Monday, November 17, 2014

Discipleship Essentials

Discipleship Essentials – from Pastor David Holt

1.    The Gospel – how can we know that we are truly saved?
a.     God’s love.  Jn. 3:16
b.     Man’s sin.  Rom. 3:23
c.      Christ’s death and resurrection.  Rom. 5:8
d.     Man must repent and receive Christ.  Jn. 1:12
e.     Salvation by grace through faith and not of works.  Eph. 2:8-9
Resources:  The Story gospel tract.
2.    Identity in Christ – do you know who you really are?
a.     You were made new in your spirit-being the moment you were saved.  2 Cor. 5:17
b.     Get your identity from who you are in Christ and not from what you do.   1 Pe. 2:9-12
c.      Live in obedience to God to express who you are in Christ and not to become someone you are not already.  Eph. 1-4
Resources:  Victory Over the Darkness and Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson
3.    Intimacy with God – do you spend time alone with God?
a.     A relationship with Christ grows as we spend quality time with God each day.  Lu. 10:38-42
b.     Time in the Word and prayer is one of the most important disciplines in the Christian life.  2 Cor. 3:18; Acts 2:41-47
Resources:  The God You can Know by Dan DaHaan
4.    Baptism – have you been obedient to be baptized?
a.     Baptism is an important area of obedience that is to follow one’s conversion.  Acts 2:41-47
b.     Baptism is an outward display of an inward change.  Rom. 6:1-6
Resources:  tract/pamphlet on baptism
5.    Knowing God’s character – Do you accurately know the true nature of God?
a.     God is holy and loving.  Isa. 6; Jn. 3:16
b.     God is truth and grace.  Jn. 1:14
c.      Accurately knowing the character of God provides a firm foundation for the Christian life.
Resources:  Knowledge of the Holy by Tozer; Knowing God by Packer; The God You can Know by Dan DaHaan
6.    Holy Spirit – are you living in God’s power?
a.     We cannot live the Christian life in our strength.  Jn. 15:5
b.     Only by God’s Holy Spirit can we live an obedient and fruitful life.  Eph. 5:18;  Acts 1:8
c.      The Word and Spirit provide the best combination for lasting life change.  Acts 2:41-47
d.     We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit each day. Eph. 5:18
Resources:  Fresh Wind Fresh Power by Cymbala; chocolate milk illustration; Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere; Flying Closer to the Flame by Chuck Swindoll

7.    Lordship of Christ – is Jesus Lord of your life?
a.     A relationship with Christ involves allowing Jesus to increasingly become the lord of your life. 2 Cor. 3:18
b.     We need the Holy Spirit to help us yield to God.  Eph. 5;18
c.      Sexual purity is one of the biggest areas of struggle.  1 Thess. 4:1-8
Resource:  My Heart Christ’s Home booklet; Not Even a Hint by Josh Harris
8.    Community – are you closely connected with other strong believers?
a.     God made us to need each other.  1 Cor. 12
b.     We are commanded to both encourage and challenge one another in our walk with God.  Hebr. 10:24-25;  Gal. 6:1
c.      We are to be involved in a local church for growth, support, and ministry.  Acts 2:41-47
Resources:  The Body by Chuck Colson;  Quit Dating the Church by Josh Harris
9.    Your Gifts – are you serving where you are gifted and passionate?
a.     When we serve in our gifts areas we are most fulfilled and fruitful for God.  1 Pe. 4:10; 1 Cor. 12
b.     God has given every believer certain spiritual gifts.  1 Cor. 12
Resources:  online spiritual gifts tests
10.   Prayer – is your prayer life effective and joyful?
a.     Prayer is possible because of the blood of Jesus.  Hebr. 4
b.     Prayer is both talking and listening to God.  Jer. 33:3
c.      Prayer is able to bring about great results in the kingdom.  Jn. 15:7
Resources:  Power Through Prayer by EM Bounds; The Praying Life by Paul Miller; Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
11. Outreach – are you sharing Christ with others?
a.     God calls and empowers us to witness to others.  Acts 1:8
b.     Our testimony is a great way to witness.  Rev. 12
Resources:  Gospel tract; Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels;  Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World
12. Discipleship – are you investing in others?
a.     God calls us to make disciples.  Mt. 28:18-20
b.     Investing in a few faithful men is one of the most strategic ways of reaching the world for Christ.  2 Tim. 2:2
Resources:  Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman.

Other Resources/Suggestions
a.     Begin with an overnight retreat where you each share your life graphs.
b.     Obituary project – everyone write out your obituary like you want it to read when you die.
c.      Assign some scripture memory verses.
d.     Be transparent with your own struggles.
e.     Ask about sexual purity from time to time.
f.      Model spending time with God.
g.     Go to some event together (conference, etc.).

h.     Do some practical evangelism (Great Exchange, etc.).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's All About the Heart

I want to offer the following suggestions for avoiding hypocrisy and keeping a tender HEART toward God.  Jesus was all about the HEART, and in Mathew 23 He was confronting those whose HEART was were not right with God, even though their actions appeared to be real spiritual.

Consider the following ways to keep your HEART right with God:
1.     Be certain that you have truly received Christ into your HEART.  It is only as we have the living presence of Christ in us, through the Holy Spirit, that we can experience an inward HEART change.  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”  (Ezek. 36:26-27)
2.     Be in God’s Word every day, because it is His Word that penetrates deep into our HEART.  “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebr. 4:12)
3.     Pray and ask God to reveal to you anything in your HEART that is not pleasing to Him.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Ps. 139:23-24)
4.     Be in godly relationships with people who can speak into your life.  Give at least one person in your life the permission to hold you accountable and ask you some hard questions from time to time.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  (Prov. 27:17).  When iron is sharpened, sometimes sparks will fly!
5.     Allow your externals to reveal your HEART.  What I mean by this is that we need to give attention to our words, outbursts of anger, actions, and feelings.  Many times these reveal something in our HEART that needs attention.  For example, my anger might reveal selfishness or pride in my HEART.  My depression might reveal some deep hurt or unforgiveness in my HEART.  Often we ignore these unpleasant things, when God wants them to serve as HEART-exposers.  “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…” (Mk. 7:21). “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Lu. 6:45)
6.     Bring all sin to the cross and to the Holy Spirit for change.  As we become aware of things in our HEART that are not pleasing to God, don’t let Satan beat you up for such things.  Instead, bring them to the cross of Jesus for forgiveness, and ask the Holy Spirit to radically change your HEART.  Only God can ultimately change us from the inside out!  “Work our your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12-13).

Be encouraged that God wants to work in our HEARTS.  There is nothing impossible for Him to change in our life.