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Using a Rule of Faith to Support Your Spiritual Growth

  • Posted on: 9 December 2016
  • By: Randy Wollf

Plant growing up trellisOver the centuries, Christians have used a Rule of Life to support their spiritual growth. A Rule of Life is an intentional plan to deepen our relationship with God and to receive more from Him (e.g. strength, wisdom) so that we can love and serve Him more effectively.

In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero describes 12 aspects of a Rule of Life. I invite you to consider what you are currently doing in each of these areas and then to prayerfully discern how God might have you strengthen some of them. You may want to use the Rule of Life Worksheet as you read through the descriptions of each of the areas.

Scripture

How are you currently engaging with Scripture? Perhaps, you attend a worship service at your church or participate in a small group Bible study. I have a Bible Reading Plan app on my phone that takes me through the Bible in a year. Some have found that life journaling is an effective way of capturing what God is saying through a passage. We want to engage with Scripture in such a way that we hear from God, remember, and apply what He has said throughout the day (see Random Order: Read, Memorize and Study blog).

Silence/Solitude

Judy Brown has said, “What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space.” Silence and solitude can create these breathing spaces, which allow us to listen to God, to discern His leading and to respond wisely and courageously.

Prayer

I like to go on prayer walks each morning. For me, it’s a great way to get alone with God for a while. I will also periodically do longer prayer retreats (see Five Reasons to Go on a Prayer Retreat blog). Increasingly, I want to develop a lifestyle of prayer where I naturally worship, give thanks, and petition God throughout the day.

Study

Ten Principles for Discerning God’s Will Together

  • Posted on: 2 December 2016
  • By: Randy Wollf

Whether it’s with a ministry team at church or with our own family, we regularly find ourselves trying to discern God’s will with others. In this blog, I will outline ten principles for helping us find God’s way together.

Principle #1 – Encourage Spiritual Growth

It’s important that we recognize that what people bring into a decision-making forum will influence the quality of their contributions. Those in a growing relationship with God will be in a better position to hear from Him. As people develop character that aligns more closely with Christ, their decisions will also become more consistent with Christ’s character (see my post called Character – The Defining Characteristic of Authentic Leadership for an explanation). As we build each other up in Christ, we will make wiser, more God-honouring decisions.

Principle #2 – Pray Before, During, and After Decision-Making Meetings

We desperately need to hear from God. Prayer strengthens our communication link with Him. As we ask God for wisdom, He will guide us. Prayer also connects us to the One who will give us the strength and courage to live out His calling (see my post called Living Out God’s Call).

Principle #3 - God Speaks in Many Different Ways

As we pray, discuss, debate, and plan, let’s be open to God’s still small voice breaking through in unexpected ways.

Principle #4 - Build Diversity Before Driving to Consensus

Groups often push for consensus too quickly. Give people time and space to contribute their unique perspectives. Explore many options. Then, prayerfully discern how God is beginning to shape some of the ideas into a cohesive sense of direction.

Principle #5 - Hearing Multiple Perspectives Can Grant Greater Clarity about the Situation and Possible Solutions

We know from Scripture that, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). Of course, this passage assumes that we actually hear from the advisers around us. In group decision-making, this means that we need to employ mechanisms that allow people to contribute meaningfully as equal participants in the discernment process. 

A Bus Ride That Took An Unexpected Turn

  • Posted on: 28 November 2016
  • By: Randy Wollf

BusIt was going to be a three-hour bus ride. I sat down by myself and hoped it would stay that way. 

Just as we were about to leave the bus terminal, one more person got on the bus. Sure enough, he sat down right beside me.

Even though I still wanted to be alone, I started feeling guilty about my selfish attitude. I prayed, “Lord, if you want me to speak to this person, get him to say the first words.” 

A few minutes later, the man picked up his book and started reading. I thought, “This is good.” 

Then, it happened. The man put his book down and looked at me. I started getting worried. 

His very first words to me were, “So, what do you think about God?” 

For the next three hours, I had the opportunity to listen to and share the Gospel with my new, unsaved friend—someone who was obviously seeking truth. 

In John 12:42, we see that some of the Jewish leaders believed in Jesus. Yet, they refused to share their faith because they were afraid of getting kicked out of the synagogue.

In my experience, fear is one of the main reasons why I sometimes don’t share my faith. I’m afraid of what people might think. I’m afraid of awkwardness and conflict. Of course, sometimes I’m just selfish and don’t really care about the other person. 

Yet, there is one thing that conquers fear and selfishness: love. If I really love someone, I am much more likely to help them. Obviously, I need to help people with their physical needs when I can. Yet, my highest calling is to help them take faith steps towards the One who took our place on the cross—the One who died and rose again so that we might have a deeply satisfying life both now and forever. 

Jesus’ love compels me to love others, even strangers on a bus. 

What are some of the fears that keep you from sharing your faith? How might Christ’s love help you overcome those fears?

Note: For additional help on sharing your faith, check out Six Ways Anyone Can Share Christ and Eight Biblical Reasons for Sharing Christ

Randy Wollf is the Director of MinistryLift and the Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Leadership Studies at MB Seminary

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