In this series we’ll explore what the Bible reveals about personal growth, why all growth is spiritual growth, and how you can grow in ways you never thought possible.  With insights from the best-selling book How People Grow by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, this series seeks to unlock age-old keys to growth from Scripture to help people resolve issues of relationships, maturity, emotional problems, and overall spiritual growth. As we move beyond misconceptions about how God operates we will discover that growth is not about self-actualization, but about God’s sanctification.
Throughout this series we will discuss:
  • What the essential processes are that make people grow.
  • How those processes fit into a biblical understanding of spiritual growth and theology.
  • How spiritual growth and real-life issues are one and the same
  • What the responsibilities are of the faith community in your spiritual growth—and what your own responsibilities are in your personal growth.

 Spiritual Growth

Week 1
"The Big Picture - Act One: Creation"
We say that Jesus is the answer to what the world needs - but exactly how and why is he the answer? We begin looking at this in our new series Spiritual Growth. Many times, in the process of our own growth journey, we forget the big picture of what God is doing in the human race. We get caught up in the particulars of emotional or spiritual health, healing a hurting marriage, or making life work, and we lose sight of the bigger picture. But there really is a big picture. It is the story of God and his creation that was lost, and of his work to restore it to himself. This big picture is very important as we think about engaging in spiritual growth; we must not lose sight of who God is and what he's doing in the world.
Captain Lee-Ann van Duinen
May 6, 2018
Week 2
"The Big Picture - Act Two: The Fall"

Spiritual growth is not only about coming back into a relationship with God and each other, and about pursuing a pure life, but it is also about coming back to life—the life God created for people to live. Adam and Eve did not continue in the design that we saw earlier. They decided that God’s design was not for them and that they would do things their own way. In one fell swoop, they reversed the entire created order.

Captain Peter van Duinen
May 13, 2018
Week 3
"The Big Picture - Act Three: Redemption"

God paid the price to gain it all back. The holy God required the death penalty for the sin of humankind. And as the Bible tells us, he laid all of this sin upon Jesus (Isaiah 53:5-6). This paved the way for God to have it all back and return everything to its rightful order. This is what redemption does for each and every human who applies it to his or her life. This application of redemption is the process of growth itself. It is the returning of everything to its rightful, “righteous” place before God. This is why, in our view, to solve life’s problems and to grow spiritually are one and the same thing.

Captain Lee-Ann van Duinen
May 20, 2018
Week 4
"The God of Grace"

One of the biggest obstacles to growth is our view of God. If we are going to grow in relation to God, then we must know who God is and what he is really like. Jesus had been on a mission to show people what God was really like. “Immanuel”—one of the names given to Jesus—means “God with us.” And when Jesus walked the earth, he showed us a very different God than we might expect. People do not grow until they shift from a natural human view of God to a real, biblical view of God. The first aspect of that shift has to be the shift from a God of law to the God of grace. People must discover that God is for them and not against them. This is what it means to have a God of grace.

Captain Peter van Duinen
May 27, 2018
Week 5
"Holy Spirit"

For reasons we do not fully understand, Jesus decided to go to heaven and work on us from there. He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and produce the growth and change we seek. He said that this is better than his being here himself. Given this information, think of how incredible it is to have the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Captain Lee-Ann van Duinen
June 3, 2018
Week 6
"Guilt and Forgiveness"

What you know in your head about forgiveness is different from what you feel in your soul? Do you still feel guilty about something you have done even though you know you are forgiven? The Bible talks about our legal standing before God, and about how God feels toward us. But, it doesn't talk much about how we feel within ourselves in relation to this problem of guilt. How we feel in response to how God sees us is the other side of the guilt equation.

Captain Peter van Duinen
June 10, 2018
Week 7
"Suffering and Grief"

Suffering can be good. It can take us to places where one more season of “comfort” cannot. But suffering can also be terrible. Destructive suffering inflicts evil on a person’s heart and soul and is totally outside God’s desire. Although God can bring good out of the experience, the experience itself is no good at all. Destructive suffering or “bad pain” comes from repeating old patterns and avoiding the pain it would take to change them. Suffering at the hands of someone else is not valuable at all, neither is this kind of pain. It is destructive and does not go anywhere good. Suffering is the path Jesus modeled for us, and he modeled how to do it right. He went through it all with obedience and without sin. This is the difference between those who suffer to a good end and those who suffer to no good end at all.

Captain Lee-Ann van Duinen
July 8, 2018
Week 8
"Spiritual Poverty"

Just about everyone would agree that we all need to grow spiritually. We need to be close to God, love each other, read the Bible, and apply its truths. But many do not understand that a major reason to grow is that we are in a deep and severe state of neediness and incompleteness. Whether or not we have problems or struggles in life, we still need God and we need to know we are in the process of finding him. The Bible teaches that all of us (not just some of us) are in this state. Every person needs God’s grace and mercy. By our very nature we are broken people with no hope except for God.

Captain Peter van Duinen
July 15, 2018
Week 9

Obedience sounds so simple. You may hear people say, “Just trust and obey,” “Just follow Jesus,” or “Just obey the Bible.” However, most people who have been into growth for any length of time know that these statements are more accurate when you remove the word just. This is because, although God helps us to obey him, obedience is anything but simple. Few Christians would disagree that obedience is central to spiritual growth. Yet, Christians often misunderstand what biblical obedience really is. One of the central meanings of “to obey” in the Bible is “to hear.” Hearing and doing what God says are deeply interrelated. When we hear God as he is, rather than how we want him to be, we move toward true obedience.

Captain Lee-Ann van Duinen
July 22, 2018
Week 10
"The Process of Time"

So many people in growth expect that, if they read their Bibles and do the right things, they will instantly and permanently change. They become disappointed when this doesn’t happen. They may feel God has let them down or they are doing something wrong, when in fact, everything may be proceeding as God planned it. Time is a necessary ingredient of growth.

Captain Peter van Duinen
July 29, 2018