BACK TO BASICS:
Of the many things the pandemic is teaching us, I wonder if going “back to basics” is one of the clearest and most important lessons. As a church, meeting online for much of last year meant keeping things simple—looking to God’s word, praying for his protection and peace, and caring for one another. In the same spirit, I want to suggest four “basics” that might help us to invest further in our walks with God and each other, whatever 2021 has in store.
Nourishes and grows us up into salvation (1 Pet 1:23-2:3). Yet, like any meal, it requires a level of preparation. My first suggestion, before the year gets away on us, is to see what’s on the “menu.” Choose a Bible reading plan that works for you—be that a one-year plan through the whole sweep of Scripture, or just the Psalms or New Testament! The YouVersion Bible app offers loads of free plans, and can help you track your progress. Better yet, commit to something with a friend!
Is part of our daily surrender to God, and something to be done “in everything” (Phil 4:6), “without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). The fact we can bring ourselves and our concerns to God at any time is both freeing, and a little overwhelming at times. When there is so much to pray about, where do you begin? I find, once again, that a plan can help. Why not join others in the church by working through the prayer calendar? Jill Burrows can sort you out with a copy!
Is meant to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24-25), and is an essential part of our witness to God as the source of love and goodness (1 John 4:10). Whether in person or online, it’s vital to our spiritual health that we keep on meeting together for encouragement! And, ideally, that will permeate the week beyond Sunday. Have you considered joining (even leading) a life group this year? I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas about a life group arrangement that could be suitable for you (even if it doesn’t exist yet).
Is not an optional extra to Christian discipleship, but the natural extension of our own faith and call in Jesus (Matt 28:16-20). Our Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship all move us to go out, to live out, and to speak out about God’s salvation. A starting point in this might be to make a list: who are the two or three people you will commit to praying for, connecting with, sharing with this year? Name them, and see how God uses you!
Please note: the above is not meant as a religious checklist. My prayer is that these four “basics” serve as prompts for each of us to find a meaningful and manageable pattern of discipleship in the year ahead. May God’s grace be upon us.
By Joshua Irving (Student Pastor)