Thoughts on “Renovation of the Heart”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

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God has graciously brought this book into my hands at this season of my life. There are different types of books that I enjoy reading, but God sovereignly directed me to Dallas Willard’s book, which I am thankful. As I start off, I will make a bold statement and say that this is probably one of the best books on the topic of spiritual formation. I am not the only one with this opinion and assessment.

Willard says so many familiar things in a fresh way that it really challenged me to think differently about discipleship, spiritual disciplines, and becoming more Christ-like. He states, “The human spirit is an inescapable, fundamental aspect of every human being; and it takes on whichever character it has form the experiences and the choices that we have lived through or made in our past. That is what it means for it to be ‘formed.’”

So many of our hearts have been “formed” by the things that we have gone through in our lives, but this is where the power of the Gospel comes in. When we surrender our lives to Christ and give Him permission to rule and reign, He will start transforming our hearts into the likeness of Christ.

Willard addresses the various aspect of a human being and he talks about how the heart, mind, will and even social relations need to be radical transformed. It is not the usual approach about praying harder or reading more Bible.

The book was hard to put down. At every turn of the page, there was some new insight to a familiar principle or situation. This book inspired me and reminded me of the importance of spiritual formation and how growing in Christ and seeing Christ-likeness takes not only time but devotion and commitment to the process. But above all, it is the grace of God.

Willard says, “It is the central point of this book that spiritual transformation only happens as each essential dimension of the human being is transformed to Christlikeness under the direction of a regenerate will interacting with constant overtures of grace from God.”

Revitalizing the City

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision

I read an interesting article today in the Michigan Daily, which is the student newspaper for the University of Michigan. There is talk about setting up a program through the university where students can go to Detroit to take classes.

The aim is to start getting some of the students to think of ways to bring positive change in a city like Detroit. They will be strategizing with other organizations to reach out to various impoverished areas of the inner city and even the greater downtown Detroit area.

As I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but to think to myself – “isn’t this what the Church should be doing?” If the people of God are called to be the salt and light, then why are we not doing something about this? How can we be like a city on a hill shining brightly if there is only darkness? By removing the light (everyone escaping to the nice plush suburbs), how can any city really shine?

The city of Detroit has always been last in a lot of categories. Our only claim to fame is our murder rate for which we were ranked number one.

This got me thinking about people in our church. Why is it that so many people after graduation want to flock to the “better” cities and places? When they are challenged, they usually give the typical answer – “because there are no job or opportunities here.”

When I hear this, I think maybe we are looking at the situation in the wrong way. Are we always called to go somewhere because of a job or a good opportunity? How about “creating” or “bringing” more jobs and good opportunities to a place?

I understand that not everyone is entrepreneurial, but this is something that we might have to address or even start talking about in the collective whole.

Why is it that the secular world are thinking about and even doing things that the Church of Jesus should be doing if we are serious about transformation? I am convinced that the cities will play a major role in the future of missions. We need to start from our Jerusalem and Judea so that we can go out to our Samaria and to the ends of this earth.

I am praying for people who will have a vision for the future and have the willingness to sacrifice for that vision. Great cities like NYC, Chicago, LA, Singapore, Seoul and etc. were not birthed by people who were always seeking for the easiest way out. What would it be like if Detroit was known for being one of the most happening places in the United States rather than for its murder rate?

It will truly be a transformasphere moment.

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper”
(Jer 29:7).