Four Ways for You to Grow – Part One

We all want our relationship with God to grow.  That’s our mission as a church – to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Ironically, most of us get stuck in growing our relationship with God.  Sunday morning is a great place to foster spiritual development.  Obviously, we’re big fans of Sunday mornings.  But an hour on Sunday won’t lead to the deepest, richest relationship with God.

So this week on the blog, we’ll review four other important ways to grow, all of them quite "doable" for just about everyone.  I hope they help.

The first way to grow is to cultivate the private discipline of reading the Bible and praying.  I know it sounds so basic, but you wouldn’t believe how many Christians miss this one.  I sit down with so many people who are stuck spiritually only to discover that their prayer life is a bit flat and they haven’t been into the Bible for a while.

More and more, I think of prayer and scripture reading as "date time" with God.  In the same way that I need time to nurture the relationship with my wife, I need time to nurture my relationship with God. 

Some basic thoughts on prayer and scripture reading:

  1. Start with 10-15 minutes a day.
  2. Free yourself from distractions.
  3. When you pray, talk naturally and from the heart.  Tell God what’s really going on.
  4. Take time to listen.
  5. Find a version of the Bible that’s easy to understand.  You can read virtually every translation on line for free. I like the New Living Translation and the Message for devotional reading.
  6. Make your scripture reading part of your prayer, asking God to show you how it applies to you and how to understand the text.

Scripture is God’s revelation to us.  Probably more than anything else, reading the scripture and prayer have kept me through the good times and tough times over my life.

How has reading the Bible and praying been part of your walk?  What are some great moments?  What have been some tougher moments for you?

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7 Comments

  1. Tim L. Walker says, September 16, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Got any good suggestions for online "give it to me in my RSS reader" scripture reading? Like a good online personal bible study or something? I hate to actually have to pick up a book, or go find something myself… there's gotta be something good that can just show up in my feed reader… 😉

  2. Joan says, September 16, 2008 at 6:47 am

    I most definitely feel the difference between when I'm too busy for God & prayer and when I take time each day to be with Him. Prayer closes the gap in the relationship. I've had a lot of great moments – most recently this past weekend praying and asking for guidance through some emotional pain. I know I was led to a verse on a devotional calendar (James MacDonald)followed by a Bible verse to read. "When you're filled with anxiety or burdens, remember: PRAY!….it won't be long until your burdens feel lifted as your anxiety is replaced by faith". I prayed and my anxiety did just that – lifted! It's something hard to explain to nonbelievers, but we know this to be true – our relationship grows when we spend more time with God and listen.
    Thanks for your tips Carey. I will practice that private discipline more….now off to "September 16". 🙂

  3. Carey Nieuwhof says, September 17, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Tim…well, I'm no Steve Jobs or geek guy, but here's what I found on line for an RSS daily bible readers.

    The site looks a bit old, but try dailybiblereader.com

    Paste this into your browser to find RSS feeds from the International Bible Society: http://www.ibs.org/syndicate/rss/index.php

    The ESV (English Standard Version) folks have options at http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/share/rss2.0/

    Lots of people are jazzed about what's happening at youversion. Check it out here at http://www.youversion.com/.

    Good old faithful Bible Gateway has some options too at http://www.biblegateway.com/info/rss.php.

    So there are a few menu items for your daily feed. Anyone else have preferences or find other options?

    Joan – thanks for bringing out the tension many of us feel and for pointing to the relief of that tension too!

  4. Tim L. Walker says, September 17, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks, I'll take a peak… 🙂

  5. Jen says, September 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Mom (Joan) and I have talked often about unbelievers and people who are "positive thinkers". Being positive just doesn't cut it but I guess that's easy for a Christ follower to say. What an amzing difference to have Christ in our life. That silly book "The Secret", lol, hello people, the 'secret' is the bible! And it's been around for over a couple thousand years! :o) Mom's right, when I miss time with God if it's a busy week or even miss church I feel way emptier than when I pray every night and read my bible. I can't wait until I'm at a spot that not only do I pray every single day (more than once) but I also won't feel guilty if I don't. Sometimes I'm too tired at night and I don't take the time to talk to God. I know it's 'bad' but I feel like it's even worse that I feel guilty. I'm not supposed to feel 'guilted' into praying but I hate it when I don't every day. Well, I guess only I can change that so I better start trying. And I know I'll grow more when I develop Christian friendships through a community group, I have hardly any Christian friends and from what I hear it makes the biggest difference. Oddly enough I have the same James MacDonald calendar as mom and it said today: "I can tell you that people who have developed a life pattern of transformation, who are becoming more and more mature as followers of Christ, are surrounded by biblical friendships. Without those kinds of friendships, they cannot flourish spiritually. Neither can you." Daily reading Ecclesiastes 4:13

  6. Doris Schuster says, September 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Jen, we're looking for a few more women to join our Women's Community Group. Talk to Laurie at GroupLink on Saturday!
    Doris

  7. Jen says, September 19, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Doris! Thanks for the invite! Unfortunately I won't be here this Saturday. And I would want to choose a group close to home and only certain days will work for me. I think this group link is in Orillia so perhaps the next one in Barrie will be the one I attend. I do have to join one soon, though, I need all the help I can get! :o)

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