Who is God? What is the Gospel? Who am I? These are the three questions we are working through in the first semester of the Renovaré Institute Charlotte Cohort. Last month, most of my posts centered around Who is God? This month, we will focus on What is the Gospel? Of course, when we think of the Gospel, it is good news of Jesus breaking the power of sin and death by His death and resurrection. But you will also see a big focus this month on the Gospel as the Kingdom of God. Jesus described the Good news in this way:
We explored this question already in our retreat a couple of weeks ago, but we will continue to give it our attention for the month. I thought I would use this post to give you an overview of what this month is about and invite you to join me in this journey in whatever manner seems fitting for you.
The book that we will be using this month to dive into the Gospel is The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. If you have ever read any of Dallas’ books, you know they are full of wisdom and take some time to digest. I will read something he writes, and often go back and re-read it again to fully grasp what he is saying. If you try this book and have never read his work, you are in for a treat. Take your time and savor the insights from a man who lived life well. We will not finish the book until mid-November.
In addition to the reading, I also will be discussing together with my Renovaré cohort family this question: if someone were to ask you “What is the Gospel?”, what would you say? We have to do this in 200-400 words and provide an answer that is relational and compelling. I have to have this done by next week, Wednesday October 9. I’ll let you know what I came up with. Would love to hear what you would say.
Along with reading assignments, we are also given assignments where we can put into practice the information we are learning. The exercises are more than a todo list of activities, but they are more to help us to apply and experience what God is saying to us as we engage with Him in seeking and learning more about Him. Don’t you feel smarter by saying you are engaging in “praxis”? Praxis is just a more scholarly word for practice. We want to move from the head to the heart as we not only read and study but we want to engage and experience the presence of God.
The assignment for this month is to dwell on and immerse ourselves in Psalm 23. We might memorize it, pray through it, imagine ourselves in it, or break it into small chunks and dive deeply into each part. Dallas Willard once said that Psalm 23 described what the Kingdom of God is like. So if you are willing, take your time and meditate on Psalm 23 this month and see what it is like to live in the Kingdom of God. Below are the questions I will be pondering and answering with my Renovaré cohort family. Maybe these would be helpful for you as well:
- What image or phrase from Psalm 23 has stayed with you most?
- How have you been using it and what observations have you made about your view of God and your choices of trust and surrender?
I have to have this done by Wednesday October 23. I’ll let you know what I came up with at that time. Would love to hear what you experienced by abiding on Psalm 23.
Thank you for reading and following along this journey of spiritual formation with me. May we all experience the good news of the Gospel this month in a deep and meaningful way that moves us to live it out and share it with others.