Formation: James 1:8

The Book of James Discipleship Meeting:

My view of a discipleship meeting vs. any other meeting is that discipleship is about learning how to better walk with Jesus. The meeting is not about “worshiping” as in music, it’s about New Testament worship, the laying down of our lives (Romans 12:1). The meeting is not about having more cerebral information about a text, like most Bible studies. It’s about learning to hear what God is saying through the scriptures, talking about it with other saints, building each other up unto the likeness of Christ. Nothing wrong with “worship”, or Bible studies, or passionate preaching. Those things are good. I’ve just found that our time is best spent getting our hands dirty in each other’s lives. And challenging people to participate, getting their “hands” on the word. Talking about it, consuming it.

James 1:8  a two-souled man [is] unstable in all his ways.

(These studies all build on one another. Revisit the last post on James to get the scoop on the context.)

So, James is coming out of the prayer closet crazy eyed and begins to challenge the reader of this letter. He speaks to the heart of duality of men. Something he continues to do throughout this letter. We’re all too aware, within ourselves, of the division we have. Paul struggled with this division and even stated, “Who will save me from this body of death?!” Romans 7:24. There are some very practical applications for this specific verse from James, especially in regard to surrender and fully choosing to walk with God. Turning from our old lives and walking with Christ. But, that was not the focus of our topic on Thursday night.

What James was doing by speaking so forthrightly to the people was challenging them unto repentance. In those days there was a fierce commitment to the Church. People we’re dieing for their faith in that area. And to be challenge was to be loved, because they believed that the condition of your soul was most important. It was and still should be a welcomed action. Who else is going to look out for the condition of our souls, if our brothers and sisters don’t?

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Devoted: Transfigure March 31, 2010

Matthew 17:1-9 (The Message)

1-3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

4Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”

5While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”

6-8When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.

9Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t breathe a word of what you’ve seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk.”

Would do you think Peter, James, and John talked about as they came down the mountain after Jesus transfigured? Maybe they needed to change their tightie whities? Maybe they were pale and fear-struck with eyes wide open? If I were there, I might have asked Peter, “What were you saying? Can’t you keep your mouth shut for two minutes?” Nevertheless, the same bearded Jesus, who the disciples had been following, transformed before their very eyes and turned into a human light bulb. Words as loud as a train came from Heaven. But how did the disciples get to this place with Jesus? Is this a place Jesus would be willing to take us now? It all depends. Continue reading “Devoted: Transfigure March 31, 2010”

the Moat

When encountering the Kingdom of God, on this side of heaven, there stands a moat around it. You know a moat, that trench-like body of water around a castle. Yeah, The Kingdom of God has one of those around it. To enter it you must pass through it. None are really exempt, and to pass through it you have to leave most all of your personal kingdom to make your way through it.

Here’s the thing- Jesus revealed what the Kingdom of God looked like, what it would cost those who wanted to enter it, and He even made new commandments that could only be obeyed from within it’s walls.

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unimpressive

One of my favorite quotes comes from one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite books, (yes, I am plugging a book). “You’re never less alone than when you are by yourself.” – Henri Nouwen – The Way of the Heart, Desert Spirituality for Contemporary Ministry

I love that quote because it speaks of God’s presentness, especially when you’re all by yourself. I’ve had a pretty busy week this week, going from meeting to meeting from interaction to interaction and in each encounter I have a tendency to code switch to meet each person’s openness to God. I kind of morphed to fit each person’s need. It can be a tedious thing for me to have so many meetings back to back. That’s why I have to make sure to always spend adequate time with God. It’s in His presence that I am reminded of who I am. And to be honest, it seems as though each day I learn a new facet of who I am as he grows me to be like Him.

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You have One Father in Heaven…

From the outside, it can seem like Christianity is working to become something that you’re not. In actuality, it’s a returning to who you were created to be. A return to the natural you. The authentic, honest you. That’s who God desires you to be… and deep down that’s who you desire to be. Return… He will take care of the rest.

Angry with God?

When I was younger in the Lord I worked for a science museum, it was a great job to interact with a lot of people, I loved it. I remember meeting a volunteer there who was an older man. He was possibly in his mid sixties with a well worn wrinkled face, he was lean with the mentality of a military man and the gentleness of a seasoned Christian. The staff really loved him as he was easy to deal with and accomplished a ton, especially for just a volunteer.

One day God gave me a simple prophetic word for him, seeing that he was seemingly a weathered Christian, I approached him andbegan sharing with him. He responded with words that have echoed through my life ever since. He said “I have enough trouble in my life without God. I don’t need anymore trouble.”  Come to find out my friend was a son of a Baptist minister, and although he had experiences that regenerated certain facets of his personality he was far from walking with God.

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Talk about a promise!

Matthew 6:31-33 (NASB)

31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)

 

Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!