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In HOPE - Faculty Publications

  In HOPE 7.25 

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

This week I'd like to commend again to you the School of Advanced Leadership Training (S.A.L.T.) which Hope International University officially launched this past July.

We create SALT courses in response to what churches request. The courses provide 5 weeks of online content and interaction from experts in the field, and include a mentor at your local church who helps integrate the course-material into the life of your congregation.

SALT courses fill that common gap between Sunday School and seminary that most churches experience. How shall we equip our lay leaders with more than small-group studies, without sending them off to seminary? SALT fills this niche. 

I encourage you to take a look at SALT as a possible investment in your volunteer leaders, potential leaders, and paid staff.

The online delivery of content makes this model accessible anywhere in the world.

To test drive a course and get more information, visit our website at www.hiu.edu/SALT or email our SALT Director, Frank Baresel at SALT@hiu.edu .

If we could support you and your church by providing resources that you want and need,  we'd be very glad to assist.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
-- James 4:6

The Discipline of Secrecy

Religious living often deteriorates into false piety. Our best intentions to read Scripture, serve well, give generously, and pray faithfully can quickly degenerate into exercises of self-promotion and self-glorification.

Jesus, however, warns us that anything we do to draw attention to ourselves -- whatever we do to be noticed by others (Matthew 6:1) -- negates any reward from our Father in heaven. But if we act quietly and non-publicly "Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:4)

As we ponder spiritual disciplines, have we considered the discipline of secrecy?

When Jon Bon Jovi appeared on Oprah Winfrey's popular daytime television program in the first week of 2006, he presented a check for $1 million towards Hurricane Relief. That generous act thrilled the audience. But, at the same time, Bon Jovi was promoting his musical albums. Did the check come from his marketing budget or from his heart? The public generosity made it very hard to tell.

We must delineate between sin-empowering secrecy and this spiritual discipline of secrecy.

Sin thrives on secrecy. When NBC Dateline set a sting for online sexual predators and then filmed men coming to the home of an underage girl, it became very apparent that those men, for the most part, lived horrifying double-lives. Rabbis, pastors, lawyers, doctors, tradesmen, and others all fell into the net. It cost many of them their marriages and did irreparable harm to their families. That kind of secrecy steals, kills, and destroys everything that the Father intends for us. (John 10:10)

On the other hand, Jesus advocates secrecy over acts that lead us not into shame but potentially into pride. His teaching, however, has few advocates in our self-honoring society.

Our culture teaches us to build a resume, and we do the same with our faith.We drop hints about our spiritual efforts. We mention our sacrificial service and leadership honors. We assist the poor and find ways to let others know about it. We tell stories of our spiritual achievements, victories and good deeds. But a fine line exists between sharing our life stories to encourage others and sharing the stories to enhance our own reputation.

The discipline of secrecy prohibits the building of any spiritual resume. It restrains us when we want to compare ourselves with the next person. It restricts our attempts to advance our own standing in the eyes of the world.

Any of us who would pray "Your Kingdom come" must consider this discipline with utmost seriousness. The coming of His Kingdom means the lessening of our kingdom, and godly secrecy guides us in that direction.

The discipline of secrecy may be one of the least practiced spiritual disciplines of our day - yet one of the most rewarding!




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I'm always happy to explore these issues further.

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) 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.