Posts in Spiritual Formation

When God Moves Your Heart

By Dave Keehn May. 18, 2017 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Culture, Ministry and Leadership, Missions, Old Testament, Spiritual Formation

Where does inspiration come from? Where does the motivation to use one’s gifts and passions to make a difference begin? Jane Goodall said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Are we the source of action or does that spark come from something else? I would like to propose God is the beginning of movements that bring change; history is the record of mankind’s response to the divine prompting ...

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Have You Been Asking the Right Question?

By Karin Stetina May. 16, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, New Testament, Old Testament, Spiritual Formation, Theology

What is my purpose in life? This is a question that plagues each and every one of us. The Westminster confession puts the question this way: "What is the chief and highest end of man?"

Countless books and blogs have addressed this question. But are we really asking the right question? ...

 

 

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Taking Offense at Jesus: Did Israel Have a Wrong View of the Kingdom? (Part 1)

By Mark Saucy May. 2, 2017 8:37 a.m. New Testament, Old Testament, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Reading the other day in Luke’s Gospel I ran across some arresting words aimed indirectly at John the Baptist.  In Luke 7:23, right after the account of John sending a delegation of disciples to inquire whether Jesus is the “Expected One,” Jesus cites his deeds and words to say in effect, “yes, indeed I am.” But then Jesus closes the episode with another “beatitude” seemingly made in John’s direction:  “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me" ...

 

 

 

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Why So Many Metaphors for the Holy Spirit?

By Kenneth Berding Apr. 27, 2017 9:00 a.m. Biblical Exposition, Christian Education, New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Why does the Bible use so many metaphors and analogies to describe the Spirit’s activities and our relationship to those activities? Why not employ concrete language to teach us what we need to know about the Holy Spirit and our relationship to him? ...

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Why Crucifixion as a Metaphor of Sanctification?

By John McKinley Apr. 24, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Spiritual Formation

Romans 6:5-6 has puzzled me by the statement that the believer has in effect already been crucified with Christ.

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” (nasb)

My problem may have been that I viewed the crucifixion of my “old self” as having been accomplished entirely in the past, at my conversion. We are to “consider [ourselves] to be dead to sin” (6:11) so that we respond by denying the impulses and attractions to sin that (unfortunately) continue throughout this life. In practice, I have liked the idea of knowing that I am no longer a slave to sin, that I am not obligated to give in to temptations, and that I have a new capability from the Holy Spirit to live as God calls me to do. Is there importance of crucifixion for understanding my present condition? ...

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No JABS: A Model for Small-Group Connection, Part 2

By John McKinley Apr. 20, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation

As the second part in this post on four protections to create a safe relational space for small groups, here I focus on the fourth condition. This fourth condition has four pieces to it for limiting communication that tends to shut people down. The goal is to be able to accept others as they are, with their true sharing of their real mess in daily life as a Christian. Often we can get in our own way and so fail to love them in this way because we are so busy with the speck of sawdust in their eye. In a sentence, this four-part fourth condition is the log in our eyes that prevents meeting with others.

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The Baker Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines: An Interview with Jack Beck

By Dave Talley Apr. 19, 2017 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation

There are many helpful resources for those who want to engage the Bible on a deeper level. The big question is how to know which resources might be the most helpful. Periodically, I encounter resources that I think distinguish themselves from the myriad of available options. It is a safe bet that a resource book on Bible charts, maps, and timelines will not hit the bestseller list. However, Jack Beck’s The Baker Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines has recently been published, and I think it will benefit Christians, pastors, and scholars, who want to engage the Bible more deeply. I have reached out to Jack and asked him to answer a few questions that might help you in understanding the purposes behind this new book ...

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