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Make the Word the First Part of Your Life

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Make the Word the First Part of Your Life

Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.”

Here’s a good goal to set:

  • 5 Minutes in the Word: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).
  • 5 Minutes in Worship: “God is looking for people who worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
  • 5 Minutes in Prayer: “Men ought always to pray and never give up” (Luke 18:1).

In this series of blogs we’re answering the question, how do we make sure we are holding on to it?

  1. We have to make it the foundation of our life.
  2. We have to make it the first part of our life.

Watch for #3 in the next blog post.

You can listen to the audio message here.

 

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It Is Written – A Life Built on God’s Word

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It Is Written – A Life Built on God’s Word

Imagine a soldier’s battlefield uniform as you read about the spiritual armor we have been given as believers in Ephesians 6.

So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace. In addition to all these, take the Christian faith as your shield. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Also take salvation as your helmet and God’s word as the sword that the Spirit supplies.[1]

Christians who don’t build their life on the Word of God are like soldiers who go into battle without a gun! They can have the best body armor in the world, but if they don’t have a gun they can only hide from the enemy, they can never defeat him.

Our theme for the next series of blogs comes from the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness found in Luke 4 and Matthew 4.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days, he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[2]

A Christian will only remain a Christian by staying connected to the Word of God. It’s really that simple.

I read an article published at the end of 2017 about Tony Campolo’s son Bart: “The Evangelical Who Stopped Believing.” Bart is now a rising star of atheism. There came a point in Bart’s life when the Word of God became unimportant to him. Doubt began to grow and his faith in God began to die.

Jesus said, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.”[3]

The Bible infuses us with strength and empowers us to fight the good fight of faith. Without it, we lose. We must stay connected to the Word of God.

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

[1] Ephesians 6:14-17 GW

[2] Luke 4:1-4 NIV

[3] John 15:7-8 NLT

Spiritual Growth—Adulthood and Parenthood

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Spiritual Growth—Adulthood and Parenthood

John describes this stage by the depth of maturity in our knowledge of who God is. “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you have defeated the Evil One. I write to you, my children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One.”[1]

So who are the spiritual fathers and mothers of Lakeview Church? What do they look like? What should they be doing?

In Ron Bennett’s book, “Intentional Discipleship” he defines spiritual parenting like this. “Spiritual parents are Christians who have a history of experiencing the reality of Christ and are now mature and responsible enough to encourage spiritual growth in others.”

This stage should actually be the goal of all believers.

We should come to a place where we are looking out for weaker Christians and raising them up to full maturity.

Let me speak to those who ought to be in this stage of discipleship and growth. If you refuse to look beyond your life and expand your realm of influence, you will actually begin to shrivel up and die.[2] The whole reason we study the Bible and seek to grow into full maturity is so that we can then help others. God wants us to use our spiritual muscles to lift others up, but if we won’t do it, we have in some ways wasted our efforts in spiritual maturity.[3]

Back in the 80s, the “The Merv Griffin Show,” was very popular. On one show he had a guest who was a body builder. During the interview, Merv asked, “Why do you develop those particular muscles?” The body builder simply stepped forward and began flexing various parts of his well-defined muscles. The audience burst into applause. So Merv asked the second time, “What do you use all those muscles for?” Again he flexed his biceps and triceps and they bulged to impressive proportions. Merv persisted and asked the third time, “But what do you actually use those muscles for?” Suddenly the body builder was bewildered. He didn’t have clue as to why, other than to display his well-developed frame.

Christian friends, Bible study, prayer, reading Christian books, listening to Christian radio and CD’s are all designed for a divine purpose. They are meant to strengthen our ability to build God’s kingdom, not simply to improve our pose before an admiring audience. God wants all of us to grow up, reproduce spiritual life in others, and help grow the family of God.

The cool thing about God is you can bear fruit even late in life. God is willing cut out the dead and bring new growth, if you’ll let Him. No one can say, “I’m as mature as I could be.” God may want to prune you. Are you willing to let Him bring you to full maturity?

 

 

[1] 1 John 2:13 & 14

[2] Hebrews 5:12-14

[3] Hebrews 6:7-9

Spiritual Growth—Childhood and Adolescence

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Spiritual Growth—Childhood and Adolescence

Each stage of spiritual growth is another level of independence. You can make your own sandwich. It’s hear you learn to feed yourself spiritually. During the Childhood and Adolescence stage of spiritual development, we actually begin to learn how to fight the devil. Here we begin to understand that the discipleship journey is not all about warm and fuzzy feelings, but in reality, it’s about a deadly battle and the fight we must engage in.

At this stage of spiritual growth, we have to go deeper in the Word of God, or we are DEAD. We can no longer afford to sip the “milk of the Word,” but we must begin to chew on the meat of the Word. All body builders know meat provides protein for their muscles!

John the Apostle identifies this stage by all the “young people” in 1 John 2:13, 14. He says: “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you have defeated the Evil One. I write to you, my children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One.

And this is exactly the stage where many Christians “fixate.” What is fixation? Fixation happens whenever someone fails to go on to the next stage of maturity.

It’s perfectly alright to act like a baby when you are a baby! But carnality can be described as immaturity from those who ought to be mature.

As my dad used to say, “I don’t mind putting in the bottle to feed to feed a baby. I do object, however, when I have to move a mustache to do it!”

So we all come to the end of childhood and adolescence, and it’s time to move on. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

It’s time to grow to full maturity. Where do you see yourself on your journey? What stage are you at?

 

Spiritual Growth—the Birth and Baby Stage

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Spiritual Growth—the Birth and Baby Stage

 

There is nothing greater than seeing people be saved. An altar call is almost like being in a birthing room. This should be one of the most exciting times of our discipleship journey. It’s a second birth—our spirits are born again. We come to faith and our names are written in the book of life.

Jesus said in John 3:3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” We read in 1 Peter 2:2 “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”

I worry about the baby Christian who never get plugged into a simple Bible study opportunity.

Their chances of survival are slim to none. That’s why it’s so important to have things in place to nurture them. Every new believer in Christ that makes a profession of their faith is strongly encouraged to take the GROWTH TRACK , join a life group, and go to Foundations for Faith class.

There’s something I have learned about baby Christians that might surprise you. Sometimes God shows the most profound things to babes in Christ. It’s true! That’s why we love our Life Group. It’s a mixture of babies and mature Christians.

Jesus sent out 70 of His rookie disciples to lay hands on the sick, to cast out demons, and to see people changed by the transforming power of God. They came back totally amazed. And what did Jesus say? In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”[1] That’s why it’s so healthy to be involved in a group that is a good cross-generational mix, spiritually speaking.[2]

We all tend to want to hang around our own age. So, when was the last time you held a baby? There is something magical and mystical about babies. Have you noticed? A new born baby renews us. Holding a baby rekindles something in our souls that can be found in no other type of relationship. It’s the same way spiritually speaking. Our spirit is renewed from enjoying the freshness the spiritual life that babes in Christ bring!

Let me challenge you who have been in the faith a long time. Are you rubbing shoulders with any spiritual babes, or do you just spend time with people who are on your spiritual level?

And let me talk to you spiritual babes. Are you learning from the spiritually mature? Do you only spend time with spiritually immature Christians who can’t really take you higher? Ask God to show you who He wants to connect you with on your spiritual journey.

 

[1] Luke 10:21

[2] 1 John 2:12-14

Spiritual Growth—the Conception Stage

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Spiritual Growth—the Conception Stage

A human life is never more vulnerable than during the conception stage of life. There are so many reasons a life is loss during this stage—miscarriage, sickness, infection, abortion….

Some of you might be in the conception stage spiritually speaking right now. You may have not yet experienced a true spiritual birth, but the seeds of God’s Word have been implanted into your heart.

You might be in the process of spiritual fetal development that is leading up to your spiritual birth.

Don’t let anything abort the process!

The devil loves abortion, both in the natural and in the supernatural realm. He loves to kill life before it ever has the chance to blossom and grow to full maturity and fruitfulness.

God’s Word is the main ingredient that leads to full term and a healthy spiritual birth.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God.”[1] Another powerful component of the conception stage is to associate with people of faith, so you can learn and grow in your faith.[2]

The devil wants to keep those close to spiritual birth away from those in faith. As a believer, you should discern when you should walk more closely to those in this stage. Nurture that life brewing inside them.

 

[1] Romans 10:17 GW

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:33

The Sequential Process of Spiritual Growth

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The Sequential Process of Spiritual Growth

Spring is the time when things begin to grow, so it’s the perfect time to talk about spiritual growth and life cycles. My last few blogs focused on the levels of discipleship: Level 1—a learner, Level 2—a Pupil, and Level 3—a Follower. This blog, and the next few are focused on the sequential process of spiritual growth.

Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”[1]

God designed all living beings to grow on a sequential pattern. We are first a single cell (egg), then for nine months a fetus, then a baby, a child, adolescent, adult, and last a parent (the ultimate purpose of life is to reproduce another life).

God designed our spiritual life to grow in exactly the same way as our natural life.

  1. Conception
  2. Birth and baby
  3. Childhood and Adolescence
  4. Adulthood and Parenthood

We are all at different spiritual ages. We are the family of God, and we need each other. We need spiritual Grandpa and Grandma’s, teens, adults, babies and children. New believers bring a spiritual freshness to your life and the life of the church. If you’re spiritually mature, find spiritual babies to hold, children to teach and inspire, and teens to mentor.

 

[1] Matthew 28:18-20 GW

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