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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Sign Up Now! Experience Discipling by Jesus during Lent 2021

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Tickets now available for our inaugural season, starting February 25th/26th

Discipling by Jesus is a novel public co-devotional format, where we help each other learn and demonstrate how to keep growing closer to Jesus, via His Word & Spirit, Body & Blood. We come together online for seven weeks to read, meditate, journal, and respond to how Jesus discipled Peter in the gospels.

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Dream: Prison Break

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A story of Law and Grace

Two men.
Old.
Ghosts.
With a mule.
1897.
Treasure Hunters.

They capture me.
Take me into a dungeon.
Make me dig.

I break free.
Shove them into an abyss
Including their little black dog.
Ignoring their screams for help.

I open the steel door and lock it behind me.
Then turn a corner in the corridor.
There is another door up ahead.
Repeat.
I am always escaping, but never free.

I wake.
Then I meet Jesus.
He sends me back down.
I don’t want to go.
But I obey.

It seems to take forever.
I finally get to the last door.
I look inside.
I see the tormented soul in the ditch.
It is me.

TGR-S4E7: Loving More Like Jesus

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This week on The Great Reset the Biastes perform a retrospective on Season 4 by attempting to agree on a Purpose, and then evaluating their recent interactions in light of that Purpose.

We are followers of Jesus 
who invite you to join with us 
as we practice loving more like Jesus

Purpose of The Great Reset (Draft)

  • We are a community of Jesus-lovers who
  • Come together to learn how to
  • Love more like Jesus, and
  • Invite you to learn along with us

Retrospective Statements

  • I like… (what furthered that purpose)
  • I wonder… (what could help us do better)
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RohAnjali 2018 New Year’s Prayer

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Dear God,

Thank you that our family belongs to you.

We confess we need you to free us from our sin and shame so we can love like Jesus.

Give us the grace to:

  • Trust you with our desires
  • Face our fears
  • Reflect on our anger
  • Speak the truth in love, and
  • Ask for help along the way

We ask this by the blood of Jesus, Amen.

God Loves Us Like Jesus: A Six Syllable Gospel (Childlike Theology)

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[Now part 1 of 6 in a series on Childlike Theology]

Since my son’s second set of seasons, I’ve sought a scalable summary of the gospel. Something simple enough to be sung by a six-year-old, yet sufficiently sophisticated to stun seminarians for centuries. Here’s my most successful statement so far:

God Loves Us Like Jesus

Simultaneously saying, in short, that the Father loves in the way:

  • Jesus loves us
  • He loves Jesus
  • that makes us more like Jesus

Submitting to that sort of Savior is a sweet smell to our spirit, but a shocking scare to our sin! Continue reading

LEAD! C.12 Joy in the Journey

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In Which We Begin to Pursue the End…

This is the final lesson in our series, but hopefully just the beginning of your journey in understanding what it means to lead others — and yourself — into the “name” of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

As we proceed to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (cf Philippians 2:12), it is essential to continually rejoice (cf. Philippians 4:4), because the “joy of the Lord is our strength” (cf. Nehemiah 8:10). We may occasionally become discouraged when we realize we will never reach complete perfection, either in our discipline, our character, or even our theology (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:9). On the other hand, the good news is that this means we will always have room for improvement!

This course has tried to give you the basics, but there are even more wonderful truths about Christ to be understood, deeper works of the Holy Spirit to be experienced, and greater glories for the Father to be won.

May we persevere together in that pursuit until the day we are all finally united with our Beloved Bridegroom, to celebrate His matchless “name” for all eternity.

Memory Verse: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”Matthew 25:13 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 13. Celebration
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 13. Perseverance
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 8. Joy: “We Laughed, We Sang”
    • 11. Perseverance: “They Never Could Keep Me Down!”
    • A Long Obedience: Epilogue
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 9. A Rule of Life: Cultivating Rhythms for Spiritual Transformation

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LEAD! C.7 Silence and Solitude

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In Which We Withdraw From The World To Draw Near To God

The modern world considers solitary confinement and enforced silence as among the worst long-term punishments — with good reason; it is a terrifying thing to be cut off from the consolations and diversions of society. And yet, the very severity of that terror hints at the fertile spiritual soil to be uncovered when we deliberately cultivate time away from the distractions of ordinary human life…

Memory Verse: “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’ “Luke 4:42-43 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 7. Solitude
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 10. Silence and Solitude
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 7. Security: “God Encircles His People”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 2. Solitude: Creating Space for God

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LEAD! C.3 Persistent Prayer

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In Which We and the World are Transformed as We Pray to the Father

Prayer is the process of aligning our thoughts, desires, and decisions with the Name of God, so that His Spirit can work through us to transform our lives, our relationships, and our world.

Memory Verse:“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 3. Prayer
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 4. Prayer
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 12. Hope: “I Pray to God … and Wait for What He’ll Say & Do”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 4. Prayer: Deepening Our Intimacy with God

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LEAD! B.9 From Sloth to Fruitfulness

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In Which We Abide Fruitfully Instead of Vegetating Slothfully

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” — Matthew 5:6

Sloth may seem like an archaic sin in our busy modern world, but our frenzied activity is itself a sign of sloth, which can be defined as a lack of vigor in pursuing God’s name — His character and purposes. In fact, the self-centered pursuit of our own “name” — especially under the guise of religion — is actually the worst kind of sloth! (cf. Matthew 23)

The antidote is to empty ourselves of worldly pursuits so that we become truly hungry for faith, hope, and love. Only when we abandon slothfully seeking our own comfort — which merely results in restlessness — can we experience the divine dynamism and peace that comes from abiding in Him…

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 11. Hungering for Righteousness vs. Satisfied with Sloth
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
    • 3.5 (Trustworthy) Example: Proverbs about the Tongue

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LEAD! B.4 From Folly to Love

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In Which We Are Rescued from Our Folly by God’s Love

theo_love

Love is the primary virtue of the Heart. It is both a Decision that gives rise to Emotions, as well an Emotion that gives rise to Decisions — and it needs both to thrive. It can be defined as “the ability to pursue another’s glory — even at the cost of your own.”

Love is particularly needed by the Fool, whose emotional damage drives a cycle of self-punishment disguised as the pursuit of pleasure. The only way out is to purify our hearts by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, to the point where we love Him more than the false gods we’ve served — and discover what it means to genuinely love ourselves…

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 5.C (Love) The Three Theological Virtues
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom

    • 6. The Fool

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LEAD! A.8 Christ’s Salvation

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In Which We Receive the Gospel, And Are Saved By It

Our series so far — indeed, the first half of human history — is but a prelude to the coming of Jesus Christ. In Christ we have the word of God made flesh, the perfect revelation of God’s character, a tangible representative of the Trinity, and a reminder of what we were created to be.

Yet even more glorious than all that: Christ is Our Lord, and has become our much-needed Savior…

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LEAD! Syllabus for “Theological Foundations”

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[NOTE: the official syllabus is now on the “Lead” page; this post is obsolete, but kept for the sake of historical continuity].

[Yes, I should probably have written this before the first lesson, but better late than never…]

In thinking about it, I ought to take my Curriculum one step further, and actually identify the passages and key learnings for each lesson. Not only will this help ensure I’m on the same page as my pastor, but it would enable others to write some of the lessons (since class starts on September 4th!).

I’ve also cross-referenced these lessons against two common systematic theology books:

In addition to providing a sort index to the topics covered, this allows students and teachers to use those as supplementary textbooks.

  • Draft 1 – Sunday, 24th August
  • Draft 2 – Tuesday, 26th August: Added “Doctrine” “Essentials” chapters for each lesson
  • Draft 3 – Friday, 29th August: Added “Doctrines” chapters for each lesson

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