In HOPE

  In HOPE 8.26 

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David Timms  

 


Prayer for Today

Father, you know my waywardness, my struggles, and my distractions. Please focus me again on following Jesus whole-heartedly. I yearn to encounter You in deeper ways. I desire transformation in the deepest places of my life. I open myself again today to share in Your mission to reconcile this world. Lord, I welcome Your Presence, Your surgery, and Your leading. Amen.

Hope Happenings

The summer is over, and our undergraduate residential students return to campus this weekend. They start classes next week. Many new students will arrive, filled with anxiety and excitement. Please take a moment and pray for their Fall semester experience, not just that they could find new friends and gather knowledge from their classes, but that this would be a profoundly new season of being with Christ, becoming like Christ, and living for Christ .

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

 

"In sport we assess the success of a coach by the effectiveness of his players. In the Church, leaders should function as coaches -- equipping the saints for works of service -- but, oddly, we assess the effectiveness of church leaders by their own individual performances (usually in the pulpit, classroom, or counseling office). Most pastors would be fired if we measured them by the effectiveness of their parishioners to impact the world for Christ."


Intentionality

The church faces difficult days, not because she's under attack from Satan (though that surely happens) but because we have lost our focus.

Our failure to understand and pursue spiritual formation produces lethargy, aimlessness, and ineffectiveness -- people who barely follow Christ themselves and cannot lead others to do so.The church drifts from program to program from week to week -- indeed, we drift -- because we lack clarity and vision of what the deeper life looks like and requires.

In short, followers of Christ discover personal abundance and real world-impact when they regularly encounter Christ, experience personal transformation, and share in His mission. Their lives intentionally integrate "with Christ, like Christ, and for Christ."

Some folk call this discipleship. Others refer to it as spiritual formation. The labels matter little, but the concepts -- fully embraced -- will revitalize us and the church.

Our Achilles heel has not been an entire lack of understanding but failure to focus whole-heartedly and persistently on the fundamentals. We have falsely assumed that people praying alone, reading alone, and left alone can "work it out." Our lack of intentionality has produced the insipidity that prevails today.

It can change, but our confusion and neglect must cease.

For too long we have let everyone do what is right in their own eyes. Provided folk show up for a church service (and bring their offering with them) we have considered them fine. Our preaching and teaching has frequently devolved to short ethics lectures -- how we should behave as Christian marriage partners, parents, and citizens -- without consistent attentiveness to the Presence of Christ, surrender to inner transformation, and sharing His mission.

Our lack of strategic focus and intentionality produces inch-deep believers and the emerging statistics should alarm us. Christians basically share cultural values on marriage, family, money, and work. The church, for the most part, mirrors society. No longer is she counter-cultural but acceptably sub-cultural. The salt has little flavor because it is poorly refined.

It can change. But it must start with each of us personally. How intentional is your own life right now "with Christ, like Christ, and for Christ"? It's time to make a plan ... and pray.

In HOPE --

David

 

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2008) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

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.