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Dallas Willard has said, “Disciples are those who, seriously intending to become like Jesus from the inside out, systematically and progressively rearrange their affairs to that end.” TRANSFORMED LIVES TRANSFORMING THE WORLD is a series of occasional  posts which is intended to help us all to seek and work at continual transformation so we can make a difference in this grimy, depressing world in which we  now live in – the place C.S. Lewis called ” enemy-occupied territory.”

CONTINUAL RENEWAL” – THE RENOVARE WAY TO DISCIPLESHIP:  In 1988 Richard Foster formed an organization based in Wichita, Kansas, to “advocate, resource, and model the with-God life.”  Foster recruited his friends James Bryan Smith, Dallas Willard, Bill Vaswig and Marti Ensing to become early members of the Renovare team. After the success of publication of Foster’s first book, Celebration of Disciplines, Foster began speaking to groups of people who were hungry  for the approach to the Christian life that Foster described.  He felt a call from God to a ministry that spoke to the needs of these people. That call was resulted in Renovare. You can read more about the history and goals of this organization on the Renovare website .

I am currently part of a small spiritual formation group that is using the Renovare Spiritual Formation Workbook, based on these disciplines. This is my fourth or fifth time through this workbook with groups, and I am amazed at how Richard Foster and Renovare have changed my life since my early understanding of spiritual formation. I have written  a series of occasional posts that reflect on Renovare and the six dimensions of faith and practice stated on the back of the Renovare membership card. You will find these posts in the category “Continual Renewal,” the Renovare Way to Discipleship. I hope they energize your faith and your practice of the disciplines.

LIVING THE SERENITY PRAYER –  The Serenity Prayer has a long and mysterious history. The first three lines were made popular by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 -1971), as part of a 1834 lecture. The modern prayer is several lines longer.  In 1941 the prayer was noticed and later adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. Over the past 60 years the prayer has gone far beyond AA boundaries. It is especially instructive for anyone longing to be an apprentice of Jesus. 

EVERY FAMILY’S STORY (Luke 15)  – The story of “the man with two sons” is the essence of the gospel. It is a simple story, really, replayed throughout history and replicated every day in urban centers, small towns, and rural areas. A father is raising two sons. The elder son is responsible, obedient, and hardworking. The younger son longs long to leave home and explore the freedom in the world “out there.” The father loves both sons, even though they sorely try his patience.

This story is often called the story of the “prodigal” son, but as Tim Keller has famously shown us in the book The Prodigal God, it is really the story of a prodigal father – a man whose love is big enough to encompass the failings of both sons.  How does this story affect my life and yours in 2021.

WHAT IS SPIRITUAL FORMATION? If you are interested in the general topic of Spiritual Formation, you might want to check out 14 entries I have written for the Daily Devotional booklet, Words of Hope, You can find them online on the Words of Hope website (If the link is broken, here is the address: woh.org/word/devotionals/) Look for Karen Bables (alphabetized by first name) the list of authors  As usual, these are my very personal reflections about how a belief system needs to be supported by a personal, intimate relationship with God and training to become more like Jesus.  Perhaps they will be helpful to you.

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS – Current statistics: The livingasapprentices blog has been viewed over 64,400 times by viewers in 144 countries around the world. If you have been blessed by this blog, please recommend it to your friends:  www.livingasapprentices.com

Visit  THE BEST OF LIVING AS APPRENTICES  page on the menu line on the home page of the blog.  Since this blog is now home to more than 960 posts, it’s time to regularly bring back some of the best posts from the past. The term “best” is not determined by vote or views; I’m the judge and executioner. My goal is to list what I think are the most significant posts that represent the concept of living as apprentices of Jesus.

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