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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Dear Colleagues,

FIVE DEFINING DISCIPLINES OF GROWING FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST+

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Consistent Quiet Time: After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone… (Matthew 14:23) (See Joshua 1:8)

If you dont already have a consistent time alone with God, (Quiet Time) set aside a few minutes each day and ponder your way through a few verses in the Bible and then say a prayer. Start with a small portion in the New Testament.  Underline passages or verses that capture your attention.  Memorize verses for strength, courage, usability and faith.  One Christian leader suggests that we pray backwards through yesterday step by step, and forward through today. Praying backwards will lead to prayers of thanksgiving and confession, while praying forward will lead to prayers of supplication.

Organized Bible Study:  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.  (2 Timothy 2:15, 16) (See Proverbs 4:23)

Someone once asked Billy Graham, If you were a pastor of a large church in a principle city what would be your plan of action.  To which Graham responded, One of the first things I would do would be to get a small group of eight or ten or twelve men around me that would meet a few hours a week and pay the price! It would cost them something in time and effort.  I would share with them everything I have learned, over a period of years. Then I would actually have twelve ministerswho in turn could take eight or ten or twelve more and teach them. (I wonder where he got that idea?) In my years of discipling I have never known a man whose life has been significantly changed  apart from regular Bible study.

Accountability Group: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  (James 5:16a) (See Galatians 6:1,2)

Most of our conversation is at the news, sports, and weather level.  Few men are accountable. Accountability has the idea of being regularly answerable for the key areas of our lives to responsible people. Here are four areas of accountability:

1)  Answerable: To be willing to give an account for the goals you have set and the standards of Gods word in your life.

2)  Regularly: Consistently examining the different areas of our lives, lest they deteriorate (like an un-kept car).

3)  Key Areas: Include relationships with God, spouse, children, financial decision, career, integrity, and temptation.

4)  Qualified People: Look for people who will be transparent, vulnerable, and confidential.  Find people of spiritual wisdom and skill.

Active Church Involvement: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  (Hebrews 10:24, 25)  (See Matthew 18:20)

Were talking here not about church attendance, but church involvement, which translates into fellowship, encouragement, and mutual worship of God in a local church.

Personal Ministry: You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.  (2 Timothy 2:2)  (See I Peter 4:11) 

As you practice the four spiritual disciplines above, you will begin to experience a closer, personal love relationship with Christ. It will be out of that overflow that you will naturally want to reach out to others in helping them discover Christ and grow in that relationship with him. 

+Key ideas drawn from A Look in the Mirror by Patrick M. Morley

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