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About James Bryan Smith
James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School, D.Min., Fuller Seminary) is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, KS and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Christian Spiritual Formation Institute at Friends University.
A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. Smith is also the author of A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven and Room of Marvels.
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Yet many times we've gotten it wrong, tending to emphasize personal faith over social justice or vice versa. In these pages Jim Smith shows us how to bring spiritual formation and community engagement together, and then once again offers spiritual practices that root new, true narratives about God and the world in our souls. His insight and humility as a fellow learner with us will lead us to live in authentic ways as a good and beautiful community of Christ-followers, shining the light of the Spirit into every relationship.
So begins James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful Life. The problem is, he tells us, we have bought into false notions of happiness and success. These self-centered decisions lead us further into the vices that cause ruin: anger, lust, lying, worry and judging. Eventually we find ourselves living a beautifully packaged life of self-destruction.
Following the Sermon on the Mount, this follow-up to The Good and Beautiful God guides us to look behind these character flaws and to replace our false beliefs with Jesus' narratives about life in the kingdom of God.
We are story-making people. We love reading stories―and we love hearing the personal stories of others. We need stories, or narratives, to make sense of our world. And those stories shape our lives.
What is the story you have been told about the gospel? About God? About the Christian life? About Jesus? About the cross? About yourself? About heaven?
Your answers to these questions will form a story that will determine how your life will go. The answers reveal your ability to trust, to love, to hope―and even your capacity for joy. Any story worth giving the power to shape our lives must pass a simple test: Is it beautiful, good, and true? If it is, then it is a magnificent story―and that is where transformation takes place.
From James Bryan Smith, author of the bestselling book The Good and Beautiful God, comes this spiritual formation resource meant to help both individuals and groups understand the magnificent story of Christ in their lives. The field-tested material within includes spiritual practices at the end of each chapter and a group discussion guide.
Uncover the true story of beauty, goodness, and truth that will satisfy the ultimate longings of your heart.
We are told, “Look out for yourself first” and “Nice guys finish last.” But following that path leaves us feeling isolated and anxious, and can even take us to a place of ruin. This is not a magnificent journey.
There is a road to life in the unshakeable kingdom of God, but it's not an easy journey.
"We cannot enter into the kingdom unless we take our cross and die to ourselves," writes author James Bryan Smith. "We often assume that this will be painful. And of course it is. But what is the alternative? I can, for example, choose to navigate my life, choose to live as I want, and aim at fulfilling all of my desires. This will result in that despair Kierkegaard wrote of, the sickness unto death. . . . The wisest choice, then, is to surrender."
In The Magnificent Journey, the author shows us the better road, the road less travelled, but the road full of riches. Along the way he introduces us to new spiritual practices that will provide the sustenance we need for the deepest, most joy-filled journey of our lives―the journey into the heart of God.
Three deaths in three years. His mother. His best friend. And now, his two-year-old daughter. In this moving story a Christian author goes to a retreat center to grieve and face the hard questions about God that he is asking in the wake of these losses.
If you have ever felt alone, betrayed, abandoned―if you have found yourself asking God why―this novel may be a source of hope. And if you have ever wondered what heaven is like, this book provides a beautiful vision. Room of Marvels is a masterful, dream-like tale that speaks to the eternal in the midst of our most painful earthly losses.
This expanded edition of the beloved book has a new afterword from James Bryan Smith and a discussion guide for group use.
Finding your room of marvels will give you reason to live. Again.
Words are powerful. They contain ideas and shape the way we see God, ourselves and all of reality. We're transformed, in particular, by God's Word, and by "the Word," the Logos―Jesus himself―as described by John in the first chapter of his Gospel.
Memorizing and studying a passage in depth can offer a deeper sense of the meaning of each word. In this unique introduction to the hidden life in Christ, James Bryan Smith walks readers through a thirty-day immersion in Colossians 3:1-17. Each of the thirty short chapters of this book bring out the main truth of just one word or phrase of this rich passage. You'll also find a very simple daily practice to take up, reflection questions and a guide for five weeks of group discussion.
The chapters are short in length, making this book an ideal daily devotional. Since there are thirty chapters, it could be used for a one-month introduction to the hidden life in Christ. Though brief in terms of length, each chapter tries to unearth some very deep truths. For those who have read and practiced the exercises in the Apprentice series, this book will be a helpful refresher as you continue your sacred journey.
Each chapter also contains an exercise or practice ("Living into the Truth"), as well as an affirmation that summarizes the main point of the chapter and a written prayer designed to move you deeper into the truths of the Word. In addition, each chapter concludes with a few reflection questions that can be used either by individuals or in a group discussion.
The only way to tell a story is to use words. May the words of Colossians 3 become a companion to you as God continues to write your story.
This beginning workbook for Spiritual Formation Groups features guidelines for starting a group, study plans for the first nine sessions, and a questionnaire that helps map the way ahead. Based upon six major dimensions of the spiritual life found in the life of Christ and Christian tradition: The Contemplative Tradition - The Holiness Tradition - The Charismatic Tradition - The Social Justice Tradition - The Evangelical Tradition - and The Incarnational Tradition, this workbook program provides all the necessary ingredients to start and maintain a Spiritual Formation Group.
Successfully used by thousands of Spiritual Formation Group participants, A Spiritual Formation Workbook has been completely revised to correlate with Richard J. Foster's Streams of Living Water. Its new and updated exercises and teachings offer fresh perspectives on Christian faith and practice.
Christian in perspective and ecumenical in breadth, RENOVARÉ (from the Latin, meaning "to renew") is an effort committed to the renewal of the Church. Founded by bestselling writer Richard J. Foster, RENOVARÉ provides individual churches with a balanced, practical, effective small-group strategy for spiritual growth.
In six short chapters, The Kingdom and the Cross zooms in on Christ's work on the cross and what it all means about who God is and how we're to live as his people. A soul training exercise is included for each chapter to help the new true narrative take root in our hearts. And a discussion guide at the end makes this complement to The Apprentice Series perfect for groups to work through together, especially during the season of Lent.
Understanding Christ's work on the cross is crucial for any apprentice of Jesus. Here is a resource to help you see―and believe―more fully, that you might live more faithfully in his kingdom.