Weighty Words: in Him.

Every branch receives its full nourishment from it’s root. The hidden part animates the seen parts.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
—Colossians 2:6-7

Notice the words “in Him,” which form the basis of the exhortation. What God did for us in Jesus — rescuing us from sin, death, wrath, and Satan — He now does in us. He calls us to grow into His likeness, with our whole identity becoming “in Him.” Everything we need for they journey is ours. Yet, this connectedness to God is more than me-and-God spirituality. There’s an ‘us-ness’ to this walk.

Interconnected Roots

God intends that we grow; He designed us to flourish together. Just as the roots of all the trees in a healthy forest are interconnected below the surface, we have opportunities to strengthen one another. We can move beyond our preference for comfort and leave behind our want of control, success and approval. In Jesus we have found all we could ever wish for. He is making us whole; we can now give more than we take.

Do you want to grow like this?

Commit yourself to a life of gratitude and humility, cultivating true community in honesty with others, serving people who cannot pay you back — proactively and sacrificially giving away your time, talents, and treasure. All the while, you’ll be surprised how much God is shaping your character into the image of His Son.

What Jesus did for us is becoming what He is doing in you, and will do through you.

You’re becoming like Him.

Remember, healthy people grow.

(See part one & part two.)

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Towards a virtuous life: use worthy means.

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
—Peter’s second letter (1:2-11)

How do we move towards this life, of adding virtue to our faith? Continue reading

What's Your Type? Wired to engage the Bible.

We all talk about the things we are excited and confident to speak about. I’ve noticed many men need both of those elements (enthusiasm and confidence) to open up, whereas women are more apt to speak on themes and topics they are excited about, and ask questions when we lack confidence. So, while I rejoice that women around the globe are diligently studying the Scriptures, I lament that us men tend to let others seek God for us and we’ll just sit here and watch. We’re missing out.

Yesterday I borrowed from the May/June 2011 Bible Study Magazine feature, Breaking Down Your Bible Study Type. The author listed five types of people who engage the Bible: the Newbie, the Perpetual Planner, the Nonconformist, the Extreme Extrovert, and the Ascetic. I confessed I am a mix between the ascetic and the nonconformist, which isn’t always help since I lead people and its often helpful for a pastor to set the pace and pattern and not deviate from it. Thus I’ve learned to color between the lines and trade color crayons with other people too.

Are their others? I think so. Today I want to expand the list of “types” to include many of those I interact with weekly.

Like: Continue reading

What's Your Type? Breaking down how you engage the Bible.

I’m a sucker for good content wrapped in stellar design. So, when a publisher like Logos takes an interest (Bible study) and wraps it in a magazine with great typography, apt use of white space, and plenty of well-made charts, I have a hard time setting it aside.  The magazine passes what I call the ‘six foot test’ — from six feet away do you want to move closer and read it? Yep. Things like that don’t get thrown away; they have some alluring quality making you want to hold onto them.

Bible Study Magazine is a great monthly read. And it’s not just for Bible nerds. Anyone from a novice to the curious to theo-dorks and everyone in between would benefit from BSM.

Their May/June 2011 issue has a special section “9 Ideas for Better Bible Study.” One of the nine is #2: Breaking Down Your Bible Study Type. An intro from author and BSM associate editor Rebecca Kruyswijk:

What’s your Bible study “type”? Are you the newbie or the planner? The nonconformist or the extrovert extreme? We don’t like to think we fit into categories, but we certainly need to examine the habits that keep us from interacting with the Bible.

Recognizing who we are, and how we’re wired, will help us launch into meaningful and life-transforming devotions before God. Kruyswijk gives five categories or labels for people who seek to study the Bible:
Continue reading