In 2 Peter 3:18, the apostle Peter commands his readers to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (HCSB). Are you growing in your Christian faith? Are you obeying the apostle Paul's command "to walk worthy of the calling you have received" (Ephesians 4:1)?
Growing in godliness is the responsibility of every Christian. It's a process that begins when we first trust Christ to save us and continues until we go home to be with Him in heaven. We will never reach perfection in this life (1 John 1:8), so we always need to press on and march forward.
The word "discipleship" is often used to describe this process of Christian growth. A disciple is basically a person who learns from someone else. Jesus had 12 disciples who learned from Him constantly (Matthew 10:1), but many other people sat under His teaching. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He commanded his disciples to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).
So as Christians all of us need both to be discipled and also to disciple others. Depending on your level of Christian maturity, you might be doing more of one than the other. But discipleship should be an important part of every Christian's life. Here at Kingdom Service we want to provide resources to assist in this process of discipleship.
The following links contain resources to help you with this process. We recommend them highly as tools both to help you grow spiritually and also to share with others so that they can grow.
1. Conformity to Christ
Paul wrote that “we all, . . . beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). If we would be changed into Christlikeness, we must steadily see him. This happens in the Word. “The Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:21). Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer.
2. Daily Triumph over Sin
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. . . . I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9, 11). Paul said that we must “by the Spirit . . . put to death the [sinful] deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). Take up the “sword of the Spirit” which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). As sin lures the body into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing word of Scripture and slay the temptation with the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what sin offers.
3. Daily Triumph over Satan
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight (Matthew 4:1–11).
4. Comfort and Counsel for People You Love
The times when people need you to give them comfort and counsel do not always coincide with the times you have your Bible handy. Not only that, the very Word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” That's a beautiful way of saying, When the heart full of God’s love can draw on the mind full of God’s word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.
5. Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers
Opportunities to share the gospel come when we do not have the Bible in hand. Actual verses of the Bible have their own penetrating power. And when they come from our heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given that they are precious enough to learn. We should all be able to sum up the gospel under four main headings: 1) God’s holiness/law/glory; 2) man’s sin/rebellion/disobedience; 3) Christ’s death for sinners; 4) the free gift of life by faith. Learn a verse or two relating to each of these, and be ready, in season and out of season, to share them.
6. Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways
The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks and admiration and love, and seeking his help to live a life that reflects the value of these attributes. Therefore, storing texts in our minds about God helps us relate to him as he really is. For example, imagine being able to call this to mind through the day: "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:8–14)
Many people have family, friends, and loved ones who are not yet "born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8) Don’t give up! There’s something you can do. Pray and speak the Word of God over them, believing and knowing that God’s Word will be fulfilled in their lives. We have provided a resource you can easily use. Place their name on the bookmark and it will be a constant reminder to continuously pray for their salvation!
The Pocket Prayer Journal is designed to be folded in half, from top to bottom with the printed side out, and then from left to right to form a booklet. It’s small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or pocket book as well as tuck into your Bible or devotion book.
This format for prayer works like a conversation. It is based on the “hand prayer” and has simple 6 parts. You can easily recall the parts just by laying your hands on your lap, with your palms facing up, and start from the thumbs working inward:
1) Hello God (thumb): Just as if you were to start a phone conversation, say hello to God. “Praise" and “worship" are the spiritual concepts related to the idea of saying “Hi” to God. For example, you might read Psalm 145 (or a similar Psalm of praise) or listen to a few worship songs that declare God’s goodness. (like Chris Tomlin's "Good Good Father”).
2) Forgive me God (index): In order to have a meaningful conversation with anyone, you might need to say you’re sorry if you’ve done something wrong in the relationship. The spiritual concept here is “confession". If there's something that comes to mind, just confess it. Tell God you're sorry, ask Him to forgive you, and then accept His forgiveness before moving on.
3) Thank you God (middle): If you were talking to a friend that was always doing great things for you, you might want to say thank you. There are always a lot of things you can tell God you’re thankful for. For example, “Thank you God, I can walk on my own.” If you can’t walk on your own, perhaps you can say “Thank you God I have a wheelchair, crutches or people that can help me get around.” The spiritual concept here is “thanksgiving”. Some prayers of thanksgiving may be permanent (I say them every day) and some may be temporary (I say them for a season).
4) Help others God (ring): This is our weakest finger and the same is true about our limited ability to help people in need — we’ll run out of resources but God won’t. In fact he has unlimited resources of healing and provision. The spiritual concept here is “petition”. God loves to answer our prayers for other people. Again, some prayers may be permanent (I say them every day for my spouse) and some may be temporary (I say them for a season). When God answers one of your petitions, cross it off this section and add it to your “Thank you God” list (3).
5) Help me God (pinky) There might not be many things we want to ask God for, or there might be a long list. Either way, the Bible tells us “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” (James 4:2b-3a) If our motives are pure, God wants to answer our prayers. Don’t be shy with God. He may just be waiting for you to ask.
6) I’m listening God (palm up) Like any conversation, once we’re done talking it's always good to give the other person a chance to speak. If given a chance, what might God want to say to you today? Keep a pen handy to write down any thought or inspiration that comes to mind. If nothing happens, just rest in His presence and love. If something does come, and you know it’s from God, be sure to trust and obey. Obedience is all about hearing from God, and then doing what He says because He knows what's best for us.
Do you know when you're at your best? Do you protect that time time of day to do the things you're best at? This worksheet has been designed as a companion to the book, At Your Best , by Carey Nieuwhof.
At Your Best will help you
Use green, yellow and red colored markers to trace your productivity and emotional states through out the day/week/month:
Green Zone productivity characteristics: creative, alert, engaged, efficient, effective, productive, accurate
Yellow Zone productivity characteristics: moderately creative, awake, partially engaged, fairly efficient, relatively effective, mostly productive, somewhat accurate, producing decent work
Red Zone productivity characteristics: not creative, tired, disengaged, inefficient, ineffective, unproductive
Green Zone mood characteristics: kind, optimistic, cheerful, thoughtful, helpful, generous
Yellow Zone mood characteristics: pleasant, realistic, civil, introspective, slightly bothered by others, somewhat generous
Red Zone mood characteristics: frustrated, pessimistic, short-tempered, selfish, unwilling, stingy
"For God does speak–now one way, now another–though no one perceives it." Job 33:14
"Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." John 8:47
There is clear evidence for 10 types of spiritual communication with God. From time to time we ask the class how they’ve personally heard from God and we’ve seen the counts across these categories grow as members grow in Christ.
REMEMBER: It’s very important to “test the spirits” of any word you think may be from God. (1 John 4:1) That testing should absolutely include verifying what you hear against holy scripture; i.e. the Bible. God will never contradict His Word. For example, if a person insists God said to divorce their spouse, that’s just a lie heard from the pit of hell. Jesus makes it clear what God intends for our marriage covenants. (Matthew 19:3-8; Malachi 2:16)