Posts in Spiritual Formation

Questions Over Breakfast #3: Let Go and Let God? Or Trust God and Try Hard?

By Kenneth Berding Jul. 30, 2015 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Spiritual Formation, Theology

The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues:

Jim: Haven’t you noticed that some preachers concentrate on themes of forsaking all to follow Christ, personal discipline, faithfulness in prayer, radical discipleship, the lordship of Christ, and the like, while others exhort us to let go of our self-reliance and learn about the inner joys of the life that God offers?

Michael: I’ve never really though of it that way, but you’re right.

Jim: Which should they be preaching?

Michael: I’m not sure.

Jim: I’ve got a theory ...

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Questions Over Breakfast #2: Is the Christian Life Easy or Hard?

By Kenneth Berding Jul. 28, 2015 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Spiritual Formation, Theology

The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues:

Michael: But isn’t there any way that I can have the joy and peace of the Christian life without the necessity of suffering, pain and personal discipline?

Jim: You want to have your cake and eat it too?

Michael: That’s not what I mean.

Jim: What do you mean?

Michael: What about all those people who talk about the peace and joy they experience as Christians? Their lives don’t seem to be all that difficult. Perhaps I should aim at that type of life ...

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Questions Over Breakfast #1: Is a Relationship with God Really Like my Relationship with You?

By Kenneth Berding Jul. 23, 2015 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Two men in their in their late 20’s walk into a coffee shop around 7:00 a.m. In college they had been good friends, but over the past few years had gotten out of touch. Having lived in the same dormitory for three of their four years at City Christian College, they still had many fond—and a few not-so-fond memories—of their time together in college. Just by accident (or so Michael thought) they had run into each other in a hardware store about three weeks before, and had set up a time to talk over breakfast. Jim thought of their accidental meeting as a divine appointment. He considered any accidental meeting to be a divine appointment ...

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Learning from Jesus’ Example About Our Emotions and a Way to Resolve Conflict

By Klaus Issler Jul. 20, 2015 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Marriage and Family, New Testament, Spiritual Formation

One early evening at six, my wife Beth’s brief comment—"Remember, I'll be needing the car at seven tonight"—suddenly stirred up my inner parts and brought about an energized outburst. I yelled, "You didn't bring this up when we were coordinating our schedules last Saturday!" Where is all that unexpected display of energy and irritation coming from? Why would I react so strongly to that comment? Various factors contributed to this surprising flare-up. I would have to rearrange my schedule and thus not make progress on an important project I was working on. Coupled with a few other similar setbacks earlier in the week unrelated to Beth's involvement, this schedule change had finally set me off ...

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An Interview with Adam Johnson: Atonement; A Guide for the Perplexed

Jul. 13, 2015 9:00 a.m. New Testament, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Adam Johnson (assistant professor at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute (’01, M.A. ’07)) recently released Atonement: A Guide for the Perplexed. To learn more about this book, we asked Adam a few questions ...

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The Emotions of Jesus, Part 5: Authenticity

By Thaddeus Williams Jul. 8, 2015 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, New Testament, Spiritual Formation

This series began by noting how we live in the Age of Feeling and Authenticity. We have come to see how Jesus can save us from it, how he can restore just sentiments like outrage, compassion, and joy. This leaves us with two hanging questions: First, how do we actually come to feel just sentiments the way Jesus did? Second, why Jesus’ feelings? Can’t we learn just sentiments from the emotional lives of Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, or Rosa Parks? Or from that friendly janitor, that magnanimous co-worker, or that self-giving mother? Or perhaps even from Homer’s Ulysses, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Aragorn, or J.K. Rowling’s Harry? Aren’t there a billion admirable feelers, real and fictional, who show us what life can look like beyond the confines of the modern fact box and the postmodern feeling box?

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Church Discipline: Spiritual Formation Assignment 7

By Charlie Trimm Jun. 29, 2015 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Spiritual Formation

Although I talk about many controversial topics in my classes, I receive no greater pushback from students than when I talk about the need for church discipline in churches today. We spend a class period introducing the topic, discussing various reasons why Americans do not like it, how to go about practicing all stages of church discipline, and reflecting on some difficult cases. The main point I want them to take away from the discussion and the assignment is to see how church discipline can be helpful for spiritual formation and encourage them to develop relationships in which their friends feel free to rebuke them over sin. For the assignment (see details below) I have them read a chapter on confession from our textbook on spiritual formation (Joanne Jung’s Knowing Grace), reflect on the practice of church discipline, and meet with a trusted friend or mentor to practice confession.

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