Next Steps

- A study and discussion guide to accompany the book, “What Now God?” by John Blake

Introduction


Jesus was very clear and welcoming. He invited us to know Him and follow Him.

We become His disciples when we begin to rearrange our lives to be like Him. A helpful

way to think about this adventure of discipleship is to see ourselves as His apprentices,

learning from Him how to live a kingdom-centered life. He wants our lives to flourish

and be full of the adventure of faith.


He teaches us spiritual truth. He brings His presence close to us to direct and make us

whole. He empowers us to grow in character. He actually gives us the words and acts of

service to partner with Him in this world!


This Discussion Guide is meant to:


  • Help you learn and enjoy the great training material in “What Now God?”
  • Provide complementary “apprentice” training to that same book.
  • Invite you to experiences, discussions, Scriptures, and everyday choices that will shape your journey as you follow Christ.

This Guide is best used in regular conversation with a friend or discussed and applied

together in a small community. You should feel free to chat, pray, research Scripture and

bring your questions to the table. Others will be there to help, clarify and support you.

We were not meant to learn this Christ-journey on our own, but rather in community with

other “apprentices” of Jesus.


“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” African proverb.


“I pray that you may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp

how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Eph. 3:18

---

CHAPTER 1: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS


Your life with Christ is worth celebrating! You are partnering with Jesus to flourish in

this life, and the Holy Spirit is giving you the power to do it.


The book is designed for two groups: those new in a relationship with Christ and those

already following Christ but wanting to get a better footing. This book and material is

also a tool for a third group: that is anyone helping a friend who wants to grow in

following Christ. We call that “discipling” or “nudging” someone forward in the faith.

We believe that is you! If you've been following Jesus for six months or six decades you

can help another progress with Jesus.


The Sower and the Soils (Mark 4:1-20)


This chapter briefly describes John Blake’s conversion to Christianity. John was ready to

receive the news of salvation described by Jesus because he had been prepared through

prayer and receptivity. This is brilliantly illustrated by the parable Jesus taught about the

sower who went into the field to sow seeds. Read the story told by Jesus in Mark 4:1-20.

Jesus told the story of the sower to illustrate the condition of our hearts as we hear the

news of the gospel and travel along the journey of life. Jesus is preparing us for the snares

we will face down the road. God wants you to thrive and experience life to the fullest

with Him (John 10:10). As you read the parable, consider the following questions for

discussion:


  • According to the “soil” types in Jesus’ parable, what could keep us from thriving in the faith journey?
  • When you read the description of Jesus’ ideal for His followers, the description of a fruitful life, what comes to mind? What might that look like?

Spend some time with the Action Point on page 22.


An online resource for you: www.iamsecond.com


There are some amazing testimonies online at this website. Be encouraged and inspired

by these stories of faith! Perhaps your group leader can select a few stories for you to

view together.


CHAPTER 2: WHAT HAS HAPPENED?


As you read through chapter two, celebrate what God has done in your life! Now let’s review the items which are listed in this chapter.


God tells us that to be brought into God’s Kingdom of Light (1 Peter 2:9), we must turn

away from the darkness and repent. That means you make it a point to reject sinful

behavior, rather than embrace it. But, as John points out, that doesn’t mean you never sin

again. We all have a tendency to sin again because we’re all pretty self-centered. So

let’s discuss this…

  • What’s the point of repenting, if you’re pretty sure you’re going to sin again?
  • When we do sin, does that mean God would send us to hell if we were to die at that moment?

As you read on, it becomes pretty clear there’s more to Christianity than an on-again, off-again

relationship with God. That’s because we’re talking about a change in your status.


  • What does that “change in status” look like? How do you think it affects your daily walk with God?
  • This chapter tells how God’s plan comes out of His perfect love for us, even “while we were still sinners”. How does that affect your relationship with Him?

Do the Action Point at the end of the chapter (page 28).


Select a verse (or verses) on page 29 to memorize. Find a way to keep the selected verses

with you. (For example a 3x5 card, phone app, tablet or sticky note.) This will help you

meditate on its truth and allow it become a deep part of your faith.


CHAPTER 3: WHAT CAN I EXPECT?


When you become of follower of Jesus, you’ll find your spirit has come alive inside you.

The Bible says your spirit is dead before you are “born again”, but when you follow

Jesus, your spirit comes alive! (Romans 8:7-11)


Therefore your reborn spirit stirs up new thoughts and emotions inside you. These

are the things you begin to feel as you wake up each day with an awareness of your new

life! Discuss your impressions honestly and don’t be afraid to pray for one another about

them.


  • You feel more alive. There will definitely be a greater sense of new life. When you reach out to God, He will reach out to you also. No need to try and “work it up”; you will have a sense inside that the life of the Holy Spirit is within you. Do you sense those stirrings within you?
  • Inner peace. There’s no longer a sense of something missing; instead, there’s a settling and assurance. In your groups, talk about what that feels like. This is also a good opportunity to pray about life issues that may still burden you.
  • Conviction. As the Holy Spirit prompts your spirit, you’ll begin to reassess aspects of your lifestyles. This is a great opportunity to talk in your group about areas where you may need to change past habits.
  • The Bible makes sense. Bet you never thought that would happen! Share with your group about Bible verses that have taken on whole new meaning for you.
  • You want to obey God’s willWe thought we should add this point to John’s book, because it’s an important activity of the Spirit. You should sense a new desire and strength to do what’s right – an urge to please your Lord and Leader (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Have you felt the Spirit prompting you this way?
  • Beware of confusion and doubt. Don’t allow the devil to cause you to wonder whether you’re really a Christian – that’s one of his main tactics! Your salvation was bought and paid for by the cross of Jesus. So lean on the promise of scripture and tell the devil to take a hike. Go ahead and pray together in your group that would all receive the assurance of salvation.

Spend time with the Action Point on page 34. Memorize/meditate on Philippians 1:6 or

any of the verses on page 35.


CHAPTER 4: BELIEVE IT BY FAITH


As this chapter says, God was pleased with Abraham’s faith and it was “counted as righteousness”, which simply means God interpreted Abraham’s belief as establishing a right relationship with Him. Notice that the righteousness wasn’t based on following a set of rules; instead it was based on Abraham’s faith and trust in the promises of God. In the same way, our salvation and new citizenship isn’t based on doing ‘good works’. Our new life in Christ is based on faith in Christ and his sacrifice on the cross for us.


Here are some things to discuss with one another;

  • If we are saved by the grace of God, solely by faith, (as it says in Ephesians 2:8-9), then what’s the point of doing good works? What part do moral acts and serving others play in our relationship with others? (Hint: read the next verse, Ephesians 2:10, for a clue)
  • If all we have to do  is ‘believe’ does that mean we should ignore our doubts and just believe unquestioningly?
  • If we do have serious questions, what should we do about them?

All Christ followers have doubts about their faith at one time or another. It is important to know that Christianity is a reasonable faith, grounded in real history and filled with real people and events.


It is helpful to research the answers to our questions about the existence of God, the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, the authority of Scripture, and the uniqueness of the Christian worldview. God welcomes our questions. Often they open up a way to grow closer to Him.


Be sure to respond to the challenge of the Action Point at the end of this chapter!


Some good books to read to help you look into the reasons for your faith:


The Case for Christ. Lee Strobel

Mere Christianity. CS Lewis

The Reason for God. Tim Keller


An online resource for you: www.reasons.org

Developed by Christian and astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, PhD, this science savvy site is helpful for believers, doubters and agnostics.


CHAPTER 5: WHAT DO I DO NOW?


The excitement continues as we begin to examine what it means to have a new identity in Christ! We have a new direction and a new purpose in our lives. Let’s take a look at:


Our Change in Identity


Realize that in God’s eyes and from the standpoint of spiritual reality, you are a changed

person. Here's what God says about you. You are:


  • A new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Permanently adopted into His family. John 1:12; Romans 8:15- 16
  • Removed from bondage - the “have-to’s” of the old life. Romans 6:6-8

(Read the Scriptures above slowly and take in what God is saying about your new identity.)


Some of us have trouble accepting this spiritual reality even though by faith we know it is true. If you find yourself stuck in that place, we welcome you to make an appointment for healing prayer. Talk to your group leader or pastor about the many healing prayer options available at Lake Church. Help is on the way!


Reject the “story of me” culture!


As you read this chapter, you’ll see that God wants us to be “other-centered”, rather than “self centered”. That’s why His Great Commandments are Love God and Love others! We love God, so we can grow in the knowledge and wisdom he provides, and this helps us to love others in the way that He does. With the Holy Spirit working in us we are then able to display the fruit of the Spirit which are described below.


Read through the verses in Galatians 5:22-25 in the New Living Translation:


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.


These are the qualities that the Holy Spirit is at work producing in your life. Write your answers to the following questions and/or discuss them with one another:

  • Which of these fruits seem to be on the rise in your life? This growth is worth celebrating!
  • What are the barriers to experiencing growth in these fruits of the Spirit?
  • Which fruit do you feel is especially important for you to cultivate at present?
  • On page 49 John Blake helps us to the shocking conclusion that you and I are not “the center of the universe,” and that Jesus is teaching us other-centered love. Tell a story of when you first became aware that God was stretching you beyond your own personal cares and concerns to love and serve another. How did this occur?
  • How is He empowering and leading you to love currently? What makes this easier?
  • What are the barriers to generous love, Jesus-style?


CHAPTER 6: THE DISCIPLINES OF A BELIEVER


Reading the Bible


This is where you will find the answers to most of your questions, plus learn a lot more about the God who created you and gave you the path to eternal life. So find a way to read the Bible regularly. To get the most out of your reading, we suggest journaling as you read. One method is described below.


Journaling as you listen to God.


One of the most practical ways to hear from God in the Bible is the method we use at

Lake Church. We use the simple acronym SOAP, and the Life Journal Reading program

developed by Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Christian Fellowship, HI.


S. Scripture - Select a reading plan. Try the “Life Journal Reading Plan” on the

“YouVersion” Bible App for your phone or tablet. Or access that same plan online at www.thelakechurch.org/#/daily-reading

O. Observation - What is here?

A. Application - What is here for me?

P. Pray - Pray from what you have gathered in Scripture


Let's try it out together. Read  Luke 5 and begin using the SOAP method of reading and journaling.


Remember, some days you will have an insight right at the outset of reading. You should

feel free to stop and Apply (A) and Pray (P) based what God seems to be emphasizing.

Other times you may “hear” only a little “word” or sense nothing being emphasized after

reading the entire daily reading. Simply thank God that He is Savior and Leader in your

life and ask Him to help you please Him and love others in the day ahead.


The goal is to enjoy the Bible and get accustomed to hearing from God the Holy Spirit in

your daily devotional reading.


Action Point


Do SOAP with a friend twice this week and share what you are learning. Make it an

actual appointment on your calendar so you will get to it!


Here’s how you can read about what others at Lake Church are hearing from God:

1. Download the “YouVersion” app for your mobile device.

2. Select the Life Journal Reading Plan.

3. Enjoy the adventure of reading, highlighting, adding SOAP notes to the Scripture

pages

4. When you want to share scripture, notes or insights, tap screen to underline

verse(s) choose blue forward icon in right margin to send to friends by text, email,

Twitter etc.


Prayer


If you want to get and stay close to God, prayer is vital. Obviously, because that’s how you communicate with Him!  So let me encourage you to get in the habit! Just pick a time and place each day to get alone with God. Begin by giving thanksgiving and praise to Him; then just talk to him about your day, your life, your hopes and dreams. Talk with one another about your prayer times and discuss what works for you. That way you help one another!


Covenant Video

One good way to understand the story of the Bible is to understand the agreements God makes with humankind. Scripture calls these “covenants”. To view a creative video explaining the covenant process watch this video. 

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Some good resources to help you understand Scripture better:

How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. Fee and Douglas

Bible Study Methods. Rick Warren

Living by the Book. Hendricks and Hendricks


Some good books on spiritual habits:

The Spirit of the Disciplines. Dallas Willard

Celebration of Discipline. Richard Foster


Some books to help you pray and worship:

Knowledge of the Holy. AW Tozer

Too Busy not to Pray. Bill Hybels

My Utmost for His Highest. Oswald Chambers



CHAPTER 7: BELIEVER’S BAPTISM


Baptism is one of those things which believers are actually commanded to do once you become a believer. Jesus made it clear that his followers were commanded to go and “…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…” (Matthew 28:19). Therefore if you haven’t done so, this is a step you should be taking as soon as possible.


The symbolism is clear. We are dying to our old life of self-centeredness and risen to new life in Christ. (Colossians 2:12, Romans 6:4)

  • If you have decided to follow Jesus, is there any reason you can think of not to be baptized?

There is variety in how Christians baptize believers. Immersion, sprinkling, pouring, the baptism of infants, young people and adults are all practiced by Christ-followers. Lake Church and the International Foursquare Church, our “tribe,” baptize youth and adults who have made a decision of faith to follow Christ. Baptism is done by immersion into water. We do this to celebrate the powerful death-to-resurrection-life picture as described in Romans 6: 2- 7. Here Paul states that just as Christ rose from the grave with new life in Him, when we emerge from the baptism water we do so as a symbol of our new life with Christ.


Action Point

Connect with Pastor Dan dan@thelakechurch.org to begin this process of preparing for

this important step with Christ.


CHAPTER 8 - FIND A GOOD BIBLE-BELIEVING CHURCH


Congratulations! You've found a group of Christ-followers who will encourage your faith and become like a family, serving and supporting you through all the twists and turns of your journey.


The purpose of Lake Church is to cooperate with Jesus to make more and better disciples.


A disciple is someone intent on following Jesus, learning to become His apprentice in everyday life. (Matthew 28:16-18; 2 Timothy 2:1-2)


Growing in your faith is not a solo proposition. We meet together as a church community to:


- Encounter Christ in a personal way

- Be equipped to become more like Him in character, word and action

- Be equipped to share His love and truth with others in our world

- Be personally encouraged

- Become an encouragement to others in the church family


At Lake Church we are becoming:


● A church of the Book. We believe every Christ-follower is meant to hear from

God personally and regularly in Scripture. We will provide tools and environments

for that adventure. The Bible is the ultimate touchstone in our dialogue about

truth.

● A church of the Altar. At our core we are a praying and worshipping church. It's

nearly impossible to walk through one of our gatherings and not be prayed for, if

you desire!

● A church of the Community. We've been placed in our neighborhood and town

to share the love of Jesus by adding value and telling others about Him. We

constantly press toward practical and creative ways to love folks in our

community.


We are a Foursquare Church. That is to say, The International Foursquare Church is our

larger denominational family. We are evangelical and charismatic, committed to unity

and partnership with other Christian churches, and world-wide evangelism.

Read more online www.foursquare.org


Core Values


Just as every family has its unique features and its own family culture, we have a group

of Core Values that describe Lake Church culture.


  • Believe the best, speak the best. We are conscious of the power of words. We believe the best and speak the best about one another.
  • Volunteers Matter. We are a volunteer driven church family. Everyone has a gift, a certain kind of serving, to offer. The church functions most powerfully when we all offer these gifts to Christ in service.
  • Informal and Relational. We are informal, relational and relaxed in culture and in how we relate to each other. No religious frowns allowed! We take Jesus quite seriously, but are often willing to laugh at ourselves.
  • We Celebrate! Folks’ ideas, stories and contributions to the Kingdom deserve a party. We love to applaud, laugh and celebrate.
  • We value Vulnerability and Realism in the Christian journey. The Christian experience is not lived in pristine stained glass, but instead Jesus redeems us in the middle of the real mess of life.


Any Questions?


In this chapter you’ll see a list of things that are – or are not – characteristics of a genuine, biblically-based church. This might be a good time to talk about the reasons for such lists. Discuss these or other questions as you see fit:

  • If we’re supposed to love one another, how can we exclude people or churches that have a different idea about God, or bible interpretations?
  • Some churches believe in certain gifts, and other churches don’t. How do we know which is the right church?
  • Some churches are Calvinist, some are Arminian – and I don’t even know what those words mean! How do we make wise decisions?

Just remember, because we may disagree over doctrine, that doesn’t mean we stopping loving people. Talk with your leaders about these issues and pray for wisdom. The Lord will help you make good decisions.


CHAPTER 9 - NOW THAT YOU'VE FOUND YOUR CHURCH


We are called to serve!


Jesus created the Church. He called it His bride and He very clearly gave it the mandate to be His hands and feet on earth. The church is the way He has chosen to spread the good news about salvation, freedom and eternal life for all who believe in Him.


That means the church needs you. (Actually, the church is you!) Jesus invites you to serve well, so the surrounding community will see His love in very tangible and practical ways. Be very serious about this and ask God how you can be part of God’s love to the world! Remember: “You are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10)


Talk to your mentor or the people in your small group. Pray and ask the Lord what you can do to serve Him at your church.


Here are some great ways you can help out at Lake Church:

-- Event setup/ take-down

-- Kids Church helper (Background check required)

-- Usher

-- Kitchen crew

-- All-church clean up day

-- Neighborhood invitations


Ask God to open up a way for you to serve His family, or serve the surrounding

community with us. Chat with one of our ministry team leaders, including:


--Sunday Service Ministries

--Children and Family Ministries

--Women’s Ministries

--Men’s Ministries

--Student Ministries

--Facilities

--Hospitality

--Prayer

--and More!


CHAPTER 10 - DEVELOPING A SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE


The Christian life is a journey and like any journey, it helps to keep moving forward. If you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself growing stagnant. That’s what discipleship is all about; God invites you to grow deeper and stronger in your relationship to him. God is committed to your success as a follower of Jesus! He knows about our weaknesses and tendency to sin. This chapter will help you as you wrestle with your sinful nature. Discuss these questions in your group:


  • As you read Psalm 103 on pp. 83-84, ask yourself how you have found His mercies and forgiveness available to you. What does this look like for you?
  • Satan will try to make you think you’ve sinned, simply because a thought has entered into your mind. What’s the difference between temptation and sin?
  • What do you think of the strategy to “Flee sin and pursue righteousness.”? Would that work for you?
  • How has God made you strong in an area of your faith walk that was formerly weak? What does ongoing victory mean to you?
  • We depend on God for the capacity to live rightly and the ability to please Him. Read through Ephesians 6:10, and 2 Timothy 2:1. How would you state the truth of these verses in your own words?


Conviction vs. Condemnation


God the Holy Spirit identifies sin in our lives in order to clean it up, to make us healthier spiritually, physically, emotionally. When we become aware of sin while worshiping or reading Scripture, or in some other context, and have an urgency to do something about it, that is conviction from God.


By contrast, when we see our sins or shortcomings and feel worthless or hopeless - even hating ourselves - that is condemnation. This is not from God. See this feeling as an invitation to pray and remember the truth of Psalm 103. He LOVES you and is leading you like a compassionate parent.


Develop Spiritual Muscle


This is the beginning of making yourself strong spiritually. If you can develop the pattern of resisting temptation, confessing your sin, repenting quickly and keeping short accounts with God, then you’ll be well on your way to having consistent victory in your spiritual battles. That’s why it’s important to practice daily. One of the best ways of dealing with temptation is to memorize the verses in this chapter. That way you’ll be able to call on these scriptures whenever the need arises! So make it a point to do the Action Point on

page 89 and memorize the verses. It will be an immense help on the rest of your journey!


Some books to help you understand your relationship of grace with God:

Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Jerry Cook

Pursuit of God.  A.W. Tozer

Life of the Beloved. Henri Nouen

The  Life You've Always Wanted John Ortberg



CHAPTER 11 - YOU ARE OVERCOMERS


Identity and Power


Remember, God actually changed who you are at salvation. Your identity is different! You are a spiritually new person. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20. You are now able to say “yes” to God’s standards and “no” to sin.


He is giving you the new capacity to:

  • Obey him
  • Forgive those who have wronged you
  • Share His love and the gospel with others
  • Serve in His Kingdom

The Victory in Surrender!


When you are dealing with strongholds or habitual sin, the only way to gain victory is to surrender it to God. Share your sin struggles with others so that they can be praying for you. One of the reasons the church exists is to support and pray for one another. This kind of united effort defeats the darkness. Call upon the power of the church to gain victory!

  • What is a current area of life where you need to surrender to God? How will you go about this?

The Action Point at the end of this chapter gives you instructions on dealing with past strongholds relating to the occult. If you still need help to overcome these are as, do not hesitate to talk to your pastor or other leaders in your church! You don’t ever have to live with oppression from the past. Jesus came to “set the prisoners free!”


Regarding the scripture to memorize at John 8:34-36: When the Apostle John says “abide”, he means to stay vitally connected, like a branch must be grafted into a living tree trunk to thrive.


Some books to read about our role in God’s Kingdom:

The Divine Conspiracy. Dallas Willard

Knowing God. J.I.Packer

Rumors of God. Jon Tyson and Darren Whitehead



CHAPTER 12 - THE HOLY SPIRIT


This chapter discusses the person and role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus call him the Helper, who comes to live within each believer. The Helper is the one who help us remember and want to obey all of Jesus's teachings. He is also the one who acts as our spiritual guide and speaks wisdom and truth into our hearts. In short, He’s all powerful, all wise and – if you let Him – He’s the best friend you’ll ever have!

  • How do you think the Holy Spirit speaks to you?
  • Have you ever heard his promptings?


The Baptism of the Holy Spirit


Jesus promised that all who follow Him and ask for it will receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Power from the Holy Spirit enables us to witness in strength and live a life obedient to Him. Read Acts 1:5-8 and Luke 11:13. Scripture calls this empowerment the baptism of the Holy Spirit or the filling of the Spirit. This is not a badge of spirituality or ‘deluxe equipment’ for just a few. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a generous gift

from God, to all who ask.


Here’s another illustration: every spring you can observe parents in the front yard teaching their children to swing a plastic baseball bat and make contact with the whiffle ball. Often one parent or caretaker will stand behind the little slugger, reach around him, and help direct the bat. The little girl or guy still needs to swing the bat - but the coaching parent directs and brings strength to the swing.


The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is like that. When it comes to witnessing the love of Christ to others and living a God-pleasing life, we must choose to obey God, but it is God the Holy Spirit who brings the power and effectiveness to our lives. He empowers our “swing.” so to speak.


A book to read on Holy Spirit Baptism:

“Being baptized with the Spirit,” on pages 167-169 in “Enjoying Your Journey with God” by Daniel Brown.

  • How do these water illustrations help you understand this promise of power that Jesus has given you?


CHAPTER 13 - YOUR ROLE IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE


We’ve already discussed the spiritual oppression caused by the devil and his minions. The devil would love to keep you off balance, trying to make you doubt every piece of the gospel story, convincing you that you’re not worthy to receive his salvation, plus any other accusations he can throw at you! Just observing the evil and destruction in our world also gives ample evidence of Satan’s influence everywhere.


But as a Christian, you should know you don’t have to succumb to his tactics. In fact you have the tools to defeat all the wiles of the enemy!


"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:4-5).


For discussion and prayer in your group


  • After you’ve read this chapter, continue to read Ephesians 6:14-17, which describes in detail how to “…put on the armor of God”. What areas of your faith experience feel like a battle?
  • Why do you suppose the armor represents these particular qualities (truth, righteousness, etc.) to which God gives us access? Why are each important?


Take a moment to “arm yourself” the way a good soldier would. Talk to God and say “by faith I now put on the belt of truth… now the body armor of God's righteousness...” Do the same with each armor piece. You are now ready to do what verse 14 says: to “stand your ground!”


Let's pause to pray for each other for power and victory in whatever spiritual fight we may face today.


Some books to help you in the spiritual conflict:

Spiritual Warfare. Dean Sherman

The Invisible War. Chip Ingram

Screwtape Letters [a novel]. C.S. Lewis



CHAPTER 14 - YOU ARE TO BE WITNESSES


Living as a “witness” means opening your life to love others. It means choosing readiness to tell the story of Christ to friends and associates. We are being obedient to Jesus in a natural way when we witness. A normal function of growing as a Christ follower is to learn to share His life and love with others. But we aren't all wired to do this in the same way or the same style.


Here are some of main styles to which we gravitate in sharing our faith (From Becoming

a Contagious Christian. Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg).


Six Witnessing Styles


  1. Direct style. These folks are prone to confidently confront others with the gospel. Their motto is “Make a difference or make a mess, but do something.”
  2. Intellectual style. Sharing the truth through intellectual, reasoned dialogue describes this style. They find it nearly impossible to leave a bookstore without multiple volumes in hand.
  3. Testimonial style. They love telling or hearing a story, and naturally move toward telling their faith story in conversation.
  4. Serving style. Hands on, patient serving in Jesus’ name is their strength. They are adept at using environments of service and community partnerships to share the gospel.
  5. Interpersonal style. These are the natural friend-makers. Long and deep personal talks are their forte. The life of Christ comes up in natural ways as a caring friendship is being formed.
  6. Invitational style. These folks love adding folks to activities they're involved in - church services, seminars, retreats and classes. “Come one, come all!”


Which one or two seem to best describe you?


For Prayer


Ask the Lord to use the way He has designed you (read Ephesians 2:10) to bring others into relationship with Him.

Sometimes the idea of living evangelistically seems scary to us. We imagine the horror of confronting strangers with the truths of Jesus. But in reality we all have natural networks of influence.


  • Take a moment to list some of the individuals in your networks.
  • Ask God to use you to witness the love of Jesus to them.
  • Name them by name and ask Jesus to help you see them the way He does!


Possible networks…


-Family

-Work

-School

-Recreation

-Neighbors


Books to inspire you to help bring folks to God:

Just Walk across the Room. Bill Hybels

Christianity Beyond Belief. Todd Hunter

Becoming a Contagious Christian. Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg



CHAPTER 15 - HE'S COMING AGAIN!


To think about:


God's Word repeatedly challenges us to readiness whenever Christ's return to the earth is discussed. 

What do you suppose actual readiness means?


Have a careful look at these Scriptures:


  • 1 John 3:2-3. Here readiness means a clean, pure lifestyle.
  • 1 Peter 1:6-9. Here readiness means a long term perspective. What else is in view in these verses to encourage us?
  • How about in verses 13-16?
  • How does Jesus encourage us about our eternal future? Read John 14:1-7.


Some great books about Heaven:

Heaven. Randy Alcorn

What the Bible Reveals about Heaven. Daniel Brown


An online resource for you: Here is a creative video exploring the concepts of heaven and earth.

Video


Our Next Steps Study Guide team

Special thanks to John Blake for his clear, perceptive and practical book, What Now God, River

City Press. Minneapolis. 2001.

This study guide was written by Dan Laurenzo with substantial creative and editing assistance

from John Blake, Christy Laurenzo and Virgil Richardson.

Our belief and prayer is that this tool will assist you in becoming the apprentice of Jesus that He invites you to be.