Today I was reminded about the great commission while driving home from church. While sitting at a red light I see a Sherwin-Williams truck on the exit ramp coming off I-75. If you not familiar with the Sherwin-Williams logo it is a globe with a can of red paint floating above it, pouring red paint on the earth along with the words “Cover the Earth”. Looking at that red paint and the words “Cover the earth reminded me of the Blood of Jesus and how His sacrifice at the cross is sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world. In fact as Christians God has commanded us to be the vehicle to take the Gospel to the world, to cover the earth with this message that Christ died for the ungodly, and that all who repent and have faith in Him will have everlasting life.
You may ask yourself how are you doing this personally. How are you or can you leverage your life for the spread of the gospel? How can you be a part of spreading the gospel as a member of your local church? Those are great questions to ask! One way that you can become involved in reaching the community at WestSide Baptist is by adopting a group through your Sunday School Class. We call this initiative Engage 2016 at WestSide. Some groups that our Sunday School classes are serving are a nursing home, high school coaches, and elementary school teachers. Of course these service project are just one aspect of Sunday School, joining a class is a great way to get to know people personally and develop godly friendships. Last of all you will receive sound biblical teaching. If you are not a part of a Sunday School Class ask someone at our new guest services booth in the foyer for more information about taking this next step in your walk of faith.
For those of us who have repented and believed upon Jesus for salvation, we can now tell others of how we have been born again. I love that phrase “born again” because it comes from the Bible. (John 3:7) That phrase also depicts a picture of how helpless we are, how little we know and how precious we are in the eyes of our Lord.
Imagine after having a baby you are going to the first check up and the doctor tells you that your baby has not grown at all, I believe few parents would simply blow the doctors comments off as if they were insignificant. Parents monitor their children’s growth and development closely over time both physically and mentally and in every way they know how because they love their child.
How much more do you think our Heavenly Father lovingly watches over us as we develop and grow in Christ? He has provided all that we need to grow in our faith having given us His Holy Spirit at the moment of our conversion. So as a doctor might diagnose why a baby is not growing properly, I’m writing a series of blog posts to suggest why you may not be growing in your faith, the first of which is…
You are not reading your Bible daily or at all.
I understand the frustration of trying to stay on a Bible reading plan, I’ve tried a simple one year reading plan and I’ve tried a complicated plan where I read 6 or more different books of the Bible in one day. When I fail or miss a day, I have become discouraged. Don’t let that keep you down because through it all my faith and joy in the Lord have grown. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you begin and stay more consistent in your Bible reading.
Get a translation of the Bible that is right for you.
Are you trying to wade through the King James Version during your Bible reading? I would like to ensure you that you are not abandoning the faith if you use another translation. I spent one summer reading through the New Testament in the New Living Translation (NLT) and I was amazed of what I saw in the Bible and how it effected me spiritually. Today I read the English Standard Version (ESV) which is an essentially literal translation; the ESV is a Bible that reads beautifully and is easy to understand. Both of these are great Bibles for new or growing Christians.
Try using a good devotional to go along with your Bible reading.
I used to never use a devotional but after starting work at LifeWay I really liked reading from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry Blackaby as we opened and closed the store. I sometimes will read from Faith’s Checkbook by Charles Spurgeon as well. I would suggest following your Bible reading plan in the morning and a short devotional in the evening or vice a versa.
This Fall I am going to start a 3 year reading plan with my Sunday School Class as our lessons will cover the Bible in chronological order over 3 years using The Gospel Project. You can find Bible reading plan for any age here. http://www.gospelproject.com/2015/07/08/family-bible-reading-plans/
I have been teaching Sunday School for a little over a year now, with the start of a new school year upon us I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon how I can improve my leadership. Here are 3 ways I’m committing to lead my Sunday School class better.
- I will share the load of leadership more.
I do believe that leaders should lead by example, however that does not mean that I can not hand off some tasks that I feel are important to fulfill my vision for the group. There are tasks that are simply not getting done because I have not asked someone to take the lead, share in the work, or hold me accountable.
2. I will emphasize living our faith more than just understanding it theologically.
I have a natural tendency to focus on lessons more theologically, and while we do discuss the practical implications of the lesson, I will seek to be more intentional about acting as a group upon what we have learned.
3. I will emphasize relationships and fellowship much more.
When I started teaching Sunday School I said to myself ” I’m going to improve fellowship in this class” So I started bringing a warm breakfast each week. That warm breakfast each week quickly turned into buying donuts from Wal-mart every Sunday. Providing food has helped bring a little bit of warmth to the classroom but it by no means is all that is necessary for true fellowship. One hour a week is not enough time to build meaningful relationships, so I am committed to finding someone to coordinate fellowship outside of class, as I seek to really get to know the people the Lord has given me to fellowship with.
While there is much to improve upon, I still believe that attending Sunday school or another type of small group is very important in the disciple making process. Being involved in a small group like Sunday school lessens the likelihood of becoming inactive from church altogether. I greatly enjoy teaching and leading my class, but most of I have enjoyed the goodness of God as I prepare for class each week. I hope if you are not already in a Sunday school class you will join one soon and seek to give Christ greater devotion.
You are now looking at what I have considered doing for a long time; starting my own blog. If the title of my blog did not make it clear, I intend to write to encourage and equip my local church and God’s local church wherever it may be found.
What motivated me to start this blog was to add to my church’s social media strategy. I realized the potential impact to use what I am passionate about to glorify God and edify His church. So here is a little background to let you know a bit about me and my perspective.
I am 28 and have been happily married to my wife Deborah for four years. I grew up in a Baptist church all my life and was saved at age 9 at Knoxes Creek Baptist Church. I now enjoy serving at WestSide Baptist Church in a number of ways. I want to be an elder (by which I mean a pastor) in a church someday.
I hope this blog will serve as an encouragement to you as you serve our Lord. To Him alone be honor and glory forever.