Acquiring and applying the basic fundamentals are essential in life if we are to succeed in anything. If we want to be a successful professional golfer, we must be committed to the basic fundamentals. If we want to be a successful musician, we must be faithful to the basics. If we want to be a successful business person, we can’t deviate from the basic fundamentals.
The same is true for Christ followers. If we want to be successful Christ followers who bear much fruit and experience joy and fulfillment in our walk with Christ we must be committed to the basics. There is no other way.
The basic fundamentals for Christ followers are called spiritual disciplines. These don’t guarantee us an automatic success because Christian life can’t be summed up into a mathematical formula. However, without spiritual disciplines we can never experience fruitfulness and fulfillment in our walk with Christ. There is a part God plays and there is a part we must play for us to experience and enjoy a successful Christian life. We don’t have to worry about God doing His part since He is faithful and always keeps His word. We must focus on doing our part. Only those who are faithfully committed to spiritual disciplines will be able to put themselves in a position where God can work over the long haul allowing spiritual growth to take place in them.
In 2008 I would like for us to go back to the basic fundamentals of Christian life. These are my challenges to all of you in New Life. And I do this because I care for you as your pastor.
Let us be absolutely committed to our Sunday corporate worship. This is our blood line because God has said that He dwells in the praises of His people. Through our corporate worship God pours out His grace, power, wisdom and healing upon us. Let us not so easily skip on Sunday worship services because of our frequent weekend getaways or vacations, meeting friends or family members visiting us, or just being tired. Let us honor God through our Sunday corporate worship by bringing something that costs us.
Let us be absolutely committed to our personal devotional time with God. Let us spend the first 30 minutes of our day reading His word and talking with Him.
Let us be absolutely committed to tithing. Let us not tithe after we take out this and that from our gross income making it as little as possible. Instead, let us tithe from our gross income. Let us make our tithe a statement of our faith in this materialistic world where money has become a god to billions of people. God gave us His one and only Son Jesus to save us. And He is continuously giving us His best. Surely we can and must tithe from our gross income even if we have to let go of and sacrifice something in life.
Let us be absolutely committed to our house church. God wants us to gather together as frequently as possible because the days are evil and He knows that we can’t survive on our own in this evil world. Shepherds, let us be absolutely committed to turning in our house church ministry evaluation to the pastor. I have noticed over the years that the shepherds who don’t regularly turn in their evaluation struggle a lot with their house church as well as their walk with God. Those shepherds who turn in their evaluation regularly but just write about what took place during the meeting on Friday barely maintain their house church at best. Then there are those shepherds who write about and share with me the condition of their flock in detail and what they are doing for them so the flock will change and grow. These house churches may not have experienced numerical growth over the past year or two. However, I see a lot of changes and growth taking place in the hearts of their members. I am deeply pleased with these faithful and sacrificial shepherds. Shepherds, you must not think of this evaluation as a weekly report turned in to your “boss.” Instead, you must treat it as your personal ministry journal that I get to peek at. You are responsible for your house church and I am here to help you become a successful shepherd so that when you stand before God you will be the one who will be rewarded by Him. And house church members, let us absolutely honor and respect our shepherds. They love, pray and sacrifice so much for you. Let us not become a burden but a source of joy and encouragement to them.
Let us be absolutely committed to church wide events. I would like to see more of you come out to various prayer meetings we have here at New Life. Let us be committed to Sunday morning intercessory prayer which everyone is responsible for one month out of every four months. Let us be committed to House of Prayer on the first Wednesday of each month. Let us be committed to church wide Monday morning prayer in January, April, July and October. And let us finish at least two Bible studies this year: 101 through 401, Beginning the Journey, The Arrival Kit, The Living Life, The Transforming Life, Experiencing God (all these are required for New Life members), Parenting Class and Becoming a Woman of Excellence, which are all scheduled to be offered this year.
New Life, let us be committed to the basics this year and see what God will do with them. He will never let us down for our God is faithful!
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