Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Inward

I've been talking with most of the folks on this blog one-on-one recently about what God's doing in their lives. And God is doing a lot. On one hand, He's stirring us up to think outward... missionally. On the other hand, He's dramatically pulling us back inward... to our abiding connection with Christ.

Justin's about to post a dramatic vision of connection & communal mobilization through a technological solution that blows my mind. But the largest ground he's gaining has to do with the Lord's aggressive convergence of circumstances all around him... from births to changes to deaths. The wind is blowing & Juice is tightening his grip on Christ so he can not only survive, but thrive amidst the confusion of this world.

Dave has been reading George Barna's Revolution, which he led me to read as well. This - in connection with what Dave's emphasized in the past on desperate, humble dependence on Christ through a simple rhythm of surrendering, listening, & obeying - has undoubtedly furthered Dave's passion for the "real" in ways I am eager to hear about.

Quentin is excited about the idea of forming a community that is organic, organized, Christ-centered, & missionally-driven. But his real joy these days is in recapturing his glory as a highly significant, acceptable, & capable - creation, child, & servant/steward of the Most High God.

Aaron languishes away in the cornfields of Iowa, hungry for God's leading in what ministries, jobs, educational investments, or moves, will come this next summer. But some of his deepest formation is coming from the experience of patiently waiting that he & his soon-to-be multiplied family are doing as they become even more unified.

G, (Ordinary Radical) is rejoicing in the tremendous breakthrough's God is having around him as he ministers in a closed country. But his letters & emails paint the deepest flow of life as coming from his personal growth & surrender as he continually denies himself while relying on Christ to satisfy his hungry soul in a "dry & weary land".

As for me, I'm so hungry to get out of the institutional setting & into the incarnational / communal lifestyle that I can hardly sit still. And I'm weary of being so geographically far away from the teammates God has led Aleta & me to. But the deepest formation in my life is taking place deep in my soul where the Spirit is leading me to new & permanent habits of self-discipline. The ache & hunger to be close, close, close to Jesus is taking me to this place my flesh does not want to go.

I could keep going (if I'd been better at calling these past few weeks); but the notion is clear: YES, we are about the business of achieving the Mission Christ gave us... making disciples & partnering with God as He redeems the world! But our out-flow comes only from our in-flow. Christ is forming us in new ways, from the inside out.

I'm eager to connect this heart to your hearts in Arizona this Christmas. It is as "deep calls to deep"; & these printed words are entirely inadequate. May the grace & peace of Christ keep you all. Please pray for one another & blog more - sharing your journey with us all - as you have time.

3 comments:

Quentin Mullinix said...

When I read "habits of self-discipline," it made me think of a few great quotes and some rock solid info from Dallas Willard that I wanted to share. This will get you pumped up for spiritual disciplines:

The disciplines of a spiritual life are activities of mind and body purposefully undertaken, to bring our personality and total being into effective cooperation with the divine order.

Paul’s effectiveness is simply inconceivable without its extensive use of fasting, solitude, and prayer (Acts 9:9, 11; 14:23).

Nothing is really practical in relation to human aspirations for the world if it does not proceed from deep insight into the realities of the human heart and does not call into question the fundamental forces that move human life and history.

A discipline is any activity within our power that we engage in to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort. They are designed to help us withdraw from total dependence on the merely human or natural (and in that precise sense to mortify the “flesh,” kill it off, let it die) and to depend also on the ultimate reality, which is God and his kingdom. The ultimate effect of spiritual disciplines is to make our body a reliable ally and resource for the spiritual life. Down through the ages, those who have made great spiritual progress all seriously engaged with a fairly standard list of disciplines for the spiritual life. They are self confirming when entered in faith and humility. And you don’t really need much of faith and humility if you will just stay with them. They will do the rest because they open us to the kingdom. Ultimately, they are designed to break the power of our ready responses to do the opposite of what Jesus teaches: things like scorn, anger, verbal manipulation, payback, silent collusion in the wrongdoing of others around us, and so forth. They allow us to escape the patterns of epidermal responses, with their consequences so that our bodies will be poised to not only avoid wrongdoings, but to actively and automatically do what is right.

Bob Carder said...

John,

You have it and the passion in your heart will never be fully realized until you are set free. God want to bless you -but you need to take the step.

I so much appreciate your passion for making disciples who make disciples.

When we inwardly come back to our first love and because we love Him we fulfill His mission.

God is birthing a renewed vision of love and obedience that requires a huge jump into freedom. I sure wish you would move to St. Louis or Kansas City or some other Midwestern larger city. We pray for people like you to join with us as God is birthing a movement of disciple-manking that cannot be stopped.

Inward always lead to outward obedience that always leads to fulfillment and more loving Jesus and obedience and more fulfillment.

John Lynch said...

Right on, Quentin. That does pump me up & it's a powerful word on process. Thanks for the encouragement Bob. It's truly amazing how God is stirring up the embers of obedience to His grander vision in people all over the nation. It is undoubtedly a divine movement we are witnessing & participating in. ...An awakening that springs directly from the handywork of God.

Those of us who hunger for more... who find the inculturation of our history, the conditioning of our mind, & the fear in our hearts not enough to hold us back from pressing deeper into the unfamiliar & uncomfortable... are finding the horizon more breathtaking than we'd ever imagined. We are seeing Scripture with new eyes. We are no longer aiming at Acts chapter 2 but rather chasing Acts chapters 1 thru 28.

This dream that is reality... It is more than simply proximity or community or mission. It is about recapturing the supernatural life of "power & demonstration of the Spirit" that was so ordinary for Christ-followers in Scripture & is so unordinary for us today. The best human efforts we see today, put forth by men & women with good intentions, are corrupted with a subtle self-reliance & a subconscious lack of supernatural expectation.

Programs, technology, & developed skill-sets will not save us; & they will not save our world. Jesus alone will save us, both today & tomorrow, as we "become foolish that we might become wise". "We do not have because we do not ask"... but we're asking now; & we expect nothing less than parted seas, miraculous healings, & literal resurrections - along with persecutions, sufferings, & marginalizations that indicatively accompany true discipleship. I don't have a lot of answers right now; but I do have a zillion questions our Christian leaders have failed to adequately answer. And I do know that we're missing the Life God designed for His Church by no insignificant margin.

What a humbling testimony we're being given! In keeping with the calling & as we press on toward its end, let us resist sin & replace our idols with the centrality, centrality, centrality of Christ in every micro-second of our lives. Let us forsake any decision made without aggressive & dependent prayer for God's counsel. Let's unlearn the vocabulary about what "we want" or what "we're planning" to do. Let's recapture that oh-so-narrow phraseology of divine calling & Spirit-leading.

I'm tired of being a secular Christian without knowing it; & I'm tired of my loved ones being the same. I want more... for all of us. It's not judgment. God knows I feel like the most wretched hypocrite of all. It's just raw faith for me & for you & for the whole world. I'm unashamed to say I believe we're all wrong & that God is giving us a miraculous opportunity to get right. I'm unashamed to accept & pass on the challenge to heed the call & pursue this Real-Life together.

Life & peace in Christ our Example. ...Our Literal Example!