Discovery 201

Discovering Spiritual Maturity

DISCOVERING SPIRITUAL MATURITY #201

 

THE PURPOSE OF THIS CLASS:

“… that you may become mature Christians and may fulfill God’s will for you.”

  Colossians 4:12b (Ph)

“We are not meant to remain as children … but to grow up in every way into Christ…” 

Ephesians 4:14-15 (Ph)

THE FOCUS OF THIS CLASS:

We will focus on the

Basic Practices

every Christian needs to develop in order to grow to spiritual maturity.

This class will…

  • Equip you with the               you need to begin these practices.
  • Explain the                     you need to continue these practices.
 

 

CLASS OUTLINE

 

 

SESSION ONE:

SESSION TWO:

SESSION THREE:

SESSION FOUR:

 

Introduction:  Spiritual Maturity, Fruit of the Spirit, Understanding Discipleship and the Seven Practices of a Disciple

 

 

The Practice of Bible Study (Using God’s Word)

 

The Practice of Personal Devotion (Spending Time with God)

 

 

 

The Practice of Prayer  (Talking with God)

 

The Practice of Fasting

(Dying to Self)

 

The Practice of Praise

(Magnifying God)

 

 

The Practice of Giving:  (Giving Back to God)

 

The Practice of Fellowship (Enjoying God’s Family)

 

How to Start and Maintain Good Habits

 

 

 

THE GOAL OF THIS CLASS

 

 

That I will                                                 to the practices necessary for spiritual maturity.

 

  • “In the past you voluntarily gave your bodies to the service of vice and … the purposes of evil. So now give yourselves to the service of righteousness – for the purpose of becoming truly good.”           Romans 6:19 (Ph)

 

If                                               develops in my life through the simple repetition of BAD habits, then          

                                                 will develop in my life through the repetition of GOOD habits!

 

  

 

Session One

WHAT IS SPIRITUAL MATURITY?

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…In the unity of common faith, and knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real maturity – the measure of development which is meant by ‘the fullness of Christ.'”  Ephesians 4:13 (Ph)

Spiritual Maturity is                                                                                                                                .

“For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him … should become like his Son….” Romans 8:29(LB)

Being like Christ is possible when we have the Spirit of Christ — the Holy Spirit — controlling our lives.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

 

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS…

  • Fruit grown by the Spirit of Christ — it is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us.
  • Nine characteristics of God’s grace that He expects in every Christian.
  • They are by-products of Christ’s control — we can’t obtain them without Christ’s help.

Two Approaches to Spiritually Mature Christian Living:

      1)  Negative (                                             ) “trying not to do wrong”

      2)  Positive (                                            ) “bearing fruit”

Christian Living is letting the Spirit and personality of Jesus Christ shine through us (“Christ in you” Colossians 1:27 NKJV) and is best accomplished by allowing Christ to “bear fruit” through you.

  • As we join our life to Christ’s, the Fruit of the Spirit (character of Christ) will grow in us.
  • We must know Him, love Him, remember Him and imitate Him.
  • Speaking in tongues is the initial sign of the infilling of the Holy Spirit
  • The Fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the abiding work of the Spirit.

Christian living should not be a struggle.  Rather it should be a free flow of the Spirit that produces fruit.  Then why are there struggles? 

  • Temptation
  • Not walking in the Spirit
  • Not yielding to the Lordship of Christ

 

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: (Galatians 5:16-26)

  1. Two Conflicting Forces: (vs. 16-18)
  • The Holy Spirit and the flesh (evil inclinations or desires stem from our bodies)
  • These forces are not equal — the Holy Spirit is infinitely stronger.

So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. 18 But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law. Galatians 5:16-18 (NLT)

  • If we try to live for God purely through our own human effort, we will .
  • Our only way to freedom from our evil desires is through the ______________________________

______________________________________________________________________________.

9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.) Romans 8:9 (NLT)

  1. The Works of the Flesh: (vs. 19-21)
  • Obvious sins — “sexual immorality and sorcery”

 

  • Less obvious sins — “hatred, selfish ambition, and envy”


     19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21(NLT)

 

  1. The Fruit of the Spirit: (vs. 22-23)

         22But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

  • A person who exhibits the Fruit of the Spirit fulfills the law far better than a person who merely observes rituals without love.

 

  • The works of the flesh must be regulated by the laws of society, but the virtues of the Fruit of the Spirit would never be challenged. Society would never object to the prevalence of the Fruit of the Spirit.

 

  1. Belonging to Christ: (vs. 24-26)


“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.”
Galatians 5:24-26 (NLT)

 

  • Crucify the flesh

 

  • Walk in the Spirit

 

 

 

  1. For fruit to grow, it must have an _____________________________________________________.

 

  • Abide in Christ

 

  • Let His words live in you

 

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:4-8 (NKJV)

 

FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL MATURITY

  1. IT IS NOT                                                 .

“You have been Christians for a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others, but instead … you need someone to teach you … When a person is still living on milk, it shows he isn’t very far along in the Christian life … He’s still a baby Christian!”   Hebrews 5:12-13 (LB)

  1. IT IS A                                                                .

“Learn to be mature.”  Proverbs 8:5 (GN)

Continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our savior Jesus Christ.”   2 Peter 3:18 (GN)

  1. IT TAKES                                                          .

“Take the time and the trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” 1 Timothy 4:7b (Ph)

“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7b (NASB)

  1. IT TAKES BEING (WALKING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT).

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 (NKJV)

 

 

UNDERSTANDING DISCIPLESHIP

  1. Mature believers are called                                                  .

 

  1. I cannot be a disciple without being                               .
    • Neither physical fitness nor spiritual fitness is automatic; they both take hard work.

 

  1. The more disciplined I become                                                             .

 

  1. The mark of a disciple is                                         .
  • Jesus said, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 (NIV)
  • “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.” Galatians 5:24 (NLT)

 

  1. How often am I to do this? .
    • Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)

 

 

 

  1. What is involved in “cross bearing”?

 

  •                                                                           to give Christ first place in my life!

 

  1. The Holy Spirit helps us.

 

  • But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” I Corinthians 2:10-12

SEVEN PRACTICES OF A DISCIPLE

 

HOW CAN I BECOME A DISCIPLE?  Develop                                                                                     .

 

  • “… You have put off the old self with its HABITS, and have put on the new self … which God is continually renewing in his own image, to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.” Colossians 3:9-10

 

  • Lie not one to another, having put off the old man with his PRACTICES, 10and having put on the new, which is renewed in regard to knowledge, after the image of Him who did create him…” Colossians 3:9-10 (YLT)

 

  • A disciple puts off his old ways, behaviors, habits and practices. He changes to new ways, behaviors and practices which lead to continual renewal and spiritual growth into the image of Christ.  A disciple engages in practices that lead him to becoming more and more Christ-like. 

 

  • Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24 (NKJV).  The following practices involve embracing a lifestyle that seeks to worship the Lord in “spirit and truth”.

 

THE SEVEN PRACTICES OF A DISCIPLINED FOLLOWER OF CHRIST:

 

  1. BIBLE STUDY
    • “If you continue in my Word, then you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (KJV)

 

 

  1. PERSONAL DEVOTION
  • “The one who looks steadily at God’s perfect law… and makes that law his habit – not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice, will be happy in all that he does.” James 1:25 (Ph)

 

  1. PRAYER
    • “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it … in this way you become my disciples.” John 15:7-8 (GN)
    • “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)

 

  1. FASTING
  • But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18“so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

 

  1. PRAISE
  • “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

 

  1. GIVING
    • “None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all of his possessions. Luke 14:33 (JB)
    • “The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives.” Deuteronomy 14:23 (LB)

 

  1. FELLOWSHIP
    • “Love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 (LB)

 

DEFINITION OF A PRACTICE:

      A practice is a habitual act or action.  It is a continual, often unconscious inclination to do a certain activity acquired through frequent repetition.  It is the repeated performance of an activity to perfect a skill — or in this case Christian character and spiritual maturity.

      To benefit from a practice, you must _______________________________________ – it cannot be forced on you! 

 

 

 

 

Session Two

 

The Practice of Bible Study

 

The Bible is Unique and Wonderful

 

  • No other book has equaled the number of translations and constant circulation as has the Bible
    • It has been read by more people and published into more languages than has any other book.

 

    • More copies of the Bible have been produced than any other book in history and no other book has ever attained constant circulation as has the Bible.

 

    • The Bible’s translation is also unmatched.  It has been translated into more languages than any other book.

 

  • No other book has survived critics’ attacks like the Bible.
    • The Bible’s style and accuracy have not diminished over several thousand years.

 

    • The Bible has survived persecutions, wars, and holocausts.

 

    • Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

 

  • The Bible alone is accredited to God’s authorship with many eyewitness accounts of events described in Scripture
    • The writers of the Bible wrote the very words of God: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the __________________________________.” II Peter 1:21 (KJV)

 

    • The New Testament writers also were eyewitnesses of the events they described or wrote from firsthand accounts:  “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” II Peter 1:16 (KJV).

 

    • All Scripture is ___________________________ by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. [17] It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

 

 

 

Because the Bible is ________________________________________, we must make reading it words and studying it’s truths a priority in our daily lives.

 

 

 

The Self-Feed Concept: 

 

Spiritual Maturity implies that an individual takes personal responsibility for their __________________________ _____________________________.  They move beyond dependence on others to provide for them. Notice the progression in spiritual maturity as written about in the New Testament:

 

1 Peter 2:1-3 “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

 

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”

 

Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

The writer of Hebrews shows his frustration with supposedly mature believers who should be spiritually mature enough to teach and feed others by now but instead have not progressed past the infant stage.  Your goal as a growing Christian should be to progress — to grow past the infant stage where you depend on others to feed you, to the stage where you can chew solid food on your own, and further to the stage where you can not only feed yourself but feed others as well. 

 

Key: Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Own Spiritual Growth – requires your effort but not an attitude of earning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIX WAYS TO GET A “GRASP” ON YOUR BIBLE

1)  How to Hear God’s Word

 

“Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.”  Romans 10:17

 

Ways to Hear God’s Word

The Bible on CD / MP3

Church services & studies

Sermon & Lesson CD’s (now lessons and sermons are available on the ALC website)

Teaching & Preaching DVD’s

 

 

PROBLEM:  We forget _____________ of what we hear after 72 hours.

 

Improve Your Hearing:

 

  1. Be ready and eager to hear God.

 

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  Luke 8:8 (NKJV)

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  Psalm 119:103 (NKJV)

 

  1. Deal with attitudes that prevent hearing God.

 

11 “This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. 12 The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved. 13 “The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone. 14 “And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun. 15 “But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest. Luke 8:11-15 (MSG)

      “Consider carefully how you listen …” Luke 8:18 (NIV)

 

  • A Closed Mind: Is fear, pride or bitterness preventing me from hearing God?
  • A Superficial Mind: Am I just casually listening, or am I really serious about wanting to hear God          speak?
  • A Preoccupied Mind: Am I too busy and concerned with other things to concentrate on what God has to say?
  • A Ready Mind: I really want to hear from God!

 

  1. Confess any sin in your life.

 

  • “… get rid of all moral filth and humbly accept the Word…” James 1:21 (NIV)

 

  1. Take notes on what you hear.

 

  • “We must pay more careful attention to what we’ve heard, so that we do not drift away!” Hebrews 2:1 (NIV)
  • Consider keeping a spiritual notebook.

 

  1. Act on what you hear!
  • “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says!” James 1:22 (NIV)
  • “Whoever … does not simply listen and then forget, but puts it into practice – that person will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25 (GN)

 

 

 

2)  How To Read God’s Word

 

“Happy is the one who reads this book … and obeys what is written in it!” Revelation 1:3 (GN)

 

How often should I read God’s Word?                                      .

 

“(The Scriptures) shall be his constant companion.  He must read from it everyday of his life so that he will learn to respect the Lord his God by obeying all of his commands.”  Deuteronomy 17:19 (LB)

 

If I read approximately _____ minutes a day, I can read through the Bible once a year. (See Appendix 1 / Bible Reading Schedules)

 

 

3)  How To Study God’s Word

 

“… they accepted the message eagerly and studied the Scriptures everyday …” Acts 17:11 (Ph)

 

“Be a good workman … Know what His Word says and means.” 2 Timothy 2:15

 

The difference between reading and studying the Bible is that you _______________ _______________ when you study.

 

What is the secret of effective Bible study?  Knowing how to ________________________________________________.

 

 

SIMPLE RULES FOR BIBLE STUDY:

 

  1. Don’t look for hidden meanings. Take the Bible words in their ordinary sense.

 

  1. Don’t read verse by verse. Read the Bible in paragraphs. 

 

  1. Don’t jump to conclusions. This means read the Bible intelligently, thinking about what the passage is actually saying.

 

  1. Don’t read the Bible as a duty. Read God’s Word expectantly. 

 

 

SUGGESTED RESOURCES FOR BIBLE STUDY

 

BIBLES:

STUDY HELPS:

 

Parallel Bibles:

People’s Parallel Edition (KJV &NLT)- Tyndale

Parallel Bible (KJV & AMP) – Zondervan

 

 

Bible Dictionary

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary – Moody

 

Topical Study Bibles:

Thompson Chain Reference Bible – Kirkbride

The NIV Thematic Reference Bible – Zondervan

 

 

Concordance

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance – Nelson

 

Personal Application Bibles:

Life Application Bible – Tyndale

The Word In Life Study Bible – Nelson

 

 

Commentary

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Adam Clarke’s Commentary

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

 

Background Study Bible:

The NIV Study Bible – Zondervan

 

 

 

OTHER BOOKS:

OTHER STUDY TOOLS:

 

Doctrinal Studies

The New Birth (Bernard)

The Oneness of God (Bernard)

The Oneness View of Jesus Christ (Bernard)

 

 

Various Bible Translations

These help shed light on scriptures that are hard to understand – get as many as you can afford.

 

Practical Studies

In Search of Holiness (Bernard)

Practical Holiness: A Second Look (Bernard)

 

Computer Software

This gives you a concordance, Bible dictionary, commentaries, multiple Bible translations and other resources – all at the touch of a button!

 

**Make sure you let the Bible speak to you first, before utilizing any resources**

 

 

4)  How To Memorize God’s Word

 

“Guard my words as your most precious possession.  Write them down, and also keep them deep within your heart.” Proverbs 7:2-3 (LB)

 

BENEFITS OF MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE

 

  1. It helps me resist .

 

  • “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

 

  1. It helps me make wise .

 

  • “Your Word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

 

  1. It strengthens me when I’m under .

 

  • “… Your promises to me are my hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!” Psalm 119:49 (LB)

 

  1. It comforts me when I’m .

 

  • “Your words are what sustain me … They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me.” Jeremiah 15:16 (LB)

 

  1. It helps me witness to____________________________.

 

  • “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

 

 

WHEN TO MEMORIZE A VERSE

 

·  During your quiet time                             ·  While exercising                    Other _____________________

·  While waiting (spare moments)                ·  At bedtime (Ps 63:6)                   __________________________

 

 

 

HOW TO MEMORIZE A VERSE

 

  1.  Pick a verse that speaks to you.                                  7.  Write out the verse on a flash card.

  2.  Say the reference before and after the verse.                   8.  Carry some cards with you at all times for review.

  3.  Read the verse aloud many times.  Record it!              9.  Display your verses in prominent places.

  4.  Break the verse into natural phrases.                          10.  Memorize the verse word perfect.

  5.  Emphasize key words when quoting the verse.                 11.  Put the verse to music.  Write a song!

  6.  Write down the verse and erase a word one at a time.      12.  Get a partner so you can check each other.

 

Suggested beginning rate:  1 or 2 new verses per week

 

 

 

 

THREE KEYS TO MEMORIZING:                      ,                       ,                      .

 

We remember what is ________________________________________________.

 

“Your teachings are worth more to me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver.”  Psalm 119:72 (NCV)

 

ANSWERS TO EXCUSES

 

EXCUSES ABOUT THE BIBLE

“The Bible is a book by men”       2 Peter 1:20-21  

“The Bible contradicts itself”         2 Peter 3:16

“I don’t understand the Bible”      1 Corinthians 2:14

 

 

EXCUSES ABOUT BIBLE DOCTRINE

“Jesus was a good man, but not God”        John 8:24

“God won’t send me to hell”                        2 Thess. 1:8-9

“Jesus didn’t rise from the dead”                 Acts 1:3

 

EXCUSES ABOUT THE NEW BIRTH

“Water baptism isn’t necessary”   1 Peter 3:21

“I don’t need the Holy Ghost”      Romans 8:9

“Tongues are of the devil”           James 1:16-17

 

 

EXCUSES ABOUT GOD

“There is no God”                                       Romans 1:20

“Why does God allow suffering?”                Rom. 9:20-21

“I’m good and believe in God”                    James 2:19

 

EXCUSES ABOUT MORALITY

“I’m too bad”                                Luke 5:31-32

“I’ve tried Christianity before”       Hebrews 4:2

“There are too many hypocrites”  Romans 14:12

 

 

EXCUSES OF FEAR

“I’ll fail – I can’t live it”                                  Hebrews 7:25

“I’m afraid of the Devil’s power”                   1 Jn. 4:18-19

“What will others think?”                              Acts 5:29

 

EXCUSES OF ATTITUDE

“Some other time – not now”         James 4:14

“There is too much to give up”     Mark 8:36

“I like my sin”                               James 1:15

 

 

OTHER EXCUSES

“I believe in reincarnation”                          Hebrews 9:27

“There is no life after death”                       Matt. 22:31-32

“My religion believes differently”                  John 3:17-18

 

 

5)  How to Meditate on God’s Word

“(Those) who are always meditating on His Laws … are like trees along a river bank bearing fruit … they never wither and whatever they do prospers.”  Psalm 1:2-3 (LB)

 

Meditation is                                                            about a Bible verse in order to discover how I can apply its truth to my own life.

 

WHY MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURE?

 

  1. It is the key to ____________________________________________________.

 

” … Your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 (GN)

” … Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

“As we … contemplate the Lord’s glory, we are being transformed into His likeness …” 1 Corinthians 3:18

 

  1. It is the key to                                                 .

 

“If you live your life in Me, and my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like, and it will come true for you.” John 15:7 (Ph)

 

 

  1. It is the key to .

 

” … Meditate on (the Word) day and night, so you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

 

 

 

SIX WAYS TO MEDITATE ON A VERSE

 

1.     Picture it!  Visualize the scene in your mind.

2.     Pronounce it!  Say the verse aloud, each time emphasizing a different word.

3.     Paraphrase it!  Rewrite the verse in your own words.

4.     Personalize it!  Replace the pronouns or people in the verse with your own name.

5.     Pray it!  Turn the verse into a prayer and say it back to God.

6.     Probe it!  Ask the following nine questions:

Is there any…

 

  • SIN TO CONFESS?
  • PROMISE TO CLAIM?
  • ATTITUDE TO CHANGE?
  • COMMAND TO KEEP?
  • EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW?
  • PRAYER TO PRAY?
  • ERROR TO AVOID?
  • TRUTH TO BELIEVE?
  • SOMETHING TO THANK GOD FOR?

 

 

 

6)  How To Apply God’s Word

 

“Do not fool yourselves by just listening to the Word.  Instead, put it into practice.” James 1:22

 

” … Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19b (NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO APPLY SCRIPTURE

 

 

 

1st ask: What did the verse mean to the original hearers?

 

2nd ask: What is the verse’s underlying timeless principle?

 

3rd ask: Where or how could I practice that principle?

 

EXAMPLE

 

Scriptural Passage:                 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

 

Interpretation:                          Paul requested that the Corinthian Christians not eat meat offered to idols so as not to offend weaker believers recently delivered from idol worship, even though they knew the idols had no power.

 

Implication:                              Don’t do anything that offends a fellow Christian, even if the activity is not sinful in and of itself.

 

Personalization:                      Even though going to a restaurant where alcohol is served is not a sin, and I wouldn’t be tempted to sin if I went there to eat, it may not be right to take a brother who used to be an alcoholic to such a restaurant since it might tempt him to fall into sin.

 

 

 

Write out a sentence that describes a project or action you will take to apply the truth.

 

Most applications will focus on one of three relationships:

 

     1) with God,    2) with myself,    3) with other people

 

 

 


Four Marks of a Good Application Project

 

 

  1. It’s                                             .
  2. It’s                                             .
  3. It’s                                            .
  4. It’s                                             .

 

 

“Now that you know these things – do them!  That is the path of blessing!” John 13:17 (LB)

 

The Practice of Daily Devotion

 

 

 

 

“The one who looks steadily at God’s perfect law … and makes that law his HABIT – not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice will be happy in all that he does.” James 1:25 (Ph)

HOW TO HAVE A DAILY TIME WITH GOD

 

“The one who looks steadily at God’s perfect law… and makes that law his HABIT – not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice, will be happy in all that he does.”  James 1:25 (Ph)

 

DEFINITION: A time with God is a daily time I set aside to be alone with God to get to know Him through the Bible and prayer.”

  1. THE IMPORTANCE OF A DAILY TIME WITH GOD

 

Your time alone with God should be the top priority in your schedule for five reasons:

 

  1. We were                                            to have fellowship with God.
  • “So God created man in his own image …” Genesis 1:27, 2:7, 3:8 (NKJV)
  • “Look!  I’ve been standing at the door and constantly knocking.  If anyone … opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20 (LB)

 

  1. Jesus                                              to make a relationship with Him possible.
  • “God … has invited you into this wonderful friendship with his Son, Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 (LB)

 

  1. Personal time in prayer was Jesus’                                                       .
  • Mark 1:35, Luke 22:39, Luke 5:16
  • “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

 

  1. Every person who has been effective in                          for God developed this habit.
  • Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Paul, etc.

 

  1. You cannot be a  Christian without it!
  • “Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks.”  Matthew 4:4 (GN)
  • “… I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  Job 23:12 (NAS)
  • “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By keeping to your Word.”  Psalm 119:9 (Mof)

 

  1. THE PURPOSE OF A DAILY TIME WITH GOD

 

  1. TO GIVE  TO GOD.

 

  • “Give to the Lord the glory due to his name.  Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2
  • “(Hezekiah) was successful, because everything he did … he did in a spirit of complete devotion to his God.”

      2 Chronicles 31:21 (GN)

  • God deserves our devotion!  (Revelation 4:11)
  • God desires our devotion!  (John 4:23)

 

 

  1. TO GET                                                              FROM GOD.

 

  • “Show me the path where I should go, O Lord; point out the right road for me to walk.  Lead me …”

Psalm 25:4 (LB)

 

Two Things to Do In a Time with God

 

  • Consider your way:

 

“Ponder the path of your feet and let all your ways be established.”  Proverbs 4:26 (KJV)

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:6 (KJV)

 

  • Commit your day: 

 

“Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust him to help you do it and he will.” Psalm 37:5 (LB)

 

 

  1. TO GAIN  IN GOD.

 

  • “Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (KJV)
  • ” … (God’s) presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure.” Psalm 16:11 (GN)

 

FACT:  The better I get to know Christ, the more ________________________________________.

 

  • The objective of your time with God is not to study about Christ, but to actually spend time with Him!

 

  1. TO GROW  LIKE GOD.

 

  • “Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him¼.  With these gifts you can share in being like God.”  2 Peter 1:4 (NCV)
  • “When the council saw the boldness of Peter and John … they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them!”  Acts 4:13 (LB)

 

 

HOW TO BEGIN A DAILY TIME WITH GOD

 

  1. SELECT A SPECIFIC TIME.

 

      The best time to have a time with God is when I am _______________________________________!

 

Reasons for considering an early morning time with God:

 

  1. The example of Bible characters.
    (Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Hannah, Job, Hezekiah, David, Daniel, Jesus.)

 

  1. It seems logical to begin the day in God’s presence.
    ”The best time to tune your instrument is before you play the concert, not after!”

 

  1. It demonstrates that meeting with God is your first priority. You give Him the first part of your day!

 

  1. You are likely to be more rested, your mind is less cluttered, and it’s often the quietest time!

 

 

Whatever time you set,                                                                 .

 

HOW LONG SHOULD A DAILY TIME WITH GOD BE?

 

Three Guidelines:

  • Start with a set amount of time and let it grow.
  • Don’t watch the clock!
  • Emphasize quality, not quantity!

  

  1. CHOOSE A SPECIAL PLACE.
  • “Jesus left the city and went, as he usually did, to the Mount of Olives… to pray.”   Luke 22:39 (GN)

 

The Important Factor:

  • “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  Mark 1:35 (NIV)

 

  1. GATHER THE RESOURCES YOU WILL NEED.

 

  • A Bible

 

  • Understandable translation
  • Readable print
  • No distracting study notes

 

  • A Notebook and Pen

 

  • Write down anything the Lord speaks to you about during your time with God.
  • Keep a personal prayer list.
  • Write down questions or thoughts for further Bible study at a later time.

 

  • Other Aids

 

  • Soft instrumental music in the background
  • A songbook, if you want to sing hymns
  • Tissue, if you tend to weep when you pray
  • A “to-do” list (don’t do it now, write it down for later!)
  • Anything else that will help you keep from being distracted

 

 

 

 

  1. BEGIN WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDES

 

  •                                                            

                  “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

     

  •                                                                        

                  “Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.”  Psalm 119:18 (LB)

     

  •                                                

“The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants.” Matthew 6:33 (NCV)

 

  1. FOLLOW A SIMPLE PLAN

Plan “A”

 

“FIFTEEN MINUTES WITH GOD”

(A Plan to Get You Started)

 

 

  1.                                                       .  (1 Minute)

  • Be still and quiet!  Slow down!  Prepare your heart.  Take a few deep breaths and wait on God.

 

  2.                                                                   .  (4 Minutes)

  • See the section on “How to Read God’s Word”.
  • Begin reading where you left off the day before.  Read until you feel God has told you something. 
  • Then stop and think about it.

 

  3.                                                                               .  (4 Minutes)

  • See the section on “How to Meditate on God’s Word”.
  • You may use the 6 methods of meditation. 
  • Think about what the passage means to your life.  Write down your thoughts. 
  • Part of reflecting is memorizing verses that speak to you in a special way.
  • See the section on “How to Memorize God’s Word”.

 

  4.                                                                  .  (2 Minutes)

  • See the section on “How to Apply God’s Word”.
  • Write out a personal application statement that is practical, passable, and measurable.
  • “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.”

 

  5.                                                       .  (4 Minutes)

  • See the section on “The Habit of Prayer”.
  • Conclude our Time with God by talking to God about what He has shown you and making your requests from your prayer list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan “B”

P___________________

R___________________

A____________________

Y____________________

E____________________

R___________________

 

 

III. HOW TO OVERCOME PROBLEMS WITH YOUR TIME WITH GOD

 

  1. THE PROBLEM OF DISCIPLINE
  • Your first problem in establishing a time with God will face you the moment you wake each morning:  Am I going to get out of bed?  (“The Battle of the Blankets”)

 

Suggestions

 

  1. Go to bed                                             .
  2. Get up                                                  .
  3. Be aware of time-with-God                                            .
  4. Fall asleep thinking                                                       .

 

  1. THE PROBLEM OF DISTRACTIONS

 

  • Satan will try to use anything to get your mind to wander during a time with God.

 

Suggestions

 

            Get out of                                .

            Get thoroughly                                                             .

            Read and pray                                                             .

                                     during your prayer time.

            Keep a                                                 .

 

  1. THE PROBLEM OF DRYNESS

 

  • Sometimes you will feel like you’re not getting anything out of time with God. (“The Battle of the Blahs”)
  • Never judge your time with God by your                                           .

 

Possible Causes of Spiritual Dryness

 

    1. Your physical condition.
    2. Disobedience to God.
    3. Rushing your time with God.
    4. Getting in a rut.
    5. Not sharing insights with others.

   

  1. THE PROBLEM OF DILIGENCE
    • Your greatest problem will be your struggle to stay consistent. I find Satan fights nothing harder than my time with God.

 

Suggestions

 

  1. Make a covenant to God.
  2. Schedule it on your daily calendar.
  3. Be prepared for Satan’s excuses.
  4. Leave your Bible open at night to the passage for the next day!

 

What if I miss a day?

 

Don’t                                                                                         .

 

Don’t                                                                                        .

 

Don’t                                                                                        .

 

It takes                          weeks for you to become familiar with a new task. 

Then it takes another            weeks before it becomes a comfortable habit.

  • “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6:9 (LB)

 

 

THE SECRET

 

I met God in the morning

When the day was at its best,

And His presence came like sunrise,

Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,

All day long He stayed with me

And we sailed in perfect calmness

O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered

Other ships were sore distressed

But the winds that seemed to drive them

Brought us to a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings

With a keen remorse of mind

When I, too, had loosed the moorings

With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret

Learned from many a troubled way

You must seek Him in the morning

If you want Him through the day.

 

THE DIFFERENCE

 

I got up early one morning

And rushed right into the day;

I had so much to accomplish

That I didn’t take time to pray.

 

Problems just tumbling about me,

And heavier came each task;

“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.

He answered: “You didn’t ask.”

 

I wanted to see joy and beauty-

But the day toiled on, gray and bleak;

I wondered why God didn’t show me,

He said: “But you didn’t seek.”

 

I tried to come into God’s presence,

I used all my keys at the lock

God gently and lovingly chided:

“My child, you didn’t knock.”

 

I woke up early this morning

And paused before entering the day;

I had so much to accomplish

That I had to take time to pray.

 


 

Session Three

 

 

 

The Practice of Prayer

 

 

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 (NKJV)

 

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving… Colossians 4:2 (NKJV)

 

 

  1. APPROACH PRAYER WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE (Matthew 6:5-8)

 

  • BE .

 

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.” (vs. 5)

 

Don’t try to                                                                              .

Don’t try to                                                                           .

  • BE .

 

“But when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (vs. 6)

 

  • BE .

 

“Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again.  Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need before you ask Him!”  (vs. 7-8 LB)

 

  1. USE THE MODEL JESUS GAVE US

 

            Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV) — “This, then, is HOW you should pray …”

 

 

THE SEVEN PARTS OF PRAYER

 

  1. PRAISE: I BEGIN BY                                                                                              .

 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …” (v. 9)

 

TWO KINDS OF PRAISE:

 

  • “ADORATION” – Praising God for who He is.
  • “THANKSGIVING”- Praising God for what He has done.

 

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.  Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

 

HOW TO PRAISE GOD:

 

1st:  As you read your Bible, make a list of God’s                                                                                     that you discover and then review them when you pray. (See Appendix 2 / Prayer Guide #1)

 

 

Examples:

God is patient                          Numbers 14:18

God is merciful                         Numbers 14:18

God is forgiving                                    Numbers 14.18

God knows everything              1 Samuel 2:2

God is loving                            1 John 4:8

 

 

KEY:                                                                                   is the basis for our boldness in making requests in prayer.  God answers the prayers that acknowledge who He is!

 

2nd:  Remind yourself and affirm the                                                                    God has made that are contained in the meaning of His names.(See Appendix 2 / Prayer Guide #2)

 

3rd:  Make a list of all the                                                       that you are thankful for and review them when you pray. (See Appendix 2 / Prayer Guide #3)

     

 

  1. PURPOSE: I COMMIT MYSELF                                                                               .

 

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven …” (v. 10)

 

Pray for God’s will to be done in:

  • my family
  • my church
  • my ministry
  • my job … my future
  • my city
  • the nation
  • the world.

 

“Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his Service and pleasing to him.  This is the true worship that you should offer.” Romans 12:2 (GN)

 

 

  1. PROVISION: I ASK GOD TO                                                                       .

 

“Give us today our daily bread …” (v. 11)

 

What needs can I pray about?                                                         .

 

“God will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.”        

Philippians 4:19 (LB)

 

“Since God did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”  Romans 8:32 (NLT)

 

“You do not have … because you don’t ask God.” James 4:2 (NIV)

 

THE KEY:                                                                                                 .

           

Write down your requests, with a promise you are claiming from the Bible, and expect an answer!

(See Appendix 2 / Prayer Guide #4)

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

 

 

 

 

 

  1. PARDON: I ASK GOD TO                                                                            .

 

“Forgive us our debts …” (v. 12)

 

Four Steps to Forgiveness

 

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to                                                       every sin

                                      

“Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts.  Find out if there is any evil in me”.  Psalm 139:23-24

 

  1. Confess each sin                                                                         .

 

“You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give then up; then God will show mercy to you.”  Proverbs 28:13 (GN)

 

  1. Make to others when necessary.

 

“When you remember your brother has something against you … go at once to make peace with him, then come back and offer your gift to God.”  Matthew 5:23-24 (GN)

 

  1. By Faith, _______________ God’s forgiveness.

 

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

 

 

  1. PEOPLE: I PRAY FOR                                                                                .

 

  • “… as we have also forgive our debtors.” (v.12)

 

  • “Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them.” 1 Timothy 2:1 (LB)

 

Look at Paul’s prayers:

 

  • Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NKJV)

 

  • See also Ephesians 1:15-19, Colossians 1:3-12, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

 

Make a prayer list of people you want to pray for.  You might pray for different people on different days of the week (missionaries, family, church leadership, unsaved friends, etc.). (See Appendix 2/ Prayer Guide #5).

 

  1. PROTECTION: I ASK FOR                                                                                                 .

 

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” (vs. 13)

 

Believers face a spiritual battle everyday.  Satan wants to defeat you through temptation and fear.  By praying for protection, you will have the power and confidence to face every situation during the day.

 

“The Spirit who is in you is more powerful than the spirit who is in those who belong to the world.”  1 John 4:4 (GN)

 

  1. AND FINALLY: I RETURN TO .

 

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”  Matthew 6:13b (KJV)

 

 

The Practice of Fasting

 

 

 

 

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

 

Definition:  Strictly speaking, Biblical fasting is the laying aside of food for a period of time when the believer is seeking to know God in a deeper experience.

 

Three Main Forms of Fasting:

 

  • The  Fast: involving the total abstinence of food. Luke 4:2 reveals that Jesus “did eat nothing.” Afterwards “He was hungered.” Jesus abstained from food but not from water.

 

  • The  Fast:  In Acts 9:9 we read where for three days Saul “neither did eat nor drink.” The abstinence from both food and water seems to have lasted no more than three days (see also Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16).

 

  • The                                       Fast:  In Daniel 10:3 the emphasis is upon the restriction of diet rather than complete abstinence. The context implies that there were physical benefits resulting from this partial fast. However, this verse indicates that there was a revelation given to Daniel as a result of this time of fasting.

 

The Biblical Reasons behind Fasting

 

  • FASTING IS TO BE DONE AS AN ACT BEFORE GOD IN THE PRIVACY OF ONE’S OWN PURSUIT OF GOD.  Jesus made it clear in Matthew 6 that fasting is not to be done to impress others with your supposed spirituality (cf. Ex. 34:28; 1 Sam. 7:6; 1 Kings 19:8).

 

“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”  Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)

 

  • FASTING IS TO BE DONE WITH THE OBJECT OF SEEKING TO KNOW GOD IN A DEEPER EXPERIENCE (cf. Isaiah 58; 7:5).

God speaking to Isaiah said: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?”  Isaiah 58:6-7 (NKJV)

 

  • FASTING RELATES TO A TIME OF HUMBLING AND CONFESSION.

But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.
  Psalm 35:13

 

“When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting…” Psalm 69:10 (NKJV)

 

So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.”  I Samuel 7:6(NKJV)

 

  • FASTING CAN BE A TIME OF SEEKING A DEEPER PRAYER EXPERIENCE AND DRAWING NEAR TO GOD IN PREVAILING PRAYER.

Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. Ezra 8:21-23 (NKJV)

 

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

 

  • THE EARLY CHURCH OFTEN FASTED IN SEEKING GOD’S WILL FOR LEADERSHIP IN THE LOCAL CHURCH. When the early church wanted to know the mind of God, there was a time of prayer and fasting.

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:2-3 (NKJV)

 

  • FASTING WAS PRACTICED BY PAUL AND OTHER CHRISTIANS REGULARLY

“… in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often…” 2 Corinthians 11:27 NKJV) (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:5)

Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NKJV)

 

Nine Fasts God Can Use

 

These suggested fasts are models to use and adjust to your particular needs and desires as you seek to grow closer to God (from Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer L. Towns).

 

  • The Disciple’s Fast

Purpose: “To loose the bands of wickedness” (Isa. 58:6) — freeing ourselves and others from addictions to sin.

Key Verse: “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21 (NKJV)

Background:  Jesus cast out a demon from a boy whom the disciples had failed to help.  Apparently they had not taken seriously enough the way Satan had his claws set in the child.  The implication is that Jesus’ disciples could have cast out the demons had they been willing to undergo the discipline of fasting.  Modern disciples often make light of “besetting sins” that could be cast out if we were serious enough to take part in the self-denying practice of fasting.

 

  • The Ezra Fast

Purpose: To “undo the heavy burdens” (Isa. 58:6) — to solve problems, inviting the Holy Spirit’s aid in lifting loads and overcoming barriers that keep us and our loved ones from walking joyfully in the Lord.

Key Verse: “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” Ezra 8:23 (NLT)

Background:  Ezra the priest was charged with restoring the Law of Moses among the Jews as they rebuilt the city of Jerusalem by permission of the King of Persia, where God’s people had been held captive.  Despite this permission, Israel’s enemies opposed them.  Burdened with embarrassment about having to ask the Persian king for an army to protect them, Ezra fasted and prayed for an answer. 

 

  • The Samuel Fast

Purpose: “To let the oppressed (physically and spiritually) go free” (Isa. 58:6) — for revival and soul winning, to identify with people everywhere enslaved literally or by sin and to pray to be used of God to bring people out of the kingdom of darkness and into God’s marvelous light.

Key Verse: “So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.  And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.” 1 Samuel 7:6 (NKJV)

Background: Samuel led God’s people in a fast to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant from its captivity by the Philistines, and to pray that Israel might be delivered from the sin that allowed the Ark to be captured in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Elijah Fast

Purpose: “To break every yoke” (Isa. 58:6) — conquering the mental and emotional problems that would control our lives, and returning the control to the Lord.

Key Verse: “He himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness…He arose and ate and drank; and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights.” 1 Kings 19:4, 8 (KJV)

Background: Although Scripture does not call this a formal “fast,” Elijah deliberately went without food when he fled from Queen Jezebel’s threat to kill him.  After this self-imposed deprivation, God sent an angel to minister to Elijah in the wilderness.

 

  • The Widow’s Fast

Purpose: “To share [our] bread with the hungry” and to care for the poor (Isa. 58:7) — to meet the humanitarian needs of others.

Key Verse: “The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word spoken of the Lord by Elijah.”  1 Kings 17:16 (NIV)

Background: God sent the prophet Elijah to a poor, starving widow — ironically, so the widow could provide food for Elijah.  Just as Elijah’s presence resulted in food for the widow of Zarephath, so presenting ourselves before God in prayer and fasting can relieve hunger today.

 

  • The Paul Fast

Purpose: To allow God’s “light [to] break forth like the morning” (Isa. 58:8), bringing clearer perspective and insight as we make crucial decisions.

Key Verse: “And he [Saul, or Paul] was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” Acts 9:9 (KJV)

Background: Saul of Tarsus, who became known as Paul after his conversion to Christ, was stuck blind by the Lord in the act of persecuting Christians.  He not only was without literal sight, but he also had no clue praying for three days, Paul was visited by the Christian Ananias, and both his eyesight and his vision of the future was restored.

 

  • The Daniel Fast

Purpose: So “your health shall spring forth” (Isa. 58:8) — to gain a healthier life or for healing.

Key Verse: “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with wine which he drank” Daniel 1:8 (NKJV)

Background: Daniel and his three fellow Hebrew captives demonstrated in Babylonian captivity that keeping themselves from pagan foods God had guided them not to eat made them more healthful than others in the king’s court.

 

  • The John the Baptist Fast

Purpose: That “your righteousness shall go before you” (Isa. 58:8) — that our testimonies and influence for Jesus would be enhanced before others.

Key Verse: “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink” Luke 1:15 (KJV)

Background: Because John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus, he took the “Nazirite” vow that required him to fast from or avoid wine and strong drink.  This was John’s purposefully adopted lifestyle that designated him as one set apart for a special mission.  Christians have double obligations: (1) to live godly lives and (2) to actively extend their influence to others for the glory of God.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). 

 

  • The Esther Fast

Purpose: That “the glory of the Lord” will protect us from the evil one (see Isa. 58:8)

Key Verse: “Fast for me… [and] my maids and I will fast…[and] I will go to the king …[and] she found favor in his sight” Esther 4:16; 5:2

Background: Queen Esther, a Jewess in a pagan court, risked her life to save her people from threatened destruction by the King of Persia.  Prior to appearing before the king to petition him to save the Jews, Esther, her attendants and her cousin Mordecai all fasted to appeal to God for His protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modified Fasts

 

Fasting can involve laying aside something other than food for a period of time such as amusements (sporting events, video games, television, music, media, novels, etc. [see 1 Corinthians 7:5].).  Or it can involve eliminating certain foods from your diet like sweets, soft drinks, caffeine, etc.

 

For people who have medical conditions that will not allow them to go on a full fast from food, they may still partake in fasting by perhaps joining in a partial fast were they omit certain foods from their diet or goes on a schedule that includes limited eating.  This schedule may consist of one meal a day. Eating only fresh vegetables for several days is also a good partial fast.  Some find a rotational fast which consists of eating or omitting certain families of foods for designate periods to be helpful.  For example, grains may be eaten only every fourth day.  The various food groups are rotated so that some food is available everyday.  (See Appendix 3 / Fasting Helps)

 

Preparing to Fast 

 

How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success.  By following these seven basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.

 

  • SET YOUR :  Why are you fasting?  Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation?  Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. 

 

  • MAKE YOUR :  Pray about what kind of fast you should undertake.  Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-15).  For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it.  Before you fast, decide the following up front:

 

    • How long you will fast
    • The type of fast God wants you to undertake
    • What physical or social activities you will restrict
    • How much time you will devote each day to prayer and God’s Word

 

  • PREPARE YOURSELF : The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance.  Un-confessed sin will hinder your prayers.  Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:

 

    • Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance (1 John 1:9)
    • Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4, 17:3-4)
    • Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
    • Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:12)
    • Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, others (Psalm 48:9-10; 103:1-8, 11-13)
    • Begin your time of praying and fasting with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6)
    • Do not underestimate spiritual opposition.  Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16-17)

 

  • PREPARE YOURSELF ________________________________: Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your doctor first, especially if you take prescription medications or have a chronic ailment.  Some people should never fast without professional supervision.  Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.

 

    • Prepare your body.  Eat smaller meals before starting a fast.  Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.
    • Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.
    • Limit your activity.
    • Exercise moderately.
    • Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness and anxiety.
    • Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day.  You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the “blahs.”  Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches.  Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness or sleeplessness.

 

 

  • PUT YOURSELF ON A                 :  For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord.  Listen for His leading.  The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be. (See Appendix 3 / Sample Schedule and Tips on Juice Fasting)

 

  • END YOUR FAST _______________________________: Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast.  Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences.  Try several smaller meals or snacks each day.  If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in good health. (See Appendix 3 / Suggestions on Breaking Your Fast Properly)

 

  • EXPECT _________________________: If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray and seek God’s face; if you consistently meditate on God’s Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21).  The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights.  Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened.  You will feel mentally, spiritually and physically refreshed.  You will see answers to your prayers.

 

The Practice of Praise

 

 

 

 

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
2 Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD
!
  Psalm 150 (NKJV)

 

Definition:  Praise comes from a Latin word meaning “value” or “price.” Thus, to give praise to God is to proclaim His merit or worth. Many terms are used to express this in the Bible, including “glory,” “blessing,” “thanksgiving,” and “hallelujah,” the last named being a transliteration of the Hebrew for “Praise the Lord.”  

The Modes of Praise

  • Including the offering of sacrifices ( 7:13)
  • Physical movement (2 Sam. 6:14)
  • Silence and meditation ( 77:11-12)
  • Testimony ( 66:16)
  • Prayer ( 4:6)
  • and a holy life (1 Pet. 1:3-9)
  • However, praise is almost invariably linked to music, both instrumental ( 150:3-5) and, especially, vocal.

Biblical Songs of Praise

 

Biblical Warnings about the Quality of Praise

  • Praise is to originate in the _____________________ and not become mere outward show.

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me’.
  Matthew 15:8 (NKJV)

 

  • Corporate praise is to be carried on in an orderly manner.

But be sure that everything is done properly and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 (NLT)

 

  • Praise is also firmly linked to an individual’s .

“I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. 22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. 23 Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. 24 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.” Amos 5:21-24 (NLT)

 

CORPORATE PRAYER AND WORSHIP

 

When the church family is together, our personal prayer and worship styles need to be in subjection to leadership and flow with the moving of God’s Spirit, so that others may be ministered to during the service.  No personal prayer or worship should ever be at odds with the rest of the Body, seek to override God-ordained leadership, or attract attention to the individual.

 

“The spirits of the prophets are under the control of the prophets themselves.  God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:32-33

 

  • The great benefit of corporate prayer is the atmosphere of  it creates.

 

“How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight…” Deuteronomy 32:30 (KJV)

 

  • The great benefit of corporate worship is the atmosphere of it creates.

 

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3 (KJV)

 

 

THE WAY WE WORSHIP

 

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:23-24 (KJV)

 

  • We pray together out loud because …

The Bible says, “…they lifted up their voice to God with one accord…” (Acts 4:24)

 

  • We testify publicly because…

The Bible says, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”  (Psalm 22:22)

 

  • We sing with all our hearts because…

The Bible says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praises.” (Psalm 98:4)

 

  • We lift our hands in praise because…

The Bible says, “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.” (Psalm 134:2)

 

  • We play musical instruments because…

The Bible says, “…all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments…” (2 Samuel 6:5)

 

 

 

  • We clap and shout unto God because…

The Bible says, “…O clap your hands all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” (Psalm 47:1)

 

  • We dance in the spirit because…

The Bible says, “Praise him with the timbrel and dance:  praise him with the stringed instruments and organs.” (Psalm 150:4)

 

  • We anoint with oil for divine healing because…

The Bible says, “Is any sick among you?  Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…” (James 5:14-15)

 

  • We allow the operation of spiritual gifts because…

The Bible says, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church…covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:12, 39)

 

An unbeliever can merely RESPOND to an atmosphere of worship, but a believer can CREATE an atmosphere of worship!  Mature Christians are always WORSHIPPERS!    

 

 

 

Session Four

 

 

 

The Practice of Giving

 

Session Three

  • Honoring God with My TIME, TREASURE and TALENTS

 

So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Ephesians 5:16 (NLT)

 

Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:” Proverbs 3:9 (KJV)

 

God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. 1 Peter 4:11 (NLT)

 

Clearly God’s Word shows that the Lord wants His followers to be generous with their time, treasure and talents.  The Lord wants us to live wisely, honor Him with our finances, and allow His generosity to flow through us.

 

Tithing

HOW MY GIVING REVEALS MY SPIRITUAL MATURITY

 

“Just as you excel in everything else… in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness… see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”          2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV)

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

  • The Bible talks more about GIVING than it does about either HEAVEN or HELL?
  • Over HALF of the parables Jesus told have to do with the subject of MONEY?
  • There are more promises in the Bible related to GIVING than to any other subject?
  • Your giving is VERY IMPORTANT to God – and to your SPIRITUAL LIFE?

 

 

 

WHY GOD WANTS ME TO GIVE

Seven Benefits to My Life

 

  1. GIVING MAKES ME .

 

God so loved the world that He gave his only Son …”   John 3:16 (NLT)

 

 

  1. GIVING DRAWS ME                    .

 

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:21 (NIV)

 

  1. GIVING IS THE ANTIDOTE TO .

 

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they may take hold of the life that is truly Life!”  1Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)

 

  1. GIVING STRENGTHENS______________________.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of your income, and he will fill your barns to overflowing.” Proverbs 3:5, 9

 

“Give and it will be given to you … For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  Luke 6:38 (NIV)

 

  1. GIVING IS AN INVESTMENT                         .

 

” … Give happily to those in need, and always be ready to share whatever God has given you.  By doing this, you will be storing up real treasure for yourselves in heaven – it is the only safe investment for eternity.         1 Tim 6:18-19 (LB)

 

  1. GIVING BLESSES ME .

 

“A generous man himself will be blessed.” Proverbs 22:9 (NIV)

 

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”   Proverbs11:25

 

“Good will come to him who is generous …” Psalm 112:5 (NIV)

 

  1. GIVING MAKES ME .

(Jesus) “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” Acts 20:35

 

Ways to financially support LifePoint ministries through giving:

  • Missions Offering – (Home and Foreign Missions)
  • Faith Promise Offering – (Various national ministries)
  • General Offering – Our Local Church ministries (Mark the offering envelope designating ministries within LifePoint that you would like to help financially.)

 

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT TITHING

 

 

What is tithing?

 

  • “Tithe” means “a                                               part”

 

 

What is the difference between a “tithe” and an “offering”?

 

  • A “tithe” is giving the                                                                  of my income.
  • An “offering” is anything I give                           my tithe.

 

WHY SHOULD I TITHE? 

 

  1. Because God’s Word ______________________________________.

 

“A tenth of all you produce is the Lord’s, and it is holy.”  Leviticus 27:30

 

  1. Because Jesus ___________________________________________.

 

“Yes, you should tithe, and you shouldn’t leave the more important things undone either.” Matthew 23:23 (NLT)

 

  1. Tithing demonstrates that God has ________________________________.

 

“The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God in first place in your life.” Deuteronomy 14:23 (LB)

 

  1. Tithing reminds me that ______________________________________ was given to me by God.

 

“Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  Deuteronomy 8:18

 

  1. Tithing expresses my ________________________________________ for what I have been given.

 

“How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?” Psalm 116:12 (NLT)

 

“Each of you should bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.”  Deuteronomy 16:17

 

  1. God says that refusing to tithe is ___________________________________ from Him.

 

“God says ‘Will a man rob God?  Yet you are robbing me!’ But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’  God says ‘In tithes and offerings … Bring your whole tithe to My house.'” Malachi 3:8-10

 

  1. Tithing gives God a chance to prove that He ____________________________ and wants to bless you.

 

“Bring your whole tithe to My storehouse.  Test me in this” says the Lord, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you won’t have room enough for it!  I will prevent pests from devouring your crops and the vines in your fields will be protected from plagues.”  Malachi 3:10

 

  1. Tithing proves that I _____________________________________________________.

 

(Jesus) “If you really love me, do what I command.”  John 14:15

 

“… I want you to be leaders also in the spirit of cheerful giving… This is one way to prove that your love is real, that it goes beyond mere words.” 2 Corinthians 8:7b – 8 (LB)

 

 

WHAT SHOULD I TITHE?

 

The                                      part of what I earn, not  the                                                     .

 

“Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income.”   Proverbs 3:9-10

 

 

WHERE SHOULD I GIVE MY TITHE?

 

Where I                                            and get                       .

 

“Bring your whole tithe to My Storehouse (Temple) …” Malachi 3:10

 

 

WHEN SHOULD I TITHE?

 

When I go to_________________________________________

 

“On the first day of every week, set aside some of what you have earned and give it as an offering.  The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn.”  1 Corinthians 16:2 (LB)

 

How to Remember:

 

  • Keep a Ledger Book – Acct. #1: My Tithe
  • Use weekly envelopes
  • Teach your children to tithe

 

 

 

GIVING WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDES

 

GIVE                                        .

 

“For if the willingness is there, your gift is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have.”  2 Corinthians 9:12

 

“Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under pressure …”

2 Corinthians 9:7a

 

GIVE                                        .

 

“… for God loves a cheerful giver!”  2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

 

GIVE                                        .

 

“They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.  Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service …” 2 Corinthians 8:3-4

 

GIVE                                        .

 

“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and whoever sows generously will reap generously.”  2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV)

 

 

THE KEY TO GIVING

 

“…THEY FIRST GAVE THEMSELVES TO THE LORD … “ 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NAS)

 

 

A COMMITMENT PRAYER

 

“Lord, I know you love me and want what’s best for me.  I recognize that all I have, or will ever have, comes from You.  I am more interested in pleasing You than in having more possessions.  I want You to have first place in my life and I am willing to begin tithing as You have commanded.  Out of gratitude for all You’ve done for me, and in expectation that You will continue to provide for me, I commit myself to returning at least the first 10% of all I earn back to You.  I want to begin investing for eternity.  Help me to remain faithful to this commitment.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Practice of Fellowship

 

WHY IS FELLOWSHIP SO IMPORTANT?

 

  1. I  IN GOD’S FAMILY WITH OTHER BELIEVERS.

 

“Let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.  Galatians 6:1

 

“You are a member of God’s very own family … and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.”

Ephesians 2:19 (LB)

 

“The Christian who is not committed to a group of other believers for praying, sharing, and serving, so that he is known, as he knows others, is not an obedient Christian.  He is not in the will of God.  However vocal he may be in his theology, he is not obeying the Lord.”    Dr. Ray Ortland

 

“So in Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  Romans 12:5 (NIV)

 

 

  1. I NEED                                                  TO GROW SPIRITUALLY.

 

“Let us think of one another and how we can encourage each other to love and do good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 (Ph)

 

“Two are better off than one … If one of them falls down, the other can help him up.  But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him … Two men can resist an attack that would defeat one man alone.  A rope made of three cords is hard to break.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 (GN)

 

  1. I NEED  TO GROW SPIRITUALLY

 

“People learn from one another just as iron sharpens iron.”          Proverbs 27:17 (GN)

 

“Every day … keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the glamour of sin.”    Hebrews 3:13 (JB)

 

“Brothers, if someone is trapped in some sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently … Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV)

 

  1. CHRIST IS  WHEN WE FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER.

 

“For wherever two or three have come together in my name, I am there, right among them!”  Matthew 18:20 (GN)

 

  1. THERE IS WHEN PEOPLE PRAY TOGETHER.

 

“Whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19 (GN)

 

  1. FELLOWSHIP IS A              TO THE WORLD.

 

(Jesus) “My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind… so the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:21(LB)

 

  1. I AM  TO EVERY CHRISTIAN

 

“God has given you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other …” 1 Peter 4:10 (LB)

 

There are different kinds of service to God … together you form the body of Christ and each one of you is a necessary part of it.  1 Corinthians 122:5, 27 (LB)

 

 

 

 

The “One Another’s” of Fellowship (Partial List)

           

                        Serve one another                               Galatians 5:13

                        Accept one another                             Romans 15:7

                        Forgive one another                             Colossians 3:13

                        Greet one another                               Romans 16:16

                        Bear one another’s burdens                 Galatians 6:2

                        Be devoted to one another                  Romans 12:10

                        Honor one another                               Romans 12:10

                        Teach one another                              Romans 15:14

                        Submit to one another                         Ephesians 5:21

                        Encourage one another                                   1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

 

HOW CAN A LARGE CHURCH MAINTAIN CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS?

 

EVERY MEMBER NEEDS TO BE A PART OF                                                           . (Men’s, Ladies’ or Youth)

 

“(They met) day after day, in the Temple courts and from house to house…”   Acts 5:42 (NIV)

 

Two Kinds of Church Meetings

 

Large Group:                                         evangelism

Small Group:                                         evangelism

 

“Greet the church that meets in their home.”  Romans 16:5 Also Acts 2:26, 8:3, 16:40, 20:20, 1 Corinthians. 16:19, Colossians 4:15

 

At Full Gospel Apostolic , we believe our church must grow                            and                                     at the same time!  The only way to do this is through small groups.

 

**Small Groups give us a                                                     means to lead people to God.**

 

 

 

WHAT ARE THE PURPOSES OF OUR SMALL GROUPS?

Acts 2:42-47

 

  1.                        

           

 “They DEVOTED THEMSELVES to the apostle’s teaching …”

 

         

“…and to the fellowship …”    ” … and to the breaking of bread …”

 

            

“… and to prayer …” “OUR FATHER … give US … OUR daily bread … forgive US … OUR … debts … as WE have forgive OUR debtors … lead US not into temptation … deliver US …” Matthew 6:9-13

 

 

“… they gave to anyone as he had a need …”

 

“… you shared with me the fellowship of giving and  receiving.”  Philippians 4:15 (Ph)

 

         

 

“… praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”

 

 

“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the Goals of our Life Groups?

 

 

o   GROW in relationship                                                               .

  • Our goal is to know and follow Jesus Christ. To accomplish this goal, each of us should experience New Birth in Christ, and complete a Bible Study and New Life Discipleship Course.

                       

  • GROW in relationship                                                 .
    • Our goal is to love each other as we love ourselves. To reach this goal, each of us should look for ways to care for our fellow small group members, and find a place to serve in the Body of Christ.

 

  • GROW in                           ,                                  then GROW another group.
  • Our goal is to continually reach out and invite others to join our group.
  • GROW  who will grow new groups.
  • Our goal is to continually develop leaders who will leave and start their own small group.
  • Upon starting their own group, any members the new leaders have added to the parent group should go with them.

 

 

HOW TO START AND MAINTAIN GOOD HABITS / PRACTICES

 

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT)

 

 

STEP ONE:                                                                                        .

 

You must start with a strong desire.  You must be internally motivated.  External motivations do not last.  If you start only half-heartedly, you will never make it to the success point.

 

STEP TWO:                                                                                        .

 

Begin right now!  Don’t wait.  Don’t procrastinate.  You don’t slide into a new habit.  “One of these days” never arrives.  You must have a starting point.  It’s easier to break a bad habit today than it will be tomorrow! 

 

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 (LB)

 

STEP THREE:                                                                                    .

 

Announce your intentions publicly.   Make a covenant or resolution.  The power of a vow is awesome.  It is particularly powerful if you put your commitment in writing.

 

“Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them.” Psalm 76:11 (NLT)

 

STEP FOUR:                                                                                      .

 

Never allow an exception until the new habit or practice is securely rooted in your life.  Each lapse will be fatal. 

Continuity and success at the start is essential.  Never be swayed by “just this once”.  The act of yielding weakens the will and reinforces your lack of self-control.  It takes 3 weeks to become comfortable with a new habit and it takes another 3 to 4 weeks (doing it daily) for it to become a part of your life.

 

  • IT TAKES                   TO                      REPETITIONS TO LEARN SOMETHING!

 

STEP FIVE:                                                                            .

 

Whenever you feel the slightest urge or prompting to practice this new habit – DO IT THEN!  Don’t wait.  Seize every opportunity to reinforce your habit.  Those feelings will not last, so whenever you feel inclined to perform your new habit, do so!

 

STEP SIX:                                                                                           .

 

Get a partner who will support you and encourage you.  Find someone who is willing to hold you accountable and check up on you, especially in the early days before the habit is firmly rooted in your life.

 

“Let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over each other, studying how we may stir up and stimulate each other to … helpful deeds and noble activities.” Hebrews 1:25 (Amp)

 

“Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively.  If one of them falls down, the other can help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (GN)

 

STEP SEVEN:                                                                                    .

 

Rely on God’s power to help you establish the habit.  Remember, Satan does not want you to develop habits that help you grow spiritually and make you like Christ, so he will do all he can to tempt you, cause you to slip, or discourage you.  Pray for God’s help!

 

“For the Spirit of God has given us … fills us with power, love, and self-control.”  2 Timothy 1:7 (GN)

 

“For it is God who is at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose.”           

Philippians 2:13 (Ph)  

5 CIRCLES OF COMMITMENT

 

 

 

 

 

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

Congratulations!   You have completed the first two of LifePoint’s basic classes, Membership 101 and Maturity 201.  There are only two more steps!

 

The Maturity 201 process involves the following steps:

 

  • Take the Maturity 201 class itself, which you have just completed.

 

  • After committing yourself to church membership (Class 101), you are now ready to commit yourself to Christian maturity by signing and submitting the maturity covenant.  Please read carefully what you are committing to!

 

  • Prayerfully review the notes and Scriptures from this class.  Let God speak to your heart and lead you in developing a consistent lifestyle of Christian maturity.

 

  • Make a PERSONAL commitment to Christian maturity by engaging in the disciplines of…

 

  • Personal Bible study
  • Personal prayer time
  • Incorporating praise and fasting into your lifestyle

 

  • Make a PUBLIC commitment to Christian maturity by engaging in the disciplines of…

 

  • Giving tithes and offerings
  • Corporate worship

Ministry to others through a small group

  • Be a faithful participant in Midweek Bible Study at LifePoint Church – that’s where mature believers get fed!

APPENDIX 1 / Bible Reading Helps

 

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR BIBLE READING

 

Read it systematically, not randomly.

Use a bible without notes so God can speak to you.

Read it in different translations for understanding.

Read it aloud quietly to yourself.

Underline or color code key verses.

Choose a reading plan and stick with it.

 

 

 

 

 

A BIBLE READING PLAN

Through the New Testament in 30 Days

 

  1. Matthew 1-9                     Acts 15-21
  2. Matthew 10-15                 Acts 22-28
  3. Matthew 16-22                 Romans 1-8
  4. Matthew 23-28                 Romans 9-16
  5. Mark 1-8                           1 Corinthians 1-9
  6. Mark 9-16                         1 Corinthians 10-16
  7. Luke 1-6                          2 Corinthians 1-13
  8. Luke 7-11                        Galatians — Ephesians
  9. Luke 12-18                      Philippians – 2 Thessalonians
  10. Luke 19-24   1 Timothy — Philemon
  11. John 1-7   Hebrews
  12. John 8-13   James – 2 Peter
  13. John 14-22   1 John – 3 John
  14. Acts 1-7   Revelation 1-11
  15. Acts 8-14   Revelation 12-22

 

 

 

 

One Book at a Time

 

One of the best ways to read the Bible is to read a complete book at a time.  Most of the books in this “inspired library” are short stories requiring less than an hour to read.  Even the longest ones can easily be read in one afternoon.  Try reading a book from beginning to end without interruption.  The following list is an accurate record of the amount of time it takes the average reader to read each book of the Bible out loud at a moderately slow pace.  Each estimate is rounded up to the nearest five-minute interval.  Many people will read these books at a faster pace, requiring less time.  You can do it – so just get started!

 

Old Testament (59 h 15 m)

Genesis           3 h 35 m          1 Chronicles     2 h 35 m          Lamentations   20 m                Zechariah            35m

Exodus            3 h 10 m          2 Chronicles     2 h 10 m          Ezekiel             2 h 25 m          Malachi            15 min

Leviticus           2 h 30 m          Ezra                 40 m                Daniel              1 h 10 m

Numbers          3 h                   Nehemiah        55 m                Hosea              35 m

Deuteronomy   2 h 35 m          Esther              30 m                Joel                  15 m

Joshua             2 h 10 m          Job                  2 h 10 m          Amos               30 m

Judges             2 h                   Psalms             4 h 40 m          Obadiah           5 m

Ruth                 15 m                Proverbs          1 h 35 m          Jonah              10 m

1 Samuel         2 h 15 m          Ecclesiastes     30 m                Micah               20 m

2 Samuel         2 h 10 m          Song of Solomon 15 m            Nahum             10 m

1 Kings            2 h 40 m          Isaiah               3 h 10 m          Habakkuk         10 m

2 Kings            2 h 30 m          Jeremiah          3 h 55 m          Zephaniah       10 m

 

New Testament (20 h 25 m)

Matthew                       2 h 30 m                      1 Timothy                     15 m

Mark                             1 h 45 m                      2 Timothy                     10 m

Luke                            2 h 55 m                      Titus                             10 m

John                            2 h 35 m                      Philemon                      5 m

Acts                             2 h 40 m                      Hebrews                       45 m

Romans                       1 h                               James                          15 m

1 Corinthians                1 h                               1 Peter                         15 m

2 Corinthians                40 m                            2 Peter                         10 m

Galatians                     20 m                            1 John                         15 m

Ephesians                    20 m                            2 John                         5 m

Philippians                   15 m                            3 John                         5 m

Colossians                   15 m                            Jude                            5 m

1 Thessalonians           15 m                            Revelation                    1 h 10 m

2 Thessalonians           10 m

 

 

Time to read the ENTIRE BIBLE:           79 h 40 m

 

 

 

 

 

Online Resource for Bible Reading Plans ……….. www.heartlight.org/devotionals/reading_plans/

 

 

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Straight Through

Read the entire Bible in one year, from Genesis to Revelation.

Download/View the Straight Through the Bible Plan in PDF format

 

Different Topics

Each day of the week, you’ll be reading from a different section of the Bible.

Download/View the whole Different Topics Reading Plan in PDF format

 

New Testament and Old Testament

Read the whole Bible, with something from both Testaments each day.

Download/View the whole New Testament and Old Testament Plan in PDF format

 

The Story of the Bible

A chronologically arranged reading of the story of the Bible.

Download/View the whole Story of the Bible Reading Plan in PDF format

 

New Testament, Psalms & Proverbs

Get the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in one year.

Download/View the whole New Testament, Psalms, & Proverbs in PDF format

APPENDIX 2 / Prayer Guide # 1

 

CHARACTER TRAITS OF GOD

As you read your Bible, make a list of God’s Character Traits that you discover and then review them when you pray.  The following are examples and will also give you a good head start as you continue to add to the list.

 

 

 

God is FAITHFUL (2 Corinthians 1:20)

 

 

God is RIGHTEOUS (2 Timothy 4:8)

 

 

God is the LIGHT (John 8:12)

 

 

God is PATIENT (Numbers 14:18)

 

 

God is MERCIFUL (Numbers 14:18)

 

 

God is FORGIVING (Numbers 14:18)

 

 

God is LOVING (1 John 4:8)

 

 

God is ALL KNOWING (1 Samuel 2:2)

 
   
   

 

APPENDIX 2 / Prayer Guide # 2

 

THE NAMES OF GOD

 

God is so magnificent that the Hebrew language uses compound names to describe the many aspects of His character.  You can use each of these compound names to focus on what God is really like.  Just think on the implications of these names and you’ll have plenty to praise God for!

 

8 Hebrew Names of God Declare Who God Is

 

Jehovah-Shammah:

“God is Present with me” (Ezekiel 48:35).

You are here!  I am never alone!

 

Jehovah-Rohi:

“God is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). 

You lead me, feed me, and protect me!

 

Jehovah- Jireh:

“God is my Provider” (Genesis 22:14). 

You see what I need before I even ask!

 

Jehovah-Rophe:

“God is my Healer” (Exodus 15:26). 

You can heal my body, emotions, and relationships!

 

Jehovah-Tsidkenu:

“God is my Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6)

You accept me and forgive me because of Jesus!

 

Jehovah-M’Kiddish:

“God is my Sanctification” (Leviticus 20:8)

You give me power to live holy and like Jesus!

 

Jehovah-Shalom:

“God is my Peace” (Judges 6:24)

You give me peace in spite of circumstances!

 

Jehovah-Nissi:

“God is my Banner” (Exodus 17:15)

You are my victory in conflict and confrontation!

 

And all of God’s attributes are summed up in the Name of Jesus!

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”  (Philippians 2:9-10)

APPENDIX 2 / Prayer Guide # 3

 

MY THANKSGIVING LIST

 

Write down your requests, with a promise you are claiming from the Bible, and expect an answer!

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

APPENDIX 2 / Prayer Guide # 4

 

MY PERSONAL REQUESTS

 

Date                                       Request                                 Promise                     Date Answered

 

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

 

APPENDIX 2 / Prayer Guide # 5

 

PEOPLE I’M PRAYING FOR

 

Family

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Friends

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Spiritual Leaders

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Missionaries

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Government Leaders

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Others

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

APPENDIX 3 / Fasting Helps

Sample Fasting Schedule

Morning

 
  • Begin your day in praise and worship.
 
  • Read and meditate on God’s Word.
 
  • Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
 
  • Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country, and beyond.
 
  • Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.

Noon

 
  • Return to prayer and God’s Word.
 
  • Take a short prayer walk.
 
  • Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community’s and nation’s leaders, for the world’s unreached millions, for your family or special needs.

Evening

 
  • Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”
 
  • If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
 
  • Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.

When possible, begin and end each day with your spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer and study of His Word are often better spent alone.

A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio C. Ruibal – a nutritionist, pastor, and specialist in fasting and prayer – suggests a daily schedule and list of juices you may find useful and satisfying. Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your circumstances and tastes.

5 a.m. – 8 a.m.

Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices are generally preferred. If you cannot do your own juicing, buy juices without sugar or additives.

10:30 a.m. – noon

Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Herb tea with a drop of honey.  Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt. After boiling about half an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it.

 

 

Tips on Juice Fasting

 
  • Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
 
  • The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.
 
  • Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach’s sake.
 
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.

 

 

Breaking Your Fast

 

When your designated time for fasting is finished, you will begin to eat again. But how you break your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well-being.

Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.

Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:

 
  • Break extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon.
 
  • While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:
    First day: Add a raw salad.
    Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.
    Third day: Add a steamed vegetable.
    Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet.
 
  • Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.

 

 

 

Answer Key

 

 

Session 1

Page 1

Skills

Tools

Commit

Sin, righteousness

Page 2

Becoming like Christ

Defensive

Offensive

Page 3

Fail

Empowering of the Holy Spirit

Page 4

Environment conducive to growth

  1. Automatic
  2. Process
  3. Discipline
  4. Spirit-led
  5. Disciples
  6. Disciplined
  7. The more God can use me
  8. Cross-bearing
  9. Daily

Page 5

  1. Whatever it takes

Disciplined practices

Page 6

Embrace it voluntarily

 

Session Two

Page 7

Holy Ghost

Inspired

God’s Word

Page 8

Own Spiritual Growth

Page 9

95%

Page 10

Daily

15

Take Notes

Ask the right questions

Page 11

  1. Temptation
  2. Decisions
  3. Stress
  4. Sad
  5. Unbelievers

Page 12

Review, Review, Review

Important to us

Focused thinking

Page 13

  1. Becoming like Christ
  2. Answered Prayer
  3. Successful Living

Page 15

  1. Personal
  2. Practical
  3. Possible
  4. Provable
  5. Created
  6. Died
  7. Source of Strength

Page 16

  1. Service
  2. Healthy
  3. Devotion
  4. Direction
  5. Delight, I Love Him
  6. More

 

Page 17

  1. At my best, Be consistent

Page 18

  1. Reverence, Expectancy, Obedience
  2. Relax
  3. Read a verse
  4. Reflect on the verse
  5. Record what God said
  6. Request

Page 19

Praise

Repent

Ask

Yield

Evangelize

Repeat Praise

  1. On time
  2. Immediately
  3. Robbers
  4. Spiritual thoughts

Bed

Awake

Out loud

Walk

Journal

Feelings

Page 20

Succumb to guilt

Become legalistic

Give up

3

3

 

Session 3

Page 21

Real

Impress God

Impress others

Relaxed

Revealing

Expressing love to God

Character qualities

Page 22

God’s character

Promises

Blessings

To doing God’s will

Provide my daily needs

All of them

Be specific

Page 23

Forgive my sins

Reveal

Specifically

Restitution

Accept

Other people

Spiritual protection

Praise

Page 24

Normal

Absolute

Partial

Page 27

  1. Objective
  2. Commitment
  3. Spiritually
  4. Physically

Page 28

  1. Schedule
  2. Gradually
  3. Results

Page 29

Heart

Everyday life

Faith

Power

 

 

Session 4

Page 31

  1. Like God
  2. Closer to God
  3. Materialism
  4. My faith

Page 32

  1. In eternity
  2. In return
  3. Happy

10th

First 10th

Above

  1. Commands it
  2. Commanded it
  3. 1st place in my life
  4. Everything I have

Page 33

  1. Gratitude to God
  2. Stealing
  3. Exists
  4. Really love God

First, Left-overs

Worship, fed

Worship

Page 34

Willingly

Cheerfully

Sacrificially

Expectantly

Page 35

  1. Belong
  2. Encouragement
  3. Accountability
  4. Present
  5. Power
  6. Witness
  7. Obligated

Page 36

A small group

Worship

Fellowship

Larger, smaller

Non-threatening

  1. Read the Word
  2. Fellowship
  3. Prayer
  4. Support
  5. Worship

Page 37

  1. Evangelism

With God

With each other

Number, multiply grow

Leaders

Page 38

Desire

Decide

Declaration

Determination

7, 21

Just do it

Double up

Depend on God