Taking one Step Closer to Jesus

Taking one step closer to Jesus every day means pursuing a relationship with Him, and growing in that relationship. The first group of characteristics in our discipleship goals refer directly to our relationship with Jesus, challenging us to develop a personal and intimate relationship with the One who created us. Jesus is our loving Creator; the One who formed us in our mother’s womb, the One who knows us best and still loves us most. He had a great plan for us to experience His Kingdom on earth, but our choices led us away from Him and into sin, separating us from our perfect and blameless Creator. From the very beginning, as our loving creator, God planned to pay the penalty for our sin through His sacrificial death on the cross, enabling us to re-enter relationship with Him: this is the Good News of Jesus!

We do this by acknowledging we are sinners, in need of grace, accepting His death on the cross for our salvation, and believing He rose from the dead to give us new life in Him. When we accept this truth, we become His children, restored in relationship to our true Father. We receive His Holy Spirit which empowers us to live in response to His never-ending, never-giving-up desire to be in a love relationship with us. As Christians, we respond in love to God by ushering in and demonstrating what His Kingdom will be like one day, living a foretaste of heaven on earth. We love others, because in Jesus’ Kingdom perfect love will bind us all together in unity with Him. We act in peace, reconciling others to God and one another, because in the Kingdom of God we will experience perfect peace forever. We experience joy regardless of our circumstances because we know this life is temporary and we are now citizens of a Kingdom that will endure forever with complete joy.

Here are the 7 characteristics we would love to see developed in your relationship with Jesus as you walk the journey with Him.

Responding to God’s Grace with Repentance

Matthew 16:21–28; Romans 3:21–26; Romans 12:1–15; Ephesians 2:1–10; Galatians 5:16–26

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Recognize sin as that which misses the mark of God’s perfect plan for their relationship with God and others;
  • Chooses God’s perfect plan for relationship over the enticement of sin, agreeing with God that these things are sin;
  • Take sins of omission and sins of commission seriously, understanding the propensity for self-justification;
  • Focus on what is good and pure in order to live for God today and for eternity;
  • Grow in awareness of personal sin and actively receive God’s grace and forgiveness through the cross;
  • Be intimately aware of the struggle between spirit and flesh;
  • Avoid a lifestyle of sin, growing in awareness of worldly idols, while extending God’s radical grace and forgiveness to others;
  • Take practical measures to live in purity, setting appropriate boundaries and guardrails in areas of personal struggle;
  • Establish key relationships of accountability wherever needed;
  • Recognize sin that exists in themselves, in others and in the world.
  • Vulnerably name their own sin while walking a journey of repentance and redemption with others.

Rooting your Identity in the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

2 Corinthians 13:14; Amos 3:3; Matthew 4:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Genesis 3; Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:9-11; John 3:5-7; John 1:10–13; 1 Corinthians 15:1–11; 2 Corinthians 5:14–21; Ephesians 1:4–8 & 13–14; Galatians 2:15–21

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Fully embrace the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in their lives; understanding their identity as a child of the triune God
  • Find their identity as a follower of Jesus, made in God’s image and pursue their God given calling, inviting others to join the journey
  • Prayerfully work through issues of past experiences and with overall emotional health, working towards becoming free from insecurities and issues;
  • Pursue counseling and/or spiritual direction when needed, actively using their journey to join in the healing process of others
  • Experience God the Father’s love found in the person of Jesus and His saving work on the cross
  • Prioritize relationship with God, showing evidence of dealing with personal idols and issues in their life, while also helping others to deal with idols and issues in their lives;
  • Live a life of fruitfulness in response to God’s love for them; understanding God the Father’s character more fully. Responding to the generosity of the cross; not living life in a way to earn God’s love
  • Freely give grace to others in response to God’s forgiveness and grace; understanding the true character of Jesus, the exact representation of the Father.
  • Walk with God’s leading day in day out in the Spirit; knowing how to respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit in relationship to their body, soul, and spirit; understanding His character more fully

Being Active in Prayer

Matthew 6:5–15; Luke 5:33–39; John 17:20–26; 1 Timothy 2:1–4, 6:5–15; James 5:13–16

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Comfortably talk with God regularly through prayer— both privately and corporately;
  • Experience and practice different forms of prayer, which have expanded their comfort in talking with God (e.g.: liturgical, centering, quiet/silence, fasting, solitude);
  • Listen to God’s voice in prayer and recognize what He is saying to them in a small still voice;
  • Understand the many other ways God speaks to them (Bible, Holy Spirit, Confirming Circumstances, Godly Advisors, and God’ Silence) and are able to discern His voice and direction in their lives and in the lives of others
  • Pray and intercede with and for the Body of Christ, for friends and enemies, and for the global Church.
  • Pray for the sick so that they would be healed.
  • Pray with an expectation for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, believing in faith for miracles and for God to intercede in peoples’ everyday lives.
  • Pray immediately for people when they have a request, and to bring their own requests to others for prayer in faith.

Using the Bible as God’s Guide for Life and Understanding His Character

Matthew 18:18–20; Matthew 5:15–20; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1–3; Mark 4:24; Psalm 19:7–11 2; Timothy 3:16–17

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Understand and demonstrate how the Bible is the final authority in all matters of life;
  • Understand and communicate the basic beliefs and doctrines of being a Christian
  • Read or listen to the Bible from cover-to-cover at least once and know how to read the Bible with understanding, and help others to do the same;
  • Articulate how God’s Spirit has spoken to them through personal and corporate study of scripture
  • Practice the discipline of regular scripture study;
  • Develop a deep knowledge of the character of God, as given in scripture, and be able to share that with others from a place of humility;
  • Share the story of God in their lives and how they are being transformed by reading the Bible, applying the scripture they memorize;
  • Regularly engage with scripture in a communal setting (Church, Small Groups, with friends, family times, etc.) where interpretation is checked through the lens of others;
  • Share God’s story, as revealed through scripture.

Living Life as Worship

John 4:23–24; Exodus 16:2–6; Psalm 100; Romans 12:1–2; Hebrews 12:2; John 14:23–27; 1 Corinthians 2:11–16; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; Galatians 3:2–5; Galatians 5:16–25

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Understand worship of God to be an act of submission— dying daily to their own agenda, actively listening to the Holy Spirit for His agenda and living for Jesus;
  • Follow God’s Spirit, yielding and obedient to His promptings and convictions;
  • Describes how God’s Spirit is at work in their life and in the lives of others, and how they’ve participated in the work of God’s Spirit in these circumstances;
  • Understands the Fruit of the Spirit in their lives, allowing the Holy Spirit to conform them to the image of Jesus; and others can name this fruit in their life;
  • Is aware of and can name the gifts of the Spirit God has given them and recognizes gifts of the Spirit in others.
  • Understand the reality of God’s indwelling presence in all facets of life—every day and every moment—and aligning their life to reflect worship of God through relationships, service, recreation, work and/or school;
  • Express worship of God beyond the vehicle of music, comfortably worshiping Him privately and corporately, inviting others to join them;
  • Demonstrate joy in worshiping God, understanding the importance of declarations of praise or thanks as well as times of contemplation;
  • Appreciate and practise different styles and types of worship which do not dictate or limit the ability to worship freely.

Stewarding God’s Entrusted Resources

Matthew 25:14–30; Matthew 6:19–24; 1 Chronicles 29:10–14; Malachi 3:8–12; Luke 11:43; 2 Corinthians 8:1–17; Colossians 3:22–25; 2 Thessalonians 3:6–13; Titus 2:6–14; Titus 3:1–11; Genesis 1:26-28

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Recognize the responsibility to be a good steward, knowing all our resources have been given by God
  • Understand their accountability to Him for:
    • Time: to intentionally live out God’s priorities. They consciously choose not to waste the gift of time, but to invest it in things that matter for eternity.
    • Talent: to ensure their skills, abilities and influence are used for purposes of Christ’s Kingdom and not only for personal or familial gain, but for the benefit of others as well. They invest these talents in ministry, both inside and outside the church.
    • Treasure: intentionally deciding on a percentage of financial resources to:
      · SHARE generously through tithes, alms, offerings and gifts.
      · SPEND, limiting possessions and managing resources for Christ’s Kingdom.
      · SAVE for the future plans God has for them and others.
  • Care about the environment and take measures in their own life to care for all of God’s creation through recycling and conserving natural resources and by carefully protecting all that God has made;
  • Treat their bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and make wise choices for health and fitness.
  • Perform to the best of their abilities at work, representing Christ and stewarding the gifts God has given them to their full potential; not allowing the values of this world to dictate actions at work but hold true to Christian morals and values, including the practice of Sabbath rest.

Being Baptized in the Holy Spirit

Ezekiel 36:26-27&47; Joel 2:28-29; Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:49 John 3:5-8, 14:16-17a, 16:13-15, 20:22; Acts 1:5-17, 6:3-10, 8:12-17, 10:44-46; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 3:14-20 & 5:18-20; Revelation 22:17

A disciple is on a journey to:

  • Fully embrace all of what God has for them; wanting to live life to the fullest. Inviting more and more of the Spirit of God to be a part of their lives to empower them to live with eternal purposes.
  • Understand the Holy Spirit is one of the equal persons of the Christian triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and is not to be ignored, but embraced in a believer’s life.
  • Understand that the Holy Spirit lives in every believer upon conversion, offers a spiritual gift to every believer, but that not every believer has been filled with the Spirit; new birth in the Spirit is the beginning of new life and a new relationship but believers should seek more and more of the Spirit throughout life. People can be filled, and filled more, and filled again.
  • Seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an experience in which one yields control of themselves to the Holy Spirit; allowing them to know Christ in a more intimate way, and receive power to witness and grow spiritually. The initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in other tongues; a Spirit inspired utterance, used to communicate intimately with God or for community prophecy when publicly used with interpretation; or an outpouring of the Father’s love. Either way, the evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit will be evident to others. This experience is distinct from, and subsequent to, the experience of the new birth.