Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Asking People to Do the Hard Things

One of the most important jobs of Christian leaders is to ask people to do the hard things they don’t want to do. We ask people to take the narrow, uphill road when it is easier to go down. We ask them to die to self when it is easier to live for self. We ask them to give, serve and sacrifice though none of those things come easily.

Following Jesus is not about taking the easy road. It is about doing the right thing even though that is often the more difficult thing. If we are asking people to follow Jesus, we are asking them to take the harder path.

There is a reason we ask people to do the hard things. Not only do we ask them to do it because it is right. But we also know it is in their best interest to do so. Continue reading

Discipleship isn’t a Program

Let’s face it. If discipleship was simply finding and following a program, the discipleship dilemma would have been solved long ago. Programs we have. Effective disciplemaking? Not so much.

I appreciate the role of programs in discipleship. They provide needed resources and helpful direction. They can point us down the right path and keep us from theological ditches. But discipleship takes more than a program. Authentic, life changing discipleship needs relationships.

Jesus spent time with people. In particular, he spent time with the 12 disciples. He taught them. He modeled proper behavior for them. He challenged them. Jesus even rebuked them where necessary. His discipleship course was the course of his life lived together with these men.

Perhaps we should see discipleship more like this. It is best done through relationships with other followers of our Lord. Stronger Christ followers helping other Christ followers live the life of Christ could become our model. We could begin to see discipleship as being done best through relationships rather than programs. Programs can be a tool, but relationships are the means.

Here are three reasons to see relationships as more important than programs in discipleship.

1. We need examples. Information Continue reading

5 reasons pastors should read the whole bible each year

I began reading through the bible at least once every year for more than 25 years now and it has been a great blessing to my life and ministry. Let me suggest 5 reasons why all pastors and bible teachers would benefit from this spiritual discipline.
1. It helps us see the whole story. How does the OT and NT fit together? After 7 or 8 times through the bible you will begin to see that better. I visited my grandmother while in seminary. She was a Sunday School teacher and so she peppered me with questions wanting to better teach her class. I knew some things she didn’t know- Greek and Hebrew and such. But I quickly realized that she knew the bible in a way I didn’t yet because she read it so much. I determined to know the bible like that.
2. It gives us a sense of context. Taking the bible Continue reading

When Revival Comes

The great need of our day is for genuine revival to come to believers in our nation. I’m delighted to see Ronnie Floyd’s emphasis on revival (sometimes called a “spiritual awakening”) in my own denomination. It is desperately needed.
Revival is specifically about the revived spiritual commitment of those who know Christ as Savior and Lord. While it leads to evangelistic concern (and often an awakening among those who are not saved to their need for salvation) it is specifically about reviving those who have already been “vived”.
Here are some results that will follow a genuine revival should it come to our churches and believers.
1. A deepened love for God and the Continue reading

Oceans, row boats and big sharks

I’m a land lubber. Never sailed, never rowed more than a lap around a (small) lake. But I recently read two books about water so now I’m kind of an expert.
“The Boys in the Boat” is the story of nine American rowers who won gold in the 1936 Olympics. It is a fascinating story of these young men. But the real fascination was the story of one of the men who grew up under extreme difficulties- death of a young mother, unkind stepmother, father without willingness to intercede. His story is worth the read. And this is a very well written book.
The second book is Continue reading

Connected by Faith

The church where I was saved many years ago just bought 500 copies of my devotional book “Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith”. They are going to use it for a church wide series beginning the week after Easter. Many churches have used the book that way now, but there is a special connection you have with the church where you gave your life to Christ.

I trusted Christ as my Savior and Lord in the old worship center at Continue reading

Growing Spiritually

If you want to grow deeper in your Christian faith I recommend the following.
1. Read big chunks of the bible. Read the entire bible for yourself several times. It will take several times through to really begin to put it all together and see the big picture well- but it will be worth it.
2. Memorize some scripture verses. Be strict about it (best said with a German accent- roll the “r” on “strict”). Get it exactly right, word for word. This will force you to really know the verse.
3. Pray all the time. That is, pray every time you think about it. Have an attitude of prayer.
4. Pray systematically. Pray for specific Continue reading