Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

“In this life it is impossible to escape the assault of temptation; but one thing is sure—temptations are not sent to us to make us fall; they are sent to strengthen the nerve and the sinew of our minds and hearts and souls. They are not meant for our ruin, but for our good. They are meant to be tests from which we emerge better warriors and athletes of God.” 

William Barclay; DSB: The Gospel of Mark; p. 21

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Through sin we aligned ourselves with Satan, and we have lived in open rebellion against a God. Repentance is severing our ties with Satan and his kingdom, and declaring our alliegance to a God and His Kingdom. This action turns our hearts over to God, so they can be healed and be made whole.

The revolution of Jesus is in the first place and continuously a revolution of the human heart or spirit. It did not and does not proceed by the means of the formation of social institutions and laws, the outer forms of our existence, intending that these would then impose a good order of life upon people who come under their power. Rather, his is a revolution of character, which proceeds by changing people from the inside through ongoing personal relationship to God in Christ and one another. It is one that changes their ideas, beIiefs, feelings, and habits of choice, as well as their bodily tendencies and social relations. It penetrates to the deepest layers of their soul.

Dallas Willard, The Revolution of the a Heart, p. 15

For spiritual transformation to happen in our lives requires us to surrender our hearts to God. True spiritual formation happens with the heart. This is why the apostle Paul urges us to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

If our beliefs are not affecting the way we live, then we do not really have faith.  True faith guides our choices and our conduct.

See more at: Live Like Jesus 

“We're looking for a church that meets our needs.” It seems like I've heard this one a thousand times. The phenomenon of church shoppers has profoundly shaped the contemporary church. The entire conversation is not about relevance but convenience. The focus is not in serving the world; the church itself became the focal point. Our motto degenerated from “We are the church, here to serve the lost a broken world” to “What does the church have to offer me?” This move has made the pastor the only minister, while making the members the only recipients of ministry. What is lost in this process is an army of healers touching the planet.

Erwin McManus, An Unstoppable Force, pp. 29-30

Surrendering to God requires repentance and prayer.  Repentance is the declaration that we are leaving behind the life and legacy of sin, and declaring our loyalty to God.  This is done, not only through our words, but also through our actions.  Through prayer weask God to bring healing to our hearts and guide us on His path of righteousness.  Prayer and repentance are both daily activities that we must do.
The instrumentalities of Christian spiritual formation therefore involve much more than human effort and actions under our control.  Well-informed human effort certainly is indispensable, for spiritual formation is no passive process.  But Christlikeness of the inner being is not a human attainment.  It is, finally, a gift of grace. 

Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart, p. 19

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Practice is an universal law on how to improve a skill or a talent. Since this is the case it is hard to imagine why we have overlooked practice when it comes to our spiritual development. Most likely it has to do with avoiding even the appearance of “works” as we follow Jesus. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

One specific errant concept has done inestimable harm to the church and God's purpose - and that is  the concept that has restricted the Christian idea of salvation to mere forgiveness of sins. Yet it is so much more. Salvation as conceived today is far removed from what it was in the beginnings of Christianity and only by correcting it can God's grace in salvation be returned to the concrete, embodied existence of our human personalities walking with Jesus in his [way of life].

~ Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 33

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How we respond to the circumstances of life when we are tired reminds us of the spiritual formation that needs to happen in our lives. 
Without constant examination of our hearts we will forget the need for spiritual formation. Without the experience of grace our spiritual formation will feel like a hopeless process. 

The motivation behind our spiritual formation is important. If we pursue spiritual formation as a way to secure our comfort, safety, or success, then we should not expect God to cooperate with us in the process.

This week I start a new sermon series based on Bill Hybels book Simplify. My notes for the first sermon. #Simplify