THE Goal (Part I): Called

By Gordon T. Smith

The Essence of the Christian Life

“We are striving and running toward a goal — the telos of our Christian journey toward mature discipleship and  transformation into sonship” (p. 44).

“We are freed from sin, but to what end?  Clearly, it is to enter into the power and presence of God” (p. 45).

“In other words, our transformation is both an external transaction, by Christ and for us, and also a participation in the life of Christ Jesus through him as pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (p. 45).

“And that is our goal: union with Christ.  Our righteousness is not self-produced but arises from our union with Christ, and thus our only hope is to be participants in or partakers of the life of Christ” (p. 50).

“What we are after here is a theology of Christian maturity — or, it could be phrased, a theology of Christian character” (p. 50).

“Maturity in the Christian life is maturity in faith.  Nothing so marks faith as this: that a person recognizes and lives in the reality that there is another order of life beyond what we engage with our five senses” (p. 53).

“And so evangelism is about fostering and cultivating the opportunities for a person to meet Jesus: to meet Christ Jesus in real time.  In the end it is all about Jesus.  It is not about persuading [someone] of certain truths or laws, or even about believing that Jesus has done something — that if the “believe” it will lead to their “salvation.”  It is rather about meeting Christ Jesus in person and in real time (p. 57).


By John Ortberg

We have a need to connect.

“The yearning to attach and connect, to love and be loved, is the fiercest longing of the soul.  Our need for community with people and the God who made us is to the human spirit what food and air and water are to the human body” (p. 18).

“Neil Plantinga notes that the Hebrew prophets had a word for just this kind of connectedness of all things: shalom — ‘the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight'” (p. 19).

“Community is the place God meets us” (p. 21).

“[Attack and Withdraw] express the only two ways that many…people…see for dealing with each other….At root they are the two expressions of the one great sin, which is a lack of love, the violation of the one great commandment” (pp. 23, 24).

“Our task is to create little islands of shalom in a sea of isolation” (p. 25).

“Community is rooted in the being of God” (p. 34).

“The Trinity exists as a kind of eternal dance of joyful love among Father, Son, and Spirit” (p. 35).

“In the Bible, a person’s name generally stands for his or her character and identity.  To gather in Jesus’ name means to relate to other people with the same spirit of servanthood, submission, and delight that characterizes Jesus in the Trinity” (p. 40).

How do we be in the Trinity at Trinity?  How do we “meet Christ Jesus in person and in real time?”  How do we “create little islands of shalom in a sea of isolation” and “engage in “fostering and cultivating the opportunities for a person to meet Jesus” to invite more to “gather in Jesus’ name?”  How do we become a “holy people?”  What does doing business have to do with that?