Journal for WTP

 

4 X 12

 For   Christ s  Disciples

      Whole Theology and Practice

              (formerly DISCiple ministries)

     Statement of Purpose

 

To help restore the person, our relationships and our practice of church to the whole of God's creative action (original and new in Christ) and  nonnegotiable purpose for us to be whole in God's qualitative image and relational likeness. This necessitates dealing with (1) how we define our person, (2) how we do relationships, (3) how we do church. This process to wholeness also necessitates our compatible relational response to the whole and holy God's vulnerable presence and relational involvement in the primacy of relationship together.

 

 

August 01, 2017

 

New study now available!!!   

Challenging, clarifying and correcting our assumptions about who we are

 and whose we are.

 

 

The Disciples of Whole Theology and Practice

 

Following the Diversity of Reformation or the Wholeness of Transformation

 

description below      entire study in pdf      go to study (web pages)

 

 

 

 

Worship song for 2017:    The Whole-ly Trinity

 

 

 

 

A whole and uncommon study of the Trinity

 

The Face of the Trinity:

The Trinitarian Essential for the Whole of God and Life

 

description below      entire study in pdf      go to study (web pages)

 

 


 

A study distinguishing worship in our human contexts   

 

Worshiping God in Likeness of the Trinity:

Not Determined 'in their way'

 

         description below       entire study in pdf         go to study (web pages)

 

An urgent study for the global church

 

The Global Church Engaging the Nature of Sin

and the Human Condition:

Reflecting, Reinforcing, Sustaining, or Transforming

 

   description below         entire study in pdf        go to study (web pages)

 

 

 

   An integral study challenging your gospel

 

The Gospel of Transformation: Distinguishing the Discipleship & Ecclesiology Integral to Salvation

 

description below        go to entire study in pdf           go to study (web pages)

 


 

Advanced Study: an integrated study of the human person

 

The Person in Complete Context: The Whole of Theological Anthropology Distinguished

 

description below         go to entire study in pdf        go to study (web pages)

 

 


Critical Advanced Study - Theology Study

 

"Did God Really Say That?" Theology in the Age of Reductionism

 

(description below)     (go to study)     (go to entire study in pdf)

 


Related Advanced Studies

 

Jesus into Paul: Embodying the Theology and Hermeneutic of the Whole Gospel    (description below)     (go to study)      (go to entire study in pdf)

 

The Whole of Paul and the Whole in His Theology:

Theological Interpretation in Relational Epistemic Process   (description below)   (go to study) 

 

Sanctified Christology: A Theological & Functional Study of the Whole of Jesus   (description below)

 

A theological study on wholeness   (description below)

  


Worship Studies:

 

Embodying New the Worship Relationship: Whole Theology & Practice Required

description below       go to entire study in pdf        go to study (web pages)

 

Hermeneutic of Worship Language: Understanding Communion with the Whole of God

(description below)      (go to study)

 

A Theology of Worship: 'Singing' a New Song to the Lord       (description below)   (go to study)

 


Welcome!

 

to our web journal for serious Christians who want more—particularly, qualitative depth and relational significance of faith.

 

God has been revealed ultimately in the incarnation of the Son with nothing less & no substitutes than the whole of God. This involves the gospel that, unfortunately, often does not have the qualitative depth and relational significance for those who claim and proclaim this good news. The more we understand the who, what and how of God's action composing the gospel to make known the whole and holy (uncommon) God for relationship together, the deeper our relational response can be to involve ourselves with this God. Only on this relational basis, and not merely by doctrine, can we truly know the triune God and live together as the experiential reality of the Trinity's family. For this relational process to be of functional significance, it must be without reduction—that is, nothing less and no substitutes of our whole person, just as the whole of God relationally responded to us vulnerably in Jesus Christ.

 

As defined in our statement of purpose above, this journal is established to get to the heart of our whole person, to develop intimacy in our relationships (first with God, then with others) and to practice church as the family of God among ourselves and in the world. Discipleship, when not reduced, brings all of these together in the primacy of relationship distinguishing God's whole. This involvement necessitates fully understanding what it means to be true followers of Jesus Christ, that is, specifically in the relational context and process of the relational progression in which Jesus constitutes his followers. Therefore, distinguishing the qualitative depth of our person(s), in our relationships and as his church are core issues that will be addressed ongoingly in this journal. And whether you have a modernist mindset and worldview or tend toward postmodernism, you will be stirred by change as well as challenged to change—namely, redemptive change in which old matters need to be let go and allowed to die before the new of Christ can be raised up to experience. Those of you who seriously want more in your relationship with Jesus and seek him particularly for the experiential elements of your faith and for deeper relational significance in your journey with the Trinity, both individually and corporately, will benefit from study in this journal. Additionally, those seeking further and deeper understanding of how our faith needs to function in the world will be challenged, if not confronted, by the overlapping studies available to engage not only as an individual but together as the body of Christ, that is, not simply the church but the whole-ly God's new creation family.

Yet, keep clearly in mind:

To be merely informed about God
   is the referential study of Scripture and theology,
to know, truly know, God in the innermost
   is the vulnerable work of intimate relationship --

just as Jesus clearly defined for his followers (Jn 14:9,

cf. Jer 9:24).  
 

Engaging

 

Too much Christian practice has been reduced to substitutes for the vulnerable incarnation of Jesus (especially between the manger and the cross), or to settling for less than God's intimate presence. Whether intentional to minimalize the intrusion of God's relational involvement or unknowingly due to our shaping of relationship together, qualitative depth and relational significance are lacking. Under these conditions Christian identity becomes ambiguous or shallow, both among ourselves and in the world. If we are to get beyond "simulations" in our relationship with God and beneath "virtual realities" in our practice to the root realities of our faith, we have to engage God directly in the vulnerable self-revelation "in the face of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6) while reading his Word in order for face-to-face connection. The following interrelated and overlapping studies are provided to help us more clearly perceive the face of Jesus to be able to be relationally involved with him directly (without substitutes and simulations) in order to truly know him and to experience God's deepest desires for his people (without settling for less or virtual realities).

 

        While these studies overlap, each has its own emphasis, whether focused more on practice or theology. Yet, all the theological discussion is presented to function in practice, namely, for whole theology and practice. Whatever study you undertake, we encourage you to engage each of these studies in sequence because the chapters are progressive. Pray to anticipate God's deeper presence in your life and for the Spirit's further transformation of your mind and heart, that is, your whole person.
 


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Whole-ly Disciples Study  click here   pdf of entire study

 

            What assumptions do you make in your theology and practice? The Disciples of Whole Theology and Practice will help you clarify them and where needed to correct them.

            In the expansion of global Christianity—with its majority now centered in the Two-Thirds World—the unfolding diversity has taken the outcome from the Reformation to new heights. This diverse condition, however, has also presented an incomplete profile of the triune God and rendered ambiguous the full profile of God's face embodied by Jesus in our theology, and increasingly has obscured the Light of the gospel in our practice. The consequence has been a fragmentary condition of (1) diverse disciples who have shaped in their terms how to "Follow me," and (2) diversified discipleship defining or re-forming how to be "where I am" (Jn 12:26).

            Contrary to Jesus' paradigm for discipleship, this diversity exists in a critical condition urgently needing clarification and correction, which Jesus made explicit in his manifesto for all disciples in order to be whole in their theology and practice and thereby have the true identity of "his disciples." This is the whole relational outcome of the gospel composed only by the whole and uncommon Jesus, whose experiential truth and relational reality challenges (if not confronts) the diversity of reformation and renewal today. This study expands on his clarification and correction for our relational progression to wholeness in theology and practice.

 

 

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Trinity Study      click here       pdf of entire study

 

        If you have been keeping up with modern theological development, you are aware of the surge in discourse centered on the Trinity. This increased interest in the Trinity may make you question whether we need any further discourse on the subject. That would raise a valid issue, particularly if the recent interest has been merely focused on a theological subject instead of the Subject, and thus with little if any discussion on the significance that the trinitarian subjects have for the church and its persons and relationships.

        The most essential issue that those of faith have to account for in order for one's faith to have significance involves integrally knowing the extent of God's presence, and understanding the depth of God's involvement in the human context. The full profile of the face of this God is essential to compose the whole necessary for our God and life. Yet, the profile of God's face has often not been distinguished fully, thereby rendering God to stereotypes both in theology and practice. Trinitarian theology and practice are challenged by this study—The Face of the Trinity: The Trinitarian Essential for the Whole of God and Life—to come face to Face with the whole-ly Trinity.

 

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Global church study click here     pdf of entire study

 

            The reality that the majority of Christians today has shifted from the West to the Majority World raises some critical issues for the church about its globalness. Who and what converge to compose the contemporary church, and how is the church composed at its core?

            Christians and the church in both the global North and South need to face the implications of this shift in their theology and practice in order to compose the experiential truth and reality of the global church. This will require that the churches, persons and relationships of the global church meet the challenge to openly examine their existing theology and practice, and willfully change any areas necessary to converge together in the transformed relationships of the new order global church family of Christ.

            Change involves the redemptive change in which the old dies so the new rises; this process unavoidably includes addressing sin as reductionism in our churches, persons and relationships to go further and deeper than the limits and constraints of our human condition that prevail in the church today. The relational outcome is for the global church to emerge distinguished at the heart of its global theology and to unfold distinguished at the heart of its global practicethe experiential truth and reality of which compose the integrity of the whole and uncommon global church family in likeness of its whole and uncommon God. This study—The Global Church Engages the Nature of Sin and the Human Condition: Reflecting, Reinforcing, Sustaining, or Transforming—assumes nothing less and no substitutes for the church in both the global South and North, and for the ages of all its persons, the diversity of all its peoples, the differences of all its nations, and their relationships together.

 

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Transformation   Study click here     pdf of entire study

         There are various assumptions we make when the gospel is mentioned. One assumption is that we all essentially mean the same thing, have the same basic understanding, or at least don't generally disagree. A more critical assumption is that the gospel we claim and proclaim is the very gospel that Jesus embodied. These assumptions, along with many others, need to be examined, if not challenged, in order for the experiential truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to become our experiential reality.

         If we can affirm that what is most important to God is relationship, then the primacy of relationship together is the purpose determining all of God's actions since creation—most notably for the gospel and thus for salvation. Accordingly, any salvation that doesn't unfold in the primacy of relationship together is not that same gospel that God enacted even before the incarnation. Integral to salvation is how we practice both following Jesus (discipleship) and church (ecclesiology), about which we have made serious assumptions in our theology and practice.

         Much of what we have come to believe about Jesus and practice in his name needs to be examined—challenging and holding accountable all our assumptions. This defining task is urgent for all Christians, most of all for church leaders and those in the academy, because some of our beliefs and practices may require deconstruction, transformation and reconstruction in order for wholeness to be a reality in our theology and practice. In an increasingly post-Christian climate, we are challenged to be distinguished with nothing less and no substitutes. This study, The Gospel of Transformation: Distinguishing the Discipleship and Ecclesiology Integral to Salvation, takes up this challenge—without making the further assumption of the Spirit's relational work with us along the way in reciprocal relationship together.

 

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Theological Anthropology study   click here

pdf of entire study

         In terms of a theological nature, theological anthropology (TA) has had an incomplete or fragmentary composition of its discourse on the human person. We should expect a more definitive position from TA. This study focuses on what we can and need to count on in TA, and therefore on what distinguishes the whole of TA. Accordingly, TA is responsible for definitive discourse on the uniqueness of the human person that distinguishes the whole person beyond any living species in the human context. To meet this responsibility, there are two main and vital issues any TA must answer:

  1. What does it mean to be the human person God created?

  2. What does God expect from this person?
     

        Assuming that all persons need, if not want, to know ‘where we came from, who we are, what we’re made of and for’, this study engages not only these questions but also these persons and their relationships—which certainly includes all of us directly engaged in TA discourse. For this theological and functional engagement to be fulfilled, TA must occupy the pivotal position and provide the vital function for the relational outcome that integrally constitutes the person in complete context.

        Thus, the pressing challenge for TA is to take up the responsibility of its pivotal position and vital function by conjointly (1) composing its theological trajectory to be compatible with the whole of God, and (2) living its relational path to be congruent with the whole of Jesus. The Person in Complete Context: The Whole of Theological Anthropology Distinguished takes up this responsibility and engages the primacy of the relational context and process necessary to distinguish integrally the person in complete context and the whole of TA. Nothing less and no substitutes.

  

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Theology study     click here  pdf of entire study

        Theology has occupied human minds from the beginning. Anyone, from old to young, who seeks to sort out their beliefs, gain their meaning or put them into practice has been engaged in the theological task. Yet, theological engagement never takes place in a vacuum, even when isolated from the surrounding context (e.g. as practiced in monastic theology). Theology and the theological task unfold inescapably within a formidable context, that is, in the age of reductionism. And unless we understand this context in which we all live—understand beyond the issue of contextualization as commonly considered—our theology and task are subject to its shaping. Until any and all theological engagement directly address and openly account for this unavoidable context, the theological task and its theology have been and continue to be rendered to a critical condition needing to be made whole. Is this the current condition of theology and theological education that occupies, even preoccupies our minds today?

        This is an honest conversation overdue—not to be engaged in isolation or just among ourselves but vulnerably with the whole of God who has been ongoingly pursuing us for this vital engagement in the age of reductionism. “Where are you?”

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Integration  Study  click here     pdf of entire study

        This study is the integration of Jesus and Paul. Many scholars perceive Paul as different from Jesus in various ways, even on a different trajectory with his own gospel and as the founder of Christianity. Yet these views are based on both an incomplete Christology and a limited understanding of Paul. Lacking whole knowledge and understanding of Jesus and Paul has resulted in either an inadequate, even artificial, synthesis or the prevention of their synthesis. When Jesus and Paul each speaks for himself, however, there emerges a relational dynamic that flows integrally to compose Jesus into Paul: Embodying the Theology and Hermeneutic of the Whole Gospel. And their integrated words challenge intrusively the theology and function of the church and academy today in their innermost. Therefore, their synthesis in this study is the integration and extension of the previous Christology and Paul studies below.

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Paul Study    click here     pdf of entire study

        The study of Paul has been an adventure for biblical and theological studies since the Pauline corpus emerged--an adventure in which some have gotten lost in a theological wilderness and many have plodded in a textual maze. Understanding Paul has been elusive, if not an enigma, while grasping his thought and theology has been a trial-and-error process, if not an exercise in endless speculation. Yet, Paul's prominence in Scripture and importance for the Christian faith and church remain in our thinking despite the gap in understanding the whole significance of Paul. The Whole of Paul and the Whole in His Theology: Theological Interpretation in Relational Epistemic Process involves the study compatible for both addressing critical issues necessary to help close this gap and engaging the vital process needed to open the hermeneutic door to the whole of Paul and the whole in his theology.

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Christology   Study  click here     pdf of entire study

        The portrait of Jesus we carry around to give definition to our Christian faith often does not coincide with the whole of Jesus' person in the Bible. Yet, we are willing to make commitment to, build churches with, go out on missions for and proclaim a gospel about an identity of Jesus, our perceptions of whom tend to be incomplete, perhaps even distorted and ironically overly christocentric. Such is the common consequence, for example, when we detach his teachings, examples, principles and practice from the whole of his person. This disembodies these aspects of Jesus and thus fragments their significance constituted to be whole by the incarnation of the whole of God and God's thematic relational response to the human condition. Sanctified Christology: A Theological & Functional Study of the Whole of Jesus is a theological and functional study that seeks to fill or correct the gaps in our understanding of Jesus (both in churches and the academy) to complete our Christology. This study overlaps with our other studies, yet it provides the central theological basis necessary for all of them and the necessary base for coherence in the various aspects of our theology. This is the integrating nature of a complete Christology, the grasp of which and whom requires our involvement in ongoing reciprocal cooperative effort with the Spirit.
 

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Wholeness   Study  click here    pdf of entire study

        The pursuit of wholeness, or at least the interest in it, can be observed in different movements of the global community. How Christians have perceived of wholeness and practice being whole have been problematic, notably due to the influence of reductionism. The Person, the Trinity, the Church: The Call to be Whole and the Lure of Reductionism formulates a theology of wholeness based on the whole of God constituted in the Trinity and signified by the triune God's ongoing response to our condition to be apart from the whole—the whole of God in whose image our design and purpose are created.  God's response was ultimately fulfilled in the incarnation of Jesus, who is the hermeneutical key to the whole of God. In God's call to us to be whole, Jesus is also the functional key to intimately bond with the Father as the whole of God's family, which the Spirit is bringing to completion in God's eschatological plan. These roots form the basis for any discipleship and thus for all Christian spirituality; yet, the lure of reductionism has been a formidable challenge to our practice to be the whole of God.

        Essay on Wholeness is also now available click here
 

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Discipleship   study  click here     pdf of entire study

        Discipleship is one of those Christian words or concepts that has been used loosely, defined in various ways or simply ignored in individual and corporate practice. The Relational Progression: A Relational Theology of Discipleship formulates the relational imperative for all followers of Jesus (both individually and corporately) and gives coherence to all the various theological aspects of the transcendent God vulnerably engaging us for intimate relationship as his very own in his eschatological plan. Thus, discipleship integrates spirituality and Christian community in God's whole.
 

 

Spirituality   STudy  click here     pdf of entire study

        Authentic spirituality is only about intimate relationship with the triune God; intimacy is defined as hearts open to each other and coming together. Following Jesus, Knowing Christ:  Engaging the Intimate Relational Process focuses on developing this relationship with Jesus whose life, person and words, particularly between the manger and the cross, incarnate and thus establish God's design and purpose for us -- the relational context, the relational process and relational progression to the Father. A Study Guide & Growth Plan is also provided to assist your involvement.

        Essay on Spirituality is also now available. click here
 

 

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Uncommon Worship Study    click here        pdf of entire study

        Historically, Christian worship has been practiced in diverse ways and forms. How worship practice has unfolded to determine the diversity of worship practices today is defined by a particular theology underlying each of those practices. It is pivotal for all Christians personally and collectively as church to both know their worship theology and understand whether their worship practice should be based on that theology. Even if we don't, we all are faced with two critical issues: (1) Are we worshiping the whole of God or essentially some common likeness? and (2) Does our worship have significance to our God? If so, what is that significance?

        We have to account for this, and hopefully this study—Worshiping God in Likeness of the Trinity: Not Determined 'in their way'—will help us be accountable, that is, to worship the whole and uncommon God.

 

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Worship Study             click here          pdf of entire study

         Whenever and wherever we gather to worship God, many of us don't consider who and what God "gets," both individually and corporately, and we make assumptions about our worship's significance to God. This study, Embodying New the Worship Relationship: Whole Theology and Practice Required, examines those assumptions through the lens of Jesus' words—that is, his relational language, which always gives primacy to intimate relational connection together and thus the primary of significance to God. Our worship relationship, inseparably from our discipleship relationship, needs to mature beyond the status quo of our primary focus on secondary matter. Jesus, along with Paul, Mary (Martha's sister) and some shout-in child-persons, illuminate for us the inner-out change that is necessary for the blessed outcome in worship to be vulnerably involved with the whole of God (the Trinity) for face-to-face and heart-to-heart relational connection together. This blessed outcome embodies us new as God's dwelling, that is, his new creation family!

 

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Worship Language Study  click here   pdf of entire study

        A major assumption commonly made in worship is that God receives what we present; God may not necessarily like all we present but still receives it. This is a bad assumption that assumes God receives our good intentions. For Jesus, worship is inseparable from discipleship, and the most vital aspect of discipleship is the quality and depth of relational connection with him. Yet, this distinguished connection is not an automatic outcome for us (cf. his disciples, Jn 14:9), and notably is lacking or absent in so much of our corporate worship.

        This study, Hermeneutic of Worship Language: Understanding Communion with the Whole of God, focuses specifically on God's relational language in contrast to and even conflict with referential language (what prevails in human contexts). The relational words from God's heart unfolded whole-ly in the embodied Word to be vulnerably present and intimately involved in reciprocal relationship together, thereby composing the relational terms for compatible involvement together. Understanding God's words and the Word in their relational language involves all of us in the critical issue of hermeneutics (interpretation leading to understanding). The tension, apparent or not, between relational language and referential language has been an ongoing issue (cf. Jn 8:43), which needs to be addressed if our relationship with God is to have the significance of distinguished connection embodied by the Word to compose communion together, not only in worship but in ongoing relationship. Jesus clearly illuminates what is involved for this intimate communion together: our compatible and reciprocal relational response of worship (individual and corporate) as the whole God's new creation family. Moreover, the depth and quality of this communion together (only on God's relational terms) is sufficient to both transform our worship to be 'whole', and for the blessed relational outcome to relationally know and understand the whole and holy God.

 

Theology of Worship  click here   pdf of entire study

        When Jesus disclosed that the Father seeks those who will worship "in spirit and truth," (Jn 4:23-24), he defined what is primary to God for worship—our reciprocal relational response to and vulnerable involvement with him. This is in contrast and conflict with the assumptions we make about our person, God and worship, assumptions from which we give him something less and some substitutes of secondary significance. Yet, Jesus ongoingly challenges and pursues us for deeper relational connection together to compose his new creation family as experiential reality, in which we can 'sing' a new song to the Lord. This study, A Theology of Worship: 'Singing' a New Song to the Lord, examines these issues for this relational outcome.

 

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 Worship   Perspectives   click here

        Worship is our fundamental relational response to God and thus is our essential involvement with God in all we are and do. The following perspectives and songs can be helpful to you to go deeper into the relational context and process of worship--not as an activity-end in itself but rather as more intimate response directly to God with relational clarity and relational significance.
 

 

Connect

We want to hear from you!  Please feel free to contact us, share your thoughts, questions, feelings. Let us know if we can support you further. We hope, we pray that all contained here will serve to edify, challenge and encourage Jesus' disciples, in order to build up Christ's body, God's family, the church. We are, after all, sisters and brothers in Christ, but these truths need to become functional for our practice.

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Studies

 

 Latest: 

 

 

Whole-ly Disciples Study

The Disciples of Whole Theology & Practice: Following the Diversity of Reformation or the Wholeness of Transformation


 

Trinity Study

The Face of the Trinity: The Trinitarian Essential for the Whole of God and Life

 

Uncommon Worship Study

Worshiping God in Likeness of the Trinity: Not Determined 'in their way'

 

 Global Church Study

The Global Church Engaging the Nature of Sin and the Human Condition: Reflecting, Reinforcing, Sustaining, or Transforming

 

Worship Study

Embodying New the Worship Relationship: Whole Theology & Practice Required

 

Transformation Study

The Gospel of Transformation: Distinguishing the Discipleship & Ecclesiology Integral to Salvation

 

Theological Anthropology Study

The Person in Complete Context: The Whole of Theological Anthropology Distinguished

 

Theology Study

"Did God Really Say That?" Theology in the Age of Reductionism

 

Worship Language Study

Hermeneutic of Worship Language: Understanding Communion with the Whole of God

 

Integration Study

Jesus into Paul: Embodying the Theology and Hermeneutic of the Whole Gospel

 

 Theology of Worship: 'Singing' a New Song to the Lord

  

Paul Study
The Whole of Paul & the Whole in His Theology

 

Christology Study

Sanctified Christology: A Theological & Functional Study of the Whole of Jesus
 

Wholeness Study

The Person, the Trinity,

the Church

 

Essay on Wholeness

Journey to Wholeness in Christ

 

Discipleship Study
The Relational Progression
 

Spirituality Study
Following Jesus, Knowing Christ

(with study guide)

 

Essay on Spirituality
"Listen to My Son"

 

Worship Perspective Articles

 

Worship Songs

 


 

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