7 Marks of Discipleship

As disciples of our Lord, we encourage all who worship at Chapel to embrace the Seven Marks of Discipleship:

1. Pray daily
2. Worship weekly
3. Enjoy spiritual friendships
4. Read and study the Bible
5. Engage in service and mission
6. Share the Good News with others
7. Practice Generosity with time, talent & treasures.
2013 stewardship campaign

 

Pray daily

The Seven Marks of Discipleship
Issue Number 1 January 16, 2012

 

How To Pray Daily

The first disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray.” From that question Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer. And yet, we still have that question, “how do we pray?” St. Paul tells us in his New Testament letter to the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:17)

If we are honest, many of us will admit that we rarely pray. For many of us, prayer is something that does not come easily. One survey indicates that 25% of us NEVER pray. Another 18% ALMOST never pray. Only 6% of us pray every day. But the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Here are a few suggestions. Pick one or more of these and make a commitment that you will stick to your choices between now and Easter:

  • Pray when you get up in the morning. And keep in mind that moaning, “Oh God” as you struggle with arthritic pain does not constitute a prayer!
  • little_girl_praying
  • Pray in the evening, before going to bed.
  • Pray at every meal.
  • Set aside time for a 30 minute walk on the beach or in your neighborhood and pray as you walk. It will be good for your body and your soul.
  • Partner with someone – a spouse or friend, and commit to praying together every day. Such a partnership will keep you accountable and will help many of you “stick with it.”
  • Find a place for prayer. Some people find a special location helps. Just as we eat at the same table in our home, we might find it helpful to have a prayer corner – a specific room or chair where we can pray without interruption.
  • Don’t say “amen” except in public prayer. “Amen” means “I agree,” with the prayer that someone else leads. For many of us, it is like saying to God, “Goodbye, talk to you later.” If we stop saying “amen” we’ll slowly find that we maintain an attitude of prayer long after our prayer time. We may eventually find that we are indeed praying without ceasing.

 

What To Pray

There are several ways that one might pray. These are some suggestions. One may work for you!

1. ACTS – The New Testament book about the history of the church becomes an acronym for how to pray.

A=adoration, praising God for who and what He is.

C=confession, which is admitting to God who and what we are and how we have failed Him, and asking His forgiveness.

T=thanksgiving for the specific things He has given us.

S=supplication, which is the requests we make to God for ourselves and others.

2. LISTS — When you go to the grocery store, you probably have a list of things you need to buy. Sometimes when you go into a meeting, you have a list of things to cover (an agenda). When you have lunch with a friend, you may have a mental list of things you desire to share. You can use that concept in prayer. Make a list of the things you want to pray about. Each day some things might be added while other things may be removed from the list. A prayer list should be a living document, always changing.

3. PRAYER BOOKS — Have you ever gone into a Hallmark Greeting Card shop and found just the perfect card. “This says exactly what I want to say to my friend on his birthday,” you might think. Sometimes others put into words our very thoughts better than we are able to express them. Prayer books can do that for us. Others have composed excellent prayers that we might find helpful to use in our own prayer life.

4. CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER — Sometimes when we are with friends, we think through what we want to say, but other times conversation is purely spontaneous. Prayer can sometimes be like conversation. Just sitting in a quiet place or walking prayerfully on the beach in prayer can lead one’s thoughts to wander with God’s Spirit. You pray about one thing which then leads to another.

 

“The trouble with our praying is that we usually only do it as a means of last resort.” Will Rogers

 


Worship weekly

The Seven Marks of Discipleship
Issue Number 2 January 23, 2012

 

Worship Weekly

 

One of the Seven Marks of Discipleship is to Worship Weekly.  

Psalm 29:2 tells us, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.”

Psalm 122:1 say, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘let us go to the house of the Lord.’” And yet, many Christians never worship God the presence of others. We often hear people say, “I can worship God alone on the beach, I don’t have to go to church.” We say that often, sometimes replacing “beach” with other locations, such as the mountains, home, or the golf course.

There is, however, a great value to worshiping God together. Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”

We are called to meet together for worship. Worship involves praying to God, listening to the Word of God read, taught and proclaimed, and praising God through song. It also means being together, praying together, and receiving the Sacraments together.

The pattern of our worship is built around Isaiah 6:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne…” In Isaiah, worship takes place in the context of life. It is not an escape from life, but a refuge and preparation for life. Isaiah might well have said, “In the year that President Kennedy died, or in the year of the September 11th attacks, or in the year my son was born or I was diagnosed with cancer… I worshiped the Lord.

“and the train of his robe filled the temple.” God is always present in worship. We do not need to do anything to bring God into worship or to invoke the Lord’s presence. God is already present.

 

2Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy , holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The first act of our worship is to praise God for who God is. We do this usually with a hymn of praise at the beginning of worship.

 

4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” One cannot begin worship and become aware of God’s presence without becoming aware of our own unworthiness in the presence of God. We must, therefore, ask God to forgive us for our shortcomings. We do this in a Prayer of Confession.

 

6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” After our Prayer of Confession, we listen to the worship leader read an Assurance of Pardon, telling us in one way or the other what Isaiah heard, “Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for.”

 

8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” There is always the proclamation of the Word. Through the reading of Scripture, the sermon, the Children’s Devotional and the choir’s anthem, we, like Isaiah, “hear the voice of the Lord.”

 

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9He said, “Go and tell this people…” The proclamation of the word should result in a response. We respond with the proclamation of faith. We pray for ourselves and others. We offer a sacrifice through the offering. We give praise. Through the Benediction, we receive God’s blessing to say to God, “Here am I. Send me,” and with the musical postlude, we are sent into the world.

 

We know, however, that some cannot attend public worship due to illness or physical concerns. We do what we can to bring worship to those who cannot come to us. Sermons are available online, but the presence of others in corporate worship is so important that we will bring worship into your home or hospital room. Our elders are happy to come and bring the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to you so that you can experience the joy of worshiping God together with others.


Enjoy spiritual friendships

The Seven Marks of Discipleship
Issue Number 3 January 30, 2012

 

Enjoying Spiritual Friendships

It is very important to God that believers have good friendships.

The Bible often speaks of friendship. The Bible describes true friendship as when one will be honest even when it hurts. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” This means that a true friend of yours will tell you what you need to hear, even if it hurts, instead of flattering you all of the time.

Sometimes the best friendship is for one to just be there for the other. Remember Job and the suffering he endured (in the book of Job)? In the midst of his pain, he was visited by three of his close friends (Job 2:11-13), who all had good intentions but would have done better to just sit in silent friendship with him. They kept trying to offer words of guidance and comfort, but all they do is make matters worse. Some of the best friends are those who just listen and give advice only when asked.

Life is hard enough – don’t go it alone! Remember the old essay, “Everything I Ever Learned I Learned in Kindergarten?” One line reminds us of the value of holding hands when crossing the street. That’s good even in old age. Hold hands with a partner when you walk through life. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us that “two are better than one,” and goes on to tell how life is much better when you have a friend. When one falls or suffers, there is someone there to help pick up the fallen. Let’s go out in the world in the company of good spiritual friendships!

Great Quotes From The Bible On Spiritual Friendships

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble. Proverbs 25:19

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24-25 (Like your parents taught you, be careful about hanging around the wrong crowd – make friends wisely!)

How to build spiritual friendships?

  • Join us for coffee hour after worship on Sundays. We meet in Silver Hall at 9 am and 11 am.
  • Better yet, volunteer to help set up or clean up the Coffee Hour. Working with others builds friendships.
  • Join a group. Sew N Sews, Men of Chapel, or SIS.
  • Be a friend to the friendless. Volunteer to work at God’s Table or Habitat for Humanity or any of the other many mission programs at Chapel.
  •  

    Traits of True Christian Friends

    Christian Friends Love Sacrificially. John 15:13 teaches us, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” So many people form friendships based on “what can I get out of it?” No – we love sacrificially based on what we can put into friendship.

    Christian Friends Accept Unconditionally. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Some are with us only when we are in trouble. A true friend is with us in adversity and in happy times.

    Christian Friends Keep Healthy Boundaries. 1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…” If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is amiss.

    Christian Friends Give Mutual Edification. Ecclesiastes 4:19 states, “Two are better than one.” Why? According to this verse, when one person falls, the other person is there to pick up the fallen friend. It goes onto say, “but woe to the one who has no one to pick him up.” We need spiritual friendships!


    Read and study the Bible

    The Seven Marks of Discipleship
    Issue Number 4 February 6, 2012

     

    READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE

     

    One of the Seven Marks of Discipleship is to “read and study the Bible.” Here are some clues on how to begin the discipline of reading the Bible.  

    Here are some clues on how to begin the discipline of reading the Bible.  

    1. Find a good Bible! Pick one that has good font size for you. Select a good translation. For some, that might mean King James, as this is what they grew up with. Others will need a modern or simpler language.  

    2. Remember the Bible is a library of several books, not a single book. You don’t have to begin at Genesis 1:1 and move onto the end of Revelation. Start with a book. Beginning with Matthew is a very good place for many to begin. Here you find the words of Jesus and the stories and teachings are familiar enough to most so that the new Bible reader feels more comfortable.  

    3. Pick a time and place. You might have a favorite chair. You might like to read in the morning, or late at night, or during lunch. Consistency helps develop discipline.  

    4. Variety is the key to enjoying the Bible. Read some history for a few days – such as Exodus in the Old Testament. Then for the next few days read a Gospel from the New Testament. Every day read a couple of Proverbs. Mix it up and enjoy!

     

    God’s Word is alive! The more you expose yourself to it, the more it will expose itself to you.

     

    WHY READ THE BIBLE?

     

    Joshua 1:8 Don’t stop reading this book of the Law, but day and night think of what it says, so you can be careful to do everything written in it; then you will prosper and succeed.  

    Matthew 4:4 (Jesus responded to a temptation from Satan by saying) “People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.”  

    Romans 15:4 The Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.  

    II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.  

    John 8:31-32 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

     

    SIGNS YOU MAY NOT BE READING YOUR BIBLE ENOUGH

    • You think Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were folk singers from the 1960’s.
    • You open to the Gospel of Luke and a WWII Savings Bond falls out.
    • When you hear that Pastor Maynard is teaching about the minor prophets in Wednesday Chapel Chats, you think he is talking about people who worked in the King Solomon’s gold mine.
    • You keep falling for it every time when pastor tells you to turn to First Condominiums.
    • Pastor Maynard invites everyone in church to “open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 1,” and you have to check the table of contents.

    Engage in service and mission

    The Seven Marks of Discipleship
    Issue Number 5 February 13, 2012

     

    Engage in service and mission

    James tells us, “Faith without action is dead.” (James 2:26). At Chapel by the Sea you will find opportunities to put your faith into action.  

    You can feed the hungry at God’s Table. You can join others for a bus ride to Immokalee to work in a soup kitchen. You can hold children and read to them at Brightest Horizons. You can hammer a nail and help build a home with our Habitat for Humanity team. You can join partners in our mission like Relay for Life and other groups.  

    Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 25:31-40, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”


    Share the Good News with others

    The Seven Marks of Discipleship
    Issue Number 6 February 20, 2012

     

    Share the Good News with others

    Matthew 28:19-20 is one of the few Bible verses that has its own name, “The Great Commission.” In this verse, Jesus has been resurrected from the dead. He has spent 40 days with his disciples and is now about to be ascended into heaven. His departing words are, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  

    We have been commissioned to share the Good News with others, and so we have made this one of our Seven Marks of Discipleship.  

    Many of us have had negative experiences with evangelists. We’ve seen the street preacher yelling at strangers in the cities. We’ve had our privacy disturbed when door to door evangelists have knocked on our doors. We’ve had people try to frighten us with doctrines that seem strange and confusing.  

    But we share good news all the time. We gladly tell people about the wonderful restaurant we have found. We are always ready to recommend a book, movie or car mechanic. We should also tell others about the best news of all – Christ has come into our lives to save us and to heal our spiritual lives.  

    We do not have to yell to strangers on the street or knock on a door to pass out a tract. All we need to do is to invite people to come to Chapel by the Sea, invite them to join us on a trip to the soup kitchen, or to come to Chapel Chats. The best evangelism is honest and open, “come and walk with me and let’s discover Christ together.”


    Practice Generosity with time, talent & treasures.

    The Seven Marks of Discipleship
    Issue Number 7 February 27, 2012

     

    Practice Generosity with time, talent & treasures.

    “Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said it is more blessed to give than to receive.” These are the only words of Jesus that are recorded in a document other than the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. They were quoted by Paul in the New Testament Book of Acts.  

    Membership and participation in Chapel by the Sea is free of charge, but there is the biblical expectation that we give generously of our time, talent and treasures.  

    We give our time in service to the church and to others. I John 3:16-18 tells us, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  

    We give our talents by using the gifts God has given us. Romans 12:5-8 tells us, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”  

    We give our treasures by giving money to be used in the work of the church. Mark 12:41-44 tells us, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”