Updated: Sep 8
“The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.” ~ Dallas Willard
Starting towards the end of this month (Sep 27th) on Tuesday evenings, Carol and I are inviting people to join us on a journey of exploration into how we might more effectively grow as apprentices of Jesus. This is something we believe many of us can benefit from for ourselves, but also in learning how to help others who might be newer to the Christian faith. You will have heard me talk before about how sadly, the Church in general has reduced Christianity to something more rational, where the emphasis is upon learning information from the Bible. But the testimony of Scripture is that Jesus is a living Person who is to be known and experienced, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. This might best be understood from Paul's words to the Galatians;
In the authorized version of the Bible (King James), the verse is more accurately translated as, "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God ..". As Christ now lives in me, I can also rest in the faith of Jesus when my own faith is proving shaky, such is God's desire for us to be able to rest in His goodness and love!
But this is a way of life that has to be learned in order to be more fully experienced. This is what Jesus devoted himself to with his disciples (apprentices) and this is what he commands us to replicate through the Great Commission. We will be using the 'Good and Beautiful ..' material put together by James Bryan Smith, first looking at God, then Life, then Community and finally, 'The Good and Beautiful You' (discovering the person Jesus created you to be).
This morning (Thursday) in our readings together, Carol and I read 1 Chronicles 22, where the writer outlines the preparations King David made in amassing materials for the building of the temple in Jerusalem. This was a huge, significant project, so important to God that David as a man of war, was unable to undertake. Rather it would be his son Solomon, born to Bathsheba who had previously been married to Uriah whom David had killed (amazing how God wants to redeem our fallen lives). 'Solomon' means 'man of peace' and God would lead his people into a time of peace during his reign.
Today, God's temple, the place of His dwelling, is our lives individually and together (see Acts 17:24 & 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). It is a temple being built around Jesus Christ (the Prince of Peace) and when we think of the materials and man hours put into the building of Solomon's temple, how much more this significant soul work of building up the body of Christ, so that Christ would dwell in us and among us, bringing peace to this troubled world. You have a part to play in this so I would like to encourage you to consider devoting some time to your own Spiritual Formation through this soul training.
We are excited for this journey together and pray that you will consider joining us. More importantly, perhaps you can invite someone you know to come along and work together through this. Each week there will be opportunities to put some new practices into action, and to see how God uses these to shape our lives. The training of our souls is the work of aligning our thoughts, our hearts and our wills to the way Jesus lived, actually to what has already been placed within us through the Spirit. This is what brings transformation.
I would also like you to prayerfully consider whether you know people who currently don't go to church, but might be interested in Jesus and exploring the Christian faith. This would be a great opportunity to do so outside of our Sunday service. Anyone can register through the webpage found by clicking here.
With love and prayers,