Merge…An IntroductionPosted on September 29th, 2011.
Imagine a place where people love rather than hate, exhibit grace rather than spite, practice inclusion rather than exclusion, value truth rather than deceit, seek freedom rather than tyranny, find redemption rather than death. What you are imagining is already before us, it is here now. There is so much more that can be discovered, and each of us has been invited to be a part of this story, his story. This story that I am talking about is the kingdom of God.
So what is it? The kingdom is God in action, acting directly and indirectly. It is where what God wants done is done, from everlasting to everlasting. The kingdom of God is his interaction with his creation— you and me, every nation, nature, the cosmos, and beyond (Gen. 1—2; Rom. 10). Now a vital part of being a participant in his kingdom is knowing that we have been given entry into God’s redeeming story through Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many of us have only heard half of the story. Yet the kingdom is full of excitement, mystery, and life.
Jesus does not tell us to simply learn about him, but he asks us to become like him in our thoughts, words, and actions. But in order to become like him, we must
First know him. How does Jesus think? How is Jesus Christ actively engaging today’s issues? Where is he evident in our lives, and how do we partner with him in his work?
The lessons in this guide do not focus on mere knowledge but rather on action-learning. In other words, these lessons are not designed to share information only, but to create space for transformation. Therefore, in order to comprehend the information, one must also apply it with action. To know Jesus Christ and his ways, one must actively pursue him, and this journey can only happen in community. This submissive and engaging activity ultimately moves us to understand ourselves and Christ more fully, which creates a commitment to a lifelong process of growth toward wholeness in Christ. Therefore, each lesson is purposefully crafted to fulfill both the formation of the individual and the group.
You will find that each lesson is divided into four experiences which we identify as intellect and devotion (our heads), power and emotion (our hearts), intentional service (our hands), and life transformation (our habits).
Though the lessons can be viewed in distinct parts, they do not fully function unless all four are in participation with each other. And it is within this holistic participation that Merge aims to form people spiritually by involving them in reaching and teaching others to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ.
So may Merge guide you to create space in your life where you experience God’s active presence, help you find freedom and healing, and move you to participate in his transformational love!
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