Why We Should Enjoy the Ride of Life | Enjoy the Ride Series | 8 of 8 [VIDEO]

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Life has meaning, in spite of life’s challenges.

In the final episode of our Enjoy the Ride Series, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, Dean of Podcast Seminary, explores how Christianity is a counter-culture movement in today’s world.
In contrast to the existential mood of meaninglessness, Jesus presents hope and meaning, survival and significance, and His followers can live in the light of that glorious reality, allowing them to enjoy the ride, in spite of life’s challenges.



With the end to this series, enjoy other Podcast Seminary playlists and series, including our series on the Human Conscience, and others at www.youtube.com/c/podcastseminary

Enjoy the Ride Series | God is Good (All the Time) | Session 7 of 8 [VIDEO]

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Life Isn’t Always Easy.

Life sometimes throws situations our way that are threatening and sometimes even punishing. Life isn’t easy!
But in spite of the fact that there is evil in the world, God Himself is good.
This session talks about the theological principle of God’s goodness, also called His “Omnibenevolence.”
You’ll be challenged to think differently about your faith in God. Together we’ll see that rethinking what God is like can transform your entire life. Let’s do this!


[audio podcast] 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes [podcast]

Podcast Seminary BannerA Short History of Christian Spirituality


Want to learn about 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes?

Read the blog version

Spiritual maturity is important to Christians, so they have always sought to understand spirituality. Christian formation has to do with how we cooperate with God in our own personal transformation and quest for spiritual maturity. Listen to learn about several of the key movements in the history of Christianity and how believers of different centuries have thought about and practiced their faith!


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Conclusion

That is a basic introduction to the history of Spiritual Formation. These forces did and still do impact Christians and how they think about their faith. At least gaining a basic understanding of these movements will help Christians understand other believers and how they experience God and seek to grow spiritually. Be encouraged to learn more– to expand your understanding of other believers, and also to think about how your relationship with God can become stronger through a stronger appreciation of how fellow believers seek to know God.

20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes [blog]

Podcast Seminary BannerA Short History of Christian Spirituality


by Chase Webster and Freddy Cardoza


Want to learn about 20 Centuries of Christian Spirituality in 20 Minutes?

Spiritual maturity is important to Christians, so they have always sought to understand spirituality.
Christian formation has to do with how we cooperate with God in our own personal transformation and quest for spiritual maturity. Christians have always, since the days Jesus walked with His disciples, engaged in spiritual formation.
Later, after Jesus ascended into heaven, and as the Church matured in the following centuries, there was also a maturing of devotional practice. What was done individually and privately by believers, was more fully understood and communicated to other believers in future centuries. Spirituality began to be practiced systematically in Christian communities. And over time, a greater understanding and development of spiritual disciplines was identified, written about, and practiced.
The history of that development happened in a series of important events over the last 2000 years—events which inform us even today, and that helps our ability to grow spiritually mature.
One wonders, what were the major developments in how Christians and the church thought about spiritual formation? That’s a long and interesting story that began with Jesus, then began to change in the centuries that followed.

The Desert Fathers (250 AD) –

Before Christianity became the state religion under Constantine, believers were being persecuted and even martyred for their faith.
Christians would pray more, met together more, and meditated more because the physical and spiritual needs were great during the time of persecution.
Once Christianity became the state religion, there was changes that came to the faith. A person was no longer in danger if they believed in Jesus as their Savior. This led to a more relaxed approach to maturity and spiritual disciplines among many.
Also, the state religion started to blend Christianity with their old pagan practices. So there were some men who decided to remove themselves from society and practice spiritual disciplines out in the desert, hence the name Desert Fathers (and Mothers). These men would meet in caves to pray and meditate. Eventually they would form communities in the caves. These people are believed to be the first model of monks and the monastic movement.
Following the Desert Fathers and monastic periods, the next major era of Christian Formation took place during the Protestant Reformation.

Protestant Reformation (1500s) –

One of the monks started to observe how the Church lacked an emphasis of a personal relationship with God in the faith. This monk’s name was Martin Luther. Luther raised issues that he thought the Church had like a distant relationship with the Father, very little guidance from the Spirit, faith by grace, and how an individual is justified. Luther was eventually excommunicated from the Church because of his differences with Catholic Church. He never intended on starting the Lutheran Church, but he stuck to his beliefs and there were those agreed and followed him.
The Reformation continued and matured, ultimately leading to the modern age. The largest movement of the 20th Century was Evangelicalism, birthed from Christian Fundamentalism.

Evangelicalism – (1950s-1960s)

The Evangelical movement was a break off from the fundamentalism in 1950s and 1960s. Evangelicals believed that fundamentalism was becoming legalistic and hard towards the movement of the Spirit. At the core of the Evangelical movement is that the person who believes is born again. Typically, evangelical spirituality has focused on the Word of God and personal discipleship, where people model spiritual maturity and teach people in discipleship settings, with a focus on biblical instruction, content, and application. So the focus in evangelical spiritual formation has especially been centered on the Word of God and on Truth.
A sister movement, within Evangelicalism– but that also became very large in the coming decades, until now, sprang up in the 1960s and beyond.

Charismatic Movement (1960s)-

Charismatic Christians thought spirituality and Christian maturity should be more focused on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, including supernatural actions of the Spirit and certain manifestations they believed to be an ongoing part of the ministry of God’s Spirit. Though this is debated within Evangelicalism, the Charismatic movement is a massive movement in the world and within Christianity, and faith and spirituality among Charismatics ‘looks differently’ than it does in other Evangelical churches and among other evangelical Christians. Charismatic believers emphasize spiritual experiences related to the baptism of the Spirit and what is commonly called “speaking in tongues.” These are, again, understood differently in non-Charismatic evangelical churches, but a great number of Charismatic believers emphasize these experiences. Charismatics focus more on experience and experiential Christianity—than only or primarily on teaching the Word of God and personal discipleship in ways more traditional to other evangelicals.
One of the most recent movements in history concerning spiritual formation focused its efforts towards reforming the heart, with a greater interest in more ancient understandings of Christian spirituality and a variety of devotional exercises called ‘spiritual disciples.’

Spiritual Formation Movement (1970s-1980s)-

In 1970s-80s, there were men like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and many others who wanted to refocus the discipleship experience of many Christians. The movement was taking place amongst evangelicals so the issue was not about salvation, but the issue was concerning more internally in regards to the heart and the nature of discipleship. This movement focused on what happens internally, in the heart, in the process of spiritual growth. Spiritual formation sought to combat moralism and the tendency toward legalism that some evangelicals had. It also sought to expand the Charismatic understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in the process of discipleship, by integrating sometimes ancient devotional practices to help people understand God’s work in their hearts, in hopes of transforming how believers understand and experience personal discipleship and life change.

Conclusion

That is a basic introduction to the history of Spiritual Formation. These forces did and still do impact Christians and how they think about their faith. At least gaining a basic understanding of these movements will help Christians understand other believers and how they experience God and seek to grow spiritually. Be encouraged to learn more– to expand your understanding of other believers, and also to think about how your relationship with God can become stronger through a stronger appreciation of how fellow believers seek to know God.

What Mature Christians Should Know (Podcast Episode 002)

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What should Christians know?  Click to discover the answer.


  • Is there a body of beliefs that represent what it means to be a Christian? 
  • Are there essential ideas that comprise a Christian way of thinking?
  • Is there such a thing as a biblical worldview?
  • Are there truths that, if known, could help us live with more certainty?
  • Should people expect to live their lives in spiritual confusion?

These are the types of questions answered in this podcast, Episode 002 – What Mature Christians Should Know.

Take the journey with Podcast Seminary Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, long-time pastor and professor, who explores the idea with you, to help equip you to grow in your faith.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe!

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What Does It Mean To Become a Christian?

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What does it mean to be a Christian
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What Does It Mean to Become a Christian?

      The Christian life, and Christianity is general, is largely misunderstood in American and perhaps other cultures. There are many reasons, I’m sure, but I’m certain that part of it is because of caricatures assigned to it by non-adherents, and it is also due to the failure of many who profess Christ to articulate their faith with clarity AND TO LIVE their faith with integrity.

So I’m ask the question… What is the Christian life?

I am a Christian. That means I believe in Jesus Christ.

I follow Christ. I am wrapping my life and existence around the teachings of Jesus.

The Christian life is first and foremost about individual people who, in the warp and woof of life, have walked down the winnowing path of human existence and—through any number of experiences and events—come to a point in their thinking, where they realized that all was not well.

It happens in so many ways.  This realization leads a person to a point where they feel drawn to God in an increasingly tangible way, and become more and more open to the possibility and—ultimately, the reality, that Jesus Christ is a living reality—an existential BEING who is capable of and interested in cultivating a relationship with each of us, and specifically ME—or, YOU, as the case may be.
And at some point, that person acknowledges the reality of God, and the truth of Christ, and commits his or her life to Jesus by surrendering to His authority.

This type of belief is sometimes called “saving faith.”It is called “Salvation” by Christians, because one is QUOTE, saved, from himself—saved from the ramifications of his or her decisions and actions that wounded their relationship to God and that violated God’s authority.

This belief is associated with a recognition of the fact that things in our lives didn’t go the way they ought to have gone—that we failed to be all we were created to be—that we often violated our consciences to recklessly pursue desires and directions that were fundamentally and diametrically opposed to that which is good. And this pursuit of vice ended up causing us to violate others, ourselves and most importantly, the God who created us in His image. And for that reason, because we have an obligation to him as our Maker—just as a child might be obligated to recognize the authority of his parent or parents, we must answer to Him for our disobedience and our loss or, perhaps better, the forfeiture of virtue.

This acknowledgment is essentially the recognition that, though we are persons of value, we are nonetheless soiled— that is, we are contaminated… and that the contamination we suffer and bear is the outcome of our own doing. We must recognize that, left unattended, that corruption will ultimately result in our undoing.

So a person in this condition calls out to God, silently or audibly—it matters not, and in the sanctuary of their hearts, their innermost beings, they admit to God that they are estranged from a right and harmonious and peaceful relationship with him—and that the reason for this is our own personal rebellion— something that could and should be rightly called “sin” meaning, disobedience toward God.

This disobedience was against God and we know that is the case because we understand and FEEL guilty and culpable for violating our conscience and, wittingly or unwittingly, have also violated the standards God articulated in his love letter to humanity—which is what the Holy Bible actually is.

So the Holy Bible provides us with the written standard of what God desires and expects, and what is required for us to live in harmony with him… and, incidentally, with others.

So the attitude of a person wanting to repair his relationship with God confesses this reality of sin and the resultant loss of inner peace and asks God to forgive him or her. What this means is that, such a person feels sorrow, contrition, regret, disappointment and even guilt for past thoughts, attitudes, and actions, and then ASKS FOR and receives forgiveness from God.. and this then INITIATES a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. And such a person considers Jesus his only hope for abundant living now and eternal life now and later.

And what that means is that a person who desires to be reconciled with God and to patch up his or her relationship with God and to enter into a real and actual relationship with the God of the Universe invites the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ into his life and then begins a new life—ONE that seeks to cultivate a relationship with God.

That is what it means to become a Christian—being reconciled to God by Faith Alone through Christ Alone.

Your Next Step

Let us know if you have made a commitment to follow Christ.  Also, get other helpful content by staying informed with DigitalDiscipler and Podcast Seminary on Soapbox Network!

 

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Can God Be Trusted?

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Can God Be Trusted post


Can God Be Trusted?

No, really.
That’s a question we see in the Holy Bible, like in the life of Job, and it’s a question we ask ourselves.

It’s a question we ask, so… Ask it.

“O.K., Can God be trusted?” This question of trusting God relates to the issue of “faith.” Faith is trusting what you know; not just what you see. That’s because what we can see is limited, and we usually don’t know all the facts.
What we know, on the other hand, is everything God has shown us about Himself, His character, and His truth. And that is what is meant by “Walk by faith, not by sight.” In testament to this, the Bible’s “Job” was telling his accusing friends that the bad things that had befallen him had not made him lose his faith. In fact, he said, even if God let him die, Job was going to trust His wisdom. But watch this:

Sometimes Life Doesn’t Add Up

Job acknowledged that some of life wasn’t adding up, and that he felt the security in his relationship with God to question why these things were happening, what was going on, and even to say to God that he didn’t know what he was doing to deserve the hardships he’d been enduring.
At the end of this story, which was life in middle-age for Job, he learned that all hardships aren’t because of errors on our part. He learned that the bad things which happened were not penal(ties), but that some were just righteous suffering.

Don’t Always Equate Suffering with God’s Disfavor. That’s a mistake.

In this case, problems were something God had allowed in order to further purify an already-good man. And all this, because Job truly trusted God (in spite of the harsh treatment that season of life had dealt Job), was meant to to deepen Job’s faith and to prepare him to receive the double-blessings God was soon to provide him.
These blessings were coming and, had Job’s heart not been purified, they have changed him for the worse or made him into another person. (We’ve seen that happen to some people). By going through the lowest of lows at this time in his life, Job was soon going to be spiritually-prepared, ready, to receive enormous blessings in life. But first he had to pass the testing of his faith.

Practically speaking, what is the point?

The practical point of this verse is that God allows us to question (to argue our ways before Him) because He knows we are working with only half of the facts. But the missing facts should be replaced by faith in God’s goodness. And we should trust in God’s Character, even if He allows otherwise horrible things to happen, because He always intends it for good.

So we can question WHY and WHAT He is doing, but we should never question “THAT” He is well within His authority to do whatever it is He does.

In acknowledgement of this, Job later says “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You (God) asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.” God then blessed Job beyond his wildest dreams.
The moral of the story is to trust God, no matter what, and feel free to talk to Him about what is happening and how you feel, just don’t accuse Him of wrongdoing or bad motives, or question His “right” to do what He pleases. Everything He does is meant to work out for our good (New Testament, Romans 8:28-38) and is designed to give us a better hope and future (Old Testament, Jeremiah 29:11-13).
Read this story’s exciting conclusion in Job 42:12ff.

Episode 33, God is Just, Beyond Belief Series Podcast, Session 3

The Count of Monte Cristo is a stirring classic novel surrounding the adventures of Edmond Dantês. Edmond had it all. He was a man of faith, talented, and handsome. Following a long seafaring trip, Edmond is unexpectedly elevated to ship captain and is set to marry the raven-haired beauty, Mercédès. But before they could tie the knot, three unlikely, jealous, and greedy men conspire to have him thrown in jail.To maintain the secret of their betrayal, Edmond is publicized as dead but is privately locked away in the dreadful island dungeon, Chateau d’If.
Believing Edmond has been executed, Mercédès is inconsolable.She is tricked into marrying Fernand Mondego, Edmond’s best friend— the man secretly responsible for having him put away.  Hopeless, bitter, and forgotten, Edmond nearly loses his faith. He is being punished for a crime he didn’t commit, while the guilty parties go free. God seemed nowhere to be found. But Edmond ultimately escapes and, after many years, both he and the evil-doing trio get their just rewards.
Like Edmond in the Count of Monte Cristo, the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel saw God’s people suffer what appeared to be coarse injustice. But as time unfolded, they came to realize that God is always just—even when life seems unfair.  Join us as we learn more about this important attribute of God that will help you in your spiritual maturity.

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Other Resources:  Here you can download additional Bible commentary notes on my Bible Passage, Get the FREDTalks Podcast App or subscribe to FREDTalks so it will automatically come to your device with each new episode.

 
Also below, watch the slide show that accompanies this podcast by clicking through the slides while you listen!

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Be sure to visit my FreddyCardoza.com website for more blogs on Leadership, Education, and Technology

Episode 32, God is Loving, Beyond Belief Series Podcast, Session 2

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Other Resources:  Here you can download additional Bible commentary notes on my Bible Passage, Get the FREDTalks Podcast App or subscribe to FREDTalks so it will automatically come to your device with each new episode.

 
Also below, watch the slide show that accompanies this podcast by clicking through the slides while you listen!

 

Listen to the Testimony of a Former Muslim About How She Came to Christ in our Special Bonus Outtake Podcast

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Be sure to visit my FreddyCardoza.com website for more blogs on Leadership, Education, and Technology

Episode 31, God is Holy, Beyond Belief Series Podcast, Session 1

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Other Resources:  Here you can download additional Bible commentary notes on my Bible Passage, Get the FREDTalks Podcast App or subscribe to FREDTalks so it will automatically come to your device with each new episode.

 
Also below, watch the slide show that accompanies this podcast by clicking through the slides while you listen!

Like Our Stuff? Subscribe to the Digital Discipler mailing list

* indicates required





Be sure to visit my FreddyCardoza.com website for more blogs on Leadership, Education, and Technology