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My Mission

Becoming and making disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds (orthodoxy), hearts on fire (orthopathy) and  contemplative in actions (orthopraxis) through the process of spiritual formation in, with and for a community of faith, instituted in His own timing.

 

 

 

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Notes

“Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes the inner being of Christ himself…The result is that the ‘outer’ life of the individual increasingly becomes a natural expression of the inner reality of Jesus and his teachings. Doing what he said and did increasingly becomes part of who we are”

Dallas Willard
Renovation of the Heart (Colorado Springs: NavPress 2002, p.22,159)



“The true Christian life, true spirituality, does not mean just that we have been born again. It must begin there, but it means more than that. It does not mean only that we are going to be in heaven. It does mean that, but it means much more than that. The true Christian life, true spirituality in the present life, means more than being justified and knowing that I am going to heaven.

It is not just a desire to get rid of taboos in order to live an easier and looser life. Our desire must be for a deeper life. And when I begin to think of this, the Bible presents to me, the whole of the Ten Commandments and the whole of the Law of Love.

True spirituality, the true Christian life, is not just outward, but it is inward- it is not to covet against God and men.

But it is even more than this: it is positive; positive inward reality, and then positive in outward results. The inward thing is to be positive and not just negative; and then sweeping out of the inward positive reality, there is to be a positive manifestation externally. It is not just that we are dead to certain things, but we are to love God, we are to be alive to him, in this present moment of history. And we are to love men, to be alive to men as men, and to be in communication on a true personal level with men, in this present moment of history

Francis A. Schaeffer
True Spirituality (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983, p.16,17)


 

Reframing Christian spiritual formation, spiritual formation and discipleship

There has been much confusion about the meaning and usage of these words: discipleship, spiritual formation, and Christian spiritual formation. These words are sometimes used interchangeably by some teachers while others offered a more nuanced definition. Here I will offer some definitions of these terms.

Spiritual formation is the process of forming our inner spiritual beings (soul) which manifest outwardly as our character. This is an ongoing process which starts when we are in our mothers’ womb and continues until we die. There are numerous influences that affect our spiritual formation which includes our cultural legacy, our childhood experiences, our ethnicity, the socio-political environments in which we live in, the dominant culture in our society, and our social interactions with other people, including our family members. Often these influences act subconsciously by a process of socialization or enculturation. In other words, all of us are undergoing spiritual formation all the time, whether we are conscious of it or not.

Christian conversion (accepting Christ) involves a change in status by our justification by faith, and of the formative regeneration of our souls (sanctification). Christian spiritual formation starts after conversion. Christian spiritual formation is the process of the redemptive inner transformation of the character of a person to reflect the character of Christ himself. There are two components to Christian spiritual formation: (1) the work of the Holy Spirit, and (2) the willingness of a person to follow Christ in discipleship. Christian spiritual formation is a collaborative divine-human interaction. The influences that act on Christian spiritual formation are similar to those experiences by all living human beings. Additional influences are the formative practices of the Christian faith communities (Christian education) and the Word of God.

Discipleship is the part of Christian spiritual formation where we can be actively involved in. The Holy Spirit is ever willing to be involved but respect our choices and will not force us to be disciples. Discipleship is following and obeying the teachings of Jesus Christ and in doing so, we become Christ-like in our character. Jesus summarizes this by saying that, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To be his follower, Jesus points out that there is a part about denying self, and there is another part about following him. Luke helpfully gives us some essential features on discipleship. These essentials are trust (Lk 9:37-43); suffering (Lk 9:44-45); humility (Lk 9:46-50); purpose (Lk 9: 51-56); commitment (Lk 9: 57-62); involvement (Lk 10:1-20), and prayer (Lk 10:21-24). However all these need the work of the Holy Spirit if Christian spiritual formation is to take place. We cannot will or discipline our bodies into spiritual transformation.

The purpose (telos) of Christian spiritual formation is three-fold reflecting the economy of the Triune God. Christian spiritual formation is (1) to restore image of God (imago Dei) within us so that we reflect the character of Christ; (2) to form a people of God –the body of Christ; and (3) to be part of God’s plan of reconciliation with all of creation (missio Dei). Christian spiritual formation is Trinitarian in basis as it is an invitation to join in the perichoresis or eternal dance of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

So let us embark on the journey of Christian spiritual formation, availing ourselves to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, and intentionally becoming disciples of Jesus Christ with “informed minds, hearts on fire, and contemplative in actions” until “we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

 

Alex Tang

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"treat, heal, and comfort always"

 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  

 

     
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