Articles & Resources

Saturday, 17 October 2015 12:57

3 Areas of Temptations

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We can divide our lives into three distinct categories.

  1. Time
  2. Energy
  3. Possessions.

These three areas of my life are where I need to yield my independence and acknowledge His Lordship authority. In this video teaching, we use the examples of Adam and Eve in the Garden, Jesus being tempted by Satan, the Prophet Jeremiah and portions of 1 John.

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Art discussed discipleship in this live interview on radio station KNIS (Carson City, NV) on January 30, 2007

We believe there are some foundational principles that all believers, especially newer believers, need to understand. Our desire is to give each newer believer (and any spiritually hungry older believer) a clear overview of the Christian life and a basic understanding of God’s objectives. We believe that the failure to clearly explain essential Biblical concepts and goals to new converts initially so they learn them early in their walk, is one of the main reasons for the lack of spiritual vitality in the Christian community.

Click the "Play" button below in the Media Manager to listen to the interview.

 

Friday, 18 September 2015 17:53

What Is a Biblical Disciple?

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Point 1. To many Christians the term “disciple” speaks of a believer who exhibits an acceptable level of observable Christian behavior.

Since one’s behavior is a product of one’s convictions (values), we believe being a “disciple” should more accurately be understood to reflect a believer’s disposition and relationship with the Lord. In this lesson we seek to focus on a disciple’s heart attitude, rather than just what a disciple “does.”

... Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

Godly Behavior is an Outcome of Godly Convictions

Point 2. The pivotal issue that a disciple has dealt with is that of Christ’s lordship over his life. In other words, the believer has considered the claims of Christ, and has concluded that the best workable relationship is for the Lord to be in charge of his entire life. One of Christ’s claims is that of ownership (having authority over that which is owned).

1 Cor. 6:19-20 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Cor. 7:23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

God’s ownership of the Christian is a factual truth, which is not dependent on the believer’s acknowledgment of it. I do not bestow ownership, I can only acknowledge and act upon what He states to be already true.

New believers will typically not be resistant to this truth, because they don’t have preconceived ideas of God’s expectations. In contrast, older believers tend to accept this truth intellectually, but be resistant to the implications.

What are the implications of ownership? What rights or authority are generally understood to be conveyed by ownership?

Does an owner not have the right to do whatever he wants with his property?

He Owns Me (Whether I Believe It or Not). His Ownership s Not Dependent on My Acceptance

It (being a disciple) involved personal allegiance to Him, expressed in following Him and giving Him an exclusive loyalty. In at least some cases it meant literal abandonment of home, business ties and possessions, but in every case readiness to put the claims of Jesus first, whatever the cost, was demanded. Such an attitude went well beyond the normal pupil-teacher relationship and gave the word ‘disciple’ a new sense. (The New Bible Dictionary)

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If a new believer is not instructed otherwise, he will typically appropriate the values and convictions of the Christians that he associates with during the formative first period of his new spiritual life, just as a child will tend to adopt the values and convictions of his family and peers.


Let's say that a new Christian is brought into association with a group of Navigators (Navigators.org), who we would rightly expect to immediately begin to challenge the believer's former values and convictions. That believer is either going to adopt the Navigator's values and convictions, or he will become so uncomfortable that he will seek a more "friendly" and less intrusive environment.


But what happens if there is not such a group of relatively mature mentors who will take the new believer under wing? Typically the newer believer will be introduced into a congregation, where it is often assumed that "sitting under the preaching of the Word" will be sufficient to lead that new believer into a spiritually mature walk. It is hoped that the negative traits observed in the congregation do not distort the new believer's understanding. Is that realistic?

We believe it is safe to say that most new believers will be impacted more by what they "see" other believers do, than what they "hear" them say. If it can be said that a particular congregation is more spiritually mature, then it would be realistic to reason that the combination of "hearing" Biblical truth from a pastor/teacher, together with "seeing" Biblical spirituality modeled from the congregation, would be a tremendous help in the healthy spiritual growth of a new believer. Leaders need to realistically evaluate the spiritual health of the congregation, asking themselves, "Do we want a new believer to become like the 'typical' member of this congregation?" If the answer is no, then arrangements need to be put in place to impart Biblical values to new believers.

 

For more discussion on this topic click here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 14:01

Inward Transformation NOT Behavior Modification

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We believe that it's a true statement to say that "a believer's level of maturity is the degree to which the Holy Spirit has been able to change their inward value system in His direction."

If the believer allows the Holy Spirit to transform their convictions and values what happens to the behavior? It is going to follow. It cannot not follow. Behavior is a result of inward values. All of us act according to our value system.

Our outward behavior is a reflection of what's important to us. God wants to change our inward thinking - our inward value system - our inward convictions because the behavior is naturally going to follow.

The video below, reveals that many parents think discipline (of their children) is all about shaping proper behavior by manipulating reward and punishment. That's not discipline that's behavior modification.

The same can be said of many believers in the Church today. Many believers are very good at manipulating their behavior to "appear" to behave correctly, but NOT allowing God to transform their thinking which will produce the behavior that is pleasing to Him.

Friday, 10 October 2014 00:00

(Lordship) Illustration Of Two Doors

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What does the typical new Christian have to face as he looks at the future?

Shortly after becoming a Christian I come to a fork in the road where I see a door, through which I can visualize the future. I see goals and material belongings that would seem to satisfy my needs and desires in this life, at least based on my previous experience. Those goals and material belongings don't appear to be unacceptably evil. In fact I've seen many Christians seeking after the same things.

Using my God-given skills and intellect, those things appear to be obtainable, especially now that I can count on God to assist when needed. It seems reasonable that if God delivered me from unhappiness when He saved me, my happiness would now be one of His priorities.

But wait, I see through another door. It is as though there is a sign beyond the entrance with a message from Jesus saying, "Come follow Me, I have a better plan prepared for you."

He seems to want me to trust Him alone to give me fulfillment and satisfaction in this life and beyond. He seems to be telling me that the things I've seen through the other door only give temporary satisfaction for this life, but what He has prepared for me has eternal value. Since I can't visualize anything He seems to be promising, how does He expect me to make a sensible evaluation?

Does He really expect me to just trust Him on blind faith? That doesn't seem very reasonable since I'm just a new Christian and don't have much faith yet. Maybe further along I'll understand better, when I have more faith.

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