Thursday, October 19, 2017
   
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How to Grow As a Christian

A number of folks who are new to the congregation and to the practices of the Christian faith have spoken to me recently about how to make more sense of their faith and about growing in their joy and gladness in Christ.

At the very beginning of the story of the Church, the first congregation in Jerusalem,2000 years ago, heard the gospel from Peter and asked "What should we do?".

Here is the answer: "those who welcomed the message were baptized; they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers". (Acts 2, 41, 42)

So then, to grow as a Christian involves:

   A) Baptism     If you or your children have not been baptized, make an appointment with me to talk about this infinitely precious gift. This is where we begin as disciples. This is how we receive the Holy Spirit, which is the power to believe, to love and to serve Christ.

 

    B) Teaching    Start to read the bible. Do not do this without help; it will do you more harm then good. Buy a study guide to one of the books of the bible written by a reputable, wise Christian teacher. I highly recommend "Mark for Everyone" by Tom Wright. You will find it at Bookfinder.com or Amazon.com.

 

   C) Fellowship    Understand that there are no Christian Lone Rangers; we all need Tonto! Get involved. Worship on Sundays, every Sunday. Get to know the staff. Volunteer. Join a Ministry Team or a Choir. Work with our children or youth. Visit our housebound. Be a part of the family.

 

    D) The Breaking of Bread     Take communion every time you can. Jesus says, "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I in them." and "whoever eats me will live". The value, power and relevance of the Lord's Supper to the Christian life cannot be over-estimated. It is the great mystery of our lives; communion, contact, and fellowship with the Living God.

 

    E) The Prayers     This does not mean, sitting down at random times, anywhere at all and babbling! Jesus taught us a set prayer. The Jerusalem Christians participated in the prayers of the Temple. So, find a time - first thing in the morning, perhaps or last thing at night and find a place - a corner, a shelf, a table; light a candle in front of a cross or an icon and use the prayers of the church. Find a prayer guide and use it. Again, I highly recommend "The Divine Hours" by Phyllis Tickle.

Finally, expect to be confused at first. There is a lot to learn. There are deep mysteries to encounter. There is a Living One to know. It takes time. It takes a life-time Keep a note-pad handy. Write down your questions, hunches, concerns. Bring them with you when you come to see me and we can think together.

Blessings,

Pastor Andrew