Category Archives: For New Believers

Summary of Leadership Training – 18 Jul 2011

This is a summary of the training for Crossroads leaders earlier this week.

The Wheel – Christ the Center / The Obedient Christian

Review of general principles for discipling others: 

1. Tell them what – define / describe the spiritual character or discipline desired

2. Show them how – show how it can be done

3. Do it with them – beyond just demonstrating how it’s done, do it together

4. Give them an assignment – people most often will do what they know someone is going to check up on

 

Additional principles for discipling others:

Two key things to teach

1. Why … what is the Biblical motivation for the spiritual discipline?

2. How … what is a good methodology for doing it?

 

Christ the Center

1. Confirm their personal relationship with Christ

– according to George Barna surveys, 60-70% of people attending church in America are not Christians

– we can’t assume because someone has gone to church for a long time or has volunteered to lead a small group that they actually have a personal relationship with Christ

– how to confirm:

a. ask them to share their testimony (not in a challenging, confrontational way; just ask them to share their story of how they became a Christian)

b. have them read My Heart – Christ’s Home and discuss their response

c. Study and discuss Lessons on Assurance  … studies and scripture memory on Assurance of Salvation, Answered Prayer, Victory, Forgiveness, and Guidance

2. Why would we want to make Christ the Center of our lives?

– John 15: 7 – abiding in Christ leads to answered prayer

– John 15: 8 – abiding in Christ leads to bearing fruit which glorifies God

3. How do we make Christ the Center?

– Time in prayer and the Word are key

– Teach them to have a quiet time of fellowship with Christ

7 Minutes With God is a good starting point

 

Obedience to Christ

1. Why is obedience important?

– Jeremiah 29: 11 – the Lord wants and knows what is best for me; His plans (commands) are for my good

– John 14: 21 – it proves or demonstrates our love for Him

– Isaiah 1: 19; Deut 28: 1-14 – to be blessed

– Joshua 1: 8 – it brings prosperity and success

– Psalm 119: 100 – to gain understanding beyond our years

2. Resources for Obedience

– Philippians 4: 13 – we can do all things through Christ; He gives us the strength to obey

– 1 Corinthians 10: 13 – God always provides a way of escape when we are confronted with temptation

– Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 – faithful Christians will lift us up; a cord of 3 strands is not easily torn apart

– Proverbs 29: 18 – where there is no vision, the people perish; envision yourself obeying; plan how you will react when tempted

– Proverbs 3: 5,6 – pray for guidance; acknowledge Him in all our ways; ask yourself ‘What would Jesus do?’

 

Next Training Session: The Word and Prayer

 

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Christ the Center – John 15: 5

John 15: 5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Jesus used the picture of a vine (or tree trunk) and connected branches to illustrate His relationship to each believer, promising that each one who remains (abides or lives) in him would bear much fruit. This picture provides a couple of points to consider in our relationship with Christ.

  • The branch does not bear fruit by straining and trying to bear fruit, but by staying connected to the vine and receiving daily nourishment from the vine. Our focus must remain not on what we do for Christ, but on allowing Him to work through us as we abide in Him.
  • The branch does not need to be moved far away from the vine to wither up and die … the distance of the width of the thinnest blade that slices between the vine and the branch is enough to kill. We must never forget that apart from Christ, we can do nothing!

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Christ the Center – Gal 2: 20

Galatians 2: 20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

One of the great differences and privileges of Christianity over the false religions of the world is this great truth that Christ lives in us! The Christian life is not one of laboriously trying to keep up in following Christ and serving and obeying Him, but one of yielding to Him and allowing Him to live through us. My Heart – Christ’s Home provides a good overview of what this relationship is like.

Too often we act as if we believe God just wants us to come visit Him at His house on Sunday mornings and doesn’t care whether we think about Him the rest of the week. Some take it further and at least try to serve Him during the week, but this still falls far short of what Christ wants … to live in us.

This experience of Christ living in us begins when we accept Christ, or invite Him into our hearts as Lord and Savior … 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! When we invite Christ in, He responds and comes in … to live in us for eternity! It’s up to us to recognize His presence, listen to Him, and do what He says.

Disciplers recognize that one of their major responsibilities is to help those they are discipling to live this out in their daily live.

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Obedience to Christ

One thing that needs to be clearly understood by followers of Christ is that obedience to Christ does nothing to earn our salvation. Salvation comes by faith alone without any help from works (Ephesians 2: 8,9), but it is still expected that we practice good works (Ephesians 2: 10), which is what obeying Christ is all about … that is what we are created in Christ Jesus for.

Jesus showed how closely faith (knowing Him) and obedience are tied together in Matthew 7: 21-23 …

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

First He says that calling Him Lord is not enough, that true Lordship is demonstrated by doing His will. Then He says that doing things commonly regarded as good works, or obeying Him, (even doing it ‘in His name’) does not necessarily mean that we know Him (or that He knows us).

It is a challenge to find the proper balance between faith and works. We should all recognize that faith without works is dead (James 2: 20) and that works without faith is equally useless (Matthew 7: 22,23; Philippians 3: 4-9). Our obedience to Him should be an expression of our love, not an attempt to earn His love.

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Spiritual Bread

Here’s another great thought from Henry & Richard Blackaby’s devotional Experiencing God Day-by-Day  pertinent to the area of Christ the Center of our lives:

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

We know how to use physical bread. Whenever we are hungry we simply go and eat. Do we do that spiritually? Jesus said if we believe in Him, we will never be spiritually hungry, or malnourished, for He is the “bread of life.” Every time we face a spiritual need, it is a simple matter of going to Christ and allowing Him to provide us with what we need.

Our problem is that sometimes we interpret Scripture based on our own experience. We say, “Yes, but I remember a time when I was spiritually hungry.” If that is true, then either God did not tell the truth, or we misinterpreted our experience. Could it be that we tried to satisfy our spiritual hunger with human resources? Could it be that we relied so heavily upon friends and the experiences of others that we have never learned how to go to Christ for our own spiritual food? Could it be that we had a great spiritual feast several years ago, and we were so “full” of Christ that we thought we would never have to eat again? We grew lean and hungry because we were still operating on an encounter with God we had years ago. If you are lacking something spiritually, it is not because God does not have an abundance of resources prepared and available for you. It is that you have not come to Him in faith as He invites (John 10:10).

When God gave manna in the wilderness, the children of Israel had to go out each day to receive God’s daily provision. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Spiritual nourishment is something you must seek daily. Have you found spiritual food from Christ today?

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Knowing Christ

I have been going through Henry & Richard Blackaby’s devotional Experiencing God Day-by-Day this year as part of my time with the Lord. Several recent readings have been particularly pertinent to the area of Christ the Center of our lives. Here is the first:

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” JOHN 5:39-40

Bible study will not give you eternal life. You could memorize the entire Bible and be able to discuss minute issues of biblical scholarship and yet fail to experience the truths found in its pages. It is a subtle temptation to prefer the book to the Author. A book will not confront you about your sin; the Author will. Books can be ignored; it is much harder to avoid the Author when He is seeking a relationship with you.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day thought God would be pleased with their knowledge of His Word. They could quote long, complicated passes of Scripture. They loved to recite and study God’s Law for hours on end. Yet Jesus condemned them because, although the knew the Scriptures, they did not know God. They were proud of their Bible knowledge, but the rejected the invitation to know God’s Son.

Can you imagine yourself knowing all that God has promised to do in your life then turning to something else instead? You may be tempted to turn to substitutes. These substitutes aren’t necessarily bad things. They might include serving in the church, doing good deeds, or reading Christian books. No amount of Christian activity will ever replace your relationship with Jesus. The apostle Paul considered every “good” thing he had ever done to be “rubbish” when compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8). Never become satisfied with religious activity rather than a personal, vibrant, and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

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What Would Jesus Do?

In 1897, Charles Sheldon wrote a Christian classic titled ‘In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?’. It is the primary source of the question sometimes heard in Christian circles of ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ or seen in its abbreviated form: WWJD. Unfortunately, far too often it is regarded as a worn-out cliche and not as a very important question that every Christ-follower should be seriously asking several times a day.

In this practical novel, the pastor of a small local church is practically forced into challenging his congregation to asking themselves this question before making any decisions for a whole year. The majority  of the book is the story of those who accepted the challenge and the impact of those decisions on their lives and their community.

Asking such a question and responding accordingly seems to me to be at the very heart of making Christ the center of one’s life. In fact, I wonder how anyone could make a serious claim that Christ is the center of their life if they are not regularly asking this or a similar question.

As you seek to walk with Christ and serve Him as His disciple, ask this question often, walk in obedience to the answer, and watch your life be transformed!

If you care to read In His Steps, it is still available in book form and also online in its entirety at Kansas Collection Books.

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Planting Seeds of Integrity

I would like to recommend a great blog post that I just read, that I would title Plant Seeds of Integrity.

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The Basics

If you haven’t noticed and read the tab at the top of my blog titled The Basics, then I would like to encourage you to read it. In fact, I’ll make it easy for you and include the contents here …

One of the best things I learned early in my Christian life was an illustration that shows the basics and essentials of living the Christian life. It has become my conviction over the years that if a Christian will get established in these areas, they will be able to learn whatever else is needed in their particular walk with God and face any challenge.

The illustration is called The Wheel and was developed by Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators. I encourage you to check it out, memorize it, and practice it.

I will be posting in more detail about the topics covered in the wheel. As I post these, I will try to remember to update The Basics page with links to each post.

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Beginning With Christ

Beginning With Christ image

Beginning With Christ booklet by The Navigators

A great resource for helping new believers to get on and stay on the right path spiritually is a booklet by The Navigators titled ‘Beginning With Christ’. The Navigators have specialized in personal disciple-making since 1933 and have consistently seen the value of the spiritual discipline of scripture memory.

Many people trained by a Navigator, to include myself, testify that scripture memory has been THE MOST BENEFICIAL spiritual discipline they have ever learned. Satan will do everything he can to keep you from doing it and will give you all kinds of reasons that you can’t or shouldn’t because he knows how handy it is for God to use His Word hidden in your heart, either in your life or in the lives of those with whom you share it.

This booklet is designed to help the new believer get started by memorizing five scripture verses to help give them scriptural assurance in five key areas: salvation, answered prayer, forgiveness, victory over sin, and guidance. It also helps them to understand the value of scripture memory and explains each scripture and the assurance it gives.

Click on the image to go to NavPress where the booklet can be purchased (in packages of 10) or click here for a PDF sample of the booklet.

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