"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
January 1, 2011Posted by on
Another new year is here. And like every New Year I began thinking about goals for the upcoming year. Most call this New Year’s resolutions. Some would balk at the idea of using that phrase because of the lackadaisical approach that it might apply. I however look at it as simply goals for next year. 2010 will be the year of incredible spiritual growth for me. I want this process to continue. This challenge will be a stretch for Christian’s of all ages and growth levels. Without furtherer due…
1. Read a non-fiction Christian book(s)
It can only help to get another view. When I read books like this, I immediately think of the movie Dead Poet’s Society – Specifically the scene where Robin Williams tells his students to stand on their desks to get a different perspective on things. The room just looks different when you see it from a different angle. Another person’s perspective may help change yours. A quick word of caution, be careful of the book you choose. For obvious reasons, we would not recommend books written by certain pastors that may have been mentioned previously in the “Are you a God” series. We would, however, recommend any of the following books:
- Servant Leadership
- More than a Carpenter
- Victory over the Darkness
- Families Where Grace is in Place
- The Unexpected Journey
We’d be happy to recommend other books/authors… just drop us a line!
2. Deeply study three books of the Bible.
Have you ever read something in the Bible, looked over at someone and said…”HAVE YOU READ THIS! IT IS INCREADIBLE!”, only to have them say “I have read the whole Bible”. There is a huge difference between reading, and digesting the Word of God. I would suggest that of the group of people that have read the Bible, that probably only 25% – 50% of the Bible was actually digested. By digested I mean, knowing the context of the books, why they were written, historicity behind them, spiritual impact of certain passages, etc… The point here is to understand and internalize these books.
3. Have a 90% attendance rate at church.
This should be probably number 1. If you are of the thought that you can have an effective relationship with God without attending a church you are wrong. The truth of the matter is that the church is critical for your personal development. Imagine learning how to become a computer programmer without going to school or doing programming work. The exact same thing applies here. You limit your growth potential in the body of Christ, by not attending church.
4. Volunteer for an event/function/job at church.
Now that you are attending church on a regular basis, it is time to volunteer. Serving is critical to our spiritual growth as well. Remember James 2:14-26. Faith without works is dead. This is the works part of the challenge.
5. Invite at least 12 people to your church.
Inviting people to church can open the door to being able to share your testimony. Your invite can include other functions such as church picnic’s, or small group. See number 3.
6. Have spiritual conversations that lead to you sharing your testimony and/or the Gospel with at least 6 people
Evangelism is a central part to being a Christian. There are a number of biblical passages that demonstrate that evangelism is asked but is required of all Christians…REQUIRED. That doesn’t mean maybe, or I’ll get to it later or it’s not my temperament. REQUIRED.
7. Sacrificially give to your local church.
We know that the economy is tough – it has been for your church too! Needless to say there is a biblical foundation for tithing (giving at least 10% of your gross income). God’s got a plan for your church that takes money to implement, and you should be a part of it. If you’ve never tithed before start small and grow throughout the year – Dave Ramsey calls it a giving snowball.
8. Pray for at least 2 minutes a day.
What do you do when you have problems? Pray. Anxiety? Pray. Need Help? Pray. Need guidance, wisdom, truth, or WHATEVER? PRAY! 2 minutes a day seems small in the amount of time you should devote to speaking with the Lord. I make it a point to talk to him as I would my father or wife. While he is God, he is still my Father. If you think that you shouldn’t talk to him in a normal way…read Psalms. That was the point of that book.
This is a yearlong challenge. And it should be just that…a challenge. No Apologizing will have your back though with posts about various biblical books, commentary on the books we have read, commentary on the spiritual conversations we’ve had, etc. If you have feedback that you want to share regarding the challenge you will be able to. A new page will be created on the blog specifically for this challenge. In the mean time, get those books ready. Have a great year. Be focused. Make no excuses! Remember only one person is in charge of their relationship with God…YOU! No one else can do it for you.