Becoming a Follower of Jesus
Becoming a follower of Jesus does not mean that you decide to start attending church regularly, purchase a new Bible, or start giving to the poor. While those are all great things that Christians and non-Christians do, it is so much more than that. The first and most important thing is to understand who Jesus is, and what he came to earth to do.
Here are some simple, practical steps to following Jesus and continually growing in our faith (taken, in part, from Megashift, by James Rutz):
• Delight yourself in the Lord! Everything in life begins and ends with Him. Learn to enjoy your "quiet time" with the Lord every day..the trouble starts when you don't eagerly want to be with Him."
• Get Prayer Support. You need, of course, to be part of a ring of people who pray together; but beyond that you need to find pray-ers who will commit to reminding God about you and protecting you from evil by His power.
• Study the Bible. Read, mark, and reflect on the Word - then act on it. You are not just trying to learn the Bible, but trying to know God through the Bible to become like Him.
• Take steps of faith - every day if you can. When you get up, say, "Lord, give me a chance today to show in some new way that I love you. Help me to do (or endure) something I've never done before." That's one prayer God will be sure to answer!
• Get used to the growth cycle: Over and over, the Holy Spirit will put you through the process of CONVICTION, REPENTANCE, OBEDIENCE, and JOY. Just when you start to think your heart is spotless and when you are feeling like Hercules after cleaning up the Aegean stables, bam! The Spirit taps you on the shoulder, and there is another sin you forgot about.
• Keep your commitments. If you don't honor your word, your integrity eventually turns into a hollow shell. Those who stand by their pledges at any cost stand close to God.
• Read! Most people grow only in certain narrow fields. This is a big mistake. Read widely. Read to stretch. Let books and magazines written by gifted saints of the present and past expand your mind, your heart, your gifting, and your universe.
• Join or start an open fellowship. You need the advanced, high-powered, personalized support and encouragement that can only be found in a small-group setting where you can be part of the action instead of part of the scenery.
• Be a giant. Grow through your gifts and the great disciplines of meditation, reading, and prayer. Other Disciplines include: - Fasting (if you are not diabetic, etc.) - Prayer (especially including praise and confession) - Bible memorization - A regular time with God in worship, prayer, singing, and simply listening ("waiting on the Lord"). These are not grim duties, but exciting steps that can catapult you rapidly upward.
• Gifts. There are lots of gifts. They include being an apostle, teacher, donor, encourager, administrator, and miracle worker. Use such gifts to help others but also as a growth track for yourself.
Here are 13 great books with which to begin your exciting walk with the Lord. These will direct your paths into the meaning of Christianity, Bible study, prayer, relationships, and understanding God’s will for your life:
• The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren (Great introduction to the basics of Christian faith)
• Prayer the Heart’s True Home – Richard Foster (This is a classic book on prayer)
• What’s so Amazing About Grace? – Phillip Yancey (God’s grace is deep well worth plumbing).
• How to Study the Bible for Yourself – (discover techniques to identify the Bible's major principles, promises, and commands; understand key verses and themes)
• How to Study Your Bible – Kay Arthur (Good, practical advise in beginning your study)
• The Five Love Languages – by Gary Chapman (Great book to enrich marriage and family relationships)
• The 5 Love Languages of Children - by Gary Chapman (The Secret to Loving Children Effectively)
•Culture of Honor - by Danny Silk (Creating An Environment That Sustains Life, Hope, Honor and Destiny)
•Keeping your love on. - by Danny Silk (if you want to build healthy relationships with God and others, learning to keep your love on is non–negotiable)
• The Ragamuffin Gospel – by Brennan Manning (Jesus came for the "bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out" ragamuffins who desperately need his grace)
• The Will of God – Leslie Weatherhead (A classic in understanding that phrase)
• The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel (Strobel’s first book is still his best. Why believing in Christ makes good intellectual sense).
• Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Dr. Paul Brant (Read and stand in awe!!!)