Today I will not short GodContinue reading
To live the life that we dare
We must be willing to share
The woundedness God must repair
As we let Him our ego pare
For life in this world makes us hard
And so our souls are forced to shard
As we hide self behind guard
So nobody knows we are scarred
The promise the cross claims is true
Is unblemished life we accrue
As He with His spirit imbue
Hearts not just re-pared, but made new
Continued from Sex 302: Wordless Angst
Earnest, Lecher, and Ang trudge stolidly through a blizzard.
Well, mostly stolid.
Lecher: Are we there yet? I think something important is about to freeze and drop off.
Earnest: Is that all you think about? You don’t hear Ang complaining, do you?
They both stop and stare at the hulking, red-skinned Russian who is relentlessly plowing a path for them through the drifted snow.
As if sensing their gaze, he turns back and speaks.
Ang: No stop now. You stop, you die. Be strong. End is near.Continue reading
Discipling By Jesus aims to become an:
of people who practice denying themselves, taking up their cross, and follow Jesus.Continue reading
A story of Law and Grace
With a mule.
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.
I am always escaping, but never free.
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.
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.
Holiness: Open 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.
In Which We Deny Our Bodies to Nurture Our Souls
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 5:10
While gluttony primarily refers to the excessive consumption of food, here we will define it more broadly as “seeking to satisfy our souls by indulging the appetites of the flesh.” This is in contrast to self-control, which is the ability to align the actions of our body with the desires of the spirit.
Importantly, for a Christian self-control is ultimately about being controlled by God’s Spirit; in fact, God sometimes lets us fall into sins of the flesh to teach us not to trust in our own willpower!
This is also why those who undergo persecution are considered “blessed”, or “lucky”, as it is obvious to them that they can’t pursue physical comfort and the kingdom of heaven at the same time.
For the rest of us, alas, the temptation is far more subtle…
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 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
[Continued from Part 1]
I wake up, not quite able to remember how I got here, or how long I’d been asleep. I’m not even sure I’m awake now — it is pitch dark, and I have that drowsy, warm feeling I have right when I’m on the edge of dreams. I feel like I’m swathed in soft blankets. I stretch, luxuriating in the the safe, secure environment. I contemplate going back to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream…
Yet, something penetrates the muffled stillness of my blankets. Something like… the beating of drums! In a rush, the memories of the previous… day? week? decade?… come crashing upon me. I remember leaving my home, my mother… the men crowding around me, and ushering me into a car… then nothing. Blackness. LIke this. And silence.Continue reading