the ever elusive desire for people who are followers of Christ - "i want to grow deeper". Of course, this is a very good idea, but what I fear me and many people are really asking for when we make this statement is that we want God to give us some jolt of instant wisdom or for our preacher to stretch our faith more in his allotted 30 minute segment. I've said it before, and I'll say it here, if you are depending on one 30 minute sermon a week alone to grow you deeper - it's gonna be a slow process. Make no mistake about it, I approach the privilege of preaching every week with the idea that the Holy Spirit just might use the Word through my lips to change eternities - pretty amazing. it's just that It's been my experience that to grow deeper (in my faith and walk with Jesus) I'm going to have to make some kind of effort and commitment to growing deeper.
Some growing deeper happens because of life. God causes or allows stuff in our every day that puts our faith to the test. I think we fail and pass hundreds of these tests every week. Some are big, some are small (the big ones catch our attention more and try our faith more), but these life experiences God brings our way so that we can grow deeper. This is only a very small part of "why God let's bad things happen to good people" (please don't over react to this) - He is answering our prayer to grow deeper. Your faith will only be as big as the challenge you trust God in. Small obstacles in our life will require small amounts of faith. Large, life altering challenges demand large faith and therefore help us grow. Next time you are going through some tough times, thank God he's helping you grow deeper!
But some growing is about our effort. You can't grow if you don't read your Bible. You can't grow if you aren't plugged into the Body of Christ (the church). You can't grow if you don't have an intimate interaction with other Christians you trust. You can't grow if you don't take at least some small faith steps. As you may guess, much of my job (and all the pastors on our staff and other staffs) is to give tools you can use to help you grow spiritually. So at the end of a long and tiring Monday - here are three tools I think might help you:
1. Spiritual Formation Classes through the Hargrove school at Lincoln Christian University ON THE CAMPUS OF EASTVIEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH! A dream come true for us - this fall we offer college level courses to help you develop spiritually (grow)! Get on Lincoln's website for more info. This is a master's level course for those with undergrad degrees, but (HERE's the BIG Kicker) you can audit these classes for $150 a class. That means you can get Seminary level education at Eastview and you can grow deeper.
2. Next May, JK and I are planning on taking a teaching trip to Turkey and Greece to follow in the some of the apostle Paul's footsteps. We will share teaching each day as we stand in the ruins of the first century cities where the church first took root. This will change the way you read the Bible. Great fellowship and great learning - growing deeper in your faith. More info to come. Questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Finally, reading a very good book right now called "Doctrine: What Christians should believe" by Mark Driscoll. Very easy theological read. I don't land exactly where Mark does in all the book, but it covers dozens of things that every Christian should be convinced of. This may be a tool to help you grow deeper.