FAT (Faithful, Available, Teachable)

SD 1.0 Simply Discipled and Strategically Deployed

(last updated 11/10/2019)

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Since FAT was founded by ongoing members of the UnShackled LIFE group, we are taking advantage of the UnShackled website in order to have a web presence.  Most of the information on the UnShackled site is of general interest and not specific to the UnShackled LIFE group.  So FATties, feel free to peruse the UnShackled site. 

(Oct. 6 - Nov. 10): SD 1.0 - Simply Discipled and Strategically Deployed - Discipleship Training

For six weeks, beginning October 6, we will be taking the SD 1.0 Discipleship Course in all LIFE groups.

The six sessions are (details for each session will be added below):

  1. Following Jesus. 

  2. Growing in Jesus.

  3. Conversing with Jesus.

  4. Joining Together in Jesus.

  5. Serving with Jesus.

  6. Sharing Jesus with Others.

If interested, you may download a (large) Word document providing detail information for the course and all six sessions.  While intended for instructors, this document will be valuable for any who miss a session: SD 1.0 Course Details.

Warning: We are expected to memorize a verse from Scripture each week.  To make this easier, you may download verse memorization cards in a variety of translations.  Since SD 1.0 requires six verses and ten cards fit on a page, four extra bonus verses have also been provided.  These cards are Microsoft Word documents.

SD 1.0 Verse Memorization Cards (ESV) 

SD 1.0 Verse Memorization Cards (NIV)

SD 1.0 Verse Memorization Cards (NASB) 

SD 1.0 Verse Memorization Cards (KJV) 

After downloading, the two-page document may be printed in duplex, flip on long edge, and then cut into ten individual cards.  If you can print on card stock, so much the better!  My printer sometimes jams when printing card stock in duplex, so I have to print page one first, put the printed page back in the paper tray, and then print page 2.  You'll have to test your printer to determine just how the printed page needs to be placed in the paper tray to have the second page align properly when printed.

Session 6: Sharing Jesus with Others

(Note to readers: these are my notes for presenting this material in class.  I do deviate from script here and there, and I do add additional material, as well.  All Scripture is ESV. )

New memory verse: Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Last week's memory verse(s): John 13:34-35 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

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John 14:6: Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

There are a lot of lost people out there.  Sad to say, there are many lost people who think they are saved. Somewhere around half of all Americans think that being "basically good" is what get you into heaven.

By the title of today's session, you can guess that we are going to talk about sharing Jesus with others.  This can involve sharing the gospel, but there are other forms as well, which can overlap, which can take place over a long span of time or a much shorter one.

Spiritual conversation - our definition is: telling someone what Jesus has done in your life or asking where they are with Jesus in their life.  Spiritual conversations can cover more territory  than that.  But an essential first step is just letting people know you are a Christian.  A spiritual conversation can be as simple as telling someone you are a Christian and why?  Or telling someone you believe in God because you look around at the world and cannot believe it "just happened."  And don't neglect having such conversations with kid - your own, grandkids, nieces and nephews. etc.

Presenting the gospel - this could be part of a spiritual conversation, but only if the conversation leads to it.  Note that there are many ways  to present the gospel.  More on this in a minute.

Discipiling - taking a fellow Christian under your wing and being taken under another's wing.  As I mentioned earlier, many who consider themselves Christian have never accepted Christ.  Discipling has the possibility of bringing such a person to Christ even when they weren't necessarily aware that they had never done it!

What is the gospel?  Another acronym:

G - God's

O - overwhelming love in

S - sending Jesus to be the way for

P - people to receive

E- everlasting

L - life in God alone.

There are many ways to present the gospel.  But unless you are knocking on doors, you generally do not want to present the gospel to anyone in your sphere of influence until they are ready to hear it.  If you strike up a spiritual conversation with someone and they give an indication that they want to hear more, great.   But we need to take care that out "target" is genuinely ready to hear the gospel from us.  That generally involves establishing a reasonably strong relationship first.  Talk about Bob Trautman and how he might spend years establishing a relationship of trust.

OIKOS principle.  Greek for household, but we are going to define it as our sphere of influence.  It generally includes close family and relatives, it could include certain co-workers, neighbors.  The key is that you have influence!  These are people you know, are in contact with some degree of frequency, and with whom you have earned a degree of confidence and trust.  When it comes to sharing the gospel:

  • You are generally going to start doing it with those in your own, personal OIKOS.  A good way to begin is to target a handful that you believe need the gospel, and start praying for them regularly.  Pray for the HS to begin to work on them and pray for opportunities to open up to start a spiritual conversation

  • You should do it in a way you are comfortable with (more in a moment) - and you should stop if the vibes are negative.  Don't destroy a relationship.  you'll have more chances in the future.

  • Your personal testimony is a great way to start - but that is not sharing the gospel, unless you build the gospel message into your testimony.  Personal testimony is generally telling how you came to accept Christ. 

Concentric circles - spheres of influence:

How to present the gospel?  Bring up this website if possible.  Start with Patrick's diagram mixing 3 Circles with "My Story," but try to cover several methods as well as smartphone apps.

Mention memory verse: Romans 6:23.

Encourage spiritual conversations and for everyone to be praying for several in their OIKOS that need Jesus.  If your OIKOS is a target-free environment, you need to expand it.

Close with the five characteristics of a disciple:

  1. Loves God's son supremely.

  2. Follows God's son sacrificially.

  3. Abides in God's Word continually.

  4. Loves God's children supernaturally.

  5. Bears fruit for God's glory liberally.

If time, talk a bit about Navigators 2:7 series

Session 5: Serving with Jesus

(Note to readers: these are my notes for presenting this material in class.  I do deviate from script here and there, and I do add additional material, as well.  All Scripture is ESV.  Since we didn't cover baptism last Sunday in FAT, we will start with that, and hopefully get thru Session 5, as well.)

New memory verse(s): John 13:34-35 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Last week's memory verse: (Hebrews 10:25): not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Opening question: what is love?

Is it a feeling?  Popular music thinks so - I'm going back in time here.

I never thought I could feel this way
And I've got to say that I just don't get it
I don't know where we went wrong
But the feelings gone and I just can't get it back.
  Gordon Lightfoot (If You Could Read My Mind)

Is love a commitment?  We are a little more mixed here, but some popular music doesn't think so.

And when it's time for leavin',
I hope you'll understand,
That I was born a ramblin' man.
  Allman Brothers (Ramblin' Man)

Lesson: love is more than just a feeling, and love is a commitment.  Love doesn't just happen, you have to work at it.  Love requires that we do much more than just that which we feel like.  Consider Jesus going to the cross.  I think that the evidence is pretty clear that Jesus didn't "feel like" going to the cross.

Luke 6:27-28, Jesus tells us to love out enemies and he tells us how - bless them. pray for them, do good for them.  We don't have to like them.

We are all familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 (I hope).  What is the key?  Love is the motivator and without it, we act in vain.

And love is a matter of choice, not of feelings - and God commands us to make this choice:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)  Note that this command is given specifically to the disciples.  Now if we can bless, pray for and do good to our enemies, should we not be doing that and more to our brothers and sisters in Christ?
 

Which leads us to the church.

The church are believers in Christ :

  1. Making up one body.

  2. Being built into the spiritual temple.

  3. With a shared purpose.

1) Making up one body (we are the body, Christ is the head, purpose to glorify God):

  • So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

  • There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  (Ephesians 4:4-6)

  • And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.  (Colossians 1:18)

  • And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.  (Ephesians 1:22-23)

  • everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.  (Isaiah 43:7)

  • Westminster Catechism: 1. What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

 

2) Being built into the spiritual temple (The OT temple has been replaced by a spiritual temple made up of believers):

  • Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  (Romans 12:1)

  • As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ....  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10)

3) With a shared purpose (Jesus is the cornerstone of the church, the prophets and apostles - that is, Scripture - the foundation.  Any teaching not based on this cornerstone and foundation is false - the NT is full of concerns about false teaching and false teaching is in abundance today, as well).

  • 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.. (Ephesians 4:11-16) 

  • v. 13 - be conformed to the image of Christ

  • v. 14 - be transformed. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  (Romans 12:2)

  • v. 15-16 - Love each other in our own unique SHAPE

 

Which leads us to SHAPE.  Does anyone know their spiritual gifts?  Discuss and hand out. 

Here are those specifically mentioned in Scripture. 

Romans 12

 

1 Corinthians 12

 

Ephesians 4

 

Misc. Passages

*- mentioned more than once.

How are we doing on: spiritual conversations and quiet time?

Back to our memory verse: John 13:34-35 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This follows Jesus washing his disciples' feet.  Thoughts?

 

Session 4: Joining Together in Jesus

(Note to readers: these are my notes for presenting this material in class.  I do deviate from script here and there, and I do add additional material, as well.)

Memory verse from last week: (Matthew 6:6): But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

New memory verse: (Hebrews 10:25): not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Today we'll be talking about the church and baptism.

Question 1: What do you think of when you hear the word church? (write on board  - don't spend too much time on this).

"The church is a body of believers with a specific nature and purpose."

R.C. Sproul puts it this way: The church consists of those whom the Lord as called out of the world into union and fellowship with Christ and into communion with each other.

Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

More questions (answers on board for all, or as much as possible):  If no one brings up the points in italics, then I should.

Considering that(Hebrews 10), what makes a good church or a strong one?

Why do many churches (all?) have members who act more like non-believers than believers?

From A.W. Tozer - most of us divide our lives into two spheres - a sacred one and a secular one.

Why are some churches growing, others declining?

Although not universally the case, surveys and denominational memberships show that the growing churches are those that preach the Bible and the declining ones are those that do not.

Imagine our church as a hospital with an emergency room, in an area where many are ill and hurting. 

  • Some have already been treated and thankful for the cure, have signed up as volunteers at the hospital - that is us, hopefully.

  • Some recognize their state, have visited the E.R., and have been checked in to the hospital - brand new believers. 

  • Some recognize they are ill, but are unsure what to do about it - they have gone to the E.R., some with the expectation of being treated, some who have come, but aren't sure why, and who might get up an walk out before being treated - seekers and others who have come but with no particular expectations. 

  • Many others are still out in the community, ill, some with no awareness of their illness, others in denial about their illness, others aware but with no idea what to do about it.

Do we welcome and treat any and all that come to the E.R.?  Obviously, yes.  What kind of hospital would turn people away?

Is it our job to find those that need treatment and offer that treatment?  Obviously, yes, but here we need to expand the hospital metaphor a bit.  A hospital doesn't generally go looking for patients, but what if the illness is something highly contagious and endangers the public at large? (we might have some fun expanding on this).

Don't spend a lot of time on this metaphor - we can come back to it as we dig into Acts.

Act 2:41-47 -

 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

What did the early church do? - Stick to words from the text!!

Note: don't neglect Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Each gospel has a great commission and so does Acts - this is it.

How much of what the early church did applies today and how much only applied to the NT church?  Remember that there was an expectation of the second coming.

Acts 9:26-31 -

And when he (Paul) had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

Barnabas and Paul Principle: Each of us needs a Barnabas (someone investing in us) and a Paul (someone we are investing it).  Look at how Barnabas's investment in Paul turned out!

MAWL principle in preparing of leadership) - Model, Assist, Watch, Leave

What was happening in the early church?  It was:

  • growing numerically

  • growing in peace

  • growing in worship

What are the expectations a church has or should have for members?  New members?  Established members?

Lots of discussion could occur here.  Need to move on to baptism with adequate time left.

Baptism:

Matthew 3:13-17 (even Jesus was baptized):

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Baptists believe in the baptism of believers, and that baptism by immersion. 

Jesus was baptized - as an adult - though he had no sin. He was not baptized to takeaway sin but as an act of obedience to fulfill God's requirements / desires.  He was baptized by immersion, and the end result was that God was pleased and expressed his pleasure and love.

Romans 6:3-4

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Baptism is both an act of obedience and a testimony - a testimony of death to sin, a burial of the old life and a resurrection into a new life in Jesus Christ.

In the NT, the first act of obedience for a new believer is baptism - the jailer and family, Cornelius and family, the Ethiopian eunuch, etc.

A case can be made for infant baptism, but it does seem the Baptists have the stronger case.  Pastor Bob would say this is doctrine, not dogma, and not a hill to die on. 

But the typical NT sequence is - hear the gospel, believe, be baptized.

Note that in Acts 19:1-5, those baptized by John 's (the Baptist) baptism are re-baptized.

If anyone thinks they need to be baptized - or re-baptized - fill out commitment card.

 

 

Session 3: Conversing with Jesus

(Note to readers: these are my notes for presenting this material in class.  I do deviate from script here and there, and I do add additional material, as well.)

Who knows our memory verse (James 1:22 - But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Start with a brief reminder of the Wheel Illustration and a reminder of the vertical component of the Word and Prayer.  Daily Quiet Time is one of the most important ways we spend time is relationship with God, and we do that by spending time both in the Word and in Prayer.  Today we are going to focus on prayer.

Why do some people struggle with prayer, find it difficult, or simply not want to pray?  Here is a top 10:

  • Reason #1 It’s hard to talk to someone who is invisible. 

  • Reason #2 Not enough time

  • Reason #3 Too tired

  • Reason #4 Difficult to hear God’s voice

  • Reason #5 It just feels awkward

  • Reason #6 Don’t know what to pray

  • Reason #7 I have never tried it

  • Reason #8 I doubt that is actually works

  • Reason #9 It’s a waste of time

  • Reason #10 I don’t need to ask for help

 

Does anyone have any more excuses to add to the list?  Because they are excuses.

I would divide these into four main categories:

  1. I don't know why I should pray (I don't need to pray).

  2. I don't know how I should pray.

  3. I don't know what to pray for.

  4. I can't seem to get around to it.

 

We'll come back to these in a little bit. 

 

What is prayer?

  • Prayer is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God.

  • Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God!

  • Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God. Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal.

  • PRAYER - Positive, Reassuring, Action, Yielding, Eternal, Results.

Is there a right way and a wrong way to pray? 

Not praying at all is the wrong way to pray!  Anything else is better.  But Jesus went to the trouble of telling us how to pray, so perhaps we should look to his example.

Turn to Matthew 6, specifically 5-15:

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

What is our takeaway from these verses?

First, we are commanded to pray.  If for no other reason, we should pray because we are commanded to.  Jesus doesn't say "If you pray," he says "when you pray."  Other Scripture?

(1 Thess 5:16-18): Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

(Luke 18:1) And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  This is the parable of the persistent widow.

Regarding verse 6: there are many places in the Bible where there is a call for corporate prayer, so verse 6 is not saying we should not pray corporately - but it is telling us how we should pray personally.  Prayer is an intimate conversation with God and is not for show.

So what does the Lord's prayer tell us about how we should pray?

There are 6 components:

  • Adoration to God - hallow be thy name.

  • Submission to his will - thy will be done.

  • Daily provision - give us ...

  • Confession of sin (forgive us ...) and in our relationship to others (as we ...).

  • Rescue from temptation and sin - lead us not ...

  • Surrender - thy Kingdom come and deliver us from evil.

Now we don't have to cover all these components every time we pray.  But we should be covering them all over time.

There are a number of helpful acronyms to guide us in our prayer lives.
PRAY - Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield.  (Mention hand gestures for video).

PRAY - Praise, Repent, Ask, Yourself.  We often neglect praying for ourselves, except possibly in a crisis.

ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

PRAISE - Praise, Repentance, Ask, Intercede, Speak the Word, Enjoy his presence.

SOAP (combine with time in the Word) - Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.
 

Back to our excuses:

This will answer some.

Phil 4:6-7: do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  1. I don't know why I should pray (I don't need to pray).  Because God commands it and we benefit!

  2. I don't know how I should pray.  We have lots of models, but just talking to God is a start. ( Mention Lucy Swindoll - just had conversations with God while driving - "Well, God, it's been a pretty good day so far, but ...." - just keeping God up-to-date and listening for any advise.)

  3. I don't know what to pray for.  In everything.  For self, for others , for church, for country, the list is endless

  4. I can't seem to get around to it.  Discipline and opportunities.  Let's go to tips.  Ask for suggestions.

Helpful tips:

- PrayerMate.

- Pray while driving alone.

- Pray whenever faced with a problem or challenge.

- I sometimes just pray through the Lord's Prayer, elaborating as I go.

If time:

Has God answered any prayers this week?

Have we thanked (praised) God for anything this week?

Closing - How are we doing on:

Spiritual conversations?

Start (or improving) our Quiet Time?

Memory verse (Matthew 6:6): But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Session 2: Growing in Jesus.

As humans, we were meant to live in relationship with one another. 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.  (For Whom the Bell Tolls (No Man is an Island) - John Donne)

as opposed to :

I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island  (I am a Rock - Simon and Garfunkel)

 

If we are believers in Jesus, we need to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That is, we need to be disciples of Christ.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV).

To be disciples, we need to abide in God's Word.  Which leads us into today's topic: Quiet Time.  Quiet Time (daily) is time we spend with God.  The primary components are Scripture and Prayer.  Today we focus on the Word - studying the Bible.

Additional Scripture on the Word of God:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV).

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  (2 Peter 1:21 ESV).

What can we conclude about God's Word?

It is living and active - it is not dead!

It is penetrating - it cuts to the core of who we are.

It is discerning - it convicts us of sin and shows us the truth.

One problem we  have (I have!!!) is that all too often we read the Bible but soon forget it.  We fail to internalize what God is telling us through his Word.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  (James 1:22 ESV).

How do we go beyond being mere hearers of the Word?

The Study Hand!  As we add each digit, our understanding and retention of God's Word grows. 

Beginning with our pinkie:

  • Hearing God's Word - valuable, but by itself is very limited.  What was last weeks sermon?  What was today's sermon?  If all we do is hear God's Word once a week, how much do we retain?  Toss in Christian radio and TV, and our retention is still limited. 

  • Reading God's Word - daily reading of God's Word is of benefit.  Research shows that most of us retain more of what we have read than what we have heard.

  • Studying God's Word - when we dig deeper into God's Word, we gain insights and understanding - especially if we write them down (journaling).  Writing help us remember more.

  • Memorizing God's Word - this helps give us the mind of Christ.  Christ used (memorized) Scripture to resist Satan.  We can do the same, as well as to give witness and counsel to others.

  • Meditating on God's Word - here we dig deeper into our understanding of God's Word with the attitude of

Applying God's Word to our lives.  It is in the application that we become "doers of the word."  Pastor Bob labels the wrist as "application" because the wrist is passing from the hand to the rest of our body.

Let's get practical.  How do we develop a plan for Quiet Time?

  • We need a time and a place.  It is important to develop the habit, so starting with a mere 5 minutes a day is worth it!  Never get discouraged for getting off track - just get back on track.  (Any suggestions?)

  • Purpose.  The ultimate purpose is sanctification and victory over sin.  And the key is regular study of God's Word and applying it to your life.  But Sometimes our focus will be much more narrow.  Am I trying to deal with a particular sin?  DO I have a relationship that needs healing?  When we are trying to deal with an issue of some kind, we have a short-term objective of digging into the Word for guidance .  (Comments?)

  • Material and Method.  There are many resources you can use, but you must begin with a Bible, which is the only thing that is not a mere "resource."  (What other resources might one use?

SOAP acrostic (two versions):

S - Is there a sin to confess or a song (praise) to sing?

O - Is there a command to obey?

A - Is there an attitude or habit to change?

P - Is there a principle I need to adhere to?

S - Scripture  (what to read, what verse to memorize).

O - Observations (what is most interesting or compelling?).

A - Application (what do you need to confess and / or obey?).

P - Prayer (for self and others - don't neglect yourself!).

In either case, writing (journaling) is important.  You can write or type.  Studies show that you retain more when writing, but typing can have the virtue of having you journal available wherever you go).

If you are not already spending Quiet Time, make a plan - when, where, what (where in the Bible you will begin, though you can use a devotional for direction).  Note: Next week we will be discussing how we have done in getting started on (or continuing with) our Quiet Time.  Use either or both SOAP methods and be prepared to discuss how they worked!

Any spiritual conversations this past week?  Any final thoughts / suggestions on Quiet Time?

Memory verse (James 1:22): But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Session 1: Following Jesus.

This session begins with providing some context to Mark 4, and then diving into Mark 4:26-29, the parable of the seed growing:

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”  (ESV)

We will be discussing the components: Sowers, Seed, Soil, Season, Sickle (harvest).

This session includes the "Wheel Illustration." Since this is a Navigators product, more information is available on our Navigators page. Scroll until you find "The Wheel Illustration." There you will find a link to much more information from the Navigators as well as downloads for supporting memory verses.  The memory verses that we will specifically cover in this session are actually in the "Deepening Your Roots" section on the same webpage.

We will be spending a little time discussing spiritual conversations.  As a church, we have a goal of having 5,000 spiritual conversations in 2019.  But what is a spiritual conversation?  A spiritual conversation is telling your story of what Jesus has done in your life or asking others where they are with Jesus in their lives.  But spiritual conversations can cover a little  more territory than this.  What are your thoughts?