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Archive for July, 2009

It is a book called Springs of Living Water: Christ-Centered Church Renewal by David S. Young. The foreward is written by Richard Foster, who says…

“Under the capable servant-leadershipof David Young, ‘Springs of Living Water’ provides a model for spiritual growth that can be studied with genuine profit. I give my highest recommendation”. — Richard J Foster

It is sold on Mennolink:
http://www.mennolink.org/books/davidsyoung.html

It was also recently advertised in the MB Herald:

The Springs process is grounded in Jesus. Development of spiritual disciplines, community hermeneutic, and prayer are key to the success of a Springs approach. Young notes that people will recognize that renewal is occurring, not as the church grows in size, but as Jesus becomes preeminent in a congregation.

Springs of Living Water is an excellent resource – a handbook – for churches seeking Christ-centred renewal. Its informative chapters and numerous appendices will set a church on a good course to finding out what the process of renewal looks like in their midst.

-MB Herald (May 2009)

But is this an excellent resource, as the MB Herald review states? Does the Springs of Living Water method rely on God to initiate renewal through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit or on man made techniques and efforts learned only in a course in church renewal?

It appears that the church renewal method of this book, like the training workshop by its author, involves teaching pastors to how to use the spiritual disciplines for spiritual renewal of their congregation as well as giving them skills for facilitating the renewal process in their church. (http://churchrenewalservant.org/training_events.html)

This comes as no surprise, as David S. Young chaired the Renovare Conference with Richard Foster in 2000.
(http://www.churchrenewalservant.org/profile_complete.htm)

David Young, who was recently interviewed in the Renovare Perspective, said this:

“Congregational spiritual formation is the most promising option for vibrant, healthy churches. … For congregational spiritual formation to become a significant movement, persons are saying we need more churches exposed to this style of church renewal.”

-David Young
Springs of Living Water!
Church Renewal and the Anabaptist Tradition
an interview with David Young
Renovare Perspective, JULY 2007 • Vol. 17, NO. 2, Summer, 2007, pp 4, 5
http://www.renovare.org/readings_perspective_17_2_pg_3.htm

But is this true? Does the church need congregational spiritual formation for renewal? Is renewal something a church can be exposed to? Trained in? Is renewal a style? Is it something a pastor needs to learn skills to facilitate? Will ancient spiritual disciplines renew us? Is it a seven-step model to identify a church’s strengths and discover new life? Or is renewal the result of conviction, repentance, and prayer as the result of the power of the Holy Spirit – leading to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Is this not true renewal?

Titus 3:5-7 tells us that He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Just what kind of water results from allowing Springs of Living Water to flow into your church? Is this really the living water from the Word of God? Is it the pure gospel truth? Or is it a mixture from the muddy streams of contemplative spirituality?

Some facts for further consideration:

The Dangers of Spiritual Disciplines
http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue91.htm

Spiritual Formation
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualformation.htm

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In April of this year, the following contemplative retreat took place at a Catholic Retreat Center in Kelowna, B.C.:

New Life – Kelowna, B.C.
http://www.newlife.bc.ca/content/EventsItem_361
Ancient Streams: A Pathway to Spirituality
Apr 3rd 2009 – Apr 5th 2009
Contemplative Retreat – April 3 – 5 @ Seton House of Prayer

You are invited to join us for a weekend to reflect & meditate on the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made at the cross. Eden Jersak & Lori Martin will be leading us in this weekend to encounter Jesus, ourselves and others at a deeper level.

Journey to the Cross booklets available

The retreat center, which is actually called ST. ELIZABETH SETON HOUSE OF PRAYER (http://sheart.dyndns.org/seton.html), provides the following:

The facility provides…

~ a poustinia

~ a chapel in the woods

~ a conference room

~ a library

~ a dining room

~ fourteen private bedrooms

~ an indoor swimming pool

~ outdoor Stations of the Cross

~ Mary’s Grove

~ the Labyrinth

The retreat centre is operated under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Nelson, and also offers the following:

Spiritual Direction, Counseling and a peaceful environment…. all are available for individuals and groups who wish to come for a few hours or a few days, for their own spiritual growth. Come and discover a deeper awareness of God in the stillness and the beauty of the natural setting.

It is not surprising that New Life church in Kelowna (http://www.newlife.bc.ca/) would have a contemplative spiritual retreat as they lean towards experiential worship, signs and wonders. They also have a ministry called Kelowna Healing Rooms, and their website also says that they have been encouraged along the way through the teachings of John Wimber and more recently the International Association of Healing Rooms, Bill Johnson, Todd Bentley, etc. (See Todd Bentley, Fresh Fire Ministries and Lakeland Revival and Todd Bentley Taught Contemplative Prayer and Silence and Todd Bentley discipled in prophetic by a Roman Catholic Charismatic for further research.)

What is surprising about this recent retreat, however, is that it was facilitated by Lori Martin, one of the spiritual directors who leads retreats for the Mark Centre (http://www.markcentre.org/AboutUs/People.html) which is affiliated with the B.C. Mennonite Brethren Conference and promoted on their website (www.bcmb.org). According to the Mark Centre website, Lori Martin leads a one hour prayer session every Thursday at the Mark Centre in the Rooftop called Sacred Space.

This is a time for you to slow down, listen to God and be refreshed. Sacred Space is every Thursday in the Rooftop at the MARK Centre from 11am-12pm. There is no charge–it’s a free gift to the community. Everyone welcome!

Sacred Space
Thursdays 11am-12pm
Rooftop at MARK Centre

http://www.markcentre.org/?action=d7_article_viewer_view_article&Join_ID=238961&template=article.htm7

The Mark Center also describes her ministry as follows:

Lorie Martin

Lorie is a retreat leader at MARK Centre.She has a passion to encourage everyone to know and experience the intimate & interactive love Jesus has with us.She co-ordinates and shares at retreats for leadership teams, care & prayer groups, missions teams and women’s ministries.The retreats are contemplative in nature composed of quiet interactive times with the Lord through Scripture, worship, listening and healing prayer encounters. As well, Lorie is a qualified Spiritual Director for staff and guests at the MARK Centre.
-Mark Center

Not only does she have a leadership position at the MB affiliated Mark Centre, she is also on staff with Fresh Wind, the ministry of Brad Jersak (husband of Eden Jersak).

Lorie is on staff as a pastor and prayer coordinator at Fresh Wind. She also leads contemplative prayer retreats at the Mark Center in Abbotsford, BC. She is available to speak to churches or to lead retreats. She can be reached through freshwind@shaw.ca.
-(http://www.bradjersak.com/seminarspeakers.html)

These retreat leaders are probably very lovely ladies, and sincere in what they are teaching, and the point of this blog is not to draw attention to who they are, but rather to draw attention to what might be taught at these kind of retreats, and where the path to ancient streams of spirituality is leading the church. A person can be very sincere, but wrong, and even mislead others in their sincerity. One can’t help but wonder if this is another example of the muddy mixture that results from compromise as Christians cross the bridge over these ancient streams of contemplative spirituality.

Also see, regarding this topic:

Spiritual Direction
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualdirection.htm

Contemplative Spirituality
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/contemplativespirituality.htm

Labyrinth Walking – Should a Christian Participate?
Compiled By S. E. Ray
Eternal Path
http://www.eternalpath.com/labyrinth.html

Contemplative Prayer and the Evangelical Church
By Ray Yungen
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/contemplativeprayerarticlebyray.htm

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The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Conference lists the Willow Creek Leadership Summit among their Partners in Leadership Training links here:
http://www.mbconf.ca/home/ministries/leadership_development/

Truth Speaker blog informs us of what the Willow Creek Leadership Summit (www.willowcreek.com/Summit/) is really all about:

Emerging Church Willow Creek Adds Globalist Tony Blair to Leadership Summit Faculty!

One might not only ask why Willow Creek has invited a globalist leader (who has performed chanting rituals to lizards) to teach church leaders, but why the MB Conference is also promoting and recommending this to their leaders. Is this merely another ‘muddy streams’ conference on the road to compromise that mixes the global spirituality of the world with the church?

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Here are some upcoming conferences in Canada that you can find via the MB Conference website on the Leadership Develpment page, here:
http://www.mbconf.ca/home/ministries/leadership_development/
Under the Partners in Leadership Training subtitle is a link called Canadian Youth Workers’ Conference. If you click on this link you will arrive here:
http://www.canadianyouthworker.com/cywc.html

Incidentally, the partners listed for Canadian Youth Worker are all Mennonite churches, as you can see on this link:
http://www.canadianyouthworker.com/index.php?name=Web_Links&req=viewlink&cid=2

They are promoting the following youth conferences:

THE CRY
Vancouver, B.C. this August
http://www.thecry.ca/
Speaker: Lou Engle

Some concerns regarding Lou Engle and his teaching can be found at the following links:
Kingdom Now Prophets Unite
Lou Engle calls for civil war in church, more militancy as Joel’s Army rises

CHANGE CONFERENCE
http://www.changeconference.com/
October 16 & 17, 2009
Queensway Cathedral
1536 The Queensway
Toronto, Ontario

ThIs conference is described as a ‘catalyst’ for youth ministry leaders, but is offered to students and new believers as well. Past speakers have included emergent church leaders, Chris Seay, Louie Giglio, Erwin McManus, Bruxy Cavey, Mark Buchanan, Bruce Wilkinson (The Dream Giver) and Henry Blackaby (see the Blackaby view of God’s will). The 2009 speakers will be Kary Oberbrunner, Todd Bender and Brett Ullman (http://brettullman.com).

*Watch the promo video here:
Change ’09 Promo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAHS9NnmnUw

Youth Specialties Canadian Youth Workers Convention
http://www.cywc.com/
December 3-7, 2009
Vancouver, BC

One of the scheduled sessions at this conference is called Beyond Me – Accompanying Adoescents on Their Spiritual Journey, led by Cal Macfarlane, an ordained Anglican priest. Here is the description:

It has become clear to me over the past twenty-some years of teaching in a Christian College setting that most of our church going adolescents, even those who are vitally connected with the life of the church, seem to have been offered little encouragement to think of the spiritual disciplines as necessary parts of their journey in Christ.

The classic Christian spiritual disciplines (prayer, study of scripture, silence, solitude, fasting, service etc.) are the landscape that Christ’s Spirit inhabits and any Christian, adolescent or otherwise, who seeks to know Christ and become like him, learns to be at home in this geography. That we would postpone the introduction of these things until adulthood makes about as much sense as waiting until someone matures into an adult before teaching them to walk and talk. Adolescents, like any humans, hunger for a genuine experience of God and a true knowledge of themselves. The desire may be adolescent, even childish at times, but it is no less real for that. Young people require both guidance and space from us. The framework offered by the spiritual disciplines provides both. Within the safety of these centuries old practices there is the freedom to discover the reality of God for oneself.

(Rev Dr Cal Macfarlane is an Associate Professor of Spiritual Theology at Briercrest College in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada. Cal has taught at Briercrest since 1986 and for the past several years has served as the Chaplain of the College. His experience with adolescent spiritual formation is grounded in his teaching and ministry at the college and in service to the church, para-church organizations, and other educational institutions across Canada.)

As described, it’s clear that centuries old spiritual disciplines are what the youth will be trained in, thanks to this conference. See some of the dangers here and here and here.

Note: Some of the ecumencial partners listed on the Canadian Youth Workers Convention website include the Mennonites, the Christian Missionary Alliance and the Catholics (here: http://www.cywc.com/partners/).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Are we once again seeing more evidence of how today’s youth are being encouraged to leave the purity of the gospel and cross the bridge over the muddy streams of ancient spirituality?

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