The Bible’s Power to Create a Culture

Why is the Bible special? What makes the Bible different from all other books? Yes, there are many ways to answer that question but for this particular blog entry one word stands out: “power.” The Bible has power that is unknown from any other book.

OK, I realize that if an atheist read those words, he would be rolling on the floor in laughter. “The Bible? Power?” He would say with a chuckle. “Give me a break. That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard.” But wait! Let me explain. During the last 2000 years the Bible has shown its ability to transform lives and to civilize cultures.

The Bible makes changes in partnership with the Holy Spirit of God. That’s right, the third member of the trinity. How can the Bible do this? Well, the Bible begins by showing us the values and standards needed for transformation. Then the Holy Spirit gives individuals the power to transform. Finally, when a civilization becomes dominated by transformed individuals, the civilization undergoes change.

In other words, the Bible provides the blueprint and the Holy Spirit builds the house. Changed lives provide the basis for changed cultures. For more than two thousand years, God has used the Bible as the basis for civilization. But how does this process begin?

The First Step — Change the Man

All Christian growth and discipleship start with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Why? Because if you do not have a living, loving relationship with God, you cannot know or understand the things of God. The apostle Paul wrote about this connection in I Corinthians 2: 10-12, 14.

“For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. . . . The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (ESV)

Thus, the relationship with God begins. Now the process can be guided by the Bible and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This relationship with God enables the Christian to read and understand the Bible in a whole new way. The Christian for the first time can appreciate biblical standards.

Biblical Standards

God’s standards for human behavior are completely different from the standards mankind sets for itself. Why? Because God’s standards help us strive for holiness. The world’s standards leave us to wallow in a swamp of sin. The Bible speaks of the superiority of God’s standards in Isaiah 55: 8-9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (ESV)

OK, if a Christian wants to live for God, then he must adopt God’s standards for his own life. And where do we find God’s standards? By reading and studying the Bible. And according to Psalm 119: 7, 9, 11, we should store up God’s word in our hearts.

I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules. . . .
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word. . . .
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. (ESV)

As the Bible begins to show us God’s standards and expectations, the Holy Spirit provides us with the power to change.

Power From the Holy Spirit

This change does not happen all at once. Change begins when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. In II Corinthians, chapter 3, the Bible uses the metaphor of a veil to describe this change. Before we accept Christ, a “veil” covers our eyes and prevents us from seeing the Lord clearly. However, according to II Corinthians 3: 16, “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” Thus begins an incredible change described in II Corinthians 3: 18:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)

What is the extent of this change? How far will God change us? Romans 8: 29 states that God’s intention is that we be “conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” God wants us to become just like Jesus Christ.

As more people are transformed, they begin to have an effect on their society.

Transformed People = Changed Societies

The real power in the Christian’s life comes from a restored relationship with God and the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Bible has the ability to accurately and authoritatively introduce us to God and to bring us before the throne of God.

History provides many examples of the Bible’s power to transform society. The laws in the Old Testament provide the basic structure for the laws of many societies today — including the United States. The words of Jesus help us learn compassion and kindness toward others. When the rule of law is paired with a culture of kindness and compassion, the transformation of a society is inevitable.

The Bible provides the support needed for the foundations of our government and our society

Eighteenth century philosopher Immanuel Kant provided a good summary statement. “The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.”

Basics of Prayer

Prayer is important. Every Christian knows that. But how should we pray? Prayer is our opportunity to talk with God. Our relationship with God grows as our prayer life improves. And although God can answer any prayer, a regular prayer format serves as, perhaps, the best way to pray on a daily basis.

Many discipleship programs suggest the following framework for prayer. This framework for regular prayer format consists of six basic parts or principles. Christian disciple makers also developed an illustration to help us remember these six basic parts of prayer. This illustration is known as “The Hand Illustration.”

The six basic principles of prayer are praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession, petition, and listening.

  • Praise — Words of praise fill the Bible. Revelation 4: 8 says, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (ESV) Another example follows in Revelation 4: 11, which says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (ESV)

So, what is praise? Praise declares to God the truth about His mighty actions and attributes. Praise is focused totally on God. Why do we praise God? Not because God needs to hear it. Rather, we need to acknowledge and verbalize our belief that God is mighty and great and good.

The Hand Illustration
  • Thanksgiving — The Bible tells us again and again to be thankful to God. Why? According to Psalm 100: 5 “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (ESV)

Thanksgiving celebrates God’s goodness to us. We have so many reasons to give thanks to God. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel thanked God for His steadfast love and faithfulness. The authors of the New Testament give thanks to God for sending Jesus to die for our sins. I Thessalonians 5: 18 expands our basis for thanksgiving, saying, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (ESV) Giving thanks is God’s will for us.

  • Confession — Confession of sins endures as a Christian concept. And what is sin? Sin is lawlessness — rebellion against God. I John 3: 4 tells us, “Everyone who make a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” (ESV) But what actions are considered sinful? You can discover some examples of sin by reading the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20.

Why do we need to confess our sins to God? Because sin hampers our ability to draw close to God. According to Isaiah 59: 2, “your iniquities [AKA sins] have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (ESV)

Does everyone sin? Yes. Every person who ever lived has committed sins. Romans 3: 10-12, 23 says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (ESV) Everyone has sinned — except Jesus. Jesus is without sin (see Hebrews 4: 15). Jesus never rebelled against God.

We cannot draw close to God if we are beset by sin. We cannot stay close to God until our sins are forgiven. The Bible promises in I John 1: 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV)

  • Intercession — Intercession is praying for others. The Bible teaches that intercession has great power. According to James 5: 16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV)

The apostle Paul believed in the power of intercessory prayers over events in our lives. For example, in I Timothy 2: 1-2, Paul reports the impact of our prayers for “kings and all who are in high positions.” “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (ESV) 

The prophet Samuel from the Old Testament reveals the importance of intercessory prayer. Failure to pray for others can even be considered a sin against God. Samuel says in I Samuel 12: 23, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.” (ESV) Intercession is far more important than we can imagine.

“Prayer is not simply getting things from God, that is a most initial form of prayer; prayer is getting into perfect communion with God.” — Oswald Chambers

  • Petition — Look at that quote from Oswald Chambers. What does it mean? To me it identifies the initial form of prayer for most of us. When a person says his first prayers, he usually is asking God for something. Many first prayers consist of pleadings to God for help. For example, notice Psalm 28: 1-2, 6: “To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, . . . Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. . . . Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.” (ESV)

Petition differs from intercession. Intercession makes prayer requests for others. Petition shifts the focus of the prayers to the person making the prayer.

  • Listening — The goal of listening is to gain communion with God. Google’s online dictionary defines communion as “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings.” Sharing involves both persons. In prayer we usually focus on talking to God. We must spend time learning to listen to God.

How do we listen intimately? Keep your focus squarely on God. Stop your mind from wandering. Don’t daydream. Stay awake! At first this may be difficult, especially early in the morning. Listening to God requires discipline.

Why is listening important? It gives the Holy Spirit time to “teach you all things.” As Jesus said in John 14: 26, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (ESV)

Listening also puts you in a quiet situation. God speaks with a still, small voice. Quiet is an important part of listening.

Does God speak to us? That possibility is too complex to discuss here. However, Jesus said in John 10: 27-28 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (ESV)

These are the six basic parts of prayer.

Prayer should help us grow and mature as Christians. Eventually, we come to understand that prayer should not focus on me or on the other person. The best, most mature prayers focus on God. The heart of prayer is communication and communion with God.

Abiding in Christ

Let’s start at the very beginning. First, you must accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You cannot be a Christian disciple unless you, first, are a Christian. And you cannot follow Jesus as a disciple unless you have a personal relationship with Him.

Next, in order to become a disciple, you must learn to abide in Christ. When I was a new Christian, I had problems understanding the meaning of “abiding in Christ.” Jesus did not abide in me before I accepted Him as Savior. The Greek word μένω simply means “abide, remain, stay” so that was not much help. How can I stay close to Jesus?

[Jesus said] “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. . . . If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15: 4-5, 10 (ESV)

What does it mean to abide in Christ? Does it mean to stay close to Jesus every moment of your life? OK. But how do I do that? By keeping your mind set on spiritual thoughts and by filling your life with wholesome friends and spiritual activities. How can you do that? Here are a few suggestions.

Keep Your Mind Set on Christ

In the early years of computers, programmers referred to the acronym GIGO when discussing some of their computer problems. GIGO means “garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, if you put bad data into a computer, you will get bad data back from the computer. This concept also applies to our minds. If I fill my mind with bad or negative thoughts, my mind will not produce good thoughts.

But what happens when a Christian fills their mind with thoughts of Jesus Christ? According to Romans 12: 2, filling our minds with Jesus results in mental and spiritual transformation. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

How can you keep your mind set on Jesus? First, lay aside all crude or nasty books, immoral or unhealthy websites, porn, negative social media sites, questionable television shows and movies, and anything that can turn your mind away from Christ.

Then, second, fill your mind with thoughts of Christ. The Bible is a good place to start. Also check out Christian books and movies. Listen to Bible studies, both recorded and in person. As you fill your mind with good things, then, over a period of time, you will become transformed. But what about choosing your friends?

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Who are your friends? With whom do you hang out? What do you do when you spend time with others? Where do you go?

Abiding in Christ may result in some old friendships fading away. The Bible says having good friends does matter. I Corinthians 15: 33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ ” (ESV) Proverbs 13: 20 agrees, saying, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (ESV) So choose your new friends wisely.

After you become a Christian, some of your old friends may abandon you. Why? Because if they do not know Jesus, you will hold fewer things in common. Your paths may slowly drift apart. But this is normal. You should be drawn to participate in new activities with new friends who share your new life in Christ.

Participate in Wholesome Activities

As a Christian you may discover that you no longer enjoy some of the activities in which you took part before accepting Jesus. When you learn about being a Christian, you will set new standards of behavior. This will cause you to abandon some of your old activities. The Bible says in Ephesians 5: 11-12, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” (ESV) Some of your old activities were “unfruitful works of darkness.”

In addition, some of your former activities may disgust or offend you. Why? Your life is becoming reoriented. You are turning away from darkness. Jesus Christ is filling your life with light. According to Ephesians 5: 8, “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (ESV)

Abiding Is Staying Close

What is abiding? How would you abide with a physical friend? You would stay close to that person. When you are in their presence, you are abiding with them.

Abiding with Christ closely resembles abiding with a physical friend. There is one major difference. Jesus is spirit. How can you abide in Christ’s spiritual presence? By filling your minds with thoughts of Jesus and by spending time in activities that are centered on Jesus.

The Bible conveys this idea well in Colossians 3: 16, which says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (ESV)

This is abiding in Christ. And abiding in Christ is the most important first step in Christian discipleship.

The Basics of Discipleship

What are the basics of Christian discipleship? Well, let’s start at the very beginning. First, you must accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You cannot be a Christian disciple unless, first, you are a Christian. You cannot follow Jesus as His disciple unless you have a personal relationship with Him.

How can you begin to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? You must accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your Savior.

If you never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then pay attention to the outline in the column on the right.

  • Admit to God that you are a sinner.
  • Believe in Lord Jesus Christ
  • Confess the Lord Jesus

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and you have taken the first step toward Christian discipleship.

The Basics of Discipleship

What’s next? Well, the Bible gives us five basic disciplines that help us form a strong foundation for discipleship. They are abiding in Christ, prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and witnessing. Let’s learn a bit more about each of these disciplines.

  • Abiding in Christ — you cannot have a living, personal relationship with Jesus unless you abide in Him. “Abiding” means staying close to Jesus at all times. Jesus uses the example of a grape vine and its branches to describe the importance of abiding. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. . . . My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15: 4-5, 8 ESV)
  • Prayer — prayer is having a conversation with God. You cannot be a Christian disciple apart from prayer. Jesus knew the importance of prayer. He taught His disciples how to pray (see Matthew 6: 9-13 and Luke 11: 1-4). The apostle Paul also knew the importance of prayer. He wrote the following exhortation to the Ephesians, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me.” Ephesians 6: 18-19 (ESV)
  • Bible Study — the Bible is the foundation and the authority for Christian discipleship. Yes, the Holy Spirit and prayer provide the power for Christian living but the Bible tells us where to find that power and how to become powerful ourselves through Jesus Christ. The Bible says this in II Timothy 3: 16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV)
  • Witnessing — witnessing (sharing the gospel with the lost) is essential for the growth of the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught His disciples how to witness. Witnessing is that important. In addition, Jesus’ final words on earth commanded His followers to make disciples. According to Matthew 28: 18-20, “Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (ESV)
  • Fellowship — What is fellowship? Is it just parties or coffee between church services or potluck dinners? No, Christian fellowship consists of much more than that. Christians are required to care for each other. Galatians 6: 2 tells us, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (ESV) God intended the church to be a body of believers that is defined by love and caring for each other.

And there you have it. But before we move on, let’s examine the most important strength and weakness of these basics of discipleship.

Strength and Weakness

I started discipleship using a program that centered on these five basic areas of discipleship. The program implied that these five areas were the beginning, the middle, and the end of Christian discipleship. What’s wrong with that approach to discipleship? Well, I think I can answer that question by naming the strength and weakness of these five basics of discipleship.

Strength — These five basic areas of discipleship provide an excellent program for the person who is beginning to walk as a disciple. They are concise and concrete. These five areas are easy to explain and follow. So, they serve as a good place to start a life of discipleship. By maintaining discipline in these five areas a novice disciple remains in an excellent position to establish a relationship with God, learn more about Jesus, and become established in a local church. Using these basic disciplines will provide the disciple with a solid foundation for Christian growth.

Weakness — But there is a huge problem when a person considers these basics as the totality of discipleship. Although these five disciplines are important — even essential — for Christian growth, they are not even the center, that is, the most important part of discipleship. When Jesus called the first disciples in Matthew 4: 19 and Mark 1: 17, He did not say “read the Bible.” Jesus said, “Follow Me.” The center of discipleship is Jesus Christ. And to be a Christian disciple we must follow Him.

Jesus explained this further in Luke 9: 23-24. And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (ESV) Following Jesus requires self-denial and giving control of your life to Jesus.

Being a disciple of Jesus requires you to place Jesus ahead of all other relationships — including self. Jesus said in Luke 14: 26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (ESV)

[Jesus said,] “If a man come to me and hate not . . . he cannot be my disciple,” not, he cannot be good and upright, but, he cannot be one over whom Jesus writes the word “Mine.”

Oswald Chambers

After Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, the first disciples began to understand that the command “follow Me” included following Jesus unto death. The apostle Peter wrote in I Peter 2: 21, For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (ESV)

The apostle Paul summed this up in Galatians 2: 20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (ESV)

And to Summarize

The basics of discipleship are essential tools for building your relationship with God. Prayer and abiding in Christ are central to building a relationship with God. The Bible teaches you about God and Jesus Christ and Christian living. Fellowship and evangelism demonstrate the interaction between the disciple, the church, and the world.

All About Me

All About me

All about me? That sounds sort of self-centered, doesn’t it? Why would you want to know anything about me? Well, in a word, “credibility.” You want to know whether I am credible, that is, do I have the background, experience, and sufficient knowledge to produce a worthwhile, legitimate website on Christian discipleship.

Credibility is a very important factor for a website. Why? Because the internet today contains a seemingly endless amount of information. You can find websites for almost any topic you can imagine on the internet today.

Hey! This post is all about me!

But does the website offer reliable information? How can you know? This is where credibility is important. One way you can judge the quality of the information on a website is to know more about the source of the information. Is the source credible? In the case of this website, the primary source for credibility on this website is me.

So before you go further into this website, you should find out more about me. What is my background? Am I qualified to write a website on discipleship? Please let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I have been a Christian for more than fifty years. When I was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Max Barnett, the director of the Baptist Student Center at OU led me to the Lord.

Starting on the Road to Discipleship

Max is a strong believer in Christian discipleship. He immediately started me on the road to discipleship. Max used many of the materials developed by the Navigators, an organization that promotes Christian discipleship with headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Navigators use a picture called “The Wheel Illustration” to demonstrate the five major areas for Christian discipleship. Dawson Trotman, the founder of the Navigators, created “The Wheel Illustration” during the 1930s. The Navigators have used it ever since.

The Wheel Illustration

The word “Christ” occupies the center of the wheel. This indicates that Jesus Christ must reside at the center of the life of a Christian disciple. John 15: 5 provides a biblical mandate to support this. According to John 15: 5, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

The four spokes of the wheel represent the four areas of concentration in the life of a Christian disciple.

  • Prayer develops and deepens the disciple’s personal relationship with God.
  • The Word, that is, the Bible, provides instruction for the disciple.
  • Witnessing is performed by the Christian disciple in obedience to Christ’s command to go into the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 18-20)
  • Fellowship indicates the importance of the disciple’s involvement in a local Christian community, that is, a church.

Avery Willis developed a similar illustration called “The Disciples Cross.” The Disciples Cross is featured in the MasterLife Course published by Lifeway Christian Resources.

Scripture memory serves as a crucial part of Christian discipleship. Of course, Christian discipleship does not require scripture memory but most disciples who memorize scripture understand its importance. Max Barnett stressed the importance of memorization. So, I started memorizing scripture. Now, I cannot think of a better way to get a firm grasp of the Bible.

Hear God’s Voice, Obey, and Follow

These are the basic disciplines of Christian discipleship. But when Jesus called His disciples, He did not say, “Pray and read your Bible.” Prayer and Bible study are important for every Christian but the call of Jesus to His disciples was, (and is) “Follow Me.”

Where does “follow Me” start? Luke 9: 23 records the following statement of Jesus: And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (ESV)  How do I deny myself? By placing Jesus as first in my life. As Jesus said in Matthew 10: 37-38, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (ESV)

Thus, denying self is part of the process of following Jesus. But how can we follow Jesus?

While Jesus was on earth, the original twelve disciples had no problem hearing His guidance. Jesus spoke to them as people normally talk to each other. But how does Jesus “talk” to us today? He speaks through the Holy Spirit. In John 16: 13, Jesus explained this to His disciples, saying, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (ESV)

Jesus also told His disciples that hearing His voice is part of the normal spiritual life of a Christian. He said in John 10: 27-28, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (ESV)

How did I learn to hear God’s voice?

Henry Blackaby in his book Experiencing God provides an excellent description of how God speaks to us. According to Blackaby, “God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.” And when a Christian disciple hears God’s voice what else can he do but obey and follow.

Of course, learning to hear God’s voice, to obey, and to follow does not happen overnight. Several years passed as I learned to hear and obey God’s guidance. This is the path of Christian discipleship: to deny self and to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. With God’s help and my submission, this is my life.

A Bit More About Me

During my fifty-plus years as a Christian, God brought additional treasurers into my life. The most notable gift is my lovely wife Cheri. Since our wedding in 1973, she has been the perfect life partner. We now have two grown children and three wonderful grandchildren. God is good.

The Lord called us to go to seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. With God’s help and leadership, I earned a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctorate of Philosophy in the Philosophy of Religion. Earning the doctorate was God’s idea but that’s another story. God also led my wife to become a registered nurse. God is faithful.

God also allowed me to serve Him as a pastor for fifteen years. Before that I was a soldier in the United States Army and Army Reserve for twenty-four years. During this time my wife and I continued to seek God.

Through all of this hard work with its celebrations and disappointments, I learned to trust God. Following Him has never been a mistake. Yes, God is good.