I have been on a spiritual journey my entire life, a journey that continues to take me ever deeper into the heart and mind of God. There have been decades when this life purpose has faded into the background, but it never left me completely. In God’s perfect timing, this specific journey moved to the forefront of my life once again. Decades later it now consumes me; I am now the servant of God’s call on my life.
What is that call? To understand through scripture, as well as experientially and intellectually, that God desires each of his children to grow into spiritual maturity; then to explain this truth to others, so that they might also understand and walk this path toward spiritual maturity.
A few days ago I became aware of the depth of this call. I found the words of the Apostle Paul to be my own; words written by Paul in his letter to the church at Colossae, an articulation of his call to the broad emerging Christian church:
"I became it's servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you to make the word of God fully known." (Col 1:25, NRSV)
I am not Paul, nor am I claiming to be as knowledgeable or as important to Christianity or the church as Paul was; this is simply impossible. However, I do now recognize that I am truly a servant of this message to God's people, the church, that God continues to burn upon my heart, mind and soul. I cannot escape it. I live it daily. I see it everywhere I go; it is being worked out not only in my own life, but in the lives of others. It burns so deeply and with such intensity that I must write about it.
Thus this blog.
Having said that, I must set forth the context in which I live and write. I am a Christian. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I am a child of the living God, Jehovah of the Old Testament, Father to Jesus Christ of the New Testament. My life was ordained by this God of the Bible before the very beginning of my existence in the womb. How I have come to know and understand this call is a very long story, which may or may not be written.
However, through this journey, and because of it, I now believe that the body of Christ is in a season in which God is inviting…no, calling…his children into a place of spiritual maturity. What does that look like in daily life? What process must we go through to get there? And, do we ever fully arrive? The quick answer to the last two questions is that the process is one of transformation, which takes place throughout our earthly life; we are always in process and never fully arrive. However, that does not begin to describe what that process looks like in our daily lives. That is what this blog is about: how to recognize God's activity in our life, circumstances and events that reveal he is working to transform us into the likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ, as he leads us into ever growing spiritual maturity.
I have lived with the questions above, along with many others, for about 23 years, but I have been walking this path personally for more than 55 years.
During that time, God has taken me on a journey through different paradigms that provide specific widows through which to understand people (his children), this transformational process, this journey toward greater spiritual maturity that he wants to take each of us on; paradigms of temperament, spiritual formation and leadership development. He has also prepared me for this call, this ministry to others, by training me in healing and deliverance prayer ministry. Finally he led me to a theological education at Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA). In my years at Fuller, I engaged in meaningful Biblical study, I was trained in theology (MA in Theology, 2004), and in Christian spirituality and spiritual formation through a concentration in spiritual direction.
I then spent 7 years working with hundreds of seminary students who were completing their internships in a variety of ministry settings, in which I was able to draw upon the wide variety of understanding and truth that I had gained to help them see what God was doing in their lives. In every instance (by their own admission), my insights of temperament, spiritual formation and leadership development, along with the spiritual direction skills I had gained, enabled me to speak meaningfully into their lives, to help them see more clearly what God was doing in difficult and challenging circumstances and relationships.
Along the way, I have also had the privilege of talking with close friends who have experienced confusing seasons in their lives when nothing made sense. As I talked with them, again drawing from various arenas of knowledge and experience, I have been able to help them see God's hand at work, learn to lean into God, to be patient with the process, and to believe that God was at work moving them into a deeper relationship with himself, for his purposes for each person and for his world.
It is from this history that I now begin to share with the broader church the insights God has given me, to deliver the message he is burning into my heart; it is a message for those who are hungry for more of God, who want to go deeper into the heart of God, but don’t know how to do so.
My prayer is that the words God gives me will enable you to understand how God is at work in you during the really difficult times of life, to begin to see more clearly what God is trying to accomplish in you, for you and through you in his world. In doing so, may you stay the course, surrender to the process, hold on to hope for the future, deepen your faith and trust in God as God, and learn ultimately how to dance with God.
Through this dance, you will not only come to know more intimately this God who loves you beyond description in ever deepening ways, but you will also come to know yourself as he has made you to be, and as he intends for you to be. . . with him and in his world.