Christian Growth

“When we only learn from our own kind, we become critical more than curious.”

"The breadth of your learning will influence the depth of your learning. Maybe that’s not new to everyone, but for me, it has created a new category from which to learn. When I seek out leaders in other industries, it helps me in 3 specific ways" - C.Leaders

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Disturbing but Worth It: Getting Outside Our Bubble

In seminary we were encouraged—well, required—to read outside our own theological perspective. A few students recoiled a bit. They had been living in a bubble, and those outside it had been mostly ignored, sometimes caricatured, but never directly listened to with the goal of accurate understanding.

Most students relished the wider reading. They’d already learned that curiosity, personal connection, and questioning assumptions can result in life-changing bursts of discovery and personal growth.

… which is why effective educational institutions do that sort of thing.

This personal growth strategy makes sense, but is it biblical? And is this sort of growth Christian growth?

I’ve always loved the biblical record of Peter’s awakening to Gentile ministry, for lots of reasons. Near the top of the list is what it reveals about groupthink, questioning assumptions, and connecting with people outside our bubble.

Being taken outside our bubble is a gift.

Peter’s life-changing journey outside his exclusively-Jewish ministry bubble began at God’s initiative—probably because Peter would never have done it himself. We read in Acts 10:

1164 reads

People Are Being Discipled by Their Cable News

"I may have been unsure at first, but I am glad that I could use the word 'disciple' in that context. Discipleship highlights a fundamental issue for followers of Jesus right now: there are certain things that are in us and need to be discipled out of us and other things that need to be discipled in us and aren’t there currently." - Ed Stetzer

318 reads

Quid Pro Quo

The arrangement we make with God

By Daryl Neipp

In recent American politics, we have been introduced to the concept of quid pro quo, a Latin phrase which refers to an exchange of goods or services that is offered with a contingency or expectation of receiving something in return.

While this concept may seem new to us in the realm of politics, the reality is we operate under this basic set of assumptions all the time. In fact, I would argue it falls under basic human nature for most of life’s interactions. For example, the car dealer isn’t offering you that “free” cup of coffee merely because he thinks you might be thirsty; rather, he has an agenda in mind—that cup of coffee comes with some strings attached. And this sales mentality runs rampant through all our lives. If we are honest, when we run the thread of actions back to their root motivations, we will discover forms of selfishness: I do x because I will get x in return. If that were not bad enough, we import this line of thinking and this way of life right into our approach to religion as well.

Larry Crabb, in The Pressure’s Off, masterfully describes the quid pro quo arrangement we often make with God. Essentially, there is an A + B = C–type relationship: If you live a certain way, you should get what you want. That’s the bargain: I do A; a good, moral God will respond in kind (B); and I will receive the result I desire (C). For Christians, this could play out in a variety of mentalities:

1266 reads

Solitude Improved: understanding the spiritual discipline of meditation

"Meditation stands between the two ordinances of reading and praying, as the grand improver of the former, and the high quickener of the latter, to furnish the mind with choice materials for prayer, and to fill the heart with holy fervency in it." - Ben Ciavolella looks at Nathanael Ranew (d. 1677)

460 reads

“As congregations, we grow in godliness not by hearing one sermon but by hearing a thousand.”

"We need to believe that God really does work and that he really does work over time. Too often we overestimate the growth we can gain in a week, but underestimate the growth we can gain in a year." - Challies

644 reads