The Experience Is Wrapping Up But the Blessings Will Continue

The re-launch of this blog started in May of 2016.

It was rebranded Grow Up and I began to talk about issues of Christian maturity and Christlikeness. Also, I wanted to raise some funding to complete the Apprentice Experience (I should be in the picture from the link but I had left the day before the picture was taken) and chronicle my journey through this intense 18-month discipleship program. March 5-9 will be the last of our four gatherings and the end of the program.

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Since the Apprentice Experience began, a good friend died, my oldest graduated from high school, my Dad died, I became a director of a library, my wife started a brand new career, and I relied on God more than I ever have before.

I want to use this space for the next few weeks to discuss some of my observations from the Apprentice Experience and to mention some of the highlights. I can’t recommend the Apprentice Experience highly enough and I hope to express the value of it in the next several posts.

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Best of the Blog in 2017

This year has been the hardest and most meaningful year of my life. So many things, good and bad happened this year. I couldn’t sum up the year in a few sentences, but my posts provide a diary of sorts to the ups and downs and the goodness of God.

Spiritual Discovery

If you are young and exploring your spiritual identity, join the crowd.

God might be speaking to us all the time. We just arent’ paying attention.

2018 might be a time when we embrace the ordinary.

We can all say that we have Grown Up but where do we actually stand on the Maturity Scale?

We all have a spiritual life. What are you making of yours?

Struggle

There would be no blog and my life would be a shadow of what it is now if this hadn’t happened.

Last summer, I took this well-known passage, Jeremiah 29:11, and explained why it is meant for those who are in places they do not want to be.

As my Dad lay dying, I had to come to grips with my own selfishness. It wasn’t pretty but it was needed.

I have learned that God is working and showing up even when he doesn’t seem to be attentive to our prayers and even our needs.

It took me two posts to discuss the problems with having a sour face.

Do you think you are on the verge of Growing Up? Be ready for a major challenge from Satan.

@krisroller

Grief

One good thing about being so aware of spiritual disciplines is that I knew there were tools out there that could help me with my grief. I just needed to use them.

I tried to eulogize my dad after his death. My goal was to talk about why I admired him so much and why his kind of life is so needed in our time.

Culture

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, I explain while our society is ill-equipped to solve these problems.

That time I picked up a hitchhiker on Mother’s Day.

 

Spiritual Disciplines

I think we could all use help reading the Bible.

Life Change

Beyond my Dad’s death, the most significant thing to happen to me this past year was this.

Parenting

Parenting is probably the area where I need to Grow Up the most.

Why I am not a Dad blogger.

Sin

Being overly critical is a poison and it has done damage to me in the past. But I am working on it.

Service to Others

I might have found the secret to making serving others easier.

 

 

 

Blogging In Crisis

How do you write when you would rather just sleep?

How do you write when everyday you feel like you have just been run over by a bus?

How do you write when you have been drained of every ounce of profundity or insight?

How do you write when just getting up in the morning to go to work is your greatest accomplishment for the day?

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I have gotten off my usual pattern. For months, I would put out two blog posts a week. I haven’t been able to do that this summer. I lack the mental, spiritual, and physical capacity at this moment to keep to that schedule.

All of my posts recently have centered on my dad’s illness and death and my part in that equation. From a spiritual sense, that is about all that I can address right now. Before this summer, I would have post ideas brewing days before and when it was time for me to write something, my thoughts would be primed and ready to go. But lately, the only thought I have brewing regarding this blog have been, “I hope I can get at least one out this week.”

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I haven’t lost my morning routine. I have remained consistent, yet not up to date, with my Apprentice Experience reading. I even exercise regularly. But expressing myself beyond my rawest emotions and most evident reflections has been difficult.

I write this not as a way to whine or to elicit sympathy but to tell you part of the toil that struggle and grief can take on a person. I also write this to give you a marker for how I am doing with my grief.

When I get back to two posts a week and can start writing about subjects that don’t involve disease, struggle, and death, then you will know I am doing better. I am just not there yet.

Why I Am Not A Dad Blogger

I am a parent but I hardly write about parenting. I am a husband but I hardly write about marriage. I hold a managerial job but I haven’t mentioned leadership on this blog. I am a member of a church but I barely mention church. I am a citizen of a democracy but I avoid political discussions and social commentary.

What is my problem? Am I avoiding these things?

This blog is about the maturity, wisdom, character development, and renovation of the heart that comes from the transforming power of Christ. My whole point of writing this blog is so that other people can find ways and methods and inspiration to be the Jesus they would be if Jesus were they.

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If individuals reading this can find growth in love, in compassion, in service, in sacrifice, in perseverance, and humility then their marriages will be improved and their parenting will be less selfish and their work will be more excellent and their participation in church will be more intentional.

I could make every post on this blog a listicle on how to have a great marriage but the heart of the matter wouldn’t change. I need the transforming power of Christ in my life in order to be the person, in all of its states and phases, that blesses others and makes a real difference.

I have a lot of work to do and so do you but the surest way to reach stronger, healthier, and blessed aspects of our lives is to follow Jesus, do what Jesus does, and be like Jesus is.

“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:28-29

One Thing

What is your one thing?

I have thought a lot about what this blog’s one thing should be. What is one message that I would like to get across to whoever happens to find my blog?

I am not a theologian so I would fail if I tried to argue doctrine and the like. I am not a social activist so I would be misguided if I blogged about social issues. And I am not a counselor so I could be dangerous if I constantly spouted advice.

What I am is a normal guy with a normal life who happened to have his life turned upside down by Jesus Christ. I don’t possess any unique skills or have any huge insight but I do long for other normal people who are yearning for a deeper relationship with Jesus to experience what I have experienced. You don’t have to be super spiritual, weird, or withdrawn to transform your life, you just have to be willing to let Christ transform you from the insight out.

My one thing is making growth in Christian spirituality a doable thing for people who think that it is beyond them. You do not have to be constantly frustrated in your spiritual life. Progress is feasible and incredibly rewarding. Christ wants to work on you where you are and what you are dealing with. Your faith does not have to look like your pastor’s, your parent’s, or your Bible Study teacher’s. If it did, you would not be the person you truly need to be.

Join me in discovering a new life that you have always thought was possible but considered out of reach. I can show you a few small things that I have learned that make a huge difference.

This is my one thing.

Why I Blog

I blog because I like to write and the regiment of a blog is good practice.

I blog because I get tired of reading “look at me I can write about hermeneutics” theological pieces that are more about impressing people or starting debates than it is about helping people or God’s kingdom.

I blog because I know that there are thousands of Christians out there who think their status quo spiritual life is all there is and they don’t realize how accessible God can be with just a little bit of intentionality and effort.

I blog because I wish there was another blog out there doing what I am trying to do.

I blog because there a few people who actually read it and find it meaningful and beneficial.

I blog because the church needs committed believers who know God on a deep and experiential level. The church needs people who have been transformed by Christ to live like, for, and through Christ. If just small pockets of believers would begin to live transformed lives and produce the fruits of the spirit then they would have such a more deeper impact than programs, campaigns, and theological debates.

I blog because I have seen the transforming nature of Jesus and I want others to experience it.

I blog because I need to hold myself accountable. Being a spiritual formation blogger is an identity that carries with it standards, challenges, and devotions that I probably would have abandoned if I didn’t envision a reader out there actually caring if I lived out what I professed.

I blog because it is sometimes hard to find an audience for spiritual formation and discipleship within the church. Angels, end times, and who the real Antichrist will be would be easy draws for church people but a class on how to bless your neighbor who curses you just seems silly to some people. Much to the church’s detriment. Still, the web and blogs provide avenues for like-minded people to find each other.

I blog because the words written by Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Frederick Buechner, and Scot Mcknight changed my life. Maybe, just maybe, through God’s grace, my words written could change someone’s life.