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The Basics.

Do you want more? #6

no podcast today.

One way I cooperate with God every day is in my garden. As I sit on my deck this morning, immobile, following foot surgery, I look at the work of my hands and can see the results all around me—roses, herbs, tomatoes, vines… tall old trees that beckon the cardinals and bluebirds to come and make their homes. What goes into the success of any plant – the basics? Simply--soil, water and sunshine. God’s part, my part.

Again I take you back several years ago to Fellowship of Christian Athletes at San Clemente High School, and bring you the next installment. The most important thing I did was ask God for wisdom and guidance in creating a plan. So I built a strong group of student leaders, had lunch meetings with them every other week, alternating with our growing team huddle. [Note: Ask God for wisdom at the start of each day. As James wrote, if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1.5]

Some of you are thinking right now – so in a Southern California public school of 3200 + students, how did that work, starting a religious club? Great question. At the beginning of the school year, the students had campus club signups at lunchtime. I wondered what in the world would happen. Would students even be interested in such a venture? Would anyone sign up? The answer was ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. We counted 105 students who signed up that first day--we were all so excited.

Our Fall launch was a great beach gathering the late afternoon of Sunday, September 11, where we prayed, sang, read Scripture and hung out, driving an American flag into the sand – symbolizing God and country. The following week we went to the Yoder volleyball compound, (of whom I spoke in the last Morning Briefing – “So about that job I never asked for?” We drew 77 students and heard beloved Jack Iverson, former SCHS volleyball coach and current voice for the successful CIF team, about the value of Christian faith. So great.

Momentum was building. You could feel it, you could see the interest.

Then it happened. Two of the students came to me and asked, ”Can you teach us how to grow in our faith?” Ah, that great question!

The other day I referenced Nan’s question over lunch in Massachusetts, ‘How do I get closer to God?’ In response, I discussed the value of a regular morning prayer time and gave suggestions to guard against distraction - our biggest foe when it comes to prayer.

The two basics of growing in faith: prayer + reading God’s Word.

Our struggle comes in understanding the Word. So to address the students’ quest, I went to a much-loved passage in John chapter 15, also referenced the other day, in which Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15.5

To unlock understanding -> When looking at any Bible passage, consider:

(1) What was the context for the verse(s)? Passover night, Jesus talking

(2) Who was it addressing? The disciples

(3) What are the verses saying? Gotta stay connected to Jesus to grow

(4) In what way do the verses apply to me? I too must stay connected, abide

(5) Is there an action I should take? Be intentional in prayer and Bible reading

To be straight up, I only gave the students numbers 3-5 above. The Bible was new to most of them and I did not wish to overwhelm them. Hmmm, I will never forget handing out little red New Testaments and watching them find the book of John! Beautiful.

These are the basics, Friends. I think of Jesse, Tessa, Sabrina, Joe – all friends I met on the airplane. The Bible is so rich if we both apprehend it and seek to apply it. Want to grow? Get connected or abide as Jesus suggested ->the basic basis for spiritual growth.


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