Dietrich Bonhoeffer's work the "Cost of Discipleship" was the most significant book I read in the decade of my twenties. It was a book given to me from a pastor in Alton, Iowa who was retiring and dispersing his library. Bonhoeffer's reflections on what it means to follow Jesus changed my life. It was the first time I came to realize the meaning of God's grace. After reading the book I was motivated to become a serious student seeking to bring all of my life under the Lordship of Christ. I came to understand in the economy of God their was "no
Jeremiah 20:7 (ESV) 7 O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. This is not what the prophet Jeremiah signed up for. He was doing everything he thought he was supposed to be doing. He was following God. He was getting pounded in the process. I love Jeremiah’s unabashedly bold and emotional words of honesty. It is one thing to feel that Satan has deceived you but God? Wow. This is
“What do you want me to do for you?” This was Jesus’ question to the blind man. Why ask that question. Isn’t it obvious what the man would want? It is. But Jesus asks about his desire because he knows it is critical for us to own and name and take responsibility for our desires. We must pay attention to our desires because they tell us something VERY important in the Christian life. Desire, more than our cognition, volition, or conscience, define what we believe is true, good, and beautiful. Last week a community of devoted souls met for
John 5:1–9 (ESV) The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered
Seasons of life come to us whether we want them to or not. It’s interesting that this is the way God organized and planned the rhythm of life from the beginning. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8;11 states: There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a
One’s perspective impacts what one sees and experiences. This is not to say that a change of perspective means a change in what is true. It simply means what is true is impacting me differently. That happens in our journey of faith as well as life in general. In my last post I (Jim) noted three perspectives on the Christian faith (status, qualities, relationship) and mentioned things that influence which perspective is more ‘natural’ for us (religious background, life experiences, etc.). It seems that God uses everything about us to give us a glimpse of what we have in
A recent conversation I (Rich) had with a missionary in Cambodia we found ourselves discussing the relationship between our longing to enjoy God in heaven and our desire to experience God here and now. An awakened Christian with a sensitive spirit longs for Christ and heaven. But she/he also is very much attuned to this present world’s suffering, brokenness, and severe limits. The incompleteness we experience is not only outside of us, but also within us. We live in a world that groans for something more. Our longing for more in the here and now is very real.
“Spirituality is what we do with our desires” (Rolheiser). From my (Jim) perspective I couldn’t agree more. Every human being is crammed full of desire. Christian spiritual formation depends on the direction and condition of our deepest longings, on their object and how they are expressed. David said, as the deer pants after the water, so pants my soul after thee, O God.” He knew he had a longing heart and he did his best to have his longings reaching for God.
Taken from The Relational Soul – Maleness and femaleness is the fundamental way in which we carry our relational design. Interestingly, the English word “sexuality” comes from the Latin word sexus which means, “being divided, cut off, separated from another.” We typically don’t think of sexuality in terms of separation, but that is precisely what it is. Our sexual desire, drive, and energy show we are separated and long to be connected (both physically and emotionally).
I (Jim) love to travel to beautiful places. From Maine to southern California the glory of creation touches me deeply and sometimes it takes my breath away. Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs is one of those places. The rock formations and colors shout without words. From a Christian perspective creation is a grand self-disclosure of God. So full of glorious creativity is the Triune God that we could rightfully proclaim that all of nature is the “Garden of God.”