Monthly Archives: February 2011

Measuring Growth

When I was a kid, we had one of those growth charts on the back of my parents door.  If memory serves me right, it was a Winnie the Pooh character themed chart.  I know that some may have no idea what I am talking about so I will explain.  The chart was essentially a giant paper ruler that was attached to the door, and we would stand against it from time to time and allow my parents to mark our height and the date on the paper.  This allowed us to see how much we had grown since the last time we had been measured or really between any two times we chose.  We have a similar system in our house now where my wife marks the wall and records the dates of our kids’ measurements.  The funny thing about it is that no one asks why we would do such a thing (at least no one has yet), probably because most of us do something similar.  Measuring physical growth is a normal process and helps us to see that we are healthy and maturing as we should.

What about how we measure spiritual growth?  I don’t know why it should be so, but for some that I have encountered it is considered improper or wrong to assess spiritual growth.  Many others have no idea how such a thing can be done.  I won’t profess to be an expert on the subject (which shows that I have grown in this area), but I will offer a few tips that I have learned from my own walk with the Lord and growth as a disciple.

  1. You need a definite starting point – This one is pretty straightforward as well.  Babies are measured when they are first born and all subsequent measurements are referenced from there.  The life of faith begins when we are born again.  If you haven’t been born again or are not sure what I mean by this, I would encourage you to take a moment and read this page. You can come back to the list in a minute.
  2. You need a reliable measuring stick – Just like the growth chart on the wall would be useless if it weren’t placed at the proper height or didn’t have the proper increments, measuring spiritual growth requires a standard of measure.  The Bible is the only acceptable measuring stick for a believer in Christ.  There is no other place to measure against.  Don’t measure against another believer or some other religious ideals or church teaching or anything else.  These may give you “false readings” and are not reliable as an indicator of growth.  The Bible provides an objective standard by which we can measure our growth.
  3. You need to recognize growth – I am not the same guy I was all those years ago when I started down the path of discipleship.  I am able to look back on things I wrote down in journals that I kept and in articles and blogs that I wrote and see the difference that God has brought about in me over time.  I can look at my life and the way I handle certain situations and circumstances and see the difference between then and now in my attitudes and behaviors and my faith in God.  This is growth.  Paul gave us some broad markers that will show up in our life as fruit from the growth (Galatians 5:22-23), but these aren’t the only things that we will notice as we grow. 
  4. You need to celebrate growth – Have you ever noticed how excited a kid can get when they see that they have grown 1/4 of an inch?  When we assess where we are spiritually based on God’s Word and in reference to our past, we are encouraged to see how God has worked in our life, and make no mistake about it, growth comes from God.  Christ is the one who said, “apart from me you can do nothing.”  This isn’t about a self-help project or therapeutic deism or something; this is about appreciating God’s work in our lives.

Let me close with this.  Spiritual growth isn’t about being saved or staying saved.  That work is finished, completed by God already.  God will see it through to the end (Philippians 1:6).  This is about being true to the One who has called you and appreciating the work He has done and is doing:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

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Categories: Discipleship, Growth, One Word | 10 Comments

Sunday Morning 2/20/11

We had a wonderful time together this week no matter the extremely cold weather that dominated outside, the hearts inside were warm.  Just a note to those faithful listeners here on the web or in the email feed, I will not be preaching this coming Sunday, so there will be no post next week.  A church in Fargo is hosting my wife and I for a marriage seminar and have offered to take care of our kids as well.  It is a blessing and we are grateful for the time.

This week’s sermon comes from Titus 1 and finishes out the chapter.  The notes are available below.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Hold to the Truth

Titus 1:10-16

Sermon notes 2/20/11

  1. The Circumcision Party
    1. Insubordinate
      1. Acts 15 – This is a settled issue
      2. Contrast Paul’s submission (Gal. 2:1-3)
          Romans 4 – Paul’s gospel
    2. Empty Talkers/Decievers
      1. Confidently wrong – 1 Timothy 1:6-11
      2. Teachers without understanding – John 3:10
  2. Separating the Truth from a Lie – v. 12-14
    1. Know the Genuine Article – God’s Truth
    2. Jewish myths and commands of people
  3. Pure in heart – v. 15-16
    1. Not just a clean outside – Luke 11:37-44
    2. Clean inside – Matthew 5:8; 15:1-20
    3. Profess and deny – 1 John 2:1-6
Categories: Epistles, Podcasts, Sermon, Titus | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning 2/13/11

There is a springlike quality in the air and melting on the ground here in the north land.  It won’t last for long and winter isn’t over, but it made for a fun time this week.  There were smiles on many faces and a good group of folks on hand to worship the Lord this week.  The message this week and Lord willing for the next several weeks will be preached from the book of Titus.  This week is the first in the series and sets up the rest of the book to come.  You can follow along with the notes below as well.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Hold to the Truth

Titus 1:1-9

Sermon notes 2/6/11

  1. Introducing Paul – v. 1-3
    1. Servant and apostle
    2. Theological introduction
      1. Truth that accords with godliness
      2. Hope of eternal life
        1. Promised by God
        2. Manifested in His Word
  2. Introducing Titus – v. 4
    1. A Gentile Believer – Galatians 2:1-3
    2. A Trusted Leader – 2 Corinthians 7
  3. Great Responsibility – v. 5-9
    1. Above Reproach – v. 6- 7
    2. The “must nots” – v. 7
    3. The “must haves” – v. 8-9
Categories: Epistles, Galatians, Podcasts, Sermon, Titus | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning 2/6/11 – Are You Fruity?

We had a good time in the Lord this week.  The message was actually one that I had prepared a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t preach at that time.  I have edited the notes that are included online so that they are correct (I had left something in the printed version from the previous week when I was typing them).  Feel free to follow along with the notes and your Bible.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Are You Fruity?

Sermon notes 2/6/11

 

  1. The Call to Bear Fruit – Luke 3:7-20
    1. What does “bear fruit” mean
      1. Romans 7:4-5 – results of way of life
      2. Unfruitful – Ephesians 5:11; Romans 6:20-23
    2. Good fruit – Luke 3:8; Galatians 5:22-23
  2. The Concern of No Fruit/Bad Fruit
    1. Luke 13:6-9; 3:9; Jude 1:10-13; Psalm 52
    2. Man is the tree of the field – Deuteronomy 20:19-20
      1. Cut down the ones that don’t bear fruit
      2. Judging a tree by its fruit – Matthew 7:15-20
  3. The Comfort of Good Fruit – John 15:1-17; Isaiah 11:1
    1. Bearing fruit requires the vine – Jesus – John 15:5
    2. Bearing fruit requires water – Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Isaiah 55:10-13 – water is the Word of God
    3. Bearing fruit is ongoing – Psalm 92:12-15
Categories: Gospel, Luke, Matthew, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

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