Many people wonder how to grow in their relationship with God. Just like growth in any area, Christian growth takes time, effort and strategy. There are 6 key elements that go into growing as a Christian: Give Generously, Run in Packs, Open Doors, Win Souls, Tackle Sin and Hunger for God. Let’s unpack each of these.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
As you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you should grow in generosity. This means that you actively look for opportunities to bless others. This should be present in every area in your life, but it begins with the church. We believe a base for giving is 10% (Matthew 23:23-24), but that we should be challenged to give above and beyond. In 2 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul writes about generosity. Here are some principles that come up:
- Generosity is like a boomerang
- Generosity flows from a grateful heart
- Generosity from God never runs out
- Generosity creates an eternal impact
We have two ways that you can give to our church:
GIVING BOXES (located on the back walls of the auditorium)
Run in Tribes
Acts 2:42-47: 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
We want everyone at WCC to be in a tribe. We need to recognize that we wake up every day in a Spiritual battlefield, and we need one another to live how God wants us to live. Tribes can meet in homes or at the church at any time that works for the group. They study together, pray together, and have fun together.
If you want to get plugged into a Tribe, chat with Pastor Doug.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7: 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Jesus came to be a servant, and not to be served. When we surrender our rights and preferences by putting others first, we look like Christ. Opening doors has a variety of applications: taking a mission's trip, volunteering at a food bank, and serving each week in the church.
It can be overwhelming out of the gate, but find an area that you are passionate about and/or gifted in a jump in! Remember that God gives all Christians spiritual gifts for His glory and the benefit of His people…don’t leave God out of the process. Ask him to lead you and he’ll show you the way.
Matthew 28:18-20: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We have the privilege and responsibility to share our faith with others. After we enter a relationship with Jesus, we tend to want to cocoon or create a Christian bubble. We disengage from culture and the friends we once had. We forget that we were once there, and that we needed Jesus just like they do.
As bad as the world may seem at times, we must remember that God still loves. Each and every person has an opportunity to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and we are the carriers of this good news.
We believe evangelism happens best when we have a relationship with the person we are sharing our faith with. After listening to their story and hearing about their life, share your story. It could look something like this:
- Share who you were before Jesus
- Share what (or who) brought you to Jesus
- Share how you are different after meeting Jesus
That’s it! God can and will use you to share your story with others and bring them into a relationship with Him.
Matthew 5:29-30: 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
As we read our Bibles and pray more, we become aware of areas in our lives that need work. Don’t conform to the world’s view of right and wrong! Continue to ask God for guidance on what to remove and how to remove it. When we feel convicted of sin, we should not ignore or justify it. We attack it. Only when we tackle sin can we begin to live the way God wants us to live. To tackle sin, you must repent, confess, and set up guardrails to keep you from falling to future temptation.
Hunger for God
Matthew 5:6: 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled.
Everyone that has a relationship with God should have a hunger, or a craving for spending time with Him and learning more about Him. This happens through different spiritual disciplines: bible study, prayer, fasting, meditation, corporate worship and solitude are just a few. Let’s focus on Bible Study and Prayer for a moment.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Some keys when reading:
- Buy a NIV Study Bible
- Use a Bible Reading Plan that works for you
- Start with Books like Mark, James, Philippians (New Testament)
- Get into a small group
WHAT IS PRAYER?
- PRAYER IS CONVERSATION WITH GOD.
This may sound a little simplistic, but conversation is exactly what prayer is. It is a chance for us to communicate with our Heavenly Father. We get to speak, listen, and enjoy His presence. Conversation is needed to strengthen any relationship, and our relationship with God is no different.
- PRAYER IS SOMETHING WE LEARN.
When the Apostles approached Jesus about prayer they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray…” — Luke 11:1. Prayer is not something that we just begin doing one day out of inherent knowledge. For our prayers to become more qualitative and quantitative we will need to practice and be taught.
- PRAYER IS SIMPLE.
People often make prayer too complicated. They will throw around big words to impress people or always adhere to a certain formula. Prayer comes from the heart. We do not have to hold anything back when coming to our Heavenly Father. We come just as we are and speak what is on our mind.