Cruciform Life Toolkit

Are you looking for a handy tool to help you map out and move into your appointed “section of tables”?

Click on the link below to download a PDF of the “My Section of Tables Card (with instructions)”.

My Section of Tables card

For an extended explanation of what your “section of tables” is and how you can serve there, please see Chapter 5 – “Servants of God: The Shape of the Cross” in Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life.

Faith For Loving When You’re All Out Of Love

Are you running out of love for the people in your life? Fuel up by faith in the love of Jesus for the likes of you!

You endure the weight of love by being rooted in God. Your life energy needs to come from God, not the person you are loving. The more difficult the situation, the more you are forced into utter dependence on God. That is the crucible of love, where self-confidence and pride are stripped away, because you simply do not have the power or wisdom or ability in yourself to love. You know without a shadow of a doubt that you can’t love. That is the beginning of faith— knowing you can’t love.

Faith is the power for love. Paul the apostle tells us that the I-beam or hidden structure of the Christian life is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Faith energizes love. We handle the weight of love by rooting ourselves in God. Our inability to sustain love drives us into dependence on God. Then faith becomes a continuous cry. Like the tax collector in the temple, we cry out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

In overwhelming situations where you are all out of human love, you discover that you are praying all the time because you can’t get from one moment to the next without God’s help. You realize you can’t do life on your own, and you need God and his love to be the center. You lean upon God because you can’t bear the weight of love. So faith is not a mountain to climb, but a valley to fall into . . .

. . . As we love “in place,” as we love the people that God has permitted in our world, the texture of Jesus emerges in us. Our beauty comes not from pursuing a brilliant career track, but in the nitty-gritty endurance with difficult people or circumstances.

An excerpt from A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships by Paul E. Miller (Crossway 2014, pp. 43-44)

A Prayer For Christian Unity

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, three-in-one God, one God in three persons . . .

You are the original relationship. You are the original God-centered, others-oriented community. You are the MODEL for the unity of Your Church. Our Lord Jesus prayed that we would live in holy relationship with one another, even as You live as a holy relationship.

But we have fallen short of the glory of Your loving unity, Lord. Forgive us: for we have hurt and hated one another, we have turned away from and not toward one another, we have talked about and not to one another.

But because of His great love for us, the Father planned to provide peace through the Son by the power of the Spirit. You have forgiven us so that we might be able to forgive those who have sinned against us. You are not only the glorious MODEL but also the gracious MEANS by which Your people live in unity.

Now we ask, Lord, that Your work of redemption for us and in us might powerfully work reconciliation between us. Stir our hearts to forgive as we have been forgiven, to reconcile with one another even as we have been reconciled to You.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit, one God, now and forever,

AMEN.

This Is The One . . .

Holy Week remembers the Passion of Jesus Christ Crucified

This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people:

This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac,

and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph,

and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb,

and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets.

This is the one who became human in a virgin,

who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth,

who was resurrected from among the dead,

and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven.

The one who hung the earth in space, is himself hanged;

the one who fixed the heavens in place, is himself impaled;

the one who firmly fixed all things, is himself firmly fixed to the tree.

The Lord is insulted, God has been murdered,

the King of Israel has been destroyed by the right hand of Israel.

This is the lamb that was slain. This is the lamb that was silent.

This is the one who was taken from the flock, and was dragged to sacrifice,

and was killed in the evening, and was buried at night;

the one who was not broken while on the tree,

who did not see dissolution while in the earth.

who rose up from the dead, and who raised up mankind from the grave below.

St. Melito (a Holy Week sermon from the Bishop of Sardis given around 170 A.D.)

[HT: My friend and fellow elder, Kevin Hekman]