TD Fri. – Guess Who’s Speaking?

Sandra head shot

Hey TD!

We are in for a treat this Friday as my beloved Sandra continues our theme from Romans 12, Renew: Transforming Our Life in Christ!  Did you know that Sandra was a professional teacher for 17 years, having taught math full-time at Pasadena City College and prior to that, Long Beach City College (back when we were dating!) prior to her retirement from teaching to help raise our young family?

Sandra is an excellent teacher (as so many former students, both at church and at school have attested to) who likes to help simplify complex subjects by using memorable associations, analogies, and devices to make the abstract more concrete and understandable.

Here’s the very insightful message that she gave last year on our conscious and sub-conscious thoughts:

“The Power of Sub-Conscious Liturgies” (mp3) – Sandra

She will be teaching very practically on verses 10-13:

10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Please meditate on these verses this week and continue to memorize Romans 12.  By the end of this month, you should have memorized verses 1-13:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 

so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 

or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 

11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 

12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 

13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

See you on Friday! – Arthur

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TD Fri. – “The Sub-Conscious and the Way God Made Us”

Image result for subconscious

Hey TD!

There’s so much to say about the picture above, isn’t there?  Sandra really hit it out of the park in opening the door for us to begin walking through as we begin to observe, discover, and consider the unique ways God has wired and designed each of us, the people and culture He has placed us in, as well as the experiences He has ordained for us that has shaped us thus far.

Click on the link to listen (sorry, you won’t get to hear the movie clips!):

“The Power of Sub-Conscious Liturgies” mp3 (Sandra)

This Friday, we will take another step or two towards walking through the doorway by engaging in activities designed to help us discover more about ourselves, the way God made us, and what to do with that.

Jonathan Edwards stated that the two most important forms of knowledge are knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.

Jonathan Edwards stated that the two most important forms of knowledge are knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.  We often spend so much time on the former and so little time on the latter.  This is an area of my life that I’ve been personally working on in recent years and have found humbling, fascinating, and powerful.  It’s something we must all be working on.

Come join us for TD this Friday as Katherine and I facilitate some exercises and discussion that will hopefully open doors of discovery and transformation in your life.  Katherine is a psychology major at UCLA and has been experiencing the transforming power of Christ in her own life the last few years.  I look forward to our time together. See you Friday! – Arthur

What is Shaping You?

Image result for subconscious

Hi TD!

As a follow-up to Sandra’s insightful lesson last week, The Power of Sub-Conscious Liturgies, here is an article by author Nancy Guthrie that explores what it is that actually gives us our true inner-man shape.  It’s an important read for us as so many of us are being trained on how to portray and show a certain spiritual shape that is quite different from the shape we’re actually in.  We’ve got to go to the 90% of us that is below the surface and work on the shape down there.  It will eventually and inevitably show up in the 10% above the surface.  Please read and take action. – Arthur

What Is Shaping You?

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There’s a section in department stores these days called “shapewear.” It’s in both women’s and men’s clothing. These stores are banking on our concern with the shape of our bodies and our willingness to invest in garments that promise to give us the shape we’re looking for.

But when we read Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, we discover it’s not what is shaping our bodies that he is most concerned about. He’s concerned about what is shaping our perspective, our priorities, our pursuits, and our opinions. He writes:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom. 12:2)

His words force us to ask ourselves: What external forces are shaping my internal dialogue about what matters? What pressures me to make the choices I am making about how I spend my money, my time, and my energies? Am I self-aware enough to know?

Ever since we were born into this world, it has been working to press us into its mold.

Of course, we don’t like to think of ourselves as this impressionable. We like to think we are independent in our thinking. But the truth is, we are such products of the environment we live in that we often don’t recognize what is pressing in on us. Or perhaps we don’t feel the pressure because we simply give in to it. It makes no sense to Paul, however, for the lives of those who have been called and foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son instead to be conformed to this world.

Instead of being conformed, Paul instructs us to be transformed. There’s a contrast here between something pressing in on us from the outside that causes us to be conformed and something taking place on the inside that causes us to be transformed. Where inside is this taking place? In our minds. And what is happening in our minds? They are being renewed. There’s a renovation project going on.

Have you ever renovated anything? The word used by Paul for the “renewal” of our minds literally means “to renovate”—to rip out the old and put in the new. The one doing the renovation work is the Holy Spirit. But there is something here for us to do. The tool the Holy Spirit uses is the Word. This means we must bring ourselves under the influence of the Word.

In his book Growing Your Faith, the late Jerry Bridges explains this process as similar to what we tell our son when he comes in from playing on the dirt pile: “Go take a shower.” It is the soap and water that will wash away the sweat and the dirt. But Tommy must bring himself under their cleansing action to become clean. So we say to him, “Go take a shower.”

Likewise, when Paul says to us: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” he’s instructing us to bring ourselves under the transforming influence of the Word of God. As the Word of God pours over us, the Spirit will use it to accomplish its cleansing, renewing, renovating work in our minds. Our minds will begin to work correctly. Our thoughts will align more closely to God’s thoughts. Our way of valuing things will align more closely to the way God values things. In this way, we will grow in our ability to know what God wants.

We won’t need to wait for some extrabiblical, supernatural word from God to be spoken into our subconscious thoughts to know what to do. We’ll be able to discern the wise course of action. God doesn’t decide for us and then transmit His decisions to us. Like a good father, He is teaching us to discern what is good and acceptable and perfect. How? He is renewing our minds as we come under His Word. He is giving us the mind of Christ.

The world around us is trying to press us into its highly individualistic mold. But the Word is transforming us into people whose identity flows out of being a bondservant to Jesus Christ and no longer a slave to our own independence or self-fulfillment.

The world around us is trying to press us into its consumer mold. Its advertising seeks to convince us that we cannot be content without whatever it’s selling. But the Word is transforming us into people who can say, “I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

The world around us is trying to press us into its mold of thinking the goal of this life is comfort and security. But the Word of God is renewing our minds so that we have very different aspirations from simply a comfortable life with a comfortable retirement. We want to expend ourselves for the gospel until the day we die. We so deeply believe that our heavenly Father is taking care of us and has secured a future for us in which we will gain everything, we just aren’t so concerned about losing out here. We are pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The world around us seeks to press us into its mold. And we can simply relent. We can be shaped by the world around us. But we don’t have to be. We can resist. We can be shaped by the Word of God. As we take it in, think it through, and live it out, it is going to change us in profound and pleasant ways. We’re going to increasingly know how to live in the world around us.

Nancy Guthrie

Nancy Guthrie is an author, conference speaker, and Bible teacher. She is author of The One Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids, What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts), and the Bible study series The Promised One.