Matters of the Heart and the Re-formation of the Soul

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This keynote presentation compliments a 'sermon' I prepared for delivery at a church on the south side of Dublin, Ireland in January 2009. It's an exploration into what it means to become like Jesus Christ, since from a Christian perspective, He is the supreme example of what it looks like to live a truly human life in the love and care of God.

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  • Matters of the Heart and the Re-formation of the Soul

    1. 1. MATTERS OF THE HEART DISCIPLESHIP AND THE RE-FORMATION OF THE SOUL
    2. 2. THERE’S A YEARNING DEEPER BENEATH THIS RECKLESS CHASE AFTER SIGNIFICANCE. THERE’S A HUNGER TOO STRONG TO SATISFY WITH TEMPORARY AND EXHAUSTIBLE SOURCES.
    3. 3. “GENUINE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WHOLE PERSON INTO THE GOODNESS AND POWER SEEN IN JESUS AND HIS ‘ABBA’ FATHER - THE ONLY TRANSFORMATION ADEQUATE TO THE HUMAN SELF - REMAINS THE NECESSARY GOAL OF HUMAN LIFE.” - DALLAS WILLARD
    4. 4. . . BUT IT LIES BEYOND THE REACH OF PROGRAMS OF INNER TRANSFORMATION THAT DRAW MERELY ON THE HUMAN SPIRIT - EVEN WHEN THE HUMAN SPIRIT IS ITSELF TREATED AS ULTIMATELY DIVINE. REALITY OF ALL THIS IS CURRENTLY VEILED FROM VIEW BY THE VERY LOW LEVEL OF SPIRITUAL LIFE SEEN IN CHRISTIANITY AS NOW PLACED BEFORE THE GENERAL PUBLIC . .
    5. 5. . . THAT LOW LEVEL EXPLAINS WHY THERE ARE AT PRESENT SO MANY PSYCHOLOGIES AND SPIRITUALITIES CONTESTING THE FIELD - OFTEN LED OR DOMINATED BY EX-CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE ABANDONED RECOGNIZED FORMS OF CHRISTIANITY AS HOPELESS OR EVEN HARMFUL.” - DALLAS WILLARD
    6. 6. DISCIPLESHIP IS A WILLFUL SUBMISSION OF OURSELVES TO THE WILL, INFLUENCE AND EXAMPLE OF ANOTHER. IN THE CASE OF THE CHRISTIAN, IT IS JESUS CHRIST.
    7. 7. DISCIPLESHIP IS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN OURSELVES, OTHERS AND GOD. WE BRING WHO WE ARE BEFORE GOD AND HE DOES THE WORK OF TRANSFORMING OUR LIVES IN THE PATTERN OF JESUS.
    8. 8. THE MOST TRUTHFUL DEFINITION OF LOVE IS THIS: ‘ALWAYS WORKING FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF ANOTHER’.
    9. 9. IT WAS JESUS’ REGULAR ENGAGEMENT WITH GOD DURING TIMES OF SILENCE AND SOLITUDE THAT WERE INDISPENSABLE FOR HIS LIFE AND SERVICE TO OTHERS.
    10. 10. KEVIN UNDERSTANDS THAT GOD'S LOVE FOR HIM ISN'T JUST FOR THE PERSON THAT HE MIGHT BECOME, BUT THAT GOD LOVES HIM AS HE IS (AND TOO MUCH TO LEAVE HIM THAT WAY) AND SO HE BRINGS HIS WHOLE SELF - DARKNESS AND LIGHT - BEFORE GOD (PLACE OF SOLITUDE AND SILENCE) TO RECEIVE FROM GOD WHAT KEVIN COULD NEVER GIVE HIMSELF.
    11. 11. THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES, OR PRACTICES, ARE GIFTS FROM GOD. THEY ARE IN EFFECT, ‘SPACE-MAKERS’, ALLOWING GOD TO MEET US WHERE WE’RE AT AS HE’S ALWAYS DONE RIGHT THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY.
    12. 12. “THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES ARE WHAT’S WITHIN OUR POWER TO DO WHICH CAN ENABLE GOD TO DO FOR US WHAT WE CANNOT DO FOR OURSELVES, NAMELY, TO BECOME MORE LIKE CHRIST.” - DALLAS WILLARD
    13. 13. “THIS IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO OFTEN IN THE PAST, AND THIS FACT IS A MAJOR BARRIER TO WHOLEHEARTEDLY EMBRACING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION IN THE PRESENT.” - DALLAS WILLARD
    14. 14. “JESUS RETURNED TO GALILEE POWERFUL IN THE SPIRIT.” (LUKE 4:14, TM)
    15. 15. * JESUS SATURATED HIMSELF IN THE SCRIPTURES (WHERE GOD IS MOST CLEARLY REVEALED) * JESUS ESCAPED (REGULARLY) INTO A PERIOD OF SILENCE AND SOLITUDE * DURING THAT TIME HE WAS TEMPTED AND TRIED, BUT HE FOUND DEEP CONNECTION WITH HIS FATHER
    16. 16. * HE CAME TO KNOW HIS ‘ABBA’ (DADDY) BETTER * HE CAME TO KNOW HIMSELF BETTER * HE GAINED CLARITY ON HIS LIFE’S PURPOSE
    17. 17. “WHEN SUCCESSFUL, SPIRITUAL FORMATION (OR, REALLY, RE- FORMATION) UNITES THE DIVIDED HEART AND LIFE OF THE INDIVIDUAL. THAT PERSON CAN THEN BRING REMARKABLE HARMONY INTO THE GROUPS WHERE HE OR SHE PARTICIPATES.” - DALLAS WILLARD
    18. 18. V.I.M. VISION INTENTION MEANS THE ‘SYSTEM‘ IN THE PROCESS OF SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION.
    19. 19. SPIRITUAL FORMATION IS THE PROCESS OF BECOMING THOSE PEOPLE GOD DREAMS WE CAN BE, THAT HE DESIGNED US TO BE AND HAS DESTINED US TO BE IN CHRIST. IT’S A HOLISTIC, OR WHOLE PERSON, RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE TO US.
    20. 20. “. . THE FUNCTION OF THE WILL OR HEART: TO ORGANISE OUR LIFE AS A WHOLE, AND, INDEED, TO ORGANIZE IT AROUND GOD.” - DALLAS WILLARD
    21. 21. quot;STEP OUT OF THE TRAFFIC! TAKE A LONG, LOVING LOOK AT ME, YOUR HIGH GOD, ABOVE POLITICS, ABOVE EVERYTHING.quot; - PSALM 46:10, TM
    22. 22. “GOD, THE MASTER, THE HOLY OF ISRAEL, HAS THIS SOLEMN COUNSEL: YOUR SALVATION REQUIRES YOU TO TURN BACK TO ME AND STOP YOUR SILLY EFFORTS TO SAVE YOURSELVES. YOUR STRENGTH WILL COME FROM SETTLING DOWN IN COMPLETE DEPENDENCE ON ME—THE VERY THING YOU'VE BEEN UNWILLING TO DO.” - ISAIAH 30:15, TM
    23. 23. “FEW PEOPLE COULD IMAGINE WHAT GOD WOULD MAKE OF THEM IF THEY WOULD BUT WHOLEHEARTEDLY ENTRUST THEMSELVES TO HIS LOVING CARE.” - ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
    24. 24. MATTERS OF THE HEART DISCIPLESHIP AND THE RE-FORMATION OF THE SOUL

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