The Daily Practice of Learning

In the Church world we use the word “discipleship” a lot but we do not always do a good job of defining it. It’s root word, ‘disciple’ means “student or follower.” So discipleship is the practice of following or being a student of Jesus.

When one is a disciple of Jesus s/he learns directly from Jesus.  They regularly read the Bible. They pray sharing with God their heart while hearing what God has to share with them. They view the world as God sees the world loving all people. 

“That sounds so simple.  But what if my calendar is already full?”

I hear you.  It feels like it is another thing to get done in an already crazy busy day.  Here’s the thing we can spend time with God while taking care of other things.  

Go for runs, bike rides, or workouts?  You can listen to the Bible while working out. 

Feel stuck in the Kitchen cleaning up? Or tied to the Laundry pile?  You can talk with God sharing what’s on your heart while hearing what God has for you. 

Sitting on the couch twitching with wanting to do something? You can journal questions or learnings from your faith journey. 

There are pockets of time throughout each of our days to spend time with God.  As we get together with friends for workouts or coffee we can do the same with God.  You don’t have to spend hours at a time if that is too much for you.  The key is the constant touchpoint with God throughout our days.

Your daily practice of learning at the feet of Jesus is your own practice.  It does not need to look like anyone else’s daily practice. It is how you spend time and learn from God. 

The key is to find the intentional time and rhythm with God that works for the two of you.  As you do so stay consistent with those times.  It will be tempting to skip a day but take the time.  Before you know it those nuggets will be a natural part of your day you don’t even think about it anymore.

Learning at the feet of Jesus is important as a follower of Jesus.  The more we learn from Him the more we become like Him. Living The 168 Life is seeing the world through the eyes of Jesus.  We get to see the world as Jesus sees it as we learn from Him.

So as you find these nuggets in your day enjoy the learning.  Ask God to teach you more about faith.  Seek to grow in trust in God alone. 

May you grow in faith in the 168 hours of the week. 

This Week’s Challenge

Schedule nuggets of time with God in your day.  Find natural places for your to connect with God so you can grow in faith. 

Faith is Who You Are

Going to church tends to be synonymous with one’s faith. We use this phrase to indicate we are going to worship, an event, or Bible Study. It is an entry on our calendars. In some ways it means no more no less.

We talk about faith as a thing we do.  A compartment of our lives like our jobs, our families, our friend groups, our hobbies.  It is a part of who we are; one aspect of the whole.

But we have it wrong.  Faith is all of who we are.  It gives us the eyes to see the world through.  It shapes the words we share with others.  Faith directs us in our decision making.  Faith is all of us, not a small part.

While Jesus lived He taught His followers how to live their lives through their faiths.  He taught them how to trust God so deeply they took actions they never would have taken on their own.  Jesus showed them how faith shapes who we are each day of our lives.

When we see faith as an entry in our calendar we limit it to just a small handful of hours in the week.

But when we see faith as who we are it then shapes all 168 hours of the week.  

Imagine when you have decisions to make seeing them through the eyes of your faith.  Seeking God’s direction asking to see how God is leading you in this next step.

Or caring for friends with God’s love.  Showing up for one another in all circumstances. Faith brings people together with God’s love.

Sure, it is simple to say faith is who we are but is it really that easy?

What happens when one’s faith requires a sacrifice?  Or go somewhere we may not want to go?

Can’t we just say we have faith and not live it out in all 168 hours of the week?

Peter was a follower of Jesus and was taught by Jesus Himself. He was full of faith but was scared from time to time to have his faith be all of who he was too. One time Jesus was approaching the Disciples while they were out fishing at night.  Key point – Jesus did not have a boat Himself.  He walked on water.  (Check it out in Matthew 14)

Peter in awe of what he saw he asked Jesus that if it truly was Him to have Peter walk on the water.  Jesus invited him.  In classic Peter fashion out of the boat he went. Peter walked on water keeping his eyes on Jesus.

Peter was scared at times as his faith shaped his whole life. When he clung to it fully he did incredible things, like walking on water or preaching to hundreds of people. Peter understood that living The 168 Life was difficult at times.  It has times of challenges to grow in one’s trust in God. It has times of joy as one shares faith with all.

May you grow in your own faith so that is infiltrates every hour of every day of the week. Begin living faith in the 168.  See the adventures God has planned for you.  Grow in trust. See the world in a small way through God’s eyes. 

This Week’s Challenge

As you go about your day this week note how you are living out your faith.  Where does it guide your decisions? Conversations? Journal how faith is shaping who you are.

Living Faith in the 168

This past year has been to say the least…difficult.

This pasty year has been to say the least…incredible.

March 15, 2020 changed my life.  I was looking forward to this day as it was the Home Opener for my beloved Minnesota United FC. Instead of going to cheer, or should I say yell, for my team for 90 straight minutes I was instead at my first meeting as a Board of Director at my brewery.  And it was at this meeting that everything began to change.

After 3+ hours of intense difficult conversation we made the decision to close our taproom due to COVID-19.  We did so to protect our employees & the public from this deadly disease.  Without any knowledge of PPP Loans or state mandates we did what was right for our cooperative brewery & community.

By the end of that week I had lost 3 out of 4 jobs and was barely hanging on to the 4th one.  I had no idea how I was going to get through a global pandemic with little income, no health insurance & not a lot of job prospects.

That was the difficult part of the year.

After March 15th, I pivoted in my one remaining job.  Instead of welcoming people in person on Sunday mornings I shifted to connecting with people through social media.  Also I got connected with a congregation that had been doing digital ministry for a handful years & began learning from them how to be a digital minister.

While not being able to hang out in person with friends I still spent quality time with some via Zoom & a lot of late nights at work.  We bonded in such a way that will last a lifetime.

I found myself on a path slightly different from what I expected but exactly where God needed me to be right now & into the future.

That is the incredible part of the year.

Living faith in the 168 hours of the week has its ups and downs.  There are hours where you kind of go, “Huh?”  And other hours where you go “God, that was incredible!”  Faith is not picture perfect 100% of the time.  It gets a little crazy from time to time.

This week in our daily readings (available on Instagram at: @resolved_ministry) we are looking at people noted for their faiths.  They are mentioned in the Bible’s “Hall of Fame” chapter in Hebrews 11 for being faith filled.  But let me tell you they were not perfect.  They had their own difficult times with their own incredible times. 

What I pray for you to learn from their stories is how through it all they kept following God.  They made mistakes but repentance came.  They trusted God.

Friends, keep trusting God. I don’t know what you are dealing with today but I do know that you are not alone.  I do know that God is standing right beside you saying, “Take this next step.  Keep watching for what I have planned for you.” 

Hold onto God’s Hand.  Cling to it if you have to.  It’s okay God can handle it.

If you ever need a friend or someone to talk to you have one here.  Send an email or DM via social media.  I am happy to pray with you through the difficult hour towards the next incredible God has for you.

This Week’s Challenge

As you read the Daily Readings write in your journal what you learned from each one’s story.  How can you grow in your faith in God by knowing their faith in God?

A Thread Runs Through It: Acts 25

“Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.” Acts 25:12

Well, here it is.  Paul is going to Rome.  Through our study of Acts and following Paul’s journeys there has been a sense that it is has all been coming down to this point.  Paul was growing in influence in the Christian world.  He was helping entire cities around Jerusalem & surrounding lands transform.

Now he is going to the very city that will reach the ends of the Earth, Rome. 

Remember back in Acts 1 when Jesus told the Disciples that they will be His witnesses in Jerusalem (local city), Judea (local region), Samaria (local country), ends of the earth.  Paul followed this progression in his ministry and each of his journeys.  With his going to Rome he is connecting with the ends of the Earth.

You see at this time Rome was the leading city of the world.  The Roman Empire held strong control over other nations.  It had constructed a widespread road system to help transport goods from foreign lands.  This road system also assisted missionaries, such as Paul, to travel to different cities.

Paul is given the opportunity to be in Rome while waiting for trail and continue preaching & teaching.  The people he connects with would then return to their own home towns with the Gospel to begin churches themselves.

Throughout Paul’s life God had a plan.  One life experience led to another which led to another learning experience. It was as a thread running through the fabric of Paul’s life connecting it all together.

The same is true in our own lives.  Taken individually life situations may not seem to make sense. We may think God is not listening to what we have to share or simply ignoring us. Rather, when we take a step back we can begin to see the thread of God running through our own lives. We begin to see how things are connected.

Take a look at your life.  Study the various events, key moments in your life to see how they are connected, how they each prepared you for future experiences.

God has a hand on your life through it all. He has been preparing you each step of the way. It may not have seemed that way up close but take a step back.  See the small connections that act as the thread preparing you.

See, God did not stop sending out His followers with Paul.  God continues today to send people who follow Him to their towns, countries, the ends of the world. God is sending you out into your community to share your story with Jesus.  And God has been preparing you for this time.

After spending time studying Paul’s own faith journey be encouraged. Remember how the Holy Spirit gave Paul the words to share in each town.  Recall the courage Paul received the times he faced opposition. 

God prepared you for this moment. Go out and share with joy.

This Week’s Challenge

Create a timeline of key moments, learnings from your life.  Step back to see the thread God ran through it all preparing you to share the Gospel in your life.

Planting & Nurturing Seeds of Faith: Acts 19

“Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.”

Acts 19:8

As we read Acts 19 we see Paul teaching in Ephesus sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching them about the Holy Spirit. Now not everyone was receptive to what Paul had to say.  Some rejected what he taught speaking out against Christianity. 

Despite Paul’s passionate, thorough teaching not everyone believed, even after 3 months. It does not mean that Paul failed or could have done better.  Rather not everyone will become believers when they hear the Gospel.  It is not Paul’s job, nor ours to get everyone to believe.

The key lesson is to recognize that our true job in sharing the Gospel is to preach it authentically in word and action. We cannot control how or when people will receive Jesus as his/her Savior. God sends you and me out to simply tell our stories of faith to others.  It is the Holy Spirit that works in the hearts of others to prepare them to receive it.  This may occur instantaneously in our eyes or it may seem to take a long period of time.

What we do not always see all the aspects of God’s Plan of Salvation.  We do not see what God has been doing in a person’s life prior to our sharing nor do we see what God continues to do afterwards. It is our responsibility to simply share our story as God provides the opportunity. 

Paul teaches everyone this lesson in his first letter to the Corinthian believers:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”

1 Cor. 3:6

Paul was called by God to teach about Jesus & the Holy Spirit in Ephesus at this time. He was not held responsible by God to ensure that everyone became a believer. He shared and allowed the Holy Spirit to do the work in the hearts of the individual. 

In our lives we pray to God for the words to share and the courage to share it.  Then we pray for the seeds of faith to grow in the Lord. At times we see the blooming of a flower that was first planted by another.  Other times we are asked to plant the seed of faith so when another comes the flower will bloom. 

In your faith journey this week look to the people God is leading you to nurture the seeds of faith so that they can bloom.  Then pray for those God has for you plant the seeds of faith for future growth.  Know the difference between these two.  Ask God to open your eyes to recognize the moments as they present themselves to you.  

In all ways cling to the joy of the Lord that you have in your life. Always remember you are a child of God dearly loved.  God gives you the courage and words to share as God gave the same to Paul on each of his missionary journeys. 

This Week’s Challenge

In your prayer journey list those individuals God has you to nurture the seeds of faith.  In a second list write down those God wants you to plant the seeds of faith.  Each day pray for these individuals so all the seeds of faith grow strong in the Lord.

Acts 3: Healed in the Name of Jesus!

“Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.” (Acts 3:16)

Whenever I hear of a faith healing this image comes to mind: A gaudy dressed preacher (probably sweating & spitting as he speaks) yelling, “Healed in the Name of Jeeesus!” An individual seeking healing of some sort is ‘sooo” overcome s/he faints into the waiting arms of the ushers miraculously healed. Crutches are tossed aside. Wheelchairs left empty.  Men and women who haven’t walked in years are not walking home.

In this third chapter of Acts we hear the story of the Lame Beggar being healed by the Name of Jesus.  We left the disciples in Chapter 2 after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost empowering them to go and make disciples in all nations.  Now we follow Peter & John going to the Temple one afternoon passing a lame beggar man.

This man who was lame from birth.  He relied on friends to bring him to the Temple each day so he can ask whoever came to the Temple for their generous giving of money.  It was how he supported himself.  But Peter & John was able to give him something much better than money.  They shared Jesus’ name with the man so he was able to walk home on his own for the first time ever.

Receiving healing in the name of Jesus is offered to everyone. And it is not limited to physical healing only.  Perhaps it is a healing of your heart from a broken relationship.  Or healing from pain acquired from society. Whatever healing you are searching for believe in the name of Jesus.  Know that deep within your soul Jesus is offering to completely change you by His love. 

Just as the Lame Beggar believed what Peter & John told him it was his faith in Jesus that he received healing.  He trusted fully in the power in the name of Jesus.  It is because of this trust that his story was heard throughout the town and others came to know & trust Jesus in their own lives. Peter & John were able to share the Gospel with more people after encountering this man’s faith.

In your own life how do you trust Jesus?  Are there areas of your own life that you want to trust more?  Maybe in relationships? Or perhaps with finances or your career? Take the time this week spending time with Jesus so He can begin to bring you healing.  Let go of the pain or fear that you may carry.  Place it at His feet trusting fully in the power of His name. 

You are healed in the Name of Jesus!  Go now walking freely with the Lord of Life.

This Week’s Challenge

What do you want healing for in your life? Pray each day this week to be healed in the Name of Jesus.  Surrender yourself to be transformed by Jesus.