Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Back Home

I was hoping to have blogged Monday and/or Tuesday, but there just wasn't a convenient time or place to be found for that in Abilene. Beverly and I were busy from early to late. But it was great! I wish I could have stayed through today, but I had to come back yesterday to give a final at Amberton last night.

The theme for the lectureship was The Gospel of John, which is right up my alley. It will be the continued theme for the fall lectureship. For those who may not be aware, ACU's lectureship is moving from its long-held (89th) date in February to a September date. So, this year -- there are two lectureships. The fall date will be September 17-20. I have been asked to teach a one-day class during that time, so I will be looking forward to it.

Just a couple of "ah-ha's" to share: I went to Randy Harris's class on Providing Spiritual Direction. It was very interesting. He gave three "not-point points," as he called them.
1. To provide spiritual direction, we must be comfortable with the mystery of God. We must give up the idea that we can change anyone. Spiritual guidance is not about "fixing" people. The power to change is in the Holy Spirit, not me.
2. To provide spiritual direction, we must 1st deal with our own "spiritual stuff." We must come to the realization that God loves us just the way we are. He could never love us more than He does right now.
3. To provide spiritual direction, we must have a contemplative prayer life. We must sit before God, and allow Him to speak to us. We must enter into God's divine pathos -- much in the same way that Hosea came to understand God's love for unfaithful Israel by his own experience with his love for his unfaithful wife.

I would love to have been able to go to all of Randy's sessions.

Another great line came from Dr. Neil Lightfoot's class on John: The Different Gospel on Monday. He said, "We sing, 'Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.' John would say, 'Blessed assurance, I am His.'"

I left yesterday with a hunger to go deeper.

8 comments:

Melanie said...

I am definitely jealous. I would have loved to be there. One of my favorite quotes of Randy Harris is along the same lines as his three not-point points...."There is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and yet there is nothing you can do to make God love you less..."

Dennis said...

Rick, I would love to have you blog on point #2. That is very confusing to me. HELP

Rick Ross said...

Dennis,

I would love to visit with you about this. We often confuse love and condoning. While God may not condone our behavior all the time, His love for us does not ebb and flow according to our "measuring up." His love is unconditional -- all the time.

JRoss said...

Welcome back. I may try to make the Sept. portion of the lectures -especially if it's on John's gospel.

Stephanie Lee said...

Rick, I dont know that I agree with point #2. I do agree that God's love for us is unconditional but the way this quote is worded could lead people to believe they arent called to change. I believe we are called to change every day and be more like God. You are right in your response to my dad, we do confuse love and condoning and for this reason I think this quote could lead some in the wrong direction. Do you agree?

Rick Ross said...

I guess the alternative would be to say that God does not love us just the way we are. The point was made in the context of us having difficulty accepting God's love for us. It is only after we realize that we are the recipients of incredible grace that we have anything to offer fellow strugglers. As Harris put it in his class, "We are all beggars sharing bread with a fellow beggar."

I was simply sharing some brief points from Randy's class. Please don't hold Randy liable for my too-brief summation. There is more to the context of this quote than I shared. Further, I would hope that anyone who has heard my preaching would know that I think we are being called to radical change. But even that is not really possible outside of an understanding of God's unconditional love.

Josh Ross said...

If we aren't careful, we can immerse ourselves in thinking that we are constantly having to EARN God's love. This can lead to a works righteousness way of life, as if we are constantly trying to do things that will make God love us more. I believe that a true understanding of the unconditional love of God, and the unleashing of God's grace upon the righteous and the unrighteous will not result in complacency, but rather it will serve as an avenue that transforms men and women in the image of Jesus.
Thanks dad for explaining more of the context of Randy's message.

Liz Moore said...

I agree that God loves us unconditionally. I think it’s sometimes hard for us to grasp. Loving us unconditionally does not mean he necessarily loves our actions or the choices we make. He expects us to change and become more like him with every breath we take. I think of it as the same as our unconditional love for our children. There is nothing my kids could do that would make me not love them. I love them unconditionally. But that doesn't mean I always except their behavior. I think God loves us in that same manner, but with more love than we could ever comprehend. Thanks for sharing some of Randy Harris!! I always enjoy his lessons and get a lot out of them.