Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 17

Christian Anthropology (Part 1/2)

It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 17
Watching Now
Christian Anthropology (Part 1/2)

Christian Anthropology (Part 1)

I. Socio-Historical

A. Formative

B. Deformative

II. Vital

III. Functional

IV. Transcendent

V. Pneumatic/Ecclesial

VI. Dynamics and Expressions

A. Socio-Historical – pulsations from society that influence you to act and think in certain ways.

B. Vital – physical pulsions that can result in impulses and compulsions that we experience from our physical body.

C. Ambitions – ambitions work themselves out into projects.

D. Transcendent – longing for a transcendent ideal in your life often resulting in a vision for a way to relate to others

E. Pneumatic/Ecclesial – the Holy Spirit always points to Jesus. He inspires us and it leads to an invitation.

F. Functional transcendence is the greatest danger to the church – greatest danger to the church when God becomes subservient to us because we view his purpose as making you a more successful person.

G. You are called to live a transcendent functional life – the values of Christ as revealed in the Bible determine how you function in your life.

H. What should your life look like today?

  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of a Leader
Christian Anthropology (Part 1/2)
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Welcome back, everyone. I want to shift gears a little bit right now and discuss issues that I think are largely absent from the church today, yet are incredibly important to understanding who the Lord made us to be. I mean, we we do not have in large measure, we simply do not have a Christian anthropology yet is the Lord who is fearfully and wondrously made us. It is the Lord who has made us in his image, giving, give, giving us all sorts of reflections in our in our own life of who he is and of how he intended for us to be. And yet we we just don't give a whole lot of attention in the church today to to an understanding of what it means to be made in the image of God, why that is important. And and really, it's I'm telling you, it's it's the largest of God's redemption in our lives that moves me to speak into this. What I want to do is recommend a text for you. This text is called Understanding Our Story The Life's Work and Legacy of Adrian von Calm in the field of formative Spirituality. Here it is. This text is was written coauthored by Rebecca Letterman. She teaches spiritual formation at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester. She's a Wesleyan scholar. And then by Susan Muto. Now, Susan Mehta was one of my mentors, still is one of my mentors and a professor in in graduate school. Susan is the head of Epiphany Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now, I think things like this are incredibly, incredibly important, and I want to share some of the richness of it. I'll actually pull out some some quotes here and we'll talk about it. But I want to start out, first of all, by by looking at a basic outline that'll help us to jump into understanding or at least getting a handle on some Christian anthropology that that all of us can grasp.


[00:02:58] And so what we're going to look at are von comps dimensions first, the human life dimensions. Now the human life dimensions are simply going to say that, you know, when you look at the incredible beauty of any person created in the image of God, there's there's depth there. There's there's layers to this. This this is something that has all sorts of meanings and areas in which God works in our lives. We're going to talk about different dimensions. Of course, we're not going to slice the human person into little areas to study one area or qualifier, quantify any area. We're not going to do that. We're going to look, the human person is is a whole. But but just as you look at different facets on a diamond and you see different reflections, the diamond still remains a hole. So let's take a look at this and and see how the Lord's Redemption seeks to work throughout the whole of who we are. So let's start over here and look at this business down below of what it means to be a person who was born at a certain historical moment. In redemption history and what it means to be born into a certain society. Now, let me just give you an example. For example. I was born in the kind of the westernmost part of the state of Texas, which is in the United States. Yes. Texas is actually a part of the United States. And for those of you in other parts of the world, yes, when I grew up, I wore cowboy boots and blue jeans. That's about all I had to be honest with you. I had a pair of gym shoes and then we had one pair of nice shoes to go to church on Sunday.


[00:05:19] I was born as a fifth generation Methodist Christian. I actually think generationally we go back a lot further than that, but I know I'm at least a fifth generation Methodist, so that means that I come from that kind of influence and that kind of theological background. I was born in a part of the world that's of a dry and arid part of the world, and it promotes on a sociological level, it promotes a sense of rugged independence to where you are taught to be self-sufficient and get by on your own. And those can be very, very good things. But it also kind of promotes an idea of a false sense that you can control the elements as long as you work hard and as long as you really depend on the best that you are. Now, do you see what I'm doing? So I was I was born into a family that happened to have very strong political opinions in one area. My my, of my both of my grandfathers were military. My father was military. My father fought in World War Two. My grandfather fought the entire duration of World War Two, and the other grandfather was in World War One. Now, those things influence you. They shape you. So I grew up in a time where there were good people and there were enemies of the United States. And and that influenced how we thought, how how I was taught the values I held. So I was given both formative and formative values when I was growing up. It's a very sad thing for me to look back and and and report this sociologically. Historically, there were two sets of restrooms in the town where I grew up. There were one there was one set for whites only, and then there was another set for everybody else.


[00:07:47] When I was growing up, I went to an all white, an integrated school. There was no no person of color was allowed into that school. I was there when integration was forced, and rightly so. So naturally, when you grew up in a situation like that, you grew up with prejudice. I grew up both with solid family values and some not solid families, family values. Do you see what I'm doing? There's both. There's good things that we are thankful for that are formative. And there are some negative things that we're not thankful for that are the formative. And this happens in literally all of our backgrounds. For instance, I can at least make light of one thing. We were what's called would be called rabid Dallas Cowboy fans. Now, for those of you overseas, the Dallas Cowboys are an American football team. Some would say America's football team. We were slightly prejudiced anyone. And our arch enemy, the enemy of all enemies, was the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, of all things, when the Lord called me to go to graduate school. Guess where he called me to go? My heart sank when I realized I was going to go to downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I actually pastored, was associate pastor at a church there. And lo and behold, there were Pittsburgh Steelers in the congregation. I even performed a wedding ceremony for a Pittsburgh Steeler and they gave me tickets to go to the games. Well, lo and behold, I found out the Pittsburgh Steelers are pretty good guys after all. And we loved western Pennsylvania. You see what I'm saying? You know, a Texan grows up thinking that the great center of the world in the universe is in Texas. My apologies to any fellow Texans. But it's not.


[00:10:11] They're really friendly people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in fact, just as friendly as anywhere else. In fact, wherever I've been around the globe, I've been blessed by people. So these this area can leave us some some really good, solid values. The value to Christian values may be that we're implanted early, but we've got to understand this whole social historic thing can put in some non Christian values. It can sit people against people that the Lord never wanted to happen. It can sit. It can fill us with prejudice. And and when we're dealing with people and leading and shepherding people, we've got to go beyond any kind of populist understanding or get to understanding where people were given values that are simply not right the wrong and will end up with up in oppressing others. So I think you're getting it. Let's let's move on to the vital. Now, look, the vital is the whole physical dimension of the human life. The Lord created us is physical people. We are incarnated souls. We're given time, space where we're placed in a certain region. This is good and right. Even the incarnation of our Lord himself. What does he do? Comes down. He's He. He is both fully God and fully human. He. He takes on human flesh. That's incarnation in a nutshell. That's what that means. He's he's born to a virgin. And he he comes into the world with with a real physical body in a real time place. And in an actual time, he steps into our world with all the limits that that he was willing to take on. He descends into our world. Now, of course, still, the Lord is the creator of the body. So the body is good. The body is absolutely a blessing to us.


[00:12:48] How else could we be about his work? How else could we enter into ministry for him without being an actual physical person? The physical dimension allows us to move and have our being. It allows us to have science and perception, and it allows us literally to be the hands, the feet, the love, the voice of Christ, our Lord. These are these are these are right and good. Now, the problem is, is that the whole vital dimension can readily devolve or degenerate into what could be called vital ism. Now Vitalism is where I would make this part of my life preeminent. And what really, really counts here are the physical experiences that I'm able to accumulate or the pleasures. And what can happen is that this thing can really then degenerate into sheer hedonism. Hedonism means I live for physical pleasure. Well, of course you fall off that wagon and you're not going to be very interested at all in following someone who says no. You've got to restrain physical appetites that the end all and be all is not you having pleasure, though? The Lord is the author of pleasure. We don't we don't want to get that confused at all. It's when it becomes primarily about pleasure, then that's hedonistic. We're not that's not what we were ultimately created for. Now, here's a key, key issue for us as we go to the next dimension. And by the way, Von Comm holds that these are hierarchical, not separated, but we've got to understand them. Hierarchically are functional. When you look at the functional, this is like the executive side of who we are. This is the the roles we are called to take on the tasks, the responsibilities. Well, just think about it. The disciples were sent in on Holy Week and they were given a task, you know, find the guy with the the the donkey and all of that.


[00:15:56] And then before that. So they brought the donkey back. Then on Maundy Thursday there said, hey, you know, go in and follow the guy with the water jar, get the upper room. It's a right and good thing we are given roles and tasks. Now, for those of you who are in pastoral leadership, you've been given a specific role either as a pastor or a minister of discipleship or or whatever area you are called to function in in a local church. All of us, you know, have to have specific roles in which we are called to function and know I've had grandchildren who would rather not function in any role and let life serve them, but they'll grow out of it. We love those kids as well. The problem the the the the the real issue here in terms of where this can go is if we allow our roles and our tasks and our responsibilities to be to define us. In other words, who in my value is defined by what I do, then that is going to sink this whole thing into what's called functional ism. Keep in mind, we're not saying roles, functions, responsibilities are bad. Not at all. They are very important. It's when I am defined by what I produce or by the the title I carry. Then what in the world happens if that's taken away from me? But moreover, what in the world happens when this just expands and begins to lead everything else? In other words, life begins to wrap around the specific job responsibility. All of life. All of life becomes oriented by what I produce or don't produce, by what I manage or don't manage by. And then all of the things that are associated with that.


[00:18:33] Like, what do I accomplish? In other words, my self-worth is is listed by boom, boom, boom, boom. And boy, if those things are not in place and I am not of much worse. So functionalism today is a fairly serious issue. Why is it that not in all parts of the world, but why is it in Asia? And why is it in North America that work in more and more and more hours pressing, pressing, pressing, huge numbers of hours with less and less sense of true fulfillment in life? All right. Now, as we go up, we see also that the Lord has put a longing in us. This is the longing. For the more than now. What is the more than listen, this is the what we call prevent. Isn't grace that's at work in this. Even before you may know Christ, there's that move saying, Boy, there's something more here that's longing. It said, it's that urgency that my life is fulfilled. And I sense of I sense vacancy. I sense lack of fulfillment. Now, of course, this thing can really nosedive quickly. It nosedives quickly when that longing for the more than is mistaken by said, All right, I need more. And then you just start filling in the blanks only with a bigger house. For instance, would I feel fulfilled or only with a bigger whatever? Would I feel fulfilled or even worse? The sense of longing will start playing itself out. You know, I really need another husband or I really need another spouse that are, you know, we miss it. And so just because we have this longing for the more than doesn't take away the fact that this thing can be very readily short, it can be short circuited. I mean, it can go it can go downhill quickly when it is short circuited.


[00:21:25] But trying to fill that God sake vacuum with something that is never going to fulfill anything. All right, then what it's meant to do. This transcendent longing for the more than is actually meant to move us to be in a dynamic, ongoing relationship with our Lord. That's the ultimate purpose of this. This is why when you're dealing with people who are bored, who are restless, who are longing, you know, this is this is what's going on for Vincent Gray. So go ahead. We got a question. I just was thinking, as you're talking about that you look at the how strong the pressure is inside of us to get more at a physical level or a financial level is in a sense. Is it? Those are. Is that why it's idolatry and is it tapping into the God's put a strong desire for himself into us? And so the strong desire when it doesn't go to him is that was pushing us so hard to get more of. Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm going to spill it out, more mature, reflecting in a real way. And I love thank you for bringing up the bill, for bringing up the term idolatry. Yeah, it goes south really, really quick into full blown worship of that which will never, never bring ultimate satisfaction, never, or fulfillment. All right. So when we talk about the nomadic ecclesial level here, this is the capacity that the Lord God has given each of us to both here and respond to the Holy Spirit. They actually referred to this earlier. But this is this is where there's built into us. I can hear the invitations of God and I can I can sense and I can be able to pick up on how God is seeking to build and work through his church, the body of Christ.


[00:23:53] So this whole pneumatic pneumatic simply, you know, it's the spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is the Holy the realm where the Holy Spirit, Big Capital, is speaks to my spirit, the Holy Spirit. And it's not just a matter of hearing now, but this is the area where I cannot only hear the word. But I can obey the word. What's a Stewart official. Well in this in this in in von comes understanding he's simply talking about the Lord also speaks in and through the church. Now let's just not put anything under under the table. Of course, this is a classical Roman Catholic understanding of of who we are. So I can I'm alright. I'm okay with that because the Holy Spirit is the one doing the work. And I believe that I can be obedient to the Holy Spirit and walk in the ways that He wants the body of Christ. So that's where I'm going to take it. This is the body of Christ being obedient as a body to the Lord. All right. So. We're at a we're at a first level. Now, let me just let me just fill in. Keep filling this in. And I'm actually going to refer here in the Letterman and meter book to a chart on page 27. And so what they're what they're going to do here is say that this whole area, then every area of every dimension, every level of this dimension has both dynamics. The dynamics are this is this is something that pushes on me. For instance, you go out and you run through a whole bunch of radio channels or television channels. You've got people speaking into your life. Now, sometimes people speaking into your life is something you need to hear.


[00:26:29] Many, many, many times people speaking into your life is not a single thing you want to hear. People trying to sell us something, people trying to pressure us into a into a certain way of living. Classic example for me is a certain program I run on my computer that automatically or tries to automatically correct grammar for me. Well, you know, here's the deal. That program is not always right. And it's actually going, by some standards, more contemporary standards that I don't hold to. I actually even think is dead wrong in some places. But there's that continual pressure coming to do it the way that that particular company says it should be done. Well, that's kind of one way you change society. But so we're going to we're going to stand against that. So when you think about dynamics, dynamics are those directives that are coming out. And then when you think about expressions, then this is. How. If you followed them, this is how it would be played out. All right. So socio historical in terms of dynamics, there's all sorts of what are called pulsations coming out from society. What's a pulsation? Pulsation is saying this is how you need to live and act and think. Now, for instance, I didn't have a cell phone till 1999. I life was good without a cell phone. Didn't worry about it. When I became the pastor of a church in 19, a certain congregation was moved to that congregation. I was handed a cell phone. So this is your cell phone? Oh, no. But since then, I've been far too attached, I think. Or it's kind of like an opioid, you know, a little bit at first and then a little bit more. And then before you know it, it's got you by the throat.


[00:29:08] So a good neutral tool that can be used for good, definitely. But the pulsation there, the pulsations that come out are if you're really cool, you're going to have a cell phone. And then before you know it, you see little four or five, six year old kids with cell phones. And I'll never forget the first time I had a two year old granddaughter got ahold of the cell phone within a matter of about 12 seconds. She had a Disney movie playing on the cell phone. I couldn't even pull up a Disney movie playing on a cell phone, but the child was sitting there watching a Disney movie. So it works itself into society where this is what everybody does. This is what everybody thinks. This is the proper way of moving. You see where I'm headed with this? Now, this can be both good and this can be incredibly negative. This whole business, even of nationalism, can work its way in here, too, where the selfish interests of one group of people trumps the whole human rights of anybody else. Oh, my. Anyway, pulsations it might be how to wear your hair. At least for those of you who have hair, it might be for how? What kind of clothes you wear. Colors of clothes, shoes, cars you drive. Expressions of speech. The way you sing. The way you dance. You see what I'm saying? It's culture seeking to set trends and it works itself out. Then how does it express itself? Let me tell you, it fled pressures, absolutely pressures people within that culture to not conform. Huge pressure to conform. Now vital, the vital puts out physical pulsations. Now, what in the world am I talking about? Physical pulses. Well, here you go.


[00:31:34] I am hungry. I need to eat. Is there anything wrong with that? No, not in the least. Unless I allow that hunger to trump everything else in my life. And so my eating becomes paramount and takes over precedence in my life. So just go through every physical need, every physical want, every physical desire you have. And how this thing tends to work itself out is through impulses and through compulsions. What do you mean? Well, an impulse is. I'm hungry. Got to take care of it right now. Let's go. Let's go. Let's do it. Let's. Let's. Let's move it right now. But compulsion is you kind of get hooked. You kind of get compelled. In other words, I've got to have this much at this time. It's it's got to be on demand and then chains start setting in. All right. Let's take it up to the functional. What is how does the functional work itself out? Are the functional works itself out dynamic wise into what we could call ambitions? Now, actually, I don't think there's this thing wrong with ambitions. It's probably a neutral term. Like a lot of things, the Lord puts desires in our heart, does he not, to serve him in a certain way to see He puts dreams, he puts visions in our heart. So an ambition in and of itself is not necessarily wrong. All right. If the Lord gives me an ambition, then that works itself out into the projects. This is how I'm going to work this out. Now, every one of you listening to me have had maybe the ambition to train, have yourself trained, or just sit under a proper mentor. I think wouldn't it be wonderful ambition to learn coding in a Greek? And I bless anybody who has the capacity to learn coin.


[00:34:12] And I agree it kind of failed with me. But anyway, you might have the ambition to really love the Lord by Sir serving as a pastor. If if that's a true vocational calling, you might have the ambition to take a mission trip or organize a mission group or to take on a big missional outreach. And so when that happens, then you've got to work it around. Vision, mission, dreams, all of that. So all of this can be good, except when it gets disconnected from the directives of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Paul What do you mean? Well, then ambitions can be all about self promotion. That's when it degenerates. All about self-promotion and projects then can be all about bringing in the kingdom, according to me. So in other words, I'm building life. Around my project, my vision without reference to the Holy, without reference to God. That's when this this whole functional thing collapses. Now, let me tell you a lot. There are a lot of projects coming from a lot of ambitious people that are. It's all cloaked under the cloak of mercy. It's all cloaked under religious garb. Poor. We have to be careful here. Oh, my heavens. Is what I'm doing for God's kingdom. Or am I building a personal kingdom? And, boy, we can. We can ride. We can walk in edge. It's a it's a sharp edge. You can fall off really, really quickly. All right, now, let's keep let's let's keep rolling this off. So transcendent means that we have both aspirations. And so the dynamics are I really got this longing for this transcendent ideal in my life. And then, of course, it expresses itself as an ideal. And I'm turning sometimes here, though, you're going to think I'm, again, speaking out of both sides of my mouth.


[00:37:13] But but the Lord does give us visions. He does call us to the more than and and we He enables us to see needs in his body. And he does give this deep aspiring move, this urge to see this thing addressed in whatever it is. Then finally, when you look upon the pneumatic ecclesial level, what does the Holy Spirit do? Oh, spirit's always going to point to Christ. The Holy Spirit is always going to send inspirations. That are going to work itself out into the expression of it is going to be. And in the tasing. So a lot of times when I'm dealing with my students, particularly when I'm giving spiritual direction to my students, I try to move them away from this driving sense. There's a driving sense in the community, in the Christian community, I got to do this. I must start doing this, particularly when we when they're trying to get disciplines in place and when they kind of feel that they've been defeated by a number of things anyway. So you're after it's very, very common to hear. I must I must do this. I must put this in place. I turn back them up and I say, Now look, you're really coming back down when you're talking about this. I must I must you come back down here on this level, on the functional level, and say, I've got to do boom, boom, boom, boom. Yet in the Christian life, we've got to hear the word. Our running and our willing are never enough. I can't fulfill the law. Well, then what in the world is enough? Well, what's coming is an invitation. And so what I try and get from from the Holy Spirit, I try and back them up and I say, look, what is the living word? Who is Christ? How is he inviting you now to respond in faith? Hope in love to his goodness? Do you see that? Do you see the difference? It takes the subject.


[00:39:49] It changes the subject of the sin. Is this not what I must do? It's what he is inviting me to respond to. And it takes it away from others trying to impose on someone and puts it back in their laps. What's the discernment here? How is the Holy Spirit inspiring you? What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? And indeed, what's the invitation to you here in terms of concretely following Christ? Now, I want to add a couple more dynamics here that are going to speak in to our culture. And I'm going to I'm going to put a red warning in here, and that is that there is a great, great danger in all of this. And that is when we lapse into an area that's kind of halfway between here and here called functional. Transcendent. What am I talking about when I talk about the words functional, transcendent. I'll never forget Adrian Volcom speaking to me in the 1980s, and Adrian saying, Luke, the greatest danger before the church today. And he included my church as well. It's an amazing thing that in going to a Roman Catholic graduate school, I was actually reconnected with my own tradition. And it came in and through a Roman Catholic priest who gave me an immense, immense appreciation for my own tradition. But I didn't want come looking at me and say, Look, here's the greatest issue facing the worldwide church today. He said, We've got an explosion of knowledge taking place in all of the human life sciences. We've got an explosion of knowledge that in the medical science is keeping people alive and better and well over a longer period of time. And he said, we thank the Lord for that. He said, We've got an explosion of knowledge in every aspect of science.


[00:42:40] He said, We thank the Lord for every genuine discovery of what it means to be a creation and how God is using that. He said, But here's the danger. In fact, here's the greatest danger facing the face in the church. So the danger is, is that we'll pull down this longing that we have for God, and even that will pull down some of the the real insights that God himself gives us about what it means to be a human being. But we will keep it mainly on the functional level so that we will function better. You said, Well, what's wrong with that? I mean, what's wrong with functioning well? Well, here's. Now follow me. Follow me. Nothing. Listen, when I get on an airplane, every time I get on an airplane, I lay hands on the airplane. I say, God, let this brother or sister get it up and let them get it down. I just pray, Lord, I'll hold it together. Oh. Hoo hoo! Who wouldn't want to go to a doctor? A surgeon? A physician? You pray they're competent? You absolutely pray that they are competent. In fact, in fact, in terms of competence, you are called to well handle the things of God. Absolutely. If God's given you a tour of pastoral ministry of teaching. If God's given you a chore of serving as an administrator in his church, whatever chore he's given you, if he's given you to be, if he is called you to be a public school teacher and he wants you to be a competent, a well informed public school teacher, so. So there's nothing wrong with well, with fulfilling the functional tasks and responsibilities that we've been given. Well, because when we do that, people will be blessed.


[00:44:54] Why? So you see. Well, it's not making sense. Why is that the greatest danger of the church? Here's what's the greatest danger of the church. Or what can be the greatest danger to the church. God becomes subservient. To us. In other words, God is there. To make me a more successful person. You get it? You see, it's the wrong hierarchy. It puts me at the top. And what it works into is me using the things of God for Self-gain. I get it. I'm not talking about. Oh, I'm not talking about being incompetent. No, I'm called for to for competence. But it's not about me being having the whole world. It's not about me increasing my influence. It's not about me increasing my level of wealth. Listen, it's not about me. I got to pull me out of the subject of the sentence That's again, putting a big fat capital me at the center of the world. A lot of people are getting this wrong now. A lot of people. Well, boy, could we go here? So what are we after then? What are we after? What? What's what's the way that Christ would would have for us? It cannot be functional transcendence where I'm using God to get ahead in life. It just cannot be that. Then what is it? It's got to be that I am called to live then not a functionally transcendent life, but a transcendent. Functional life. What? I mean. Of transcendent function of life in the Christian life is this. The values of Christ as revealed through the written the miracle of the written word as lived out in the blessedness of the body of Christ. The values of Christ determined they set the values of my functional life and world.


[00:47:57] You see the huge difference there. It's a matter whose the subject of the sentence. Who sets the agenda? Who leads the whole movement of my life. We don't need more people moving into ambitious ego projects in the church. All that ends up doing eventually is imploding. It just collapses and people get wiped out in ministry. Normally when you get wiped out in ministry, it's like a train wreck and it takes a whole bunch of people along with you. No, we need women and men who are filled with God's spirit and are subservient to God's Word and who truly love God's church. And the place themselves is allowed themselves to be servants within God's church who listen who here in order then to fulfill whatever role and responsibility and task the Lord gives them. These are huge, huge issues for the body of Christ now. All of this. All of this. This whole thing here is talking about and you read it in the book, How do we concretize life in the Holy Spirit? You know, what is what is real life look like for us today? What does it look like as a member of society? Whatever society I've been placed in, how do I function as a responsible member of society? What does it look like in my own physical life? How do I reflect the goodness of Christ in my own physical person? How in my own roles, my responsibilities, my task? How do I reflect the glory of God in a void using God and in a selfish way? How do I let the longings of my own heart be grounded in the longings or in the true plan that God has for my life? Both, both here and in the life that is to come? And how do I attain this whole.


[00:50:22] All of this underneath comes it's going to be subservient to the Word of God, hearing the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. That's part of the reason we got to stay in the Word. The word can't be casual. It's not a matter of one hour on Sunday mornings. And how how are we listening and then responding to those invitations? I highly recommend this text for you. It's very readable. You can you can look and dive into the depths. Now, we're going to take a break now, let you talk about this and discuss it, and then we'll come back and look at another aspect. So bless you in the name of Christ. And I thank you. Hey, Matt, I've been trying to think about at a very practical level. Yes. How this is going to affect my pastor. Good. Good. And my from my own experience, you spend so much time focusing on the functional. Yes. And almost play. Pay lip service to the transcendent because it's the tyranny of the urgent. The weeping person on the phone to the board meetings. And there's so much in a pastor's life that says function, function, function. And what happens then is that we start being fed by the transcendent. It's like we draw a dotted line right across there and say, Well, if I can get above to those top two categories. So that that's a good thing. But most of my time is down below. Yeah. And what I'm understanding from this discussion of anthropology is that we function in these five different levels, but we have to start at the top. Absolute. Absolutely. And that and then from that it trickles down. And we recognize that each of these lines in your chart are affecting us and at different times in our lives.


[00:52:24] Perhaps we have to do emphasize one of those lines, of course, but it has to be transcendent. First. It has to be our inner life, our spiritual life. How that trickles down. Is that an accurate way to say. Absolutely. I mean, where does it all start? It all starts in the life of God and in his purpose for his church. And so this this is the big rock. This is the rock. Who is Christ? You're you're 100% right on. This has got to inform the rest of it. But if you invert, it's where the rest of it leads out in front. Then that's when you get the whole destruction in society. That's when you get vitalism, that's when you get functionalism and that's when transcendent, you know, devolves into just more of something. Yeah. Excellent. Understood. All right. I'm remembering a talk I heard John Piper give once. Yeah. And I. I can't remember the actual question, but he was asking about priorities and what's important. And and pastors were going through and listing them, and. And he commented that, um, where's God in all this? And the answer was, Well, that's taken for granted that we're here to fight God. Right. And Piper stopped, and he looked at us all. He said, God doesn't like being taken for granted. Yeah, yeah. And, boy, 1400 people just went dead quiet. Yeah. And because what he was pointing out is that so many of us are in the middle of the chart, and we're supposed to start at the top. Yeah. My field research, along with field research of others colleagues over the last five years, I mean, almost full time, five years of going and going, going all over, talking, talking to pastors, said a huge amount is being taken for granted but is in fact, absent.


[00:54:32] So part of what this is saying is we have got to recover first things first. It's hierarchical. It is hierarchical. The Christian walk is hierarchical. It just doesn't work any other way. All of this has to bow in submission. You call me your teacher and your Lord remember, and you are right. So let it be right for us. They, man.