Study (2)

Lay It Down: The Book

This entry's somewhat more personal/self-promotional than past entries, but a year and a half's worth of work will drive a man to push the envelope. And this is the right group to tell about it. So I appreciate your forebearance....


Jesus told us in John 15:13-14, “No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends  if you do what I command you.” That’s really the heart of discipleship.

But it often comes in pieces. How do we lay down our past — our old life, sins, compulsions, shame? How do we lay down our present — our burdens, weaknesses, strengths, possessions, reputation? And how do we lay down our future — our fears, goals, expectations, even the good things God’s already given us?

Our lives have to move from being of Christ to being in Christ, and ultimately to where finally each of our lives “is Christ” (Phil. 1:18, et al.). And that’s tough. Lay It Down makes the processing part, at least, a bit easier — and offers you the opportunity to process both on your own and in a small-group environment.

A synopsis of contents follows, but first, the critical purchase info:

• To purchase the physical book (210p.) directly from CreateSpace ($12.99), go here.

• For the Kindle version ($9.99, with free borrowing for Kindle Prime members), go here.

• And while you’re at it, go Like the Lay It Down Facebook page here – then Share it.

Section 1: Lay Down Your Past—We need to allow God to deal with what’s already happened in our lives before we can fully move forward. Even long-time Christians have issues from the past that have a way of cropping back up in our lives in brand-new ways—or even in ways we thought we’d left behind.

• Week 1, Lay Down Your Old Life, addresses the core issues of our old life without Christ, such as sin and our former patterns of thinking

• In Week 2, Lay Down Your Baggage, we address those issues from our past that might still have a hold on us—old hurts, grudges, addictions.

Section 2: Lay Down Your Present—What are your current life issues, and how are you trying to control them on your own rather than lay them down before Christ?

• Week 3, Lay Down Your Kingdom, deals the stuff we hold onto and take pride in apart from Christ—and how to hand over the reins.

• With Week 4, Lay Down Your Triggers, we take a step further toward trusting God fully with our lives and identity right now, so that God can provide something better.

Interlude/Retreat: Lay Down Your Time—Between the Present and the Future I’ve inserted an Interlude. (Where better to put it?) This directed retreat can be done on your own or better yet, with a group. I pretty much guarantee that those following the structure presented here will come back renewed, refreshed, and with a deeper sense of spiritual intimacy and purpose—I’ve seen this work too many times to believe otherwise. And with that, it’s time for…

Section 3: Eternal Life Starts Now—Everything we do here on earth is rehearsal time for that endless day we will spend in eternity with Christ. The remainder of the book explores that.

• Week 5, Lay Down Your Future, addresses our immediate future—how to lay down our anxieties, fears, and even our own expectations about what God has planned for us.

• In Week 6, Lay Down the Law (and Leave It There), we’ll explore what it looks like to walk out our entire lives in the Spirit, and the different ways God has provided so that laying down isn’t just sacrifice, but rest and peace in Him.

• In Week 7, Lay Down Your New Life, we’ll look at what it means to lay down our new lives in Christ. God always has something better in store for us, but in order to receive it we need to lay down our gifts and worship the Giver.

And finally, with Week 8, we’ll Pick It Up, Put It On, Walk It Out. We are pilgrims together on this journey, and even now we should be able to recognize our new life in Christ in one another as well. We’ll explore what that looks like.

So that’s it. Interested? That’s what I was hoping. Enjoy, be blessed, be changed, and spread the word.

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A Lesson about Hunting Dogs and Church

Didn't see that coming... I stopped to talk with two men who were running their dogs (17 beagles flushing out rabbits) — what I learned from these two men (one married 50 years, the other married 55 years) about dogs was totally pertinent to our churches today.

The husband and I had walked a few miles in southern Johnson County today and heard the dogs running and barking like they do when they're running after a rabbit. Curious, we stopped and talked to the owners for awhile and asked them lots of questions.
I noticed they were conferring because they'd hear the dogs barking and then watched the pack chase a rabbit across an open part of the road. One or two small beagles couldn't keep up and they could hear it barking away from the others....they knew which dog was away from the pack by the sound of their bark...."Yeah, Ruthie got left behind again...."

Even though these two men couldn't see the dogs running through the brush, they kept careful track of them -- knowing where they were and if they were "working" or tracking game by their loud group barking.

Here's the Church lesson: The eldest man noted, "when they're working, you can keep track of's when they're not working you lose them. It reminded me of our churches: When the flock have a place to serve in the house of God (working) and are diligently studying God's Word in Bible Study (also working) we can keep track of them — when they are doing neither, we tend to lose them.
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