Archive for the Spiritual Formation Category

Transformation!

Posted in Spiritual Formation, Transformation with tags , , on August 14, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Spiritual Transformation is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit!

  • Genesis 1:27 says the Spirit was involved in the creation process.
  • John 16:8 says the Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgement.
  • John 3:8 says the Spirit breathes life into us.
  • John 14:17 says the Spirit resides in us.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 says the Spirit inspired the Scriptures for us.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:18 says the Spirit transforms us.

The Holy Spirit is our helper and our sanctifier but we have a role to play in the transformation process. In Acts 2:37-39 the Apostle Peter called the crowd on the Day of Pentecost to repent, be baptized and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The core element of spiritual transformation is your heart! Your heart is the epicenter of your life that directs and motivates everything. The problem is your heart is deceitful above all else (Jer 17:9). Our hearts are totally depraved because apart from Christ we are dead in our sin (Romans 3:8-10) and the answer isn’t more education but reconciliation with God which leads to a reformation of the heart.

Reformation of the heart begins with acknowledging that we are inherently sinful and that we need to repent and have genuine remorse over our sinfulness. I think one of the reasons why we don’t see more genuine transformation in our lives at times is because we aren’t genuinely repentant and remorseful of our sin.

Faith in Jesus Christ, being the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) is essential. Faith in God worships God as God and builds a close relationship with God through the Scriptures and prayer. Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ. Daily communion with God positions us to be sanctified by the word of truth (Jn 17) and the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Repentance and faith leads us to being apart of the Community of faith = Church! To be a Christian and not be a part of a local church is to disobey God and remove yourself from the very environment that God chooses to use to shape and mold your faith and new creation nature. Some of us run away from church the moment there’s an issue but we are missing the point. It’s as we embrace the wrestle and tensions of the things that irritate us and challenge us about people within the church that God uses, in part, to shape and mold us.

Build your future on biblical truth that leads to spiritual transformation. Spiritually transformed people love God with all their heart, soul and strength.

Be the Change!

Spiritual Transformation!

Posted in Spiritual Formation, Transformation with tags , , on August 12, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

3 Times in the Scriptures, the word “Transformed” is used (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:21). The word ‘Transformed’ in the Greek translated through to English is the word, ‘Metamorphosis’ and it means a change of form or a change of character. In the study of Biology, it means “a process of change in structure that results in a change of behaviour.” The same word is used to describe the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly in a cocoon.

God intends each of us to experience a spiritual transformation as radical as the physical transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly…and then some. When a caterpillar enters the cocoon, everything about the animal changes, except the heart. When we are saved, we enter into the process of sanctification = being conformed to the image of Christ. This transforming work includes and centers on the heart. Hence why Proverbs 4:23 exhorts us to, “Guard your heart, for out if it flows the wellspring of life”.

I think the reality is we will all be transformed to one degree or another. The question is, in whose image will we be transformed into? We all become who we are according to the image we consistently behold. Gen 1:26-27 tells us we are made in the image of God but because of Genesis 3 and our rebellion against God, we are inherently selfish and sinful beings. Hence why we need to be saved and experience the transforming work of Christ on the cross and the help of the Holy Spirit.  What image are we pre-occupied with – Self or Christ?

Colossians 3:10 “Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

I think one of the reasons why spiritual transformation breaks down is because we lack vision of what a Gospel-centered life looks like. Without a vision of life in obedience to the teachings of Jesus we settle for a vision of our selves in a fallen world. The culture around us makes it easy for us to be focused on our selves and not on Christ.

Every single one of us, apart from Christ, is addicted to ourselves and we need to be set free from our self-sufficiency. Spiritual transformation is not a ‘life enhancement’ project that helps you become a better you. Sanctification is the process of developing the life of Christ inside of you that can only be sustained by the work of the Spirit inside of you as well.

Be the Change!

First Steps in Faith!

Posted in church, Discipleship, Spiritual Formation with tags , , on June 7, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

One of the most exciting things about ministry is seeing people’s lives transformed by the Gospel. Just recently @ Activate we have seen several people surrender their lives to Christ and begin a journey of discipleship. This is very exciting and has emphasized the need for some basic steps to be put in place to help ground new believers in their faith. Observing this process in action has also brought into clear focus the need for mature Christians to step up and start to disciple new believers. I think Church leaders need to think about what we are actually equipping the church to do – attend meetings or make disciples.

Step 1 – Meet with another Christian who can disciple you on a weekly basis

Following Jesus is best embraced within community. God created us for relationship and not for isolation and everyone of us need close connection with the people around us to become a healthy and whole individual. Telling new believers to follow Christ without supporting them in their faith journey is setting them up for a fall. A guest speaker came through recently who said that he had someone meet with him every week for 15 years discipling him in the Christian faith.

Step 2 – Establish a daily appointment with God

Like you would make an appointment with a friend or a colleague at work, carve out time in your diary and calendar to spend time with God. Be it an hour, 30mins or 15mins schedule it and keep it. This 1 appointment each day will form the foundation of your relationship with God as you grow closer to him each day. In your time with God, pull out your bible (ESV translation is a great bible to read) and begin to read a chapter or two from the Gospel of Matthew and a chapter or two from the Book of Genesis and work your way through the Bible over the course of a year.

As well as reading your bible, share your thoughts, desires, concerns and burdens with God in prayer. Keep your prayers real and speak to God from your heart and then spend time listening to what God will say to you in response, both through his word and in your heart.

Step 3 – Connect to a Life Group in your local church

Christian community can help you significantly in your spiritual growth. Being apart of a small group that meets together regularly can go a long way to enhancing your own understanding of the Bible and help you belong to a local Christian community. Ask your church leaders about how you can connect to a group and which group will be best suited to you.

Step 4 – Start to share your faith with people you are already in relationship with

When you become a Christian you will want to tell people about what Christ has done in your life. In a very real way, share with people from your heart about what is happening to you and what you are learning about God. Some of your friends, work colleagues, and family may not completely understand you but if they see your genuine love for them and the friendship, your authenticity as a follower of Christ will shine through. When people around you see the consistency of your witness over time, some will be attracted to it and will want to find out more and others will be repelled by it. Just keep being faithful to God and let God do the work he wants to do through you.

Step 5: Gather together weekly with your church

The bible says to not give up meeting together as is the habit of some but consider how to stir up one another toward love and good works. We can’t stir each other up to love and good works if we aren’t meeting together. Each Sunday or Saturday or Wednesday or whenever your church meets together, be there to learn more about God and his word, connect with other believers and celebrate all who God is in worship. There’s something powerful that happens when God’s people meet together. Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in Christ’s name, he is present among them.

There is lots more to be said to help you along your spiritual journey but these are some basic and initial steps to help you get started.

Lead the Change!

Innovare!

Posted in church, Spiritual Formation, Transformation with tags , , on June 3, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

One of our 3 core values as a faith community is “Innovative Leadership”. To innovate is to make changes and bring in new ideas. The word innovation comes from the root Latin word, “Innovare” and it means to renew, start again and initiate change.

I love this concept and I love doing exactly this in my life and ministry. When we encounter Christ we immediately encounter change. When you get transformed by Christ, the old has gone, the new has come and you enter into the process of sanctification as the Holy Spirit begins to make you more like Christ. God intends for us to be new creations in Christ Jesus.

Churches are the ultimate epi-centres of “Innovare” because we are all about helping people start again, embrace spiritual transformation and be renewed in our thinking and lifestyles. Where is God “Innovare-ing” in your life and where are you helping others have their own “Innovare” encounter with Christ?

Lead the Change!

Y Heart!

Posted in Spiritual Formation, Spirituality with tags , on May 10, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

One of the reasons why we hold back some of our heart from God is because we can have a false view of who God is. When we view God to be only a judge and not our heavenly Father who loves us and gave his one and only Son for us we approach God with a closed heart. We may worship with open hands but our hearts are closed and guarded.

We must stop approaching our relationship with God in a compartmentalized way, where we have allowed God into most rooms of our lives but not some rooms because they’re too precious to us and we’ve decided that they are off limits. To love God with all your heart is to open all the rooms in your life to God and allow free access to Him.

Scriptures like Luke 10:25-28 show us that life is a matter of the heart. In the natural your heart is the major organ in your body that over the average lifetime beats 2.5 billion times. The same goes for your spiritual heart. Your heart is the epi-centre of your feelings, thoughts, words & actions and the place where God’s Spirit dwells. If you are going to care for your heart, then you need to understand it because understanding something is the basis of care for it.

Issues of the heart are important to talk about but unfortunately I have observed in modern preaching an emphasis on the external symptoms of relationships, finances, time management and sexuality, to name a few. These issues are important in our lives but they are symptoms of a much greater issue – what’s going on inside our hearts.

God’s heart shaping work involves a partnership between us and God. God is committed to shaping and healing our hearts and thus brings to the surface the real condition of our hearts. He doesn’t do this because he wants to find out what’s inside our hearts, he already knows. He does this because we are ignorant and deceived to what’s in our hearts and for us to partner with God we need to know exactly what we are dealing with.

Our role is to be willing and open for God to work in our hearts and bring healing to our brokenness. God uses things like the culture we live in, the community of faith we are apart of, the communion we have with him and the conflict we encounter to shape and mold our hearts to be in alignment with his heart.

God’s goal in shaping our hearts is to help us to be a man or woman after his heart. King David was given the unique and prized brand of being a man after God’s heart. Why? Was it because he was obedient, powerful & successful? No, you can do these and have these things and yet not be in pursuit of God’s heart. David was a student of God’s heart and he was in pursuit of God to know and understand him and this is what God delights in (Jer 9:23-24).

2 Questions to answer: What has happened in your past that has contributed to the current condition of your heart and what is God revealing to you right now about your heart? What are you going to do as a result of your answer?

Lead the Change!