Monday, December 28, 2009

Spiritual Formation - cont'd

Although we can't completely categorize and measure everything, we have to provide enough organizational framework to give substance to our thoughts. This is particularly true with respect to spiritual formation.

I agree with John Ortberg's assessment:

"It's hard to imagine something more difficult to gauge or measure than spiritual growth. There is a mystery to it. It is intangible."

So -- measuring spiritual growth or formation is always going to be fraught with challenges. There will be some subjective bias involved in any process of accountability. With that said, we still have to do it!

Here is what I am planning to share with my church in 2010. We are going to evaluate ourselves in six basic areas:

1. Worship - seeking God in personal devotion

2. Knowledge - growing in knowledge of Biblical and spiritual truth

3. Obedience - we must integrate what we learn into real life

4. Selflessness/Stewardship - a diminishing selfishness is key to spiritual growth

5. Significant Spiritual Relationships - living in community with fellow believers

6. Evangelism/Missions - sharing Christ with neighbors and the world

We will be using these six areas to assist us in measuring our spiritual development as a body of believers seeking to follow The Jesus Way in the 21st century.

To be continued . . .

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spiritual Formation

What is spiritual formation? How does one know if he or she is spiritually formed?

According to George Barna, Christians are confused about spiritual formation. Jennifer Riley, in an article for Christian Post on Barna's latest research, reported that a "significant portion" of born-again Christians could not describe how "their church defines spiritual maturity."

Further, Barna's research concluded that pastors struggled to give definition to "spiritual maturity" -- which is the goal of spiritual formation.

So -- what is spiritual formation? How does it work? What are the components that lead people to become spiritually mature? And -- how do we measure spiritual maturity? Do you measure it by faithfulness in church attendance? How about tithing? Or serving? Or, is it measured by orthodox views on the Bible or theology?

It is a challenging enterprise -- this whole spiritual formation thing. I am working on a document right now for my church that addresses this relevant topic. It has been truly challenging for me. I am trying to be more specific than I have ever been in addressing this issue.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Glorifying God by Following The Jesus Way . . .

Our church is learning to embody the truths of this thematic statement. It is more than just a statement. In fact, I think it represents the essence of what Christianity is all about.

God has created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-28). Human beings have been given this precious gift! We can bear the image of God in His world. However, Genesis 3 relates the story of mankind's rebellion against God. Thus, the image of God has been marred in humanity as a result of sinfulness. Our ability to bear God's image has been damaged.

Further, Isaiah 43:7 reveals that we have been created for God's glory. Again, our ability to reflect God's glory in His world has been short-circuited by our sinfulness. Hence, Paul can say that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!

Enter Jesus. He fully manifested the glory of God (John 1:14; Hebrews 1:1-3). He perfectly reflects God's image. In fact, Jesus is the radiance of God's glory. He is the exact representation of His being.

Jesus is the Way (John 14:6). He is The Way to God. His Way is The Way to live. His Way is The Way to reflect God's glory. As we embrace the Jesus Way, we experience the power of God in our lives so that we can progress from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Following the Jesus Way leads to true life. It leads to a life conformed to the image of God's Son. It leads to a life that can be truly connected to purpose and meaning.

I hope you will join us as we are Glorifying God by Following the Jesus Way!