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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Brokenness is required to render just Judgement.

Brokenness is required to judge well.


We all hear, "You shouldn't judge...", as if all judging was bad. W need judges and judgement. We need someone to stand between two parties, two outcomes, two decisions, and say, "This, not that". 

Without judgment, nobody would ever pick a menu item, chose which car to buy, hire the right person.

We need, desperately, judgement in our lives. 

Where judgement goes awry, though, is when it becomes out of line. When we would rather judge everyone else's life and decisions than our own. Where judgement becomes skewed or biased, or when in is not in line with truth, it becomes toxic. 

Jesus said to remove the plank from your own eye first. Why? So that you would see clearly before rendering your judgement, not so that you would never judge. 

But how do we remove the plank? How do we know that our judgement is sound? 


When we get intimately familiar with our own brokenness, miraculous things happen. 

We must have healed through the brokenness first. Brokenness can be a broken filter through which we see the world. When this happens, our judgement is not accurate. 

When we heal from the brokenness, though, we are accutely aware of our desperate need for God. 

In that TRUTH, painfully aware of our own need, the process it took to heal (remove the plank), and aware of the awesome truth of God's grace for our brokenness and plan of deliverance; then we can see clearly to help our brother with his dust. 

Only when we are painfully aware of the difficult, messy, painful, rewarding, cleansing process of restoration; can we then see clearly and hear the voice of God clearly enough to be of value to our hurting brothers and sisters. 

To render just judgement, requires you be broken, be healed from your brokenness, and have compassion on your brother and sister for the process it takes to become whole.


Monday, March 8, 2021

Attend to the living

While I was reviewing my schedule for the next few months, I had a stunning realization.

I had scheduled the date of my late-wife’s death off from work. It will be the third year anniversary. However, I needed that day to schedule off to pick up my mom from the airport. I prayed about it, and I heard the hardest and most profound response.

“Attend to the living.”

In other words, “Give your time and attention to the living”. How often do we fail to attend to the living in our lives? We spend our lives regretting the past, wishing it had been different, pining over lost lovers and lost opportunities.

As a Widower, one tool I have learned to use with purpose, is grief. 

Grief is the tool God gave us to process all the way through a loss that cannot be recovered. It is ugly, and messy, and painful, and bitter… but if you will allow the work of the Holy Spirit to form your character in the process, it can become bitter-sweet.

Some things will not change. Some doors you didn’t walk through, cannot be walked through now.

If you failed to take advantage of an opportunity at 16, 19, 22, or 32… you cannot at 40 go back and take that path. Those years are spent. Those decisions were made, and the consequences (both good and bad) came to pass.

However, if you are brave enough to embrace grief, let it do its work in you, process all the way through until it helps you release the grip the past has on you until you let it go completely, then… then you can walk into the future and grasp new opportunities before those too pass you by.

So, my mom is coming to visit. I will spend my “vacation time” embracing people who are still here. I will build new memories as long as the opportunity to build them still exists. My season of grief has ended. I will always carry that day, but I may not always take time off for it. I must invest the time I have in the people who are still here, my mom, my mother in law, my children, and my new family and friends I've met along the way.

The past still visits from time to time. A dream, a memory, a flower, a scent, a photo… the past comes for a visit, I smile, laugh, cry, and sigh. I let grief walk me through that memory, all the way through, careful not to stop and make camp in the valley of the shadow of death, but finishing my walk all the way through and out the other side.

Attend to the living, let the past be past.

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller

Stringing Pearls in Romans 3; Reviewing Paul's OT Quotes

Romans 3 / Original Testament Allusions & Quotes

Stringing Pearls, Not to be cast before swine

In Sitting at the Feet of Rabi Jesus, Spangler and Tverberg demonstrate the hidden meaning behind the famous swine passage.[1] Jesus said:

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls in front of pigs, lest they trample them with their feet, and turn around and tear you to pieces.[2]

Both today and in first century AD, Rabbis would cite passages, partial passages, or even just images and allusions from the Hebrew Bible in order to incite their hearers to think about those passages. The act of thinking about where the quote came from was part of the learning experience.

In one story, an understudy took a careless action that caused his Rabbi/Professor a public grief. The Rabbi said, “I have reared children and brought them up” and he walked away. The whole passage reads “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me!” The rebuke was inferred by the partial quote.[3]

This practice of dropping a partial quote is called a “pearl”, for there is hidden treasure when one looks closer. When a Rabbi teaches and quotes passage after passage, he is said to be stringing-pearls together. When Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine, he was saying not to drop hidden knowledge nuggets onto the ears of people incapable of hearing it.

Here we see Rabbi Paul (formerly Pharisee Rabbi Saul) stringing pearls in Romans 3.


Romans 3 (NET Bible)

·         3:9 What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, 3:10 just as it is written:

·         3:10b“There is no one righteous, not even one, 3:11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. 3:12 All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”

·         3:13 “Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.”

·         3:14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

·         3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood, 3:16 ruin and misery are in their paths, 3:17 and the way of peace they have not known.”

·         3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

·         3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.


Original Testament Quotes from the LEB [4]and Romans quotes from NETBible.[5]

3:10b “There is no one righteous, not even one, 3:11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. 3:12 All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”

  • ·         sn Verses 10–12 are a quotation from Ps 14:1–3.
  • ·         Psalms 14: For the music director. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt. They do abominable deeds. There is none who does good. Yahweh looks down from heaven upon the children of humankind to see whether there is one who has insight, one who cares about God. All have gone astray; they are altogether corrupt. There is not one who does good; there is not even one. All who do evil—do they not know, they who eat my people as though they were eating bread? They do not call on Yahweh. There they are very fearful because God is with the generation of the righteous. You would put to shame the plan of the poor, because Yahweh is his refuge. Oh that from Zion would come salvation for Israel! When Yahweh returns the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be happy.

3:13 “Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.”

  • ·         sn A quotation from Pss 5:9; 140:3.
  • ·         Psalms 5: For the music director; with the flutes. A psalm of David. Hear my words, O Yahweh. Give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my pleading, my king and my God, for to you I pray. O Yahweh, in the morning you will hear my voice. In the morning I will set forth my case to you and I will watch. For you are not a God who desires wickedness. Evil cannot dwell with you. The boastful do not stand before your eyes. You hate all evildoers. You destroy speakers of lies. A man of bloodshed and deceit Yahweh abhors. But as for me, through the abundance of your steadfast love I will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you. O Yahweh, lead me in your righteousness because of my enemies; make straight before me your way. For there is not anything reliable in his mouth; their inner part is destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Treat them as guilty, O God; let them fall because of their plans. Because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take shelter in you rejoice. Let them ever sing for joy, because you spread protection over them; And let those who love your name exult in you. For you bless the righteous. O Yahweh, like a shield you surround him with good favor.
  • ·         Psalms 140: For the music director. A psalm of David. Rescue me, O Yahweh, from evil men. Preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart. They stir up wars continually. They sharpen their tongue as sharp as a snake’s; the venom of a viper is under their lips. Selah Protect me, O Yahweh, from the hands of the wicked. Preserve me from violent men, who have planned to make me stumble. The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords. They have spread out a net along the side of the path. They have set snares for me. Selah I say to Yahweh, “You are my God.” Listen, O Yahweh, to the voice of my supplications. O Yahweh, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle. Do not grant, O Yahweh, the desires of the wicked. Do not allow them to attain their plan, lest they be exalted.


3:14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

  • ·         sn A quotation from Ps 10:7.
  • ·         Psalms 10: Why, O Yahweh, do you stand far off? Why do you hide during times of distress? In arrogance the wicked persecutes the poor. Let them be caught in the schemes that they devised, for the wicked boasts about the desire of his heart, and the one greedy for gain curses and treats Yahweh with contempt. With bald-faced pride the wicked will not seek God. There is no God in any of his thoughts. His ways endure at all times. Your judgments are aloof from him. As for all his enemies, he scoffs at them. He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved throughout all generations, during which I will have no trouble.” His mouth is filled with cursing, with deceits and oppression; under his tongue are trouble and evil. He sits in ambush in villages; in the hiding places he kills the innocent. His eyes lurk for the helpless. He lies in ambush secretly, like a lion in a thicket. He lies in ambush to seize the poor; he seizes the poor by catching him in his net. He is crushed; he is bowed down; so the helpless host falls by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten. He has hidden his face. He never sees.” Rise up, O Yahweh; O God, lift up your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. Why does the wicked treat God with contempt? He says in his heart, “You will not call me to account.” But you have seen; indeed you have noted trouble and grief to take it into your hand. The helpless abandons himself upon you; you have been the helper for the orphan. Break the arm of the wicked, and as for the evil man— seek out his wickedness until you find none. Yahweh is king forever and ever; the nations have perished from his land. The longing of the afflicted you have heard, O Yahweh. You will make their heart secure. You will listen attentively to render judgment for the fatherless and the oppressed so that a mere mortal from the earth will no longer cause terror.

3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood, 3:16 ruin and misery are in their paths, 3:17 and the way of peace they have not known.”

  • ·         sn Rom 3:15–17 is a quotation from Isa 59:7–8.
  • ·         Isaiah 59: Look! The hand of Yahweh is not too short to save, and his ear is not too dull to hear. Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, from hearing. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Your lips have spoken lies, your tongue speaks wickedness. There is nobody who pleads with justice, and there is nobody who judges with honesty. They rely on nothing and speak vanity. They conceive trouble and beget iniquity; they hatch viper eggs, and they weave a spider web. One who eats their eggs dies, and that which is pressed is hatched as a serpent. Their webs cannot become clothing, and they cannot cover themselves with their works. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their firm paths. They have made their paths crooked for themselves; everyone who walks in it knows no peace.

 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

  • ·         sn A quotation from Ps 36:1.
  • ·         Psalms 36: For the music director. Of David, the servant of Yahweh. An oracle: the wicked has rebellion in the midst of his heart. There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his eyes, hating to detect his iniquity. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit. He has ceased to have insight and to do good. He plans sin on his bed. He puts himself on a way that is not good. He does not reject evil. O Yahweh, your loyal love extends into the heavens, your faithfulness unto the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments like the great deep. You save man and beast, O Yahweh. How precious is your loyal love, O God, and the children of humankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They are refreshed with the fullness of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Prolong your loyal love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart. Do not let a foot of pride come against me, nor let a wicked hand make me to wander homeless. There doers of evil have fallen; they are thrust down and not able to rise.

3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

  • ·         sn An allusion to Ps 143:2.
  • ·         Psalms 143: A psalm of David. O Yahweh, hear my prayer; listen to my supplications. In your faithfulness answer me, and in your righteousness. And do not enter into judgment with your servant, because no one alive is righteous before you. For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground. He has made me dwell in dark places like those long dead. And so my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is desolate. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your doings. I muse on the labor of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul longs for you like a dry land. Selah Quickly answer me, O Yahweh; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me, or I will become like those descending to the pit. Cause me to hear your loyal love in the morning, for I trust you. Cause me to know the way that I should go, for I lift up my soul to you. Deliver me from my enemies, O Yahweh. I take refuge in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; your Spirit is good. Lead me onto level ground. For your name’s sake, O Yahweh, preserve my life; in your righteousness bring me out of trouble. And in your loyal love destroy my enemies, and exterminate all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.


Commentary Note:

In Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, Richard B. Hays says:

Impossible to miss, however, is the jackhammer indictment of human sinfulness in the scriptural catena of Rom. 3:10–18. Assembled from parts of at least five different psalms as well as from Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Isaiah, this anthology of condemnation relentlessly pounds home the charge enunciated by its opening line: “There is no righteous person, no not one” (cf. Ps. 14:1–3 and Eccl. 7:20). Why this unremitting attack on the moral integrity of human beings? In the context of Paul’s argument, the catena of quotations provides a powerful rhetorical warrant for his assertions that all humanity, Jews and Greeks alike, is “under sin” (3:9), and that the whole world is therefore accountable (hypodikos) to God (3:19). The indictment is framed in the words of Scripture; this is crucial for Paul’s purposes, because it demonstrates that “those in the Law” (Jews) are addressed by the Law (Scripture) in such a way that their own culpability before God should be inescapable: in an echo of Ps. 62:12 (LXX Septuagint), Paul observes that Scripture speaks this way “in order that every mouth might be stopped.” Those who are entrusted with the oracles of God are thus given the paradoxical privilege of learning from those oracles the truth of their own depravity, a truth that remains hidden from the rest of humanity.

Thus, the underlying purpose of Rom. 3:9–20 is to establish beyond all possible doubt the affirmation that God is just in his judgment of the world. The passage rebuts the rhetorical suggestion of Rom. 3:5–7 that God might be considered unfair (adikos). The righteousness of God, proclaimed by Psalm 51, is highlighted by Scripture’s contrasting account of human unrighteousness, which simultaneously cuts away any ground for human protest against God’s justice.

Paul sums up this train of thought in Rom. 3:20 with one last scriptural allusion, this time to Psalm 143: “Therefore, by works of the Law no flesh shall be justified before him.” Paul has tinkered with the wording of Ps. 143:2 in several ways. The phrase “by works of the Law” is his own explanatory exegetical comment, and he has changed the LXX Septuagint pas zōn (every living being) to pasa sarx (all flesh); furthermore, he has transmuted the psalmist’s direct address to God (“No living being will be justified before you”) into a declarative generalization by changing the personal pronoun from second to third person singular. The effect of these modifications is to render the intertextual relation indirect rather than direct. The psalm is not adduced as a proof for Paul’s assertion, but his assertion echoes the psalm, activating Israel’s canonical memory. A reader formed spiritually by the psalter, with or without recognizing the specific allusion, will know already that before God no one can claim to be justified; thus, hearing Paul’s proclamation, the reader will be disposed to assent.[6]


[1] Spangler, Ann, and Lois Tverberg. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith. Updated edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2018.

[2] W. Hall Harris III et al., eds., The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Mt 7:6.

[3] Isaiah 1:2

                [4] W. Hall Harris III et al., eds., The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Ps 5,10, 14 140, 143; Is 59,

                [5] [5] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), Ro 3:9–20.

              [6] Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1989), 50–51.


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Rethinking the "tithe", biblically. A study of Malachi and its implications.

Charles Asks: 

  • Do you have any opinion about Mal.3:8-10, which is used by preachers when they want to talk about the tithe? Thank you.

Rethinking the "tithe". 

What would a text-driven (not theology driven) evaluation of "tithe" tell us about the topic? Could it create a new way we think about it? 

Many pastors use Malachi 3:10 to discuss the tithe (I was one of them until tonight). After further review, I think we need to tweak how we use this verse if we are to remain consistent and connected to the context of the verse, writer of the verse, original audience of the verse, and context of the verse within the larger message. 

Evaluating the "context" of the short prophetic book of Malachi:


  • Malachi 1: The people had viewed the sacrifices to God as burdensome and tiresome. They scoffed while doing it and gave him the worst, the left-overs (the sin of Cain, Genesis 4). They were not putting God first or taking pleasure in his covenant with them.
  • Malachi 2: A rebuke of the priests. The leadership were leading the people into disdaining God. He had given the system to sustain the priests and they were taking it for granted. So he stopped accepting it from them.
  • Malachi 3: Prophetic call of John the Baptist and the coming of YHWH himself to the temple. Followed by, a rebuke of the attitude toward sacrifices. They rob God of their covenant believing loyalty to him. This harkens back to the idea that they "gave" but it was only the worst of what they had, the left-overs. He was calling them back to giving their first and best to God. It was their heart, not just their tithe, that they robbed God of. They were giving their believing loyalty to other gods (elohim).
  • Malachi 4: After reviewing a pattern of covenant dis-loyalty; of honoring God with lip service and half-hearted ritual motions, but not having a believing loyalty of heart, honoring him with their best, being grateful for his covenant blessing… God ends on a prophetic word that many Christians today are either unaware of or barely aware of. God essentially says: I'm going to tear down your whole gig once and for all. It's all coming down. Some of you will be vindicated, those who stay loyal to me. The rest are being burned down so totally, that not even a root or branch will be left. I'm done. In 70AD, the nation was burned down, every stone of the temple was removed, even the foundation stones. The people were hunted down. One was killed, the one next to him was taken into slavery (one taken, another left (dead), just like Jesus said would happen in Matthew 24). Shockingly, no Christians were reported to have died by Josephus or early church fathers, they all headed Jesus' warning and when the abomination of desolation stood in the Temple, they fled and survived that slaughter.



Can Malachi 3:10 be applied to tithing?


Maybe. If and only if, the entire context is discussed. Tithing predates the Mosaic covenant. Abraham tithed and Jacob tithed long before Moses was a twinkle in anyone's eye (Genesis 14:20; 28:22). So one cannot rule out the principle of tithing by saying the Mosaic Law no longer applies. 


Tithing as a concept predates the "law". So there is precedent for the practice. However, one should not overstate the precedent. There are two direct hints that it was performed once-each by Abraham and Jacob. There are no indications it was a regular occurrence. There are no indications it was a regular practice of all people all the time. Both were performed in extra-normal circumstances, more akin to a first-fruits offering than a weekly "tithe".


Paul doesn't really address "tithing" as much as he does giving. While his silence is noteworthy, given the context of his background as a Pharisee; it is not proof of anything either way. One cannot make an argument from silence. Paul does say that "giving" is to be done with a grateful heart and from a place of charity not "have-to-ness" (2 Corinthians 9:6-9). Paul may have had Malachi in mind when he gives this instruction.


Tithing is one of the few things Jesus praised the Pharisees for (Matthew 23:23). Jesus praised the widow for the small amount she put in, because it was out of her lack that she still gave to God (Mark 12:41-44).


Here is the point, if you use Malachi 3:10 to put your congregation under bondage to the law, they might obey it with their checkbook but not with their hearts. This was the exact issue Malachi was rebuking.


Paul appears to have removed the percentage from the equation to remove the legalistic mindset. The very thing Paul warns about (do it from a place of gratitude, not reluctance or compulsion) is the very thing Malachi was warning about. They "tithed" with outward motions. But the quality of their tithe (both the gift and heart of the giver) was far from God's covenant loyalty.


Paul, in essence, says: Be loyal to God, give what he moves on your heart to give, do it cheerfully and without compulsion. If you cannot give without compulsion, you may even want to wait until your heart is fixed first then give. Heart first, gift second. The gift should be a reflection of the heart.


 For the New Covenant Disciple of Jesus, 2 Corinthians 9 (not Malachi 3:10) should drive our giving:


2 Corinthians 9:6-9: 9:6 My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously15 will also reap generously. 9:7 Each one of you should give16 just as he has decided in his heart,17 not reluctantly18 or under compulsion,19 because God loves a cheerful giver. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace overflow20 to you so that because you have enough21 of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow22 in every good work. 9:9 Just as it is written, “He23 has scattered widely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.”24  Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), 2 Co 9:6–9.



This was a one-hour study, not exhaustive, if you have any thoughts that add to or even correct this, please share in the comments below.


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ

Monday, March 1, 2021

Reflection Paper: Partnering with the Holy Spirit - For “The Spirit-Formed Life (BIBM1301).”

Coulter, Leah. “The Spirit-Formed Life (BIBM1301).” Coursework, The King’s University, Southlake Texas, 2021.

Reflection Paper: Partnering with the Holy Spirit


The King’s University, Southlake, Texas

The Spirit-Formed Life (BIBM1301)

Professor: Dr. Leah Coulter

March 7, 2021 (Extended, by Instructor)


By Darrell Wolfe


Living the Spirit-Formed Life

In Living the Spirit Formed-Life, Pastor Jack Hayford discusses ten disciplines of the Spirit which he feels are important for the life of a believer.[1] He uses analogies from various texts to paint pictures around these disciplines. They are as follows:

1.      Hearing God’s voice: Hayford establishes that God’s word is clear about his people hearing his voice.[2] It is up to the disciple of Jesus to cultivate their own hearing and listen.

2.      Living in the Power of Baptism: Hayford builds a case for understanding baptism as a command of scripture.[3] He summarizes this notion by the phrase: “Be baptized. Live baptized.”[4]

3.      Celebrating the Lord’s Table: As with baptism, Hayford makes the case for understanding The Lord’s Supper (also known as Communion) as a command of scripture.[5] He says it is significant as a remembrance of Jesus’ victory at the cross, declaration of dependence on Jesus, a time for self-examination, and he also claims it is a provision for healing.[6]

4.      Walking in the Spirit of Forgiveness: The Christian is to live in a place of extravagant forgiveness, just as we are extravagantly forgiven. It could be life or death for some people.[7]

5.      Feeding on the Word of God: After giving the reader permission to chill-out a bit about “how” they go about digesting God’s word, he provides principles for understanding why it is important. Ultimately, he concludes, “Live in it. Live by it. Live through it. Daily.”[8]

6.      Maintaining Integrity of Heart: Hayford defines this topic as “openness and transparency before God”.[9] When the believer remains open and transparent before God, he has room to work in the believer’s life.

7.      Abiding in the Fullness of the Spirit: Hayford begins with an especially hard lesson for many intellectuals, males, and intellectual males; “open to the spirit of enthusiasm”.[10] One must remain pliable to the way the Spirit of Gods want to move them.

8.      Living a Life of Submission: This entire chapter can be summarized by a mic-drop-moment quote driven by the story of the centurion who had great faith: “He understands that his submission – alignment with the authority placed over him – is the source of the power available to him… his role as a “submitted” man has given rise to the power and authority he exercises”.[11]

9.      Practicing Solitude: Hayford begins by saying: “The hallmark of people who… experience trials beyond anything they had known before and come through with faithfulness, stability, and strength of character – is that they have learned a simple way… quietness/solitude.”[12] When life crashes and burns, shatters beyond a million pieces, to dust which then blows away – there is nothing left to hold one’s rhythms.

10.  Living as a Worshiper: Worship is whole-life, including our attention, belongings, time, and abilities. When every aspect of our life is given to and submitted to God, then our worship is complete. [13]


Practicing the Disciplines of the Spirit

The four disciplines I have found are inescapable are Hearing God’s voice, Feeding on the Word of God, Maintaining Integrity of Heart, and Practicing Solitude. I summarize them with the social media hashtag: “#BeStillBeLed”. I would combine his written and spoken Word into one category. They are like breathing. I breath in God’s Word (spoken and written), I breath out by being led. The practice of solitude cultivates an environment whereby the words (spoken and written) of God can be heard by my heart. I used to try to read in the mornings, but I found my ADD brain falls asleep. What I found works better, is quiet morning walks. I don’t “pray” in the traditional sense. I just walk, ask God what he wants to talk about, and let him lead the conversation. I study and read his word consistently; however, it is in these walks where he takes the written word and makes it alive to me and my situation today.

The only “discipline” suggested in the practice sessions that I was not already practicing was The Lord’s Supper.[14] I would argue scripturally for less emphasis on Baptism and Lord’s Supper than Hayford does. While I see their importance, I think he overstates them. Nevertheless, I also admit I could be understating them. So, I had communion by myself in my room. It was no magical experience; however, it was a sober reminder of what it cost YHWH to have me. I am worth what he paid, and he paid everything. It also helped me remember that he died for “them” too and made me less combative and more prayerful about how I interact with other people.

The chapter on integrity of heart was driven home for me on January 6, 2017, when my (now late) wife led me into a season of healing. It was through being completely open and transparent and vulnerable with men, her, and God that I found the inner-healing I had been searching for my whole Christian life. Out of that season, she and I came up with a life-motto: NO HIDING. The more I press into transparency, the more I lean-in to the hard stuff my heart begs me to avoid, the freer I become. The more secrets I hold, the more bound I become. The fastest way to stay free, is to never hide anything. One cannot “fall from grace” if they do not pretend piety in the first place. I am a fallen human, saved by grace, filled by the spirit, and walking out this life with an enemy who is constantly after my walk with God. If I press into NO HIDING, I have no secrets to expose because I exposed them already. It may ruin the image someone tried to have of me, but it keeps me free and authentic. The longer I live this way, the harder it is to keep company with anyone who does not also live this way. Authentic transparency has become the standard by which I determine how close I will become to people. I will love on everyone, without judgment. The “sinners” enjoy hanging out with me because they find no pretense in my presentation. While I stand for truth, I lead them to Jesus and let Him deal with whatever changes he sees fit to bring. That being said, to be in my inner circle requires radical transparency, NO HIDING.  I would argue that this type of radical transparency is the first and primary of the “disciplines” for me.

Hayford says that his approach is “nontechnical and insistently practical” because, “God is not so interested in educating us as He is in transforming us”.[15] He also said that these were the disciplines he found most useful, which means they are not an “authoritative list”. If I wrote ten, I would probably re-order them, remove some, add others. What I enjoyed about his approach was that he made room for that type of thinking. These were the ones he chose, and the spirit of them allows for shift in the reader who would apply them. 


My Partnership with the Holy Spirit

In Breaking Old Rhythms, Answering the call of a creative God, Amena Brown uses a conversational style storytelling (much like Donald Miller) to draw life lessons from experiences, centered around life rhythms.[16] The essence of the book is in the title, humans enjoy routines, predictability, comfort, and convenience and a life with God is often none of those things.[17] God will stretch you in ways that build your character. He gives rest between seasons, but he always returns pressing into growth. We are being conformed to the image of his dear son.[18] The change begins as a mild irritation, barely noticeable. It grows into a full-blown crisis of faith. God steps into your life, breaking up your rhythms, pushing for change. In the end, he connects your seemingly disparate life events into a story and weaves it into His larger narrative affecting others in the process.[19] I think the key takeaway from this book, for my life today, is this: Get used to uncomfortable. God is more interested in my character than he is my comfort. The more I learn to lean-in to the hard things (like messy emotions), the more connected I will be to His heart and the more he can use me to bring his healing to others.

Leaning-in to radical authenticity and stepping outside my comfort zone to follow God to the lost and hurting will require I be willing to allow Him to break my rhythms. If I am going to follow this unpredictable YHWH-God, I will have to heed the warning of Narnia: He is not a tame or safe God, but he is a good God and a good king.[20]

Practice Session Takeaways: If I had my druthers, I would sit alone in my room for the rest of my life. I would read, study, eat, binge Netflix, and write, and write, and write. I would go back to my career as a Technical Writer and forget this ministry stuff. After Jesus died, rose again, and was no longer their daily companion, Peter and the boys had a “now what” moment. Reading between the lines, Peter may have thought to himself, “that was a much crazier adventure than I planned. Rewarding, but it cost me. I think I’ll just go back to doing what I do best.” He said to the boys, “I’m going fishing”. They said, “We’ll come with you”. They caught nothing, as often happens when we return to what used to feed us before God instigated The Change. Eventually, Jesus appeared to them, fed them fish they were not catching, and had a locker room chat with Peter. [21]

Like Peter, I have been through several crushing and life altering experiences, ending in the death of someone I loved, and the dreams I had with them. Like Peter, I have tried to return to my nets and boats (in my case, Technical Writing in Corporate America). Like Peter, I found that as much as I wanted to return to my previous life, I was supernaturally barred from entry. God has closed that door to me, my nets keep coming up empty. Like Peter, Jesus has been having a locker room chat with me over the past few weeks.

The thing I need most, is to leave my room and take what I obtained in my secret place and deliver it to others. I can bring them a nonjudgmental ear, real help that took me a long time to learn, and a practical theology that bears the weight of sin, sickness, demons, and fear. I am no Sunday morning cheer leader, I am the guy who sits with people in “the suck”, in the hard stuff. This requires I leave my safe quiet room. My YHWH is calling, as to Peter, “Feed my sheep”. 




Brown, Amena. Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2013.

Coulter, Leah. “The Spirit-Formed Life (BIBM1301).” Coursework, The King’s University, Southlake Texas, 2021.

Hayford, Jack W. Living the Spirit-Formed Life: Growing in the 10 Principles of Spirit-Filled Discipleship. Revised edition. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017.

Lewis, C. S, and Pauline Baynes. The Chronicles of Narnia. New York: Harper Trophy, 2000.

Miller, Donald. Blue like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. Nashville: T. Nelson, 2003.

———. Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2014.

NET Bible®New English Translation (NET). Online Notes Edition. HarperCollins Christian Publishing; Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. Accessed January 21, 2021.




[1] Jack W. Hayford, Living the Spirit-Formed Life: Growing in the 10 Principles of Spirit-Filled Discipleship, Revised edition (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2017).

[2] Hayford, 39–40.

[3] Hayford, 57–59.

[4] Hayford, 67.

[5] Hayford, 73–75.

[6] Hayford, 76–84.

[7] Hayford, 87–101.

[8] Hayford, 115.

[9] Hayford, 120.

[10] Hayford, 143–47.

[11] Hayford, 166–67.

[12] Hayford, 183 (quote edited for brevity).

[13] Hayford, 205–6.

[14] Leah Coulter, “The Spirit-Formed Life (BIBM1301)” (Coursework, The King’s University, Southlake Texas, 2021), Assignment: Practice Session Prompts.

[15] Hayford, Living the Spirit-Formed Life, 31.

[16] Amena Brown, Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2013); Donald Miller, Blue like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Nashville: T. Nelson, 2003); Donald Miller, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2014).

[17] Brown, Breaking Old Rhythms, 99.

[18] NET Bible®New English Translation (NET), Online Notes Edition (HarperCollins Christian Publishing; Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.), Romans 8:29; Ephesians 4:11-16, accessed January 21, 2021,

[19] Brown, Breaking Old Rhythms, 22–23, 43, 56.

[20] C. S Lewis and Pauline Baynes, The Chronicles of Narnia (New York: Harper Trophy, 2000), (Paraphrase, Luci’s conversation).

[21] NET Bible®, John 21.


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


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