Toddlers are cute when they are silly and immature. It is okay to be a baby– when you are a baby. But, when you act childishly as an adult, people want you to grow up! Certainly, God wants his children to grow up spiritually.
The Bible tells us frequently of our need to grow deeper in our faith. Hebrews 5:12 says, “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles…” Hebrews 6:1 urges us to “go on to maturity”. You are a spiritual newborn when you trust Christ for salvation. But you are to learn, mature and deepen. You are to grow up.
Note a couple of keys to growing deeper in your faith and maturing in your spiritual life.
1. Growing up takes effort. Effort is involved in Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Posted in bible, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, Christian, Christianity, deeper faith, devotional, faith, God, Jesus, scripture, spiritual growth
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 →
Posted in revival, spiritual awakening, Uncategorized
Tagged Christian, Christianity, discipleship, Evangelism, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, revival, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth
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 →
Posted in books, perseverance, Uncategorized
Tagged book, Christian, Christianity, discipleship, faith, God, perseverance, Religion and Spirituality, spiritual growth
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 →
Posted in books, Christianity, Church, faith, Uncategorized
Tagged Baptist, bible, bible study, book, Christian, christian book, Christianity, church, devotional, devotional book, discipleship, Evangelism, faith, God, Jesus, local church, Religion and Spirituality, southern baptist convention, spiritual growth
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 →
Posted in bible, Christianity, discipleship, prayer, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, Christian, Christianity, church, deeper faith, discipleship, Evangelism, faith, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, small groups, spiritual growth, worship, worship attendance
My wife recently posted her 10 most influential books. (She put my books on her list. Danger of nepotism?) So, here is my stab at my most influential. (Not counting my own. Danger of ridicule?) And, I’ve doubled and trebled up to get in some more. And, I’m leaving out some books that ought to get me banned from libraries and sitting rooms as penance.
1. The Bible. I read through the bible every year at least once and have for many years. It is more thrilling to me every year and is the foundation for my faith and my life. It is really 66 books, of course, but I’ll count it as one for this. If you haven’t read it yet, try starting with John and then Acts. Finish the New Testament a couple of times and then read the entire book.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This is a 7 book set. It is lots of fun to get lost in them. Very easy reading. I love the spiritual connection and the fun. I read them to my children and look forward to reading them to my grandchildren. And, add to this Mere Christianity (Lewis’s best non-fiction, I think) and The Screwtape Letters (tremendous insights into our spiritual battles) by Lewis. A serious Christian thinker not reading Mere Christianity is sort of like a serious student of English novels never reading A Tale of Two Cities–these things ought not to be done.
3. Trilogy of the Civil War by Shelby Foote. These three Continue reading →
Posted in books, Christianity, education, history, revival, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, book, Christian, Christianity, deeper faith, devotional book, discipleship, God, Immersed, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, revival, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth
I have a special love for Isaiah 55. It is a powerful chapter in the bible that speaks to our generation just as it did to the generation that first read its words.
When revival came to my life and church 20 years ago, this is the chapter I preached on for the next several Sunday evenings. A couple of those services last 4 hours and longer. Without complaint. Let the thought of those last two sentences sink in a moment.
God has Continue reading →
Posted in Christianity, revival, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible study, Christian, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, revival, scripture, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth