Friday, May 30, 2008

Eight Laws of Spiritual Growth

#1 - Spiritual Growth is Incarnational

Spiritual growth is Christ in you…being a Christian is not trying to be like Christ…it is Christ living through you! (Galatians 2:20)
Spiritual growth is both mystical and practical. I Corinthians 3:6…in spiritual growth we have a part and God has a part! Philippians 2:12-13

We are to work out our salvation while God works in our salvation!

#2 - Spiritual Growth Is Intentional

You have to choose to grow! We grow by making commitments. You are as close to God as you choose to be…stop blaming others (husband, wife, friends…)

Get people to make commitment … not move to it. Once people make the commitment then they grow through it.

Jesus first asked people to follow Him … that’s it! It was three years later He asked people to take up their cross. The level of commitment deepened with time.

We need to be a balanced church that challenges people to both “come and see” and “come and die!” This is a process.

Everyone will NOT BE at the same level of commitment.

To the non believer Jesus said “come and see,” to the believer Jesus said “go and tell!”

Once again … commitment MUST be asked for!!! The heat must constantly be turned up!

Providing message notes helps people to remember the message – we forget around 95% of what we hear withing 72 hours. The problem many times is not a matter of dedication but rather retention!

Why use outline and handouts? #1, It increases attention. #2, It increases retention. #3, It increases participation. #4, You can cover more material in less time. #5, You can view the message for years to come. #6, It is the basis for small group discussions. #7, You can use multiple translations. #8, Unbelievers don’t bring Bibles – they don’t have Bibles … and even if they did they would not know where to find the passage!

#3 - Spiritual Growth Is Incremental

It happens in steps, not overnight. I Corinthians 3:18! A baby has to learn to breathe, to eat, to walk, to talk … what is true physically is true spiritually.

You’ve got to know Christ before you can love Him. You’ve got to love Him before you can serve Him. You have to serve Him before you can share Him…

#4 - Spiritual Growth Is Personal

Reality is we grow according to how we are shaped. II Corinthians 5:13

#5 - Spiritual Growth Is Habitual

We grow by developing good habits.

How do we develop habits? #1 - Give homework at the end of a message. (It’s not just about belief–it’s about behavior). #2 - Challenge people to journal. #3 - Provide a daily e-mail devotional/podcast.

#6 - Spiritual Growth Is Relational

A huge myth is that you can become spiritually mature on your own. We can only grow in community. American have gotten so into isolation that we don’t believe this.

If you are not in community then there are at least 58 commands in the Bible that you can’t do. You learn to love by being around unlovely people.

Knowledge makes us feel important … but love IS what is important. Hebrews 10:25

Three tools for relational growth - small groups, spiritual coaches, retreats!

#7 - Spiritual Growth Is Multi-Dimensional

Real maturity is so much more about knowing … it is about doing.

To be a Pharisee … you had to memorize the Torah! And these are the people that Jesus went off on! They KNEW but didn’t do!

We’ve got to be about public charity and personal purity!

#8 - Spiritual Growth Is Seasonal

There are times of growth and times of consolidation! In the fall and winter it may not look like you are growing … but you are actually putting down roots!

Just as sure as winter comes … so does spring and summer. NOTHING is on all of the time. No church can be in a continual state of growth.

Don’t worry about the speed & size of your church … worry about the growth of your people.

We grow in spurts! Pastors can’t push their people all of the time

Growth seasons are done around Saddleback during campaigns. “I love my church campaign, I want to grow campaign, etc.”

[Rick Warren]

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