I Love The Church Because Of Jesus Christ

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” – Ephesians 2: 19-21.

For those of you who know me fairly well, know that my passion is the local church.  I love Northstar. There are several reasons why I love the church, not only as a pastor but as a Christian and I will talk about them over the next few days. But I want to say first, is that I don’t love Northstar just because I am the lead pastor. If the Lord had chosen a different path for me I would still attend church every Sunday. I want to be in a church.  I love the church, and for the best reason.

The only reason I need is that Jesus loves the church. With all that Jesus could have done, might have done in the world, had the power to do, He only built one institution; the church. In Matthew 16: 18 Jesus said, “and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”  No matter how many times I read that verse I am still awed by its power. Jesus never said He would build a better government, or a road system, or schools. “…I will build my church.”

Sure, the church isn’t perfect. The church is full of imperfect people. But if we love Jesus we should love the church.  Each individual member of the church, the body of Christ, has a story of redemption. We constantly hear stories of people of people who lives have been changed by entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It motivates me and I hope it motivates you to get excited about what God is doing through and in His church.   

In spite of some flaws, let us be a group of believers that sees the best of the church and loves her just the same. And more importantly, let us be a contributing factor to church growth by loving Jesus Christ and loving people. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you view as your responsibility to the church?
  2. If you were completely honest, would you say love the church? 
  3. Jesus loves each of us, and he wants to use us to touch the world around us. How does that impact your view of the local church? 

How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” – Ephesians 5:25-27

Can you remember when you first met your spouse? It probably was not love at first sight, but there was probably a connection; an unspoken, indescribable feeling that this is a person that is supposed to be in your life. Your entire body is telling you, like it’s connected to a magnet, that you have to talk to this person, get to know them, and have them in your life in some sort of capacity. Over time you get that jittery feeling in your belly, your palms sweat and a flutter of electricity runs through your body when you see that special someone. These signs indicate that you may be falling in love. To fall in love with someone is literally the most magical, mystical, and frankly, indescribable feeling in the world.

Did the same thing happen when you started to attend church? Did you feel euphoric, giddy, nervous, exhausted and confused — or, a combination of these emotions? Was it love at first sight or did it develop over time? Over the last five weeks we have been talking the values of our church. I want to ask one question in this devotional: “Do you love your church?”

For some of you, this may seem like a strange question. This may be the first time that you have ever thought about this question in your life. You may have always seen the church as some activity that you do each Sunday morning. You may have always seen the church as a place to be involved. You may have always seen the church as a place, where there are many good activities in which you can participate. But, you may have never considered having a love relationship with the church.

After all you probably don’t love Publix, or Popeye’s or Tom Thumb. You drive up to Tom Thumb, fill up your gas tank and maybe get a cup of coffee. Not all that stirring. Chances are you will not text a friend that “I love Tom Thumb.” Yet, that mirrors the relationship we have with the church.  That seems like I am comparing apples and oranges, but am I?

Every week, you come to church and fill up with some good worship experience and a good sermon (hopefully). You enjoy the worship, feel closer to God and better about yourself. You walk out to your car shaking a few hands along the way. To clarify, there is nothing wrong with any of that. But is that loving the church? 

Look at the Ephesians passage above, specifically verse 25.  What a simple phrase.  “Christ loved the church.”  If something is precious in the heart of Jesus, it should be precious to us as well.” As believers in Christ, we are called to love the things that Jesus loves. And Christ loved the church.

I guess there are a lot of reasons why people don’t love the church, but there are reasons to love the church.

Over the next few days I will talk about some of the reasons I love the church, including why we talk so much about doing life together.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you define loving the church?
  2. Does loving the church require courage?
  3. Is there a difference in loving the church and loving God? Is there a difference between loving the church and loving others?

Circles, Not Rows

“They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”Acts 2:46-47.

Who do you call at 2 a.m., or anytime for that matter, when your life just exploded? If you are like most people, your list is either short, or nonexistent. No matter how tough you are, no matter how independent or self-reliant you are, and no matter how much you pride yourself in the belief that you don’t need anyone, it just is not true. We all need somebody.

One of the most important things for a Christian is their desire to belong. They don’t just want to be another face in the crowd, people want to be known and cared for. When a group of Christians get together, it creates an opportunity to listen and talk to each other.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” We need each other.

Going to church is important, but you worship in a crowd and fellowship in a small group. That smaller group is what you need. We need to trust, rely on, and depend upon other believers. God gave us each other to walk alongside, encourage, and spur one another on in the faith.

James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Galatians 6:2 adds, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Romans 12:13 says, ”When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” And finally Romans 12:15 exhorts us to: “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.”

I wish I could talk to each of you about small groups and community. Unfortunately I can’t. But, I encourage you to join a group if you are not already part of one.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you participate in a small group? If not, why not?
  2. What do you see as the benefits of being in a small group?
  3. Pray and consider joining a small group this fall.

A Culture of Generosity

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35. 

This week we have talked about tithing and about generosity. Living a generous life is not easy. Jesus set standard that we can’t hope to match.  That’s because God is a giver. Generosity is a reflection of God’s nature. Human nature tends towards self-interest and self-preservation, and self-promotion, so we often don’t normally like to give to others. God’s nature, on the other hand, is to always be giving of his eternal resources to others.  Matthew 7:11 says, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

In order to be a generous giver, we need to answer an important question. The question is not “where should I give” or “how much,” but “why do I give.” The answer is pretty straight forward.

We should be overwhelmed when we take a moment to reflect on the incredible generosity of God towards us. God is not reluctant to be generous, He’s not tight-fisted with his generosity, but rather Scripture tells us that He’s extravagant in His generosity. Ephesians 1:7-8 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.”

Let’s look at the basics of being generous. Romans 12:13 says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” What Paul is basically saying is that, you have to identify yourself with Christians in need. In other words, we make the needs of other Christians our own needs by asking ourselves some questions:  How are they coping? What would I need if I were in their shoes? What would I do?”

The Philippian church took Paul’s needs to their hearts, and he wrote to them; “Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. . . . Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. . . . At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:14, 16, 18). Paul saw their practical kindness to him as glorifying God. It was an offering that was pleasing to the Lord. Galatians 6:10 adds, “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”

The simple definition of generosity is: using your God-given ability to help those in need and where your time, money, and talents come together to meet the needs of others.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the most generous gift you have ever received? How did it make you feel?
  2. Americans are some of the wealthiest people in the world, but do you think Americans are generous with their wealth? Why or why not?
  3. What excuses do people sometimes make for not being more generous with their resources (time, money, and energy) toward others? What excuses have you made?
  4. Identify one practical way you can be more generous in the weeks ahead. 

”I Feel So Blessed.”

“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.. – Galatians 3:13-14. 

Do you ever feel God blesses everyone but you? You pray for the job promotion but it’s given to a co-worker. Your dream school sends you a letter politely telling you to go away. It feels as if your dreams are on the verge of being fulfilled, but are instantly yanked away, sending your emotions on a wild rollercoaster ride. You have a friend who has a job they love, great friends, people who inspire them, a variety of Ivy schools are fighting over them. You run into them and all they can say is that  “my life has been going startlingly well. I feel very blessed right now.”

We’ve all heard someone say, “I’ve been blessed by God,” usually in relation to success, health, family, wealth, or a job. We’ve also heard athletes say they are blessed after winning a big game. We all want to be under God’s blessing.

People often think that people are blessed when they have a nice home, a good job, enough money to be comfortable. Conversely,  if you have had a life full of trials and struggling, it makes you feel like you are cursed. How we view blessings in this life is determined by how we view God because how we view God will determine how we view life and how we live life. It will determine the decisions we make. And it will impact our giving and our generosity especially when we are looking at blessings as a quid pro quo arrangement. 

That is not how it works.  God is not some sky-bound, ATM that we can bargain with for blessings. If that is how we view God then we need to rethink our position. Material good fortune does mean we are blessed. Just as the millions of Christians who live in poverty all over the world are not blessed. If you have been on a mission trip to Haiti and Kenya, you know how untrue that statement is. 

The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have. But God didn’t choose me above others because of the veracity of my prayers or the depth of my faith. The question is what am I doing with what He blessed me with? Will I be generous and use my blessings to help others?

My true blessings are not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living. My true blessing is being a child of God. A God who gives hope to the hopeless. A God who loves the unlovable. A God who comforts the sorrowful. A God that died for the sins of the entire world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think it means to be ‘blessed’ by God? What are some of the blessings God has given you in your life?
  2. Do blessings and giving go hand in hand? Why or why not?
  3. When was a time that you experienced God blessing others through you?
  4. Write down a list of blessings that God has given to you: material, economic, relational, spiritual, etc. Thank God for these blessings. Consider one way that you could bless someone else this week, whether here or around the world

In Good Faith

“ There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25 NAS

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explains an aspect of the Christian faith by comparing it to receiving and giving a gift. The first ‘discovery of faith’ as Lewis puts it, is to understand that there is no way that we can earn our way to God. There’s no exam that we need to take or pass to achieve a certain grade. It’s simply a gift that we can choose to accept or reject. We know this from scripture: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

Even if we were to spend every waking minute of our life devoted to serving God, we couldn’t possibly give Him anything that wasn’t already His own. I like how C.S. Lewis explains this point with a brief story from Mere Christianity: “So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, ‘Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.’ Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.”

There is no way that we can ever give God more than He’s given to us. So while we haven’t earned anything, yet God has blessed us with all that we have. We need to remind ourselves that He is the owner of all that we have, and we are only managers. 

Giving our tithes and offerings reflects a grateful heart that wants to give back to God a portion of what He has given us; in reality, what is already His. This is our opportunity to show God that He is first in our lives. The Bible says, the purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives. “ Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 14:23)

Again, the wisdom of C.S. Lewis is appropriate: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give [like the widow] more than we can spare.”

And what do we give? Not just money, but as Jesus requires, our whole being.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does tithing/giving affect your faith?
  2. Take a minute to reflect on a time that you gave of your time, talents, tithe, or offering. It could be big or little. How did you feel about yourself when you gave?
  3. Do you believe we can’t out give God? Why or why not? What examples do you have?
  4. What is one truth that you heard this week that you need to apply to your life? 

Partnering with God

“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.” – 2 Corinthians 6:1.

Many successful companies — including Apple, eBay, and Twitter — were built by multiple leaders whose productive relationships and combined skill-sets were a recipe for success. There is often a common trend in these partnerships: the most well-rounded pairs recognized their individual limitations and respected what the other could bring to a partnership. 

God gives us the incredible privilege of partnering with Him in His kingdom work. In Philippians 1:3-5 the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and said, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”  The Church at Philippi and Paul enjoyed a partnership between two parties who had common interests. The purpose of their relationship is to accomplish something that neither of them could do alone. Biblical partnership is not about what you can do for me or what I can do for you. Biblical partnership is about doing whatever each of us has to do to accomplish the vision or goal that we have set out to accomplish. Paul knew that he could not minister the gospel alone and neither could the Philippians. It took all of them together to accomplish this task.    

We believe that God works to fulfill our vision as a church through partnership with people like you and me. Our mission is to see the whole world find and follow Jesus. That is a large undertaking and something that can’t be done as individuals. In order to help people find and follow Jesus, we need partners who will work with us to bring the gospel to those far from the heart of God. 

What is your role in this partnership? Each of us has been gifted by God to play a specific role in the church. Which means if you aren’t engaged, something is missing and if you are not engaged you are missing something. We need everyone’s abilities, knowledge, skills and relationships. But it also involves giving. You may be thinking, sure, sounds good, but I have medical bills, the car needs tires, the kids need braces and the economy has all but flat-lined. So, if God owns everything – can’t He do most of this stuff Himself or at least help with some of my bills?

Partnering with God by giving are not simply “nice ideas” for which missionaries, pastors, Bible teachers and staff workers are responsible. The key to tithing is to consciously take this first step: hand over ownership of all your resources to God. You could look at it this way. You don’t have – and you never will have – enough money, possessions or time not to take this step. Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us: “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Why does God want you to excel in the grace of giving? Because He influences the world through partnering with His people. God gives to you so that He can give through you. As you faithfully give, the world is changed for the glory of God; the gospel is preached; lives are impacted; people are fed; bodies are healed; churches are built and grown. And then you, in turn, are blessed by God so that we can give again. It is a divine partnership.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you view your relationship with God a partnership? Why or why not?
  2. It has been said that our check books reveal our values and priorities. Do you think that is true? Why or why not?
  3. How has your response to tithing changed over the years?
  4. Besides giving money to the church, what are some ways we can honor the Lord with our wealth? 
  5. What attitudes or circumstances prevent you from living generously? What can you do about them this week?

Supply and Demand

“Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” – Matthew 19:27-30

You have probably heard the story of Elijah and the widow found in 1 Kings 17:7-15. This is the story of two people who do not have enough. Elijah is a prophet that tells the king that God is going to cause a drought. The problem with a drought is that everyone suffers—even the prophet. Soon he himself is starving. God tells him to go to a certain spot where water is still running, but the drought continues, and Elijah has to look elsewhere for food and water. God tells Elijah to go to the town of Zarephath, where Elijah will be fed by a widow.

She is a widow, young enough to have a child at home. Like most widows, she is destitute, although she is fortunate enough to have a house. Because of the drought and the economy, she has almost run out of food. When Elijah arrives in town, the first person he sees is a poor woman gathering sticks. He must recognize this as a divine appointment. “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” he says. Then Elijah asks her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”  She still has a child to take care of. In those days there would not be much a woman in her situation could do. She is out of options just as Elijah is. She is going to continue doing what she can to the very end, but that end seems to have come for her and her child.“…I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.” (1 Kings 17:12).  She felt she was at the end of her rope and the end of her life.   

Elijah says to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

We read this story knowing the end. However, this woman did not know who Elijah was. She had no reason to trust him. It is a risk. Her rational mind had to be telling her to say no. But she believes the promise and sure enough, there was enough to eat; neither the meal nor the oil ran out for many days until the drought ended.

Many of us face the limitations of leaning on our own abilities and the solutions of the world. Increasingly those things are more and more ineffective. It is time for us to realize that with God all things are possible. We simply must believe. And let me remind you what Jesus said we must believe. We must believe first of all that anything is possible with God.

God wants you to believe that all things are possible because he wants to meet your need. It does not end there. The world needs a people who know that anything is possible with God and will be the channel for the impossible possibilities of God to the world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What kind of faith is required for living with just enough for each day and no more?
  2. In what way do you find it easy or difficult to obey God when you don’t know what the outcome will be? What role does faith play?
  3. In what ways do you see God re-supplying your life?
  4. What step of faith do you need to take at this time in your life?

What’s Stopping Me From Growing?

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. – Galatians 6:7–8. 

Have you wondered why you’re not growing spiritually as much as you would like. If you sat down and listed the reasons, you would probably come up with the usual suspects. We blame it on Satan, our busy lives, our careers, children, spouse and even the church we attend. I’m not saying those things aren’t an issue, or that they are not contributing to our lack of growth. But, are they the real reason? To me the real reason is the noise or distractions in our lives. Noise and distractions in our lives can diminish our spiritual growth.

We all have the best intentions. We are excited about God, but because we have become a product of our digital world, we have a diminished ability to think deeply about Him, to truly know Him as He is, and to grow more like Him. It is harder and harder to stop long enough to read. We struggle with the attention needed to study. And we have a tough time finding time for God. Where prayer used to be the first activity of the day, we now begin our daily routine by checking e-mail. Where we used to look through the Bible daily for inspiration and guidance, that time now competes with our voice mail, text messages, e-mails, and the ever-present lure of the Internet. So the distractions are limiting the things that will contribute to our growth.

If you don’t believe me, run a small scale case study on yourself to see how many time you are distracted a day. My guess is you will get so distracted you won’t be able to get the case study done.

Paul prayed for the young church in Colossae: “So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”  (Colossians 1: 9-10) This would require them to say no to whatever distracted them from seeking Christ above all else.

Our goal is the same, to not be distracted by anything that pulls us away from what’s supremely important—knowing Christ. God calls us to a life where distractions fade and His voice becomes the One we listen to first and foremost.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What kind of noise do you have in your life? Do you surround yourself with noise intentionally or unintentionally?
  2. Do you wish God’s voice would be louder in your life? Does all the noise in our life make it hard to hear from God?
  3. Does my schedule, my time, my life look like that of a person who wants to spiritually grow? 
  4. What are some things in your daily life you could change to eliminate some of the noise?   

Change For The Better

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – Ephesians 3:17-19. 

Have you ever reflected at least for a moment, why God just doesn’t give us the stage cues we need to guide us in the direction we need to go. Or better yet, why doesn’t God just change us? It would make things a whole lot simpler. 

God always makes the right choices. If God made the decisions for me, I would not struggle with the same old problems and continually make the same old mistakes. I wouldn’t be wrong so often. My opinions wouldn’t get in the way of my growth. No more anger, impatience or even worse indifference to what is happening around me. No more hypocrisy. Yes, there would be bumps in the road, but I would not pay them any mind because with God as my GPS, I will always get to where I need to to be. Life would be much simpler.

It would also take a lot less time to grow and to become more like Jesus. In spite of my intentions my path to holiness is pretty slow. Think about it for a second. If God wanted to, He could have made us instantly perfect the moment we accepted Him as Lord and Savior. He could completely deliver us from our clinging sins in the blink of an eye. Life would be simpler.

So why not perform another miracle? Why doesn’t He simply pick me up where I am and turn me into a holier, mature and loving Pastor Marty? It would be simpler, but not better. The truth is God is always changing us bit by imperceptible bit, gradually and patiently. Look back at who you were one year ago, three years ago, ten years ago. Can you see the Lord refining you? If you are still where you are, then maybe you are not taking the steps and accepting the changes needed to grow. Our tendency is to lose motivation if we don’t see results, but we need to remember that God often grows us in silent, subtle intervals.

So take the steps you need to grow. Celebrate the rare times when spiritual development can be measured in miles and takes place overnight, but daily delight in God’s faithfulness in the small steps that we take. Using small, slow and persistent growth to change the entire world is God’s method of change. 2 Peter 3:8 says, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” So don’t look on spiritual growth, regardless of pace, as being too slow. What we think is God’s slowness is God’s patience, mercy and perfect timing.

God wants me to be holy, but that’s not His only goal for my life. He wants me to learn to treasure my Savior and humbly depend on Him for everything in my life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. God desires that we not only know about Jesus, but that we become like Jesus. What might this look like?
  2. Granted, spiritual growth takes time and one day God will accomplish His objective of making us like Christ. But why does the process have to take so long for change and growth to become a reality?
  3. While God accomplishes all spiritual growth, He uses means. What are some of the means He uses to bring about growth? Which of these do you find most helpful?
  4. What can we do this week to change and grow in Jesus?