Spiritual Formation

This year I have responsibility to oversee a Spiritual Formation group for .acom and this morning was our first meeting.

We spent from 7.30am -11.30am in conversation and reflection on what was going on in our lives as we seek to be disciples of Jesus. I always love meeting with people who take their discipleship seriously, so I think these gatherings will be very productive and useful for all of us. When people are motivated its amazing how easy it is generate discussion. We threw some great topics around and really dug into some stuff of life.

One of the themes that emerged over the day as I met with a number of different people was the question of ‘how do we really live under Jesus’ lordship?’ Do we kid ourselves that we are disciples when all we are is religious people?

I am increasingly coming to believe that if we don’t live lives totally oriented around Jesus and his agenda for us then we are pissing our life away on the stuff that doesn’t satisfy (See Isaiah 55). Lots of money, nice cars, big houses etc are all held in high regard not just in middle class dom but also in the church. If Jesus calls us to be his followers first then maybe we will have some of this stuff, but maybe not. Maybe we will be called to let all that stuff go so that we can devote time to what he calls us to.

Do we ever genuinely consider downsizing our house so we can have a smaller mortgage and work less, so we can be free to do what God calls us to? (One family in our Upstream have made this decision recently, much to the consternation of their wider family who don’t hold Jesus like values)

Do we ever consider working the minimum we need to rather than doing full time? I was chatting with Keith Farmer today – an older man now who has made that choice – because he wants to free time up for God stuff. He and his wife live frugally on 3 days a week salary. Why? Because they can…

Can we routinely reject the ad campaigns that call us to buy more stuff and upgrade, even though what we have is perfectly good? I wonder if we should ditch all junk mail before it hits the house. At least that way we will be uninformed about what we don’t have.

I am increasingly disturbed by the extent to which we buy into the economic system of this society and then become slaves to it. I don’t think Jesus intends this for us and I don’t think we pay it enough attention as an issue.

Was the sermon on the mount a nice idea or a way of life?

Do we swim upstream or is actually downstream with an illusion of upstream?

Do we care enough to make a radical re-orientation – to ‘repent’ and live more Jesus like lives.

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