Journal Template - Alan Fadling: Notes from an Unhurried Life

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Nov 26, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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Thursday, February 21
, 2013



Dallas Willard

Thursday evening


How To Liv
e Well: Eternal Life Begins Now”


We are on the verge of a time when the church
is going to be able to make some critical
decisions. There have been too many seasons
when important decisions haven’t been made. I
try not to criticize the church because I know
Who is in charge of it.


Many
leaders and Christians will say, “It’s all
about discipleship and transformation into
Christ
-
likeness.” Yes.


We’ve been through a season when
everything seemed to be about proper belief and
seeing to it that you avoided the bad place and
made it into the

good place. You could have the
worst character possible and still make it into the
good place. Discipleship was not central…not
core. There seemed to be little difference
between Christians and non
-
Christians.


The world likes to beat the church with its

own stick

what Jesus said and taught. We
ready for a change from that. It will make a
startling
difference

in our world. Jesus’ intention
for His people from the beginning has been
world revolution. The great commission is about
this…period. Have you seen

it? It’s not about
planting churches or evangelization, but a world
-
wide revolution. Promised through Abraham,
coming through Jesus, living through to today in
His people.


Knowing Christ Today. It’s my book title
and this conference theme. Knowledge of
Christ. It’s not about faith, except in as much as
faith is a reflection of knowledge. Truly knowing
Christ. In the last 100 years or more, society has
very carefully taken Christ and his teaching, and
set them outside the domain of knowledge and
put them
in an arena called “Faith.” That shift
has deprived faith of its home (which is
knowledge).


It’s knowledge for living, and it is a disaster
when we separating knowledge from God. Is
reality secular? Secular knowledge falls
desperately short of helpful. W
e are
spokespeople for Christ…for spiritual
reality…for spiritual knowledge.


Everything seems up for grabs…and many
are grabbing. What can we
understand…know…of God’s nature, God’s
way, God’s reality? Spokespeople for Christ are
those who have the knowled
ge no one else has.
This makes them the most important people in
society. They know what time and eternity are
about. Scripture, grace, work…and true, spiritual
knowledge about these things that helps, that
works.


Witnessing is not thought of as bringing
knowledge. It is seen only as persuading people
to do things rather than providing them a basis
on which they can reasonably decide how to live
their lives well. It seems just a way of bothering
people.


I was a Southern Baptist pastor. I was good
at insp
iring guilt by talking about witnessing.
Most weren’t doing it. I must confess my sin of
guilting others then. I felt that you moved
people by making them feel badly (rather than
providing them with true knowledge).


There has been a kind of conspiracy to

take
knowledge away from the people of Christ.
We’re here to restore your dignity of being
spokespeople of reality…of Christ.


We want to raise up spokespeople who stand
with confidence and courage with true
knowledge about reality. There is a difference

between faith and knowledge. We must
understand that! They are both important, but
different.


Spiritual formation is old language, though
new in our circles. Old as the NT in the earliest
years of the church. The Philokalia is an early
collection of Chr
istian writings illustrating just
how important spiritual formation was for
followers of Jesus in the first few centuries.


Spiritual formation is the process of
transforming the person into Christlikeness
through transforming the essential parts of a
person (the mind, for example, but also the
other parts of the human person. Body. Soul.) It
isn’t behavior modification, but ch
anging the
source of behavior.


The spiritual life isn’t actually hard. It’s the
easy way. Living a spiritually unreal life is actually


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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the hard way. Transfor
m
ation of the self leads to
a life of blessing.


Two passages tonight:


Matthew 11:28
-
30


Come

to me, you weary and
burdened ones. Take my yoke and learn from
me. I’m gentle and humble in heart. You’ll find
rest in your soul. My yoke is easy. My burden is
light.


The person with the easiest, best fitting life,
is the one following Jesus

taking His

yoke.



The yoke of Christ (a yoke usually
referred

to harnessed animals

oxen pulling a load).
Pulling His load with Him. His load? To bring
the reign of God into ordinary human life.
That’s why he came, lived and died the way he
did. Ordinary. He was pu
lling the load of
bringing the kingdom of God into ordinary life.
This is what he came for. Mt. 4:17


Repent.
Turn back and reconsider how you’re thinking.

To whom is Jesus speaking his word about
the yoke? Context? He was facing rejection and
opposition
. John the Baptist wonders about
Jesus, because he isn’t living up to what John
expected. (“If you follow Jesus long enough, he
will disappoint you.”)


Jesus was rejected in many of the small
towns of Galilee because of a prevailing view of
religion and Go
d common then. This is the
context. “Thank You, Father, you’ve hidden
these things from the sophisticates and shown
them to children.” Religion wears you out. The
yoke of Jesus won’t.


When you come to spiritual formation, your
religious position matters
little

denomination,
tradition, certain theologies. Jesus is saying,
“Take my yoke. Take the yoke of official religion
off. Take on
my

yoke. Learn from me how to
live with me. Learn your ‘religion’ from me.”


There is nothing wrong with the church
that dis
cipleship wouldn’t solve!

This leads to
most of our problems!


Another passage: The great commission (Mt
28:16
-
20). Our way of approaching it has often
led to what we might call the great
omission
because what it actually talks about is so rarely
actually
done. “As you go…make disciples.
Immerse them together in the presence of the
Trinity. (Not just get them wet while you say
Their names). Teach them so they actually do
what Jesus said.” This will form their spirits.
What comes out the other end is the joy

of
living in the lightness of the easy yoke. It’s a
yoke of life.


We are sent out with authority and
equipment. As we go, we make disciples. Go
isn’t the command. Make disciples is. Making
disciples is a kind of side
-
effect. Some things
that can be push
ed can’t be pulled…and vice
versa. Making disciples is pulling…drawing them
in…through who we are and what we say.
Someone who become so ravished with Christ
that they want to be like him. “This is the best
thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. I must
hav
e this.” Do our lives tantalize others to be
disciples? The church is a great place to live this
way.


Many ID’d as Christians have never really
been invited to become disciples of Jesus. Too
many who are ready to go, but don’t know
where to go. Until we
become disciples, we can’t
continually live in the Trinitarian community. It
is intimate and life
-
transforming. It requires a
continual orientation of following Jesus (and not
following missions, visions, programs, plans,
etc.)


Jesus really is in the mids
t, not just of two or
three, but two or three thousands. Are we
recognizing the Father in our midst? The Spirit
in our midst? The Son in our midst? To live this
way will not be a matter of pushing, but of
pulling. In this way, we help people see the
goodne
ss of Christ’s teaching. Pushing is a kind
of legalism that drains people of and diverts
them from real spiritual life.


The winsomeness of Christ
draws

us…pulls
us. Show people why anger really isn’t a good
way to live

for ourselves or for those we’re
an
gry with. A disciple is learning by going
through a process of change.


Divorce. Addiction. Adultery. These can
only be changed by helping people think
differently about these things. They can be
changed by helping people become
disciples…followers. We he
lp people see that
they don’t need these empty behaviors and ways.
“I have something so much better in Jesus and
his reign.” Jesus transforms our messed up
insides.



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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Discipleship. What does the pastor or
spokesperson for Christ do? They bring the life
of
the kingdom to other people. They bring it in
themselves. They witness the presence and
availability of God’s kingdom in Jesus…in us.
We exemplify eternal living and bring it to bear
everywhere we go. Eternal life is life caught up
in God. A kind of life w
e have now because our
life is caught up in God’s life. What he is doing
is part of what we are doing and vice versa. John
17:3! Eternal life is knowing God and Jesus.
Living interaction with God

Father, Son,
Spirit. Trinitarian fellowship. This is what wi
ll
eventually come fully to earth. It has begun in
our lives. We make our lives part of God’s life.


Availability of life in the kingdom of the
heavens
now.
That was
his gospel. What is
my

gospel? What is my simple message? What am I
inviting people to? Ou
r answer is the heart of
our problem or our promise. What is our
bottom line? What are we saying? Is our message
pulling people into discipleship? Such a message
seems rather rare. Instead, it seems to be about
an arrangement made by God through Christ on
the cross to deal with the sin problem. It is all
the gospel is?


I want to live in the kingdom of God like
Jesus lives in the kingdom of God. I have
witnessed countless people responding to this
gospel of the kingdom

bringing the life of the
kingdom of G
od and making me a citizen of
that kingdom. We are seeking, above all, the
kingdom of God. Am I doing that? How? A
kind of righteousness that characterizes his
kingdom.


If you are preaching or living a different
message, you can’t count on kingdom life.
This
makes ministry life so draining and damaging.
They haven’t heard Jesus’s own message, but
another. Our job is
not

to make thing happen. Of
course we act, but our job is not to
make

things
happen. We live in the kingdom of God, where
God is active, his

Spirit is present, His Son is
alive.
They

make things happen. They do. Do we
think it is our job to keep jump
-
starting Father,
Son and Spirit? Or, are we learning to live
interactively with God in ways that acknowledge
Him.


Discipleship isn’t for the ch
urch, but the
church is for discipleship. Discipleship is for the
world. Discipleship isn’t just about church work.
The goal is far greater.


Are pastors caring for one another, or are we
only seeing our differences. Discipleship is the
only basis for tru
e unity apart from traditions,
habits, etc. We come together around Jesus as
shepherds of Christ. We bring the kingdom of
God into the fine texture of daily living.


It isn’t complicated, but all laid out. We must
start at the beginning. Christ’s authorit
y over
everything in heaven and on earth. We don’t
make Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics. We
make disciples of Jesus. Period. We can make
disciples of Baptists, Presbyterians and Catholics
though. This brings together and develops the
body of Christ.


F
ollow
-
up conversation with John Ortberg and
Dallas Willard.


Dallas: Someone said that I’m the author of
the most widely
unread

book…


Teaching the nations. But when we read
those who are proponents of “without God”
philosophy, how do we “out argue” such
people?


One thing that helps is remembering that
people have agendas. A major part of their
agenda is to shut you up. They use symbolisms
from institutions of knowledge that have defined
knowledge of Christ out of it. The position they
are arguing is a r
elatively recent position. Faith
versus

knowledge is pretty new.


We must not come to despise such people.
We need them to feel the effect of love and
truth in human lives. Realize how little what
such people have to say to actually helps people
live trul
y good and joyful lives. They are limited
in their viewpoint when they set the knowledge
of Christ aside. Our community must work on
this.


Don’t be afraid to listen. Deficiencies are
revealed in conversation. But conversation has
been shut down. We need teacher, writers and
speakers who will simply stand and initiate
conversations.


John: The foundational issue isn’t proofs,
but the adequacy

of what is being said for really
living life. When knowledge disappears, tradition
takes over. Traditions of men rather than
traditions of true spiritual knowledge.



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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In
Knowing Christ Today
, you have a chapter
titled: Pastors as the teachers of the natio
ns. It
sounds presumptuous. But you said that this is
right

that Jesus is the most presumptuous
person who ever lived.


Dallas: Presumption is required. Jesus’ effect
on people was different from that of the scribes.
He had authority, and they noticed tha
t. He
wasn’t quoting some other authority. He knew
what he was talking about. Jesus talks about real
life. He was able to refer to reality and cause
people to understand it in a different way

a
way that got past the hard traditions in which
they lived.


Y
ou have to become child
-
like to enter into
the kingdom. Next to Jesus, the next most
presumptuous person is a child.


What do you do though? When you hear
Jesus, do what he says. Don’t just build a theory.
Reality will teach you. This is where authority
u
ltimately lies. The test is the reality of the actual
outcome of the teaching practiced.


C. S. Lewis, for example, just talks about
things. He helps you see things. Those who put
what he said into practice found that it was true,
life
-
giving, real.


Q:
How do you distinguish knowledge from
certainty?


A: First

everyone has been certain
and

wrong. Certainty is a psychological state that you
can work up. It can be a terrible state if you’re
mistaken. Knowledge can be tested and found to
be true. Certainty

is caught from the
surrounding. This is also true about beliefs.
Children pick up beliefs like a coat picks up lint,
but all those beliefs may or may not be true.


John: What about doctrine?


A: We might replace discipleship with
wanting people to have
the right doctrines.
The
proper role of doctrine is teaching openly
with a view to help people understanding
things, rather than with a view to make sure
they hold the right views.
The problem is how
doctrine is taught.
We expect people to believe
somethin
g whether they believe it or not!

This is one reason for the steady exodus of
young people from the church.


If you can find a better way than Jesus, Jesus
would be the first to encourage you to take it.
Follow Jesus. It’s dangerous
not

to do that.
Otherw
ise, you end up with people who honor
with lips, but with hearts that are at a distance.
Tongues follow correctness. The heart follows
truth. Our words tend to be an exercise in social
conformity. This is what Jesus taught. Mt. 15


close to me with their
mouths, but their hearts
are far from me. We are focused on the hearts of
people, including a Richard Dawkins. We aren’t
trying to win an argument with them.


Debates aren’t about conversation, but
about winning. Is the winner automatically
speaking truth
? I don’t debate, but I would be
glad to enter a joint inquiry. We will seek the
truth together. I do not want to debate another.


This about this: Has anyone actually shown
that reality is secular? If not, isn’t it questionable
for someone to announce th
at they are a secular
university? If there really is a God, omitting Him
might be a serious problem.


St. Thomas of Aquinas and his
Summa

is
remarkable. He was doing what everyone
assumed
needed
to be do
ne in explaining spiritual
real
ity. Now we simply aim for the best
professional opinion.


John: Most of us feel that making sense of
life and God is very complicated. You say that
discipleship isn’t complicated. How do you put
those together?


Answer: Don’t get cause and effect revers
ed.
Focus on following Jesus. Sense and meaning
will be a fruit of such a primary pursuit.


Please read C. S. Lewis. He simply makes
sense. Simple sense with few words. He helps us
see reality and life. This is what we want to be
about. We’re talking abou
t real life in ways that
is inviting.


Q: We talk about knowing Christ. What if
someone says, “I want to follow Christ, but I
fail. I want to believe in God, but I have doubt.”
Can such a person say, “I know Christ”?


A: Put his words into practice and d
iscover
they are true. Some people know things that they
don’t know that they know. Unsophisicates
don’t realize they know something.


Claiming we don’t know is a game of
irresponsibility. We don’t say we’re agnostic
when something really matters. We don’
t play
agnostic when it comes to knowing which gate
to depart from at the airport. Knowledge is
actually important. When you know something,


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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you’re able to deal with it as it is. Every
profession is organized around knowledge.
Imagine an electrician who di
dn’t know
anything.


Knowing works as humanity under God
comes to know more and more. But then we are
tempted to reject knowledge of God himself.
The last thing we should do is be arrogant. We
are humble and willing to learn from people.
Ask questions. Li
sten. Truth makes us confident.


We think that it’s important to teach our
tradition. But what’s important is to help people
grow in knowledge.


Q: Availability of life in the kingdom of God
doesn’t talk first about forgiveness of sins.
Where does that a
ctually fit in your
understanding of the gospel.


A: It’s still essential. There is no entering the
kingdom without forgiveness. It’s like Abraham.
He believed God and it was accounted for him
as righteousness. We put our weight on Jesus.
To forgive your
sins is a load off of God’s mind.
He’s happy to do it. (Or do we imagine that God
is mad and short
-
tempered all the time? He isn’t.
The miracle isn’t that God loves me, but it
would be a miracle if a God Who
is love
didn’t
love me
.
He is a God who wills go
od.


Q: When we hear you talk about how good
God is, we’re moved. We imagine there are
things we should believe about God, but there is
a way that I hope is pale next to Who God really
is and how He really works. How do we get
beyond the trap of wanting t
o love God, but not
knowing how?


A: Love is a gift, but you have to be willing
to move. Too many of you are wedded to a
horrible image of God. who isn’t loving, joyful,
relaxed, etc. The goodness of God overflows.
We think he can only manage things if he

is
mean.


Simply? Put what Jesus says into actual
practice. Try it on. See how it works. In all of his
teachings, we go through a process of learning.
We let our yes be a yes. Any more than that
comes from what is evil (in your heart). Why
don’t I just s
ay things as they are? Why the song
and dance to switch noes and yeses? Because of
my will to manipulate another (the evil from
which such a yes or no comes). Truth is just yes
or no.


Q: To be a disciple of Jesus, when he was
alive, you physically stuck a
round him. In Acts 2,
they were radically different and felt like a
concrete presence. In our society, churches are
everywhere but don’t always look much like
Jesus. How do I measure this?


A: We’re seeking to learn how Jesus lives.
Am I disciple today, learning from Him?


Does God let us get away with anything? Of
course. Yes. Grace doesn’t breathe down our
necks. But we aren’t trying to pull one over on
Him. He is seeking to bring us into
the fullness
of the likeness of His son. God is not all about
keeping score. He cares about who we are
becoming. As we become more like Christ, there
isn’t anything to keep a score about.


Q: What is God’s judgment?


A: It’s God dealing with how things c
ome
out. Declaring the truth in the end. No
rationalizations. Everyone will see the truth as it
is and in a way can’t be argued with.


I think those who won’t be in heaven are
simply those who don’t like God and don’t want
to spend forever in God’s presen
ce.


Q: What about missionaries? Still needed?


A: Missionaries share the most important
knowledge in life.


Realize that the foundation of education in
the U.S. from 1636 into 20
th

century was simply
“God so loved the world.” It isn’t anymore.


Q: Th
e easy yoke. Many pastors here. Many
don’t feel ministry to be easy. What do you want
to say to the pressure to do well, expectations,
being the right kind of Christian. What is the
easy yoke for pastors?


A: The easy yoke is to put aside your own
project
s (which are crushing) and pick up God’s
project. A leader comes under intolerable
pressure because they are carrying their own
projects (or the projects of others).


For example, don’t burden yourself trying to
be a writer. If you want to be a writer…the
n
simply write! Do it. Stop trying to make “it”
happen…whatever “it” is. Let Him carry the
burden. Let Him act. Follow Him. Look to Him.


We do our best, but we don’t trust our
best.

If we do, we think the solution is to just
work harder. This doesn’t wor
k in the kingdom
of Christ. I can’t think of many pastors whose
greatest need is to work harder. Put your best


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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into something and leave it with God. This is the
teaching of scripture and godly people through
the ages.


Friday, February 22, 2013



John Ort
berg

Friday 9:00am.

“Who Are the Experts on Life
Transformation?”


Another Dallas story: A student once had an
obnoxious disagreement with Dallas (and was
most definitely wrong). We all thought Dallas
would demolish the guy. Instead, he responded,
“Well,
I think that’s a good place for the class to
end. We’ll pick up next time.” We asked him
why he didn’t respond. Dallas’s reply? “I’m
practicing the discipline of not having the last
word.”


Every single moment is a chance to live life
with Jesus. Amazing!

Grateful!


Another Dallas comment: I first read
Spirit of
the Disciplines
20 years ago. I still remember the
thesis statement: Transformation is really
possible if we arrange our lives around the kinds
of practices Jesus live. All of this really isn’t
ab
out Dallas. He’d be the first to say it. It’s this
wonder that there is a God Who is as good as
Jesus said He was. But we keep losing that.
Dallas has worked to help us keep remembering.


Spiritual formation has taken over Dallas’s
body in a way I long fo
r. Keeping up with Dallas
takes some energy.


Like Dallas said, we tend to try to create an
emotional experience to move people, rather
than giving them true knowledge to provide a
basis for seeing reality differently. Then, we
don’t hype people up, but w
e help the life of
God actually flow through them. The question
isn’t “Was I moved?” but “God, would you
open the windows so I can see?” There is work
to be done to learn from Jesus in taking on his
yoke.


Our theme question: Who really knows what
life ca
n be and how we pursue it? Human beings
are creatures who
have

to learn. Whether or not
we want to, this is our nature. We will always
search for teachers when we realize that we
don’t know something. Playing piano. Playing
Tennis. Or, just living.


In ou
r generation, we have become suspect
of authority and so think that we don’t need to
learn how to live. But who has actually mastered
life? Who will I sit under? Do we see Jesus only
as Savior, but not as Teacher/Mentor? Over
time, the disciples came to se
e Jesus as more
than teacher, but as life mentor.


Psalm 1 and two ways of life.


Dallas says that we will
all
live by default
or by design
. We live in a world in which
drifting always leads to disaster. The one who
does not live or walk in the counsel of the
ungodly is
blessed
. There in intentionality here.


The counsel of the ungodly is just the way
most people talk. It is the conventional

wisdom
in which people live as though it were not true
that you are an unceasing spiritual being with an
eternal destiny in God’s glorious universe. It is
living as though the outcomes of my life are on
my shoulders and under my control. As if aging
is so
mething to worry about. As if satisfying my
desires is central to my well
-
being. As if moving
faster, acquiring more, being more successful,
looking younger, sexier or getting even would
actually lead to a good and satisfying life. .


First, the psalm say
s, “Don’t walk.” Then,
“Don’t stand.” First you walk with the ungodly,
then you are standing with them. Finally you sit
with them. You aren’t going anywhere. This
becomes a settled posture. Nobody purposes to
take a destructive path, linger there and settl
e in.
The psalmist says that we can choose the blessed
path of refusing that way. Such a life is good and
flourishing.


Human beings can’t help looking for
someone to teach them how to live. This is so
important because Jesus is the best and only one
from

whom to learn how to live. We learn from
parents, others in authority, media, etc.


1 Co 1. Paul: Christ didn’t send me…with
words of human wisdom. The message of the
cross is…for us being saved…the power of
God. God has made foolish the wisdom of the
wo
rld.” Living our lives as though God didn’t
exist or matter is utter foolishness because it is
disregarding the greatest Reality there is. Could
there be a worse disorientation?



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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We assume only science has knowledge.
What does science have to say about ho
w to
really
live? This is why psychology has risen, even
among Christians. It claims a sort of scientific
basis for human life. We haven’t done well to
help Christians see that following Jesus actually
and really shows us how to live whole and holy.


Freu
d and others spoke of the complexity of
the human person. The church, with its
moralizing and simple “say a prayer” approach
to eternal life, looked superficial next to this.


With psychology, the vast majority sitting in
influential seats in this discipl
ine, are much less
likely to be followers of Jesus than the average
population. They are five times more likely to be
atheist, for example. This has tended to
influence the conversation in that field.


Over the last 20 years, the biggest movement
has been

“positive psychology”. Psychology has
tended to be focused, in the past, with pathology
and problems. The “positive” is about how to
help people flourish. How do we show people
this without God…without Jesus? Where will
people find the good life from a se
cular
foundation? It’s hard to define a “good person.”
Many psychologists have a hard time quoting
Jesus, but will quote Aristotle, Stoics and other
ancient and modern philosophers.


If you are part of or help lead a church, you are
stewards of the way of

Jesus. He has the best
knowledge/information about how to live that is
available to the human race. He still has the best
info about what is a good person and how to
become one that has ever been given to the
human race.


Dallas’s four key questions:

1.

Wha
t is reality?

2.

What’s the “good life”?

3.

Who is a good person?

4.

How do you become a good person?


Advertisers say that the people who are living
the good life are those with fresh breath, white
teeth, new cars, etc. It’s a pretty thin and
unsatisfying defin
ition.


On the other hand, in the workplace,
complaints tend to be about how a person
wasn’t good.


We tend to wait until a funeral to say good
things about people.
Obituaries read very
differently than advertisements
. We’ve lost
the connection between b
eing a good person
and living a good life.


What is the gospel that Jesus preached?
Dallas asked this years ago: “What is the gospel
that Jesus preached?” How do you respond to
this? What do the gospels say? Here are a few
passages to consider:




Mark 1:14
-
15, “The time has come. The
kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe
the good news.” Matthew, Mark, and Luke
have an identical summary of this basic
gospel message.



Lk 8, Jesus was “proclaiming the good news
of the kingdom of God.”



Lk

9, kingdom of God.



The 72 proclaim the kingdom of God.



Acts 1: Jesus appeared and taught the
disciples about “the kingdom of God.”


Jesus didn’t simply proclaim that the kingdom of
God exists, but that it had become available for
human beings to enter
and live in it. You are
welcome to come in. What’s tragic is that the
gospel of Jesus has been substituted for a gospel
of minimal entrance requirements for getting
into heaven when you die. In what way do we
find this in the gospel Jesus proclaims?


Do I

see heaven as the pleasure factory and
hell as the torture chamber? Do I actually want
God, or just some poorly defined eternal
pleasure forever without much reference to
God’s presence?


Life in the presence and power of God has
come to earth. This is h
is kingdom…in
Jesus…in his body. Heaven is literally on earth
in Him. Jesus essentially says, “If you want this,
just come to me, be with me, watch me, learn
from me, do what I do. And then you, too, can
live.”


Kingdom: This gospel of Jesus, of course,
in
cludes life as eternal and forgiveness of sins. It
is individual as well as corporate. But, it is
more

than these things. The cross is not the only
reason Jesus came. He came to bring God’s
kingdom among us. This was his message. This


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





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was how he lived. Ame
ricans aren’t obviously
much into kings, so “kingdom” seems foreign to
us. But it’s not foreign to Jesus.


Dallas defines kingdom as the range of your
effective will. It’s the sphere in which things
happen just because you want them to happen.
Being made
in God’s image, in part, is to
exercise dominion. This is kingdom language.
My will is actually effective. It can make things
happen. Notice how two
-
year
-
olds say “no” and
“mine.” They are exploring the boundaries of
their kingdom.


It’s very hard to lead

people without
violating their kingdom. We, as pastors, do this
in churches all the time. You’ll see that Dallas
works hard not to violate kingdoms. It would be
like taking spiritual steroids. Build a church that
way and it simply won’t last. People must
offer
their will to God’s reign freely and willingly. If
we are forced or manipulated, change of this
sort cannot last.


And one of our basic problems is that our
kingdoms have been junked up by sin. This has
happened in our minds, our bodies, our
emotion
s, etc.


Dallas once said, “The will is transformed by
experience, not information.” We tremendously
over
-
estimate the power of mere information to
transform.


Our individual kingdoms merge in
marriages, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces,
nations, etc.
That whole conglomeration might
be called, ‘The kingdom of earth…of this
world.” How are things in
that

kingdom? Not so
hot. Jesus comes and says that there is another
kingdom. It’s real…more real that you real
-
ize.
This is the kingdom of God. Jesus is oft
en trying
to help people see their distortions of what
God’s kingdom really is. Dallas helps us see the
kingdom of God differently

more truly.


Jesus uses the image of hidden treasure to
say that if we realize what the kingdom is like, it
will awaken trem
endous desire within us. We
will be willing to go to great effort to acquire
such a treasure.


Romans 14:17, Kingdom of God isn’t
eating/drinking rules, but about righteousness,
peace and joy. It’s a measurelessly beautiful
kingdom. This is what Jesus has

brought to us.


The Lord’s prayer is all about this. Father in
heaven (the range of God’s effective will).
Hallowed be your name (you’re so good). Your
kingdom come/will be done on earth as in
heaven. Do you believe that can happen?


We tempted to make
“Star Trek” prayers, a
sort of, “Beam me up, Jesus.” Jesus suggest such
a prayer. He says, “Make ‘up there’ come ‘down
here.’” In my body. How does that happen?
What does that look like? This is what we are
stewards of. Best info on life transformation
eve
r

given to the human race!


Q: Dallas talked last night about not focusing on
right doctrine as bottom line. How do we
explain the difference between doctrine as focus
or following Jesus.”

A: Dallas uses words very precisely. This is why
his books seem so

dense to many readers. In
churches, we try to get people to affirm the right
beliefs and points of view. The real test of what
I
actually

believe is whether it guides what I do

how I live. Otherwise, they are just affirmations
or professions. I actually b
elieve in gravity, so I
don’t step off a cliff (unless I mean to do myself
harm). My actions are always a result of my
intentions and my perceptions of how things
really are (my beliefs). We sometimes work to
get people to affirm stuff that they don’t actu
ally
believe at the level of our shared belief in
gravity. Do people believe in the Bible? They
think they do. They affirm it. They make a
profession of belief, but do they, for example,
actually live as though giving is better than
receiving?


My actual
beliefs guide how I actually live.
They just do. My affirmations don’t necessarily
do this, but my beliefs do. We want to have the
same mental map that Jesus had about reality.


I sometimes have people in my church come
up and ask questions like, “What do

we

believe
about the Trinity?” It’s an odd question to ask.
We aren’t merely aiming to get an “A” in
theology, but to deal well with reality.


Q: Sometimes, when we find people who are
welded to their “try harder” approach to life,
they think the message

of grace is nothing more
than a message of license.


A: It’s a deep question. Not sure there is a
short answer. Spiritual transformation is


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





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/

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different than behavior modification. Behaviors
really do matter, but if the inner stream of
thoughts and feelings

don’t change, we can
never be good enough at suppressing bad
thoughts and feelings from erupting in bad
behavior. Jesus didn’t aim as getting people to
do right things (like the Pharisees did), but to
help them become the sort of people who do
right thing
s as the natural outflow of their life.
That’s as far from license as it could be.


Q: What’s the difference between
information and knowledge?


A: Knowledge would be when I believe
something to be true (for good reasons) that
actually
is

true. Informati
on is a description of
something perhaps on a piece of paper. It tends
to be something outside of a person.


Q: What does it do to the soul when we are
asked to affirm something that we actually don’t
believe? When we expect people to affirm
doctrine that

they haven’t thought through?


A: Dallas will talk about this. Soul is our
deepest place integrating body, will, mind. The
soul cries out for integration. When this
doesn’t

happen, the soul is damaged. Certainty produced
by will power or social pressure

damages the
mind. Faith, certainty and commitment are
distinguishable. True certainty is a feeling that
cannot be generated by will power. It’s a by
-
product of knowing. My mind knows that will
-
power certainty isn’t necessarily true. We don’t
pressure peop
le to create certainty.
Commitment: I can commit myself to a person
or cause with varying levels of certainty about
that person. I can commit myself to Jesus.
Certainty, truly, is a fruit. This kind of
commitment happens every day when two
people who reall
y hardly know one another
make a commitment to become husband and
wife.


Q: How is it that you go about discipling
somebody? We seem to assume books and
curriculums. What does this look like?


A: For me with Dallas, it has mostly been
being exposed to the kind of person he is. When
I first met him, it was before answering
machines were popular. We were talking and, if
the phone rang, he wouldn’t answer it. I was the
most important person to him
in that moment.
Hurry wasn’t in his body. I’d like to live in his
time zone
. I have watched how he lives. Of
course, Dallas sometimes recommended
readings, but these were not the focus of my
learning to follow Jesus with him.


I once shared a very hard
experience with
Dallas. His reply was, “This will be a test of your
joyful confidence in God.”


We sometimes use “disciple” in the church
as though one person disciples another. I think
this is a mistake. We are
only

disciples of Jesus.
This sort of human
version of discipleship feels
like a narrow relationship instead of spacious
one in Jesus. And being a disciple is a full
-
time
job.


Q: What do transformed people look like?


A: The correlation between spiritual
disciplines and all that. The danger is al
ways to
think primarily of devotional practices.
Disciplines are only a means. 1 Cor. 13 describes
the genuine life of a transformed person. But
these are fruits of a way of life and not qualities
we try harder to express. It is a matter of
training. Disci
plines are means. We aren’t
measuring quantity of practices as a measure of
maturity.
We have to measure spirituality in a
way that the Pharisees
do not

win.


Dallas Willard

Friday 11:00am

“How to Step into the Kingdom”


Too much of our talk about humilit
y is more of
a “humble mumble.”
Pretty soon, we’re quite
impressed with just how humble we’ve become.


Let’s get practical here. As things get going
in our discussions, they often turn
complex…more than is helpful.


Jesus
really is inviting us
to the eas
y yoke.
It’s based on the dignity of what He brings.
What we
are
bring
ing here

is essential and
unique. No one else is providing it.
It makes me
think of the h
ymn: “Rescue the perishing…”


Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,


Snatch them in pity from

sin and the grave;


Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,


Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.


The way you live in the easy yoke is by following
the great commission. Church works this way.


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





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org
/

10

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Begin with discipleship. They come together in
Trini
tarian fellowship. The Trinity works and we
get to watch. On this foundation, it’s easy to lead
people into obedience. Otherwise, people end
up with empty tradition or legalist approaches.


Jesus proclaimed the availability of the
kingdom regardless of st
anding, and then
taught
what it was like, and, finally, manifest
ed

its
presence in a way that could not be explained in
a natural way.


Hold your head high in the dignity of what
you have to offer the world. Ther
e is no other or
better source of knowledge

about reality.


There is such emptiness when we try to
make church a “cool” place. The
re is so much
more to offer than


cultural cool

.


The burden isn’t ours. The Lord makes
things happen.
We
learn to get out of His way
and stop messing with things that

only He can
accomplish.


The message is that the kingdom
has

come,
is available

to anyone who will come to Him

and
follow Him.


When we think about the “how,” we must
pay attention to the fact that stepping into the
kingdom is a gift.
There is
God’s part

and our
part.
We can count on
God
to be
faithful with
His part. You can’t walk without gravity, but you
don’t have to wait for
gravity. You need to
rely
on it.
This is how it is with grace. We aren’t
waiting for grace, but counting on it.


Many Christians think they’ve already found
it and so have stopped seeking. But seeking is
the way we live. We don’t get beyond
seeking
.
Grace has m
any dimensions.
God wants to be
wanted
--
wants
to be sought
!
For this reason,
He doesn’t run us over.
We draw
s us to seek
Him.


John 3 is about how to see and enter the
kingdom of God. Nicodemus has problems
understanding even though he has all the
credentials he could have
had
as a Jewish leader.


Jesus approaches us (Mt 13), teaching in
parables, in a way that
causes
the disciples
to
ask,

in so many words,

“Why don’t you just run over
people with the truth?” (Paraphrasing “Why do
you teach in parables?”). Jesus quotes Isaiah,
“You will keep on hear
ing and not understand,
seeing but not perceive. The heart (their very
center) has become dull, ears hardly hear, eyes
are mostly closed. The scary thing is that God
lets you do that. Otherwise they would see, hear
and understand and return. I’d heal them.

The
disciples must feel that such healing is
what’s
needed.
God does not crash your party. He waits
for you to wake up. If I am too absorbed in my
own affairs, impressed with my own religion,
then I won’t seek Him and I won’t seek Him
appropriately but ha
lf
-
heartedly.


Jeremiah 29


You’ll find m
e when you seek
with all your heart. When we’re thinking about
stepping into the kingdom, it’s about wanting
Him more than anything else.


Restoration of family relations is a key fruit
of the
in breaking

of God’
s kingdom in our
lives. This can be a very difficult thing for most
Christians.


If there is something else you have in mind,
you can’t follow me and live in the kingdom of
God. You’ll be blinded, deaf or full.
W
hat are
churches spending
most of their
tim
e doing?
What does this say that they are about? Jesus
cleanses the temple to bring a return to prayer as
first response rather than last resort. Essential to
living in the kingdom of God.


When you seek something, you look
everywhere. Seeking the kingdom

is like that. We
look for it to be present everywhere we go. Seek
above all his reign and his righteousness, the
kind that characterizes the kingdom of God.
What is God doing where you are and identify
with him. Follow what you know to be true of
the righ
teousness of the kingdom in your
situation.


God’s kingdom is God in action. God’s reigning.
Not static but active. What God is doing here
where I am. Bonhoeffer says, in
Life Together
, that
Christians never meet one
-
on
-
one, but always
under the eye of Je
sus.


We tend to size people up, figure out where
they stand and what they must be like because of
these assumptions. This breaks the possibility of
meeting them under the grace of Christ and
under the kingdom of God.


The most important people are the o
nes
closest to us. We

especially

see the kingdom in
our relationships with
them
.


People don’t usually change quickly. It is, of
course, true that we become a new creation in


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

11

11

relation to Jesus. Seeking is designed to pull us,
as quickly as we can stand it
, into becoming a
different kind of person.


Seeking allows us to respond to God and for
God to respond to us. 2 Chr


Israel seeks the
Lord (4:15), “He allowed Himself to be found of
them.”


Seeking helps us become people
who

can
welcome Christ into our

lives until we reach into
the fullness of Christ that characterizes the
person who has learned to live in his interactive
presence. Living with God’s action in our lives.
We seek the kingdom of God, more and more
to allow God to be present in our being an
d
doing. We let him overrule if he wishes.


When Jesus said the kingdom has drawn
near, he was talking about himself. Today, it is
through you and me that it becomes accessible.
Luke 10, Jesus says, “Nevertheless, the kingdom
of God has come near to you.”

They were
bearers of God’s kingdom. So are we. This is our
dignity.


We don’t just talk about the kingdom, but
embody it by His gracious work. We study
Christ and make him the one who fills our mind.
We look at his teaching, Mt 5:22, where Jesus
says, “U
nless your goodness goes beyond that of
the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the
kingdom of the heavens.” This would have been
hard for those first hearers. He’s talking about
abandoning righteousness in
outward
action
alone
and moving into righte
ousness of the
heart, mind and spiritual aspects that make up
the person. More than just outward appearance
s
.


I’m not righteous because
I’m
not guilty of
murder. The question is, “Would you have liked
to

kill someone when you were furious with
them
?”


Th
e righteousness of the
Pharisees

leaves us
trying to manage impulses that are counter to
how we want to appear to others.


Beyond
this righte
ou
s
ness is where we
experience the kingdom. We enter interactively
into the kind of change that helps us live
cons
tantly in the action of God in our lives.


We might be tempted to see this as
unsophisticated, but Jesus said the kingdom was
for children to enter. Simple. Unassuming.
Childlikeness is forsaking the wisdom of
humanity on how to deal with God.


Many beli
eve in Christ, but they don’t
believe Christ.
Further, they don’t believe
the things that
He believed
.
He is inviting us
to believe and trust in and act on what He says
about life. We fix our minds on him.


Joshua 1:8 is powerful counsel. The law is
desig
ned to line you up with the kingdom of
God. It’s a great gift in this way. Are we feasting
on God’s kingdom?
Jesus is the one who enables
us to penetrate to the heart of the matter.


Conclude: John 8


He was dealing with
many who were drawn to him, but w
eren’t
committe
d. “If you abide in my word…” Sa
me
word as abiding in the vine. Put it into practice
right where you are. This is the pathway to
knowledge.


The burden is light, though it’s huge, we
don’t carry it alone, but He carries it with us.
This is
why is can be easy and light. We can be
the most cheerful person in time bearing the
yoke of Jesus. Mother Teresa expected members
of her

community

to
be
genuinely smiling from
kingdom joy.


If you put your life in his word in that way,
you’re his student and you’ll really know the
truth…and it will set you free. It will be the
realization of how things really are…and there’s
a lot to smile about. Joy is the final word, along
with peace and lo
ve. Things are really better than
I imagine. I like the word “cheer.” Be of good
cheer, Jesus says.


Conversation:

John: Learn to be
free of
trying to control
outcomes. Too many of us, after we speak, ask,
“How did it go?

How did I do?
” Dallas, after he
spoke to our group, walked to the car and was
singing a hymn. It’s like letting a helium balloon
go.


Dallas is a
master of
definition
s
!


Joy? Why
it is
a
sense of pervasive
well being

b
ecause it is consist
ent

with terrible
circums
tances. Paul says about

himself that he
is
sorrowful

yet always rejoicing. Joy is consistent
with sorrow because it is a realization about
what is really going on in the world at large
under God. Joy is one of the hardest thing
s

to
associate with God. We don’t assume that about
Him. He seems to have so much to worry about.



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





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.
org
/

12

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John: I can see joy in a sunset, a beautiful
scene, etc. But pervasive means not only am
I
well, but the world is well.


Dallas: Creation was an act of joy, delight, in
the goodness of what was done. Do we believe
this? For human beings, our most joyful
moments are often moments of creation (a birth,
art,
building something
,
writing music,
a job well
done, etc.). Joy cuts th
rough everything. Our
moment of passage from this world will be one
of joy.


Jesus teaches us that within his presence, we
begin to live in heaven now. Those who keep
my word will never experience death. There will
be a continuity of life even when our bo
dies stop
working. When we die, we might not realize it
for a while. There will be a continuity of life now
and forever.


John:
G. K.
Chesterton
said that
sorrow is
part of life, but joy is the part that is essential.
The world sees joy as superficial and

despair as
deep.


Dallas: Paul has to speak of joy many times
in Philippians

as being

“in the Lord.” That’s
where the pervasive
ness

comes from.


When we come to the kingdom at first, we
think it’s about meeting our needs. (Is
n’t that a
reason the crowds

followed him
?). But we come
to realize that everything we need is cared for in
His kingdom, which is present in the most awful
of events. God was in Auschwitz. Why didn’t he
do what we feel he should have done? We don’t
know, but he will see to it that wh
at is good and
right is done. All will be well.


John: A young mom felt it was easier to seek
God when she was single than it was at this
time.
How do we seek God i
n our work? At
play? In marital intimacy?


Dallas: We realize that all that is good is God

in action. God plays. Creation was play for God.
When we play, what is good is to see God in the
creative. We don’t know what play is unless we
actually watch a child without a
toy still playing.
Play is good,
creative and
life giving
. This is hard
for ad
ults because they are so serious and
measuring things in
terms of
productivity and
all.


Work and play are related because both are
domains of creativity. Work creates value. Play is
creation of values that aren’t necessary.


Patrick Henry, a great orato
r,
said that
he
threw himself into a sentence trusting God
Almighty to get him through to the end of it. We
need the kind of abandonment of children in
such play.


Dallas: I often come back and ask myself,
“How am I approach
ing

my life and this person
in
the presence of God?”


The
Game with Minutes (
by Frank
Laubach)
is like the Jesus Prayer for me. I find I cannot
use it all the time. I do think it’s important in
spiritual life not to be too controlling. Some
teaching about spiritual formation is a littl
e more
controlling than is really healthy. This is where
play would help us.


John: Define “dignity.”


Dallas:
Dignity

is worth that has no
substitute. Nothing else can replace it. That’s
from
Immanuel Kant. Most things have a
price…a substitute. In our l
egal system, we still
have the law that you cannot sell human beings
because they have dignity. Lewis speaks of this
in
The
Weight of Glory
. Every person has dignity.
When someone doesn’t realize this,
and
thinks
their dignity is in what they do, this beco
mes a
crushing burden. Employment is the creation of
value, whether work or play. Abandonment to
God.


Madame Guyon in prison wrote a poem. She
sits and sings in her prison, content that God
has placed her there. She retained her dignity by
retaining her
connection to God. This gives us
the dignity that we have lost through alienation
from God and living attacked and attacking. It’s
a relief to meet another without having to
evaluate or size them up.


John: Q: What if I don’t want the kingdom
more than an
ything else? I can’t seem to
make

myself want the kingdom more than anything.


Dallas: This is Romans 7. So many things are
happening in our lives and personalities. We
have to talk tonight about going to the parts of
the self and identify what defeats us
. Suppose I
have a deep desire for others to like me, more
than anything else. With the Spirit and the Word,
I have to look at that. What is this rooted in?
Repentance is rooted in looking at things and
seeing them in reality. That alone
will

often
loosen
the grip. See things for what they are. We
must believe that it is safe for us to take such a


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

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look at ourselves. We then begin to break
through, as Paul does, in Romans 8. We can
back out what drives us until we can resist it.


We need to get a lot more h
onest and open
than we usually are. Religion tends to make you
closed and dishonest. Stepping into the kingdom
is feeling the redemptive power of God moving
into us and releasing us.


Dallas: I see all of this as a very orderly
process. Change involves id
entifying disciplines
that will help. Some of them feel foolish.


Satan seeks to twist every single word. He
seeks to do
this

with

discipleship


or

spiritual
formation

. Quiet time, for
example
, became
bondage rather than freeing

for some
.


John
Ortberg

Friday 2:00pm

“Experiential Knowledge of the Trinity for
Pastors and Ministry Leaders”


Dallas: God’s aim in human history is the
creation of an all
-
inclusive community of loving
persons with Himself

in the midst.


Ephesians 4:1
-
6


what word rep
eats? One,
one, one.
The
Trinity is three Persons, yet One.
What is the significance of the Trinity? What is
life like within the Trinity? Think about God as
Persons in relationship. How do the Father, Son
and Spirit experience one another?


Can you imagi
ne arguments within the
Trinity about
who

is greatest (like the disciples)?


Think about baptism “in the name” of (
as in

in the
identity
, reality, dynamics


of).
Frederick
Bruner wrote

The Holy Spirit:
The Shy Member of
the Trinity
.
It is n
ot
a
shyness of

timidity, but of
deference
. A
concentrated attention on Another.
Not self
-
centeredness, but other
-
centeredness.
It
is a
shyness of love.


For example, t
he Spirit reminds us of what
Jesus says.

John 16:13
-
15


The Spirit doesn’t
clamor for attention on Hi
mself. His c
onstant
ministry is to focus our attention on Jesus.


You might call the Holy Spirit the
Cinderella

of the Trinity. The Spirit wants us to be thrilled
by the wonder, majesty,
and relevance

of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t walk around saying,

like Mohamm
ed
Ali, “I am
the greatest.


He wanted to glorify the
Father. He came to serve, to speak the Father’s
words, to do the Father’s works.


What about the Father? Twice, at
Jesus’s
baptism and at
the t
ransfiguration,
he says,
“This
is my priceless son. I’m so

pleased with Him.
Listen to Him. Pay atten
tion to Him. Love Him.
Follow

Him.


Even the Father doesn’t draw
attention to Himself. The Father is shy in love,
too.


Each points faithfully and selflessly in a
gracious, eternal circle of love. At the
center
o
f
reality
are
not atoms or quarks, but a circle of
humble
,

mutual love and interdependence. This
is the most real thing in existence.


God exists as Father, Son and Spirit in
community of greater humility and love than we
can imagine. God is Three yet One
. Married
couples are two yet one. God is never lonely.
God is community.


A line from Shakespeare’s “The Phoenix and
the Turtle”:


So they loved, as love in twain

Had the essence but in one;


Two distincts, division none:


Number there in love was slain.


We have a longing that will not be satisfied by
the best marriage, job, etc.
Satisfaction comes
o
nly in communion with Community.


John 17: Jesus prays for those who will
believe in
the
future through the message of the
disciples. He l
ongs that they all

would be one:
“J
ust as I am in You and You are in me, may
they be in us…so the
world will believe you sent
me.”


What cost does God pay for us to be part of
this fellowship? The Son leaves heaven to
become flesh and dwell among us.


The main thing we b
ring to the church is the
transformed people we are becoming.
Arrange

your

life so that you are experiencing

deep
contentment, joy and confidence in your
everyday life with God. That is no one’s job but
yours and mine
. I cannot wait until
certain
th
ings
ar
e sufficiently resolved until I begin this good
work.


To what extent am I restfully and joyously
serving? The outcome is a growing community
of supernatural love, in constant interaction with
the members of the Trinity.



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

14

14


When we talk about “holy vision
,” we aren’t
talking
about what
we are
going to do, but of
God, how good God is, and
how
fortunate I am
to live in
His
universe of love. A good and true
vision
of Him
engages and captures our
imagination.


Conversation:

Dallas: The Trinity has been a thr
eat to some
because they bought the idea that we have to
have the doctrine right. Theological tension. The
pressure of “getting it right” makes people
confused and timid. The idea of
three
who are
one

gets us
caught up in
the issue of
subordination
with
in
the Trinity.
Father, Son
and Spirit aren’t caught up in this. The Persons
do not care about their status. No subordination
between the members of the Trinity because
they won’t have it. “You first.”


John 14 is a marvelous portrayal of the
Father, Son & Sp
ir
i
t coming to live in us.


Jesus made Himself of no reputation (old
translation of Phil 2). Jesus is like the Father and
the Spirit. They love and admire one another so
much.


What were the Persons of the Trinity doing
before creation? They were enjoying

one
another. The deepest joy is when two people can
be one.


John: How do we deal with the pettiness and
smallness of the church sometimes?
It can be
mind
-
numbingly

painful.
There is such a gap
between where we find ourselves and a
vision of
Trinity?


Dallas: All of this is so obvious when we
step back and look at it. We have to step back to
appreciate what Christ is doing in the world. The
most important part of your ministry is
your
ministry

to other ministers. Know
one another
.
Love
one another
. Serv
e
one another
. Overcome
separation and competition

between yourselves
.


The church in a community is not one of the
churches. There is one church…period. We can
want other churches to succeed. We are
disciples…or we are nothing. As disciples, we
love and
care for one another. We claim one
another.


I’m encouraged that denominationalism is
waning in influence. Perhaps we can practice
that Christ, Father and Spirit are building their
church where we are…but
only
one church.


Dallas Willard

Friday 7:30pm

“U
nderstanding the Person: Including the
Invisible Parts”


Richard Foster and Renovare
have

been such an
important voice in the work Christ has been
doing in the last few decades.
We’ve been
b
lessed in so many ways.
They reminded us of
t
he importance of
actu
ally
learning
how
to

live
the spiritual life.
Celebration of Discipline

contributed so much!


Review:
We’re trying to show how the deep
truths and realities of Christ are
actually
accessible to every person. The scriptu
res and
Jesus are true…and work
. Nothing compares
with
this
.


This is
the
knowledge of reality that we hold
in ourselves,
both
gently and firm
ly
.
Jesus invites
us to “continue in my

word
,” to
live in it.


I long
for us to
get past so many petty things
that occupy our time and energy

i
n the church
.


We started with Mt 11, “Come to me those
of you who labor (under religion).” Come and
accept your life with Me in the kingdom of God
as a little child. Mt 28 then spell
s out how you
actually do that and commissions us to do so.


The main fi
eld for discipleship
evangelism

today

is the church itself.
We
must present the gospel and the kingdom of
God in the context of our churches and
faith
communities. This would cause disciples to
emerge. They would come together in a unity
that is Trinitaria
n. We would then teach
ourselves and them
how
to do everything Jesus
taught. There isn’t a thing Jesus said or taught
that
is impossible

for any of us
. He makes sure
of that. We
really
can liv
e under h
is counsel and
his
direction.


Intentionality
here
is
critical. It’s sad that
so
many seem to be proclaiming
the bad news
that
“You cannot
actually
do
this.” Grace is here to
make obedience possible. Grace is acting in our
lives to accomplish what we cannot accomplish
on our own.
Grace is
God acting in my

lif
e. This
is His kingdom
--
His reign
--
in my life.



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

15

15


One big thought I want to get on your plate:
If you’re going to be transformed, you have to
transform
that
parts

of who you are
. Christian
growth is defeated as we fail to attend to the
parts of the person.


For example, o
ur body is an important part
of us. You are a non
-
physical entity with a
physical body.
Romans 12 invites us to present

our bodies as living sacrifices. We aren’t to be
conforming to the world, but
to be
transforme
d
by the renewing of our m
ind. The mind is
another part of us
. We must transform our
minds. Different thinking will change the rest of
our parts.


We are complex being
s
.
We have e
ssential
parts that work differently in some people.
Spiritual discipl
i
nes don’t work the same way for

everyone. Some need more work on their body,
some on their mind,
some in
their soul. Some
are caught in a web of social relations that
are
destroying them.
Take care of all the parts,
and the whole will take care of itself.


Jesus was the smartest, strongest, wisest
person ever.
He can show us what it looks like
to love
God with all our heart, soul, mind,
strength.


We tend to put far too much pressure on the
will.
This is the “trying harder” that doesn’t
work. So back to the

parts.


1. Heart (will, spirit). The source of
creativity. Power to originate. Executive center
of the self. Jesus says to love God with our
whole heart. This is to have your will set on
what is best for Him above everything else. Love
is the disposition

to bring good into the object
that is loved. God has disposed us towards
creation, human

creation

especially,
so
that we
are able to participate in His life by setting our
will towards what is good for Him. We have our
will, our spirit, entirely set on wh
at is good for
God. Crucial.
We sing the hymn, “I Surrender
All.”

This is a

will totally devoted to what is
good for God.



2. Mind (thoughts, feelings). Capacity to
represent things. The will depends on the mind,
and vice versa. Each
aspect

interacts wit
h the
others. What is on your mind sets the scene for
your will to choose. It is also a reflection of
where your heart is. Loving God with all
your
mind is to take your feelings and thoughts and
devote them to what is good for God. Believing.
Thinking. You

don’t have to think about things
you shouldn’t do. They do not have to linger in
your mind. Work on your mind, whether
feelings or representations. What you habitually
feel is a major feature of your mind. It is tied
up
in
what you think about. We must tu
rn our
minds to the love of God.


3. Social context (relations to others). People
are relational beings. This is why the truth of the
Trinity is so important for us. We are not made
to live alone. We can’t actually do that. But our
relationships to others

must be a place where the
love of God dwells. To love God, we must love
our neighbor as ourselves. We must inject what
is good for God into all of our relationships.
Attack and withdrawal is a sad reality in most
human relationships. This makes loving our

neighbor impossible. We don’t attack people or
withdraw from them in the love of God. You
can’t love God and not love your neighbor. It
doesn’t fit. God actually
does

love your neighbor.
You can’t love God and hate someone He loves.
That
just
doesn’t work
. The best thing that
could
happen to our enemy is that they would come to
love the God we know. They would cease,
perhaps, to be
our
enemy.
Often, the worst
thing for a human being is to get their own
way
.


4. Strength (bodily dispositions and habits).
T
he body is our
power pack to live
in
on earth
.
It works mainly by habit, which is a good thing.
This is a

gift from God. Spiritual disciplines

disrupt bad habits and replace

them with good
ones. Habits are what we do without thinking.
We can’t actually liv
e physically if we have to
think about everything we do.
Imagine walking
while having to think about each muscle, about
breathing, about moving your eyes to the next
place you’ll step, etc.
We
really do
need habits.
We need good habits.
We need to form the
m
over time.


5. Soul. This is our deepest place. It is the
integrative part. You aren’t your soul. Your soul
isn’t going alone to heaven. You save people.
You have to, though, to reach this part of a
person to bring them to wholeness. You don’t
often hav
e direct access to this place.
Occasionally, if you’re very quiet,
the soul

might


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

16

16

show up. Disciplines allow the soul to surface,
be recognized and be restored. Our souls can be
restored.
David reminds us of this in Psalm 23.
The law restores the soul by b
ringing it into
harmony with what God is doing.


Sometimes the soul is so broken that it
requires special ministry.
Each part
of the
person may need special attention for
restoration. Psychologists and psychiatrists can
help us. Medical doctors can help
,
too
.


The great commandment of Mark 12 lists
every dimension under Jesus’s kind of love. We
must understand this. We are learning to do the
things he said. We bring all parts of our person
under His reign. Each part plays such an
important role together i
n how we actually live.
This is part of what going beyond Pharisee
righteousness involves. Working with these parts
is part of it. Jesus
said that a

good
tree
can’t
produce bad fruit
as an illustration
. We
are
apt
not to believe that a good tree
cannot

br
i
ng forth
bad fruit. And so we d
on’t cultivate the good
tree. You have to go to the depth of the person
before you can begin to understand how the
harmony of goodness and godliness can come
into life.
This happens
in redemptive
community. It would help if
t
here
were people
close to
you, perhaps even our churches, seeking
to live this way together.



Change the message and reality of
redemptive life in community.
Realize that we
are
individuals gifted by God help
one another
to discern and speak to
one another
and change
things in
one
another that
we cannot change on
our own.


Sometimes
disciplines of
solitude, silence,
service, scripture memorization can do wonders.
Worship is the single most complete discipline

available to us.
.


We need the ministry of gifted members of
the body.


The righteousness of the scribe and
Pharisees is running “successful” services. Each
of us needs to think about what we take as a
mark of success for our lives and ministries. This
always involves th
e t
ransformation of character.
At the close of the Sermon on the M
ount,
Jesus
speaks about people who did many great and
amazing things
for

him, But, he said that he
did
not know them because they were not allied with
Him in all their works for Him.

Disciple
s go through the process of
transformation and come out loving God with
all their heart, soul, mind and strength, as well as
their neighbor as themselves. Easy, routine
obedience is the good fruit that comes from a
good tree. Make the
tree

good. Don’t keep

trying
to improve the fruit directly.

We teach people so that they routinely do
what Jesus taught. Not that they
ought

to do
these things. It isn’t
so much
a

should


but a
capability and
a
confidence.


Conversation:

John: What would you say to the per
son, hungry
for change, and who has been in the church a
long time,
and who feels change is so hard?

I
talk too much. I’m fearful. Why is change so
hard? How d
o you encourage the frustrated?


Dallas: The person who talks too much does
so for a reason. Why

do they

talk so much
?
Don’t just try to stop talking too much. Change
the why and the problem takes care of itself.
We
want to encourage people to not
think

what
they now think, not want what they now
want, not feel what they now feel.
Vital!


Where does

an engagement with
pornography come from? Will alone will not
help. Why do people want to
view images like
this?
What is the reason? Deal with the reason,
and the issue

dissipates
.


Credit cards are one of the great threats to
practical wisdom.
They enab
le

you to do

things
you can’t otherwise do, but in a way that traps us
rather than empowering us.


If you are willing to not want what you now
want, there is a way forward for you. This is the
sort of work we could be doi
ng in our
fellowships. Do a six
-
we
ek seminar on anger.
Invite those who want to overcome anger habits
to work on this. Find the source of
their anger
.


We need to be careful about announcing
revolutions. Seek God first. Work on what needs
to change.
Revolution will be a fruit of that.


J
ohn: How much change are we capable of?


Dallas: You are capable, by God’s grace, to
do whatever Jesus teaches. You must change the
roots of behavior, and behavior will change.
Everything Jesus taught we can learn if we will


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

17

17

go to the roots of behavior. W
hat parts need to
change and are current
ly the source of our
behaviors?


Psalm 119 talks about the power of God’s
word as a protection against waywardness. Psalm
1 one is another illustration.


We learn to listen to another voice.



John: Speak to the d
iscouraged.

How do we
help them?


Dallas: Listen to them. Help them
understand why they say what they say. You
don’t have to go too far before people see a
light. Listen. We don’t do enough listening.
In
listening, w
e
begin to
perceive the roots of
behavi
or. This opens a door, perhaps, a chance
for wise, situational teaching.


Spiritual direction is mainly helping people
find ways of responding that will bring them in
touch with the saving grace of God where they
are. Listen and help others see why they a
re
feeling

what they feel
.


A long time back, I realized my words
weren’t helping many people. I wasn’t helping
them with what was actually defeating them.


John:
Spiritual disciplines sometime sound

like
purely human activities.
Where is the Spirit
in t
hat?


Dallas: Of course
disciplines are
a human
activity. All religion is. The thing is that all these
human activities are designed to meet the grace
of God. Silence helps us realize that we don’t
stop breathing when we
begin to
stop talking.
We are mean
t to engage the grace of God. That
is the purpose of our work life, family life

meeting the grace of God.


John: What about the “soul”. How do you
know when the soul comes out?


Dallas: You’ll likely miss it if you approach
with anxiety. The disciplines
standardly give us
indirection. It doesn’t try to find the soul, but
practices something to allow the soul to make
itself known. Soul is experienced as a sort of
inner force, like an inner river, that pulls our
world together and makes our experiences one

thing
. When the soul isn’t functional, our lives
are fractured and lacking
in integration or
integrity. The
mind shows up in thinking,
feeling, choosing. We need those with
experience and intelligence to help us wait on
the soul, and on God to come with th
e soul.

In solitude and silence, we discover we
have

a
soul. Jesus: What shall we give in exchange for
our soul? Losing our soul means we don’t have a
center that organizes our activities. God must
restore the soul…the center. Inner healing
prayer is soul work. It nearly always involves
waiting for the Lord

to make a context to be
honest about what is in our soul.


John: How did you become aware that you
had a soul?


Dallas: Through realizing I wasn’t a whole
person because there wasn’t an organizing
principle bringing everything in me together.
Then, I beg
an to experience God’s work in my
life.
This involved s
ome confession.
I got s
ome
help from skilled people. I discovered a
dimension of myself that I hadn’t suspected. I
experienced soul restoration. Confession is very
important to discovering your soul.
It can be
revolutionary by going deep into the unity of a
person. You there give up splitting the self. Sin
always splits the self to some degree. You know
you’ve harmed yourself or others, but probably
won’t come to terms with it. You’ll carry on a
charad
e of righteousness. Confession is deep in
discovering the soul.


When churches experience the Spirit,
confession is nearly always part of this kind of
revival.

Confession breaks through hind
rances.
We stop trying to save face.


John: Why is confession so

common at AA
but not in the church?


Dallas: AA got their stuff from the church,
but sadly too many churches have lost what AA
saved. Perhaps our services are designed to save
us from confession rather than help us enter
into

confession. Appearance manag
ement.
Everything is O.K.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Knowing Christ Conference

Santa Barbara, CA

Week of the First Sunday in Lent


John Ortberg

Saturday 9:00am



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

18

18

“The Importance of the Christian Disciplines in
the Life of Pastors, Ministry Leaders and the
Congregation”


Now we get to some of the “how” of
what
we’ve been talking about.


Two extended passages: Colossians 3:1
-
14.
Set our hearts/minds on the kingdom. What will
it be like to appear gloriously.

And
2 Peter 1:1
-
11.


Can we just live in this coun
sel. Is my church
producing people like
these passages describe
?


The “h
ow


is answered with insights from
spiritual practices.


I d
idn’t like
Dallas’s
Spirit of the Disciplines

when I first read it. Felt guilty about the
disciplines I was
already strugg
ling to practice,
let alone ones I wasn’t yet.


Authentic transformation is possible and
God wants it to happen. There must, therefore,
be

things I can do in cooperation with Him.



Here’s a h
elpful distinction: There is a great
difference between trying

and training.
Think
about
1
Co

9:24
-
27. Run to get the prize. Go
into strict training. They do it for a temporary
crown, but we for an eternal crown. Not aimless.
Not ineffectual. Beating my body, making it a
servant of my mind and will.
My body is a good

servant, but a bad
master.


Training.
When it comes to physical
transformation, h
ow many could go run every
step of a marathon today? Few. Even if you tried
really hard? No. We would have to train first.
Training is arranging my life around those
practic
es which will enable me to do what I
cannot now do by direct effort. Training
gives me power to do something I cannot do
now by willpower

alone
.


Transformation i
n
volves training, not just
trying.
This is true of learning a musical
instrument, a new langu
age and living the
spiritual life. 1 Tim 4:7


train
yourself in
godliness. Luke 6:40


every disciple when fully
trained
will be
like the master. There is a close
and obvious
connection between disciple and
discipline.


A discipline is a practice I engag
e in to
receive power. We tend to exaggerate the power
of trying and underappreciate the power of
training. We kill people with “trying harder to be
like Jesus.” Trying harder doesn’t work with
anything I cannot current
ly

do under my own
power.


Spiritual practices are training exercises.
Unfortunately, discipline conjures up self
-
effort.
They aren’t
a
way I gain credit from God.
There
are n
o gold stars for multiplying practices. They
aren’t necessarily unpleasant. What counts is
based on what you

are training for. If I am
training for a life of joy and love
, disciplines for
this life

may not be unpleasant

at all
.


Disciplines
themselves
aren’t a gauge of
maturity. The disciplined person is able to do the
right thing at the right time in the right spirit.
Don’t do disciplines for their
own
sake. Do
them for what
you are
training for.


For those of you who don’t much like
journaling, remem
ber that Jesus never
journalled!



Journal if it helps you gain insight or unpack
something.


Remember that d
isciplines are a means to an
end. Grace is critical.


Bonhoeffer: Discipleship is the reception of
grace. As a general rule we’re good at teachin
g
that we are saved by grace, but we have sucked
at teaching people how to
live
by grace.


Dallas says that s
aints burn grace like a 747
burns jet fuel. We receive grace through
disciplines, for one. Sometimes God uses
experiences. Suffering is one of tho
se

experiences that sometimes become an
unexpected means of grace
.


Disciplines and the fruit of the Spirit. We
know
these

fruit

are to be marks of our lives.
But we think we need to try harder to produce
them
.


How do we
actually
grow in patience? How
do

I know to ask which disciplines to practice?
What would living in the kingdom look like?
What barriers are there to this? What practices
would free me of those barriers?
These are
questions to help us determine the disciplines
that will train us in this w
ay of responding.


God is interested in my life, not something
called a “spiritual life.”


Dallas

once said to me
: Ruthlessly eliminate
hurry from my life. Hurry is the great enemy of
the spiritual life in our day. Disciplines?
Drive in
the slow lane
on
purpose.
Choose the l
ong
est



© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

19

19

line at grocery. Eat your food…and
actually
chew!




Disciplines disrupt the normal pattern of
thoughts and feelings in me to give room for
new ones. You can’t so much choose your
attitude, but you can, over time, disrupt one
at
titude and gradually replace it with another.


Joy? One of the great invitations and
commands. What disciplines would help? OT
Feasts, for example. Eat good
food
you love.
Deut. 14


Those at a distance use their
tithe to
buy the best
food
for a
great
fea
st.


The discipline of celebration. Maybe one day
a week you eat and drink what you love, listen to
great music. Wear c
omfortable, attractive
clothes
. Etc.


Solitude: I deliberately withdraw from
people, work, external stimulation. Dallas talks
about dis
ciplines of abstinence (non
-
doing
, or
maybe undoing
) and disciplines of engagement
(doing). Fasting and silence are abstaining from
food or conversation. Sins of omission (don’t do
right) and commission (do what’s wrong). Is my
doing muscle or non
-
doing mu
scle strong or
weak?


Disciplines of disengagement help me
overcome sins of commission. Disciplines of
engagement help me overcome sins of
omission.


The d
iscipline of fasting
helps with issues of
lustful behaviors, for example.


We aren’t going for rec
ords of spirituality.
We are seeking to train ourselves for godliness.


Creativity and spontaneity is good. They can
accompany a life of discipline.


Dallas story: We were talking about reading.
What should I read? “When it comes to reading,
aim at depth
, not breadth. If you get depth, you
will have bre
a
dth thrown in. If you aim at
breadth
, you get neither.” I read Dallas’s book
over and over and over. Osmosis.


When it comes to disciplines, s
olitude is a
basic practice. So is c
ommunity. Certain
practi
c
e
s will always be fundamental.



Solitude is about what I
don’t
do. Deliberate
withdrawal to be alone with the Father.
Eliminate all the scaffolding in my life. Jesus
practices this so regularly. 40 days
in the
wilderness. Mark 1:35. Before choosing
discipl
ines. After feeding 5,000. I might
meditate. I might study. I might pray. There
might be engagement. But
what
matters
in
solitude
most is the non
-
doing. Undistracted, I
find out what is in my mind.


In the beginning, solit
u
d
e felt to me like an
enormous waste of time.
That’s not
a bad
definition of it.
Just w
aste time
with God
.


Easy for me in the church to think my
identity is determined by the opinions of others.
In solitude, I feel that leave my body. I hear the
voice of
the Father, “You are my beloved son.”


In solitude, I’m free. Disciplines are
always

about
producing
freedom.
Discipline frees
a
musician to play
a challenging piece
well and
easily. If a discipline does
not

produce freedom,
something’s not right.


Study
: I immerse my mind in thoughts that
lead towards the kingdom. “Flow.”
Consciousness is central to what it means to be
human. “When left to itself, the mind turns to
bad thoughts, trivial plans, sad memories and
worries about the future.”


Paul tells us t
hat

the mind controlled by the
sinful nature is death.


The discipline of s
ervice: How do you
pursue humility?
Do you ‘t
ry


to be humble? The
next thing that happens is, “Look at my
humility!” Servanthood as a practice indirectly
develops humility.


Romans 12:1
-
2


“Beseech” (an appeal to
the will), offer your bodies,
be

transformed by
the renewing of your minds. How?


Information does not change my physical
reality. It isn’t sufficient. By experiment, we can
come to believe in our bodies that we are

safe.


We need a ropes course for discipleship so
we come to believe with our whole bodies what
we believe about discipleship. Even my sweat
glands, hormones, etc. come to believe. Spiritual
disciplines help my body learn new habits.


“Present your body
” is making it available to
God through practices.


Through
regular
practices, transformation
eventually wins. The spiritual life is a domain of
actual practice.


I once asked Dallas where are the churches
doing this? Many
do

teaching, music,
evangelism,

assimilation, justice/compassion
amazingly.
Where are the churches producing


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

20

20

abnormally loving, joyful, courageous people
i
n inexplicably high percentages?



Not a question of technique or
methodology.



What would have it
been like to be at that
little
F
riends church with Richard Foster
as
pastor
and a Sunday school teacher like Dallas
Willard.


What if the work t
hat Dallas has given his
life
to recapture
of
the beauty of the kingdom in
our day and to make the pursuit of the “with
God” life and human tr
ansformation an
accessible
reality for ordinary people did not rise
and fall with h
im, but became a river, and then a
great flood of life?

What if, by the
hundreds
and
thousands
, men and women in our day should
turn again to the l
i
ving

Jesus as their actua
l
Friend, T
eacher, Guid
e

and Power?

What if the
experiential knowledge of God

wisdom about
the nature of the human
condition
and its
transformation became standard
operating
procedure in the church?

What if leaders of all
types were
first
of all devoted to

transformation
of
ourselves, and then found a way

to make it
available to others?

What if churche
s became
schools of life?

What if people in the
surrounding community flock
ed

to learn how to
live? We can’t engineer a

revolution, but we have
a part to play
.



Conversation:

John:
Is the c
hurch at a point of decision?
As we
think
about the future for the church, talk about
what it could be like.


Dallas: Could, should and is

disciples of
Jesus would be conscious of one another beyond
the boundaries of their

local organizations or
assemblies. When you look at the emergence of
Jesus and his followers, this was the
predominant fact. They supported and affirmed
one another. That stands out. Paul’s letter
s were

to the holy ones in [city].
He didn’t write to
many
different churches in one city.
The main
step in the move forward is that disciples
become conscious of others nearby. A different
quality of fellowship and life would emerge. The
manifest presence of God in an area might rise
through united followers in t
hat place.


We should talk about the body of Christ
built by the Trinity in an area without regard for
differences in tradition or denomination.


John: How do we do that in a way that
works? Interf
aith councils almost never feel

life
-
giving like
you’ve
just described
.


Dallas: We arrange our time together where
we actually share what is going on in our souls.
We don’t talk about community affairs,
ecumenical efforts, church comparisons, etc.
Exchanging soul work
is what needs to go
on in
these gathering
s
. Sharing lives,
sharing
experiences of Christ together. Sha
re about their
families. Share

intimate things rather than
peripheral things.


The real work is sharing our lives. Don’t
mistake church services for the real life of
Christ. Remember what is cen
tral. What is our
“seek first”?


One thing
that
is the mark of the discipline
s

is simply: loving one another. God’s business is
to love the world. We should care about it,
but
don’t have the capacity to love it as God does.
We should
focus
first
on loving

other disciples.
And they aren’t partitioned into different
traditions. One body. One Spirit. Etc. This
something would
begin to
move of its own
power.


John: How do we help people ask questions
about their soul formation?


Dallas: Slowly. One
-
at
-
a
-
time
. Listen well.
Ask
the
question: What’s bothering you? Listen
more. How are you and God doing? That might
be revolutionary. It would be getting closer to
the AA model.


If you are in recovery, how’s that going?
What hindering you? How can we help? Address

those issues. Get to the heart of things. Quit
dancing around the edges. This is a divine work
not a technique.


John: We often end up either talking about
abstract theology, or religious exercises, or
therapeutic talk with a few Bible verse. You’re
talk
ing about really sharing our lives and their
concrete realities and deeply tied to Jesus and
His way.


Dallas: At 11:00, we’re going to talk about
blessing one another. It’s rare. It only seems to
be an occasion
al and official act. Blessing

souls.
We don’
t go there for fear of judgment.


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

21

21

Rejection is one of the most brutal things that
we do to one another

in word or deed.


The shep
herd is meant to become involved
in the lives of persons. We have to find freedom
to be totally vulnerable in a safe place. We
have
to be prepared to trust God entirely with what
will happen when I go into these places with
others. That’s the easy yoke and light burden.
Getting there is our main problem.


Ask what’s bothering people, and not what
they think is supposed to be both
ering them.
Listen for what God is doing alongside listen to
another.


Ch. 1 of
Life Together

is priceless
(Bonhoeffer). When I meet with another, we
meet in the presence of Christ.


Dallas Willard

Saturday 11:00am.

“Blessing and Commitment”


We want to
come to the
point of constant
blessing moving out
through us
to everyone
around us.
It doesn’t involve
talking all the time,
but Jesus promised that blessing from Him
would flow through us. We need to consciously
engage that. We’re not talking a
bout a formal,
pastoral blessing.


What is blessing?
Blessing is the
projection of good into the life of another.
It
isn’t merely words. It is the actual putting forth
of your will for the good of another person. It
always involves God. Only God is capabl
e of
bringing good to another. We naturally say,
“God bless you,” and that’s right. You bless
someone when you will their good by invoking
God on their behalf. This is the nature of
blessing. God wants us to receive blessing from
Him and extend it to other
s. We should even
bless those who curse us. A curse is the
projection of evil into the life of another. Jesus
wants us projecting good and not evil, no matter
to whom.


We have to lay evil aside because it’s already
here. So oppressive,
so
hurtful. Ble
ss
and curse
not. We will the
good
of others, even enemies,
under the invocation of God.


Deepening that beyond a verbal
performance. And not “bless you” through
gritted teeth. It’s a generous outpouring of our
whole being into blessing the other. Blessings
shouldn’t be hurried or thoughtless. We put our
whole self into our blessing. Thoughtful.
Unhurried. One of the challenges is to get the
other person to hold still long enough to receive
a blessing.


I’ll be asking you to bless one another. We
need to be
careful when we are receiving to not
think yet about blessing someone back. It’s a
challenge to just receive. It’s part of the grace of
life to receive blessing without immediate
thought of debt. It is an act of grace and not
indebtedness. We must have tim
e to do this. A
calm soul can receive a blessing.


Church benedictions are usually a moment
when we’re already thinkin
g of where we’re
heading next (L
unch? Home?)


Think about saying this to someone, if
possible, looking in their eyes. Underline “you”.
I
mean “you” as a unique person.


Numbers 6:24
-
26 (with commentary included)




24




“The Lord bless you
(God send good to
you)



and keep you;

(protection, the Spirit be over
you)



25
the Lord make his face shine on you
(The
shining face of God. Living before the
shining face of God. Think of a
grandparent’s face shining on their
grandchild. Radiance. Our faces were meant
to shine. Glory was meant to shine through
our countenance. Glory always shines.)



and be gracious to

you;
(I welcome the flow of
love and God’s activity in creating what is
good in another’s life).



26
the Lord turn his face toward you

(or “lift up his
countenance.” May the Lord look right at
you personally. The manifest presence of
God is basically what
this is about. He is
everywhere, but not manifest everywhere.)



and give you peace.”’
(Peace comes in the
presence of God. To have God’s shining
face over us and to have Him looking to us.
Peace. God is open to our lives, our
concerns. We’re asking the bles
sing that
another would abide in the peace of God.
That the atmosphere of God’s reality would


© Journal 2013 Alan Fadling, Mission Viej
o, CA.





http://
anunhurriedlife
.
org
/

22

22

rest upon the one we are blessing).


You certainly can use other language, but it’s
hard to improve on God’s language here.


What if we thought of church as a
place o
f
receiving and giving blessing?

Do we provide
time and space for such blessing?


Blessing puts me in a place to stand and do
the things Jesus taught. It’s a place of secure and
reliable grace. If I struggle somewhere, bring the
blessing into that
place. It is impossible to bless
another and harm them at the same time. This
can transform all of life.


Imagine now becoming a person of blessing,
and that this characterizes me. I can be a person
so full of grace and blessing that it flows from
me to m
any others. The reality of the church
becomes an overwhelming presence of blessing.


I can come to think of myself as a person of
blessing from whom overflows a continual
expression of grace.


I wish for you hope and inspiration in these
sessions, that y
ou would find it rising up within
you that you could be a blessed person who has
plenty of blessing to share with others. This can
become my identity. Keep that blessing flowing.