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In HOPE - Faculty Publications

  In HOPE 7.21 

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

Henri Nouwen's little book The Selfless Way of Christ: Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life (Orbis Books, 2007: 96 pages) confronts the basic assumptions of our culture -- and Christian culture -- that we ought to honor progress and success above all else. Nouwen's simple style drills through our layers of cultural accretion and you'll find yourself challenged to embrace the way of Jesus through intentional "downward mobility." Reader beware.

Hope Happenings

Hope International University continues to build partnerships with strategic missional organizations, as we seek to reach the world for Christ. Recently, President Derry signed an Agreement with YWAM-Montana (which sends out short-term missionaries all over the world) that will make Hope degree programs and coursework more accessible to the hundreds of missionaries who train through that YWAM base. We're delighted by this latest partnership.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives."  (Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality, 2002)

Connection before Perfection

The mess of our lives hardly seems like the ideal environment for spiritual formation. A messy divorce, broken relationships with our kids, fractured friendships, failed career efforts, and all our regular hurts, habits, and hangups may drive us to abandon the quest.

Don't spiritual people have order, serenity, wholesomeness, and all the fruit of the Spirit in flourishing abundance?

Folk whose lives run smoothly and successfully can rejoice. But the rest of us deal daily with stress, sickness, dirty laundry, crying kids, conflict, fear, anger, envy, and insecurity. In the midst of this "messiness" we may feel unworthy of God's attention or blessing. We presume His love is as fickle as our own; blessing the blessed and frowning on the rest.

But the spiritual life -- the deeper Christian life -- usually begins amidst failure and frustration, because we find ourselves desperate for Christ. While we may doubt His interest in us, or hesitate to breathe His name once more because of our inconsistency, in our hearts we know that our connection with Him is our only real hope.

"Apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

We must not assume that tidiness and orderliness in our lives make God attentive to us. While He desires our personal transformation, connection tops His priority list. And our connection -- our simple walk with Him -- makes transformation possible.

Unfortunately, we often reverse this order and assume that we must sort ourselves out before we can enter His Presence. The Prodigal Son made the same mistake. Yet, Jesus defined eternal life primarily in terms of connection.

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and the Son whom You sent." (John 17:3)

The Lord wades with us through the tangledness of our lives, not just to fix but to fellowship. He does not turn away from our brokenness, but empties Himself -- over and over again -- to walk with us and work within us.

When our fallenness seems most apparent and our perfection seems so distant, a simple "Come, Lord Jesus" -- the cry to re-connect --may prove surprisingly refreshing.




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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.