Tag Archives: Discipleship

Breathless Expectation

Certain of God - Oswald Chambers

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adventure, Discipleship, Faith, God, intimacy with the Lord, Oswald Chambers, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Trusting God

Not interested in big crowds

Radical“Jesus Christ—the youngest mini-church pastor in history…

Whenever the crowd got big, he’d say something such as, ‘Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.’ Not exactly the sharpest church-growth tactic. I can almost picture the looks on the disciples’ faces. ‘No, not the drink-my-blood speech! We’ll never get on the list of the fastest growing movements if you keep asking them to eat you.’

By the end of that speech, all the crowds had left, and only twelve men remained. Jesus apparently wasn’t interested in marketing himself to the masses. His invitations to potential followers were clearly more costly than the crowds were ready to accept, and he seemed to be okay with that. He focused instead on the few who believed him when he said radical things. And through their radical obedience to him, he turned the course of history in a new direction.”

~ Excerpted from Radical by David Platt

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, David Platt, Discipleship, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality

Like a Treasure Buried

This Beautiful Mess“Jesus’ kingdom invites us to immerse ourselves in the whole gospel He came to preach. We get to listen and consider and think through the staggering possibilities of kingdom living as Jesus taught it. The practical promise of our faith journey together is this: as we live in fidelity to Christ the King, His in-breaking reign will have a transformational effect on us, our communities, and our world. Anything less is not what Jesus came to earth to tell.

In a mysterious yet absolutely real way, the kingdom of Jesus is here now and in power. Like gravity or high-frequency radio waves, this kingdom doesn’t require our attention or consent in order to exist. It just is. Still, I think you’ll find that we have to learn—and deeply want—to see and imagine in new ways. Otherwise we’ll miss it. So many have. Because it is like a treasure buried.”

~ Excerpted from This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

“Lord, may Your Spirit make me sensitive to your activities today so that I can be a part of furthering Your kingdom here on earth.”

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, Discipleship, Divine presence, God, Holy Spirit, influence with the world, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation

Can every day be an adventure?

Wild Goose ChaseWhen we don’t pace ourselves, we tend to miss divine appointments right and left. In fact, they seem like human interruptions. We get so consumed with trying to get where we think God wants us to go that we put on spiritual blinders and miss the Goose trails He wants to take us down. The key is slowing down your pace, taking off your sandals, and experiencing God right here, right now.

…Spiritual maturity has less to do with long-range visions than it does with moment-by-moment sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And it is our moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that turns life into an everyday adventure.
~ Excerpted from Wild Goose Chase   by Mark Batterson

I know!

I get it!

Most of the stuff that fills our days seems like anything BUT an adventure.

  • The same job…
  • The same spouse and kids…
  • The same co-workers…
  • The same neighbors…
  • The same house chores…
  • The same ol’ same ol’…

But what if these ordinary, everyday circumstances are not the main ingredient to life being an adventure?

If God is “with us always” as Jesus promised then He is with us even in the midst of these seemingly mundane moments. And how can any moment where God’s presence is available be anything but an adventure?

Perhaps we are too focused on our circumstances and not focused enough on learning to live in the awareness of God’s presence?

May today be a brand new adventure with God!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adventure, Christianity, Discipleship, Divine presence, God, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

His Divine Rhythm

The word perichoresis comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around” and chorea, which means “dance.” It is a term that the early church used to describe the relational intimacy between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s what some have referred to as The Dance of the Trinity.

I believe God wired us in such a way that our deepest longings can only be truly satisfied when we are in a relationship with Him; learning to dance in His divine rhythm.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

I long to do life more and more in step with God’s unforced rhythms of grace. And I long to see the church – the body of Christ – do the same!

I’m reminded of Jesus’ invitation here in Matthew 11 when I hear songs like the one below: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful. You may not care for the song but you can’t help but be amazed at how these five guys do their part to contribute to one rhythm.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Dance, Discipleship, God, God the Father, Grace, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, involvement with the church, Jesus, Music Video, Perichoresis, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Teamwork, Trinity

Enough Already God

A piece of art, in any form, is crafted and put on display to reflect the artist’s creativity and skill; to reflect a virtue or beauty envisioned by the artist. According to the Apostle Paul, we are God’s piece of art.

poiema-logo

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

The word for “workmanship” in the Greek is poiema and can be translated: achievement, work of art, masterpiece. The more passionate an artist is about a particular piece of art the more they will labor to reshape it and mold it giving it their utmost attention.

C.S. Lewis put it this way…

We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life — the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child — he will take endless trouble — and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient [alive and conscious of its feelings]. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.
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 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Most of the time I really do want to be shaped and molded according to God’s intended design. I know that sin has marred and twisted not only my true identity in Christ but also my capacity to reflect the glory of God. But when that process gets uncomfortable or downright painful my heart cries, “Enough already God!”

But God’s love for us will not allow Him to stop working to reshape us into the person He made us to be. And to balk at His work in us is to want less of His love.

Grant us grace God that we might give ourselves wholeheartedly to the work of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into your poiema!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, CS Lewis, Discipleship, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, Love of God, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

Come Thirsty

come-thirsty

Like water, Jesus won’t come in unless swallowed. That is, we must willingly surrender to his lordship. Internalize him. Ingest him. Welcome him into the inner workings of your life.

~ Max Lucado in Come Thirsty: No Heart Too Dry for His Touch

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Discipleship, Divine presence, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender

Place it before God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
~ Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

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May we give ourselves fully to God this day and the process of transformation He longs to accomplish in each of us!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Discipleship, God, God's Will, Morphing, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender

A shared rhythm in Christ Jesus

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?  They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”
~ The Pursuit of God,  A. W. Tozer

One of the most profound things that can happen when we gather together as the body of Christ is the coming together in a shared rhythm within a common journey because we are re-centering our lives on the One around Whom life revolves – Christ Jesus.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Discipleship, God, intimacy with the Lord, involvement with the church, Jesus, Quote, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

Taking God’s gift for granted.

RhythmsGraceEver given a gift to someone and had it brushed aside like it was nothing special?

I don’t mean the obligatory, exchange-a-name-and-keep-it-under-$10-gift; but one that was carefully and thoughtfully chosen for someone very special.

Ever have one of those gifts taken for granted?

It’s no fun. In fact, it’s downright painful.

But that’s exactly what I’ve done to God.

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. ~ Ephesians 4:30 (The Message)

The Holy Spirit living and moving in us to make us fit for a relationship with God – whole and holy – is the most precious and costly gift we could ever receive.

The Spirit takes up residence in us in order to draw our attention to Jesus. All of His divine resources are unleashed in an effort to transform us from the inside out so that we have the character of Christ.

But are we participating in the process?

It’s like getting dance lessons from Fred Astaire, but insisting on taking the lead.

… or business advice from Bill Gates, but ignoring his counsel.

… or voice lessons from Celine Dion, but singing in whatever way we want.

I don’t know what this new year will hold in terms of obstacles or opportunities. I don’t have an inside track on God’s kingdom agenda or what role He wants me to play.

But I do know that I can surrender myself more completely to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

I can give myself more completely to His mysterious work of transformation.

I can learn to dance in God’s unforced rhythms of grace.

Will you join me?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Discipleship, God, Grace, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Morphing, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Surrender