sanctification

The Way of Renovation

How do we change?
How do I change?
How are we / am I changed?
Why is change so hard?

These are the questions I ask almost every day. At the core of my ministry and my being - is to help people flourish. To help people flourish, I must help them change. To be in the Christian ministry is to be in the ministry of life change.

To be in the Christian ministry is to be deeply associated with reformation, transformation, and renovation of the heart.

The evangelical church has a widely held and tragically flawed theory of change. It goes like this (albeit in many different guises). Information changes you. Ideas change you. Beliefs change you. Doctrine changes you. Truth changes you.

Reformed Theologians on Sanctification

A few years ago I read a quite important book that helped me understand the Reformed tradition more fully. I was reared in a generic evangelical context... and when I went to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I was introduced to Reformed theology and knew I had found a theological home. Still, I was not native to that territory. 

 

Later I did a Th.M. degree at Westminster Theological Seminary. My focus was on historical theology. Since I enjoyed both church history and systematic theology, this was a hybrid choice that allowed a lot of leeway for course selection. 

Growing in Grace, Maturing in Christ

The Grace of Sanctification
I am going to have several posts in the next few weeks on this subject. It is an important one. It is one that has been core to the ministry of Leadership ConneXtions International for many years. It is the foundation of all the work we do in spiritual formation and helping leaders develop biblically rich practices of formation.

Things Helpful for Salvation (C.S. Lewis)

I am beyond a Raving Fan of C. S. Lewis. 
There are few writers who weave together the gifts of imagination, affection, intellect, will and action as C. S. Lewis. This year I am reading lots of Lewis and many books about Lewis.

Leadership teacher and author, Bobby Clinton, recommends that leaders have historic mentors. A historic mentor is someone from the past. You access their wisdom by reading and reflecting on their life and work. I have done that for many leaders over the years (including Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa like Nelson Mandela). I have done in-depth study and learning from the great theologians and writers on spirituality, like Ignatius of Loyola, Augustine, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Owens, Wesley, Eugene Peterson and Peter Kreeft (the last two being contemporary authors).

Over the years I have read quite a bit of Lewis and from time to time would read a book about him. This year I am reading a dozen or so of his books and I have a list of about twenty books about Lewis. 

To Live and to Die (in Christ)


John Calvin to live and die for Christ

The Holy Week moves on. Good Friday is two days away. Then two more days and we celebrate Easter Resurrection. 

The focus of this Holy Week is always on Christ. Christ crucified and Christ risen again. Our focus is on the work of Christ, the sinlessness of His life, the love that made possible his sacrificial suffering and the power that raised Christ from the dead. 

We are always the "Graced Ones" or the ones who receive grace.
We are always the "acted upon." The work of Jesus is always prior.
We are always those dependent on and connected to the Source which is Father, Son and Spirit.

The message of Holy Week is that God has acted decisively, graciously, powerfully, effectively and REDEMPTIVELY to do for us what we could not and can never do for ourselves.

Nothing can take the place of THAT message.

The Flywheel of Spiritual Formation

Long. Slow. Deep. Difficult. Particular.
That is a mantra that I use to help people understand the process of spiritual formation. Each of those words is necessary to understand the process.

I wish it wasn't that way. I wish that spiritual formation, maturity, wisdom, holiness, Christ-likeness, fruitfulness of missional engagements were short, fast, simple and easy. I wish it wasn't a race, a stroll would be nice. I wish it were not a battle and war, a playground park would be nice.

Hebrews 12:1  let us run with endurance

As I listen to many Christians, I can tell that is what they wish as well. That is certainly what so many of our programs and events offer. 

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