Spiritual Formation
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Eight Keys to Discipling New Christians
Eight Keys to Discipling New Christians
Suggestions to help you mentor.

So, what exactly should a Christian do if granted the opportunity to mentor and disciple a new believer? Here are a few suggestions that I've found helpful:

  1. Be prepared to be used in new ways. Just because he's used you in one particular way in the past doesn't mean it's going to be the same this time around. Different people require different approaches. Pray for God's direction, for boldness, and for vision.
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Beyond "Prayer Requests"
Beyond "Prayer Requests"
What if people's wishes run counter to God's sometimes painful path of transformation?

You'd have thought I'd just cussed by the way the mouths around the table soundlessly fell open. And all I'd said was "I don't think I can pray that for you."

The woman who had just asked us to pray was perhaps the most shocked ...

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Five Ways God Answers Prayer
Whatever the answer, your best interest is always in mind.

Over the years, I've discovered from Scripture and experience that God loves to answer our prayers. Here are five of his most frequent answers:

"No, I love you too much."

The Lord of the universe isn't under obligation to say ...

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Superheroes in Sunday School
What superheroes can teach us about God.

When I was a kid I wanted to be Robin: The Boy Wonder. And really, who wouldn't? You get to run with the greatest superhero in the world. You get to say cool stuff like "Holy scapegoats!" You have all these special abilities at your disposal, and no ...

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Cost of Discipline-Ship
Discipleship takes our time and commitment.

The high cost of our discipleship begins with the cost of discipline-ship—being willing to devote a portion of each day in solitude, silence, and complete surrender. In the midst of the stresses and strains of our lives, the pauses and punctuation ...

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Bring Light to the World
If we are following Christ, we will be making disciples.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ can never be reduced to merely producing Christian character in ourselves or loving one another, as important as those things are. Being a disciple of Jesus means making other disciples, because that is what our Lord ...

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New Disciples: Born, but Also Made
Be passionate about making disciples.

It has become fashionable these days for churches to preach "disciple making." Everyone is for it. Everyone claims it as a priority. The words, however, often exceed the reality.

A tragic personal experience made the need for disciple-making a passion ...

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5 Questions to Clarify Your Church's Mission
What does it take to make a healthy church?

The conference speaker was clear. "There are five essential questions of congregational life," said the Rev. Lloyd John Ogilvie, "five questions that must be asked and answered sequentially. If you skip any of them, the best that your ...

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What I Learned from the Lazy Barista
If people are not following you, look at how you are leading.

Most pastors and leaders have a well-defined vision for the ministries they lead. They have core values they would like their ministries to embody and a mission to accomplish. They develop brochures and PowerPoint presentations laying out their vision ...

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Anyone for Fasting?
Anyone for Fasting?
Reconsider this ancient spiritual discipline.

Do ordinary, busy Christians fast anymore?

That was the question that popped into the mind of our board-of-elders chairman, Austin Chapman. Pastor Anderson had mentioned fasting in a sermon, and now the lay leader was getting practical: What about it? ...

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You Cannot Keep People Out of Hell
You Cannot Keep People Out of Hell
God does not fault us with anyone's eternal destiny.

I knew she could do it. Others told me so. Women like her were needed to speak to non-Christian women. Her frequent short-term mission trips had given her opportunities.

But something troubled her. Through a veil of tears, she told me what it was. The ...

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Live Life as a Mentor
Live Life as a Mentor
It's easier and more natural than you think.

I was having a midlife crisis, and I wasn't even out of my 20s. While others were moving up the economic and social ladder, I was dissatisfied and feeling empty. I wanted my life to count for something.

I was having a crisis because I had just left ...

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Don't Ask Me What I "Do"
We need to define ourselves in Christ rather than by our jobs.

When I go to a party, meet a neighbor, or am introduced to anyone, the inevitable question rears its ugly head: "What do you do?"

I resent that question. "Who are you?" or "What are your interests?" would be better questions. To be defined by how I earn ...

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A Christmas To-Do List
A Christmas To-Do List

So often in the Christmas story, we focus on the main characters: Mary, Joseph, and, of course, Jesus. But through the short account in Luke 2:8-20, we can learn from the shepherds four things that should make the top of our to-do list this Christmas. ...

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Authentic Fellowship
How do we learn the deep 'one another' community of Scripture without being in close proximity?
How do we learn the deep 'one another' community of Scripture without being in close proximity?
Karen Shepard, Wheaton, Illinois

Community in the New Testament sense of koinonia assumes and requires face-to-face communication, whether in a horse-and-buggy ...

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Please Don't Interrupt Me
What if life is really in the interruptions?

I love poetry: to read it, to write it, to get lost in the language and the pictures. To savor the fragment that doesn't seem big enough or long enough, and yet it captures everything.

I love poetry, and in honor of National Poetry Month—and ...

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Holy Moments
Recognizing God's fingerprints in your life

It's easy to find evidence of God in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. It's not so easy to detect him during the ordinary events of our lives. But that's exactly where you and I live. Most of us will never walk on water, heal the sick, or cast ...

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Spending Time
Spending Time
Psalm 90:1-17: The eternal value of numbering our days.

I happened to catch a song on the radio a few months ago called "100 Years," by a group named Five for Fighting. It was the tune that caught my attention at first, but the words were just as haunting. The premise of the song is that if you've ...

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Make Devoted Disciples
Make Devoted Disciples
How to be an effective mentor.

Even though Rodger and Lynne Schmidt were planning to go to Africa as missionaries, they found themselves asking, "Is this really something we should be doing?"

At the same time in the same city, another couple was also wrestling with their ...

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True Christian Community
True Christian Community
Do whatever it takes to connect a friend with Jesus.

One of the great stories in the Bible about community involves a paralyzed man and the friends who brought him to Jesus (Mark 2:1-8).

Imagine what life was like for a paralytic in the ancient world. This man's whole life is lived on a mat three-feet ...

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