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Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020  (Read 1387 times)

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Bladerunner

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2020, 08:42:22 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/one-on-one-with-jerry-root-on-neglected-cs-lewis.html








One on One with Jerry Root on 'The Neglected C.S. Lewis'











What readers of Lewis tend to neglect, are in fact the very books Lewis thought were his best and most important.


Ed: Many are familiar with C. S. Lewis’s Narnian Chronicles and his Christian apologetics. How can you say he was neglected?

Jerry: While Lewis is a well-known author, nevertheless, very few are familiar with his academic books. Yet, these are his best books. They were born out of his professional life and his study as a scholar of medieval and renaissance literature while at Oxford and later at Cambridge University. Mark Neal and I wanted to reintroduce these books to a wider public.

Ed: How important are these academic works?

Jerry: Lewis thought them very important. For example, one of the books we highlight, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, took Lewis over 15 years to write. He said that of all the other books he wrote during that time, they were, by comparison, only the ‘twiddly bits.’ That means that Lewis classified as ‘twiddly bits’ Mere Christianity, the Narnian series, his science fiction, and Screwtape Letters. What readers of Lewis tend to neglect, are in fact the very books Lewis thought were his best and most important.

Ed: Do you think some people look past his academic books because they feel too intimidated by the depth of the books?

Jerry: Perhaps. Nevertheless, Lewis was such a great writer that nobody should be intimidated by him. His prose is well reasoned and imaginatively depicted. The material is presented with such wit that even his most rigorous volumes leave the reader chuckling (and in some cases belly laughing).

To be intimidated by these books is short sighted. It is not that we lack the capacity to enjoy them; we often simply lack the discipline to stretch academically.

I think we have become slaves to social media and short sound bites. We want immediate information at our fingertips. Siri and Google have become the gurus of our day. This has contributed to academic laziness.

We lack intellectual rigor and we are often not interested in developing it. On the one hand, we feel awkward when approaching the books that were Lewis’ lifeblood. On the other hand, we forget that any new endeavor will leave us feeling awkward until a certain level of skill is developed.

In fact, if you are not awkward some place in your life, you are just not growing. The very act of reading these neglected books is itself a liberal arts education. Lewis opens more than wardrobe doors.

Furthermore, these books can increase the readers’ capacity to think, wrestle with big ideas, and grow intellectually.

Ed: Can you briefly describe some of the books included?

Jerry: One book discussed, The Discarded Image, was a lecture series on medieval literature that Lewis frequently gave at Oxford University. He introduces students to the medieval worldview preventing them from projecting their twenty-first century values onto the literature of an earlier age.

Lewis says that after the Bible, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy was the most influential book on medieval literature, and until recently a person was not considered educated if they did not know that book.

In fact, Lewis gives Boethius’ answer to the problem of foreknowledge and free will that is so simple and accessible that we wonder why did this question ever perplexed us in the first place.

Another book already mentioned is English Literature in the Sixteenth Century. To write this book, Lewis read every book written in English or translated into English in the sixteenth century.

That was the century of the Reformation. Lewis was one of the few who has ever actually read exhaustively both sides of that controversy. Consequently, his judgments are more informed, and more carefully nuanced.

Furthermore, Lewis’ The Allegory of Love, the book that launched his brilliant academic career, is another one of the eight works highlighted in The Neglected C. S. Lewis.

Ed: But, that material seems “old hat.” What benefit can there be in reading the literature of the past?

Jerry: Every generation can spot the failures of the generations that came before them but lacks the perspective that future generations will have as they judge the failures of our own day.

We cannot travel into the future and look back, but we can read the literature of the past and although they made errors different from our own it is unlikely they made the same kinds of poor judgments we have made.

The past gives us touch points of comparison and the means to evaluate our own time and maybe even correct some of its excesses.

Furthermore, in an age of polarization we would be well to familiarize ourselves with The Personal Heresy. This was a literary debate between Lewis and E. M. W. Tillyard of Cambridge University. The controversy produces light not heat.

These two men knew how to argue properly. The debate contains no informal fallacies. It is a model of civil discourse so needed in our age of impatience, angry tempers, and soaring egos. This merely scratches the surface of the wisdom to be found in the books highlighted in The Neglected C. S. Lewis.

Ed: How does this material affect your work as a professor of evangelism at Wheaton College?

Jerry: Lewis once wrote, “Most of my books are evangelistic.” How could this be when he was writing literary criticism, children’s stories, adult novels, poetry, and so forth? In fact, Lewis said we do not need more books by Christians about Christianity. We need more books by Christians on other subjects with their Christianity latent.

He wanted to produce books where the Christian worldview was implied and every topic bears the sense and fragrance of Christianity. The gospel makes more sense when everything supports its truth; consequently, one gains a more robust and convincing grasp of the message.








Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, serves as a dean at Wheaton College, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.


some say  The Chronicles of Nardia mirror the Bible. I personally do not think so,

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2020, 09:12:05 pm »
Excellent article.  I am presently reading a biographer that is one of the best I have read about CS Lewis
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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2020, 11:43:20 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/five-priorities-of-worshipping-church.html








Five Priorities of A Worshipping Church












But what if the normal we once experienced was inadequate and God is using this moment to jar us from complacency?


It’s common to hear people long for a quick return to normal these days. The crisis brought about by COVID-19 has left many Christian leaders reeling and disoriented. “When can we get back to the way things used to be?” Implicit in this question is the assumption that the old normal was entirely good.

But what if the normal we once experienced was inadequate and God is using this moment to jar us from complacency? What if our ‘good ol’ days’ weren’t at all reminiscent of the ‘original normal’?

Our previous normal was certainly convenient—it only required an hour or two on a Sunday for most of us. And it was entertaining as we weekly evaluated whether or not we enjoyed the worship experienced. And it was easy—for most it simply meant sitting still and listening for an hour (or at least look like we were listening.)

But my question remains, “Is this the normal that we really need to return to?” Is this the thing that God meant for us?

Let’s reflect on the opening paragraph of Luke’s testimony about the Antioch church:

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3)

This scene gives witness to the original normal of the church. It’s a picture of the way the church is meant to function. It provides insight into the poverty of our former normal and should create a longing to see a more biblical version of the church emerge in our re-openings.

There seems to be five treasures of an original normal, New Testament Church that are too often missing in the former normal that we just left.

A Worshipping Church Will Prize Missional Agility

Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire, with over half a million residents. It was a diverse trading center that quickly became the epicenter of the early Christian movement. We are introduced to the church of Antioch’s founding in Acts 11 as some nameless disciples from Cyprus and Cyrene came to the region preaching the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prior to this moment, the focus of the church’s mission was on fellow Jews, but early believers who immigrated to this region developed a heart for the Hellenistic people. They soon became effective in evangelizing this previously untapped people group.

The Holy Spirit gave this worshipping church a passion for people that led them to declare the gospel to all who would listen. A passion that would continue to mark the Antioch church throughout the book of Acts.

Today, in our scattering, God may be birthing a passion for people who would otherwise not connect with our ‘normal’ church gatherings and events. Missional agility, as in the first century, requires a church to embraces ‘sentness’ as the normal behavior of a disciple.

A Worshipping Church Will Prize a Holistic Strategy

By the time we get to Acts 13, the church plant in Antioch is a little over one year old. Luke mentions that there were “prophets and teachers” in the church who serve to advance the mission.

The prophets were gifted in speaking the will of God, while the teachers instructed the people in practical application to that message. Together, they led the church to understand and undertake the assignments of God’s will.

But there was more. The church also had the voices of Barnabas and Paul speaking into its mission. They were not merely a teaching church, they were a missionary church because of the catalytic shepherding gifts of leaders like Barnabas and the apostolic gifts of leaders like Paul.

This leadership combined to embody the functions Paul mentions in Ephesians 4:11-13 that are necessary for the building up of the body of Christ.

Today, God may be exposing our unhealthy singular dependence on teachers as He is creating an awareness of the biblical necessity of a holistic strategy including other complimentary functions in order to move the Christ’s mission forward.

A Worshipping Church Will Prize Cultural Diversity

It is exciting to look at the makeup of the Antioch church. We have Barnabas—a generous, encouraging, catalytic-shepherd who brought Saul/Paul into the movement. We have black men, Simeon and Lucius from North Africa.

There’s also Manaen, who grew up with Herod Antipas and was a wealthy, older man or high social standing. Finally, we have Saul who was a Roman citizen from Tarsus—a leading Pharisee who was dramatically converted on the road to Damascus. Diversity was the homogeneous principle of this city and of the church’s leadership.

Now, more than ever, diversity should characterize the leadership of Jesus’ church in North America. As our communities diversify, our churches should lead the way in the integration of that diversity. Not for political correctness sake, but for the fact that combining diverse cultural perspectives and expressions of following Christ creates a much more robust and holistic disciple.

Splintered silos of sameness solitarily coexisting ensures the perpetuation of an easy, but unremarkable church.

A Worshipping Church Will Prize Spiritual Sensitivity

Notice in verse 2 that the byproduct of worship was the spiritual sensitivity to invent the concept of missionary sending. They were not content to stay and soak in the experience of worship; they were compelled to send themselves so that others could worship. Their worship was designed to recalibrate their spirits to Christ and his mission in the world.

It seems that the truer our worship becomes, the more our priorities reflect the One that we worship. For many of us, worship has long been about ourselves. My personal relationship.

My worship experience. My sacred preferences. But what if our worship was about Christ? What if it cost us something? What if the way we worshipped reflected the One we worship? Would we discover that we once again could hear the voice of God?

A Worshipping Church Will Prize Kingdom Generosity

The missionary heart compelled this new church plant to send 2/5 of their leadership team to a multiply opportunities for the gospel to be heard. Their corporate priorities reflected their individual priorities around evangelism to the Gentiles.

This motivation led the church to a culture of generosity as they corporately invested in sending missionaries—the first record of such a sending church recorded in Scripture.

Only a worshipping community committed to generously offering themselves as a living sacrifice to God would ever take such a risk. Has God stopped calling his church to a bold venture that naturally releases its best people and resources so that the Kingdom can advance in the world? Unlikely.

God is still speaking. Kingdom generosity is still our calling.

But what will be our answer? Re-open to our old, former normal? Or, allow our worship to recalibrate our hearts back to Christ’s original intentions for his church.








Jeff Christopherson is a church planter, pastor, author and Missiologist at the Send Institute - an interdenominational church planting and evangelism think tank. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2020, 11:46:49 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-august/jen-wilkin-personal-holiness-sin-common-good.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+christianitytoday%2Fctmag+%28CT+Magazine%29








Want to Love Your Neighbor? Start By Fighting Your Own Sin.












When we “make every effort to be holy,” it works toward the common good.


What are some effective ways to love our neighbors? Most of us would say things like taking a meal to someone who is ill or helping repair a broken faucet. Thinking further, we might point to less tangible actions like praying for people, apologizing quickly for an offense, or offering a word of encouragement.

In each case, we think of a positive behavior directed toward someone else. These are the “one another” actions, conforming to the many New Testament instructions on how to treat those God places around us.

Each “one another” is an expression of the Great Commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Outdo one another in showing honor, forgive one another as Christ forgave you, bear with one another, submit to one another in love. These expansive expressions of the principles of the Old Testament Law prescribe how we can live in community and offer indispensable instructions for maintaining the common good. Finding meaningful ways to love one another is not simply “a good idea” or “a nice suggestion”; it is the hard work necessary for the well-being of the group.

But to truly love one another, we must direct our efforts at godliness not just toward others, but inward. The call to love our neighbor is given in reference to how we love ourselves. It explicitly links the spiritual health of the individual to the health of community.

Yet we instinctively divide our sins into two categories: those that affect our neighbor and those that affect only us. The ancient god of individualism whispers that some sins are just between God and me. If there are consequences, they will impact only me. And this is simply not true. The consistent message of the Bible is this: Personal sin yields collateral suffering, without fail.

Consider Achan, who believed he could take the spoils of war for himself and conceal them in his tent (Josh. 7). God’s punishment of not only Achan but his entire household drives home the lesson that personal sin is sin against our neighbor. Communal well-being is harmed by individual rebellion.

We are not so different from Achan. We tell ourselves a similar lie as we bow to the god of individualism: “As long as my selfishness is concealed, as long as I don’t act openly on my impulse to belittle, as long as no one knows I am addicted to this behavior, or this substance, or my own bitterness, no one is harmed but me.” But personal sin yields collateral suffering.

Why? Because what we do in the secret place is the most accurate representation of who we truly are. It reveals the motives of our hearts, the overflow of which invariably splashes onto our neighbor. Personal sin yields collateral suffering. But here is good news: Personal holiness yields collateral blessing.

Just as the sin done in secret will be dragged into the light, so also the good work of righteousness done in secret will be rewarded by the Lord (Matt. 6:1–18). When love, joy, peace, and patience are our daily meditation; when kindness, goodness, and faithfulness are our mindset; when gentleness and self-control are our mainstay, these virtues overflow our hearts and become a source of blessing to our neighbors.

We cannot help but interact with one another in life-giving ways when these are the content of our character. Uncommon personal holiness, hard sought, serves the common good.

Thus, perhaps the most basic way to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” is to “make every effort … to be holy” (Heb. 12:14). What if a personal fast from social media made you more eager for face-to-face friendship? What if a quiet decision to delay a purchase made you more generous? What if resting from work made you kinder to your family? An uncommon approach, to say the least—a road less traveled, a narrow path—and the very path of our great high priest, who was tempted in every way we are yet was without sin. Uncommon personal holiness, hard sought, poured out for the common good.

Taking a meal to someone is certainly loving our neighbor. But repenting and turning from our “personal” sins is as well. It is choosing to walk the narrow path of our Savior, that we might love our neighbor out of the overflow.

Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 08:02:45 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-web-only/sweet-surrender-salvation.html








The Sweet Surrender of Salvation









By rising above self-interest we can taste the true honey of new creation.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, recently warned that coronavirus infections could more than double to 100,000 a day. On Sunday, Florida reported 15,300 new cases, the most of any state in a single day. Epidemiologists keep saying we told you so. We should have seen this coming. The anticipated summer-season wane proved contrary as a hot July in the country’s hottest Southern and Western states ushered in COVID-19 levels surpassing the highs of last April. The ever-burgeoning pandemic coaxed columnist David Brooks to list COVID-19 as first among five epic crises facing our country. Piling on with the pandemic he adds gigantic changes related to race, political alignment, cultural priorities, and economics—all compounding to portend what Brooks labels a “moral, spiritual and emotional disaster.”

Left out of this deleterious deluge, as noted by a profusion of commenters, is the ever-looming cataclysm of climate change. Minneapolis meteorologist Paul Douglas, politically conservative and Jesus loving, reiterates over and over the multiple strands of evidence—CO2 levels at a 3-million-year high, temperatures and sea levels rising, rains falling harder, growing seasons longer, and crazy weather everywhere. Scripture warns of destruction by fire and famine, a portent, perhaps, of global heat to come. Jesus and the prophets tied cosmological catastrophe to wars and strife as harbingers of apocalyptic doom (Deut. 32:22; Mark 13:8; 2 Pet. 3:7; Rev. 8:7). We reap what we sow.

The gospel forecast of “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” induces human longing for new birth (2 Pet. 3:13). “Creation groans” under the weight of that expectancy, forced into futility and frustration as it waits (Rom. 8:19–25). Tensions may be high between now and then, between old and new, but no matter how bad it gets—or how hard or even how good—nothing compares to the glory to come (Rom. 8:18).

Such faith for the future may seem childlike to some—hardly the antidote for a pending “spiritual, moral and emotional disaster.” Yet Jesus is clear: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). To be sure, childlike faith is not childish nor easy. New creation as the upshot of resurrection demands crucifixion, and not just for Jesus. Crosses are borne and shared by us all; our souls forged most intensely and meaningfully by suffering.

Alas, as creatures with low thresholds for pain, humans prefer workarounds, a quick-fix salvation, and symptom relief rather than fundamental and systemic change. Part of the problem can be a truncated view of salvation—a tendency to view oneself through the lens of a “Disney princess theology”—a chronic proclivity for reducing the entirety of Biblical salvation down to a personal transaction between Jesus and me. Exacerbated by the high value of American individualism and the ease of technology, the spiritual life happens by way of a DIY discipleship. Childish, princess wishes stand in for true childlike faith to the extent we can’t even pray as we ought for the transformation we need (Rom. 8:26). Convinced we know best what’s best, we resemble our wayward spiritual forebears without a king, everyone doing as they saw fit (Judges 17:6).

I’m a backyard beekeeper, and I’m currently dealing with wayward bees without a queen. Without a queen, normal bee life in a hive turns apocalyptic. Worker bees’ reflexes activate certain bodily changes as they attempt to rescue their doomed colony. The little buzzers try to fix things by taking on the queen’s job themselves, a futile task they’re not built to do. Worker bees (which are all female) start laying eggs, but their eggs are not fertilized and therefore hatch as drones, useless male bees that just sit on the comb all day doing nothing. Their doom is sure.

The analogy to the futility of quick-fix, DIY deliverance might be obvious, were it not for the fact that queens don’t just disappear. Deeply devoted to their daughters, queens never get up and buzz off. Queens die only when killed, whether by pesticides or the proliferation of parasites, or in my case, human anxiety and carelessness. I crushed the queen without realizing it. Most likely, I got a little frantic in my hive management—countless thousands of bees flying around all at once and threatening to sting—who can see a single queen bee among so many insects swarming in your face? Then again, I thought I knew best.

Scripture continually indicts human sin as the deadly cause and effect of so much evil, physically and metaphysically, spewing its toxic emissions all over creation: a warming and warring earth, repeating patterns of oppression, betrayal and violence that ruin and kill, displace and discriminate. Viruses may not be our fault, but their proliferation is due in part to a woefully deficient health care planning, political ineptitude and inequities, and poverty in impoverished corners with its own roots in social strife and injustice. Earth may be home to millions of species, but only one dominates. Human cleverness, inventiveness, and activities accomplish great good, to be sure, but they also drive most every global problem we face.

David Brooks argues for competent government as a solution, “more C-SPAN than Instagram” as he so cleverly put it. But a “moral, spiritual and emotional disaster” requires more than good government. We know but forget that governments are not God. Governments lie and cannot be trusted. Scripture’s solution is the work of the Spirit evidenced in the good works of God’s people, the “redemption of our bodies” which carry cosmic ramifications far beyond individual betterment. Romans actually uses the singular noun body rather than bodies in narrating redemption, leading some scholars to wonder whether Paul has a whole hive in mind, what he calls the body of Christ, our life together as communities who serve. From birth, we are wired to transcend self-interest, to surrender our individual selves to greater purposes. Only by losing your self can your whole self be realized (Matt. 10:39). Psychologists draw an analogy from bees and call it making “the hive switch.”

A beehive survives because its whole is so much greater than any individual member. The same is true for Christians as church, and for populations as civilizations, and for human beings as humanity. Only when we recognize and surrender to our greater oneness with Christ as queen bee—rising above self-interest in the interest of common goodness—only then do we experience the true honey of the new creation Jesus promises. Christian faith views crises as crosses—be they viral, racial, political, cultural, economic, ecological, or everything all at once—to be borne with self-sacrifice, due repentance, and grace. And as crosses are always subject to resurrection, we trust God will work all of it for the good of us all.






Daniel Harrell is Christianity Today’s editor in chief.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2020, 10:28:01 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-august/mark-buchanan-god-walk-speed-soul.html








The Speed of Our Souls—and Our Soles













An avid walker explains why walking is good for spiritual growth.


I used to dream of a library devoted entirely to walking. Most of the books, spanning the centuries in many languages, would be narratives: accounts of exploration, pilgrimage, jaunts in the countryside, strolls in the city, purposeful journeys, and rambles with no particular destination. The shelves would contain works as various as The Narrow Road to the Deep North and other travel writings by the 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Bash; Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s notebooks recording his impressions of the mountains in Britain’s Lake District (when “fell-walking” just for the experience, not for any practical purpose, was regarded as highly eccentric); Werner Herzog’s memoir Of Walking in Ice; and Bruce Chatwin’s genre-crossing foray into the Australian Outback, The Songlines. Surely, somewhere, there must be an enormously wealthy, passionate walker who would like to endow such a project.

Alas, I never found such a figure. More’s the pity, too, since in the past 20 years alone, enough good walking books have been published to fill a number of shelves in that imaginary library: not only superb chronicles of walking but also books about walking, the most influential and widely imitated of which is Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking. In recent years especially, there has been a vogue for books that champion walking with considerable fervor. (See, for instance, Antonia Malchik’s A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time, and In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration, by Shane O’Mara, a professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College Dublin.) And for readers who want to have their cake and eat it too, there’s a subgenre I call “cynical-inspirational,” including books such as John Kaag’s Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are and Erling Kagge’s Walking: One Step at a Time, both published in the past couple of years. (Someone should tell these pedestrian philosophers that a walker never takes “one step at a time”: Before one step is complete, another step is already in progress.)

As a lifelong walker (and non-driver) with my own mini-library of walking books (not to mention magazines like the issue of Freeman’s that includes the essay “Walking While Black” by my dear friend and walking companion Garnette Cadogan), I have viewed these developments with mixed feelings. Much as I value walking, I don’t want to sell it to anyone, and I don’t want anyone trying to sell it to me. But isn’t that attitude prideful, a bit too fastidious?

The Pace God Keeps
Which brings me to the book under review. Mark Buchanan is a Canadian pastor and the author of many books. His latest, God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul, is unapologetically inspirational in its intent. He hopes to motivate readers who walk only when it’s obligatory (they are legion) to walk more, yes, but his goals extend well beyond that. He wants all of us to think about walking and practice walking with a new mindfulness, informed by God’s self-revelation in Scripture. To this end, Buchanan draws on a rich variety of biblical texts; the motif of walking, he argues, runs through the Bible in a way that most of us have never noticed.

Before going further, I need to tell you two things. First, there is a lot in God Walk that rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes this is a matter of disagreement with an argument; in other instances, it’s a matter of taste or style (and the distinction between principled disagreement and “taste” is often difficult to make). But, second, there is a lot in God Walk that I value; I’m not at all sorry to have spent time reading and thinking about the book, and I am happy to add it to my walking library.

I love the way God Walk opens, with an epigraph from Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama’s wildly idiosyncratic, insightful, and sometimes maddening little book, Three Mile an Hour God. It’s worth quoting the full passage from which the epigraph is taken:

God walks “slowly” because he is love. If he is not love he would move much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is “slow” and yet it is lord over all the other speeds since it is the speed of love. It goes on in the depths of our life whether we notice it or not, whether we are currently hit by a storm or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore it is the speed the love of God walks.

If you have read Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, you will recall a striking and oft-quoted passage that Buchanan refers to in his first chapter, when he suggests that we walk not only for utilitarian reasons but to be “closer to reality”:

We walk because three miles an hour, as the writer Rebecca Solnit says, is about the speed of thought, and maybe the speed of our souls. We walk because if we go much faster for much longer, we’ll start to lose ourselves: our bodies will atrophy, our thinking will jumble, our very souls will wither.

Do you not feel this?

I do.

I walk because three miles an hour seems to be the pace God keeps. It’s God speed.

I wish that Buchanan had done more to tease out the implications of a “slow God” who condescends to us, walking with us at the speed of love, which is also the speed of thought. Alas, he does so only very intermittently. Instead, in his first chapter, he makes a move that left me scratching my head and tugging at my beard. Under the subhead “A Physical Discipline,” he tells us that the “seed of this book was annoyance, or grief, or something in between.” What caused this feeling? Well, you see, “many spiritual traditions have a corresponding physical discipline and Christianity has none. Hinduism has yoga. Taoism has tai chi. Shintoism has karate. Buddhism has kung fu. Confucianism has hapkido. Sikhism has gatka.” But Christianity? Zilch.

You can guess where Buchanan takes this. We hear a little bit on Gnosticism (“incarnation’s mortal enemy”), followed by the preposterous assertion that the “Christian faith” once had “a corresponding physical discipline” but “then lost it.” And this discipline, of course, was walking.

I’m not going to undertake here the wearisome job of sorting out all of the ways in which this is wrong, conceptually muddled, and lacking in evidence. At first, I found it hard to believe that Buchanan seriously believed this himself. But never mind. This setup gives him a rubric of sorts—chapters 6 through 15 explore different facets of walking (“Walking as Exercise,” “Walking as Friendship,” “Walking as Remembering,” and so on).

But it isn’t necessary to buy the argument about recovering Christianity’s “lost” discipline (a “physical” discipline that is also a “spiritual” discipline) in order to profit selectively from Buchanan’s many-sided reflections on walking and the Christian life. Some readers may connect particularly with his account of “Walking as Prayer,” others with “Walking as Attentiveness” (one of my favorite chapters) or “Walking as Suffering.” I can’t imagine many readers making their way through the book without several such experiences of deep resonance and illumination.

More Awake, More Attentive
At the end of each chapter, under the heading “God Speed,” Buchanan includes a brief reflection set apart typographically from the main text. These oblige the reader to make intuitive connections; they function a bit like the sudden juxtapositions in haiku. My favorite among them is the one at the end of Chapter 15, “Walking as Flight,” which offers a fresh angle on Søren Kierkegaard.

Kierkegaard was “odd,” Buchanan acknowledges, but his father was even odder. He would take his two sons on walks around the streets and shops of Copenhagen, visiting the tradesmen. “It was a delightful daily ritual.” But, Buchanan adds, “these walks were all imaginary.” The father recounted them to his sons as they sat together in their house, as if telling them a story. “Odd” doesn’t begin to describe it.

And yet, however strange and perhaps even deforming it must have been to grow up in that setting, Kierkegaard’s “imaginary walks . . . did nothing to hamper his creativity.” Indeed, Buchanan suggests, they “prepared him for the real thing” (when he grew up, he walked the streets of Copenhagen daily). They “made him more awake, more attentive, more humble, more curious, more approachable.” And then we’re able to see how Kierkegaard’s imaginary walks bear on the theme of “Walking as Flight”: “For your next walk, imagine you are that person, that man, that woman, that child,”—in other words, a walker “displaced by war or hunger or catastrophe.”

Should you read this book? The answer might depend on your impressions of these few pages on Kierkegaard. If you don’t like them, you probably won’t enjoy the book. But if, like me, you find them absorbing, yes, by all means, you should read God Walk. No doubt you will have your own quibbles with the author, and you will find some parts of the book more appealing than others, but you won’t regret having made the journey.








John Wilson is a contributing editor for The Englewood Review of Books.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2020, 11:53:57 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/july/archaeology-swbts-lipsomb-ortiz-davis-patterson-lanier.html








Largest Evangelical Archaeology Program Finds New Home in Nashville












Southwestern’s former president Paige Patterson connected outgoing professors to Lipscomb University.


After they were dismissed from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTWS) within a few minutes of each other in March, Steve Ortiz and Tom Davis put their heads together to pray and figure out what they were going to do.

Ortiz and Davis were both seasoned directors of archaeological projects in Israel and across the Middle East. While at SWBTS, the third-largest seminary in the United States, they saw the Tandy Institute for Archaeology contribute to the school’s growth and vision. The institute had about two dozen MA and PhD students, making it the largest archeological program at an evangelical school.

The two professors expected cutbacks in 2020 because of COVID-19 and ongoing financial challenges facing higher education. But they had no idea their jobs were on the line.

It didn’t seem right to them. As Ortiz and Davis reviewed their accomplishments of the preceding decade, they came up with a growing list of accomplishments. They’d done an amazing amount of research since Ortiz started as director.

“We saw how God had been growing the Tandy and providing us projects that were already funded and just needed our staff members and our students,” Ortiz told Christianity Today. “So we said, ‘Let's see if somebody will hire both of us.’”

One of the first people they called was former SWBTS president Paige Patterson, who had been a strong Tandy supporter. Patterson suggested they talk with Mark Lanier, a Houston attorney and the founder of the Lanier Theological Library.

Lanier was in touch almost immediately and said he would like to see them hired at his alma mater, Lipscomb University, a 129-year old, Churches of Christ-affiliated school in Nashville. Ortiz and Davis didn’t know anything about Lipscomb, except that Lanier was on the board of trustees.

“God is amazing,” Ortiz said. “On the day we got our notification that we were being fired, we already had somebody talking about a potential job offer that evening.”

Lanier didn’t waste any time taking his vision to Lipscomb president Randy Lowry and the rest of the trustees. “I think within two weeks we had the entire deal put together,” Lanier said.

Classes start in Janurary
The new Lanier Center for Archaeology was announced on the college’s website Wednesday. Ortiz and Davis will join the faculty in the fall, and the school will start offering archaeology classes in January, when it expects to complete the accreditation process. There will be a graduate-level program as well as undergraduate courses.

Ortiz was the principal investigator and co-director of the Tel Gezer Excavation Project and is also participating in a dig at Tel Burna, both in Israel. Davis directs the Kourion Urban Space Project at the early Christian site in Cyprus and is part of an ongoing project documenting findings in a temple in Egypt.

Lipscomb provost W. Craig Bledsoe said the center for archaeology “will provide our faculty with new opportunities to collaborate as well as to share and apply their knowledge and expertise. We look forward to the impact this program will have not only on Lipscomb but also on the field of archaeological research on the whole.”

Lipscomb faces the same economy and the same coronavirus-caused disruptions as other Christian schools and universities, according to Lanier, but the administration and trustees were excited about the new opportunities.

“Lipscomb is looking at this as a wise use of our opportunities, resources, talents, and gifts,” Lanier said. “We want this program to grow and thrive and become a world-recognized program both within Christianity and even outside the Christian circles.”

The program is funded for five years, after which it will be reevaluated.

“Because of Steve Ortiz and Tom Davis, we will go from zero to 60 faster than a Tesla,” Lanier said.

Graduate students transferring
Many of the graduate students from SWBTS are transferring to Lipscomb and will not have to restart their degree programs. Two international students are tied to Texas seminary by the terms of their student visas and will not be transferring to Nashville.

Some of the students have filed a complaint against SWBTS with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the regional accrediting agency. The complaint says that when a graduate-level academic program is canceled “SACS standards call for the need for teach-out plans to offer students a chance to continue their degree with 1) minimal disruption, 2) be reasonable, and 3) offer a chance to transfer to comparable programs.”

Like fellow professors, Oritz and Davis are not sure at this point how much of their teaching will be in person and how much will be online this fall. But they are eager to get started and pleased to have found a new home at Lipscomb.

“At SWBTS, we thought that was the end of archaeology,” Ortiz said. “And now all of a sudden we're at Lipscomb and we have a bigger footprint and an institute that wants us there, that’s a big difference.”
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2020, 09:46:36 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-web-only/perils-of-white-american-folk-religion.html








The Perils of White American Folk Religion














Many Christians unwittingly practice a counter-faith that doesn't know how to deal with racism.


In June, 2020, Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-fil-A; Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church; and Lecrae, a platinum-selling recording artist, gathered to discuss the tortuous death of George Floyd, choked by officer Derek Chauvin, who put his knee on the unarmed man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. They gathered to talk about Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased down by armed residents, surrounded, and shot to death in Glynn County, Georgia, on February 23. A potential cover-up protected the murderers.

After Rayshard Brooks was killed by police in the drive-thru of an Atlanta Wendy’s, Cathy, Giglio, and Lecrae sat together to talk about racism and the church’s role. Over 60 percent of white Christians think pastors should not talk about race. Forty percent believe race and immigration should never even be a topic in church. Meanwhile, an equal number of black folks say that pastors and churches should. This shows that racial reconciliation conferences do not work. Before reconciliation can be introduced, we have to embrace the truth.

In the aftermath of terrible state violence in other countries, truth and reconciliation commissions convened to bring reparative, restorative, or punitive justice. This happened in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, in South Africa after the fall of apartheid, and after what is termed the “Dirty War” in Argentina. This has never happened in the United States.

These secular governments understand a fundamental reality that should be familiar to followers of Jesus: We confess and God forgives. Truth and acknowledgement come before reconciliation. Christians of every color should have a firm, biblical grasp of the necessity for individual and collective confession and repentance before forgiveness and reconciliation can occur.

When we trespass, we must wrestle with the gravity of personal and corporate sins—including sinful actions we were not even aware of, injustices we benefit from, and results that we did not intend. We must lament, confess, and repent (Acts 2:38; 3:19). Only then are we truly reconciled to God through Christ Jesus and sent, equipped, to be ministers of reconciliation to others (2 Cor. 5:18).

In well-resourced, often white evangelical churches, entire ministries and parachurch organizations disciple people out of patterns of sin, struggles with alcoholism, and drug addiction. Ministries serve those in need while reinforcing their personal dignity and value. But such compassion toward sinners and the needy gets lost once the topic turns to white supremacy.

White Christians and those pursuing whiteness often become defensive and angry when asked what Jesus would say about the race-, class-, gender- and ideologically based hierarchy evident in our world. The inability and unwillingness to acknowledge and confess what exists and repent creates conditions for violence and oppression against people of color. Our country and its churches are socialized to not critique white supremacy.

The church has been instrumental in the creation, defense, and propagation of the myth of whiteness under the reign of White Jesus. Jemar Tisby, author of the best-selling The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, lays out clear and searing connections between the enslavement of Africans and leaders of white congregations. “Many of the men who conducted night rides” that terrorized black communities with burned crosses and lynchings were the very same men who “ascended to pulpits to preach on Sunday.”

Go back further, detailing how 15th-century church edicts exalted those with lighter skin and rejected the personhood of those with darker skin. A series of Roman Catholic decrees (the Doctrine of Discovery, 1493) codified white supremacy and sanctioned genocide, rape and abuse against African and Native peoples. Theologian Willie Jennings asserted the purpose was to bring people and the planet to “maturity.”

Colonialism created a counter-faith I call White American Folk Religion (WAFR). It’s a set of beliefs and practices grounded in a race, class, gender, and ideological hierarchy that segregates and ranks all people under a light-skinned, thin-lipped, blond-haired Christ. Americans of every color and racial assignment must reckon with the current and historic reality of a country and its churches rooted in White American Folk Religion. WAFR fuels ignorance, complicity, and willing participation in the patterns of injustice that perpetuate the death and degradation of brown, black, and indigenous women and men. Yet, in this moment of racial turmoil, those entangled in WAFR believe it is their right and responsibility to speak, teach, and lead.

In our post-colonial world, and especially in the United States, Western seminaries and theology prioritize whiteness and defer to white men like Giglio and Cathy—evangelical, older, white, wealthy, well-known, well-educated, well-connected, able-bodied, and gainfully employed—and regard them as credible and trustworthy, though neither Giglio nor Cathy is an expert on American policing or the history of a racism that promotes mass incarceration and instinctively perceives black bodies as criminal in every community. Neither of them has done the inner work to decolonize and disempower their frames of WAFR reference. They were not chosen to lead this dialogue in front of cameras and congregants in a crisis because of their experience or expertise but because they fit the description of authority.

There are many leaders who could have led this dialogue with clarity, conviction, and compassion and who are already leading Christ-centered, Holy Spirit–filled movements. They were passed over in favor of these, like too many in the white church and of the world, who speak lies from the pit of hell about how slavery is a “white blessing” from their Christ in their stained glass windows.

Colonialism succeeded. Racism is pervasive—so much so that we are often unaware of the depths of our socialized sin and individual participation. Giglio apologized on Instagram and asked for prayer. What he did not do was confess how his seminary training and discipleship did not prepare him to lead in this moment; that he is stepping down and stepping back to make space for the women and men of color to lead this conversation; and that he will take their direction. Often, white Christians are not willing to believe, let alone follow, people of color or rigorously engage in the process of detangling the Jesus of scripture from WAFR. This is what the work of decolonization looks like.

Pastors of every color in Giglio’s position must acknowledge that western theology and praxis are intertwined with WAFR and confess where they lack the personal and institutional wisdom to comprehensively resist white supremacy. Church leaders that are ill-equipped to lead and teach on issues of ethnic justice and reconciliation should confess their limitations and empower leaders of color to shepherd them and their congregants towards the Acts 2 community of true fellowship and wonder and unity and prayer (Acts 2:42–44). In the face of certain backlash, pastors must do more than denounce racism. Christians need to be discipled out of prejudice, bias, and WAFR. This begins with white pastors confessing complicity in racist systems and testifying to God’s grace and forgiveness in their own lives; then they can lead others to do the same.

How amazing it would be if pastors and leaders who benefit from the racism in their families and institutions repented for not resisting racist actions, ideology, and theology? What if pastors repented publicly for not rejecting the curse of Ham, not standing up for the Japanese during internment, or participating in white flight because people of color moved into “their” neighborhoods? What if parents asked for forgiveness from God and their children for saying, “You can marry anyone but one of them”? What if Christian families and institutions quantified their benefits from slavery and genocide of native peoples and allocated money toward financial reparation? This would be profound, powerful, and beyond significant for people of color. White people too would be liberated from the false burden of superiority, the lie of white supremacy, and enter into the desegregated, reconciled family of God. No more statements, panel discussions, conferences, or book clubs; what we need is lament, confession, repentance, and a refusal to conform to the world’s racist patterns. Jesus prayed in John 17 that we might all be one and preview the coming “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9–17). We can experience a slice of this future on this side of heaven if, as the body of Christ, we embrace truth and reconciliation in the United States.








Jonathan Walton is the author of Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free. He is also an area director for InterVarsity NY/NJ focusing on spiritual formation and experiential discipleship. He is from Southern Virginia and lives in New York City.
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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2020, 10:57:09 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-web-only/renovated-jim-wilder-dallas-willard-brian-science.html








Stuck in a Spiritual Rut? Neuroscience Might Have the Answer.













How better understanding our brains can help us grow in conformity to Christ.


Read your Bible. Pray. Go to church—twice on Sundays. And don’t sin. Be sure not to sin.

This was the extent of my spiritual formation.

Of course, no one talked about spiritual formation when I was growing up. Reading the Bible, fasting, and prayer were part of my devotions, not part of a package of historic “spiritual disciplines.” These were just the things we did to grow our faith—to become holy, as God is holy.

And the simplicity of these activities served me well. Until—while in college—they didn’t.

That’s when I encountered Richard Foster’s Devotional Classics, soon followed by Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, and his Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ. These books opened my heart and mind to broader streams of God’s life-giving water. They led me down God’s ancient paths of transformation.

As for so many, discovering this wider tradition of spiritual disciplines—which included practices like meditation, fasting, and Sabbath rest—was a revelation and a relief. I no longer had to cut my own path with God, each day, alone. Now an ancient way stretched before me that I could walk with others.

Jim Wilder’s new book, Renovated: God, Dallas Willard and the Church That Transforms, integrates these ancient pathways with findings from brain science about our neural pathways. Wilder shows how contemporary neuroscience transforms our understanding of spiritual formation.

(Before Willard’s health began to decline, Wilder’s goal had been to co-write this book with him. As a witness to their original collaboration, Wilder alternates his own chapters with chapters by Willard, based on transcripts of the lectures he gave at the 2012 Heart and Soul Conference. These chapters, which summarize his thoughts on human life and the process of spiritual maturity, are the perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with his work.)

Stalled Growth
After a couple of years spent zealously practicing spiritual disciplines, two realizations emerged. First, it seemed many of my friends either resisted them or could not engage with them. They were not experiencing transformation like I had.

Second, these practices didn’t fix everything in my own life. I still struggled with sin. I would often go through the motions. And I fell into a new legalism just as my spiritual maturity plateaued. I wondered why my growth had stalled out.

I soon found that other church leaders were wondering the same things. Why do some people benefit from spiritual disciplines while others seem to flounder? Why do some people embrace them wholeheartedly while others just shrug them off? And why, after these disciplines help us grow for a time, does the fruit sometimes begin to fade?

Renovated speaks to these very questions. Wilder’s book is for those feeling stuck in a spiritual-formation rut, for those longing to see others grow spiritually, and for those interested in how brain science transforms our understanding of spiritual growth.

Fast-Track Training
Wilder’s book recommends three main shifts in how we understand the process of spiritual formation. The first is a shift from thinking about God to thinking with God.

A. W. Tozer famously said that “what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Yet Wilder, leaning on what we know about the brain, argues that thinking about God is too slow of a mental process to actively transform our lives. He calls it a “slow-track” mental process that can only focus on one thing at a time. Thoughts that develop on this slower track appear in our minds too late to inform actions in real time.

This slow-track process is great when there is time to pause and reflect on complex problems. It’s less helpful, however, amid the stress, fear, and disappointment of everyday life. As Wilder observes, our slow-track thinking focuses “our attention just in time to see our sinful reactions,” but not in time to follow Jesus at the speed of life.

A better alternative, Wilder argues, is thinking with God, which utilizes “fast-track” mental processes that can focus on (and react to) multiple things at once.

Have you ever reacted to a dangerous situation without thinking? Have you ever responded to someone in a way you regret? This is your fast-track brain at work. Wilder explains that our fast-track brain “produces a reaction to our circumstances before we have a chance to consider how we would rather react.”

These instantaneous reactions will probably go awry if our fast-track brain has been trained the wrong way. But they can be useful if it has been trained in a good way. A fast-track mind trained according to God’s will is able to think with God in the midst of real-time interactions.

Thinking with God is like how a sports team wordlessly works together to achieve its goal. Or how a jazz band spontaneously flows together. When a team or a band practices together—stopping and starting over again until everything is flowing smoothly—this is like thinking about God (slow-track). The game or the performance is like thinking with God (fast-track).

Relational Capacities
But the difference between thinking about God and thinking with God is more than just the difference between practice time and game time. We might be tempted to assume that a shift toward thinking with God would focus on our actions more than our thoughts. And in a certain sense, programs of spiritual formation do tend to emphasize our practices more than our underlying beliefs.

But even spiritual practice only gets us part of the way toward spiritual maturity, because true spiritual transformation requires a change in our fast-track brain. And changing our fast-track brain is connected to growing our relational skills and capacities.

As Wider explains, our spiritual maturity is directly related to our relational maturity. And unfortunately, most spiritual disciplines do not focus directly on growing relational capacity. They aren’t meant to do that. However, since God is a Trinity, and therefore relational, it makes sense that our relational capacity would be connected to our spiritual maturity.

Relational skills (like shared gratitude, calming the body when stressed, understanding nonverbal cues, and practicing emotional attunement) grow through relational exercises. And when our relational skills and capacities grow, so does our ability to connect to our relational God.

When we reach a spiritual wall or plateau, we often either double down on our spiritual practices or cast them aside. But brain science tell us that the better answer is working to grow our relational skills as a means of growing our relational and spiritual capacity.

From Me to We
The third shift Wilder describes is from a form of discipleship rooted in me to one rooted in we.

From our first cries to our final breaths, the necessity of being attached to someone—first to our parents and then to a larger group—means that my sense of “me” is always built upon an established sense of “we.” Our semi-automatic reactions to life are marked indelibly by the people we spend the most time with, the group we identify with. At the most basic level of our brains, we become like the ones we love.

Growing up, we all receive a fast-track pattern (or a “program file,” as Wilder calls it) that tells us how “my people” act in a given situation. And because this program file is buried in our fast-track brain, it is incredibly hard to override when we are tired, stressed, afraid, or angry.

Because of this, Wilder argues that true transformation comes through changing our understanding of who “my people” are and how they act. As he writes, transforming our character “depends on becoming attached by love, joy, and peace to a new people.” And this is why discipleship is fundamentally a we, rather than me, activity.

By ourselves, it is nearly impossible to change the assumptions of our fast-track brain and the actions that flow out of them. Instead, our character changes in and through community as a process of trial and error, which involves learning how the people of God act in various situations. We first see how more mature disciples behave in the crucibles of everyday life. Then we imitate their reactions as best we can. And eventually we spontaneously act in a way that witnesses to our identification with a new people—the people of God.

Spiritual practices done alone will not change our character. They may help a little. But relational skills grown through community will lead to lasting transformation.

The goal of all spiritual formation is being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), who was fully human as well as fully divine. So it only makes sense that a deep understanding of our humanity—including our brains—should inform that process. Renovated is a gift to the church, to all who long to understand the impact of neuroscience on spiritual maturity, and to all who were blessed by the work of Dallas Willard.







Geoff Holsclaw is a pastor at Vineyard North church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and an affiliate professor of theology at Northern Seminary. He and his wife Cyd are co-authors of Does God Really Like Me?: Discovering the God Who Wants to Be With Us (InterVarsity Press).
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2020, 09:59:04 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/convergence-of-missio-dei-and-imago-dei-way-to-understand-d.html








The Convergence of the Missio Dei and the Imago Dei: A Way to Understand Discipleship












If churches (and thus leaders) would understand discipleship in this way, I believe it would help reframe the insalubrious discipleship practices and programs seen today.


I’ve had many conversations over the years with people affiliated with the church where I’ve asked them, “Are you a Christian?” to which they would respond, “Yes, of course.” Following their admission, I would ask them, “How do you know that you are a Christian?”

This is where it got interesting. Overwhelmingly, the majority of the time people would respond, citing “Christian activity” like baptism, Bible reading, praying, attending church, and tithing.

Here’s the problem: none of these activities make one a Christian. Yet, it seems that the church groomed a generation to think that way—whether intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, we are now dealing with a Christian generation who understands Christian maturation more as assembly-line activities (or doing) rather than identity-forming understanding (or becoming).

What makes someone a Christian—a believer or follower of Christ–is his or her faith in the Lord Jesus to save them from their sin and to become his or her King. The reason I know that I am a Christian is because of a conscious decision I made around 30 years ago to confess my sins, to turn away from my sin of living life according to Josh, and to turn to Jesus as my Savior and King.

That’s how I know I am a Christian. And it is who I am that now informs and gives shape and formation to what I do (or how I live).

In this first post, I want to share three baselines for helping churches and believers understand a foundation of discipleship and thus hopefully help begin to solve the discipleship crisis in the church.

Humanity’s Shattered Image

Almost every single person reading this article has used a mirror lately. Maybe it was to brush your teeth or your hair, to make sure your wardrobe matched, or to back out of your driveway.

Imagine the next time you go to use a mirror and you find it has shattered? In looking at the mirror, what do you see? A distorted, fractured, and fragmented image. As a result, the mirror no longer gives you a whole and complete picture. It’s not that it has ceased to be a mirror. It still offers a reflection.

However, rather than presenting a full and complete image, because it has been shattered, the reflected image is distorted and damaged.

Humanity was created to be the mirror of God. Human beings were created to reflect God’s image to the created order (Gen. 1:26). Christopher Wright states, “The image of God is not so much something we possess, as what we are. To be human is to be the image of God.”[1] John Calvin conveys that man will represent and reflect God’s image, which will shine forth in the mind, the will, and all the senses.[2]

However, when Adam and Eve fell (sinned) in the garden they shattered the imago Dei in their lives.

Keep in mind that we still are very much human. Sin did not destroy the imago Dei in humanity. However, sin shattered and thus distorted, damaged, and fractured our lives from giving a whole, complete reflection and depiction of God.

This shattered image plays out in a host of ways. Identity crises, image issues, sexual brokenness, racism, ethnocentrism, violence, abortion, etc. are all effects of sin shattering God’s image in humanity.

The Missio Dei Seeking to Restore the Imago Dei

At the time Moses wrote Genesis, kings and emperors would erect images throughout their kingdom signifying their reach and reign. Many scholars, therefore, believe that God intended to convey this message to humanity—that they were created to reflect his glory in who they were and how they functioned.

In other words, they were to reflect God’s character, nature, attributes and thus enact his kingdom on earth as it was enacted in heaven.

Such imaging is only possible when men and women are in a right relationship with God, fellowshipping and enjoying perfect communion with him. However, when Adam and Eve rebelled and sinned against God, they severed the perfect fellowship and communion with God, thereby shattering his image in (or on) them.

While men and women would still function as humans, the fundamental functions would, in fact, be distorted either by being misguided, misdirected, misappropriated, and mishandled. In other words, sin damaged the nature of who they were and thus damaged how they functioned.

Functionally, God wanted humanity to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, subdue the earth, and have dominion on the earth (Gen. 1:28). G.K. Beale argues, “God’s ultimate goal in creation was to magnify his glory throughout the earth by means of his faithful image-bearers inhabiting the world in obedience to the divine mandate.”[3]Here are three headings to summarize the creation mandate into the fundamental functions of humanity: relational, cultural, and managerial (steward/overseer).

These three functions are alive and well within the human race today. Although these functions are to be practiced with the glory of God as the aim, they are not because of the Fall. Because of humanity’s shattered image, these functions are misguided, misdirected, misappropriated, misunderstood, mishandled, and misused.

We live in a fallen world, with a fallen race (humanity), and with a fallen race, comprised of damaged image bearers, you will find broken and fractured relationships, corrupted culture, power-craved individuals and peoples, and overall bad stewardship of life.

All of this is found both on the micro and macro level of humanity, and we all (at some time) have been guilty of breaking and fracturing a relationship, corrupting culture, abusing power, and having bad stewardship.

Enter the missio Dei. At its core, the mission of God is to create a people for himself (from all peoples) that would reflect his glory in all spheres of life (see Adam, Israel, Jesus, the church, and New Creation). Therefore, the missio Dei, at the core, aims at restoring and renewing the imago Dei in men and women .

Francis DuBose in his work, God Who Sends, highlights the relationship between the imago Dei (image of God) and the missio Dei (the mission of God). DuBose argued, “To recover the lost image of God in humanity is what the Bible is all about. And one of the major salvific themes of the New Testament is how that image has been restored through the redemptive work of God in the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.”

The Apostle Paul, in a few places, captures this notion of redeeming and renewing God’s image in man (Col. 3:10; Rom. 5:12-21; 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:45-49; 2 Cor. 3:12-18).

As Dubose put it, “just as God’s first mission (“the incipient sending”) was to deal with the problem of the broken image of God in the first family, so God’s final mission in Scripture (the ultimate sending in Jesus Christ) was to restore that image of God in the new family of the redeemed.”

Getting Discipleship Right

Matthew 28 contains Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations.” There were two parts of disciple-making—baptism and teaching. Baptism was this obedient act of identifying with Jesus. Teaching all that Jesus taught them was the way they would instruct believers about their new life in Christ.

Disciple-making, in sum, is the convergence of the missio and imago Dei. Therefore, discipleship could be defined as the restoration process of learning what it means to be truly human after the likeness and image of Jesus.

In his book, Simply Christian, N.T. Wright expresses, “Learning to live as a Christian is learning to live as a renewed human being, anticipating the eventual new creation in and with a world which is still longing and groaning for that final redemption.”

For those who like formulas, here’s a sequential discipleship formula based upon the above information and definition:

Who I Am (IDENTITY) + What I Do (IDENTIFIERS) = Who or What I Reflect (IMAGE)

This formula is extremely important. Why? Because if we get the formula wrong or we put the identifiers before the identity, the product will be a distorted image. [Note: This is what happened at the Fall!]

For instance, if we focus on the identifiers as activities that feed one’s identity, then one or two things can happen—particularly for “Christians.” First, they will be tempted to see their activities as what “makes” them a Christian. This may cause them to have a form of Christianity that’s grounded upon a works-based salvation.

Second, they might have a tendency to forget who they are because they struggle with keeping up with all the activities. Thus, missing a devotion here, a service there, a prayer there, might lead to doubt, depression, and discouragement.

True Christian discipleship is rooted in Christ’s identity. Paul says, “For I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

I’m a Christian, once again, because I’m in Christ, Christ is in me; I died to myself, and rose to new life in Christ. Because my new life is hidden with Christ (Col. 3:3), I surrender my life (all facets and spheres) to allow Him to live through me. My behaviors, functions, and thus my identifiers flow from of my identity.

The end result? As I am shaped into the likeness (and identity) of Jesus, my life reflects the glory of God and his Kingdom—that which it was meant to do all along.

If churches (and thus leaders) would understand discipleship in this way, I believe it would help reframe the insalubrious discipleship practices and programs seen today. And this will be greatly needed as we navigate a post-COVID world.

[1] Wright, The Mission of God, 421.

[2] John Calvin, Calvin Commentary Series, ed. Rev. John King, The First Book of Moses called Genesis (Grand Rapids: BakerBooks, 2009, reprint), 96.

[3] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downers Grove: IVP, 2004), 82.

____________________________________________________________________________

Josh Laxton currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, Lausanne North American Coordinator at Wheaton College. He has a Ph.D. in North American Missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Exchange Team contributed to this article.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2020, 03:42:04 am »




https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-august/vivian-mabuni-cultural-buddhist-tirade-christian.html







The Tirade That Made Me a Christian
















After an unwelcome move halfway across the world, I vented my anger to God. Then I learned to give him control.


I can still smell the incense. My dad would light three sticks of it, prop them up in a bowl of uncooked rice, kneel, and bow until his forehead met the ground. Three times he would bow—slowly, reverently—and the room would grow somber and silent. I remember watching the smoke curl in the air and disappear into the dining room lights.

Platters of our favorite Chinese delicacies filled the dining table. My mouth waters thinking about the sea cucumber, bamboo shoots, abalone, extra-large shrimp, flavorful shiitake mushrooms, and special vegetables we procured from the only Asian supermarket in our area—which was still over an hour away.

A single chair, situated away from the table, represented the spirit of my grandmother. Each dish represented a special offering to honor her memory. She had died from lung cancer, and I had never met her in person. I only knew of her from a portrait in my dad’s office. When I was a little girl, this portrait frightened me—I was convinced her eyes were following my every step.

After all the family members took turns kneeling and bowing, my dad would take the incense out the back door, and we would sit down to enjoy the feast.

The Glow of New Life


I grew up in a culturally Buddhist home. By “culturally Buddhist,” I mean that religion didn’t influence my day-to-day life. When it came to rituals like honoring the spirit of my grandma, I was only going through the motions.

Our family lived in Boulder, Colorado—a beautiful city nestled in the mountains. The fresh mountain air was scented with pine—and sometimes pot. Boulder is filled with granola-type hippies, plenty of new-age crystals, and throngs of the spiritually open-minded. Growing up culturally Buddhist in an immigrant home, I knew nothing about American holidays except for what I learned at school. Christmas revolved around presents and Santa Claus. Easter had something to do with a giant white bunny, jelly beans, and colorful hidden eggs.

During my sophomore year of high school, a friend I sat next to in math class, Jean, underwent a notable change in disposition. Intrigued, I asked her the secret of her newfound glow.

“Well, Viv, I became a Christian. I have a personal relationship with Jesus now. He died to forgive my sins, and now I’m born again and made new. The glow is from my new life in Christ.”

Oh, no. Disappointment filled me from head to toe. Jean was funny and smart. How could she get duped into becoming a weird Jesus freak? But over the course of the year, the change in her stuck, and she continued to transform before my eyes. God worked in her life in specific and unexplainable ways. She liked to say that human beings could never be satisfied with relationships, shopping, awards, or achievements. God had made people with a God-shaped vacuum that only he could fill.

My heart felt restless. Even as a teenager, I could already see the futility of going after bigger, brighter, better. The temporary thrill of winning an award or buying something new to wear could not relieve the emptiness I felt inside.

I started going to church and attending the youth group, mostly to check out the cute boys at first. Before long, I started asking questions and learned that I wasn’t expected to have blind faith. Over time, I grew captivated by the person of Jesus, who spoke words of radical hope. His invitation to enter a relationship with the God of heaven proved irresistible. The summer before my junior year of high school, I gave my heart and life to Jesus—or so I thought.

I knew Christians were supposed to read the Bible, so I bought a copy at the bookstore. But no matter how much I read, very little made sense. To be honest, I found the Bible pretty boring. I also knew that Christians were supposed to pray, but whenever I tried, I would get distracted or fall asleep.

On Sundays, if I happened to wake up in time, I would drive by myself to church. I cried through every song during worship. I wanted to know God, to love him and live for him. But then I would drive home, and life went on as usual. I would return to my selfish ways and take matters into my own hands. Christianity wasn’t working for me, so I planned to casually toss it aside like just another teenage phase.

Then my life got turned upside down. My dad went through a midlife crisis and moved our family from Boulder to Hong Kong. I had big plans for my senior year. Now they were dashed. I didn’t know a soul. I didn’t read or write Chinese, and I didn’t speak Cantonese (we grew up speaking Mandarin, a completely different dialect). Everything was different: the currency, the climate, the culture and customs, the ferry, the red taxicabs, and the railway system.

I remember sitting on my bed in our little flat, tears burning in my eyes. Angry and confused, I unleashed my frustration and let God know exactly how I felt. But at the end of my tirade, I added a sincere prayer: “In my heart of hearts, I want to know you and do your will. I need a church and a youth group, some Christian friends. And if you do that, I will give you my whole life. I’ll hold nothing back.”

Into God’s Hands
Shortly thereafter, I got involved with the debate team at Maryknoll Convent School, the all-girls Catholic school I attended. One of the top schools in Hong Kong, it sat at the corner of a busy intersection in Kowloon. The girls at Maryknoll were polished and confident. I’d never been in a more academically challenging environment.

Classes there were taught in English, but the students bantered in Cantonese. When I learned that the debate team competed in English, I decided to take part. The girls on my team became my closest friends.

After one of the debates, a boy from a rival boys school approached me. “Excuse me,” he said. “Are you a Christian? Would you like to come to our youth group?”

The following Friday, I attended the meeting, hosted at a Christian and Missionary Alliance church near our home. That night, I learned that the Christian life wasn’t just hard to live—it was impossible to live, at least by our own efforts. God supplied the power source. Reliance upon him and his Spirit enabled us to live as Christians.

When we moved to Hong Kong, all the things I had clung to so tightly were suddenly stripped away. But in their place came a spiritual breakthrough. For the first time in my life, I felt willing to give God total control. Once I made this commitment, Scripture came to life in a new way. And God’s Spirit began to lead, guide, comfort, and convict.

In Hong Kong, I met regularly with a mentor who showed me how to study the Bible and live out my faith. I asked her a thousand questions, and she faithfully invested her life in mine. I wrote her name next to Hebrews 13:7 in my Bible (“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.”), and since then, I’ve added the names of several others who have aided my spiritual growth.

Over the years, I’ve often needed to recommit to God’s rule and reign. This was especially true as I puzzled over my career path after college and suffered through financial challenges, family and ministry heartbreaks, and a cancer diagnosis several years ago. But each time I placed my heart, life, plans, hopes, and dreams into God’s hands, I found that his faithfulness is unwavering.







Vivian Mabuni is an author, speaker, and host of the podcast Someday is Here. She and her husband have served with Cru for 31 years. Parts of this essay were adapted from her book, Open Hands, Willing Heart: Discovering the Joy of Saying Yes to God (WaterBrook).

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2020, 07:53:09 pm »




https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/july-august/vivian-mabuni-cultural-buddhist-tirade-christian.html







The Tirade That Made Me a Christian
















After an unwelcome move halfway across the world, I vented my anger to God. Then I learned to give him control.


I can still smell the incense. My dad would light three sticks of it, prop them up in a bowl of uncooked rice, kneel, and bow until his forehead met the ground. Three times he would bow—slowly, reverently—and the room would grow somber and silent. I remember watching the smoke curl in the air and disappear into the dining room lights.

Platters of our favorite Chinese delicacies filled the dining table. My mouth waters thinking about the sea cucumber, bamboo shoots, abalone, extra-large shrimp, flavorful shiitake mushrooms, and special vegetables we procured from the only Asian supermarket in our area—which was still over an hour away.

A single chair, situated away from the table, represented the spirit of my grandmother. Each dish represented a special offering to honor her memory. She had died from lung cancer, and I had never met her in person. I only knew of her from a portrait in my dad’s office. When I was a little girl, this portrait frightened me—I was convinced her eyes were following my every step.

After all the family members took turns kneeling and bowing, my dad would take the incense out the back door, and we would sit down to enjoy the feast.

The Glow of New Life


I grew up in a culturally Buddhist home. By “culturally Buddhist,” I mean that religion didn’t influence my day-to-day life. When it came to rituals like honoring the spirit of my grandma, I was only going through the motions.

Our family lived in Boulder, Colorado—a beautiful city nestled in the mountains. The fresh mountain air was scented with pine—and sometimes pot. Boulder is filled with granola-type hippies, plenty of new-age crystals, and throngs of the spiritually open-minded. Growing up culturally Buddhist in an immigrant home, I knew nothing about American holidays except for what I learned at school. Christmas revolved around presents and Santa Claus. Easter had something to do with a giant white bunny, jelly beans, and colorful hidden eggs.

During my sophomore year of high school, a friend I sat next to in math class, Jean, underwent a notable change in disposition. Intrigued, I asked her the secret of her newfound glow.

“Well, Viv, I became a Christian. I have a personal relationship with Jesus now. He died to forgive my sins, and now I’m born again and made new. The glow is from my new life in Christ.”

Oh, no. Disappointment filled me from head to toe. Jean was funny and smart. How could she get duped into becoming a weird Jesus freak? But over the course of the year, the change in her stuck, and she continued to transform before my eyes. God worked in her life in specific and unexplainable ways. She liked to say that human beings could never be satisfied with relationships, shopping, awards, or achievements. God had made people with a God-shaped vacuum that only he could fill.

My heart felt restless. Even as a teenager, I could already see the futility of going after bigger, brighter, better. The temporary thrill of winning an award or buying something new to wear could not relieve the emptiness I felt inside.

I started going to church and attending the youth group, mostly to check out the cute boys at first. Before long, I started asking questions and learned that I wasn’t expected to have blind faith. Over time, I grew captivated by the person of Jesus, who spoke words of radical hope. His invitation to enter a relationship with the God of heaven proved irresistible. The summer before my junior year of high school, I gave my heart and life to Jesus—or so I thought.

I knew Christians were supposed to read the Bible, so I bought a copy at the bookstore. But no matter how much I read, very little made sense. To be honest, I found the Bible pretty boring. I also knew that Christians were supposed to pray, but whenever I tried, I would get distracted or fall asleep.

On Sundays, if I happened to wake up in time, I would drive by myself to church. I cried through every song during worship. I wanted to know God, to love him and live for him. But then I would drive home, and life went on as usual. I would return to my selfish ways and take matters into my own hands. Christianity wasn’t working for me, so I planned to casually toss it aside like just another teenage phase.

Then my life got turned upside down. My dad went through a midlife crisis and moved our family from Boulder to Hong Kong. I had big plans for my senior year. Now they were dashed. I didn’t know a soul. I didn’t read or write Chinese, and I didn’t speak Cantonese (we grew up speaking Mandarin, a completely different dialect). Everything was different: the currency, the climate, the culture and customs, the ferry, the red taxicabs, and the railway system.

I remember sitting on my bed in our little flat, tears burning in my eyes. Angry and confused, I unleashed my frustration and let God know exactly how I felt. But at the end of my tirade, I added a sincere prayer: “In my heart of hearts, I want to know you and do your will. I need a church and a youth group, some Christian friends. And if you do that, I will give you my whole life. I’ll hold nothing back.”

Into God’s Hands
Shortly thereafter, I got involved with the debate team at Maryknoll Convent School, the all-girls Catholic school I attended. One of the top schools in Hong Kong, it sat at the corner of a busy intersection in Kowloon. The girls at Maryknoll were polished and confident. I’d never been in a more academically challenging environment.

Classes there were taught in English, but the students bantered in Cantonese. When I learned that the debate team competed in English, I decided to take part. The girls on my team became my closest friends.

After one of the debates, a boy from a rival boys school approached me. “Excuse me,” he said. “Are you a Christian? Would you like to come to our youth group?”

The following Friday, I attended the meeting, hosted at a Christian and Missionary Alliance church near our home. That night, I learned that the Christian life wasn’t just hard to live—it was impossible to live, at least by our own efforts. God supplied the power source. Reliance upon him and his Spirit enabled us to live as Christians.

When we moved to Hong Kong, all the things I had clung to so tightly were suddenly stripped away. But in their place came a spiritual breakthrough. For the first time in my life, I felt willing to give God total control. Once I made this commitment, Scripture came to life in a new way. And God’s Spirit began to lead, guide, comfort, and convict.

In Hong Kong, I met regularly with a mentor who showed me how to study the Bible and live out my faith. I asked her a thousand questions, and she faithfully invested her life in mine. I wrote her name next to Hebrews 13:7 in my Bible (“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.”), and since then, I’ve added the names of several others who have aided my spiritual growth.

Over the years, I’ve often needed to recommit to God’s rule and reign. This was especially true as I puzzled over my career path after college and suffered through financial challenges, family and ministry heartbreaks, and a cancer diagnosis several years ago. But each time I placed my heart, life, plans, hopes, and dreams into God’s hands, I found that his faithfulness is unwavering.







Vivian Mabuni is an author, speaker, and host of the podcast Someday is Here. She and her husband have served with Cru for 31 years. Parts of this essay were adapted from her book, Open Hands, Willing Heart: Discovering the Joy of Saying Yes to God (WaterBrook).

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.


why would a person have to recommit themselves to the Lord...Did they leave HIM....If so they were never with Him....

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - July 2020
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2020, 06:01:34 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/church-planting-leaders-fellowship.html







Church Planting Leaders Fellowship
















I can almost say for certain that, in our lifetime, there has never been a more appropriate time to think and talk about innovation in mission and church planting.

About a year ago when we were planning the theme and deciding speakers for the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship’s summer gathering, we had no idea this year we would be meeting amid a pandemic. So it feels only right, and maybe even a little prophetic, that on July 28-29 church planting leaders from all over North America will be gathering virtually to learn and discuss research, development, and innovation in church planting.

This year’s speakers (who were selected long before any of us ever uttered the word “coronavirus”) may be the closest experts we have to what it means to lead churches and church planting strategies in a time of decentralization and digitization.

The line-up and topics speak for themselves:

Session 1: Brian Sanders on Micro Church Planting
Session 2: Sheryce Nguyen on Multihousing Church Planting
Session 3: Jeff Reed on Online Church Planting
Session 4 and 5: Len Sweet on Trends and Trajectories for Church Planting and Multiplication in the West
Session 6: Robin Wallar on Collegiate Church Planting
In addition to sharing how their movements and strategies are effectively seeing churches being planted, we’ll also hear how some of these movements are innovating during this time.

In a normal summer, CPLF meets on the campus of Wheaton College at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. However, because of the unique circumstances of the pandemic, our gathering is moving to a total virtual experience. This means that the teams and staff of CPLF members will be able to participate as well, broadening the reach of this year’s content and speakers.

As mentioned in the Church Planting Manifesto for a 21st-Century North America, because of an unprecedented rate of change in demographics, culture, and how people think about faith and religious gatherings, innovation and collaboration must be ingrained into our church planting systems and processes. And now with the pandemic on hand, the opportunity for research and development is immense.

This summer’s CPLF will provide church planting leaders with vision and actual models of how some missional movements are effectively reaching people in a more decentralized and digitized fashion. And as we have seen over the last few months, the pandemic has thrust decentralization and digitization onto us whether we were ready or not.

What we have been calling a “new normal” is quickly becoming just normal.

If you lead church planting for a denomination or network, we would like for you to consider joining CPLF as a member. Our team will gladly be in touch with you to help you become part of our learning community. Just fill out the application form: newchurches.com/CPLF.

The CPLF is a partnership between the Send Institute, LifeWay Research, and NewChurches.com.








Daniel Yang is Director of the Send Institute, a think tank for church planting in North America, leading and overseeing all of its initiatives. Prior to directing the institute, he planted churches in Toronto where he also helped recruit, assess, and train church planters through the Send Network and the Release Initiative.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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