presented by Holly Pankratz, Minister of Care and Equipping
Review of S.H.A.R.E to this point.
See: Seeing the unseen, seeing through history, and seeing our neighbors.
Heart: Living an invitational, intentional hospitable life, 5 stages from I once was Lost – faith as a journey, 1-1-1: Where might God want to restore your heart
Area: Do you know your S.H.A.P.E. and the area God is asking you to use that S.H.A.P.E. in? (3 areas: Creative, Redeemable and Cooperative) Where has God placed you and where might he want to use your S.H.A.P.E. to invite people to restoration.
Restore: What we will look at today
Experience– Next week
R = Restore
Many of us have an idea of the spiritual legacy that we would like to leave. But how many of us see our role in God’s Kingdom and it’s legacy where we live, work and play? In Luke 4 we read that Jesus said that He came to restore.
Read Matthew 4:17 at your tables. Jesus gave the people a vision of what the key to restoration was. What do you see in these verses?
God’s heart is to redeem and restore: Narrative of the whole Bible is the pursuit of this and then Jesus declaring- “It is finished” What is finished?
I believe “It is finished”, is the invitation back to living out of a Genesis 1 identity and that this is the best S.H.A.R.E. tool that we have. Ask yourself – “Does my life display that I have a loving God who creates? Who invites me to rest and does not ask me to produce the fruit but rather join Him in his work? Who delights in me? And when I go astray invites me to confess, repent and get right back into the flow of THE KINGDOM OF GOD with him? (Versus hiding or covering up?)
If we aren’t believing this and living it on a continual basis, our sharing will not be as fruitful. We will be relying on ourselves and not walking in the freedom Jesus invited us to.
Throughout God’s word, he is continually inviting his people to believe His ways are best. He wants to restore the brokenness of choice to trust self and not him. Restoration is the reason Jesus came-look at these verses that show the invitation and hope of Genesis 1.
Verses on Restoration:
Amos 9:14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
Isaiah 61:7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Acts3:19-21 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
- VISION: Invite God into opening your eyes to see who and what he wants to redeem. Jesus didn’t heal everyone, he was attuned to the Father’s voice. (Jamie Winship Video- Knowing rediscovered)
A Genesis 3 and 4 Identity: Fear of God withholding and our need to step in and take or help the process. When things don’t turn out-do we blame someone or ourselves harshly?
Table Discussion: Share at your table when you have recently held back what you sensed God was asking you to do or say because of fear.
How would it change your outlook if you had a Genesis 1 identity of co-creating with God-not having to create yourself?
God is continually doing work in our life. Are we awake to the process He has us in? I think it is very important for us to “train” or disciple people in what the process or journey of the Christian life looks like:
6 Stages of the Life of Faith– Faith is a journey that is not linear and often messy and difficult at times but we must hold to the promise of RESTORATION!
Six Stages in the Life of Faith
Faith is a journey that is not linear and often messy and difficult. At time we must hold to the promise of restoration.
Church leadership podcast June 2: How we Grow
STAGE 1: THE CONVERTED LIFE (10:54)
The first stage is the Converted Life. It is characterized by pure excitement. Because they’ve recently come to faith, they are seeing everything for the first time. This stage can come with feelings of both invincibility and insecurity. For believers in this stage to avoid getting stuck, they must become incorporated with a local church body. Similar to an infant, young believers will not be able to thrive without getting connected to and fed by others. This is when believers are often most vulnerable and needy.
Leaders should be asking themselves what on-ramps they are providing for believers in the Converted Life. Leaders also need to be patient with those in this stage. The zeal and enthusiasm of disciples in the Converted Life should not be quenched or extinguished, but rather encouraged and directed.
STAGE 2: THE LEARNING LIFE (15:40)
When a believer first realizes how little they know about faith and the Bible, they often become lost. The pressure felt by disciples in this stage means they will be a sponge for new information. This means leaders must be ready to teach them the basic building blocks for biblical literacy and the Christian Life.
It is important to note that this is a very personalized process. The Holy Spirit can’t be systematized. These stages and this journey are not going to look the same for all disciples. Rather, consider this to be a general framework for that journey.
Often, when disciples in your equipping programs experience a period of accelerated growth, they will incorrectly assume that the program itself is discipleship. They may then assume that people in other programs or systems are “doing discipleship wrong.” An “us vs. them” mentality can arise, and unless they grow past this, they may stay stuck in this stage. Leaders need to be asking “Is this program becoming more important than Jesus?”
STAGE 3: THE PRODUCTIVE LIFE (23:25)
The Productive Life is when a disciple first becomes deployed in using their gifts. Disciples will more clearly realize their purpose. This is when the training come off, but also when pride can start to creep in.
However, this is also when believers are most tempted to believe their productivity and life change are up to them. It is important to remember that this journey is never supposed to be about us. Rather, the Productive Life, and all other stages, need to be focused on Jesus. This stage is when we start to fully understand that we are not God. What we value will often be stripped away to expose our ego.
Measuring success by ministry activism, by productivity, by the size of a budget, number of converts, impact, etc. are all signs of being stuck in the Productive Life. Disciples in this stuck in this stage will wrongly believe that the Christian life is about getting or achieving something on their own merit.
INTERLUDE: THE WALL (30:03)
“The spiritual life is not primarily about activity. Rather, activity flows out of the spiritual life.” – Nathan Wagnon
In this wall between stages, the Holy Spirit very intentionally moves people into a period of disillusionment and questioning. This often looks like our ego and idols being stripped away. This can be a painful process and may be the result of crisis, trauma, transition, besetting sin. Unfortunately, up until this point disciples see productivity as the highest priority in the Christian life. Thus, when they hit the wall, they think they must have gone wrong somewhere. Disciples will often revert back to the Learning Life and assume they “missed something in class.”
This process of hitting the wall and then going back, all while focused on being productive, can becoming a repeating cycle. Many believers never progress past the wall. They either give up, or believe that their circumstance must be all their is. Disciples who do not progress past the wall either tend toward legalism or licentiousness. Burnout is also common.
The answer? What allows a believer to progress past the wall? They must simply sit. They must realize that the spiritual life is not primarily about activity. Rather, activity flows out of the spiritual life. We can be so busy doing things for God, that we miss God himself.
Note that the process of getting past the wall is a very formative process. Leaders should not try to get people out of that transition too quickly.
Best to ask: Lord, what do you have for this person and how can I pray for them-believing in the God who restores.
STAGE 4: THE INWARD LIFE (36:08)
The Inward Life is characterized by a deliberate journey inward. As a leader, you will often hear questions like, “Where did God go?” This is because people’s understanding of God is being reoriented. Disciples in this stage need a mature friend to walk with them. People can easily get lost in their introspection.
God is stripping away ego. No longer is the the highest end of the spiritual life about doing things for God. Instead, it is God himself. This isn’t to say that the Inward Life is less productive than it was previously. However, it will be less busy and less frantic. Ministry becomes less about you, what you are achieving, and more about God and what he is doing.
STAGE 5: THE OUTWARD LIFE (40:55)
In the Outward Life, ministry is done for the sake of Christ. The results are in his hands rather than ours. The weight of living for other people is laid aside. We begin to participate with Jesus in his mission. The Outward life is characterized by rest and enjoyment of Jesus.
STAGE 6: THE LIFE OF LOVE (42:32)
People who are fully mature in Christ will be saturated in the love of God. A disciple in this stage has learned to get out of the way and be a conduit for the Holy Spirit to do work in other people.
Table Discussion: Have you had to face the wall? Share stories at your table of where you have personally seen God redeem and restore a situation recently for you or for someone close to you.
People will be more open for you to share who God is to you and they want to know if he makes a difference in how you live your life.
Final Exhortation: Live out of a Genesis 1 Mentality and when you step out (which will happen from time to time); repent and get back into the flow of the KINGDOM of GOD.