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Becoming Fully Human

How Gepetto rejoiced when Pinocchio became a real boy!


In the same way, our Creator rejoices to see us becoming fully human.

We were dead in our sin, when His Spirit quickened us,

and began the process of turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Whatever stone is left in us when we get to heaven will be melted by Aslan’s breath, and we will become, as Lewis puts it,


“more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth.”

But here on earth there are those who become “more fully human”

than do other believers.

They have discovered that, as 1 John teaches:









I doubt there is any more dramatic a place to see this than in prison. This month I was privileged to minister in a hospital prison in Texas City, Texas. For so many of the women alcohol or drugs is a contributing factor to their crime. One mother failed to get her children out of burning house because she was under the influence of alcohol — they died, and she went to prison for decades. I thought the sentence so harsh. Yet today she is out, she is free of alcohol, forgiving, and living a productive life due to the ministry of Discipleship Unlimited. The tentacles of drugs and alcohol are STRONG and many despair of ever being free of them. Yet Jesus is setting them free.He is turning their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, and they are becoming fully human. Here I am with four women who went through Discipleship Unlimited’s program on the inside, now are living VICTORIOUS lives on the outside, but came back to encourage the women still inside the prison that through Christ THEY CAN STAY FREE!!!

hospitalprisonSunday, January 29th, 2017

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Friday Bible Study

Prepare your heart with this:


2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?


nicodemus-listens-to-jesus-largeThe part about the water in this verse used to mystify me. Was Jesus talking about baptism? I didn’t think so. Perhaps He was talking about the gush of water with the first birth? But the light came on for me through a commentary I now use a lot by D. A. Carson — he illuminates Old Testament passages with New Testament passages. John 3:5 illuminates this verse in Ezekiel:

EzekielTherefore, being born of “water and the Spirit” is all about what God does in the second birth. He cleanses us of our sin and then puts His Spirit within us. Of course! But what is relevant now for us, as believers, is that this is a continuing daily process, as we confess sin, He cleanses, and His Spirit, which we quenched, is revived within us.

4-BornofWaterandSpirit3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.

A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5

B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?

C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?

4. Read 1 John 1:1 and explain the different ways John tries to persuade you that they know Jesus is real and was no ordinary man, but “the eternal word of life.”

5. Read 1 John 1:5-10

A. What statement is in verse 5, and what is the corollary in verse 6?

B. Challenge question! There is both unrecognized sin in our lives, and recognized sin. This passage shows how we can be cleansed of each. Find them, looking for the word “cleansed.”

C. How can you apply the above to your life today?

Next week you are going to listen to a powerful sermon by an associate of Tim Keller’s entitled “Becoming Fully Human.” He shares a powerful quotation from Jonathan Edwards. The following are excerpts from that quote I’d like you to ponder. Edwards is profound, and lived in the 1700’s, so this quote is challenging — but life-changing. So read slowly and then I’ll ask you to articulate it in your own words.


Before, and as God created him, man was exalted and noble and generous. Before his soul was under the government of that noble principle of divine love whereby it was enlarged to the comprehension of all his fellow creatures and their welfare.

…Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness and godless forsaken and fellow creatures forsaken. …Self love became absolute master of his soul. And the more noble and spiritual principles of his being took wings and flew away.


But God in mercy entered in the work of redemption by the glorious gospel of His Son, of bringing the soul of man out of its confinement and contractedness and back again to those noble and divine principles by which it was animated and governed at first. And it is through the cross of Christ that He is doing this for our union with Christ gives us participation in His nature. And so Christianity restores an excellence enlargement to the soul and again possesses it with a divine love and charity to its fellow creatures and is again swallowed up in love for its Creator.

6. Meditate on the above.

    A. Summarize the main points in your own words, though if a phrase quickened you, feel free to

        incorporate it.

    B. How would Edwards say we become fully human again?

7. To prepare for next week’s message, “Becoming Fully Human,” Read Mark 1:9-15

     A. What are the first two events Mark records in the life of Jesus?

     B. What is the first message of Jesus according to verse 15?

     C. What is the Kingdom of God?

     D. What was different that this proclamation could be made — that the Kingdom of God is near?

8. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus the “second Adam.” Why, do you think?


9. What is your take-a-way and why?

Sunday: February 5: Becoming Fully Human by Glorifying God


The sermon by Pastor Kim from Redeemer is definitely geared to New Yorkers, yet I found it so enlightening. He begins with a rhetorical question and then a question that they discussed in their small groups. The question for the small groups was to consider what field they were in, and then consider: “What qualities would a super (or uber) person in that field  possess?”The answers ranged from making money, to being beautiful and sexy to being brilliant and humble. I think each of us wants to excel in our field, whether it is mother, nurse, author, or teacher. But how we approach excelling depends on whether we are determined to glorify self or glorify God. Two examples:

Illustration 1

I am realizing (far too late in life) that I have often used my gifts to glorify self and feeding my idols of approval or security. I have cared too much about how well a book sells or how people feel about me. That must die in order for me to glorify God. If I set my heart on glorifying Him and Him alone, He will take care of my deepest needs. If I walk in repentance, letting Him continually cleanse me, and set my affections on things above, I will write to glorify Him and speak to glorify Him — not to glorify myself. And like Eric Liddell so famously said, “I will feel His pleasure.” I have felt some trepidation about my forthcoming book on the Song of Songs, for I know there will be backlash. But what is that compared to what Christ endured?

Illustration 2

Jonathan is a man in our church who is very talented as a craftsman. He built a beautiful home for his family in the woods of Door County. But carpentry doesn’t pay the bills for his family of eight. So in the winter he plows and sands driveways. But what I have seen is that he does it to the glory of God. He is an “uber plower and sander.” He is sensitive to God and his fellow man.

Twice last month he rescued me. The first time was when I was trying to make my plane for prison ministry and woke to a driveway of sheer ice. This is my driveway when it isn’t icy.

drivewayBut that morning it was an ice-skating rink. I thought, “I  have four wheel drive — let me see if I can make it.” But when I went to get my car, it was dead. I called Jonathan and told him I had double trouble. Though he had many businesses wanting him to come immediately, he came to me, sanded, and then his wife lent me their car for five days. Who does that? People who are intent on loving God and their fellow man. People in whom the Spirit is working.

Then, after I got home from prison, returned their car, and got mine working — the driveway iced up again — but not so badly. I thought I could make it to the post office and grocery store. But instead, I slid into the woods. I prayed for help — and 5 minutes later Jonathan was there for he felt led to check on me. Who does that? People in whom the Spirit is working.

11. What stands out to you from the above and why?


Listen and reflect on Pastor Kim’s message: Becoming Fully Human

12 What comments and notes do you have?

13. You may have to listen more than once — but what quickened you and why?

14. Now, how would you answer 7 C from last week?


15. What is your take-a-way and why?




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  1. What stands out for me also is the picture of the women whose lives have changed through their new births in Christ! These stories always inspire me.
    3. John 3:5 Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Previously I thought of the water of baptism, but the water is the symbol of the cleansing of our sins. I must come daily for my sins to be washed.
    3b. When I was born again I  became fully human when my heart of stone became a heart of flesh; I was cleansed by the washing of the Word. He put his Spirit within me and I turned from my sins and became obedient to Him.
    3c. I will apply it today as I come asking his forgiveness for any and all sins- of omission and of unintentional motives, of my own blinded ways, the words spoken hastily or hurtfully or thoughts against others that may be wrong.”Put a guard over my mouth’, the things we have seen, or heard or handled or looked upon…
    And yes, I too agree as you say, Dee, not wanting to give up control. My sinful self is preoccupied with my selfish desires which want to control. It is now a daily prayer that my words and actions may glorify God.

  2. Excellent sermon! Something that struck me after listening was that Jesus was here, with us, and then went to “represent” us by sitting at the right hand of the Father. So profound to me….I don’t exactly know why, but it was heartening.

  3. 1. What stands out to you from above and why?
    Honesty and transparency in illustration 1…it is a remainder of how preconceived notions and appearances are not the full story (and sometimes not the story at all); we all have “battles”…we all have issues…  Authenticity (truth) is refreshing, rejuvenating.
    Illustration 2…what a lovely, caring individual.

  4. 11. What stands out to you from the above and why?  That I think it is easier to keep motives in check when doing things that are not so public.  I would think it would be much harder to be, for example, an author, speaker, popular Christian entertainer, etc… because you are always being seen in the public eye.  On the other hand, if you are someone who plows roads, your actions are pretty much anonymous, except between you and the person and God (and maybe his wife, in the case of Jonathan.)  But even when in “public” just in church or on this venue, it can get difficult to discern motives.  However, many years ago, in my late 20’s-early 30’s I think the enemy really had me in a bad place of constant self analysis of motives, to the point where I virtually stopped speaking in church (wouldn’t answer questions at a Bible study any more, wouldn’t pray out loud any more, etc… because I was so worried about wrong motives, so I concluded that the safest thing to do was just stop everything!  I don’t think that was of the Lord.  He definitely wants us sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to respond to His conviction with repentance, but ultimately our hearts are so murky that it’s likely nearly everything we do in this life could be tainted with sin on some level and this is where we must rest in knowing Christ’s finished work on the cross and trust the Holy Spirit to convict when we truly need to change course.  But I don’t envy someone in your situation, Dee (being in the public eye) because I think it would be even harder to sort it all out.

    1. Mary, you speak with such wisdom and humility. We do need to check our motives, and to balance it with sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. You are loved with an everlasting love and I am so glad to know you here.

  5. Listened to Pastor Kim’s message over the weekend and plan to listen again.   Such thought-provoking words on being fully human.    As I’ve reflected on the study over the past week, I was reminded of that little conversation in the book The Velveteen Rabbit,  where the little boy’s toys are talking to one another about what it means to be “real” (to be human.)    It reminds me of how the love of the Lord softens our hearts and makes us able to love others for the long haul.   
    “Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

    ‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. 

    ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.

    ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ 

    ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’ 

    ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 

    ― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

    1. Love this Nila! Tears…

    2. Nila      This was read at my wedding. 

      1. Oh Nila …this so beautiful & so true & kind of funny at the same time! I only read that book once I think a long time ago…..such truth & so heart felt!  ?

    3. “Once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
      Nila, thank you for sharing this…as I was reading, these words pointed me to authenticity and how the Lord created each of us uniquely, like a snowflake, no two the same. I need to relish the God-given uniqueness rather than trying to be something I’m not or coveting another’s. In a similar sense as love, if we are authentic in God’s creation, we can’t be ugly (He calls us His beloved), except to those who don’t understand, who are still under the guises of the world to be this, that…conform.  

  6. Mary e first of all so wonderful to see you.  I have been praying and will continue. Gods amazing grace for each moment and His perfect will. That He be glorified in your life  and many ripple effects into the lives of MANY.  We serve a mountain moving God and He is able!!!!!
    What you shared here about motives and the bad place you sensed it went to so speaks to me. I sometimes really sense myself in my strong desire to want to please the Lord and follow His ways the enemy uses that to a warped way to trip me up and to hinder what the Lord would want to do thru me.
    My striving becomes an idol in itself. Thank you for sharing.

    1. YES Liz!  To what you said about “my striving becomes an idol itself”  The enemy is so crafty and deceptive!  And Thank you, for your prayers.  I did go for more testosterone pellets last Tues (with the blessing of my new oncologist) and I do feel better.  I pray that “feel better” would equal doing better (in terms of the cancer) but will have to wait and see what the next tumor marker shows and the next set of scans.  Will see the oncologist again three weeks from today and get labs drawn then and at that time I think he will order more scans.

      1. Mary e a dear woman in our church stood up to give testimony yesterday as she had gone for surgery to remove an area on the brain where she had a tumor years ago. 8 years ago she was give just weeks to live had family there for their last visits.    BUT GOD.
        Here we are 8 years later and this new area came back clear no cancer!  Praise God for doctors who can treat under the authority of our great physician who controls all of the outcomes. 

        1. YES

  7. I would add this friend came to a point she so Beleived 8 years ago “to live is Christ to die is gain” she trusted Him with either outcome. That impression has never left me. 

  8. I posted early this morning  and now its not showing up.  Anyone else having this problem this morning?

  9. Just listened to Pastor Kin and wow! It surprised me how much I liked this sermon–so applicable! I ended up with 2 pages of notes, so this is just a few very condensed paragraphs of what stood out to me:
    The uber-human is our salvation and our prison. It is what we strive for, are inspired by—but it is something we can never be. The vision of the uber-human ensnares and entraps us, making us work harder than we ever should, to try to accomplish something we can never accomplish. There is a mistaken belief that all you have to do is “work harder”—this is what drives us. But is this the Biblical vision of greatness?
    The scripture presents a different view—God endows humanity with His image—we are inherently great because we are created to express outwardly the inward glory of God. The desire for greatness was put in us by God. But how do we achieve this greatness?
    We started off as something far greater than we can imagine and sin shrunk the greatness. When we think about greatness—we think skills, training,…but until we look at Christ, we will never know what it means to be great. For those who look to Christ, the Spirit of God is now at work to make us like Christ, to restore our greatness. We become someone not so absorbed with self, but looking out to the needs of others. As we look to Christ, we see prophet, priest and king. These offices belong to the human being, and as we look to Christ we see the redeemed human. 
    To be so filled with the greatness of our God, we must repent and believe the good news. Repentance says ‘this is not the way I want to walk’ and we turn, and move towards faith in what Christ has done. Turn towards the One who taught us what it means to be fully human. Christ requires all that we have, all that we are.

    Also liked what Laura pointed out–the profoundness of Christ representing us at God’s right hand. 

  10.     Answered again:
    C. What is the Kingdom of God?
    We are the Kingdom of God?

  11. Jumping in here this morning as I discovered a great truth clearly explained.
    7.C. What is the Kingdom of God? As I read in the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones:
    Treasure Hunt: One day Jesus was telling people about God’s kingdom. “God’s kingdom is wherever God is King. It’s wherever God is in charge. It’s where he fills your heart up with his Forever Happiness and you stop running away from him and you love him.”
    Then he says God’s kingdom is like a hidden treasure… and it tells about the parable. I struggled with describing this as I did my study and here it is so simply a child (or adult) can understand it.
    Praying that I will be able to share this today with someone who has a short time to live and I don’t know if she knows Jesus.

    1. Prayed right this moment in agreement with you, Shirley!

    2. I love the Jesus Storybook bible!

    3. Shirley,
      Thank you for this Sally Lloyd-Jones quote.   The simplicity of truth condensed for a child is something we can grasp.  As Rankin Wilbourne says, “…imagination is used to image anything that is real but not visible”.    I need for the Lord to give me the humility and imagination of a child in order for the truth to drop from my head to my heart.
      Wilbourne quotes one of my favorite contemporary biblicsl scholars, Walter Brueggemann:  “The key pathology of our time, which seduces us all, is the reduction of the imagination, so that we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted to do  serious imaginative work.”
      My imagination has become inactive and forgotten.  Much in need of restoration.  

  12. I love that definition from story book Bible, Shirley! I was going to say, the Kingdom of God is where He rules; in our hearts when surrendered to Jesus. Present time & also future, where He will rule over all as He intended, & every knee will bow to the King of Kings. Just listened to Tim Keller; Lizzy’s summary is spot on! I liked the way he said “Jesus succeeded where Adam & Eve failed”; “He was victorious over temptaion”, & showed us true greatness by living a life of love, worship & obedience to God. The Spirit of Christ in us, is enlarging our souls & restoring us to be fully human, as God intended us to be. The redeemed human can fulfill the offices of prophet, priest & king over creation, as we are filled with the vision of the greatness of our God. We serve others out of  love for our God. It’s still a process & a life long journey to allow Him to transform me, & die to self.  May the the Lord give each of us His vision for our lives & may our souls be “swallowed up with love for our Creator”.

    1. Yes, to your definition of the kingdom of God, Jenny. It is right here-in our very hearts surrendered to the Lord.
      I like his prayer, too to this effect “Your son restoring humanity to take our place as your vice regents; you are the center of everything and the greatness that we have is a derivative greatness from our union with you. May we live by faith as we work and participate in our vocation.”
      ” Lord, may our souls “possess love and charity to its fellow creatures and be swallowed up in love for its Creator.”

  13. 7. To prepare for next week’s message, “Becoming Fully Human,” Read Mark 1:9-15
         A. What are the first two events Mark records in the life of Jesus?
    Jesus was Baptized and the Spirit descended onto Him and then He was taken out into the Wilderness where He suffered and was tested. 
         B. What is the first message of Jesus according to verse 15?
    “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
         C. What is the Kingdom of God?
     He is..When we are His, He is living in us and We are His Kingdom. 
         D. What was different that this proclamation could be made — that the Kingdom of God is near?
    That Jesus is here now-the Kingdom of God is near. 
    8. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus the “second Adam.” Why, do you think?
    The first Adam before the fall was human-made from the dust of the Earth..and Jesus is the last Adam-came in the flesh but is God- He is a life giving Spirit come to reverse the fall and bring us back into intimacy with God like before the Fall.  We are like the first Adam after the fall-empty inside-like the dust of the Earth until He came to unite us with Him causing us to bear His Likeness like how He originally designed us before the Fall.   

  14. Saturday
    15. What is your take-a-way and why?
    It seems like there is a corollary between being fully human and not letting self love be master of our souls. On one hand, “I can do all things (uberhuman?) but then it is only “Through Christ who gives me strength”. Philippians 4:13 There is no limit to what God can do through a life fully surrendered to Him and in humble submission to the will of the Father, lordship of Christ and leading of the Spirit. I have to be “other-ish” not “me-ish”. And as Stuart Olyott says God did not come to “unself” us but to “un-selfish” us! No longer contracted our souls will be as Jonathan Edwards said but “possessing love and charity to its fellow creatures and be swallowed up in love for its Creator.”
    Dee, thank you for trying this 2 week format. I think I like the weekly one better but do as the Lord leads you.