13 April 2021
Dobrey Dien from Kyiv, Ukraine!
Today I received the church-text with the memory verse, and I love the emphasis on JOY. Also want to note that for all the short verses we have had recently…Habakkuk 3:17-18 is going to be a challenge…but we can do it!
Today I began a week-long teaching of a Masters level course on Spiritual Formation. Spiritual Formation refers to the Spirit empowered growth of each Christian as we are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
All born-again Christians experience a transformation and become more like Christ. Sometimes the transformation appears to be slow and almost unnoticeable and then one day we realize, hey, I have grown. It’s kind of like when children grow slowly and then one day you notice that their pants no longer fit. And there are other times when we go through a growth-spurt and in a short amount of time radical changes happen in our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits. This is similar to when you look at a teenager at the end of their Junior year and then see them at the beginning of the Senior year, and it looks like they became an adult overnight! Such growth spurts can happen spiritually as well.
The class I am teaching describes the Biblical framework of formation and explores the stages and disciplines involved in Christian growth, and then gives individual and group opportunities to engage with the Spirit towards growth. The fun part starts tomorrow when we do a ½ day retreat and then engage in group-work to design Spiritual growth opportunities for the ministries represented by the students.
One of the disciplines of Spiritual Formation is Celebration, which has a lot to do with our memory verse’s emphasis on JOY. By disciplines, I mean that we can intentionally and in a disciplined way engage in Celebration. After all, not all of us are party-people by nature. But God is! God rejoices, Jesus goes to dinner-parties and one of the visuals of Revelation 19 is a huge gathering called - the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which is filled with gladness, joy and honor. Sounds like a celebration!
I know that Covid has taken a toll on our emotions; but nevertheless, God is forming us to be like Him and God is filled with JOY. So, may we exercise the Spiritual Discipline of Celebration. May we pray and ask to be transformed into people of GREAT JOY…people who CELEBRATE like God intended. May our human-emotions not dictate our level of Joy, but may the Spirit fill us with JOY, and shape us to be JOYFUL. Amen!
In faith, hope, love, and JOY,