Thursday, November 21, 2013

Truly Transformational

Eric Geiger and Michael Kelley have written a book entitled, Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. This book came out of a research project launched by Lifeway in 2010 that surveyed believers regarding their spiritual lives and level of maturity. Specifically, they wanted to discover what kind of discipleship is truly transformational. Their focus of research revealed the major areas of life where spiritual maturity takes place.

Here are the eight attributes of discipleship that point to spiritual health; Bible factors that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer:

  1. Bible engagement
  2. Obeying God and denying self
  3. Serving God and others
  4. Sharing Christ
  5. Exercising faith
  6. Seeking God
  7. Building relationships
  8. Unashamed

The framework that makes authentic disciples is more than Bible knowledge and moral behavior. It is the ongoing renewal of the heart which is a critical component.

How would you evaluate yourself on these eight Biblical factors?
Just some food for thought.



P.S. This Sunday, I will be sharing my personal journey of becoming a generous person - it will be more of a personal testimonial than it is a sermon. Join me Sunday at 9:00am or 10:30am!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A few challenging thoughts

This week's Freshly Bru'd is going to challenge you, I hope. It is also going to cause some of you to question my spirituality. 
I have observed over the years of ministry that many Christians are thrilled about Bible study, but less thrilled about fellow believers, reaching the lost, and even prayer. It causes me to ask an honest question, "Can Bible study actually become a diversion to spiritual growth?" Now, before you write me off, let me remind you "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Corinthians 8:1)
Is it possible to be so prideful about what I am learning in my Bible study that it becomes more important than practicing what I am learning? I think so.
How do I know when Bible study has become spiritually diverting to my walk? Here are a few thoughts to get you thinking...

*I am more interested in Bible study than in my fellow believers and living in community with them. I'm not suggesting you neglect Bible study, but rather evaluate it to see if study is causing you to neglect other things.

*I feel like prayer requests and sharing life wastes precious Bible study time. Remember our knowledge of the Bible should deepen our love for God and for each other!

*I can recite passages I never intend to obey. One of my professors used to say "Most Christians are already educated beyond their level of obedience."

*I substitute Bible knowledge for faith. Often our excuse for not acting is that we don't know enough. "I can't witness to my neighbor. I don't know enough answers." Yet, we know Jesus, isn't He our answer? Salvation is by grace through faith - not how much knowledge a person has.

*Do I love God's word more than I actually love God? We can learn His commands, yet not obey them. We can memorize verses, yet do we go to those lengths to help others? Yes, we should turn to God's word for comfort. But more importantly, we should turn to God. The word of God is active, not passive. Our worship belongs to God, not to His word.
Just some food for thought.
P.S. This week is the 1st Annual Q&A message with the Pastors and Directors of First Free Church. We will answer your Bible questions and have some fun along the way. Worship is at 9:00 & 10:30am.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Final Exam is Coming

When I was a student in college I hated to take final exams. Especially comprehensive exams in which you had to remember everything you were taught throughout the semester. Who can remember what they did last week let alone a whole semester ago? I have a hard time remembering when the War of 1812 was fought.
Anyway, I seemed to squeal my way through those exams. I have one more final exam to take and so do you. It's the exam you will take as you stand before God and He is going to look at eight different aspects of your life and reward you based on how faithful, how interested you were in developing these areas of your life.
Let me give you a sneak preview of what will be on this exam...
  1. Did you possess the right values? A faithful person knows what's important in life and what isn't. He knows how to invest his life. He makes his life count for eternity.
  2. Did you care for the interests of others? It's not my needs, my ambitions, my desires, my values, my profit, my benefit. Faithfulness is others-centered.
  3. Did you live with integrity before an unbelieving world? How was your reputation? Was it above reproach before unbelievers?
  4. Did you keep your promises? (Read Proverbs 20:25) Was it easier to get into debt instead of out of it? To fill up your schedule rather than fulfill it? The number one cause of resentment is unfulfilled promises.
  5. Did you develop your God-given talents? (Read 1 Peter 4:10) Faithfulness is based on what we do with what we have or I really should say what God has given to us.
  6. Did you obey God's commands? Disobedience disqualifies us from being seen as faithful.
  7. Did you pass on what you learned? (Read 2 Timothy 2:2) If God teaches you a spiritual truth, it's your duty to pass it on to others.
Well, how would you do if you had to take the final today? Remember to study hard; the final may be sooner than you think.
P.S. What are you afraid of? What has you worried as you read this? If you want to discover how to build a fear and worry free life, don't miss this Sunday celebration at 9:00am or 10:30am!