STAYING ON COURSE
Important practices for keeping you on track in your Christian life.
1. Practice daily devotions.
“Devotions” is a name we give to the time you personally devote to focusing on Jesus in order to increase your devotion to Jesus. We suggest that your time of devotions should include reading from the Bible, reflecting on what you read, and praying to God.
A practical way to do this is what we call the 3x5 plan: 5 days each week, devote 15 minutes for developing your relationship with Jesus. That time is divided into three 5-minute segments:
Reading the Bible for 5 minutes
Journaling your thoughts for 5 minutes
Praying for 5 minutes
Here are some practical ideas and helpful thoughts.
Choose an understandable translation of the Bible. We recommend the New International Version (NIV) or the New Living Translation (NLT). For those who prefer reading digitally, we recommend the YouVersion app. This syncs with our church app. Both are available on your device's app store.
Use highlighters and notes to mark things that stand out to you. (Yes, the YouVersion app lets you do this!)
Use a simple notebook for journaling and recording prayer requests and answers. If you prefer digital, you can find journaling apps and prayer apps in your app store.
Find a quiet place and have a consistent time for your devotions. Put in in your calendar and on your “To Do” list. Consistency is the key!
Don’t worry about understanding everything you read. Just read with an impressible and prayerful heart.
2. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:25
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14
The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in your life to help you follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit will guide you primarily by helping you understand and remember what Jesus said, and by impressing on your heart to do things that Jesus would want you to do. These promptings are always in line with the teachings and example of Jesus found in the Bible. When the Spirit of God prompts you to do or say something, do it! The Holy Spirit will also give you the strength to do what He prompts you to do, and will use your obedience to impact people.
When you make it a habit to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you are “filled with the Spirit”. (Ephesians 5:18) He is directing your life. When you make it a habit of not following His promptings, you are “quenching the Spirit”. (1st Thessalonians 5:19) You are not being directed by Him.
3. Join a small group.
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47-48
“Every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
The early church gave us great example to follow. They did not just meet in large groups (in the temple), they also met together in small groups in people’s homes . They didn’t just learn about Jesus in large groups, they learned about Jesus in small groups in peoples homes.
Here's how we put it at Connections: To grow best, we need to be in rows where gifted teachers can help us understand the Bible, and we need to be in circles where Christians friends can encourage, inspire, and support each other while they share insights about Scripture and life.
4. Volunteer for a ministry team.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
Church is not something you merely attend. Church is something you participate in. God has given you gifts and abilities that are meant to be used to help the church do its work. He has called you to serve Him through His church. Jesus wants us to serve regularly, enthusiastically and to the best of our ability.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the (church). We have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.” 1 Corinthians 12:12,14
Jesus compares the church to a body. There are many different parts to a human body, and together they make up one body. There are many different people who make up a church, but together they are one church. There are two great lessons here.
As a part of the church, you are needed. Just like a body needs all the parts working well to be healthy and fully functioning, so a church needs all the members serving well to be healthy and fully functioning.
As a part of the church, you are needy. Each body part needs the contributions of the other parts for health and productivity. So each person who is part of a church needs the other people in it in order to be healthy, growing, and productive.
You are both needed and needy! We are better as a church when you are serving; you are better as a Christian when you receive the service of others!
5. Share your story with others.
Jesus said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19
Jesus’ words written above were spoken to a new believer. They are intended to be a directive to all new believers (and long-time followers of Jesus, too!) He wants us to pass along to others what we have experienced in Him. He wants us to share our story with people who need what we have found.
You don’t need to worry about things like having all the answers to people’s questions or knowing what the Bible says. You don’t need to worry about defending your beliefs. All you need to do is to share what you did and what you have experienced since you did it!
Small Groups at Connections
Finding a group is easy. You can use the church app or website to find available groups or get info about them. A great step is to sign up for our Next Steps Class. Next Steps meets after second service for 90 minutes. We host a Next Steps class every other month.