– My 2008 Journey

My spiritual journey since 12/2007
       
      This article is written with a two-fold purpose: 

       First, I want to review the ground I've covered thus far in 2008 and 
       
          
       Second, I want to document
some of what I’ve learned that may be of
       use anyone who shares my hunger for an ever
-expanding faith-relationship
       with Jesus Christ.

As I start to write, I am overwhelmed with the goodness of God. For several months I have been hibernating — sensing “a call” to be prayerfully quiet, to study, to write, and to ask the Lord to deepen my faith. 
 
I'm at a loss as to where to begin to document even a small portion of what I have received strictly by Grace alone. Indeed! The Lord is good and greatly to be praised. Amen. 
 
For starters … 
I have spent many hours reading. I re-read books from my library – I have purchased a few new books – and I have devoured a huge amount of material from the internet.
 
Sometimes, I've returned to web-sites that I've visited many times before; at other times I've miracuously landed on brand-new material. Much of which has blown me away!
 
Well aware of my tendency to be wordy, I'll try to be as concise as possible in sharing what I've learned, especially what I now hold as new or renewed convictions.
 
Revelation …
Some of the consistent words or thoughts that I've discovered, repeatedly deal with how we appropriate “new truth” —  especially new truth that can help us grow spiritually. The most helpful word in this regard has been REVELATION. I re-discovered the importance of this biblical concept as I began my study time. I say re-discovered because of being exposed to writing by Litzman that emphasizes this. At this point, I think REVELATION is extremely important .
 
My testimony: I have experienced a wonderful, experiential reality that is available whenever I settle down to consciously, prayerfully engage my heart and let the Holy Spirit have free sway. As I've read different material, from time to time I've sensed a welcome nudge that alerts me to the impor-tance of the helpful nature of what's before me. At times, the words have almost leaped off the page.
 
Returning to the idea of Revelation —  I spent a day studying the relevance of the biblical teaching on this subject. I am now more convinced than ever that little happens in the process of appropriating truth without the Lord’s Revelation, via the Holy Spirit who ministers to our hearts. The all-encompassing understanding that revelation is a heart-exercise is now baseline truth for me.
 
Assessing material on the web …
I've proven to myself, once again, that the web is a gold-mine of helpful spiritual truth. However,  I hasten to add that much of what's written there, can be more of a hindrance, than a help. I've felt the need for affirmation of the usefulness of web material. In retrospect, I sense that I have – in the past – spent too much time perusing the internet without exercising the prayerfull discernment that the Lord desires to reveal.

 

I am learning that when I begin a search for information that I need to ask for revelation that can both protect me and minimize wasted time. This has been a wonderful bit of new insight for me.
 
More than once, I have sensed the Holy Spirit steering me away from material that I later discovered contained more error than truth. However !! Having said all of the above, I must add that I seldom read anything from which I don’t learn something helpful even though the overall material may contain things I don’t agree with. 
 
Hearing from another hungry heart …
A very clearly recognized happening for me pertains to the basic sense of a writer’s heart when I encounter a new author. There are times when I read something that is not necessarily well written, yet I sense that the content is coming from an overflow of “living water”. Again there is a converse here. I have also read much that has seemed to be more of an intellectual exercise than food for the hungry soul. I can’t overstate what I am learning here: the answer is discernment or revelation.
 
Written web material and finances … 
I don’t want to over-emphasize what I'm about to say, but it has concerned me that some authors  charge a high price for their available materials. Obviously, making written material available  is costly. But I am impressed by authors who make their writings available with little mention of cost. Many of them seem to be able, by a simple exercise of faith, to make their writings available without a strong emphasis on finances.
 
Doctrinal starting places …
This is another area in which I have gleaned some helpful insight.  Doctrine is another subject which requires a few words about what I have learned regarding it and written material. I think that if a writer can't demonstrate a commitment to a sound doctrinal base, his work is probably not worth probing. There are a lot of "crazies" out there.
 
But to shift gears to another related point. I’ve found that I’ve been blessed beyond measure many times by writers who have held quite a different theological starting point than I. 
 
If a writer is honest in what he communicates, I find I seldom have a problem with his basic theology. For me … any form of deception or “a hard-sell approach” just doesn’t work. (Revelation works). I may even part company with some writers on issues that don’t pertain to what I am learn-ing from them, yet they are most helpful. 
 
I've learned from those on the Arminian side of the BIG DEBATE, as well as from the Calvinist side. I have learned much from Charismatics,  Emergent Church proponents, the Purpose-Driven ad-vocates, the Vineyard people and many others.
 
Having said all of the above, I find far more affirmation from the Lord when I "hang my hat" on the “Christ in me” paradigm than any other. Even here, I have discovered that I must choose and prayerfully separate out what “fits for me.”  Jesus said plainly, “Learn from me.” I am profoundly convinced that He meant exactly what He said.     
 
Coming full circle, I return to emphasize my undergirding desire for revelation-truth. I agree whole heartedly with Wayne Jacobsen. If you have heard or read any of his material, you know that he stresses the need for a faith that works in everyday life. Yet, his teaching is based on an unrelenting commitment to the Word.
 
In closing ….
Please hear me when I say that none of my words above are at all self-congratulatory. Anything that I’ve ever learned of any value has been a gift of Grace.  I've been blessed by reading a number of excellent books and a working computer. BUT!!!  Of much more importance is the fact that I worship a Lord who is far more willing to teach me and to reveal Himself to me  than I ever realize iis possible. Indeed, His Grace is sufficient!!
 
Here is a list of the authors I have studied during the last few months. I am deeply indebted to every one of them. If anyone wants specifics regarding this list, I can share that, if it would be helpful.
 
                              Andrew Murray   Norman Grubb   Steve McVey   
                              Watchman Nee   Miles Stanford    Diane and Dan Smedra
                              Howard Synder   Sidlow Baxter     Roy and Revel Hession
                              Warren Litzman   Chip Brodgen    Major Ian Thomas

Probably most of you reading this article are somewhat familiar with some of the names above. I consider the Smedra site or Steve McVey's site  as VERY valuable new resources.

 
For the Smedra site, I suggest you go there when you have plenty of time. You will need to read several of their pages. I would recommend the following order of pursuit because they have so much to share with anyone who has a truly hungry heart.  I wish I had the benefit or a plan to follow.

 

Home page = with CHRIST.org
About us on their home page
Dan’s testimony via their About us
Biblical Love in Relation to Doctrinal Error
 
I should also mention Steve McVey’s material. I have been reading his monthly newsletter for more than a year and have benefitted tremendously from it. I have six of his messages and Nancy and I have heard them all. I also have one of his books – labeled simply, “Grace Walk”. This 189 page paper back is an excellent introduction to the “Christ in you” message. Steve has numerous books that are available for purchase.
 
Steve can be heard and seen on the Willard Theissen TV site, “newday.org” from Manitoba. Steve has been on there many times since 1998 and can be seen in the video archives of New Day.
 
Since the web sites mentioned have significantly impacted me and my life, I wanted to pass them on to others via the Crossroads site.  See our links page.

 

That's all for now.  Enjoy His Life in you and be blessed by His Grace.