Foundations of Intimacy with Jesus
‘Intimacy’ is a widely used term in the body of Christ, but one that is all too often artificially understood and experienced. What is it really to be intimate with Jesus Christ? Are there different ways to be intimate with Him? Do the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture reading, worship, and meditation automatically catapult us into the very presence of our risen Savior? Is it possible to be biblically correct in our understanding of Christ’s relational intentions toward us but remain spiritually deficient in attaining them? Perhaps there is a great divide between our relational potential with our Maker and our practical, everyday experience of Him. If so, is there a means whereby we move toward this elusive divine/human intimacy? Hopefully, this course will offer biblical and theological insights plus spiritual challenges to help us along the way. A two-sided course approach will best facilitate this through the encouragement to enter into greater intimacy with Jesus in the course readings and the challenge to walk the difficult roads leading there in the lectures and discussions. Emphasis will also be given to how a strong foundation of prayer best assures a sustained, long-term connectedness with Jesus.
Foundations Growing in Prayer
More than an event, meeting, or discipline, prayer is the joyful center of devotion to Christ, the fuel of missions, and the means to receiving the Holy Spirit, grace, and power. Yet many believers are discouraged in prayer and aren’t sure what to do about it. They feel stuck in impersonal, inconsistent, and joyless prayer, disconnected from life and God’s story. In this course we will discover and practically establish the path for an enjoyable life of prayer grounded in the Word and satisfied in Christ.
Foundations Jesus’ Glorious Return
God has always desired to dwell with men/women on the earth. His eternal purposes are bound to this great desire of the Godhead. Since man’s failure in the Garden of Eden, the human soul has been deeply connected to two dominant story lines—(1) God’s desire to dwell with man; (2) man’s conflict with God’s desire and purpose. Our history books are full of the conflicts and dark injustices which manifest our dislike with God’s grand purpose. This course will focus on giving the student an overview of God’s glorious plan to end injustice, restore all things and establish His kingdom on the earth in fullness. We will study the final execution of His plan in the end times and the crucial role of the praying church in partnering with God to bring His Kingdom to the Earth as it is in Heaven.
Foundations Forerunner Ministry
Just as God used John the Baptist as a forerunner to prepare the way for Jesus’ first coming, so the Lord is raising up forerunners who will boldly and fearlessly proclaim His return. “Forerunner” is a term that can be used to refer to spiritual leaders who God raises up to prepare His people for the transitions in His emphasis and activity. It is their job to understand when a new season is breaking in upon the earth like the sons of Issachar in the days of King David who knew the signs of the times and how to give leadership to the people of God in an hour of crisis. In this course we will look in depth at the following topics: The nature and unique dynamics of a transitional generation, the nature and purpose of the forerunner ministry, biblical models of the forerunner ministry and the lifestyle of the forerunner.
How to study the Bible
Jesus Christ declared that the ultimate purpose for searching Scripture was to find eternal life in Him (Jn. 5:39–40). Along this line, the apostle Paul indicated that personal, spiritual transformation occurred by intently gazing at, meditating on, and studying God’s Word (II Cor. 3:18). King David proclaimed that the study of holy Writ was the secret to his relationship with God and greatly influenced his song writing (Ps. 27:4, Ps. 119:54). In light of these noteworthy assertions, it is incumbent upon us to heed their wisdom and follow their advice. To this end, this course is a practical examination of how we can internalize the Bible in order to form our spirits and deepen our faith (Ezek. 3:1–3; Rev. 10:9–10). A key objective is to gain confidence and tools in how to study the Bible. Emphasis will be given to learning how to examine the historical and literary context of a passage, understanding the immediate or initial meaning of the text, and practically applying the eternal truths contained therein.
The Excellencies of Christ
The Father’s strategy to mature the Church into fullness before the second coming of Jesus and to sustain her at the end of the age is to unfold the beauty of His Son in an unprecedented way. Students delve into the great mystery of the God-man: the wonder of Christ’s preexistence, incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return, pondering what causes elders to bow, angels to sing, and humans to weep. From the incarnation to the ascension, this revelation of the beauty and transcendence of this ‘Man’ will arrest your heart to fall in love with Jesus all over again.
Foundations of Intercession
God created mankind out of His desire for a partner. When humanity fell from this glory, God sent His Son to intercede and reconcile God and man. Through Christ we have joined His eternal ministry of intercession. We are now “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1) in this age and in the age to come, crying out to see justice released, Jesus return, and His government established in the earth. Students examine the lives of great biblical and historical intercessors and how they changed history through the power of prayer. As they learn how to usher in revival through prayer, they are confronted with the urgency of the hour and the great need for a people of prayer to emerge, ready to partner with Jesus to see God’s will done on earth.
Song of Solomon
The Song of Solomon is also called, “The Song of Songs” or the greatest song ever recorded. A title like this, from the son of the most prolific songwriter in Israel’s history from a man who had written 1,005 of his own songs speaks to the power and value of this particular song. From ancient Israel to modern times scholars and commentators have understood the underlying picture that Solomon presented to us: the love of a Bridegroom God for His people. My overall goal is for this class to help us understand the progression of grace and holy passion, or our journey into maturity in love by grace. The Song of Solomon provides the clearest picture of this progression in the word of God.