In HOPE 7.16                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

Tony Jones has written a helpful little book called Read, Think, Pray, Live (NavPress, 2003: 154pp) in which he outlines in everyday language the ancient practice of lectio divina -- how to read and hear the Scriptures in a personal way. Jones writes with an easy and comfortable style. This little book may help deepen the way you read the Bible.

Hope Happenings

Professors John Webb and Katie Stricker and ten Hope students are now in Europe for a Communication and Leadership study abroad program.

While traveling through Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, students will earn credit for a Leadership Skills course. They plan some classroom time at Schloss Mittersill, a Christian retreat center in Austria, and will also fulfill a service project. They left on May 21 and return to the USA on June 6.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

"Spiritual formation is the process of being with Christ ... in order to become like Christ ... and consequently live for Christ." -- Wil Hernandez, Henri Nouwen: A Spirituality of Imperfection

Passionate Spirituality

In 1996 Christian Schwarz wrote Natural Church Development and identified eight key qualities of healthy churches. On that list, he included passionate spirituality -- a vital quality for our personal lives, too.

We all share the desire for a deeper and richer spiritual experience and passionate spirituality sounds like a missing ingredient for many of us. However, the phrase helps and confuses us at the same time.

Both words -- passionate and spirituality -- invite a range of definitions and, depending on how we construe the words, might also apply to Islamic extremists and Baha'i adherents.

How shall we define the terms from a Christian perspective? Is it more than just contagious enthusiasm for the metaphysical?

The Old English roots for the word passionate may help us. Remember Mel Gibson's blockbuster movie The Passion of the Christ? The term passion refers to suffering. We are passionate when we are willing to suffer.

Then, Wil Hernandez defines Christian spirituality as "the process of being with Christ ... in order to become like Christ ... and consequently live for Christ. "

Hernandez suggests a specific order. First, with Christ. When we come to Him (John 6:35), trust in Him (John 7:38), and abide in His Presence (John 15:5) we become like Him. And the more like Him that we become, the better we can live for Him in the world.

In typical fashion, we want to reverse the order. In our activist culture we prefer to live for Christ immediately. We get busy and later (perhaps) deal with becoming more like Him. Only a few followers seem to draw their inspiration and direction from time with Him. Little wonder then, that we strain so hard and frequently feel more exhausted than exhilarated in our Christian service.

The Apostle Paul modeled passionate spirituality. Listen carefully to what he wrote. "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord ... and I count them but rubbish in order that I might gain Christ ... that I may know Christ ..."  (Philippians 3:8).   

What would we gladly "count as loss" to know Christ more deeply? How might the world change, our personal worlds and the larger world beyond us, if such passionate spirituality became our driving ambition?

May we be increasingly willing to pay whatever price necessary to abide in Christ more fully this week. That's passionate spirituality.



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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 of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.