After being delayed on the runway in San Antonio, redirected mid-flight to Waco for refueling, rescheduled on two different flights at DFW, eventually being bumped to a Thursday morning return flight, experiencing an unexpected layover in Dallas (thanks, Fitzhugh family), I’m home. And it is good to be home. I am thankful for what I have learned these past few days in the company of those in Christ at Renovare’, and return home with a renewed joy in my calling as a follower of the Jesus way. What a great time.
My final day in San Antonio I heard from John Ortberg, Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California. The best quotes from his talk were captured on my Twitter feed, so if you’re curious you can scour the content there. We then engaged in a closing time of worship. We sang hymns I knew and others I did not. We celebrated what God had accomplished during our time together. I witnessed impressive displays of humility from Dallas Willard and others, and was captivated by the sheer joy of Richard Foster during a time of closing conversation. I was thankful that I was able to hear from both men and women who inspired me in my faith. My admiration for them reaches beyond them to the source of what makes them admirable. The life of “the saints” can indeed result in praise of the Almighty God who, by grace, has made them what they have become. I do not worship the saints, but I am thankful to God for the saints whom I heard from during my time with Renovare’.
For friends and other readers of this blog, I can confidently commend the ethos, ideas, and practices spoken of at Renovare’. These people are concerned with the spiritual life, they are concerned with growing the soul, they are concerned about holiness. They are centered on Jesus. And I believe they know from whence their “success” comes: from God alone, by grace. As a means of response for my readers, I would encourage all to read and reflect on a document introduced on Tuesday of the conference: A Call To Spiritual Formation. Think about the ideas presented here, and, if you find them compelling, commit yourself to them. Here are the six headline statements from this document:
- God calls us all to become like Jesus.
- As we are rooted in Jesus and the kingdom he proclaims, we are progressively transformed.
- Our engagement with God’s transforming grace is vital.
- Spiritual formation happens in community.
- Spiritual formation is, by its very nature, missional.
- We invite all people, everywhere, to embrace with us this calling to be like Jesus.
For my Kansas City area friends, I would welcome a discussion of what it might mean to commit ourselves more deeply to these ways and encourage one another in holiness. For my friends who are more distant, or are connected with me through this blog, I would also be interested to know if you are interested in this call and in these ideas. I would like to foster a network of peers who are committed to these ideas and this kind of approach to spiritual formation, and perhaps creatively formulate some means to facilitate an ongoing conversation wherein we might inspire one another in ministry, in service, and in our journey to become more like the person of Jesus so that we might more accurately serve as signposts to his kingdom, his reign, his gospel, and the salvation found in him.
May you be a blessing to the One who gives you, by grace, life, breath, love, hope, and charity.