What readers are saying about Jim's book...


"With profound insight, compassion, and solid biblical support, Jim resurrects one of the most forgotten and overlooked truths in our day."

~Dwight Edwards, author and advisor to Larry Crabb


"Still the best book on the theme out there."

~Alice F.; Arizona

*Read more reviews on Amazon...

Prone To Wander Myth

Buy Jim's book.

 What if your heart is no longer 'prone to wander?'  What if God is more interested in releasing a noble goodness He's already placed within you, rather than pressuring you to be more 'holy?'  Discover the book by Jim Robbins.

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Saturday
Jan172009

Online study group -- Sunday nights!

There's still time to participate in the online study of my book, Recover Your Good Heart
Joel, over at graceroots.org, is leading the online study each Sunday evening.  Last Sunday was the kick-off, and the group discussed the book's Introduction. 

If you don't have the book or Study Guide yet, you can get them more quickly as downloads:

Click here to go to Joel's blog for details.

Wednesday
Jan142009

Review: "Recover Your Good Heart"

Mariah Secrest, Arts & Culture Editor for Wrecked for the Ordinary ezine, just posted a very thoughtful review of my book, Recover Your Good Heart.

Wrecked for the Ordinary has a great mission.  This is from their website: Wrecked for the Ordinary is "an online magazine for spiritual misfits. Each week, we publish six new stories from Jesus-followers who are re-imagining culture. We’re members of a generation that is not content to view the world through the drab lens of materialism and hand-me-down religion... We want more. We want to live life on purpose, actively participating in true community, intimacy, and adventure. We are re-imagining culture."

Click here to read review.

Monday
Jan122009

Chapter-by-chapter review of Jim's book

Julie Arduini (The Surrendered Scribe) asked me if she could post a chapter-by-chapter review/summary of my book, Recover Your Good Heart, on her blog.  Thanks, Julie!

 

 

 

Monday
Jan122009

Online study -- update

My friend Joel, over at Graceroots.org, is leading an online study group on my book, Recover Your Good Heart, Sunday evenings, beginning January 11th  -- at 7pm Eastern. 

They're using Yahoo Messenger so that anyone who wants to, can join the conversation.

  • You can get the study guide for Recover Your Good Heart here.  
  • You can get the book itself here.

You can still participate even if you don't have the study guide.

Joel has more information here on his blog

I think you'll really enjoy this interactive event! 
Thanks, Joel.

Update below...

________________

Wednesday
Dec312008

Two-faced grace

In many congregations and fellowships today, you'll hear a dual message:  "You're forgiven, even "redeemed," yet you remain largely a self-centered person who is bent on falling short."  

We bring hope to people through the message of forgiveness, then tell them they're going to need a lot of it because they just can't get it together.  It's a duplicitous, two-faced message. We're constantly flipping back and forth between the two masks:  hope and shame.

  • Forgiven, but never spiritual enough.
  • Redeemed, yet told the redemption has had little effect on your heart.
  • "New creation," yet not in practical terms -- only as an ideal
  • Grace, but not the grace that solves the real problem

 

We have missed the centerpiece of the Gospel:  that grace is more than forgiveness:  it is a restored heart.  Strong.  Holy.  Already. 

The human heart has always been the problem.  Jesus solved the problem by making an offer:  "I will give you my own heart.  Now."   Redemption means you have a pure heart ... now.

If grace does not involve the thorough restoration of a dis-eased heart, then we are Lazarus -- released from the tomb, yet forever tripping over our graveclothes;  unable to walk in freedom, hindered by those appetites that have always bound us.  Forgiveness alone will leave you crippled.

Grace must include the offer a new heart:  "I will give  you a new heart..."  (Ezekiel 36:26)  Without it, we are left with a discouraging distortion -- two-faced grace.

 

Tuesday
Dec232008

How much are you worth?

It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Ti

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec182008

Stunted 'grace'

The form of 'grace' we have today is like an asthma patient who's given an inhaler to relieve their symptoms.  The patient is grateful for the new freedom in their lungs, but the inhaler never cures the asthma:  it only treats it temporarily.

I've recently come across an increasing number of very devoted followers of Jesus who believe in grace primarily as an act of pardon:  "You're off the hook, now."  And, they may also believe in grace as the action of God in them to produce goodness and Christlike character.  But this form of grace will always be stunted, cut short by their view of the heart.

If the believer's heart hasn't been thoroughly renovated -- no, replaced -- by the very heart of Jesus, then this stunted form of grace is actually a cruelty.  The resulting effect of stunted grace goes like this:  "You're off the hook now because of God's grace; and he is indeed working in you to make you more Christ-like; but, because your heart is still sinful (desperately wicked) and prone to wander, you're probably not going to do very well at this holiness thing.  Why?  Because your heart is still bent on self-will and preoccupied with getting life on its own terms.  Try harder next time (by God's grace) to not let your diseased and corrupt heart get in the way of this new holiness you're after. 

Doesn't this seem a bit cruel to you?  The problem with stunted grace is that it doesn't address the root problem:  the heart needs an overall, and the rescuing work of Jesus has to go beyond pardon.  It must go straight for the heart.  And .... thankfully, it did.

Is it possible to "love God with all your heart" if your heart remains dark and prone to wander? Would God ask such a thing of us, knowing it sets us up for failure? "You're required to love me with your truest self, but you won't be able to. " It's similar to offering a man on death row a pardon, releasing him from his debt, but then asking him to function as a healed man in society.

How cruel it would be to expect a man with a shattered leg to climb Everest, pressuring him to be more committed to the task, admonishing him to have more faith, all the while knowing he can only do it if his limb is first restored.

First, you heal the man of the disease that sentenced him in the first place, then you ask him to live the life of Jesus -- out of that restoration.

To be sure, there will continue to be competing desires in a person, for the person's old heart/nature is still present, yet the believer is clearly a new creation with his identity firmly secured by his restoration.  His new heart is now the center of his identity.   "God became man to turn creatures into sons; not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. " -- C. S. Lewis

What does it mean that we are 'new creations in Christ' if it does not include the rescue of our hearts? If we first stray with our hearts, we can also (following our rescue) return with our hearts. The heart is at the center of it all.

"Grace" is the gift of a restored and noble heart.

Thursday
Dec112008

The long road of desire

Holding fast to your desires may be the hardest thing you've ever done.

Some of my greatest sorrows occur because I desire so deeply. But, the alternative is far worse. The alternative is to lose heart, to shut down. To give up desire in order to avoid the pain of unfulfilled longings is a darkness worse than pain.

Why do our longings often seem to go unfulfilled? You want to find that soul mate with whom you can grow old, but you're afraid you're too old already. You want to walk in your calling, but either can't find it or sense that nobody wants what you're offering. You know you're not asking for something outside God's will, or perhaps God has indeed said he would give this to you, but the delay -- the long delay -- feels like a betrayal, and you wonder if you heard Him in the first place.

So what are the questions we can ask during the long road of desire?

  • Is there something you want to heal, Father?
  • Is this an issue of timing - that if I rushed in, it would jeapardize what I most truly want? (Jesus often says, "The right time has not yet come." He knows his heart matters to his Father, so he yields without dismissing what's important to him.)
  • What are you giving ... now? In this moment. Help me receive that.

 

Friday
Dec052008

Desire and discernment

There's a scene in "The Mask of Zorro" in which early on in the story, a young man (played by Antonia Banderas) finds himself drunk in a cantina.  The young man and his brother had grown up as orphans, and he has witnessed the slaughter of his brother at the hands of a malevolent and wicked military officer.

While drunk in the cantina, the young man sees his brother's murderer ride into town and determines to take his vengeance.  As he gets up to rush out towards his enemy, he is knocked down by another man, a mysterious stranger, who happens to be Zorro cloaked in disguise. 

Not knowing to whom he's speaking, the bewildered young man scrambles and spits out, "What are you doing?!  I was about to kill that man."

Zorro answers, "You should thank me."

"I should thank you?!"

"Yes," says Zorro.  "You would have fought bravely, and died quickly;  for that man is trained to kill and you are trained to drink." 

The young man's desires, in this case, would have lead to disastrous consequences.

 

But, not all desire is bad.  There are four roots or sources of desire that whisper in our ears, each attempting to sway us:

  • The ruined world
  • The ruined angels
  • The ruined heart (the flesh)
  • The restored heart


If you're going to live from desire, a caution must be given:  We should neither dismiss all desire, nor should we indulge all desire.  It requires discernment to know the root of any particular desire. 
As we walk with God, the desires of the restored heart grow stronger and those offered by all that is ruined are crucifed. 

Our task is to indulge the deep desires of our new and noble hearts in ways that are life-giving -- not rushing in too early, but allowing the impeccable timing of God to direct their fulfillment.

 

Friday
Nov282008

Christmas special

Monday
Nov242008

Desire and calling

Show me a person who has lost his or her sense of desire, and I'll show you someone who doesn't know what their calling is.

You find your calling through your deepest desires.

There are those who would advise us not to do this, because it could lead to sin or some form of ruin. Their assumption is that all desire, or the vast majority of it, is fleshly and self-centered and must be avoided. Yet, this is not a New Covenant view of desire ... because it's not a New Covenant view of the believer's heart.

With our new heart, given by God when we said 'yes' to Jesus, comes a reservoir of good and noble desires. Find those desires and you'll find your calling.

As you trace desire throughout your life, from childhood to today, what are the recurring themes?

  • What have you loved doing and do well?
  • What do you find yourself compelled to bring in any given situation?

Our giftedness tends to go beyond mere competency or training, as we find that there is something spiritual occuring that is both us, and beyond us in its working. It is the outflow of the Holy Spirit in us, working as us.
----------------------------

Gary Barkalow, formerly of Ransomed Heart ministries, has recently launched a full-time mission to help others discover their calling. I've experienced his teaching and found nothing else like it in depth and scope. Here's a link to Gary's site: The Noble Heart

Wednesday
Nov192008

Desire and the good heart

What the church calls obedience is often the destruction of desire itself.

There is the injurious assumption that in order to take up your cross you must usually deny what you most deeply want: “Just do what God (or the church) wants you to do, whether you want to or not—always and without question.” Now, of course obedience is critical and God warrants our highest allegiance. Obedience does demonstrate our love for God. And, there are times when what we desire is not in God’s best interest for us or others. Yet notice the assumption behind the obedience–that–rejects–desire approach: “God wants your dutiful, robotic obedience. Love is solely an obligated and compelled compliance. The deep longings of your heart are not important to him. Just obey.” 
(from Recover Your Good Heart)

For too long, we've been suspicious of all desire, not recognizing that there is one source, at least from which good and noble desires spring ... our new heart.  Within this new spiritual center of our personality, given by God when we said 'yes' to Jesus, there is a reservoir of true and good desire.  It remains largely untapped in the majority of Christians.

What have you done with your desires, noble friend?  Buried them?  Dismissed them?

What has been the church's message to you about your desires?

 

Thursday
Nov132008

New podcast-"A Life of Desire"

"A life of desire"  11/12/08  

Is desire a snare to be avoided or the instrument through which God leads us into our very identity and calling? Jim talks about what the Church has done with desire and what God is really inviting us into.

C.S. Lewis said,  "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists."

Wednesday
Nov122008

What are you reading?

What are you reading these days, or have read, that deals with the life of the heart, that takes seriously the radical renovation of the heart that is ushered in when we say 'yes' to Jesus ? 

How did it affect you?

 

 

 

 

 

Friday
Nov072008

Welcome to the new blog of Jim Robbins!

Have a look around.  You'll find everything here on this new blog that was on my old one.  This is a new software platform (SquareSpace), which is more powerful, robust, and has easier design and style interfaces than the old platform I was using.

My apologies to anyone who couldn't reach my site in the last day or so.  It took time for the internet to point my old site to the new one.  My domain name will continue to be www.robbinswritings.com and has been overlayed onto this SquareSpace site you're now viewing.

My email will also remain the same: jim@robbinswritings.com.  You can contact me here through the "Contact" link in the sidebar.

As always, feel free to post your own comments.

Jim

Sunday
Nov022008

" a little lower than...."

I want to respond here to my own post because I’m a bit conflicted. Some of you know that the verse “a little lower than the heavenly beings (or angels) can be rendered, “a little lower than God.”

I chose to go with the “little lower than the angels” version, but realize that it may lead to the conclusion that humans are not as esteemed in the Kingdom as angels. I don’t believe this to be true. Humanity is, in fact, the pinnacle of God’s creation, and redeemed persons are the recipients of his Holy Spirit. This cannot be said of angels, no matter how glorious and privileged they may be.

The perspective I wanted to give was one that would elevate humanity -- especially redeemed humanity -- to its proper place and value in the Kingdom.
So — bottom line of the post, be stubborn in your refusal to think less of yourself than your Father has made you. And…ask him what your new name is.

Wednesday
Oct292008

Your place in the Story

What do you do with the following verse?

"What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings [angels] and crowned him with glory and honor."  -- Psalm 8:  4-5

Don't most of us feel at home with the first part of this passage ("What is man that you are mindful of him?") and feel reluctant to indulge the second half ("You have made him a little lower than the angels")?  It's more natural for us to reason, "Why should God care about a person like me?  Compared to the glitter of a meteor shower in the night sky or the thundering roll of ocean swells, I'm nothing.  Why would God give me much thought?

Perhaps it's more acceptable to embrace our smallness.  It can be a helpful perspective to know our place in the cosmos.  But this is exactly my point -- I think we've seriously misunderstood our place.  We must not take the first part of the passage without the second:  "You made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor."  Angels are quite magnificent, fearsome and untarnished beings who serve as God's Special Forces behind the veil.  And that veil is thinner than we think.  These creatures bear a terrible beauty themselves; and are able to gaze daily upon the fierce and blinding light of the Light whose face we have not yet seen.  Not yet.


And God would place us small and enfeebled humans only a little lower in the cosmic order than these whom He shares his direct and unveiled company?  Is it possible we are more important in the Story than we thought? -- Possible that a regal stature has been bestowed upon us, a position in a Kingdom, in which we are to take up our crown and act like kings and queens?

In order to arrive at the answer, we must know that our original commissioning was, in fact, to rule:

"You made him [humanity] ruler over the works of your hands:
you put everything under his feet..."


Isn't this the commissioning of Adam and Eve?  Isn't their kingly and queenly authority over the created order exactly what they gave up and gave over to their Enemy?

And perhaps we need to be reminded that the Psalm writer here is expressing a pre-redemption view of humanity, prior to the restoring work of Christ through the Cross and Resurrection.   If general humanity, even denigrated and blackened by sin, carries within it the memory of the Maker's intent, than how much more would humanity, redeemed and resurrected to life, glimmer in its restoration?  Hasn't something just like that already happened; something beautiful and substantial within our inmost being?  Isn't this our newness?


In our redemption through Jesus, we not only receive the forgiveness of sins; he has won back for us the regal authority we so easily gave up.  He wants us, once again, to rule as benevolent  monarchs and queens; to give us back the crown.  Discipleship is learning how to reign, to bring to bear our regal capacity within each of our spheres of influence in order that the creation is released from its groaning waiting, and humanity may once again eat of the tree of life. It is the gracious rule of love, wisdom, and restoration to which we are summoned.

You are no longer common:  behold your crown.  You are no longer ordinary:  for you've been ordained.

And Aslan gave the children each a new name:

 

  • Peter will be known now as, "King Peter the Magnificent."
  • Susan will be called,  "Queen Susan the Gentle."
  • Edmund will be known as, "King Edmund the Just."
  • Lucy will be called, "Queen Lucy the Valiant."


And you, regal friend, what name has He given you?

 

Thursday
Oct232008

Study Guide now available

For those who are eager to discover more of the deep riches and truth of their good heart, I've just published a study guide for Recover Your Good Heart.  It's designed to bring even more and deeper heart-life to those who have been under the gospel of flesh-management for too long.

The study guide can be used by individuals, small groups, fellowships, tribes, platoons, herds, pods, gaggles or however people gather themselves.

Click here to see the study guide.


The book itself, Recover Your Good Heart, is now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Monday
Oct202008

Online study group for "Recover Your Good Heart"

Blogger, Joel Brueseke (www.graceroots.org), has opened up an invitation for those interested in forming an on-line study group, centered around my book, Recover Your Good Heart.  I recently published a study guide for the book.  You can purchase it for download or hardcopy here.

Here's the link to Joel's study group invitation.  Online study group.

The book itself, Recover Your Good Heart, is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.

Monday
Oct132008

RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART-watch the new teaser