Biblical Messages

How do I grow?

In this worship gathering, we hear a message about the importance of growing in our faith. There are many ways and many tips that could be shared, but what we hear in this message are some foundational notions that help us understand the importance of not remaining static in our faith journey. It’s based on Galatians 5.13-26, and you can watch the message below, or the entire gathering below that.

Encouragement From The Word

Choose growth!

I have known a number of people who used the early period of the pandemic to take up a new hobby.  My wife, for example, took up paper flower making, and what she has created is one of the best examples of art imitating life that I’ve ever seen!  (You can see for yourself if you like.)  

People made the best of a difficult situation by stretching themselves to try something new.  It’s a healthy part of human existence:  it’s growth.

Like plants – the real ones, not the ones my wife makes – we have two choices:  we can grow, or we can die.  There is no in-between.  True, our skeletons stop growing when we are young, but our skin never stops (if you’re not sure about that, consider how dusty your house gets!).  And our minds never stop growing either.

The same should be true of our faith-walk with God.  When we make a public profession of faith in Jesus, that is not the end of the journey; it’s just the beginning.

Challenge yourself to grow in Christ, while there’s still some time this summer!  Borrow a book from your church library.  Watch a video series on RightNowMedia (hit me up if you need an invitation).  Read your Bible daily.  Talk to God in prayer.  These are all ways you can grow your faith.

Doing this will increase your faith, increase your discernment skills, and strengthen your witness for the gospel.  It’s worth the investment.

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us.  We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ” (Colossians 1.28, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

Boundaries

I’ve been reading a book this week, while on retreat, about the importance of boundaries.  (The book, not surprisingly, is called Boundaries!  It’s a classic, written 30 years ago and updated more recently by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.)

All healthy people have boundaries in their lives, among them the ability to be able to say ‘no’ when needed.  There are some folks who can’t do that, even for the best of reasons.  Some people think that it would be unchristian of them to say ‘no’.  

But there are times when it is wholly appropriate.  I’ll let you read the book to learn more about that.

One key application, though, comes in this manner:  we do well to say ‘no’ to something good, in order that we may say ‘yes’ to something better.

For instance, it is wise to deprive ourselves of some purchase in order that we may save to make a better purchase.  That’s an unpopular approach these days, given the ease with which we may go into debt!  But it’s wise stewardship.

Or we may not get involved in a relationship with a potential spouse when we know it would be ‘settling’; better that we wait for a better match.

Even church leaders have to make these kinds of decisions, don’t they?  If a person or group in the congregation proposes to the leadership that they undertake a particular ministry, sometimes the leadership needs to say ‘no’, in order to allocate human and financial resources toward something that better fits the mission and vision of the church.

Boundaries matter.  Even Jesus had boundaries, whether it was in being in the temple, about his Father’s business, at age 12 (while his parents went looking for him), or walking away from a crowd demanding miracles so that he could spend alone time with the Father.

This isn’t a book review, but I commend the book to your interest.  You can find it here if you’d like to read it.  (For St. Paul’s readers, let me know if you’d like to be involved in a study of this book…there are some copies available.)

Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.  After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray”  (Matthew 14.22b-23a, NLT).