Christian Growth

An Illustration of Repentance

"Some sins are small and easy. We stop and walk the other way. Some sins, like the bicycle, are a little more difficult. ... there is the process of coming to a stop, the process of the turn itself, and the process of getting up to speed in faithfulness. But some sins are enormous.... God works patiently with us, carefully slowing us down, as the captain does with the ship..." - Ligonier

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Making Disciples Jesus’ Way

By Rich Van Heukelum

“If you can see your target, you have a better chance of hitting it.
If you can watch an expert, you have a better chance of doing it well.”
—Source Unknown

My father was part of the US Army during WWII. One day I saw his uniform in the closet and noticed a sharpshooter medal. When I asked him about it, he told of the day he won that recognition. He had been firing rapidly and doing okay. Then his trainer told him to slow down and take time to aim for each shot. Effective shooting requires knowing not only what the target is but also how to shoot.

One of the great encouragements of our day is a renewed focus on the mission of the church. Taglines and mission statements ooze with “making disciples” and capture the essence of the Great Commission. So we know what our target is. But do we know how to reach it?

Knowledge Is Not Enough

James consistently warned of the danger of knowing and saying but not doing (James 1:22; 2:14). His warning reminds us believers that we often think we have fulfilled a command because we know and talk about it. In that respect, some might think they are making disciples because they can clearly state, and are active in a church with, a great mission statement. Pastors are not exempt from this danger of knowing and saying but not actually doing.

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“When we only learn from our own kind, we become critical more than curious.”

"The breadth of your learning will influence the depth of your learning. Maybe that’s not new to everyone, but for me, it has created a new category from which to learn. When I seek out leaders in other industries, it helps me in 3 specific ways" - C.Leaders

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Disturbing but Worth It: Getting Outside Our Bubble

In seminary we were encouraged—well, required—to read outside our own theological perspective. A few students recoiled a bit. They had been living in a bubble, and those outside it had been mostly ignored, sometimes caricatured, but never directly listened to with the goal of accurate understanding.

Most students relished the wider reading. They’d already learned that curiosity, personal connection, and questioning assumptions can result in life-changing bursts of discovery and personal growth.

… which is why effective educational institutions do that sort of thing.

This personal growth strategy makes sense, but is it biblical? And is this sort of growth Christian growth?

I’ve always loved the biblical record of Peter’s awakening to Gentile ministry, for lots of reasons. Near the top of the list is what it reveals about groupthink, questioning assumptions, and connecting with people outside our bubble.

Being taken outside our bubble is a gift.

Peter’s life-changing journey outside his exclusively-Jewish ministry bubble began at God’s initiative—probably because Peter would never have done it himself. We read in Acts 10:

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People Are Being Discipled by Their Cable News

"I may have been unsure at first, but I am glad that I could use the word 'disciple' in that context. Discipleship highlights a fundamental issue for followers of Jesus right now: there are certain things that are in us and need to be discipled out of us and other things that need to be discipled in us and aren’t there currently." - Ed Stetzer

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