Archive for the ‘Spiritual Health’ Category

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Diane Chandler

I am so excited to invite you to The Holy Spirit & Christian Formation Conference to be held at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia over Fri. and Sat., March 20-21, 2015! Sponsored by the Regent Center for Renewal Studies with the support of the Regent University School of Divinity, the School of Psychology and Counseling, and the College of Arts and Sciences, the conference will draw those within the church and the Christian academy.

With a renewal of interest in Christian formation blossoming within the church, the Christian academy and published literature, what is readily apparent is that the Christian life is integrated and holistic in nature, as directed by the Holy Spirit, yet requiring our cooperation. This conference will address several dimensions of Christian formation: spiritual, ethical, emotional, relational, intellectual, vocational, and physical health and wellness.

How does the Holy Spirit shape us into the image of Jesus?Renewal Dynamics graphic

What is the role of the emotions and psychological well-being related to overcoming emotional wounds and gaining emotional freedom?

What role do relationships in the family, friendship, and the body of Christ play in shaping believers into Christlikeness?

How does intellectual formation (i.e., the mind) contribute to Christian formation?

Why does one’s sense of life purpose and calling impact vocational development and direction?

Why is care of the physical body a vital component of Christian formation?

Four plenary speakers will address key topics relating to Christian formation. Best-selling author and protégé of Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, James Bryan Smith will address spiritual formation. Psychologist M. Elizabeth Hall will address the role of suffering in emotional formation. Stanley Hauerwas will discuss how the Holy Spirit ethically develops believers as it relates to holiness. Stephen G. Post’s presentation will focus on the pneumatology of health and healing related to the body, mind, and spirit within the context of godly love. Plus over thirty parallel paper sessions likewise will address strategic formational dimensions.

For more information and to register, go to The Holy Spirit & Christian Formation website. The early bird registration deadline is Feb. 15. So register today!

Fasting and the Spiritual Life

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 by Diane Chandler

fastingbreaksthechainThroughout Christian history, fasting has been a spiritual discipline with a focus on seeking God.  Including medieval figures, others like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, and Charles Finney engaged in the practice of fasting.  Rarely today in our Western consumer-driven culture, however, do we hear much about the practice and benefits of fasting.

Yet as we look into the pages of Scripture, we see multiple examples of those who abstained from food in order to seek God.  Moses fasted for 40 days atop Mount Sinai before the giving of the Law and again during another 40 days in repentance for Israel’s sin.  Esther called for a 3-day fast on her behalf in order to preserve her people in a spiritual emergency.  In repentance, David fasted after the death of his son.  Daniel and his three friends fasted for 10 days in order not to defile themselves by eating the Babylonian king’s food.  Later after reading Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, Daniel fasted for 21 days, repented for personal and national sin, and contended for the future of his nation.

Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights prior to beginning His ministry.  The prophetess Anna, who worshipped God daily in the temple with fasting and prayer, was able to see Jesus when his parents presented him in the temple.  This is to say nothing of Ezra, Nehemiah, Cornelius and Paul – each of whom fasted as a means to focus on God.

Reasons for fasting may vary:  (1) deepening intimacy with the Lord; (2) personal and/or corporate repentance, cleansing, and consecration; (3) divine guidance, empowerment, revelation, or deliverance; (4) intercession resulting from a specific burden, circumstance, or godly cause; (5) spiritual warfare and breakthrough for self or others; (6) God’s purposes for individuals and groups; and (7) local, national, and global concerns.  

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Are You Hungry? Holiness and the Desire for God

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 by Michelle Vondey

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. When I encounter the same message from different people at different times in different contexts, I pay attention. I expect that God is trying to tell me something. In recent weeks I’ve read a couple of articles about holiness and a related Scripture passage that had me thinking, “What is God saying to me?” The first encounter I had with the topic of holiness is an article by Cheryl Bridges Johns in the Church of God Evangel. Johns laments that many Christians today see no need for holiness, and that unfortunately, these “profane Christians . . . hinder the message that Jesus came to save, heal, and deliver all creation from the bondage of sin” (p. 13). While there is hope, it begins with the “death of self” and requires that we purge ourselves of self-seeking behaviors. Another discussion is found in the recent entry by Antipas Harris on Renewal Dynamics. Harris reminds us that although we live in this world we are not supposed to live like the world. In particular, “we must remain in tune with the enduring nature of God’s character — holiness to which all believers are called.” As I contemplated Harris’ blog and, in particular the readers’ comments, which seemed to suggest an uncertainty over what holiness is, I happened to read a passage in Col. 3:1-25, in which Paul refers to unholy versus holy behaviors and characteristics. In reflecting on the potential importance of these encounters, I recalled a song from the early 90s that says, “Lord, I hunger for holiness, and I thirst for the righteousness that’s yours.” The song reflects on the relationship of holiness, the desire for God, and the life and death battles (at least spiritually) we must fight in order to be victorious. I wonder, has anyone else been thinking about holiness lately?

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God Says, “Be Holy!”

Monday, August 6th, 2012 by Antipas Harris

 

Centuries of social, political, cultural, and religious diversity weigh heavily on expressions of Christianity. Party politics, greed, personality driven ministries, ministry as business, and denominational and non-denominational church struggles over members seem to be the order of the day.  These influences have moved Christians further and further away from divine principles to which Christians are called to live out before a world that is far from God. The Church is called to be holy; so Christians must pursue holiness amidst an unholy world. The world does not know God so the world cannot lead in holiness. The best way to win the world to faith in Christ is by bearing witness to Christ through the Christian’s lifestyle of holiness – a life that is indifferent of the world—and expressed love towards those who are not living that life.  Miller argues that a careful revisit of historical developments that have altered Christianity from its biblical form of indifference might be a meaningful way for the Church to regain its fervor in representing Christ in the world—a world that God expects for Christians to be in but not of. Read the rest of this entry »

The Beauty of the Ordinary

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

The most rewarding part of traveling for me is the time to return home. No matter how visually stimulating the sights or how interesting the people I meet, usually around day seven something clicks, like an internal homing device, and I begin to yearn for the wonderfully familiar sights, sounds, and structures of home. While others may crave the excitement of the novel, I crave the ordinary. To hear the loud sounds of my children, whether they be the joys of laughter, the tears of pain, or the bursts of anger–these to me are full of life. More than that, they are the very ingredients of life, providing its texture and flavor. Read the rest of this entry »

Musings on My Lottery Ticket

Saturday, September 4th, 2010 by Marc Santom

As I write this, I’m looking at the “lottery ticket” lying next to my laptop. It’s not an actual lottery ticket, mind you, but rather a scratch & win ticket from The Great Grocery Giveaway. Some local grocery stores give them out to customers at the checkout line. For some reason, the checkout gal at Food Lion handed me a stack of 47 of them the other day. So I brought the stack home, handed my kids a few coins and ordered them to start stratchin’ so we could start winnin’.

The goal of the scratcher is to pick three of the nine circles to scratch off—and if all three match, you get whatever is revealed in the prize box at the bottom. After my kids unsuccessfully scratched through half the stack, I grabbed one and, using my fingernail, scratched off three circles really fast and, lo and behold, all three matched! My kids thought I was superman and immediately exclaimed, “Daddy, scratch the prize box to see if we’re rich!” All of a sudden, the possibility of winning up to $250,000 warmed my soul and placed a spark in my eye. I was experiencing hope for a better life as I thought, “I could be rich and things could get real good real fast.” Amid the brewing excitement in my mind, however, I paused long enough to observe what was going in within me…

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