Facing Our Spiritual Immaturity

The writer to the Hebrews instructs the church to, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrew 13:17). This is an awesome charge, NOT to the leaders, but to the people. While the leaders have charge over the souls of God’s people (which is intimidatingly awesome to say the least) the writer tells the people that it is their responsibility to not cause grief to their spiritual leaders. Spiritual leaders teach, guide, instruct, challenge, protect, admonish, comfort, and yes, rebuke and discipline when it is needed. It is not an authority thing, or a … Continue reading

Forget God’s Will for Your Life

Here are my notes for the sixth session of The Forgotten God, by Francis Chan, which includes questions for my small group, quotes from the book, and other observations. Remember these are notes, and not a complete article on the topic. Please purchase the book to support the author. What might you accomplish with your life? How often is this just asking about your five-year or ten-year plan? Sadly, we often focus only on the future rather than on the here and now. 1. Why might it be safer to follow “God’s will for your life” than following God in what he may lead you to do today? 2. If you were absolutely, 100% submitted to the will of God at this moment, what do you think he … Continue reading

How to Reconcile Relationships

Wow, we have now come to the third command in this Adult Stage or Equip Level of disciplemaking, on how to reconcile relationships in Matthew 5:21-26. The commands (each present imperative) are found in Matthew 5:23, 25 – LEAVE, GO first BE RECONCILED, MAKE friends quickly. We find this also outside of the gospels (Acts 9:36, 26:18, 1 Corinthians 7:11, 2 Timothy 3:3). Questions to Consider: 1. Do you tend to internalize or ventilate anger? 2. What do you do when you become aware that someone is angry at you? 3. When is it better to just let a matter lie? (Proverbs 10:12, 17:9, 19:11, Colossians 3:13, 1 Peter 4:8) 4. What Type of anger are we justified in having? What type is Jesus condemning? … Continue reading

A Real Relationship with God

Here are my notes for the fifth session of The Forgotten God, by Francis Chan, which includes questions for my small group, quotes from the book, and other observations. Remember these are notes, and not a complete article on the topic. Please purchase the book to support the author. What comes to mind when you think about relationships? What if your experience is not so warm and cozy? 1. Honestly describe your relationship with God. How does it feel? How do you maintain it? Read Galatians 4:1-7 2. Paul contrasts slaves and sons… What are the differences? What are the privileges? How does each feel? What confidence does each possess? Incredible truth: believers are adopted by God, we are his children whether we feel like … Continue reading

Being a Contagious Christian

This is the second command at the Adult Stage or the Equip Level of disciplemaking. Last week was on persecution and handling false accusations, and today it is how to be salt and light in the world; how to be a contagious Christian and a person of influence. Read Matthew 5:13-16 We find our main command in Matthew 5:16 (LET your light shine), Mark 9:50 (HAVE salt in yourselves), Luke 11:35 (WATCH out). The book of Acts illustrates this principle (Acts 9:36, 26:18), and the letters, too (Philippians 2:15, Colossians 4:6, 1 Peter 2:12). After the beatitudes, Jesus shifts from pronouncements of blessing to instructions about His “new law” (see Matthew 5:21 for example). He compares His followers to salt and light, elements commonly used … Continue reading

What’s the Point of Salvation?

Have you ever asked the question of why God offers salvation? To begin, we have to ask the meaning of salvation. Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation. Sometimes, the Bible uses the words saved or salvation to refer to temporal, physical deliverance, such as Paul’s deliverance from prison (Philippians 1:19). More often, the word “salvation” concerns an eternal, spiritual deliverance. When Paul told the Philippian jailer what he must do to be saved, he was referring to the jailer’s eternal destiny (Acts 16:30-31). Jesus equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24-25). Some people focus on the God of love who draws human beings … Continue reading

Why Do You Want the Spirit?

Here are my notes for the fourth session of The Forgotten God, by Francis Chan, which includes questions for my small group, quotes from the book, and other observations. Remember these are notes, and not a complete article on the topic. Please purchase the book to support the author. The first step in reversing the neglect of the Holy Spirit is to desire to see him at work in us. So ask, “Why do you want him?” We can’t assume our hearts are right in our motivation. Why does it matter? 1. What are a few possible motivations for desiring the Holy Spirit? 2. Can you detect any of these in your heart? Read Acts 8:9-24 3. It appears that Simon was intrigued by the … Continue reading

Handling False Accusations

Here we have made it to the first command at the Adult Stage or the Equip Level of disciple-making. This passage in the Sermon on the Mount is all about persecution of the believer. The odd thing is that Jesus tells us to rejoice, and be glad (Matthew 5:12), be glad and leap for joy (Luke 6:23), and remember (John 15:20). Jesus was persecuted (John 5:16, 15:20) and predicted that his followers would experience the same (Matthew 23:34, Mark 10:22, Luke 11:49). Persecution would determine the validity of their relationship to him (Matthew 13:21, Mark 4:17). We find persecution throughout the book of Acts (Acts 7:52, 8:1, 9:4-5, 13:50, 22:4, 7-8, 26:11, 14-15) and in the letters (Romans 8:35, 12:14, 1 Corinthians 4:12, 15:9, 2 … Continue reading

No More Facilitators

I just read this from Josh Hunt and had to pass it along! I wish I had a nickle for every time I have heard this: “We don’t really need teachers; we need facilitators.” I disagree. Jesus said to, “Teach all nations” (Matthew 28.19). He didn’t say to facilitate discussions of all nations. In the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-2) we read that Jesus began to teach them. We don’t ever read that He facilitated a discussion. In Acts 2.42 we do not read that the early church devoted themselves to the apostles’ facilitation of discussion. We read they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. In 2 Timothy 2.2 Paul admonished Timothy to entrust the truth he had heard to reliable … Continue reading

Holy Spirit Theology 101

Here are my notes for the third session of The Forgotten God, by Francis Chan, which includes questions for my small group, quotes from the book, and other observations. Remember these are notes, and not a complete article on the topic. Please purchase the book to support the author. If we stop short of applying the truth to our lives, then we do not actually grasp that truth. Our belief determines action. More important than what we know is how we act. For lack of understanding we grieve the Spirit. Think about KGBC in light of the huddle analogy. How have you been running from the huddle to the bench? God gave the Spirit so that we might change the world. How might we look … Continue reading