Part 6 of 6 in the series Childlike Theology:
- Thanks: Spiritual Maturity
- Wise Risk: Faith
- He’s Worth It: Worship
- Open to God: Holiness
- Make Us Like Jesus: Discipleship
- God Loves Us Like Jesus: The Gospel
Part 5 of 6 in the series Childlike Theology:
As children, we express faith in our parents by obeying them to stay safe. As adolescents, we risk danger in order to express faith in ourselves.
I have come to believe that the hallmark of a mature faith is wise risk. Which implies we should be designing our lives — and churches — to maximize learning rather than avoid failure.
Part 4 of 6 in the series Childlike Theology
Discipleship is hard. It requires facing ugly truths about ourselves, letting go of coping strategies that served us well in the past, and taking responsibility for larger dysfunctions that really aren’t our fault.
A. Sinner’s Prayer
I confess that you love me better than I can ever love myself.
Please forgive me for putting myself first instead of loving you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and my neighbor as myself.
I am sorry for not listening to and obeying you. I open my heart to receive and trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.
Make me like Jesus through your Spirit, Word, Body, and Blood.
I ask this in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
B. Brief Catechism
I feel like I need to repent of something.
For the last decade or so, I have been focused on understanding and promoting Transformational Christianity, which is based largely on Kingdom theology. I believed — and still believe — that the Kingdom of God is a powerful Biblical metaphor for understanding what the church and Christians are supposed to be doing on the earth.
But I think we’ve missed something. To be fair, everyone else in the gospels — the crowds, the disciples, even John the Baptist — also missed it. But that’s still no excuse. Especially since we have their example.
We have forgotten the cross of Christ. We have preached the life of Jesus in the gospels, and the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts, but overlooked the crucifixion that made both of those meaningful. We have sought the glory of Christ without sharing in His sufferings.
We want to bring the Kingdom of God — which is a good thing.
But we have tried to bring the Kingdom without first going to the cross. Which is a bad thing.
Forgive me for falling into the same trap your early followers did, of getting so excited over the promise of the Kingdom I totally missed what you were actually doing. I confess that I still do not understand the cross of Christ, or why you had to die. Which is why I resist the fact that I have to die. And forget to tell people that they have to die, as Jesus did. We have — forgive the pun — watered down Baptism to an empty ritual, instead of a way to share in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I am sorry. Please forgive me by your grace, by that very same death on a cross I have so foolishly neglected. Have mercy on those I may have misled or failed to help along the way. Help me to do my part in bringing back the fulness of the gospel to your people.
And, um, please let me know if there’s anything else important that I’ve missed…
I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.