Listen… Worship… Live… (Part 1)

listenIn my sermon this past Sunday I closed with three words: Listen, Worship, Live. This week I will be taking time to write an individual post for each one of these disciplines to help you apply the Bible to your life. 

Most days I feel as if I am drowning in sound. The constant barrage from the television… the never-ending statuses on Facebook… and the persistent buzzing of my cell phone threaten to cause death by distraction.

We are polluted with messages from our culture. Messages which instruct us on living a better life, purchasing a new product, or even experiencing a special church service. These messages darken our minds and distract us from the One who really matters.

God is far more willing to speak than we are to listen.

Are you intentionally setting aside time on a daily basis for solitude, silence, and listening? I want to challenge you to practice this ancient art of listening to God speak every day for one week. The specifics are below:

Set aside a 30 minute block of time each day this week. Maybe you need to wake up 30 minutes earlier… utilize a portion of your lunch break… or stay up after putting the kids to bed. I want you to structure these 30 minutes in the following way:

  1. Spend time in complete silence (2 minutes).
  2. Slowly read through a passage of Scripture (20 minutes).
  3. Choose one or two verses from your reading and commit them to memory (5 minutes).
  4. Spend some more time in complete silence as a response to God’s Word (3 minutes).

If you take this challenge seriously you will be amazed at the spiritual growth that results. To make this as simple as possible, I would encourage the following reading plan this week. It will allow you to read the entire book of Galatians in the New Testament:

Monday: Galatians 1
Tuesday: Galatians 2
Wednesday: Galatians 3
Thursday: Galatians 4
Friday: Galatians 5
Saturday: Galatians 6

If you decide to take this challenge, I would love to hear from you. Either leave a comment or send me an e-mail (

Practical Steps for Spiritual Growth

The past year has been absolutely incredible. I have had the amazing privilege of pioneering and launching the Garretson Campus of The Rescue Church. One of the primary reasons we launch new campuses is to reach those who are far from God. Specifically, we do not seek transfer growth (growing via members of other churches coming). We intentionally seek to preach Christ to those who are currently separated from Him.

As a result, we have seen many people either commit their lives to Jesus for the first time or re-commit their lives to Him. Practically, this calls for discipleship in the church. We have to purposely develop these new Christians so that they are firmly rooted in the Gospel.

Whether you are a new Christian or have been following Jesus for decades, below are some practical steps for YOU to grow in your faith:

Set apart a time for Bible reading and prayer DAILY!
If you do NOT want to grow as a Christian, do not open the Bible on your own! Unfortunately, this is the route many Christians take. We have a tendency to believe going to church once a week and having a pastor teach us the Bible is sufficient enough for spiritual growth.


Yes, I know it can be intimidating but there are many tools to help you along the way. I would recommend the following –

As you figure out a reading process that works best for you, you also need to set apart a specific time each day. You need to MAKE time to be in the Word of God. Make it as an appointment and keep it as strictly as you would anything else – It is INFINITELY more important than any human meeting you could possibly have!

Be INVOLVED with a local church!
I am disgusted with arrogant Christians who claim they do not need the local church. They cloak their pride behind slick spiritual phrases and use the imperfections of the church to excuse their disobedience. No, the church is not perfect which is EXACTLY why you would fit right in!

The following activities do NOT replace the local church:

  • Having coffee (or lunch, or bible study, etc.) with your Christian friends.
  • Watching church online or on your television.
  • Reading the Bible and worshiping on your own.

All of those things mentioned above are GOOD but they are NOT a replacement for your local church. In the future I will write a post on why those things are not a biblical church. Suffice it to say, Paul makes it abundantly clear in the pastoral epistles that the church has an organized structure consisting of ordained elders, qualified deacons, and the sacraments (communion, baptism).

DISCLAIMER: If you live in a community that is hostile towards Christianity and the only way for you to meet is outside of a church structure, that is a different scenario. If you live in the West (which most reading this do) BE OBEDIENT to Hebrews 10:25 by committing to an imperfect, local church.

Share what you are learning!
As Christians we are similar to sponges. As we study Scripture, spend time in prayer, and learn from qualified teachers, we absorb information and application. As we practice these spiritual disciplines daily, we need to “squeeze” ourselves and, like a sponge, allow the information to flow out of us. This does not mean you need to become a preacher; you simply need to encourage others by sharing what you are learning.

This happens informally as you talk with your family and friends. Ask your friends what they have been learning lately through God’s Word and listen to what they have to say. Afterwards, you can share with them what God is teaching you. This process of mutual teaching and encouragement will enable you to grow both in your faith and love for others.

One of the ways I do this is by writing blog posts! Heck, if you have the gift of writing it would be an honor to have YOU feature on! 

These are only a few of the ways you can grow in your faith. What are some of the disciplines YOU practice in your own life that God has used to shape you? Let me know by leaving a comment!