Dallad Willard on His Spiritual Practices

A short video interview with the late Dallas Willard, one of the most profound Christian thinkers of our time.

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I love to hear about disciple’s personal lives with Christ. I think that there are so many telling things about our faith by sharing our personal spiritual practices. And this is no different.

I can’t say I agree with everything Dallas says here, but I am pleasantly challenged by it. To attempt to “mimic” any person’s spiritual life would be an error and would be incongruent with the personal relationship that God has called each of us to live.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqLmeubS65Q

From Compartment to Fulfillment (Updated*)

One of the more difficult facets about coming out of an organized and human sustained church environment is transitioning into a life more dependent baggageon relationship with God and with the organic group of people that God has strategically placed us in.

When I received the revelation that God was calling me out of the traditional prescribed organization and into a spiritual family, I was a little shocked and heart broken. I had placed all my focus on living a certain way and working towards goals that, with a simple revelation from the Lord, changed instantly. I felt gypped. I came to the hard realization that I had wasted years of my life. The group that I had given blood, sweat, and tears for fundamentally disowned me and seemingly forgot about me. I found out that when relationships are built on common vision and doctrines instead of God’s relational bond they cannot and will not last (pain and hardship often accompany these). As much as I would want to make these relationships work, they would not. They were not being held together by God’s grace.

I’ve learned through this heartache that God is most concerned with the task of building a Kingdom, not making us “happy” socially. When I stepped far enough away I realized that there was a strong “in or out” mentality, one that was cultish in nature and one that worked against the heart of the Great Commission, the kind of Love that God had been attempting to develop in my heart.  Despite my best of efforts during my time in traditional American Christianity, everything seemed to work in opposition to the gentle guidance of the Spirit. It is as if something was wrong… and it was.

Continue reading “From Compartment to Fulfillment (Updated*)”

Living in the Romance

“Praise Jesus, I’ve been saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost!”

Ever said this, or heard someone say something similar. There’s not a lot wrong with it, the intentions of it are pretty good. But, there’s a problem I want to point out… it’s all in the past tense.

prostrateSee we have a tendency to live our life in God in the past tense and not in the present tense and in future tense. We base our eternal future destination by what we did in the past. For example, if you’re a Christian and you’re reading this you likely have a date that you were converted to the faith and “got saved”. Maybe you joined a church and got baptized. Those are all good things. But that is not where the story ends, nor what Christianity is all about.

Continue reading “Living in the Romance”

Present and Presence

It seems that us church folks love to focus on the past and on the future of God’s history, while neglecting the present. We study the history of God, what He has done and how He has done it… i.e. creation, covenant, laws, relationships with men and women, ext…

And we study the future reign of God and how He will return. Who will be receiving His wrath and why they will according to the history that we know of God.

We stretch out our arms grabbing with our left hand the past of God, and use our right hand to stretch out to the future of God and pull them together to create a kind of life that is chalked full of God stories and God vision.

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Yet, the part of the story of God is that He is not just a God of the past and the future, but He is also a God of the present. In fact I believe that God does not adhere to the same time and space laws we do. He is somehow always present, He is somehow still able to see and interact with times past and is already waiting in times future.

And He calls us out of our history books and future prophecies to dwell with Him here and now, specifically through the laying down of our lives and reception of His eternal, everlasting, abundant life that is held in His all-powerful tight grip.

On the other hand there is a life of living IN the Spirit of God that overflows from the present to make our timelines all “mush”. A life that sees death coming and laughs “for to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

There is a life that makes since of the stories… and makes way for stories to be written, even today, of God miraculously changing the world through mere humans.

This is what a life of God is all about, His present and His presence.

Devoted: Transfigure Orginally Published: 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.

Let me tell you about Alaina. Alaina is my friend Mike’s daughter. She’s two years old and full of life and honestly full of herself. She has short blonde hair and daring blue eyes. Alaina is not like most two year olds; she prefers to be independent – like leave home at any moment independent. It’s not out of her character to simply go to bed without a parent knowing it or even tucking her in. She is amazing.

Let’s say Mike and Alaina are planning on having a “daddy-daughter date” one Saturday. Under normal circumstances, considering Alaina’s character, lets look at how this day might go down. Alaina gets herself together, and after breakfast, grabs Mike by the hand and takes him to her pink and white, soft, girly room. She shows him all of her toys, proceeds to color with him, and then she decides to watch a movie. You get the picture, she does all that is in her little heart to do with her daddy and they have a great ol’ time.

Okay, so second scenario, let’s say Alaina decides to snap out of character, and she lets Mike plan the day. They eat, and then they hit the road. Mike takes Alaina to the nearest zoo, where he shows her large, wonderful beasts that she had never imagined existed. Just when Alaina thought it couldn’t get any better, Mike takes her to the arcade, and they play games together until she’s ready to fall over from her exciting day.

So back to the scripture, Jesus took Peter, James, and John led them up a mountain. I’m sure James or John could have led the expedition to somewhere cool, maybe to their house where they could have cast lots on their Wii. But this first phrase in this passage carries such great weight in the outcome of the story. Jesus took… and led them…

As we are choosing to be disciples and devote ourselves to God, one simple choice will weigh heavy in our outcome. Will we choose to let Him lead us, or will we try to lead Him?

Prayer is the single most important aspect of our faith; it is our lifeline that stretches to Heaven. If we can apply this principle of letting God lead us, we can go places with God we could never have imagined. But much like Alaina, we like our nominal, comfortable experiences. But look at what Alaina missed when she decided to lead Mike – she missed all of the excitement and joy Mike had in store for her.

When people think of discipleship, they have this bleak view of life lived in monkish dryness. We think we must leave “the world,” act real “good,” and never do anything enjoyable ever again. This is a terrible tragedy and is a result of devotional lives lived absent of God’s daily leading.

You want excitement and life? Devote yourself to God and practice the spiritual disciplines daily; but as you discipline yourself, realize that the point of these disciplines is to learn to enjoy God. Make it a daily habit of letting Him lead your devotions. Let him lead your prayer time. He just might take you to a mountain and show you a thing or two.

The Depths

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The place of prayer is likened to the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia… many open the door on occasion… but few explore the world of the Heavens that’s waiting to be explored. The Way has been made, the King and the adventure is waiting.

 

Are you willing to do what it takes to come into the fullness?

David and the Showbread- The Law of Love

At that time did Jesus go on the sabbaths through the corn, and his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears, and to eat, and the Pharisees having seen, said to him, `Lo, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do on a sabbath.’ And he said to them, `Did ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, himself and those with him — how he went into the house of God, and the loaves of the presentation did eat, which it is not lawful to him to eat, nor to those with him, except to the priests alone?… for the son of man is lord even of the sabbath.’

Matthew 12

What Jesus seems to be implying in this passage is that His Lordship is so grand that it’s even OVER the law. For the first listeners of Jesus and for us this is a hard teaching and causes us to question who Jesus is. If He is merely a teacher His influence must come shy of the Law of Moses that came down from God. But if Jesus is God then He this has dominion over Moses and the law. Especially since He willingly died to make recompense for all sin and sprinkled His own blood on the alter in Heaven.Continue reading “David and the Showbread- The Law of Love”

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