Helpful Books for Deepening Discipleship

Helpful Books for Deepening Discipleship

Studying the Scriptures directly is the most helpful pursuit you could pursue in deepening your discipleship in Christ. Reading and talking through a book of the Bible or pursuing a particular subject in Scripture is most helpful. A book like David Helm’s One to One Bible Reading is a very helpful resource to that end. At the same time, using biblically driven books on various subjects to stimulate your thinking and conversation are very helpful tools to use as well. In this post I will list a few books that I think any small group of Christians could begin to use to strengthen their walks with Christ. Obviously this is no exhaustive list. You can probably think of better and more books to add. Please suggest some others. These are some I have personally used and found effective. In choosing books to use, it would be helpful to stimulate your thinking by choosing different books in different sorts of categories. I will arrange some of my suggestions according to a few categories. Christian Living Desiring God, John Piper Future Grace, John Piper Trusting God, Jerry Bridges The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges The Cross-Centered Life, C. J. Mahaney Humility, C. J. Mahaney Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney When People Are Big and God is Small, Edward Welch The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer Call to Spiritual Reformation, D. A. Carson A Gospel Primer for Christians, Milton Vincent Theology/Church Life Why We Love the Church, Kevin DeYoung The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur 9Marks of a Healthy Church, Mark Dever Knowing...
Practicalities of Discipling One Another

Practicalities of Discipling One Another

As I recently taught through Matthew 10, I urged my congregation and myself to consider how we could become more intentionally involved in each other’s lives to stimulate each other on to deeper relationships that produce biblical love and kingdom living. Discipleship is inclusive of engaging both non-Christians and Christians with the gospel. Here are a few bullet-point suggestions that would actually work with either. However, for the purposes of this post, let’s consider how you could invest more of yourself, more intentionally in the life of another Christian – or even two or three others regularly meeting together. Discipleship is not about checking off the following points. The following points are merely suggestions of how you could begin to think through ways to interact intentionally with other believers in a growing and ongoing way to develop more significant relationships for God’s glory. I don’t intend to annotate each suggestion. Use them as a beginning point to consider how it could flesh out specifically with you. In future posts I will give a few detailed suggestions for things such as applications questions, books to read, how to discuss a book together, etc. So here are a few suggestions on how to think about getting together with another Christian to encourage each other in more intentional ways. What to Do Converse Over Biblical Truth Read books of the Bible together         Read excellent books         Ask specific application questions of each other         Memorize Scripture together Pray Together Pray about what you are reading Pray about what you are struggling with...
How Do We Daily Apply the Gospel?

How Do We Daily Apply the Gospel?

How can we apply the gospel daily? What is the Gospel? Before practically answering that question, let’s quickly remind ourselves of what the gospel actually is. God The God who created all things is the standard of all that is right and wrong, and his standard is perfection – his standard is the reflection of his own character (Genesis 1:1; 1 John 1:5; Matthew 5:48; Isaiah 6:1-7). Mankind Mankind has violated that standard and continues to rebel against their creator and reject his standard, setting up for ourselves a new standard that tends to reflect the transitory whims of our own marred character. Man’s nature is one that rebels against God, does not seek God, does not desire God, thinks more highly of himself than of his creator, and is under the control of a humanness that follows the call of a God-hating system ruled by a demonically inspired leader, the devil himself. Thus, a perfect God who lovingly created all things for man to enjoy has been offended by the very crown of his creation in that they would rather serve themselves in a way that exalts sin and Satan more than God and his glory (Romans 3:10-18; Ephesians 2:1-3). Christ But the love of God and his wisdom have not only matched, but have overcome the depths of man’s depraved nature and choices. God has demonstrated the depths of his love in that he designed a way that would satisfy His perfect standard (the expression of His own character), accomplish justice for the injustice man has done against his holy standard, and apply the only sort of...
How Shall We Then Facebook?

How Shall We Then Facebook?

Face it, Facebook (I use this as a moniker for all social media, i.e., Twitter) is a part of our culture and it is not likely to go away any time soon. Like money, the love of Facebook is the root of many evils, and yet, at the same time, it has the potential to be used for the glory of God and the heralding of the gospel. I am intrigued, overjoyed, and discouraged by Facebook’s social influence. I have lists of friends, church members, family members, co-workers, high-school friends, fellow pastors, theologians, churches, etc. I check in on some of these lists regularly just to see what’s going on in the lives of people I know – know of – or wish I knew. Again, it can be joyfully encouraging or a colossal waste of time and instantly discouraging. A friend recently sent me a note in which he was seeking advice in guiding one of his children through the decision on whether he would allow her a FB page or not. I immediately thanked God for having children who are young enough to make this request a non-issue in the Capranica home at this point. My friend’s child came up with a list of what she would not do on the page if and when allowed to have it. Good list, but it had me thinking. For some reason, Facebook has evoked an “I will not” response because it has such a potential for producing what is unhealthy. What about the “I Will’s” of Facebook? A host of “I Will Not’s” is perhaps necessary, but we often...
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