Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
For those of you who would like to support the vision & ministry of Woodland Hills Community Church (the faith community I serve that continues to encourage me to minister outside the box), please click on the link just above.

Friday, March 13

Today’s Readings: Psalm 80; Jeremiah 23:1-8; Matthew 21:33-43; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16; Psalm 23

Featured Reading:
1 Corinthians 2:10-16

A year and a half ago, I had the pleasure of reading Jim Kitchen’s book The Post-Modern Parish while I was on sabbatical. There were several provocative points he made in the book. One of the most provocative was his assertion that it is time for our local churches to move away from models that primarily emphasize Christian Education and toward models that emphasize spiritual formation. “What’s the difference between the two?” you might ask. The difference is that Christian Education tends to teach people about the faith. While such an approach is helpful in that it imparts knowledge, one of the model's shortcomings is that it frequently puts distance between individuals and the subject matter – leaving individuals with the option to pick up the information they like and leave behind information they don’t like. In other words, it tends to leave people within their comfort zones. Spiritual formation, on the other hand, has the goal of facilitating direct experiences of God. This direct experience of God often impacts individuals so dramatically that they lose the luxury of being able to pick and choose what they will carry forward with them. I was reminded of this distinction as I read Paul’s words from today’s reading in 1 Corinthians where Paul talks about the work of the Spirit. “We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions,” Paul began, “[for] we didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God…” (1 Corinthians 2:13 from The Message). As we move deeper and deeper into the Lenten season, it seems like a great time to challenge ourselves to move beyond simply listening to and/or reciting the familiar stories of our faith and toward opportunities to actually experience aspects of those transformative stories within the context of our own lives. The difference may seem subtle, but it’s incredibly important. Til next time…

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