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Rule of Life NLF Part 1 (with commentary)

Posted on June 19th, 2008

      The church, in the Western world in particular, is in serious trouble. The culture has so overwhelmed us that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the church and the world. Historically, when there has been decline in the church, often new monastic movements have emerged (e.g. desert fathers, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, the Cistercians). I interpret the yearnings of the emergent movement and the younger generation towards the contemplative as a cry for something different, a cry for God.    I bring with me a strong ecclesiology. I believe God loves the local church bought at the price of His Son’s blood, and the development of mature, healthy communities is essential for global mission.  So, after 4 + years of  ponderings, I have written a Rule of Life to pilot in our local, missional, evangelical church.       I believe that simply calling people to spiritual disciplines as we have for decades is not enough to slow us down so that we are in the world but not of it. We do need a new monasticism. This, however, needs to be somehow wedded to the local church. So this is my attempt to help focus our local community at NLF to see membership differently, to see themselves differently.        It is broken down into 4 categories- Prayer, Reset, Relationships, and Work/Activity.  This is a work in progress. I will share each category -one by one- over the next week with you.   PRAYER • Be a lover of God, seeking to live in the love of Christ above all else. Deut. 6:4-9; Psalm 27:1-4; Matthew 22:36-38. Jesus identified this as the greatest commandment and the summary of all Scripture. We want to be people who know God in our experience (heart and soul) as well as with our minds. • Value my own dignity as a human being made in God’s image through self-respect and self-care. Genesis 1:27; Luke 15:17-24, Galatians 4:1-7. An accurate, genuine grasp of Scripture and the gospel delivers us from self-hate into self-respect and self-care, out of which we can love others well. We are image-bearers of God. This is the greatest compliment that could be given regarding our value and worth. Then, in the gospel, we are no longer slaves or orphans, but adopted sons and daughters. Jesus took our sin record, taking our death on the cross. At the same time, we are legally declared righteous in Christ and treated as if our record were perfect before God. • Love my neighbor as I love myself, giving first priority to my spouse and children as my first neighbors, OR embracing my singleness while bonding with others and bearing fruit for God. Genesis 2:24-5; Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 12:31; 1 Cor. 7:25-38. We recognize both marriage and singleness as valid vocations/callings. For those who are married, bonding with and serving our spouse comes before all else but Christ. For those who are single, voluntarily or involuntarily, we affirm our call to be the bride of Christ, bond in healthy ways to others, and serve as mothers and fathers who bear fruit for Christ.   What are your thoughts? Comments? Wonderings?

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives