Are You Ready For Today?

30 01 2012

Today, I am unbelievably excited for all of you!

Why?  Because I know that God is about to do something radical in your life.

On Sunday, we gave our church a challenge to intentionally engage God in His Word, everyday for the next 28 days (The 28 Day Challenge).  To help you all get started in this, we equipped you with a Life Journal, which is a simple tool that walks you through a process of listening to, and responding to God.  The reason we challenged you to do this is because we know that God’s Word is one of those avenues where God’s transforming power is released.  It is only through Him that genuine life change happens.

My prayer is that today you embarked on that challenge whole-heartedly and filled with anticipation for what God is going to do in your life over the next four weeks.  However, I also hope that you are focused on today… the right here and now… because today is where God calls us to live!

Are you living your life for Him today?

Are you eager for God to speak words of Truth to you today?

Are you seeking God’s strength and power for your life today?

Are you listening to Him with a humble and surrendered heart today?

Are you willing to be changed by His power today?

Are you committed to obey what He says today?

Are you hungry for a deeper, more vibrant relationship with Him today?

I am, and I hope you are too!

May God radically transform our lives today, as we commit ourselves to completely to Him.


What A Fully Devoted Follower Looks Like

16 01 2012

At Harvest Springs, the church I pastor, our purpose is the help people become “fully devoted followers of Christ.”  We recently shared this statement with our church, and since then, I have been flooded with texts, emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages from people who are excited about this new clarifying of our Purpose.  However, one question that I wonder if everyone has a crystal clear answer to, is this:

“What does a ‘fully devoted follower of Christ look like?

If our Church doesn’t know exactly what the answer is to that question, then we are just parading around a flowery phrase, and nothing more.  If the answer isn’t clear, our purpose isn’t either.

As a Lead Pastor, one of my Chief responsibilities is to “Define” the results we are pursuing.  Unless we clearly define what the results look like, then our church will never be intentional or effective in seeing those results birthed out.  One of the reasons I believe the Church has struggled to make disciples in an effective way has been that we haven’t clearly defined what Biblical Discipleship looks like.  We haven’t fully “defined” our purpose.

One of the best and most simple illustrations of “what a fully devoted follower of Christ looks like” is the Wheel illustration.  It is an illustration that the Navigators use to help people understand the key components of a “Christ Centered” Life.  Here’s a quick overview:

  • Christ The Center – A fully devoted follower of Christ lives with Christ at the center.  (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20)
  • Obedience to Christ – A fully devoted follower of Christ obeys what Christ says.  (Luke 4:46, John 14:21, 1 John 2:4)
  • The Word – A fully devoted follower of Christ spends daily time in God’s Word.  (Joshua 1:8, Matthew 4:4, Psalm 119:9,11
  • Prayer – A fully devoted follower of Christ engages God in faith through prayer.  (Ephesians 3:12, Philippians 4:6-7, Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 11:6)
  • Fellowship – A fully devoted follower of Christ lives in Christ Centered relationship with other believers.  (Hebrews 10:24-25, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, John 13:34-35, Hebrews 3:13)
  • Witnessing – A fully devoted follower of Christ purposely share truth, through word and deed, with those who are far from God.  (1 Peter 3:15, Romans 1:16, Matthew 5:16)

If this is our answer, then we know exactly what we must be about.  Crafting strategies and developing systems that enable these results to manifest themselves within our church.  Once our purpose is clearly “defined” then we have a tangible and measurable benchmark to measure our effectiveness.  Without the full definition, we will never see the results we desire.

And the great tragedy is… we will probably never know what we are missing.

5 Thoughts on Spiritual Growth

12 01 2012

Let me share something with you that you might find hard to believe.

Most people who attend church on a regular basis want to grow spiritually.  They really do.

Sure there are those who attend because their spouses made them, or for social reasons, or because it’s a great way to expand their Multi-Tiered Marketing business, but let’s face it… those folks are dwarfed by the staggering amount of genuine individuals who are simply trying to figure out how to take the next step.  The vast majority of people in our churches are there because they want to grow in their relationship with God.

I hope you’re growing, but if you’re not, I don’t think it’s because you don’t want to.  It might be that you just don’t quite know where to start.  I have been walking with Christ for 17 years, and been blessed to help many grow in their own walk with him.  So here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Spiritual growth requires intentionality. –  Spiritual Growth is intentional.  It takes work.  It takes investment.  A guy who can bench press 350 lbs didn’t get there because strength landed on him while he ate Cheetos on the couch.  He worked hard to get there.  For you to grow as a follower of Christ, you will have to work hard too.
  2. Spiritual growth requires a plan. – I have never met an individual who consistently maintained a fitness regiment who didn’t have a plan.  The same goes for those who want to grow spiritually.  A plan directs your energy toward things that produce the desired results.  A plan also keeps you focused on the purpose of your activity.  If you want to grow spiritually, you need a plan.
  3. Spiritual growth requires accountability. – I know very few people who will maintain healthy spiritual disciplines without accountability.  Sometimes that accountability can be self-directed (progress charts, etc…) but most of the time, we need others to help.  Sharing our plan with someone who will ask us about our progress can keep us from falling off the wagon.
  4. Spiritual growth requires patience. – I rarely feel as if I am growing spiritually.  However, as I experience things in life, every once in a while, I will experience something that reveals an increase in my spiritual strength or maturity.  Sometimes it happens fast… sometimes it happens slow.  The key is to keep pursuing growth.  Don’t give up!
  5. Spiritual growth requires a connection to God – I must understand this truth.  God is the one who grows me.  My job is to position myself in places where His transforming power can change who I am.  What are those places?  Spending time listening and responding to God is one of those places. As we get closer to Him, spiritual growth happens naturally… in fact, that’s exactly what spiritual growth is.

So, if you feel like you’re stuck, and you’re trying to jump-start your spiritual growth, then be intentional, get a plan, find an accountability partner, be patient, and spend time developing your connection with God.  If you do, I will guarantee you will see spiritual growth take place in your life.

If not, I will refund the money you spent reading this…   🙂