6 ways to Embrace the Needs of New Believers in our Groups

I have many discussions about this. Ken Braddy in his daily blog gives a great perspective.

Ken Braddy

I recently had a conversation with a group leader. She asked a tremendous question embraceabout having new believers in her group, versus having them in a separate group for newer believers. How are we to care for the needs of new believers when they are placed in groups with maturing believers? Challenges abound. So do opportunities.

I’ve been noodling on her question to me about this issue. Is it better to have newer believers mixed into groups with more mature believers, or is it better to separate those newer believers into their own groups?

I believe having new believers in our Bible study groups is the right way to make disciples. Here are few reasons why combining new believers and maturing believers is a good idea, and how we can embrace new believers and their needs

  1. Embracing new believers means embracing evangelism. Groups exist to make disciples. This means…

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Do this each time you teach the Bible…

Ken Braddy has some excellent ideas that will help you as you lead your group.

Ken Braddy

Tuesday’s teaching tip is a practical one for all you group leaders. When you teach your group and guide them through a study of Scripture, do you point to Christ? Every time?

Our tip today is courtesy of a friend of mine, Trevin Wax. Trevin has been instrumental in launching The Gospel Project, a line of Christ-centered curriculum created by my team at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also an excellent communicator and preacher, whose messages always point the audience to Christ. Listen to the challenge that Trevin issues in regard to finding Christ in each Bible study you lead. He has several examples in his book, Gospel-Centered Teaching, but this one in particular relates to the times when you find yourself teaching from the Old Testament:

Is there anything about my treatment of this Old Testament text that a faithful Jew could not affirm? Why is this…

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5 Differences Between Teachers and Disciple-Making Teachers – Ken Braddy

Ken Braddy is spot on with this blog about teaching for changed lives.  It is well worth the read.  Even more so think about how you can help disciple people.  We all are learners…we all are teachers. Let’s stay busy sharing the Truth of Christ.

Source: 5 Differences Between Teachers and Disciple-Making Teachers – Ken Braddy

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4 Ways to Turn a Puddle into a Pool | Ken Braddy

Great blog by Ken on developing leaders.


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Come To The Table

Come to the TableThe Lord’s Supper is a time of building unity among Believers. Recently at my church we had small groups come to the table together to be served. We have been doing this practice for years on occasion. These groups are usually family members and friends who sit together in the worship service.  Prayers are offered, the elements are taken and everyone feels closer. Unity is built.

Jesus meant for the Lord’s Supper to build up the Body of Christ by reminding us of His death and resurrection as well as the promise that one day He will return.  The term “communion” is often used when the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist is served. The word communion  is “community and union” joined together to describe the experience that we have with the Risen Christ and with one another.

This week many Bible study groups are focusing on 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul gives instructions on the proper way of observing the Lord’s Supper and challenges the early Corinthians to examine their misguided approach to this ordinance and to give proper attention to this holy practice.

Some things to think about when participating in the Lord’s Supper.

  1. Is my heart right?  1 Corinthians 11:28 says that we are to examine ourselves before participating in this service.
  2. Is my motivation right?  The Corinthian church was being selfish as people were over indulging in this love feast.
  3.  Is my message clear?  The purpose of communion is to build up the Body of Christ and to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26

Some years ago I attended a weekend retreat known as the Walk to Emmaus.  For three days our group of men from various denominations focused on the Scriptures and worshiped together. We observed the Supper in some creative and moving ways which bonded our souls to one another and to the Lord.  I came away with a renewed sense of the importance and value of participating in the Lord’s Supper that has shaped me.

That experience and the fullness of Christ helps me to not take the Lord’s Supper for granted.  In addition it enabled me to appreciate the relationship I have with Jesus Christ, with fellow Believers and mankind because of the love of Jesus.

I love being at the Lord’s table and look forward to the day when I will sit at the Table of the Lord with Him in Glory!

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Trusting in Life and Death

20180401_181932.jpgI have looked death in the face. I grieve for many.  I deal with anticipatory grief for those close to me.  As a son, I saw death come for my father as I held his hand until it grew limp. I watched death approach and take the life of my brothers.  As a pastor I have sat with many people who were preparing for that moment when their body ceases to exist.  Some I have had the privilege of being there with them during their last moments of life.

Death is not something we talk about…except at Easter.  It seems like everybody does. We celebrate and exclaim that Jesus has conquered death for us.  For some it is a saying, for others it is a confession of faith, for me it is a stark reminder that death is real.

Today as part of my Easter reflections I chose to walk among the tombs. I see the markers of friends, of children, and of others that I have known.  I contemplate their life and my own. I think of family. I think of the past as well as the future.  I can only imagine that family and friends are with Jesus and wonder what they must be experiencing. I see where we laid them and with faith believe that they are not here but are also raised with Christ!

The Scripture says “But now, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20.

The fact that the world has been observing Easter gives me hope.
The fact that history has been changed because of the Risen Christ brings peace.
The fact that I have seen lives transformed, even my own, gives me courage to face the future.

I have come to see death as door to eternity for the Believer. The Bible teaches that Heaven awaits us as we enter into the presence of Christ, our Risen Savior.

Let’s not just say idle words on Easter but live the life that Jesus promises. A life that one day will conquer death.  Are you trusting Jesus with your life…and death?

Will we still be Easter people on Monday…and all the days to come?

I hope so!


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A Lesson From Three Nails



This Easter weekend Gabe, my trusted dog and companion, and I were walking our neighborhood enjoying the sights, sounds and for him the smell of the journey.  Not long into our trek I saw a nail in the road.  I picked it up and thought about how a nail could inconvenience, someone to say the least.

It wasn’t long after that on our nearly two mile jaunt that I spotted another nail.  This time my thoughts turned toward the nails of the cross being that it was Easter weekend. I put it in my pocket with thoughts of the crucifixion. However this time  I wondered if I can find a third nail, symbolizing the nails that pierced the body of Jesus, the Messiah.  And I did!

It was then that these thoughts came to mind about being intentional in our witness for Christ.

  1. When I saw the first nail I didn’t think anything about it. It was an inconvenience.  I wonder if we sometimes see people like that. Just another person who is interrupting our walk through life.
  2. The second nail jumped out at me. It jarred me into thinking about spiritual things. There are people I meet who need to know about the Truth of the Cross.
  3.  The third nail brought the lesson home. After finding the other nails, I began a hunt for a third nail. After all it was actually Good Friday morning and I was sensing that God was speaking to me. The lesson this time was intentionality.  It was a reminder that I need to be seeking people who need to hear and see the message that Christ has forgiven us of sin and promises eternal life if we accept Him into our lives.

Like you, I encounter lots of people in the places I go. Some are fellow Christians, most are not.  I pray that I will see people as God sees them and never miss an opportunity to speak the Name above all names, Jesus, to someone.

I want to be intentional in my witness!

This past week, I have had two friends who are being intentional in witnessing to others and asked for prayer. One friend asked for prayer as he verbally witnesses to a young man. Another is serving his friend and praying that will see Christ in his actions and conversation.

Let’s be intentional. As we walk through life, let’s become acutely aware of our surroundings and be quick to share how the Love of Jesus kept Him on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

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