Archive for the 'Spiritual Formation' Category

Books / Readings, Change!?!, Spiritual Formation

The Point of Life

Here’s another thought from Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story. He writes that “the point of life is character transformation.” To illustrate idea, he tells a story that life has three parts:
1) We come into the world through birth and spend several years discovering ourselves.
2) In the second stage we long for a mate, to create a family, and find ways to be creative with our talents.
3) The last stage is a time for reflection when are bodies are slower, do less work and “think about a life lived rather than look forward to a life getting started.” (p. 69)

As I approach my birthday next week, more and more I’m beginning to realize my age is getting older and my body is slowing down. I recently completed a 1/2 marathon with an injured hamstring muscle… I don’t heal as fast as I used to. My hairline is receding. It’s getting more and more gray in color. I don’t mind going to bed earlier now than a few years ago… my body needs rest.

Am I different than the general population? No. I think I’m pretty average. Our bodies change with time. No matter how much exercise we do, what kind of diet we eat, or how much money we spend on health treatments, we can’t stop the aging process. Our bodies are transforming daily into something different than they were previously.

Miller goes on to say, “The human body essentially recreates itself every six months. Nearly every cell of hair and skin and bone dies and another is directed to its former place. You are not who you were… (six months ago).” (p.70)

So, what is the point of life? As our bodies go through physical transformation every day, week, month, and year, how is your character transformation proceeding? I believe that it constantly changes as well. Are you wiser, more loving, giving, patient, gentle and have more self-control than you were a year ago? How is your faith? Do you sense that you’re walking more with Jesus than you did a year ago?

What is the point of life? There may be many good answers to this question. What’s your’s?

Spiritual Formation

The Greatest Value

What do you really value in life? What’s most important?

Sunday, I ran the Carlsbad 1/2 Marathon. It’s the 12th time I’ve done the race and my first 1/2 in four years. What made this year’s race different is, I have an injured hamstring muscle. So, my plan was to run “gently,” not race or push, but just enjoy myself. I finished just 9 minutes slower than my personal best. I was amazed at how well the race went! I felt a great accomplishment in running so well with my injury and having a good time.

This week, I’ve been living in the afterglow of the race. I’m grateful for the accomplishment. I still feel good, but the afterglow is fading with each passing day.

What do I value? I must confess that I place value in accomplishments. It feels good to achieve something that I’ve worked hard to attain. May I confess that it also helps to build my ego?

Though I’m grateful for a good race, I have to remember that it wasn’t me that allowed me to race and do well. The blessing comes from God. It was through Christ in me that I found the strength to run and, run without making the injury worse.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

I’m still learning that my greatest value needs to be Christ. It is through him that I can find ultimate contentment, satisfaction, and gratitude for the blessings in life.

Can you relate?

Books / Readings, Change!?!, Spiritual Formation

2016 Almost Here

The New Year is almost upon us! I’m looking forward to it. This past year has been huge in the amount of transitions! I’ve moved 5 times in 2015. Now, I’m settled back in my home and looking forward to being in one place for a while.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve read my first book by Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story. I didn’t know what to expect, but was quite impressed with his writing skills. It’s a very readable, thought provoking and inspiring book.

Miller writes about a movie company that wants to make a movie about his life. In the process of writing the script with two other writers, he discovers what’s important to make life better, or “how to live a better story.”

New Years is a time to reflect over the past year and consider what you’d like to be different or better for the New Year. What elements would you like to be in your life story for next year? Joy? Conflict? Adventure? Challenge? Discouragement? Opportunities? Love?

I’m sure that we’ll experience all of those elements in our story next year. The real test of a “good” story in our life is how we respond to any element we find ourselves in.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (pronounced how-oh-lay ma-ka-hee-key ho) — That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian. May your life’s story be brighter in 2016!


Spiritual Formation

Who Are You?

One thing I love about the personality assessment, Clifton StrengthsFinder, is that it reveals how unique a person truly is! The assessment reveals what your top 5 talent or strength themes are out of a possible 34. According to Gallup’s research, to find someone with the same top 5 themes that you have, in the same order is one in over 33.3 million. Thus, there’s only about 250 people in the world with your top 5 themes in your theme order. To go further, Gallup also says that to find someone with the same top eight themes in your same order is one in over 77 billion. So, at this moment, you are a unique person on this planet. No one exists who is just like you!

Today, I read a devotional by Billy Graham. He begins by telling that the first astronauts were required to give twenty answers to the question, “Who are you?” Can you give twenty answers to that question? What kind of answers would you give? Do you know who you really are? Graham writes, “Scientists agree that our desperate search leads all humans to seek heroes and to imitate others, to ‘paste bits and pieces of other people on ourselves’.” What Graham means by that is we imitate others in the way we do things. Yes, we learn by doing, but instead of doing it through our own creativity, we try to act or be like someone else. For example, do you know someone who tries to drive like a Nascar driver on the freeway? Do you know an armchair quarterback who thinks he makes better decisions than the one on the field?

The problem of imitating and trying to be like others is that our true self that God created does not come out. There are many passages, like Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…” God intimately knows us because he uniquely created us! By imitating others, we do not honor the way God created and gifted us.

Graham concludes the devotional by writing, “Consider this: there are three of you. There is the person you think you are. There is the person others think you are. There is the person God knows you are and can be through Christ.” As you go through this day, seek God to understand and be the person you were created to be. Nobody can do things just like you do!

Jeff Glass

Ministry Formation, Spiritual Formation

Clifton StrengthsFinder and Personal Evangelism

Gallup has created a wonderful personality tool called, Clifton StrengthsFinder. It has been proven to help people achieve greater success at work and in relationships. Can it also do the same for personal evangelism? I’m doing research through Bethel Seminary (St. Paul, MN.), to discover if StrengthsFinder can also empower Christians who feel inadequate for personal evangelism.

As part of my Doctor of Ministry research, I surveyed Christians who have taken Clifton StrengthsFinder and who come from a variety of Christian backgrounds. I want to thank everyone who took the survey! Your participation in this survey provided information to support others to be more faithful to God’s call to share our faith.

Soon, I will start a series of posts on how Clifton StrengthsFinder can empower Christians in personal evangelism.

Thank you for assisting in this research!

Jeff Glass

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