Sunday, January 03, 2010

Spiritual Formation

In the days, weeks and months ahead that will form 2010 I will seek to offer material that will make your personal transformation into the likeness of Jesus the Messiah a practical realistic option for your daily life. I will be framing this as 'The Passionate Participation in God Project/Adventure/Journey.'

My desire and hope is that we will discover the King, His Kingdom and personally grow in measure and stature to the full measure of Jesus the Messiah. Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This maturing process has been called discipleship, transformation, spiritual growth and spiritual formation.

To begin I will be using two primary books and the Life with God Bible, all of which are described in some detail at I also will bring other materials and offer other books for our consideration during the coming year. Church history, and the Church today are full of materials that can assist us as we seek to grow into the full measure of Christ.

One of the key aspects of Spiritual growth is that of biblical spiritual disciplines, without which we live soulish lives ungrounded in God's Word, and subject to the winds of doctrine which men proclaim as new or deep, but which lack the stability found in a firm relationship with God through His written and living Word.

Although as a Charismatic/Pentecostal believer I will have different view of some of these areas and hope to add to them in a positive way Renovar' does a great job in the area of spiritual disciplines.

I have copied the materials below from the RENOVARÉ web site. which offers many useful tools in the area of spiritual formation and growth.

What is spiritual formation? spir•i•tu•al (spĭr'ĭ-chōō-əl) adj.: Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.

We are all spiritual beings. We have physical bodies, but our lives are largely driven by an unseen part of us. There is an immaterial center in us that shapes the way we see the world and ourselves, directs the choices we make, and guides our actions. Our spirit is the most important part of who we are. And yet we rarely spend time developing our inner life. That's what spiritual formation is all about.

Spiritual Formation is a process, but it is also a journey through which we open our hearts to a deeper connection with God. We are not bystanders in our spiritual lives, we are active participants with God, who is ever inviting us into relationship with him.

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). We at Renovaré believe that such abundant life is possible here and now, because Jesus showed us the way to it. As we take on the life of Jesus – become like him – we experience a richness in life and faith that is truly renewed day by day (Col. 3:10).

Why is spiritual formation important?
If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are.~ Frank Laubach
Closeness with God brings us true freedom and fullness (Jn. 8:36, Col. 2:9-10). Yet many people—Christians included—find their lives fall short of the kind Jesus promised and proclaimed. If God is present with us, why is there so little joy, power, energy, and peace in our lives?

We keep trying: to find happiness, to experience God, to fill the emptiness. And that’s the problem. Trying just tires us out, distracts us from what’s important, and discourages us when we fail.

We are eternal beings, but have lost sight of eternal living. We spend time, energy, and money on our physical needs, but neglect our souls. Our misplaced efforts leave us feeling powerless and detached from God.

That’s not how God intended it to be. We are meant to be in relationship with God and others in a way that is dynamic, whole, and fresh every day (Jn. 17:24, 2 Cor. 4:16)—relationship that extends beyond church services into every facet of our lives.

Spiritual formation helps us reclaim our relationship with God as it was meant to be. It’s not trying – it’s training in eternal living, determined discipleship to Jesus Christ, and the way we discover the renewable source of spiritual energy we’ve been looking for (2 Cor. 4:16).

Living Like Jesus:
Renovaré’s Balanced Vision for Spiritual Formation Nothing less than life in the steps of Christ is adequate to the human soul or the needs of our world. ~Dallas Willard,
The Great Omission

Jesus gave us a complete picture of God, and demonstrated how we can experience vitality and fullness in our life with God (Col. 2:9, Jn. 10:10). The historical Church (Christians), despite its divisions and differences, has upheld the core characteristics of Christ’s life through what we now call traditions.

Taken together, these traditions help us envision a balanced spiritual life. They serve as a guide to help us take on the life of Jesus—to become like Jesus ourselves—and as a result to be transformed from the inside out.

Prayer-Filled Life: Our heart’s steady attention on God
Virtuous Life: Responding with integrity
Spirit-Empowered Life: Fueling our lives from the presence and power of God
Compassionate Life: Extending compassion in every sphere of life
Word-Centered Life: Living the life-giving message
acramental Life: Encountering the invisible God in the visible world

Practicing Like Jesus:
Renovaré’s Practical Strategy for Spiritual Formation Practices such as reading Scripture and praying are important—not because they prove how spiritual we are—but because God can use them to lead us into life. ~John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted

Jesus is the way to life—and not just life after death, but life here and now. When he said, “Follow me,” he meant it. In all he did and taught, Jesus conveyed that our spiritual life takes place in our physical reality as well as in the heart. If we believe what he said about the spiritual life, it only makes sense we should do what he did.

The practices of Jesus have been recognized for centuries as the core activities of the spiritual life. In the same way a runner is equipped to compete in a marathon by the discipline of physical training, so training through spiritual disciplines frees us to live each day with the “easy yoke” and “light burden” Jesus spoke of (Matt. 11:30).

Disciplines do not earn us favor with God or measure spiritual success. They are exercises which equip us to live fully and freely in the present reality of God—and God works with us, giving us grace as we learn and grow.

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