I’ve had the treat for the last 48 hours to be part of Renovare’s “The Jesus Way” conference here in San Antonio. Yesterday afternoon, I was in spiritual formation heaven, sitting in a room of 50-60 spiritual formation leaders that included Dallas Willard (just behind me), Eugene Peterson (just across from me) and Richard Foster (just down the table from me). I was so encouraged by their manner and their lives. There is a statement of spiritual formation that will come out of a many month process culminating this week. I’ll have the treat of being one of many signers.
My hope is to share here a thought or two from the sessions (but not much more so as not to violate any copyright stuff). These aren’t necessarily word-for-word quotations, and I might have a thought of my own included (in parentheses):
From Randy Frazee. Senior Minister Oak Hills Church.
- There is great power in asking for feedback from those close to us on the quality of our journey with Christ and its fruit. Will we have the courage?
- Others near us already know where we are at in bearing (or not bearing) the fruit of the Spirit. What are they tasting in relationship with us? our life in relationship? Sweetness? Sourness? Rottenness?
- (My thought: Many times we are boastful or proud as a compensation for a kind of “recognition deficit disorder”)
Chris Webb. Recently appointed president of Renovare. Speaking on the theme of sin.
- Where does a homeless, drug-addicted, hooker go to church before she recovers? We’d welcome her post-recovery, but would we welcome her when she’s in the middle of her mess?
- We need “sinners anonymous” churches for people like you and me who are actually in recovery, but haven’t arrived yet.
- Story of David – Psalm 51. David gets a huge number of chapters in the Bible. He sins in every chapter. WWDD (What Would David Do?)
- David was one dangerous man to know. Alongside his colossal record of sin, we read that he was a man after God’s own heart. What in the world did God see in the heart of a man like David? Perhaps we don’t see an answer in the narrative, but rather in the psalms.
- WWDD? He sinned much, but he loved God more. He was broken, even shattered, by his sin. He cried out again and again for mercy.
- Are we as shattered by our sin as David was?
- Most of the time we are not broken, desperate, weeping over our sins because we don’t tell the truth—to ourselves, to God or to others.
- Will we tell the truth to God, even if the truth of our hearts is anger or hatred?
- (My thoughts: How else would it be transformed?. Will we tell the unpleasant truth to God when we pray, or will we pray prayers we think He somehow expects from us? Will we be honest, deeply, truly honest, with God about the sin we’ve done, thought, felt?)
- Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. He encouraged the sinless one to throw the first rock. No one was willing to condemn. No one.
- Are we recovering from sin? Are there sins in our lives now of which we are ashamed? Will Christ condemn us if we admit our sin honestly? No. He will not.
(Go to Part two)