Monday, August 15, 2011
I figured this blog would be a good place to give my re-cap of ReTrain as I move through the program and share what the Lord is teaching me through the process. It lets others in on the main ideas and highlights and keeps me accountable to actually do something with what I’m learning... so here goes.
This first leg of the course was titled “Disciple” and was taught by Pastor Bill Clem from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Pastor Bill has taught this class the previous 2 years here at ReTrain and out of that has come a helpful BOOK with the same title as the course. In prep for the class I felt as if I wasn’t learning these new and revolutionary ideas but rather there was a stripping away of some of the secondary issues that surround what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and getting to the core idea that a disciple of Jesus is one who gets his identity from Jesus. This shaped the approach to the whole week. Pastor Bill masterfully shepherded the students (about 120 of us) through what it means to be a Disciple.
I was able to connect with a group of guys who will make up the corhort of which I am a part for the duration of ReTrain... the Wallingford Lead Pastor’s Cohort! Its a mix of guys from Mars Hill, a couple of Acts29 guys and a bunch of guys from different backgrounds all seeking to be equipped to serve the flock to which God has called them! They are a great group of guys and I am very much looking forward to getting to know them better as we wrestle through ReTrain over the course of the coming 10 months!
As part of our time this month we were trained in “Gospel Coach”... a process developed to help church leaders to really shepherd the flock of God...
As part of that training we got some time to practice coaching and digging into each others lives. I worked with a guy named Brandon from my cohort who took his turn in “coaching” me. Brandon is a pastor of a church in Northwest Washington and we paired up for this exercise. He was gracious and direct and about 20 minutes into our practice, empowerd by the Holy Spirit, he landed a very well-placed left-hook on my pride:
“Perhaps your heart isn’t as inclined to Jesus as you think...”
You see as we were talking about things that I feel that I struggle with I wanted to talk about how I felt inconsistent in the different areas of my life that require discipline. If my discipline is moved or directed by anything other than a pure affection for Christ then it becomes a burden and then I am prone to justify myself and take the easy path or neglect that area needing discipline entirely.
In that moment I had the option to push back and say, “well... its not that bad.” or “I don’t know if I would say that...” but the reality was plain as day... as much as I do love Christ and desire to know Him and worship Him, my affection for him gets crowded out by my love for myself far too often.
It was a great picture of “iron sharpening iron” and my hope is that this would be normative for our cohort as we traverse this material through ReTrain.
I was blessed by my cohort and on top of that I am rooming with a great guy named Paul from Squamish, British Columbia (Eh?) and we are hosted by a GREAT family (Rick & Elizabeth James) who are expecting their first child in January and attend Mars Hill at Shoreline.
Please pray for Rick and Elizabeth as they prepare for baby & pray for my new friend Brandon, his family, and his church (Brier Church).
Overall... great, fun experience and very challenging to both my head and my heart... now to do my homework...
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
"I myself have been preaching and cultivating [the Gospel of grace] through reading and writing for almost twenty years and still feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something so that He will give me His grace in exchange for my holiness." - Luther (Commentary on Galatians - as quoted by Scott Thomas in his book Gospel Coach.
Preach the Gospel to yourself.
"... we can say that the Gospel is just for non-Christians who don't know Jesus yet, and they need the Gospel. But for me, for us, those that are Christians, we need the Gospel every day." - Andrew Loewen [emphasis mine]
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
"Kenny G announced today that he'll be releasing a new Christmas CD. Happy Birthday, Jesus. Hope you like crap!"
Absent from flesh, O blissful thought
What joy this moment brings
Freed from the blame my sin has brought,
From pain and death and its sting.
Absent from flesh, O Glorious day!
In one triumphant stroke
My reckoning paid, my charges dropped
and the bonds 'round my hands are broke.
I go where God and glory shine,
To one eternal day
This failing body I now resign,
For the angels point my way.
For the angels point my way.
Absent from flesh! then rise, my soul,
Where feet nor wings could climb,
Beyond the sky, where planets roll,
And beyond all keep of time.
CCLI Song #5918890 CCLI License #1888971 © Sojourn Community Church