Monday, September 20, 2010

Abide Dialog

For the past 5 years Pam and I have been sustaining a dialog with followers of Jesus about abiding in Christ. In settings as diverse as home meetings, counseling, retreats, events and church services we are sharing with others that our inner life is where the entire Christian life now lives.

It has been a learning experience! Here are a few things we have learned along the way.

1. Every believer in Christ really does want to be like Jesus. They really do have new hearts and new intentions!
2. Believers struggle greatly with the idea that a perfect life dwells in them and is the source of everything that God expects of them for day to day life and love.
3. In American and Brazilian church life many have become addicted to never ending recipes for living the Christian instead of moment by moment dependence on Christ who is our Christian life.
4. Church leaders need to see spiritual formation of Christ in us as the most pressing need in the church and make a commitment to addressing this need urgently.
5. All preaching, teaching and counseling needs to begin and end in Jesus if we hope to equip Jesus' followers with the true power to live the Christian life as salt and light in this world.

There is an expression in Portuguese that is often used by participants at the end of our retreats to describe what happenned to them by seeing Jesus as the perfect Chrisitan life God expects them to live. They say "Este retiro foi um divisor de √°guas na minha vida!" What they are saying is... "This retreat was where the water was divided." They are communicating that this is where the river of their life took a new direction. This is where God opened a way through to a new future like He did when the Red Sea was opened.

I know exactly what they mean. When I finally saw clearly the perfect provision God had made for me to live the Christian life I, too, saw the waters divide and the Way open before me.

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