Formation, January & the Supremacy of Jesus

I struggle with January. The cold wind and the dark days seem to function as highway bandits and rob my inner world of warmth and light. I hold no secret formula or easy path through the melancholy. I only remind myself that I have been here before.

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God is Content

My sabbatical gift has concluded. I am back in the office and eternally grateful. It has been a marvelous ten weeks. Ten words have been on my heart and this posting brings me to the tenth.

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God is Truthful

My wife and I are only a handful of hours back home from Rome. Jet lag is real, but we are up and going. It is week nine of my sabbatical and today I am chewing on Exodus 20:16. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

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God is Giving

Whenever I think of the old prayer-praise, “God is good. God is great,” I am particularly drawn to a magnificent attribute of God. This specific divine characteristic is the eighth word of my sabbatical

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God is Pure

Pure. I carried that word to Kickapoo Creek today. It has become a significant place of refuge during this sabbatical gift. I will circle back to the creek shortly. “Pure” is the seventh word of the seventh week of my sabbatical and it is squarely on my heart. Images of someone or something free of impurities, without dust, dirt, pollutants, contaminates, or sin enter my thoughts. 

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God is Eternal

God knew exactly what He was doing when He ordained and carried out His plan with regard to my family. Though I struggle, even today, with understanding the why, God perfectly placed me in the family that ultimately made it possible for me to seek God, discover His gift in Christ, love God, worship God, witness to God and want to serve Him forever.

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God is Holy

It is week 4 of my sabbatical and I am spending the day at Starved Rock State Park. It is a bit windy and chilly, but it is a good day for retreating. I bundle up, make my way north on I-39, and arrive for breakfast at the Lodge.

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God is Impeccable

Tragedy again. This time the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas was the target of a mad man. A small town church, just like the one I served as a young pastor, became a war zone.

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God is Invisible

I was on the road early this morning. I had an appointment on the far southeast corner of Indianapolis with Sister Carol Falkner, the director of the Benedict Inn and Retreat Center, Beech Grove, Indiana. Sister Carol has served as a teacher, principal, assistant director, and prioress of the Benedictine community.

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Who Am I?

I’ll let you in on a little secret if you promise not to hold it against me. I love Starbuck’s coffee. Sometimes the person taking my order will ask for my name. I’m not a big fan of this custom.

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Our Unique God

Sabbatical. More than one Sabbath. A series of days and weeks that provide a time for refreshment and renewal. Since I have never had a true sabbatical, completely unplugged from the local church and the university, I am adjusting and learning on the fly. It feels like a real sabbatical may have started today.

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Formation and Friendship

Long before it was popular to use spiritual formation language, my friend was speaking it. Long
before churches were thinking of hiring spiritual formation pastors, my friend was weighing it.
Long before Bible Colleges, Christian Universities, and even seminaries were considering the
viability of adding formation courses or even a major to their curriculum, my friend was
recognizing the need.

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Harvesting and Formation

I saw a farmer harvesting yesterday, while on my way to preach in Indiana. Something about the sight of that John Deere combine making its way through rows of corn, the chaff blowing in the wind, and grain trucks sitting ready in the field got ahold of me, and I began pondering harvest time.

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Formation: Order and Mess

Can order and mess co-exist? It is a fundamental spiritual formation question. Short answer – yes. The long answer is about to begin. Perhaps a cup of coffee or a piece of dark chocolate is required.

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