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To Grow As Christians

“In our eagerness to live, we sometimes forget that first we must die. To become Christians, we must die with Christ, one time. We accept his death as the punishment our sins deserve. Most of us understand that.

“But to grow as Christians, we must die to the flesh, repeatedly, daily, until we’re home.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, Connecting, Page 96

Questions for Reflection:
• Spend some time quietly before the Lord today.
• In what areas of your life is the Spirit inviting you to die to life on your own terms in order to find your life in Christ?
• Let gratitude rise in your heart today that He is at work to release you from clinging to the things that will not give you the life you truly need.

NextStep SSD Has 2 Openings

Larry Crabb’s NextStep Conference (Advanced School of Spiritual Direction) has had a couple of spots open due to cancellation. If you’d like to join Dr. Crabb and NewWay Ministries for this final event of 2016, here are the details. NextStep will be held at The Cove in Asheville, NC Nov 10-17, 2016 (Thur-Thur). For more information, or to register, go to:

Please contact us right away if you’re interested! Spots for this event won’t likely be available for long!

Battle For A Better Love

“When we realize that the joy of advancing the purpose of God, of bringing God’s relational kingdom of love into our community by putting Jesus-like love on display, even to those who hurt us deeply, is in fact first thing happiness, we will then be in position to battle for a better love.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, A Different Kind of Happiness, Page 244

Questions for Reflection:
• Think of someone with whom you’ve had a recent conflict.
• When you consider God’s purposes, does His desire for His children to experience joy come to mind?
• How does the challenge of asking for forgiveness where needed, forgiving, and actively seeking the other person’s well-being change when seen as an opportunity to advance God’s purpose, which includes our joy?

Self-Centeredness Corrupting Our Efforts To Love

“God does want His children to be happy, but with first thing happiness that comes as we are learning to love like Jesus. And the Spirit is working to implement the divine solution of Christ’s death and resurrection in order to slowly, and incompletely till heaven, solve our human problem of self-centeredness that is corrupting our efforts to love.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, A Different Kind of Happiness, Page 195

Questions for Reflection:
• Do you tend to think of your own self-centeredness as your greatest barrier to happiness?
• Take some time today to ask the Holy Spirit to deepen your awareness of the joy that Jesus’ death and resurrection make available by giving you the power to love as He did.

The Effect Of True Repentance

“Recovering the old sense of sin enables true repentance. The effect of true repentance is not stronger determination to never sin but rather to eagerly anticipate more joy in resisting temptation. Living life on the narrow road is becoming more appealing; I find myself gratefully receiving as a gift the opportunity to love well and resist sin.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, A Different Kind of Happiness, Page 174

Questions for Reflection:
• Do you tend to think of repentance as something that leaves a haunting regret over failure and a pressure to do better or as a deepening sense of gratitude for God’s grace at work to cleanse you and free you to love better?
• How does your experience of temptation change when you view resisting sin as an opportunity to love well?

Why Can What I Know To Be Wrong Feel So Right?

“Sexual addiction, compulsive under- and overeating, self-protection against further rejection, grudge-holding that seems justified: Why can what I know to be wrong feel so right? The answer? I long to feel what I was created to feel more than I want to be who I was created to be. Feelings then trump truth as the motivation for the choices I make.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, A Different Kind of Happiness, Page 175

Questions for Reflection:
• Think of a time today when feeling what you were created to feel was more important to you than being the person you are created to be.
• What was the cost of sacrificing truth to immediately experience a desired feeling?
• What companionship with Christ is available to you when you are feeling the weight of all that remains unresolved in your life?
• Ask the Holy Spirit to give you hope about the kind of person God is creating you to be as you yield to Him.

Is It Really So Bad?

“Relational sin presents itself to the offender as less heinous and more easily excused than behavioral sin such as adultery or violence. Don’t all of us guard ourselves at times and find more happiness in hurting less by protecting ourselves more? Maybe that kind of relating distorts the true meaning of love, but it seems necessary to our well-being. Is it really so bad? The answer is yes.”

Dr. Larry Crabb, A Different Kind of Happiness, Pages 80-81

Questions for Reflection:
• In what ways do you rationalize protecting yourself at the expense of someone else’s wellbeing?
• What’s the long-term cost to your relationships with God and others when you do this?
• As the Holy Spirit asks you to follow Jesus into a selfless love, what freedom and transformation is He offering in the process?
• Take some time to ask the Lord for a vision of the kind of person you could become and of the eternal joy that He longs for you to experience as you entrust your wellbeing to Him and love more like He does.