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.
I want to be a Whole Christian.
I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength, and be part of a worshipping community with others who do.
I want to love my brothers and sisters the way Christ loves me,
my neighbor as myself,
and my enemies.
Especially my enemies. For I have discovered that I only see the log in my own eye after I find grace for the speck in someone else’s.
The LEAD! course format evolved considerably during the time I wrote it, especially in the first 3 months. We are working to publish it as a three-volume bible study, which means I need to go back and make the first few lessons consistent with the latter ones. So, I’ll try to rewrite each of the lessons from Part A at the rate of at least one per week.
The new lessons will replace the ones currently in the syllabus; links to the original lessons are archived below.
In Which We Give Up the World for God, So We Can Give God to the World
Worship is simultaneously the most personal and the most all-encompassing of all human experiences. True worship is to encounter the Divine Presence in the very depths of our being, in a posture of absolute stillness and submission.
Yet such an encounter doesn’t merely empower and inspire us; it also requires us to manifest that same Presence amidst the frenzy and confusion of this present darkness (cf. Ephesians 6:12). Even to those we think least likely to respond…
Memory Verse: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” — John 4:24 (NKJV)
In Which We Dwell On God’s Word, As It Dwells In Us
The purpose of the disciplines is to bring us into the presence of God, and nothing is more effective for that that deeply meditating upon and memorizing Scripture. In contrast to Eastern meditation — which is about emptying and detachment — Christian meditation is about drawing near to the Father and being filled with His Spirit as we take on the mind of Christ.
Memory Verse: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” — 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (NKJV)
Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline
- Part I. The Inward Disciplines
- 2. Meditation
Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
- 3. Bible Intake (Part II)
Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
- 10. Happiness: “Enjoy the Blessing! Revel in the Goodness!”
Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms
- theological education
- character formation
- skill development
We are over half-way through, so Part B will be ending soon — and Part C starts a week or two after that, so I need to get ready!
Here is the initial outline I used:
- Personal Bible Study: Understanding Scripture for ourselves
- Warfare Prayer: How to shake the heavens.
- The Slow Fast: Emptying ourselves to be filled.
- Memorizing the Word: Sharpening the Sword for battle.
- Daily Journaling: Tracking God’s activity over time.
- Cultivating Spiritual Gifts: For what has God made us?
- Failing Courageously: Taking risks, making mistakes, and learning from them.
- Good Things in Small Groups: Building missional communities.
- Constructive Criticism: ‘Tis as important to receive as to give
- Counseling and Discipleship: Helping people reflect God’s glory and grace.
- Friendship Evangelism: How to get Jesus into people’s hearts.
- Public Speaking: Communicating clearly and concisely.
Here’s the list the church originally proposed:
- Daily Journaling
- Devotional Prayer & Bible Study
- Bible Memorization
- Relating to Spiritual Authority
- Developing Spiritual Gifts
- Spiritual Warfare
- Dealing with Failure
- Sharing Your Faith
- Public Speaking
- Leading a Small Group
The challenge is to find a book or two to use as background reading that covers (or at least is relevant to) most of these topics. Any suggestions from my loyal readers?
Read more for a review of some possibilities, after the break…