What is lifeCORE?
lifeCORE is short for life in Christ Our Redeemer and Ruler. Enjoy! We are men who meet in small groups to fuel our love and loyalty to Christ. That is the highest joy in life and we aim to live out the Christian life from a deep well of joy in Christ rather than from a rule-keeping mentality or from a political agenda or from a desire to protect a given sub-cultural identity. Our fullest identity is in Christ.
Note: lifeCORE is not an accountability group. That may be useful some situations. Yet, groups built on accountability have limitations for deep down enjoyment of the Christian life. Instead, lifeCORE is built around the idea that there is a tight correlation between life-direction and life-desire. You gravitate toward what you think is the source(s) of joy.
If you think rule-keeping will bring joy, then you will make much of rules. If you think a political identity will bring joy, then you will make much of that political identity. If you think holding on to a sub-cultural context will bring joy, then you will strive to preserve that sub-cultural context. Or on a very personal level, if you think food, sex, drugs, money, fame, thrills (cheap or not so cheap) or self-defined identities are where the joy is, then that’s the direction your life will aim for, finite or errant though they be.
Direction follows desire. That’s why you go where the joy is (or where you think it is). You were made for desire, because God made you for and from his desire. Since God made you for and from his desire that desire, God’s, is ultimate. Thus, the Westminster Shorter Catechism states that “The chief end [ultimate purpose] of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” This is why since the Fall of Man that ultimate purpose is only secured (restored) in Christ and ultimate joy is only sustained in Christ. The answer to chasing finite or errant desires is not asceticism. The answer is to fuel the ultimate desire. So let’s fuel it. Let’s fuel our love and loyalty for Christ.
From start to finish and all in between Christ is our Redeemer and Ruler so what’s not to enjoy? Union with Christ is what the whole New Testament is unfolding to the world. Union with Christ is what it means to be a Christian. Union with Christ the King is…
…what it means to be redeemed and restored to the triune God,
…what it means to grow in sanctification (a life set apart to joy in Christ, Phil 3:7-11) and
…what it means to have eternal life in Father, Son, Spirit, now and forever. Christ is at the center of this most enjoyable way to live. Thus, we want to know him.
Our key verse is Luke 24:32 –
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
We believe that when life is lived under the loving lordship of Christ he leads us to be better husbands, better fathers, entrepreneurs or employees, better citizens, better servants to our church, to our community and better proclaimers of the Good News that “Jesus is King.”
We want to know what life looks like when lived under the redeeming Sovereign who reigns in the beauties of grace and truth (John 1:14). We want to enjoy life the way God designed it to be lived – with Christ.
So, our motto is –
Christ in me and Christ through me
What do we do in lifeCORE?
We do mainly 3 things…
1) we meet for about an hour every couple of weeks in groups of about 2 to 4 (6 max)
2) we catch up/connect on what’s been happening in our lives and we pray for each other
3) we read/study what will fuel our love and loyalty to Christ. We alternate between a reading through a published books and working through a passage of Scripture.
In the first few sessions of lifeCORE the group leader will…
A – lead a short discussion of “Desire: What Moves You?”
B – give an overview of lifeCORE, essentials A (Christ in us) and lifeCORE, essential B (Christ through us).
C – In the next few sessions after this intro your group will read Living the Cross-Centered Life by C. J. Mahaney. There is a worksheet for each chapter with a few basic questions for focused reading and for group discussion.
D – When you complete these first steps your lifeCORE group will go through a 6 session study of Ephesians 1: The Glory of Grace in Christ.
After this your group is welcome to choose from other books or Bible studies that we have completed in lifeCORE or suggest new topics, passages or books to read/study. We want lifeCORE to match your life-stage or needs so that it results in practical Christian growth.
That said, all the topics or books or Scripture studies should focus on some aspect of an explicitly Christ-centered way of living. There are many resources published every year, but we aim to use only those that elevate and promote enjoying Christ as King, those that unfold the love and holiness of the triune God and those that encourage making Jesus, the saving Sovereign, known to the world.
What books or Scripture passages do we use in lifeCORE?
Books completed or recommended
- Prodigal God by Tim Keller
- Generous Justice by Tim Keller
- The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
- By Grace Alone by Sinclair Ferguson
- The Creedal Imperative by Carl Trueman
- The Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges
- Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves
- an overview of The Institutes by John Calvin
- Concise Theology by J. I. Packer
- The Whole Christ by Sinclair Fergusion
- Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp
- …or any other resources that are Christocentric or Christ exalting
As we work through each chapter of a book we want to keep asking…
- How does what we learn here fuel our love and loyalty to Christ the King?
Scripture passages we’ve studied or for future study
- Ephesians 1, a focus on Yahweh’s sovereign grace in Christ and for all of life (Union with Christ is a key emphasis in this study)
- Isaiah 53, a focus on the Sovereign who redeems his people by dying for them
- an overview of Isaiah, a focus on the grand theme of Redemption in the OT and NT
- Ephesian 5, a focus on Christ-centered life in home and work
- Gospel of Mark, a focus on how Yahweh establishes his redeeming rule in Jesus
- Messianic Psalms, a focus on worshipping the triune God through King Jesus
- Hebrews 11, a focus on strengthening our faith in the duties and trials of life
- Revelation 1-5, a focus on how the kingship of Christ both confronts and anchors the church
- Philemon with Phil 2:1-11, a focus on caring for those under our care for King Jesus’s sake
As we work through each Scripture passage we want to keep asking…
- How does what we learn here fuel our love and loyalty to Christ the King?
What cost or long-term obligations are expected of me if I join a lifeCORE study group?
- There is no fee to be a part of a lifeCORE group. We each pay for our own copy of a published book. If you have difficulty doing do consult with the group leader. We generally meet at a nearby coffee shop or restaurant so you may or may not want to purchase a beverage or food item.
- We take a few weeks off between study series, especially during busy times of the year such as late Summer or during the Holiday season around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day. The timing of these breaks is up to each group.
- You are welcome to join a group for a short season or a specific study and back away from the group and return as your schedule and life duties allow. You are welcome any time. We only ask that those who are just starting out in lifeCORE go through the beginning foundational lessons: “Desire: What Moves You?” and the lifeCORE essentials A and B and Living the Cross-Centered Life and the guided study of Ephesians 1.
- If you have other questions or suggestions please contact Mark Olivero.