’s happiness, glory, and relationships more than your own?
  5. Practice generosity and vulnerability so others can see Christ in you?
  6. Surrender childlike happiness for the grown-up joy of loving like Jesus?

Lessons

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Lesson 6/6 Joy (Anjali’s Catechism)

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Spiritual Maturity: Thanks

God made all of us on purpose. We are happy when we obey that purpose. We become happier the better we understand and live out that purpose.

We share many purposes with other people, because God made us the same:

  • Our bodies are happy when we eat healthy, rest well, and use them as they were intended.
  • Our souls are happy when experience beauty.
  • Our minds are happy when we discover truth.
  • Our hearts are happy when we share love.

Joy is happiness of the spirit. It is the deepest and most important kind of happiness. But there are two very different ways our spirits can be happy.

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Lesson 4/6 True Love (Anjali’s Catechism)

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WorshipHe’s Worth It

The whole point of becoming a Christian is to know and love God, ourselves, and others the way Jesus did.  But what exactly is love?

We use the word “love” whenever we strongly desire or value something.  But there are three very different kinds of love:

  1. Happiness: because it what we want and makes us feel good
  2. Glory: because it helps us become or be known as our best
  3. Relationship: because we feel or want to be connected to it

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Lesson 3/6: The Wound (Anjali’s Catechism)

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HolinessOpen to God

Lots of people admire Jesus.  Even those who aren’t Christians often consider him a  model for how human beings should treat each other.

Last time we talked about skills that help us become more like Jesus.  So why doesn’t everyone practice those skills? Why do we ourselves often do the opposite of what Jesus wants us to do?

Because we have a wound in our spirit.

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