This past Sunday, I shared five ways we can simplify daily discipleship. We tend to overcomplicate it. But, we believe that if daily we practice some simple habits, everything else will naturally fall into place. We need the basic foundations of walking with Jesus daily.
In John 15, Jesus said to abide in him… Five ways we can abide in Christ daily are to: READ your bible, PRAY, LOOK for opportunities, LIVE in community with others, and then REPEAT it the next day!
READ YOUR BIBLE
Here are a few ways to get you started in daily reading:
The Bible App — There are numerous options for Bible reading plans. If you have never read the Bible or struggle with consistency, start small by finding a 4-7 day reading plan. Don’t try to tackle the Bible in a year… just yet! Read consistently for a smaller win, then work your way into longer plans. Download the App!
Gospel Accounts — There are four Gospel books in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are real-life accounts of the life of Jesus recorded from four different authors. Devote time to reading them, and read one chapter per day until you are finished.
New City Catechism Devotional - This modern-day catechism sets forth fifty-two questions and answers along with related Scripture passages, commentaries, and prayers. These are all designed to build a framework for understanding core biblical concepts for children and adults alike. Purchase it on Amazon
Develop Inductive Bible Reading Skills
One of the greatest gifts we can give you is helping you to develop Bible study skills. We want each believer to have the skills to read the Bible for what it is, not what we want it to say. Our friends at Doctrine and Devotion, have a nice guide called the RANSOM Bible study method.
During our next series, we will begin committing to memorizing scripture together as a church during each preaching series. A few ways you can do this are:
Follow the Church on Social Media: With the launch of the preaching series “Christ Above All” on August 18th, we’ll begin weekly posting verses we are memorizing as a church.
Notecards - Remember your high school days when you would use flashcards! The same principle still applies.
Verses Bible App - Download the App to your device!
NEXT STEPS —
Stay on course and develop daily rhythms of Bible reading. As you read, share with others what the Lord is teaching you. Share with your spouse, kids, friends, and your group!
One way to grow daily in addition to our bible reading time is through prayer. I can’t help but to think about how significant prayer is. We are speaking directly to God. He is the one who created all things, the one who is sustaining all things, and we get to pray to him. We aren’t praying to an inactive abstract object, we are praying to a living God!
There have been many tools given to teach people how to pray, but here are a few options to get you started:
Pray Scripture - Something simple to do is read and pray the scriptures. Start with reading the book of Psalms, or The Lord’s Prayer as an example.
Pray using the ACTS model - Give Adoration to God for his character, Confess and repent of sin, express Thanks for what he has done and is doing, offer Supplications by praying for others.
Pray through Journaling — Some people have found it more manageable to pray by simply writing. Grab a journal and write out what is in your heart to pray. This is also a great tool to look back on during times of reflection on God’s grace.
Simple things to pray each morning:
Pray for grace as you serve your family, work your job, and talk with neighbors
Pray for your family. If someone doesn’t know Christ, pray for their salvation
Pray in response to what you read in God’s word. Is there a sin to be confessed, a promise to be trusted? Is there a step of obedience you need help in?
Pray for your church family, for the protection and guidance for your pastor, the elders, and the staff
Pray for the lost - that God would give you opportunities to share the gospel
If you’ve never prayed before, don’t get discouraged on the length, or seeing others as more righteous or loved by God more. This is often a hurdle for people as they begin to walk with Jesus daily. As you pray, remember this: the Lord is all-knowing. He knows your heart, desires, and motives.
Stop right now… start praying!
In addition to your morning Bible reading, make prayer part of it. Start small, set aside 5 minutes each day… add to it each day.
Try to journal your prayers
Ask your friends and family how you can be praying for them!
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES
One thing I have challenged our staff with is not to neglect their morning time in the word and prayer. As we abide in Christ daily, I’m asking the Lord to fill me up each day with his word and be led by the Spirit to see my day as an opportunity to be used by him for his glory and the good of others.
This isn’t something you have to overcomplicate and overly spiritualize. It’s not something that you have become legalistic about, thinking, ‘Oh no! I didn’t do anything for Christ today! God forgive me!’
Simple ways to look for opportunities:
Start with prayer - ask the Lord to lead you throughout the day to see the world as he does
Pay attention to the emotions, attitudes, and countenance of others. Sometimes body language says more than words, and if you see someone who looks down, do something about it. Ask that person, Hey, is everything ok? Can I pray for you?"
Serve. Remember that Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve. He washed the feet of his disciples. We get opportunities to serve each day, leverage those!
Pray right now and ask the Lord to give you eyes to see ____ today (see what?)
Pray and ask God to show you an opportunity to minister to someone in need
After you see an opportunity, do something about it!
LIVE IN COMMUNITY
I think that one of the hardest obstacles for people today relationally is trust. We have a hard time being vulnerable in our lives because of fear and a lack of trust. We are afraid that people will find out who we truly are and reject us or we are simply users of people. We use people to get what we want out them and once we get it we move on. This really distorts relationships. Sometimes we don’t see it as using people, because we aren’t doing anything that seems wrong, i.e. we are stealing from people! However, it is considered using people when you are only around them as it is convenient for you, and you run away once the fun has worn off.
One of God's gift to humanity is the local church when it is fully committed to by its members. This happens when we realize that we are here to give ourselves to others not just get from them.
Be committed long term
Be honest about your life. The challenge with social media is that we blindly believe a false narrative about each other. It says that we are all living our best lives now!
Don’t be the life sucker either. If you show up to your group and are constantly wallowing in your misery, that can be just as bad as faking it.
Use your gifts and talents to advance the Gospel
REPEAT IT AGAIN!
Step five is pretty easy: Wake up the next morning and do it all again! God often works in the routine of faithfulness through the small things over a long period of time.
Don’t grow weary, nor lose heart!