The Distinguishing Characteristic

Recently my wife and I moved into a new home. We don’t quite know what to call it. It is a 1 1/2 story house and defies all of the categories I have searched through on the internet.

People who know a lot about home construction could look at our house, any house, and tell you exactly what type of home it is — Cape Cod, Colonial, Bungalow, or even a McMansion (I had no idea there were so many types of homes or so much variety within each type of home). Each of these have a defining feature (or two) that immediately identify it as that type of home. When you build a home, you choose those traits at the outset. Of course I am going somewhere with this analogy.

In the ministry, we are in the people building business. What traits do people have when they are being properly formed as disciples of Christ? Make no mistake, this is the job. The apostle Paul said it this way: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…” (Gal 4:19).

I am using that phrasing (Christ formed in us) to point to the characteristics or traits that we have as Christ followers. To that end, I have starting wondering whether or not there is a distinguishing characteristic of Christian maturity. Have you ever thought about that? If so, what would you say is the defining characteristic of Christian maturity?

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

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Book Review: The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch

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I did not know anything about Alan Hirsch before reading this book. I participated in a study group that read both this book, “The Forgotten Ways” and the companion, “The Forgotten Ways Handbook“. We took 8 weeks to discuss any implications these ideas might have on our community. (To be clear, the handbook is meant to be a step by step guide to integrating these ideas in your local church community. While it does not offer any additional information, per se, it does help clarify the authors ideas.)

This book is meant to correct a problem. As such, it’s value lies in the three areas of: diagnosing the problem, contrasting an alternative or antidote, and offering a prescription for the future. Each area must be carefully weighed.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and page numbers are taken from the main book and not the handbook. Keep thinking. Continue reading!