Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week 3- Beginnings

Week 3-Beginnings

1. Intro to Spiritual Formation

Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer, by Thomas Green
12 "Christian" Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Educating the Church for Wisdom, John Coe
Spiritual Theology, John Coe

Prayer Project for the week! (click)

2. Intro to Retreat

On the Renewal of Interest in the Doctrine of Sanctification: A Methodological Reminder: by Steven L. Porter

Prayer Project for the week (click)

3. Hermeneutics

Chapter 6 in Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, by William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard Jr.
Chapter 2 in Playing With Fire: How the Bible Ignites Change in Your Soul, by Walt Russell

The following verses we are to read, reread, interpret, and apply:
Matthew 18:19-20, 28:16-20

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 3- Definition of Spiritual Formation

Well, here we are, finished with Week 2 of classes.  John Coe's lecture - Resisting the Temptation of Moral Formation - pricked our minds with the official definition of Spiritual Formation, which released us of all our concerns of the program being "too much of '_____'" (fill-in the blank with anything: emotion, mysticism, liturgy, psychology, self-focus, self-analysis, individualism, stoicism, gnosticism, monasticism, angst etc.).  We were relieved to find out he actually found Spiritual Formation in scripture (I guess it's in there somewhere).

(Click HERE for an Article on "Relieving Evangelical Anxieties Over Spiritual Formation" by Dr.Porter. This addresses very similar concerns we, or you, might have with this "trend")

Here is John Coe's definition as a whole, and below is how he broke it down in explanation:

As a whole:

Spiritual formation is the divinely sanctioned process by which the person is transformed into the image of Christ on the basis of Christ's work on the cross and by agency of the Holy Spirit, who, in union with our human spirit, forms Christ in our character--which begins in the life and continues into the next.

As explained in pieces:

Week 3- Prayer Projects

1. Intro to Spiritual Formation Prayer Project (60 mins)

"Most of what we do in our courses are subordinate ends, things good to be learned or mastered in themselves but also as a means...leading to the love of God and neighbor. Since all we do in class is an end yet also a means to love, the class structure and curriculum is a kind of spiritual discipline in itself, a training in love. Consequently, spirituality should no longer be primarily designated a co-curricular, or merely a personal matter, in the Christian University. This split between the curricular and co-curricular perhaps explains why in practice we and our students can be tempted to divorce soul work form the bustle of course work, lectures, and assignments....may be bring out the spiritual significance and application of course content, a content so integrative (in potential) that often screams for some experiential project of prayer, devotion, soul work or service to transform it to its Kingdom end."

15 min- God, to what degree did my former educational experience, was in the flesh? Did I try to find an identity in it? How much did I blow off? What kind of person did I become as a result of my educational experiences? How will this effect me at ISF?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prayer Projects

We created a PAGE on this blog called "Prayer" which describes what our Prayer Projects are and will be updated each week.

Checkout what we are doing this week!

Update on life:

-Keri got a 10hr job in the ISF office as an OA (OA, yea, OA-that's for redwoodians :) She will be assisting taking phone calls, scheduling, and answering questions within the department. Her hours will be on Wednesday and Thursday.

-Since we have been home from Hume, we have been eating LOTS of fresh veggies and fruit. Our bodies are thanking us :)

-In Total, we have read 404 pages in the past 1 1/2 weeks for school. Ha, crazy!

-Breaks we take after a long day of reading include: tea, popcorn, occasional coconut milk ice cream, and movie/book.

-We just watched What Women Want. It was fun :)

-David and Keri

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week 2- Prayer Project

Week 2:  Prayer Project #2 – Solitude and Silence

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
- Psalm 62: 5 & 6

In repentance and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.
- Isaiah 30: 15

True religion disposes persons to be much alone in solitary places for
holy meditation and prayer. - Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards

In silence we learn to ask the right questions about God, about the world, and about ourselves.
Without silence we become so many `tinkling gongs and clanging cymbals.'
- N.W Goodacre, Dictionary of Christian Spirituality

Silence and Solitude

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 1 Reflection & Week 2 Beginning

Week 1
Our Monday Classes went well!  We have all day monday classes: 10:30-11:30 (every other week), 12-2:30, 3-5:30, it's a long day. 

For our first class with Dr. Coe, one of the books we are reading this week is Surrender to Love. It talks about how the definition of Love IS God. As His creation, made for experiential love relationship through Jesus, His redemptive presence moves toward us. Though sin and disfunction plague us from pure vision, He desires surrender to His perfect love. It talks about fear and how that affects our ability to be loved. Fear has many faces. God invites surrender and freedom, but we do not believe ourselves to be afraid (which ends up preventing freedom!). When we have experienced love that we've been hurt by (imperfect love) then Love can turn into the object of fear. But Love is the antidote for fear, so it becomes a cycle. He desires reverential intimacy recognizing His holiness (which we've failed to do)- for unconditional love demands surrender. Here are a few quotes from the book:

- "Take a moment and try a simple exercise. The results will tell you a great deal about the nature of your spiritual journey. Imagine God thinking about you. What do you assume God feels when you come to mind? When I ask people to do this, a surprising number of people say that the first thing they assume God feels is disappointment. Others assume that God feels anger. In both cases, these people are convinced that it is their sin that first catches God's attention. I think they are wrong-and I think the consequences of such a view of God are enormous..."(beginning of Ch.1)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Journey with us...

We have just embarked on a 2-3 year journey in our grad program that asks the questions, "How does God grow us?", "What does daily relationship with Jesus look like?", and "How does God heal my pain?" These are questions I know we all have and we are excited to ask these tough questions as we seek to understand who God is and the freedom He offers.

The program was developed with a desire to see people grow in heart. Knowledge of God often stays in our head and leaves us "stuck" without any way to translate it to our daily experience. God has created us to live in union with Him through Jesus and offers complete abundance and satisfaction. However, so many Christians never experience this truth, and therefore believe that all they have is all there is. Through reading assignments, prayer projects, lectures, spiritual direction, therapy, and open dialogue, we invite you to go on this journey with us.

We want your feedback, questions, and would love it if you would read along, participate in prayer projects, assignments, and dialogue with us along the way. We will commit to updating our blog at least once a week, so that you can journey with us and for yourselves, so you can be a participant in our program as well! Except you won't have the pressure of turning in things for grades :) For those of you that would like audio of some of our lectures, please give us feedback (anonymous or not) and we can make that happen.

Click on the Books tab to see which books we are reading this semester. If you are interested in any lectures that we had last semester, please let us know as well.  Our classes were: Spiritual Warfare; Theology of Christ, the Spirit, and Sanctification; and Old Testament Survey

We are excited to see what God has in store for all of us, knowing that God will grow each of us, draw us closer to Himself, and open avenues in our hearts to touch us with His grace and truth.

This is a great preview of John Coe, the founder of the Institute of Spiritual Formation, describing our program in one of the first Lectures we will have this fall in our 501 course.

Keri & Dave

Week 1 Prayer Project

Week 1: Prayer Project #1 - Personal Foundations of Ministry

For this Prayer Project, you will need to read “Biblical Theology of Intentional
Character Development” (the first reading assignment available in the Library e-Reserves). Please plan to make a copy of the article so that you have it available as you do the assignment.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the
fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.
Ephesians 3:14-21

Our hope and prayer for you as you begin your time at Talbot and begin Personal Foundations of Ministry, echoes Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians. To assist you in making yourself available to the work of God in your life we have designed a series of Prayer Projects and Journal assignments for you to complete during this semester. Our hope is that these times of prayer, Scripture meditation, and reflection on your life will assist you in being “rooted and grounded in love” and “strengthened in the
inner man”.

Prayer and Journal

1. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be interrupted. (approx 45 min) Not driving in your car - no phone, TV, music, etc. Complete all of this project in one sitting.