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Learning to Live by the Indwelling Life of Christ

It’s great to be back in 85 degree weather here in Florida. Some of you wanted to know why I didn’t blog Thursday or Friday.

Last Wednesday, I flew to Orcas Island (where I met rain and 45 degree weather). Leonard Sweet (whom I affectionately call Lynyrd Skynyrd) kindly invited me to be the guest speaker/facilitator for his 2-day Spring advance in his home in Orcas Island.

This was the second time I made the uncommon journey to Orcas. To give you a flavor of what that trip is like, let me rehearse the first time I visited Sweet. After arriving to his home in November 2010, the first thing I said to him was, “Which mob boss did you rat out? This is clearly part of the witness protection program!”

That first trip made me feel as though I were living out a deleted scene in Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.

I flew from Florida to Atlanta, and was laid over for several hours in Atlanta. Caught the red-eye in Atlanta to Seattle, WA (a 6-hour trip). Then there was the 2+ hour drive from Seattle to catch the ferry (someone picked me up and drove me, which was nice).

We missed the ferry, however (which I understand is not uncommon). So we sat in the car for 3+ hours waiting for the next ferry to leave (it was freezing outside). Then the 1-2 hour trip on the ferry to Orcas (I can’t remember how long it was as I believe I repressed the memory). Then the car ride from the ferry drop-off to Sweet’s home.

Yep, witness protection program.

Back to the event over the weekend.

It was a fun time. I especially enjoyed the new people I met. Most were in ministry of some sort. There were Methodist, Nazarene, Lutheran, Reformed pastors, an Episcopalian priest, and others in different kind of ministries.

One of the things I spoke about was the reality of an indwelling Christ, and that living by the life of Christ was possible. As you know, living by the resurrection life of Jesus is a major keynote of moving beyond evangelicalism, yet it’s the missing ingredient of present-day Christianity. This despite that it’s central to the New Testament and lies at the heart of the gospel.

Ever since I’ve been preaching about living by Christ’s life, I’ve noted four main reactions from listeners:

  1. Some have no idea what I’m talking about, but don’t care enough to ask about it.
  2. Some assume they know what I’m talking about, filtering what I’m saying through their own experience. (For example, some mistakenly think that I’m talking about reading and obeying the Bible. Others mistakenly think that I’m talking about “hearing” God’s voice or walking in the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.)
  3. Some know what I’m talking about and have experienced it. So they find what I’m saying to be encouraging, inspiring, and confirming, as well as giving them additional language for the experience.
  4. Some realize that they don’t know what I’m talking about and have the humility to admit it. In addition, they are hungry to experience it, so they ask me to talk more about it.

A good number of the emails and letters I receive come from people in the fourth group. And for that I’m enormously thankful.

As many of you know, my books Jesus Manifesto, From Eternity to Here, Epic Jesus, and Revise Us Again contain sections about living by the indwelling life of Christ.

But beyond what I’ve written there, the message entitled Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ is where I suggest people begin.

It’s a free download. When you get to the audio page, just look at the left-hand top of the page and you can download the talk to iTunes or listen to it through many other venues. You can also stream it directly on your computer.

If living by the life of Christ is a subject that interests you, feel free to share this post with your friends.

The message is a large-dose introduction to the topic. There will be more to come on the subject . . .

Click Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ to hear the message.

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FRANK VIOLA has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply, gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and make the Bible come alive. Viola has written many books on these themes, including God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here. His blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today.