I was recently challenged by this comment in ‘Word for Today’ : ‘In prison with no possibility of release, and facing the certainty of death on the chopping block, Paul asked Timothy to bring his books. Why? Because he wanted to keep growing. The truth is: 1) When you finish growing, you are finished When the poet Longfellow was old, an admirer asked him how he was able to keep writing so beautifully. Pointing to a nearby apple tree he replied, ‘That tree is very old, but I never saw prettier blossoms. The tree grows a little new wood every year, and out of that new wood those blossoms come. So I try to grow a little each year.’
2) Growth doesn’t come easy. It will stretch you. It will challenge you to rethink assumptions you’ve always believed to be right. Indeed, it can cost you friends and money. But when you’re committed to growth you cannot settle for ignorance.
3) Growth is your responsibility. When you were a child, your parents were responsible for your growth, but now you are. The poet Robert Browning wrote, ‘Why stay we on earth except to grow?’ Yet few dedicate themselves to the process. That’s because growth requires change, and we’re uncomfortable with the things change brings. Gail Sheehy said, ‘If we don’t change we won’t grow, and if we don’t grow we’re not really living. Growth demands the temporary surrender of security. It means giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, relationships that have lost their meaning. Taking a new step is what we fear most, yet our real fear should be the opposite.’ Can you think of anything worse than a life devoid of growth?’
Since mentioning to a few friends I was going on a 40 day spiritual renewal programme using the new Purpose-Driven Life book, I’ve had lots of requests for more information from others with a similar hunger to keep sharp for God. This book is a manifesto for Christian living in the 21st century…a lifestyle based on eternal purposes, not cultural values. Using biblical stories and letting the Bible speak for itself, the author Pastor Rick Warren clearly explains God’s five purposes for each of us:
- ·We were planned for God’s pleasure
- so your first purpose is to offer real worship.
- ·We were formed for God’s family
- so your second purpose is to enjoy real fellowship.
- ·We were created to become like Christ,
- so your third purpose is to learn real discipleship.
- ·We were shaped for serving God
- so your fourth purpose is to practice real ministry.
- ·We were made for a mission
- so your fifth purpose is to live out real evangelism.
Written in a captivating devotional style, the book is divided into 42 short chapters (six weeks) that can be read as a daily devotional. Each chapter also has a link for a short audio comment from Rick, and a video. You’ll also get a key ring with six Scripture verses to memorise. Once a week you’ll be asked to meet up with a partner to share your progress and encourage one another. And I’ll also be in touch to help you make it through.
I’ve registered this on line group with Rick warren and am ordering all the books and materials for everyone who’d like to join the group on the 7th October so I can get them in time to distribute to everyone for a 21st October start.
COST : there are two ways of doing it: 1. You could download the book yourself on Kindle for about £7 and then just pay me £4 for the other materials and the registration fee, or 2.Order the hard copy from me for £10 plus £4 for the other expenses
You won’t regret it.
Think of who you’ll get to be your partner. Let me know this week.
Come grow with me!