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Practical Steps to a Deeper FaithSometimes faith demands action. This practical book gives Christians ideas for how to adjust their hearts to get closer to God. Each chapter contains a unique challenge and a brief explanation that puts the challenge in context. Exercises include acts of service to others, extended prayer, Scripture memory, fasting, a day of gratitude, media fasting (no TV or Internet), evangelism, and much more. The challenges are broad in scope, allowing people with varying personality types and learning styles to benefit from them.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 septembre 2011
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781441233882
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0346€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


© 2011 by Jerry MacGregor
Written with Keri Wyatt Kent
Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ebook edition created 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
ISBN 978-1-4412-3388-2
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. ® NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com .
Scripture quotations identified NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, ® copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
Scripture quotations identified nlt are from the Holy Bible , New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations identified NRSV are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations identified KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.
The internet addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers in this book are accurate at the time of publication. They are provided as a resource. Baker Publishing Group does not endorse them or vouch for their content or permanence.
Cover design by Jeff Miller/Faceout Studio
Author is represented by MacGregor Literary.
This book is for Colin, Holly, and Maelie may you grow close to God as you see Him at work in your life together.
Would you like to move closer to God? If so, let’s get one thing straight right off the bat I’m no shining example. I didn’t write this book because I am perfect or have it all figured out. I don’t glow in the dark. I wrote it because, well, I’m a wreck. I want to be a better Christian. I want to feel really close to God, but I can’t seem to ever quite get there. I sin, ask forgiveness, and sin again. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t want you to think, This guy wrote a book because he really has it all together. I don’t.
But I’m fifty-two while writing this sentence, and looking back over the past forty years, I realize I’ve come a ways in my walk with God. I used to be farther away, and now I’m closer. Most of that is because of books and people books that have shared good ideas with me for how I could move forward in my spiritual walk, and people who have helped me actually put those ideas into practice. So I wrote this book as a “God challenge.” In other words, I thought I could create something that would challenge you, ask you to try some ideas and to do some work, with the end result being that you’ll have moved a bit further down the path in your spiritual walk.
In this book you’ll find a bunch of spiritual practices I’ve tried and used and found to be effective. There’s nothing phony in here none of that dopey, made-up-for-a-book, try-this-even-though-I-never-have sort of thing. Everything here is practical and real. In fact, if you ran into me somewhere and we started talking about how to grow close to God, these are the very ideas I’d share with you from my own experience.
And listen: There’s no shortcut. Just reading this book won’t make you more spiritual, in the same way that watching Peyton Manning on TV won’t make you a great quarterback. It takes work to get better at anything. Nobody buys a guitar one day and starts selling concert tickets the next. You don’t pick up a set of golf clubs on Wednesday and expect to win the tournament on Saturday. If you’re serious about it, you do some work. You try it out. You practice. You start with the basics, learn them, and then keep practicing until you get better. In time, you notice improvement whether it’s golf or music or cooking or growing up in Jesus. Real spiritual growth takes time and effort.
So this book is a place to start. You read it, try it out, and see what happens. Maybe you talk about the ideas with a couple of friends, and you decide to try these ideas together.
Or maybe you take a solitary approach and decide to write your thoughts down so they’re on paper and available for later reflection. Journaling is a great way to dig into those thoughts. Use the writing spaces provided and explore what you’re thinking and feeling. Writing down our concerns and struggles validates their place in our lives. There’s no hiding when we write our thoughts down.
Don’t expect miracles here, ’cause I’m fresh out. What I can promise you is this: Disciplines are the ONLY strategy I know for growing your Christian life. I figure you’ve purchased this book because those other methods you tried (going to Sunday school, tithing, praying before meals, watching televangelists) were nice but didn’t really help you go deep with God.
Those practices aren’t bad, of course. They just don’t go far enough. So instead, I’m offering you a realistic plan to get closer to God. Try this book for forty days. Do the exercises, and see if you’re not further down the path when you’re done. At the end, you should have some fundamental skills for moving forward, for growing deeper, for drawing closer to God.
If you too are a wreck, my prayer for you is that you’ll discover you have much greater spiritual depth than you thought when you began this book. I wish you all the best as you start walking the path.


The primary reason Jesus calls us to servanthood is not just because other people need our service. It is because of what happens to us when we serve . [1]
If you ask most people to tell you about a time when they felt truly fulfilled, odds are they will not tell you a story about a time when they focused on their own needs and wants. Rather, they will likely recall an incident where they set their own agenda aside and helped someone else. Maybe they tutored an inner-city kid or went on a mission trip or served Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen. Perhaps they performed some simple act of service for their own family, or assisted a neighbor or close friend. The practice of serving others actually brings us joy, if we undertake it with the right attitude.
Despite the fact that serving others often brings us fulfillment, many people don’t do it. We have great intentions, but we’re so busy. And besides, how do you know which needs, of the many around you, to address?
I think many of us spend more energy than we realize keeping ourselves isolated from the needs of others. We may not be aware that right in our backyard (as Mother Teresa would say), there is a Calcutta. Our neighbors may not be starving or have leprosy, but they can be suffering or hurting in some way, and it’s possible we could do something simple to show love to them.
It’s human nature to be self-focused. That’s why Jesus had to teach his followers to be unselfish. He had to instruct them on servanthood, because it doesn’t come naturally. He told his followers: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:34–35).
He also said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43–45).
When we let go of our agenda and focus on serving others, we “save” our own lives. When we serve others, we experience God’s love and true fulfillment. And those we serve get a tangible experience of his love through us. Who wouldn’t find that exhilarating? I believe most of us know that, deep down. But it’s still difficult to embrace the spiritual practice of service to actually get out and do something. Sure, we think it would be nice to be a do-gooder. We think volunteerism is noble. But again, we’re busy, or we don’t know what to do, or maybe we don’t feel like serving anyone. It’s inconvenient to do so. It takes time we think we don’t have.
And yet, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, service is exactly what we are called to do. Jesus said that if we want to get ahead in his kingdom we have to love others by serving them. And he didn’t offer a plan B. Serving teaches you things you can’t learn any other way. Serving teaches you humility in a way that talking about humility never will. It allows you to actually imitate Christ, which is the goal of the Christian faith.
Look, sometimes we have to be obedient, even if it is tough. We have to decide to love, because servanthood is an expression of our love for God, and our love for others. So the point of service is to love others tangibly.
Too many Christians get confused and think the goal of our faith is to be fulfilled or to realize our potential. Um . . . that’s not what Christ said. The goal of our faith is to become more like Jesus, to act as he would if he were living in our place. Serving others leads to Christlikeness.
Your challenge today is to serve someone in a practical way. The first step is to find someone in need of service. Unfortunately, man

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