Bob Mulholland Jr. was a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary for most of his adult life. His life work included a study on the “false self” as the primary hindrance that keeps us from loving union with Jesus (i.e. abiding/remaining in Him, John 15:5). He described his findings in The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self (IVP). I called him last week to talk about this theme in preparation for my sermon on John 5:17-19. We talked about how, like an archeological tell, deeper and deeper layers of our false self must be shed over the years. His list includes: Fear– vs. trust Protectiveness – fear of disclosure. Possessiveness – vs. letting go. Manipulation – attempting to manipulate those around me, or God, to my agenda. Destructiveness –using others. Self-promotion Indulgence – even in excessive religious practices. Distinction/judgmentalism He notes how the religious false self is the most insidious. Read more.
During my summer vacation (or mini-Sabbatical), I had the opportunity to visit a few churches. I heard some well-delivered sermons with excellent illustrations, sharp deliveries, and technological grabbing support. I had, however, some observations that, I think, are worth pondering about what makes preaching out of a paradigm of emotional healthy spirituality quite distinct. While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, this is what I would like to say to myself and my fellow-communicators who have the unique privilege to speak for God to His people out of what I heard this summer: 1. This is not about us or our validation. It is not about people moving towards us but towards Jesus. 2. We must preach out of deep place of prayer as foundational to our preparation. 3. Respect complexity. especially as it relates to applications. What does it mean, “God wants us to triumph?” “Position yourself properly?” Praise God sacrificially?” “Trust. Read more.