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GUEST POST: "Christianity is no longer the norm"

By Curtis W. Freeman

...research professor of theology and director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. His book Pilgrim Journey: Instruction in the Mystery of the Gospel

was published in September by Fortress Press as a sequel to Pilgrim Letters: Instruction in the Basic Teaching of Christ.


This proposal for reordering in discipleship isn’t an attempt to be “seeker-sensitive,” in the worst sense of the phrase, giving nonbelievers less to disbelieve. It’s a realistic response to our society’s profound cultural and political shifts. It’s a recognition that Christianity is no longer the norm and, therefore, does not feel normal to many of our neighbors.

We can no longer assume a basic familiarity with our faith that makes a sense of belonging, at least superficially, relatively easy to achieve. We must start with belonging in the sense of “faith as trust” in God and membership in God’s family, not belief in the sense of “faith as understanding,” because getting to the doctrinal affirmations is a much longer journey than it used to be. In post-Christendom, occasional church attendance is not a sufficient basis for making Christians—if that attendance happens at all.

Moreover, the disciple-making process is not about enculturating people into an affinity group of support and togetherness. It’s about cultivating a community committed to following Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). In a secular society, to believe and behave, we must be able to grasp that we belong not only to that community but to God who created us and demonstrated a profound love for us in Jesus Christ.

Belonging, then, is not simply a matter of church attendance or even membership. It’s a covenant relationship based on trust and commitment. It’s deeper than cultural similarities or consumer attraction to a congregation’s programming. It’s belonging to God and one another in the ties that bind our hearts in Christian love. It’s the fellowship of kindred minds. It’s bearing one another’s burdens and sharing the joy of blessings. It’s a common journey and a common hope.

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The Servant's Return


After those horrible days end, the sun will be darkened,

     the moon will not give light, stars will fall from the sky,

     and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 

Then everyone will see the Son of Man arrive on the clouds,   

     with great power and glory.  So keep a sharp lookout! 

For you do not know when the homeowner will return—

     at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak.

                                                                                                                                     Mark 13:24-26, 36-37 NLT


     Contrary to popular opinion, the Creator will return as Judge. 

     The Lamb will become a Lion—the world will go up in smoke.

     Jesus’ shout will wake the dead—his trumpet call will be reveille.

     Heads will roll, tears will fall, and knees will bend.


     Keep doing right, no matter how intensely Satan tempts you—

          then you can look Me straight in the eye without embarrassment.

     Stay on the same wavelength with the Light of the world—

          keep away from dark, dingy places demons haunt.

     Stay on the same sheet of music with the Source of music—

          enjoy eternal pleasure of My company, not sin’s temporary thrills.


     The sun will be eclipsed by the dawn of the Sun of Righteousness.

     After constellations die, the Bright Morning Star will shine on.

     When human authority is history, the King of Kings will reign forever.

     My promised future perfect tense will materialize at the right time.

     Citizens from every nation will be privileged to be heavenly residents.  

     Believers will learn to speak My universal language of love. 

     Rest assured these good things will happen—you have My Word.

     In view of My return . . .

          Stay awake!  You do not know the day or hour, so watch your step.

               Live prayerfully—worship Me constantly with all your heart. 

          Stay alert!  Only the Father knows the time, so do not let it surprise you.

               Live wisely—think My thoughts and conquer the evil one.

          Stay active!  Lackadaisicalness and mediocrity betray your profession.   

               Live faithfully—work for Me with passion and energy. 

          Stay watchful!  The King will return on God’s timetable, not yours.

               Live conscientiously—make a conscious effort to be ready. 


     I may interrupt the evening of your leisure, bringing you eternal peace.

     My wakeup call may happen during the midnight of your deepest rest.

     Sunrise of an ordinary day may bring the dawn of heaven’s new day.

     Your morning preoccupation may be replaced with unending worship.

     Do not try to calculate the day of My return—prepare for it!





© By Pastor Johnny R. Almond   

Gentle Whispers from Eternity


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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: 1 Chr. 17:11

11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.

  • David's Seed (Matthew 1:1; 9:27 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: 2 Ki. 2:11

11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

  • The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated (Luke 24:51)

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: 2 Sam. 7:12-14,16

12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

  • David's Seed (Matthew 1:1)
  • His Kingdom is everlasting (2Peter 1:11)
  • The Son of God (Luke 1:32, Romans 1:3-4 )
  • David's house established forever (Luke 3:31; Rev. 22:16)

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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March For Jesus


1 – Our 2024 “Share the Vision” video, Spanish Version, is now on our website.

            Marcha por Jesús 2024 - ¡Gracias Jesús!


2 – The  March for Jesus 2024 Informational Zoom Conference is on our website.

 March for Jesus 2024 Informational Meeting


3 – Reminder, our monthly prayer zoom the first Wednesday of every month at 1:00 pm EST.



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#ReimagineCITIES...Together Chicago


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Thank you for continuing your prayers for us and for our beautiful city! We are tremendously thankful for you. We pray that the Lord would bless you and your family this week for Thanksgiving. 
Please join us on the Prayer Partners Zoom Tuesdays 9:30-10:00 a.m. to pray for Together Chicago if you can. We would love to have our Prayer Partners on this weekly prayer zoom. 

Prayer Partners Zoom Link: Meeting ID: 886 5929 3151 Passcode: gKsZ54

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  • Pray for our Economic Development Department as we collaborate with two separate individuals who desire to purchase businesses to provide jobs in our city and partner with Together Chicago. Pray that they would be led strongly by the Holy Spirit. Pray especially for divine favor.
  • Pray for Together Chicago staff to have a blessed Thanksgiving with their families and safe travel. 
  • Pray for our ongoing and growing relationships with both the Lily Foundation and Stand Together Foundation. Pray that the Lord would give us wisdom moving forward with the use of grants and developing measurable outcomes of our work in violence reduction. Pray especially for Jacinta as she joins our staff to assist in this goal. 
  • Pray for our growing relationship with Billy Evans and the Public Safety Department. Pray also for a divine between TC and Mayor Johnson.

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  • Continue to pray for the Education fundraising campaign to be a success to see more funds raised for the youth, their families and our schools across the city. Pray even now that God would call forth generous donors.
  • Pray for Together Chicago's Education Team and Communities In Schools Chicago as they continue to host conversations surrounding a strategy to support Safe and Sound Schools and address violence in our schools.
  • Pray for our LYS Prayer Champions who are leading Prayer Corners each week outside their school, that they would be anointed as they partner with the Lord in prayer over their adopted schools: Pulaski ES, Clemente, Noble DRW, Julian HS, McKay ES, Jenner, Hanson Park, Ellington ES, Catalyst Circle Rock, Chicago Hope Academy, Brown STEM, Caldwell, Franklin Fine Arts, Peterson ES, Carlson ES and Beidler ES.

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  • Pray for the Chicagoland United in Prayer monthly meetings over the next two months as we meet and develop the agenda and theme for our CUIP Citywide Prayer event in February. Pray especially that many Pastors and Leaders would attend December's meeting as we will be making our promo video.
  • Pray that many would mark their calendars as the invite has gone out for the CUIP Citywide Prayer. Pray also that Pastors would invite their congregations to attend this annual prayer event with them.
  • Pray for the Chicagoland United in Prayer connection with the city's Public Safety Department to be even more solidified this year and that we would collaborate with excellence for no gun violence in our city through Building Blocks of Peace.

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  • Continue to pray for the Gospel Justice Centers who have been put on pause: Maple Park U.M. Church, Uptown Baptist Church. Pray that the Lord would intervene by His Spirit to equip these churches with an Attorney/Justice Champion. Pray especial for Trinity as they pause for health reasons.  Pray that the Lord would heal Robert and raise up another attorney.
  • Pray that there would be an abundance of attorneys on backlog who are available for our Gospel Justice Centers and that existing attorneys would train someone up to replace them eventually.
  • Pray for our Justice Champions and their teams at each Gospel Justice Center, that they would be strengthened with divine might by the Holy Spirit in their inner man. Pray especially for Shannon and a family emergency.

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  • Pray for supernatural peace over Greater Grand Crossing, Westhaven Park, Near West, East Garfield Park and N. Austin. Pray for an open heaven, with angels ascending and descending over this region. Pray especially for Austin this week, that the Lord would intervene between the two tribes that continue to be at war. 
  • Pray for the Lord to raise up a new Street Outreach Professional to fill the vacancy left by the sad loss of our brother, Marlon. Pray for strength for James and LaVonas as they fill in during this time.
  • Pray for Case Managers Tremaine and Shereka in Greater Grand Crossing to have an increase of wisdom, favor and discernment.
  • Pray that the Lord would continue to anoint our growing unity with other laborers in our city who are contending to make peace happen and an end to gun violence.

Thank you for your commitment to pray with and for us!

Together Chicago exists to be a catalyst for lasting change by reducing gun violence and increasing thriving communities in our city.

We catalyze faith, business, community, and government leaders to inspire hope and affect peace and justice in the communities we serve.


We focus on five areas: economic development, educational achievement, violence reduction, gospel justice, and faith community mobilization.
Together Chicago
200 W Adams St, Suite 2950
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 332-5713
Who We Are   Contact


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Authentic Christianity





Now, dear children, continue to live in fellowship with Christ

     so that when he returns, you will be full of courage

          and not shrink back from him in shame.

                              1 John 2:28 NLT





Be Christlike in your actions.

    Back up adjectives with verbs—I do not want applause; I want surrender.

    Christlikeness is a moral imperative, not an ideal—a must, not an ought to. 

    Do more than ask what I would do—do what you know I want you to do.     

    Walk in My steps and I will reward you with My smile.


Be compassionate in your relationships.

     I am the God with a heart—be sure you have one too.

     Loving keeps you near the Light—hatefulness keeps you in the dark.

     Christian love is not based on feelings—it begins with a choice of the will.

     Follow My example and I will bless you with My love. 


Be celebrative in My Presence.

     In My Presence, there is Light beyond shadows.

     My music teaches you to sing; My promises give you confidence;

          My grace strengthens your soul; My peace calms you in the storm.

     Learn My melody of joy and I will give you a full, rich life.


Be consecrated in My will.

     Physical pleasure cannot compare to the sweetness of My will.

     Material things are transitory—invisible realities last forever.

     Use possessions; don’t let them possess you—I alone deserve First Place.

     Treasure My friendship above all and I will give you eternal life. 


Be consistent in your devotion.

     Stay in step with the Way, keep faith in the Truth, enjoy liberty of the Life. 

     Trust and obey Me, whatever happens—prove you are a real disciple. 

     Keep traveling My road and I will get you home.


Be certain in your heart.

     Obedience is faith’s acid test—believers march in step with their King.         

     When you lovingly obey Me, I get personal with you—

          dear, not distant;  close, not cerebral;  Friend, not cold fact;

          Companion, not merely a creed;  relationship, not just religion;

          heartfelt passion, not head-trip idea;  treasure, not only a thought.

     Stay near My heart, enjoy pleasure of My company, and I will make Myself real to you.   





  © By Pastor Johnny R. Almond 

  Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: 1 Sam. 2:10, 35

10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed forever.

  • Shall be an anointed King to the Lord (Mt. 28:18, John 12:15 )
  • A Faithful Priest (Heb. 2:17; 3:1-3, 6; 7:24-25 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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The King's Smile










The master was full of praise, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.

You have been faithful in handling this small amount,

so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

                                   Matthew 25:21 NLT


Good job!   You’ll hear these words if you do My work well. 

     Well thought is good, well said is nice, but well done gets My attention. 

     I expect you to do something for Me—not just study or discuss it.

     Don’t just sit around and do nothing wrong—do something right.

     I am omniscient—I see the quality of service and the purity of motives. 

     Invest time and energy in My work and I will commend you one day.


Good heart!   At the cross, I took your sin and gave you perfection.

     I am merciful—I forgive repentant hearts. 

     Trust Me and I will give you My righteousness.


Good attitude!   The Faithful One is your example—walk in My steps.

     I am the Servant King—be subject to My will and live like Me.

     Without Me, you can do nothing worthwhile—without faith, you fail.

     For every responsibility I give you, I also grant you response-ability.

     Go out on a limb—don’t play it safe on this faith adventure.

     I inspire and energize you—yield and you can do what I ask of you.


Good response!   Trustworthiness and dependability are what I look for.

     I am your Boss—work like it.

     Give Me your best effort—strive to reach the high standards I set.

     Shoddy work and halfhearted efforts are unacceptable.

     I am gracious—I bless you with strength to serve.

     I trust you—now do your very best for Me.


Good reward!   You’ll receive something better than a paycheck. 

     Be faithful in small things—invest in My cause and earn big dividends.

     I observe all you do for Me—trust Me and I will make it all worthwhile.

     Nothing you do in My name is a waste of time—eternity will prove it.

     When you stand before your King, all you’ve done, yes everything

          will be worth it . . . rest assured I’ll reward you with My smile.

          With this one thought keep going . . . living, working for My smile.





© By Pastor Johnny R. Almond                        

Gentle Whispers from Eternity


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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Ruth 4:4-10

4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.

5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.

6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.

7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.

8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.

9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi.

10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.

  • Christ, our kinsman, has redeemed us (Ephesians 1:3-7 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Joshua 5:14-15

14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

  • The Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Deut. 18:19

19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

  • Whoever will not hear must bear his sin (Acts 3:22-23)

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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God's Immeasurable Love




May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should,

how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.

                                Ephesians 3:17b-18 NLT



 My love is wider than your mind—it is universal.
     Reality transcending E = mc2 is greater than your ability to comprehend.
     I am energy’s Source, faith’s Center of Gravity, and light’s Creator.
     My love reaches out to people of all nations—not just people like you.
     My love is no abstraction, it is actuality—more than an idea, it is truth.
     My mercy and compassion for the undeserving extends even to you.
     You cannot fathom why I care for you, but you can experience My love.

My love is longer than your lifetime—it is unending.
     No force can separate you from My love—
          death’s terror, life’s trouble, demons’ distraction, today’s fear,
          tomorrow’s worry, hell’s power, height’s dizziness, sea’s chaos—
               nothing can come between us.
     Believer, we are inseparable.
     When you are finally free from death, you will sing of My love forever.

My love is higher than your soul—it is unlimited.
     My love cancels despair with hope, and cares more than you imagine.
     Infinitely beyond earnest prayers, intense hopes, and grand dreams—
          My work inside your being gives you joy too wonderful for words.
     The place My heart is preparing for those who respond to My love
          is more beautiful than paintings, symphonies, or poems can express.

My love is deeper than your heart—it is unfailing.
     Betsie ten Boom is right—no pit is so deep, that I am not deeper still.
     When you experience depression, do not lose your hope in Me.
     My heart empathizes with you in your pain and problems.
     My promises guide you through the maze of perplexity.
     My Spirit holds you together through your darkest night.
     I am your Face-healer—smile through tears until I wipe them away.





© By Pastor Johnny R. Almond                

Day 344, Gentle Whispers from Eternity


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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Deut. 18:18

18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

  • Sent by the Father to speak His word (John 8:28, 29 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Deut. 18:15-16

15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.

  • "This is of a truth that prophet." (John 6:14 )
  • "Had ye believed Moses, ye would believe me." (John 5:45-47 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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The King's Censure



“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees!  Frauds!

You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun,

     while the insides are maggoty with greed and gluttony.  Stupid Pharisee!

Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.

You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright,

      but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh.

People look and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.”

                         Matthew 23:25-28 THE MESSAGE


I’m giving you fair warning—heaven’s judgment fell on first-century pretenders,

     and it still falls on the heads of all who repeat their folly.


Pride always receives My severe condemnation.

     Religion means nothing to Me—relationship means everything.

     My Son put an end to religion, making heartless ceremonies obsolete. 

     Status nauseates me—servanthood receives My smile. 

     Payola piety turns My stomach—sincere worship melts My heart.

     Sermons without words are what I’m looking for, not hollow lectures.

     Fall to your knees because of your sin, then you can get to your feet again.

     I am your Teacher—sit at My feet as a humble student.

     Learn My lessons before you presume to teach others how to live.


Pretense always meets My heavy disapproval. 

     Pharisees practiced payola piety, trying to win human approval.

     They got what they wanted, nothing more—they were paid in full.

     They learned verses in their head, but did not know Me in their heart.

     They loved the attention of the masses, but did not love the Master.

     They acted spiritual to cover up their evil, but hid nothing from Me.

     They painted a veneer over their sin, but changed nothing inside. 

     Do better than the play-actors—take off your mask and avoid theatrics. 

     I am your Leader—stay near My heart and walk in My steps.

     Get real with Me before you attempt to lead people.


Superficiality always merits My intense judgment.

     Peripheral issues detract from nobler matters—equity, kindness, fidelity. 

     Looking good is no substitute for being good.

     I see right through you—you can’t fool Me for a minute.

     Reputation is what others think of you—character is what I know you are.

     Externalities may impress people and gain you wide recognition;

          but what pleases Me is a clean, wise, joyful, loving, obedient heart. 

     Keeping up appearances, with a heart rotten to the core, angers Me.

     I am your Savior—be pure inside and your public persona will be authentic.

     Be right on the inside before you try to influence the world.


     Be a fake, and you’re sure to receive My harsh censure.

     Be My authentic follower, and you’re certain to receive My commendation.


      © By Pastor Johnny R. Almond               12271416497?profile=RESIZE_180x180

      Gentle Whispers from Eternity


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Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day: Num. 21:9

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

  • The serpent on a pole-Christ lifted up (John 3:14-18; 12:32 )

Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God - Hebrews 13:16
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GUEST POST ~ "They just don't know how"

But How?  

By Mike Glenn

Every parent has made the mistake of asking their children to do something the child wasn’t quite ready to do. Maybe it was bringing in a bag of groceries before the child was quite strong enough to carry it by themselves. Maybe it was getting dressed before they understood the tag always goes in the back. The child understood what needed to be done. They just didn’t know how to do it. 

I’m afraid this is true in most of our churches. Every Sunday, our members leave the worship service, inspired by the sermon, committed to doing something differently in their lives, but not knowing how they are to do the new thing they want to do. 

The pastor said in the sermon we need to pray more. The members want to pray. They just don’t know how. 

They’ve heard a sermon convincing them they need to read the Bible more. Again, every member wants to. They just don’t know how. 

Discipleship, for most of us, has become a matter of information. Our depth of discipleship is determined by how much trivia we know about Jesus and the Bible. If someone can rightly point out the wise men visited Jesus in a house and not the stable, they are considered to be a serious student of the Word. In other words, they are real disciples. 

This knowledge, however, never seems to transfer to the way these Bible quoting disciples  actually live their lives. During my ministry, I have been repeatedly surprised to find my Scripture quoting members were some of the meanest people in the congregation. Why this disconnect?

Because we saw success in the church as people being able to quote the text, not necessarily live the Way. If someone could quote 1 Corinthians 13, they didn’t necessarily have to love their neighbor. They just have to know the words. 

This happens when we become overly concerned about good works actually saving us. So, we focused on “belief” which means being able to repeat the discipleship lessons we’ve learned. To be able to say it meant we obviously believed it. True belief is confirmed in the doing, not the talking. All of us would agree good works don’t save us, but we forget good works are the evidence of our salvation. What we know and believe about Christ blossoms into the choices and actions lived out in our  lives. We love our neighbors because we do loving things towards them. We love Jesus if we do what He teaches us to do.

That brings me to my point. How much time do we spend talking about how we do the disciplines of the faith we talk so much about? How many of us have spent time working with someone teaching them how to pray? How much time do we spend working with a class teaching them to read, study, understand then apply the learned truths to our actual living? How many times have our people left the church after hearing an inspiring sermon and realized they have no idea what to do with what they’ve just heard?

Paul reminds the Philippians to do whatever they have seen him do. I used to think this was an arrogant boast on behalf of Paul, but when I became a father, I understood his statement. I can’t remember the number of times I would say to one of my boys, “Do it like this. Watch me.” They learned to wash their hands, brush their teeth, tie their shoes, comb their hair, read their Bibles, love their wives and yes, become fathers to their own children by watching me. I had to show them how to do the things I wanted them to do and how each desired action should be done. 

Why  are we surprised we would have to be shown how to love our neighbors, pray, or study the Word? After all, we should remember, none of these actions come naturally.

I guess the only thing more surprising is realizing how little of our time is devoted to helping new or young believers actually do what we’re asking them to do as followers of Christ. No one is born being good at being a disciple. No one is born knowing how to pray or study Scriptures. All of us have to be taught. 

Every good teacher I know is very patient. None of this stuff is easy. There will be days when our young disciples are brilliant. There will be other days when they don’t have a clue. Teaching – and learning– these skills takes a long time. In fact, learning them well takes our entire lives. The second quality good teachers have is intentionality. They have a goal for their student and they are determined to get their student to achieve that goal. 

To know and not do, a wise man said, is the same thing as not knowing. Knowing the Word is proven by living the Way. Discipleship happens when disciples live out the teachings of Christ, not when we have memorized the words. 

So, ask yourself, how well are you teaching the application of the teachings of Christ to those you are discipling? (You are discipling someone aren’t you? Every disciple makes a disciple…but that’s another blog). If your disciple can’t do what they believe they should be doing, it may be because they don’t know how. 

Most people are living the best way they know how. The great thing about Jesus is He has a better “how.” Make sure your friends know how to do His “how” the way He would do it. This makes all the difference. 

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