Alright friends, I highly advise making it a habit to blog through the books you read. It’s far too easy to just let some of the things you read – even those things you underline and highlight at the time – to slip through the cracks of your memory and never move into a place of application. So blog, journal, whatever – just make it a habit to do some application with the good things you read.
I say that because chapter 4 of this book is all about dependency upon God for our ministry. The message is fairly short and sweet (but with some perhaps bitter notes:) the more dependent you are on God, the more successful your ministry will be. But this isn’t some cute little formal mantra. It’s really an incisive statement because it cuts to the heart of how we spend our time with God: do we spend our time praying for things to be accomplished (not necessarily a bad thing) at the expense of praying that we would know and understand God more?
The reality is [and as has been written in blogs preceding this] that a pastor’s church will ultimately inherit his spiritual condition. If he is undisciplined in prayer, bible study, evangelism, etc. then he cannot expect to have a church that is. If he is diligent in these things, he can expect to see that fruit begin to stem in his church.
This chapter seems to ultimately be about discipline and begs a few questions for application:
1. Am I practicing a mindset of dependence? That is, do I view daily prayer, bible reading, etc – practices that draw my mind and my spirit closer to God – as necessities or as surplus? Can I get by without them? If my answer to that last question is “yes, I can get by without them,” then I need to check my heart.
2. What am I praying for? Neither you nor I can understand God apart from His help. Perhaps one of the most helpful things we can pray is that God would help us know Him more, and help us love Him the way He loves Himself. We were made to know Him, to behold Him, and in doing so, worship Him.
3. How do I view spiritual warfare? I’m of the mind that when I’m in a position in which I’m settled in my dependency upon God, then spiritual warfare isn’t as scary as it sounds. But believe me, if you’re trying to fight all of your own battles, you will lose every single one in the spiritual realm. Spiritual warfare is inevitable as a church planter, and it is better to engage in it from a position of sonship and knowing that God will ultimately have the victory than it is to engage it from a position that assumes I must fight it alone.
A good, short chapter that is surprisingly packed and difficult to condense.