Since we’re a month away from the beginning of a new year, I want to dedicate this week’s “Five on Friday” to asking five discipleship questions that every person wanting to follow Jesus Christ should consider as the new year approaches.
So, here’s this week’s “Five on Friday”…
What will be my Bible reading plan for 2017?
In their groundbreaking research on the factors for spiritual growth, Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson discovered the following: “Everywhere we turned the data revealed the same truth: spending time in the Bible is hands down the highest impact personal spiritual practice…The Bible’s influence seems to transcend all other factors – much like vanilla ice cream’s popularity dwarfs all other flavors. The Bible is not just the vanilla when we look at personal spiritual practices; it’s the vanilla when we look at everything.”
If you only did one thing in the new year to improve your relationship with God and deepen your walk with Christ, spending consistent time in the Word of God should be it.
And it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. It can be as simple as starting with one book of the Bible and reading through it at your own pace, pausing at regular intervals to reflect on what you’re reading. However, many people have found that using a daily Bible reading schedule inspires them to make Bible-reading and reflection a habit.
So, if you would like to find a reading schedule that works for you, take some time to look through the resources you can find here. Also, check out the YouVersion Bible app if you don’t already have it.
What hurt, habit, or hang-up do I need to work through in order to connect with God on a deeper level?
Many of us have hurts, bad habits, and personal hang-ups that keep us from being who God created us to be and from having the quality of life we desire. What’s worse is that we stubbornly refuse to address those issues, fearing that it will require more time, effort, and energy than we’re willing to put into the process of working past them.
But, honestly, aren’t you tired of letting those issues control your life?
This coming year could be the year that you finally moved past the things that are keeping you from the freedom for which your heart is desperate – if you decide to finally take action.
The best resource I know for this is Celebrate Recovery. You can find a group near you here. But if you’re in Norman, OK area you are welcome to attend CR at Alameda Church of Christ every Friday night. You can find more information about our group here and here.
What’s the next step for me in following Jesus?
The journey of the Christian is one of constant growth and movement, which is why we’re always asking, “What’s the next step?” And the next step is different for everyone.
Maybe your next step is to be more consistent in your church attendance and involvement. Maybe you need to volunteer for a ministry or sign up for a mission trip. Maybe it’s time for you to step up and lead a Bible study group. Or maybe you need to focus your efforts on growing one of the “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) in your life.
At Alameda, we are starting a new discipleship course called “The Journey” on January 8th. It’s an intentional year-long experience that is guaranteed to help you discover your next step, give you the resources you need to take the next step, and place you in a community environment filled with people who are on the same journey as you. You are welcome to join us!
What will be my giving goal for 2017?
One spiritual discipline that most Christians have room to grow in is giving. The Bible is unequivocal in its admonition to give to the work of the Lord. Not only does this provide resources for serving others and sharing the Gospel, the act of giving is an act of protest against the selfishness of our world. When we give our money to the Lord’s church, we are reminding ourselves that God is Lord over everything in our lives – including our money.
Every year I challenge myself to give a little bit more, and every year my needs have been met. What this has taught me is that giving out of love is more beneficial to my soul than hoarding out of fear.
On what non-believer will I focus my prayers and evangelistic efforts in 2017?
Chuck Lawless taught me to ask this question of myself, and it’s a good one. This question is a reminder of the Christian’s core task of making Jesus known to others.
What person in your circle of influence doesn’t know Christ as Savior or is currently living apart from Christ? Identify that person and commit to praying for him or her on a regular basis in 2017. And when an opportunity arises to tell that person about Jesus, seize it!
That’s my 5. What discipleship questions would you add to this list?