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Pursuing Greater Discipleship

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Build your PLAN for spiritual growth

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “Fail to plan. Plan to fail.” 

This is a common saying in many professional situations.  But what about our spiritual lives?  Do you have a plan?  This is a question with eternal ramifications.

I’ve been working on a plan for lifelong discipleship.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for decades. I’ve built models, drawn pictures and even taught it in adult Sunday School classes.   But over the last two years my writing has been crafting the tools necessary to put the plan into action.

It’s a plan you can use to point your spiritual life in the right direction.

And since you’ve already read at least one of those books, you’re already on the path!

This email will show you how to use this plan to kick-start your own spiritual journey.  Or perhaps you need to re-energize efforts that have grown cold. 

Read on.  You’ll find lots of tools and links that will help you dig in and get going.
A Strong Foundation
Every plan needs a strong foundation that can stand the test of time and the challenges of critics.  For our spiritual growth, that foundation is God’s Word.

The Bible is God’s love letter to us.  It’s also the manufacturer’s instruction manual for how we should live a Godly life.  

Study the Bible Six Easy Steps is a step by step guide to study scripture.  It covers everything you need to know to start studying the Bible and build that strong foundation of discipleship.  And it leads you through a guided study of a short book of the Bible so you can “get your hands dirty” and see what it’s really like.

But beyond this in-depth training, Chapter 2 highlights 6 different ways you an engage with God’s Word. Some of these methods require no prior skill or preparation (*):Memorizing Scripture *Meditating on God’s Word *Daily Bible Reading *Bible Book StudyTopical StudiesSystematic StudyThe important thing is to get started and stick with it.  Spending time in God’s Word is an essential ingredient for spiritual growth.  

The more you know about the Bible, the easier it is to study it.  Since February, I’ve been sending emails  that show how 66 books written by at least 39 authors over 1500 years tell one consistent story.  It’s a framework that will help you understand the Bible.  Read all about it here.  

By the end of the year, I plan to have all these articles published as a single book that organizes all the information and makes it easy to use.  For anyone who is struggling to understand the Bible, that will be a great jump start for comprehension, and an accelerator for study plans.
Emotional Engagement
Just studying the Bible puts us at risk of turning our faith into an intellectual activity.  Spiritual growth requires engagement from our minds and our hearts.  That’s why worship needs to be a central part of our plan.

Worship means telling God how great He is.  This isn’t an ego play or an attempt to gain favor.  God doesn’t need our worship… But when we’re really connected to Him, nothing can stop us from worshipping Him.

I wrote Jesus Above All out of the overflow of exactly this emotion.  I was confronted with the amazing truth of who Jesus IS.  I kept running into scripture describing His true nature and what He’s like without any filters. He’s bright and magnificent and AWESOME!

It’s super helpful to remember that.  To envision Him in glory and majesty.  He’s God Almighty!  When we remember that, it is somehow easier to worship Him.  There’s no ego in it.  It’s just aligning our lives with the truth.

Worship also happens in the Christian rituals we share.  The Lord’s Supper is one that my church does a couple times each month.  It is a prime opportunity for first-rate worship as we follow the divine command: “Remember Me.”

As Often As You Do It explains the origins of communion and explores what was probably going on in Jesus’ head and heart as He broke the bread and drank the cup. He was the Lamb of God, celebrating the sacrifice of the lamb and only He knew the dreadful secret of what it really meant and how it would play out in a matter of just hours.  It’s a miracle He didn’t explode from all the emotions and stress. 

I’m always looking for new ways to zero in on worship.  These examples are what has come to me so far.  There are many more ways, and I encourage you to always be in search of worship encouragement.
Practical Steps
We are what we do over and over.  Regular activity shapes us.  It’s the way we were created. 

I think that one of the best things we can do regularly is reflect on God’s Word.  Read it.  Meditate on it.  Let it influence us.  My pastor says we need to be reminded of the gospel every day, because we all have a tendency to drift away from what’s not top of mind.

I’ve started a book series called Everyday Devotions.  The big idea is to do something every day – or at least on a regular basis.  These books are designed to draw your attention back to scripture and the gospel.  They focus on relevant topics that we should embrace.

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer came out this summer.  It’s a celebration of 52 great hymns of the faith.  Hymns you might have grown up singing, or even sing today.  These great songs are so full of gospel truth.  They are like a Bible study by themselves.  Whether you read one a day for almost 2 months, or stretch it out for a year with one per week, your spiritual life will be enriched by this melodic truth.

Miracles: Faith in Action came out last year.  It’s easy to talk about faith.  But when faith is on the line, life gets real and God is most active.  This book unlocks the stores of ten people in the Bible.  Most of them were having a really hard time, but God stretched their faith and poured out amazing miracles into their lives.  I was astounded as I wrote it and I think you will be when you read it.
Time to Decide!
That’s the system.  It’s pretty simple.  But it’s completely powerful. Build a strong foundation of truth by studying the BibleEnhance your worship by focusing on Jesus.Return to the Gospel on a regular basis to keep it fresh in your heart and mindI promise to keep extending the system.  I want to give you the tools and encouragement that help you dive in deep and pursue God live never before.

It’s roll call time. 

Do you have a plan?  If not, I invite you to get serious about this plan.

Have you been thinking about doing something?  Today’s the day.  Don’t put it off because you might never get to it.  And in the end, that would make you really sad.

Afraid it will be too much?  Start small.  You don’t have to act like a seminary graduate.  Just daily Bible reading and rejuvenated worship will make a huge difference.

If you’re still not sure, take a 30 day trial and see what happens.  I’m confident you’ll be happy you did.

Jesus is calling you to follow Him.  There isn’t a greater calling on earth.  He loves you and wants all the best for you.  

So start today.

Until next time,

Dennis