Author Archives: Sarah Colyn

  1. Hope Cares

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    Dear Ones,

    I’ve been immersed recently in the topic of hope, and am convinced this supernatural virtue is particularly crucial for Christ-followers today. Hope carries us when the quickly-gathering darkness appears to be winning. Hope keeps our hearts anchored in Christ as we await the fullness of His kingdom. The heavenly orientation of hope sharpens our discernment, strengthens our courage, and steadies us to persevere. Because hope is so essential, it’s also under continual assault. The Enemy poses clever and relentless temptations to lure us away from hopeful living, and our prideful sin-nature has its own reasons for straying. I enjoy baking — or maybe it’s that I enjoy eating baked goods — and have cupcake papers in my kitchen from a brand called “If You Care.” This packaging makes me laugh out loud because it’s such a comical instance of the counterfeit of hope that pervades western culture. 

    This sneaky counterfeit of hope is what church tradition calls presumption:  the failure of humility that supposes we’ve arrived. Presumption wrongly assumes that there’s no need for the fear and trembling of working out our salvation. The moralistic tone of “If You Care” is marketing a clear conscience to any customer who buys their brand (and inferring guilt to any who don’t). So many movements today suggest that we humans, in our own strength and goodness, are in a position to right what is wrong in the world. Presumption forgets that God is on the move, setting things right in the only efficacious and wise way, and that His initiative will be fully consummated by Christ’s second coming. God invites us to join His mission, to point to and rejoice in and serve the coming of His kingdom. If you care, the best thing you can do is to seek to become a deeply devoted follower of Christ who lives every moment humbly walking in His Spirit. By remaining intently focused on His promises, and His will and power to fulfill them, we will enjoy the glorious privilege of playing some small part as He sets things right. By remaining intently focused on Him, we will be saved from the delusion that we’ve arrived at a place of personal goodness and wealth whereby our humanistic caring and social action can give us peace with God and our fellow man.

    The other enemy of hope this silly slogan echoes is despair, a sinister vice that traps us in a place of no-more-becoming. “If You Care” suggests it’s possible not to care. In reality, as long as we’re alive we do care, we do long for fullness of life for ourselves and the world around us. Despair isn’t able to extinguish the imperishable spark of desire, it just wars against it by pushing it down. Those who have convinced themselves they don’t care are fighting a miserable inner battle against the indestructible desire for fulfillment. Despair pretends it doesn’t care. But we who have a truly Christian anthropology know better. Our outlook is distinct from the moralistic, neighbor-judging hostility that dismisses those who haven’t joined our cause as not caring (and thus as having a less-than-human heart). It is our privilege to see as God sees, to know that the spark of life yet burns in every heart, that a bridgehead of good remains by which His grace can invade. When we have strayed into the swamp of despair (all too easy when life gets tough), we need the Body to help us hear Christ’s voice calling us back to hope. We need brothers and sisters to woo, prod, nurture and challenge us to take possession again of our desire for life. We must reach out to one another and say, “You do care, so let’s sojourn on together in the hope we have in Christ!”

    Yours in Him,

    Sarah Colyn

    Painting: James Tissot, 1886-1894, The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

  2. A Personal Pentecost

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    For it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied, 
    and in him you have been brought to completion. 
    Every power and authority in the universe is subject to him as Head.
    Colossians 2:9-10 NEB

    John the Baptist said to those repenting of their sin, “I baptize with water, but he [the Christ] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit, and when He does, He imparts Himself to man. The Pentecostal Presence and power is vital in the healing of neuroses. It is the passing on of life to the soul lacking life, the passing on of being from the Source of all being to the one who has heretofore more nearly identified with non-being. The message of Pentecost is that God centers Himself in His people; we are a people of the Presence. Every soul coming out of the world’s lifestyle needs to pray for a personal Pentecost — and receive it. He is then centered in God, and God is centered in him. He can then hear God while standing and walking with Him in the vertical position. [1]

    Those who witnessed the wonder of Pentecost as told in Acts 2 were amazed by the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. We are no less amazed today as we see Him work wonders through the miraculous healing of souls. He fills in deficits and straightens out distortions that no merely human method of healing can reach. The personality immersed in anxiety becomes familiar with peace. The grasping, desperate heart is granted a solid, secure center. Dignity grows as we who had been trapped in fruitless immaturity grow nearer to our full stature in Christ. We can celebrate Pentecost not just as a moment in the history of the Church, but as a movement flowing through our lives. Alleluia!

    PRAYER

    Lord Jesus we thank you for this very personal, very real baptism of Your Spirit. Give us grace to fully and eagerly receive You. Thank You for centering us in You, and for centering Yourself in us. Grant solidity and fullness of being to each of us, that we, Your people, might stand up straight and hear You well. Come, Holy Sprit, come!

    [1] Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1995), 63.
    Painting: Juan Bautista Maíno, 1615-1620, Pentecost [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.

  3. Leanne Payne’s Biography

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    Leanne Payne, made an extraordinary contribution to the ministry of healing prayer through over forty years of service and leadership. Called a “great soldier for Christ” by the philosopher Dallas Willard, she founded Pastoral Care Ministries, dedicated to teaching, healing, and growth in Christian maturity. She wrote seven books that continue in print in English and in 12 other language translations.

    Leanne PayneLeanne Payne was born during the Great Depression on June 26, 1932, in Omaha, Nebraska, the elder daughter of Robert and Forrest Mabrey. Times were hard and became even more difficult when her father died when she was three years old. Her mother moved with Leanne and her younger sister to Little Rock, Arkansas, to live with family.

    Leanne’s early adult life was shaped by several impulsive and painful choices that ultimately brought her to a place of deep repentance. At the end of herself by her mid-twenties, she underwent a full and lasting conversion to Christ, stepping firmly onto the path of obedience to God.

    In 1963 Mrs. Payne became the dorm mother at Wheaton Academy, beginning her forty-plus-year association with Wheaton, Illinois, and its legacy of great evangelical leaders such as R. A. Torrey, F. B. Meyer, and Dwight Moody. A year later she joined the prayer circle of Fr. Richard Winkler, considered the grandfather of the charismatic renewal movement. In 1965 while working for Wheaton College, she enrolled as a student and thus began her formal education. From 1965 to 1974 she studied at both Wheaton and University of Arkansas, earning a BA and two MA degrees.

    During the next several years she wrote her first book, Real Presence: The Christian Worldview of C. S. Lewis as Incarnational Reality, taught at Wheaton College, and assisted Dr. Clyde Kilby, the visionary who established the C. S. Lewis literary collection at Wheaton College (today’s Marion E. Wade Center). She catalogued the letters of C. S. Lewis while sitting at his desk and benefitted richly from Lewis and the mentoring by Dr. Kilby.

    Fr. Winkler introduced her to the healing-prayer ministry of Agnes Sanford in 1973, and Leanne was soon serving with Mrs. Sanford in her Schools of Pastoral Care. By 1976 she was ministering full time through writing and healing prayer. She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1978 and served as a research fellow under Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School in 1981. This year also saw the much-celebrated publication of The Broken Image.

    In 1982 she incorporated Pastoral Care Ministries with the guidance of friends experienced in business matters. The establishment of this ministry structure brought order, and Leanne flourished in generative creativity. From this time onward, she provided pastoral care through prayer and counselling mainly at the week-long PCM schools conducted throughout North America, Europe, Hawaii, and Australia. She published five more books in the years that followed: Crisis in Masculinity, The Healing Presence, Restoring the Christian Soul, Listening Prayer, and finally in 2008 her spiritual autobiography. Dr. Donald Bloesch said of Heaven’s Calling, “It poignantly shows how the author has been mightily used by the Spirit of God to spearhead a ministry of renewal and celebration.” In 2009, Ministries of Pastoral Care was founded with Leanne’s blessing, which has allowed pastoral care schools to continue beyond her retirement and to this day.

    Leanne was known for her deep devotion to God, her profound thought, her writing about “incarnational reality” – how God dwells in his people – and for the way the triune God would respond mightily to her prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit.” She shared the winsome character of her mentors Dr. Kilby and Agnes Sanford, the “eternal child,” delighting always in creation whether it be a squirrel, a perfectly formed flower, or a man or woman made in the image of God.

  4. Notes for The Virtue of Hope II – Magnanimity Destroys Despair

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers how magnanimity — greatness of soul — protects hope from despair and empowers us to continue the journey of becoming. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    Youthfulness

    God is “closer and more intimate to us than we are to ourselves,” and hope of fulfillment in Him “cannot be touched by aging or disappointment” (Pieper, On Hope, 42).

    The youthfulness of Christ’s saints:  aspiration that is at once both relaxed and disciplined; adaptability and readiness; strong-hearted freshness; resilient joy; steady perseverance in trust.

    Hope is the steadfast turning toward the true fulfillment of our nature.

    Acedia and Despair, enemies of hope

    Acedia:  “a sadness in view of the divine good in man” (Pieper, 52).

    “One who is trapped in acedia has neither the courage nor the will to be as great as he really is. He would prefer to be less great in order thus to avoid the obligation of his greatness. Acedia is a perverted humility; it will not accept supernatural goods because they are, by their very nature, linked to a claim on him who receives them” (56).

    The sorrow of acedia “lacks courage for the great things that are proper to the nature of the Christian” (55).

    Despair:  “It will turn out badly for us and for me myself.”

    “It is not so much sin as despair that casts us into hell.”  (St. John Chrysostum)  

    When an individual whose despair springs initially ‘from weakness’ comes ‘to realize why he does not want to be himself, then it changes suddenly, and defiance steps in’ (Kierkegaard quoted in Pieper, 61).  

    Magnanimity, Protection against Despair

    “A person is magnanimous if he has the courage to seek what is great and becomes worthy of it” (Pieper, 28).  

    “Despair [is destroyed] only by that clear-sighted magnanimity that courageously expects and has confidence in the greatness of its own nature and by the grace-filled impetus of the hope of eternal life” (60).

    Resources on this topic:

    Josef Pieper (1986), On Hope, Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 

    C. S. Lewis (1953), The Silver Chair, HarperTrophy, New York. Passage read in this video can be found on pages 180-182.“The Virtue of Hope” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

  5. Notes for The Virtue of Hope I: Humble Homo Viators

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers the pilgrim nature of this life, and the temptation called presumption that is a counterfeit of hope. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    Homo Viators

    To be a human being is to be a person “on the way” – Aquinas calls us homo viators.  

    I do not consider that I have laid hold already. Phil 3:13

    A place for us

    In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3

    A journey of becoming

    By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls. Luke 21:19 

    “Many of us prefer to stay at the threshold of the Christian life instead of going on to construct a soul in accordance with the new life God has put within” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 20). 

    Homo viators are virtuous

    Virtue is “the most a man can be,” the realization of our potential for being.  

    Virtue enables us to “perform excellent actions easily and joyfully, in a stable manner, with profound interior freedom, the freedom of the children of God” (Nault, The Noonday Devil, 77).

    His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (virtue), by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue (excellence), and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8

    Homo viators live in Christ

    Hope:  a steadfast turning toward the true fulfillment of our nature, that is, toward good.

    “Hope, as the lasting elevation of man’s being, cannot exist except from, through and in Christ” (Pieper, On Hope, 36).

    For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  2 Cor 1:20, ESV

    “We must not measure our spiritual capacity by education or by intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured by the promises of God”  (Chambers, April 20).

    Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Col 1:27

    Presumption

    Presumption is a fraudulent imitator of hope.  

    In presumption, a person thinks and lives as though they have already arrived.  

    Theological distortion

    Presumption abandons the paradox of Phil 2:12-13:  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you.

    “We are not only saved by grace, we are paralyzed by it.”

    “The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action” (Dallas Willard)

    Man-centered optimism/confidence

    Liberal moralism, Pseudo-religious activism, or the myth of human progress.

    Humility

    Humility reveals the limits of our possibilities.

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 15, “Restoring the Christian Hope of Heaven and the Grace to Persevere” in The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne.

    Josef Pieper (1986), On Hope, Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 

    The Virtue of Hope” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

    Dallas Willard quotes can be found at:  

    https://dwillard.org/articles/spirituality-made-hard;

    Willard, Christian Herald (U.K.) 14 April 2001, https://dwillard.org/articles/live-life-to-the-full

  6. Notes for Healing of sense of being: A testimony

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    presented by Kim Jones

    This testimony gives us the privilege of understanding more of what it means to have, or lack, a

    solid ‘sense of being,’ and to witness God’s healing power at work in one unique and precious

    woman’s life. These notes contain the full text and reference for the scripture and quotations

    shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    “it is when the unbearable infantile feelings charge forward that we minister to the suffering

    inner child…Sufferers are at these times … back in the experience of abandonment with its

    associated feelings” (Payne (1991), Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 110).

    “… we often find that the power to feel the pain is itself a vital part of the healing. The sufferer

    has repressed this heretofore and denied it precisely because it was so painful. But now he has

    to get it up and out. He needs to understand that, if he will stand in the cross and hurt, there is

    a place for it to go, an end to the pain. This seemingly endless pain is the way he gets in touch

    with and names the heretofore repressed grief, fear, anger, and shame, underlying his

    depression…” (Payne (1991), Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 103).

    I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

    “Another lives in me. My spirit is one with His. That is my whole place. All else is raging around

    me and within me, but I can stand now, confident, and watch as God heals this part of me that

    is so wounded” (Payne (1991), Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 71).

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 8, “Prolonged Healing of Memories: Abandonment Issues and the Repression of

    Painful Emotions,” Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer by Leanne Payne.

    Chapter 4, “The Search for Sexual Identity,” The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    “God’s Creative Power: Sense of Being and Well-Being” live audio recording of lecture and

    prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019

  7. Notes for Becoming the true self: A testimony

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    presented by Anjonette Baum

    This testimony invites us to witness the process of liberation from the prison cell of the illusory self and journey into the wholeness of the true self. These notes contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    “The compulsive, illusory self:  that center of pride, inferiority, fear and pain, the hurting, unhealed childish attitudes within.” (Payne, The Healing Presence, 87).

    O Israel, hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love (or lovingkindness) and with him abundant redemption. Psalm 130:7

    “Your new real self will not come as long as you are looking for it.  It will come when you are looking for Him.” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 32).

    Resources on this topic:

    Patterns and Characteristics of Codependency:  https://coda.org/meeting-materials/patterns-and-characteristics-2011/

    12-step support:  Co-Dependents Anonymous 

    Chapter 5, “The Identity Crisis According to the Scriptures, in The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    Part 2, “Incarnational Reality:  The Presence of God Within Us,” in The Healing Presence, by Leanne Payne

    God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self,” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019. 

  8. Notes for God’s Creative Love: Being and Well-being

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers the foundations of our existence, what Leanne Payne calls sense of being and well-being. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    God’s creative power

          …the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him! from Psa 33:5 – 9

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  Gen 1:1-3

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:1-4, 9-14

    God’s created norms for how we become persons

    Dynamic Cycle of Being:

    1.  Acceptance (dynamic input of existence)

    2.  Sustenance (dynamic input of essence)

    3.  Status (dynamic output of personal selfhood)

    4.  Achievement (dynamic output of work)

    In God’s design, our experiences in infancy set into us a solid sense of being and well-being; these inner resources can then carry us through the challenges of adult life.

    Disruptions of God’s ways

    Sources of disruption of the dynamic cycle include:  prolonged physical separation from mother/primary caregiver; emotionally shut out from her presence; rough or insufficient care.

    Reactions to disruption include:  

    Desperate and clingy orientation in relationship

    Remain disconnected and withdrawn 

    Core-level persistent depression or anxiety

    Enemies to the ‘womb of the spirit’ include:  physical or emotional illness of mother; hostility or breakdown between the parents; family life harmed by poverty, war, racism; medical issues for baby that causes prolonged separation from mother; misogyny (hatred of the feminine) that militates against the mother-baby pair.

    Healing and rebirth in Christ

    God has come down to us, taken on our flesh, and entered into our infantile experiences of suffering, abandonment, and rejection. He bore what we cannot so that we might have life.

    Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us that we might receive the gift of life.

    God is able to heal us:

    1. To take the unendurable edge off our mental suffering, always. What remains we shall bear with joy, finding our strength in the Lord.
    2. To the point that we shall be fruitful. Out of our inner being will flow living water for others.
    3. To the degree that we shall fully enter into our identities as children of God and heirs of Christ.

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 2, “The Understanding of Depressed, Melancholy, or Accidious Persons,” Clinical Theology by Frank Lake

    Chapter 4, “The Search for Sexual Identity,” The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    Chapter 9, “The Imagery Really Matters,” The Healing Presence, both by Leanne Payne

    God’s Creative Power: Sense of Being and Well-Being” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

  9. Notes for The presence of God within us: Incarnational reality and the true self

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers the maturity of soul that must be chosen and developed in those who take up their cross to follow Christ. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    True Center

    And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27, Today’s NIV

    I pray that out of his glorious riches the Father may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16-17, NIV

    The “home within” is the center in which we abide in Christ and Christ abides in us.

    The Illusory Self

    A false, mis-created center:  Living in the constellation of feelings and attitudes that belong to the old self holds us in immaturity and causes dis-ease.

    The illusory nature of evil:  “All that is evil and untrue has an illusory character to it… Sin has to do, in a very real sense, with rebelliously demanding to experience what is not – what God did not create and can never look upon, much less bless” (Payne, Healing Presence, 85). 

    The construction of the illusory self:  built on the flawed foundation, “I will be my own;” supported by pillars of pride & shame, defensiveness, and bentness; a prison cell in which accusation and condemnation echo; aligned with other false selves through projection and co-dependency.

    Transformation:  Death, Life, & Spiritual Battle

    “Only the real ‘I,’ shedding its illusory selves, can draw near to God. In His Presence, my masks fall off, my false selves are revealed. I stand stripped and naked before Him. To continually abide in His Presence is to have one face only – the true one. To draw near to God, therefore, is to find the real ‘I’ as well as its true home, my true Center” (Payne, Healing Presence, 83).

    Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  John 12:24

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 5, “The Identity Crisis According to the Scriptures, in The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    Part 2, “Incarnational Reality:  The Presence of God Within Us,” in The Healing Presence, by Leanne Payne“God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self,” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

  10. MPC Video Curriculum: Being and Becoming

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    These videos address human being and becoming, and how union with Christ opens the path for us to grow into whole, mature men and women. It is in Christ that we are able to shed our immature and diseased illusions and become our true selves. Through His creative and redemptive power, even those who were deprived of a solid sense of being and well-being can be born again. In union with Him we can grow in the supernatural virtue of hope and live faithfully as homo viators destined for eternal fulfillment in His presence. Each video includes a 20-minute teaching and a time of guided prayer.

    Notes for each session include the scriptures referenced, any quotes shared, and a basic outline of the teaching. A printable version is included.

    Being & Becoming: The Presence of God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self 
    Being & Becoming: On Becoming: A Testimony of the True Self 
    Being & Becoming: God’s Creative Love: Being and Well-being
    Being & Becoming: Healing of Sense of Being: A Testimony
    Being & Becoming: The Virtue of Hope I: Humble Homo Viators 
    Being & Becoming: The Virtue of Hope II: Magnanimity Destroys Despair

    If you are using these videos as part of a church program, small group, or prayer cell, we’ve created a small group leader’s guide just for you!

    To contribute a financial gift in support of this video curriculum visit our donation page.