Trying to keep up with everyone’s expectations for our spiritual journeys can be exhausting and frustrating. We are all different and so are our journeys toward Godliness. There is wisdom in simplifying not complicating the process. There is no formula that works for everyone, but we have found that there are simple priorities that can keep us on track in our individual journeys.
Accuracy is simply understanding and obeying God’s Word.
"Our aim is only as good as our accuracy. I love to hunt. My weapon of choice is bow and arrow, but it really doesn’t matter. When it comes to hunting a good aim is everything. In the last couple of years I have had the privilege of hanging out with some professional hunter types in Montana. Amazingly, many who pay significant amounts of money to come and hunt with them don’t consider a good aim much of a priority. This isn’t true of all hunters who come to camp, but some who show up couldn’t hit an animal if it was sleeping with them. Some have great aim on the target range. And some, although excellent shots and experienced hunters, just miss when a giant bull is screaming at them, especially when they are really close. Their aim is only as good as their accuracy when it comes to crunch time.
Accuracy matters in our lives as well. Many of us set our sights on some goals, but we somehow seem to never hit them, or we hit them and we find that we were shooting at the wrong target. What we thought would satisfy us turns out to be less than we anticipated. The first priority in our lives if we are going to be on target with what will really satisfy is accuracy, and accuracy breaks down into two equally important aspects—accurate understanding and accurate obedience." ~ Doug Wieber, Lead Pastor
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
In order to keep our lives on target, we must know what truth is . Only God's Word tells us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In our culture we treat God's Word as if it is a suggestion or simply an opinion. God says what He means and means what He says in His Word.
God's truth is timeless and universal. The Bible is as relevant today as it was the day it was written. but it must be studied to accurately know what it is telling us. This task isn't just for professional pastors with a secret decoder ring, but for every believer to undertake.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16
Accurate understanding of God's Word is the first step to living lives of meaning and purpose--staying on target, if you will.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to
the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into
the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it
-he will be blessed in what he does."James 1:22-25
Accurate understanding of God's Word must lead to accurate obedience. To some extent we have created a religious culture that seems to think that knowing what God's Word says is enough. Accurately understanding God's Word without obeying what we are told turns into intellectualism. We turn a relationship with Christ into a pursuit of knowledge about Christ with no real impact on our lives.
Accurately obeying God's Word inevitably means changes in our lives. Jesus didn't call us to just "pray a prayer". He called us to follow Him. In doing so, we must choose to die to ourselves and pursue the life God wants us to have. Paul tells us in Galatians that we are crucified with Christ and it is He who now lives in us. Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Without accurate obedience our lives will never stay on target. It isn't enough to just know what God says. We must also be willing to obey what He says for the truth to set us free from ourselves. John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Intimacy follows accuracy. Christianity is not just knowing about God, it is knowing Him personally. The more we know Him, the more we love Him. Intimacy with God always results in intimacy with each other. God never intended for us to make this journey alone. Intimacy with other believers is essential to maintain a healthy walk with the Lord. That kind of intimacy can only be accomplished in small group settings. We need people who really know us, love us, and tell us the truth.
How many times have we heard the statement, “Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship. The problem is that it isn’t true. Don’t get me wrong. It is plenty true in theory, just not in practice. Christianity is not simply a book of truths or a list of dogmas. Christianity is truth about how to have an intimate ongoing relationship with the God of the universe. The truth is that life is about relationships. Little else matters. We were designed for and desire intimacy—with God and with each other.
When Jesus was asked by some very religious people, “What is the greatest commandment?”
He summarized Christianity by saying, “Love God and love others.” (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34)
Christianity is all about relationships.
Jesus defined eternal life in terms of relationship.
John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Jesus also said that relationships with others are what verify our relationship with Him.
John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
If our lives are on target with what God says, it will inevitably result in intimacy with Him and with others.
Intimacy with God
If I asked you to define Christianity, what would you say? There are a variety of descriptions or definitions.
Some would focus on activities. Others would focus on certain beliefs, even accurate beliefs. Jesus gave a very
succinct definition that gives us the “heart” of the issue. In fact, the heart of the issue is the heart of the issue.
John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.'"
A relationship with Christ is simply that, a relationship. Every relationship takes time and devotion to grow and build in intimacy.
As followers of Christ, our most important relationship in with Him. To build into our relationship with Christ requires us to
take time alone with our Savior.
In North America, we tend to be so busy that our time with God is the two hours we give Him on Sunday mornings at church (if that!). We cannot expect our intimacy with Him to grow if this is all the time we give Him, any more than a weekly conversaton will enhance intimacy with our spouses.
John 15:5 (Message) "I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you,
the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.
Intimacy with others
Sometimes we think we can have intimacy with God all by ourselves. In America we have individualized our Christianity. It is about a personal relationship with Christ, but is not just about a personal relationship with Him. Jesus said that others will know about our relationship with Him because of our relationship with each other. (John 13:35) Our relationship (intimacy) with God is very hard to measure, so God gave us a way to evaluate it—in our relationships with each other. Christianity was never meant to work in isolation.
We were designed for relationships. And Christianity only works in the context of close relationships. And if it doesn’t work there,
then it doesn’t really work. The problem is that most of us avoid intimate relationships like the plague. We are afraid of them.
We are afraid of being exposed, of really being known, even though it is in our DNA.
True intimacy is a very scary concept, being fully exposed to others at the risk of being judged or reprimanded. To most of us, this thought makes us quake. Truthfully, God designed everyone of us to experience intimacy with others--too openly deal with struggles of life together. Once we experience true intimacy with others we will never want anything else, because we for the first time we can live free. We have nothing to prove and nothing to lose.
The best venue to experience intimacy with other is in a small group setting. Our growth groups are just such a setting.
Every group meets during the week to discuss God's Word, apply it to our lives, and support, challenge,
and stretch one another in our spiritual growth.
As believers become more intimate with God and others, their hearts begin to break for the lost. God’s plan for ministry
is that we are His ambassadors. Our strategy is for each believer involved to be involved in at least one other individual’s
life who isn’t yet following Him.
The third and last priority for us if we are to stay on target in our lives is ministry. God designed us for ministry.
Just like true accuracy always leads to true intimacy. True intimacy always leads to true ministry.
If we are followers of Christ, then we are invited to be part of His mission,
and intimicy with Him creates a desire to be part of that mission.
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Unlike what we usually think of, ministry is not what we do for God. It is what we do with God.
It is what we let God do through us via His Holy Spirit. (Colossians 1:28-29)
God has designed each of us perfectly for specific ministries, and in those ministries we will find purpose, meaning, and contentment.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. Fo we are God’s workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
If we accurately understand what God is saying and doing, it is not just about "our" salvation.
He has invited us into intimacy (verses 8-9), but that inevitably leads to ministry which He has prepared each
of us in advance to participate in and enjoy. We are uniquely designed for two types of ministry.
We like to call them “in house” and “out house” ministry."
In House Ministry
"In house ministry" involves the ministries inside the church. It includes teaching and equipping members of the body of Christ
to do the work of the ministry. Every" in house ministry" has one goal, to make fully devoted disciples of Christ.
This is a process that takes time. All "in house ministries" are are designed to work together to equip individuals
and families to help each grow to become fully devoted followers of Christ.
We are all ministers who are all responsible for each others spiritual growth.
(Ephesians 4:11-13) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists,
and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service,
so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith
and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,
attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12 describes the church as a body with various equally important members,
all doing our part for the body of Christ to be fully functional.
In house ministries are always a result of accuracy, and intimacy and are designed
to equip is to be part of God's missional purpose in the world.
Out House Ministry
"Out House ministry" is about entering into the lives of those around us and taking Christ to the community.
Many times the concept of taking Christ to the community has been presented as standing on a street corner
with a sign or beating someone over the head with a Bible and telling them they are going to hell unless they repent.
In recent years it has often been associated with political activism.
True "out house ministry" is loving those around us and letting Christ be seen through our lives as we enter into their lies,
including their hurt and turmoil. At His Place we talk about using our passions and relationships to reach those in
our circles of influence. God created us with unique desires and passions that "light our fire"
whether our passion is racing cars, shooting, singing, skiing, camping, crafting, or anything else.
We, as believers, then use the gifts and passions God gave us to reach those we influence at work, home, or play.
So what's your passion? Use it!