Jesus commands us, as his Church, to be and make disciples. While the process of sanctification is a continual “transformation into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Cor. 2:18), we should also have markers which tell us we are equipped for works for service, attained unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature (Eph. 4:12-13). Toward that end, Oakdale Wesleyan Church has set up 12 markers, Living Stones, as steps of discipleship, so that we “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
It is my hope, prayer, and work, that Living Stones become a useful tool for people to have a continual transformational relationship with God beyond just my local church. Toward that goal, and with the encouragement of others, I am currently working on a book and proposal to get this discipleship tool out to the church at large. This will likely be the key focus of this blog for several months.
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I have come up with an analogy, that at least in my mind, paints a clear picture of John Wesley‘s idea of Christian perfection (also called entire sanctification). I make no claims to having read every book or article on Wesleyan doctrine, so someone may have already used this analogy in the past, but I never read it. Here it is. Continue reading Christian Perfection, an Analogy
My recent guest appearance on The Techology Show left me wondering if I presented my church as stuck in the past with regard to worship as we discussed ritual as part of worship. In fact, our worship is contemporary, but I believe that ancient ritual is relevant for today. A recent article titled “Researchers: ‘Ritiual’ Atheists and Agnostics Could Be Sitting Next to You in Church” by Jeff Schapiro in The Christian Post illustrates this point. Schapiro states: Continue reading The Place of Ritual
As with the previous post, I want to make sure people know I believe SoulShift is excellent material, and these posts are not criticisms, but my notes as I seek to adapt it for use in my community and context.
College Wesleyan Church, the birthplace of SoulShift, has a unique congregation. From my limited, and probably biased, outsiders view, I would call it a place where people are really living out an American dream life. Marion, IN, is a nice college town, away from the urban centers, but not so far away that one couldn’t drive to a major city to enjoy special activities or reach an airport. The church is on the Indiana Wesleyan University campus, and many of the professors attend College Wesleyan Church; this really raises the mean educational level of the congregation, along with the socio-economic advantages of having higher education. Ethnically, Marion is 78% White, but I also imagine that much of the city’s diversity is contained within the university.
Biblical holiness and maturity is not bounded by demographics, yet we should take into account that Oakdale differs from Marion as we present the material. Here are a few of the shifts that may have to be approached or presented differently: Continue reading Adapting SoulShift part 2
This Fall, Oakdale Wesleyan Church plans to grow through church-wide (all ages and stages) spiritual formation together using SoulShift. While I really like the material, I want to make sure we properly adapt SoulShift for our community and context, as we want to grow into the best body of Christ we can as Oakdale Wesleyan Church, instead of trying to become a “College Wesleyan Church Mini-me.” I may blog time to time on my adaptations. My first thought is to try and align the seven shifts with our church’s core values. Continue reading Adapting SoulShift
I awoke this morning to the sound of “Boing! Boing! Boing!” as a stuffed Tigger bounced his way from my feet up to my face. My daughter’s experiences, from flying on an airplane to visit relatives, the books we read together, and the television we watch, influence her play, and I suppose also her behavior. The more exposure she has to life, the more creative she becomes. Continue reading SoulShift: Ignorance to Wisdom
While updating my membership class material, I found it useful to summarize each of the covenant membership commitments. I am posting my work here hoping that other Wesleyans (laity, pastors, historians, and scholars) as well as just other Christians might give me some feedback. I hope my summaries maintain the “historic, ethical, and practical standards of The Wesleyan Church,”1 even if I have lost some of the specifics. Continue reading Summarizing The Wesleyan Membership Commentments
A mentor pastor once gave me the valuable lesson of assigning me to listen to recordings of my own sermons. I did not want to do it. I found that I did not like the sound of my own voice on a recording, but despite the pain of listening to myself I learned a lot about delivery. I learned my voice sounds better when I properly breathe and project. I learned that in order to sound as dramatic as my thoughts, I really need to increase my vocal inflections; while I may feel like an exaggerating bad actor, the congregations perceives me as simply passionate. Continue reading From a Mirror Darkly to Face to Face
Thirty Days ago I, along with Heath Mullikin and Jeff Brady, began the Bible in 90 Days Reading Plan from YouVersion. The YouVersion cloud Bible and applications deserve their own post, so for now I will just say that I use it, and you should check it out. For this post, I will concentrate on the benefits and challenges I have seen during the first third of this reading plan. Continue reading Reading the Bible in 90 Days: The First 30 Days