Keep the Fire Burning

Fire

Growing up in Zimbabwe, we used to visit my grandparents in the rural areas.  At night, the boys would sit by a small fire outside of the main hut.  About thirty minutes before going to bed, my grandfather would ask us to pull out the logs from the glowing fire.  By bedtime, the individual logs would have gone from glowing to smoldering, and, ultimately dying out. As I reflect on Discipleship, my grandfather’s wise words seem to speak to that.  A Christian who lives outside of community, away from the glowing fire of other Christians would cease to grow and soon would grow cold.

The spiritual discipline of small discipleship groups is important to the strengthening of your faith. Most churches comprise many individuals attending church, yet are not committed to the church and to each other.  It is more beneficial for a church to have ten growing, accountable Christians than 200 hundred disconnected, uncommitted congregants.  At The Salvation Army El Cajon Corps, through the small discipleship triads, we are learning that Christianity is best lived in community.  We are learning that holiness is strengthened through accountability.  Human beings are social beings.  We are created to live in community with God and with each other.  It is in the midst of living in community that our faith is both tested and strengthened.

Gods Word

Discipleship triads provide the benefits of studying God’s Word with others.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than none, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)  It is in working together with others that we grow and are inspired to be greater.

Discipleship triads can be a place where you can be vulnerable.

It is a place where you feel safe to share your biggest struggles, without fear.

In the discipleship triads, we sign a covenant which states that what is discussed in the meetings stays with the three members, and with God.  We encourage and expect people to be transparent, honest and truthful.

Discipleship triads challenge you to go deeper through reading God’s Word daily, praying regularly, and documenting your thoughts and feelings.  These groups are avenues of service to others, as well.

  • Have you joined a discipleship group yet? If not, why?
  • Are you growing in your Christian walk?
  • What do you need to do to make time to be with others, and with God?
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Faith in Action

Faith service

James 2:14-26 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

In our world, many people are suffering.  In our world, many people are going through untold difficulties.  Many homes house lonely, depressed people.  Many communities comprise abused and hurting people.  On the streets today are many people enslaved by powerful addictions.  In a corner somewhere is a crushed soul mourning the death of a loved one.  In the bars and restaurants are some people who are simply lost and in desperate need of guidance.  All these people need Christians to respond to them through prayer, love, acts of mercy, shelters, rehabilitation centers, and Jesus!   As The Salvation Army, we respond to suffering humanity through our holiness. Holiness demands that we wholeheartedly serve God.  Holiness demands that we tirelessly serve our suffering neighbors.

faith_in_action

The co-founder of The Salvation Army, General William Booth is recorded to have said, “Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again–until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.” (The Founder’s Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48.)

  • Our faith is ineffective if our faith lacks corresponding action.
  • We need to weld our red hot evangelical piety to our compassionate witness.
  • We need to pray with one eye closed to connect with God, and another eye open to see the need around us.
  • We need to worship God with our voices, and with the same voices to defend the weak.
  • We need to be the voice of the oppressed, the abused, the poor, and the suffering.

Lest We Forget

  • We are to be the voice of Christ which cries out for the emancipation of sex slaves and child laborers.
  • We are to be the hands of Christ which bind the wounds of the brokenhearted.
  • We are to be the hands of Christ which give a basket of food to the hungry single mother.
  • We need to coach the young man who is going to his first job interview after overcoming his drug addiction.
  • We need to hold the hand of the lonely, ailing nursing home resident.
  • We need to offer free household furniture to the fire victims.
  • We need to unlock the shelter doors to the domestic violence victim fleeing her abuser.
  • We need to console the family and conduct a memorial service for their son who died at war.

We cannot continue to ignore and turn a blind eye to the plight of suffering masses.

We cannot let any red tape; fear, opposition, and lack stop us from doing something.

Are you so heavenly minded, that the matters of earth do not concern you?