Travelling On A Journey

I Am THANKFUL For Your Companionship

Dear UnCommon Journeyers,

I am so grateful for your engagement with The UnCommon Journey. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

This blog site is for you. You are eager to know God more intimately and have your life transformed in the process. I get to join your journey with God and be a spiritual companion on the way.

That is — Amazing!!      Mondo!!      Prodigious!!     And super-humbling.    Wow!

Thank you for inviting me (by subscribing) into your life.

I leave for California tomorrow for a few days. It’s my hope to publish a few posts while traveling. But, I am not in full control of my schedule. There’s also ways to schedule posts ahead of time. But, I’m not that experienced yet.

This is just my way of saying you might not hear from me as often for the next couple weeks. We shall see.

Pray for us – Rhonda & Jenna, my daughter are going with me. (It might be more accurate to say that I’m going with them.) We get to celebrate the High School graduation of “Z – the miracle man.” And, the ladies in my life get to celebrate Jenna’s forthcoming nuptials at a So Cal wedding shower hosted by some dear friends.

I hope to spread word of The UnCommon Journey to others who are as eager to know God as you are.

Thankful+For+YouThanks for loving for God!

Thanks for loving spiritual things!

Thanks for being companions on the journey! 

Thanks be to God for all things!! 

Dr. K

Exploring the Grandeur of Magnanimity

Aspiring to Possess a Great Soul

Would you like a Great Soul? What does that mean? What does it look like? There’s no need to settle for a puny or mediocre soul. Let’s aspire to greater heights. Let’s all live magnanimously. That’s right, with magnanimity. Yep! Let’s be magnanimous. Huh? That’s a word you don’t hear often. Let’s explore it a bit.

Definitions of Magnanimity

Magnanimity comes from Latin: magnus – great + animus – soul = “great soul.” To have a great soul. Does that resonate with you? Does something happen inside when you think about possessing a great soul?

According to various dictionaries, magnanimity means: “loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity” (Merriam-Webster). “Highly moral, especially in showing kindness or forgiveness, as in overlooking insults or not seeking revenge” (thefreedictionary.com). “Very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself” (Oxford). Other descriptions are: “noble sensibility,” “greathearted,”  and “noble spirit.”

Examples of Magnanimity 

From NT scriptures, two passages use the Greek word epiekia which can be translated magnanimity.

Philippians 4.5 “Let your epieikes be known to everyone.” Translated: gentleness, reasonableness, forbearance, and modesty. NT dictionaries give a meaning of “reasonableness in judging.” The word signifies a humble, patient steadfastness which is able to submit to injustice, disgrace, and maltreatment without hatred and malice, trusting God in spite of it all.

2 Corinthians 10.1 “I, Paul, exhort you by the meekness and epieikeias of Christ…” Translated: gentleness, clemency, modesty. Synonyms: fitting, suitable, reasonable, fair. When applied to authorities denotes indulgence, equity, lenience. It also denotes a humble, patient steadfastness.

Magnanimity was displayed by Jesus on the cross. He persevered in harsh mistreatment yet prayed, “Father forgive them….” A lifetime of suffering taught him obedience and made him magnanimous.

Magnanimity was displayed by Stephen at his stoning: He had a face of an angel and responded to his mistreatment with “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”

What We Learn 

  1. A great soul develops and is displayed in the midst of injustice, disgrace, and mistreatment as we learn not to respond in hatred, anger, malice, or revenge. Who does this well? To embrace mistreatment for the good it does is counterintuitive for us. But to endure injustice while simultaneously responding in humble patience and trusting wisdom is the Christ-likeness we desire.
  2. A great soul develops as we abide in Christ. He lived magnanimously. Abiding in Jesus Christ opens our soul’s capacity to be magnanimous if only we’ll take advantage of it. As the life and grace of Christ transforms our hearts, we begin to experience His magnanimity which becomes ours.

Magnanimous: Reasonable. Humble. Patient. Gentle. Noble. Kind. Fair. Generous. Forgiving. Greathearted. Steadfast. Great-souled.

Do you really want to be this kind of person? Will you join me on the journey of Christlike magnanimity?

Share your thoughts below.

Dr. K

Pursuing The Highest Calling: Sainthood

On The Journey To Christlikeness

Does your church produce saints? Is there evidence in your life, due to the efforts of your church, that you are becoming like Jesus Christ? Perhaps you’d like to be on an intentional journey of becoming a saint but are being held back by your church’s theology, teaching, or practices. I’d say, go for it anyway.

Pseudo-Saint

Some Christians claim they are saints because they’ve said the sinner’s prayer, been baptized, or chosen to follow Jesus. There may be legitimacy to this since Christians are set apart to God in love and holiness. But, does that mean these Christians actually live as saints? This is more theory than reality. If I believe I’m a saint, then I’m a saint. If I believe the Bible calls me a saint, then I’m a saint. I’m a saint “positionally.” But, if I am honest with myself, I’m not a saint in reality.

I’m a saint. But, I’m not a saint, saint.

And you’ve seen some of these kinds of “saints” in action, right? OMG!! See ya! Don’t want to be ya! Self-righteous, anti-so much, proud, unloving, and inconsistent. (I know one because I am one.) That kind of person is certainly not a saint.

People may think they are saints but that’s just proof they are not. A true saint would never claim that for himself or herself.

Additionally, saints are usually not recognized until they pass from this world.

So what we’re left with are the rare people who are on a journey to becoming a saint. That’s my point. Does your church have any theology, methodology, strategy, and examples to help these people actually become (like) Jesus Christ on earth?

Genuine Saint

Let’s consider what a saint might look like. A real, down-to-earth saint is someone who:

  • is in constant prayer quietly communing with God
  • battles their inner passions through daily ascetic efforts
  • lives in constant repentance with a deepening acknowledgment of their own sins
  • knows the Trinity in stillness of heart and mind
  • is actually dead to self and alive in Christ
  • loves every person they know without judgment or control
  • experiences God in creation and in every person they meet
  • is truly humble not claiming spiritual superiority or saintliness upon themselves
  • knows and actually lives the scriptures
  • lives in peace and contentment
  • perseveres in pain and hardship with joy, gentleness and kindness (suffers joyfully)
  • is generous and gracious with their resources
  • is able to impact other’s lives at a miraculous level
  • carries holiness lightly
  • possesses godly wisdom that draws the seeker and repels the proud
  • and above all, lives in union with Jesus Christ.

Do you desire to be like that? Is this the kind of person your church produces? If so, thanks be to God! If not, why not? What can you do about it? Why don’t you start by becoming the kind of person you think your church should produce?

Give that question some thought and action.

Share your thoughts below. 

Dr. K 

The Most Important Question You’ve Never Asked

Someone Significant is Missing From Your Life

I have written, or observed being written, over a dozen mission statements for evangelical churches and organizations. These efforts involve thought, prayer, debates, research, committees, drafts, and word-smithing. However, I’ve never heard or read of any evangelical Christian church or organization whose primary purpose was to produce men and women to be like God – men and women we’d call saints.

So, here’s the most important question you’ve never asked: “Does my church produce saints?”

I’m talking about real-life, battle-tested men and women who, you might say, are Jesus Christ in the flesh. Of course, Jesus is the Way. But, these folks show us the Way.

How it used to be

The ancient church designated certain people as saints whose lives exuded holiness, intimacy with God, perseverance, and Christ-likeness. They possessed a rare combination of traits which others saw but they themselves, for the most part, were unaware. They never for a moment thought of themselves as “saintly.” They simply, tenaciously, and intentionally lived in union with Christ, doing His will in all things.

Above all, this meant a deep humility indicative of the mind of Christ Who let go of the heavenly and became a servant in human form leading to death on a cross (Philippians 2.3-8). BTW…does that sound saintly?

How it is now

A great disservice has been done to the church by the Reformers and protestant-evangelicals since who reject even the idea of “saint.” Gone is a theology that includes the potential for “sainthood.” Missing is a Church that practically maps out a way for people to become holy, be like Jesus Christ, and live in union with the Trinity. Examples of truly God-like men and women have vanished from the so-called Christian landscape. If we saw one, we’d probably “pass by on the other side” or think him/her odd, uninformed, or mistaken.

They have been replaced by “experts,” professional authorities called scholars, exegetes, writers, theologians, and musicians who inform us with fresh insights and culturally-relevant information.

We settle for thinking someone is saintly or feeling saintly or looking saint-like. The real saint doesn’t exist in our tiny Christian world.

How it is needed

I need saints in my life. I’m tired of people telling me how to live as a Christian who don’t live as a Christian. I need men and women who are saints but don’t know they are. I need people to guide me who are empty of themselves and filled with the life of God. How about you?

I need a church that has as a primary purpose, to make a saint out of me. Stop coddling banal mediocracy and demand something of me that will challenge my spiritual being to be like God. The church has gone soft. Help me become a spiritual athlete, like a saint, fit for battling myself and the world.

How about you? Share your thoughts below.

Dr. K

What Does It Mean to Be A Christian?

9 Poor Substitutes For the Real Thing

It seems such a basic & easy question – What does it mean to be a Christian? Yet, there is a lot of confusion. Ask 10 people and you may receive 10 different answers. What would your answer be?  

Christian = Christ

Being a Christian is being like Jesus Christ – a “Christ-one.” According to Jesus Himself and New Testament writers, a Christian is one who is united with Christ – living in union with Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit in the life of God the Father (see John 15; 17.3, 21, 23; 1 Cor. 6. 15, 17; Gal. 2.20; Eph. 5.30; Phil. 2.5).  

It’s that nakedly simple and that mystically profound. 

Being united to Christ presents a lifetime of exploring the mystery of that relationship. If that’s all you did for the rest of your Christian life, that would be powerfully life transforming. And, you would turn your little “world” upside down for Jesus Christ.   

Poor Substitutes

Unfortunately, being a Christian has been made out to be about:

  • Moralism: What does it mean to “act like a Christian?” It’s not OK to live an immoral or amoral life. Yet, does living a moral life make you a Christian? 
  • Dogmatism: What does it mean to “know right doctrine?” Doctrine matters. But who determines what’s right? How do you “know?” Demons know many right things about God and they’re certainly not Christians.  
  • Evangelism: What does it mean to “make disciples?” Today it’s about “disciple making” movements, being missional, church growth, programs, building a successful mega-church, or praying for revival. Was being a Christian like this 300 years ago? Will it be like this 300 years from now?  
  • Believe-ism: What does it mean to “believe?” Just believe in Jesus and you’re in. One sincere moment of belief is good for a lifetime and eternity. Does “believing in Jesus” make you a Christian? 
  • Denominationalism: What does it mean to “be the Church?” With over 40,000 “Christian” denominations (most claiming to be based on the Bible), it’s hard to tell. Are you more loyal to your denomination (or non-denomination) than to Jesus? Since Jesus is the Head of the Church your union with Him involves exploring the Church.
  • Sentimentalism: What does it mean to feel love for God and others? Isn’t love an action? If you feel love for God and others does that make you a Christian? 
  • Intellectualism: What does it mean to “know your Bible?” How many Bible studies, sermons, radio ministries, courses, or degrees do you need before you’re knowledgable enough?  Are you a Christian if you know a lot about the Bible? 
  • Humanitarianism: What does it mean to “care for others?” Are you a Christian if you feed the poor, advocate social programs, or work for social justice?  
  • Favoritism: What does it mean to “gain God’s favor?” How many Christians think they’re extra blessed, prosperous, favored, supernaturally gifted, called, or anointed due to their efforts or piety? I’ve seen a Tibetan monk levitate. I’ve read that other non-Christian religions speak in tongues and experience healings. Are you a Christian because you have supernatural experiences?  

These are inadequate substitutes for the real thing. They may be the result of union with the Triune God in Jesus Christ. But as defining what it is to be a Christian, they all fail. Why? Because in each case, Jesus Christ can be missing.

Being a Christian is living in union with Jesus Christ.

He is the Source, the Means, and the End of what it is to be a Christian.  

Keep it simple. Keep it profound. Keep it about living in Jesus Christ. There’s enough there for a lifetime. 

Share your thoughts below. 

 

Dr. K