Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lifelong Learner

Matthew 28:18-20 - The Great Commission
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The church’s core mission is to make disciples.  This call of discipleship is offered to everyone who is willing to follow Jesus.  Jesus’ invitation, “Follow Me,” is found throughout the Gospels and continues through the centuries to this very day.  But what does it really mean to “follow” Jesus?  How does the church teach disciples “to obey all the commands” Jesus gave us?  If this is our church’s main assignment, how do we do it well?

The word disciple would best be understood today as “student.”  Actually, I like to use the term, “lifelong learner.”  There is an understanding that we will be in a continual growth mode toward maturity as we seek to obey all Christ commands His disciples to do.  It’s not about perfection, its about growth.  This maturation process is often called “spiritual growth” or spiritual formation.”  

Dallas Willard defines spiritual growth as the, “process of an individual taking on the character of Christ.”  He goes on to define spiritual formation as, “moving from conformity with this world to conformity with Christ.”  I like to think of it as moving from the 1.0 version of ourself to the new upgraded 2.0 version.  However you define or think about it discipleship needs to be an active process in your life. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

Since we are embarking on reading through “The Story” Bible in a month, here is an email that's been making the rounds. How does it strike you?

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone? 

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? 

What if we flipped through it several times a day? 

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it? 

What if we used it to receive messages from the text? 

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it? 

What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled? 

What if we used it in case of emergency? 

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities'? 

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill.  

And no dropped calls!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year

With a New Year comes New Year’s Resolutions.  Since they are quickly broken far more then they are kept, we often neglect to make them anymore.  Who wants to be discouraged by unkept resolutions?  But the New Year is an excellent time for assessment, and an opportunity to write down a vision for your life.  A New Year allows us a fresh start, an opportunity for God to do something new in your life.

Here is an exercise I do with our church staff each year that can help you work on your goals for 2012.  I ask each staff member to take out a sheet of paper and write four words on it: KEEP, DROP, CHANGE, ADD.  They are given private time to think, pray, and meditate on what they are going to keep, drop, change, and add in their life and ministry.  You can’t just do a couple or even three you have to do all four in each area of your life.  It takes a little effort, time, and thought but is definitely a worthwhile exercise.

I have taken time to work on my personal goals for 2012.  There were a wide variety of areas I considered: personal goals, family, professional, health, etc.  Then came the spiritual goals.  When I began to think about it I quickly realized that each category of life should reflect a spiritual goal.  I am first and foremost a disciple/follower of Jesus.  I should be living life the way He wants me to.  I need to order my life according to God’s will and plan in EVERY area of my life.

A corporate goal for our Christian Life family in 2012 is to be men and women of His Word.  God tells us everything He wants us to know in His Word.  It is all we need for faith and practice.  That is why at the beginning of this year we are going to read through the Bible in a month.  Pick up a copy of The Story (Zondervan - ISBN-10: 0310936985, ISBN-13:978-0310936985), read twelve pages a day, and you will read through the Bible in one month and one day.  You won’t regret making this resolution.  It will take time and effort, but I can’t wait to see results of spending time with God in His Word.