Refining Life, on Purpose

Deeply Transformational Living and the Way of Jesus

Daniel Fusco's Upward, Inward, Outward teaches the art of transformational living and discipleship by living in sync with God, learning about how God sees you and living in service to others.

The transformational impact of living in the light of Christ is often talked about. However, I don’t think we give true consideration of the significance often enough. We say things like being a “new creation” or “being transformed.” Some might take that to mean “I am saved and going to heaven” and then they move on. When we do that, though, we’re missing so much.

In Daniel Fusco’s new book, Upward, Inward and Outward: Love God, Love Yourself, Love Others: , he suggests:

I love to call the art of living “Jesus spirituality” — which is ordinary people, living in the deeply transformational way of Jesus.

He’s talking about discipleship. About learning who we are and why we are created. That comes from our connection to God and the work he does in our lives. And then, we move into the hurting world to be God’s vessels of light.

As part of Fusco’s book launch team, I got the opportunity to read an advance version. This post is a personal review, and I am especially excited to share it with you because it also is included in our Year of Listening Up (YLU17), discussing “Don’t Overlook the Ordinary.”

Transformational Living – Upward, Inward and Outward

The book is composed of three sections: Upward, Inward, and Outward. As Fusco describes it:

We begin with upward, with loving God. The God. God of the Old Testament, God of the New Testament. God the Trinity – Father, Son, Spirit. We continue inward, with understanding our true identities in Jesus. And when we get those things rights, God’s spirit sends us outward, on mission into a hurting and wonderful world.

The way we live upward dictates how we live in the other two areas. That so often involves prayer and listening to how God speaks inwardly to us. You see, he speaks inwardly to also lead us outward.

Section two speaks to that inward aspect of our transformational living. Fusco shows us how we can live, being truthful to who we are, growing and learning. Through prayer and all of life’s experiences. Seeing ourselves grow to be more like Jesus, and desiring more of it in the rhythms of our daily lives.

Finally, part three covers outward living. This is most often reflected in our service. However, service is so much more than a seasonal thing or an occasional spiritual discipline. It’s an entire way of orienting our lives. It’s loving our neighbors – the visible manifestation of the greatest commandment. It also brings the formation of relationships that move us toward community.

Daniel Fusco’s Upward, Inward, Outward teaches the art of transformational living and discipleship by living in sync with God, learning about how God sees you and living in service to others.

God’s Master Plan for Transformational Living

Our prayer and connection to God leads us into reading and learning the scriptures. That learning means we are taking in new information. With that new information, comes deepening. That is thinking and acting (striving to be) more like Jesus as a result. Deepening changes our hearts and minds. This helps us become people of God who are conformed to the image of Jesus.

This, as Fusco says, is God’s master plan. He wants to be glorified. He wants the whole world to function in perfect harmony and oneness (shalom). And people (you and me) are his means for accomplishing it! What an awesome blessing to be an ordinary person with the opportunity to participate in the greatest of all events.

Fusco teaches us that God empowers us, so we can waste less time being fearful of weak and menial stuff. Foe example, He challenges us to stop being afraid of being “persecuted” if a large coffee chain removes the word “Christmas” from its cups. “God doesn’t promise us,” he says, “that restaurants will honor him.”

Our job is promise that WE will honor him.

True Transformational Living

One of the key things you’ll come to understand with Upward, Inward and Outward is that God is always teaching us how to think and act more like Jesus. His dream for his creation is so much bigger than the American dream or any other dreams. It requires spiritual power.

And that spiritual power comes only through God.

“Let’s be willing to offer ourselves – our honest-to-God sinful selves. Let’s follow the only one who gives us a perfect reflection. And let’s do it with the knowledge that God’s future is forever.”

Biblical simplicity, as Fusco shows, is “intentionally prioritizing God’s kingdom.” We have that opportunity (and duty) each and every day. Look to our neighborhoods, cities, workplaces, schools. Consider relationships and how they came to be in our lives. Then, be bold enough to ask: “How might God want this to be transformed?”

We can start anywhere, really. Even with the most seemingly insignificant – the ordinary. What matters is that we are willing to move forward in faith. By seeking to be more like Jesus.

Then, take a step.

Even a small one.

It’s progress toward that direction

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About Daniel Fusco

Daniel Fusco

Daniel Fusco is the Lead Pastor of Crossroads Community Church, which has campuses in Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR. As a frequent successful church planter, he founded the Calvary Church Planting Network, which helps facilitate and support church planters. This is the second of his books reviewed at 1Glories, the first being Honestly.

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He’s the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.