Christian Joy 100: an Introduction (1 of 4)

Preface:  My simple goal here is our greater joy in Jesus, even in our complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, physically, etc.  So, I will be bringing you specific details of the Gospel (good news) in 8 “P”s via these articles and a buffet of videos each week.  Chew and savor whatever most helps your joy in Jesus.  “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)


Let’s start with the big picture:  the meaning of Life.  Not a meaning for life but the meaning of Life.  Wouldn’t it be great to have that in a visual paradigm?  Picture a basketball court, a musical score, or a highway and its signs and symbols.  Just a glance gives even beginners a level of immediate perspective for decisions.  They are templates that remind participants why they’re there, what is likely to come next, where to focus, who to trust, how to progress, and when to expect greater joy.  That is why I began seeking to develop such a picture from the good news of Jesus in the Bible.

In 2008, the Army had sent me and other Chaplains to a three-pronged program for a Master degree in Counseling at the University of Columbus, training and supervision at Fort Benning, and religious integration at the Pastoral Institute in Columbus, Georgia.  There we prepared to serve as Family Life Chaplains:  advanced counselors and trainers in multiple theories and methods.  Throughout, I began to see each of the theories and many of the methods as reflections of basic truths in the Bible:  e.g., our inherent need for interpersonal attachment, our systemic nature as bio-psycho-social beings, the power of existential experience and a person’s narrative, the need to be solution-focused, and more.  But I wanted more for hurting people than a toolkit of disjointed theories and methods.  And I knew the Bible presents itself as more than a vague, fluffy hope that “Jesus loves you – just wait until you die and go to heaven.”  So, after much study and prayer, I designed a visual paradigm of “the 8 ‘P’s of the Gospel.”  And based on your interests, you can view any or all four introductions to the model.

If you’d like to see it, check out this brief video introduction.  If you are interested in seeing the criteria I used to reach my conclusions and the related upcoming sub-series, click here.  If your passion is logic and/or language and grammar, you can view my related analysis of Genesis 1-2 as a literary chiasm of the 8 “P”s.  And if you’re a big picture person who wants to see how the specific pieces interconnect, you may benefit in seeing a video of the 8 “P”s illustrated as a system like a car engine.

Remember the basketball court, musical score, and highway?  Paradigms are powerful but only if we want to live them because we see the potential joy.  And we cannot well-define the solution until we clearly defined the problem.  So, the video below is the first of eight conversations with my Mom on the need for good news, beginning with the central “P” of the Gospel:  Purpose.

  • As you watch, think of purpose as progressing from ‘less’ to ‘more’ of __________
  • Rank your desires for more: friends, riches, knowledge, skills, health, God, fun.
  • Now rank the same as if you were 15, 35, 65, and 95 years old.  What changes?


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If you’d like to know more about who publishes the articles, videos, and other materials on tools4trenches, you can click on the picture of me and my wife.


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