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Paul J. Bucknell
Intermediate discipleship is for those who have received basic spiritual training. Most Christians, sad to say, never get beyond this point.
This intermediate stage of discipleship is like adolescence, a temporary stage involving tremendous growth. The phrase 'never grew up' can be aptly used to describe many Christians who never received training at the intermediate stage. Perhaps one can call them worldly, but one thing is clear. They face all sorts of unneeded difficulties in life.
What difficulties? Worry, bad relationships, bitterness, lack of patience, loneliness, sickness, lust, addictions, poor marriages, problems raising children and tempers are just some of these troubling points. These problems can be deep-rooted in our hearts.
Sometimes, they manifest themselves in physical symptoms, and we often seek doctors and psychiatrists for healing. God has a clearer way. They do not need to experience these any more!
John the Elder knows that God wants to bring every Christian through these different problems that they face in their lives. As the Spirit uses God's Word to bring them to victory over their sins, the Christians begin to grow in faith. They learn how to use God's Word to overcome problems which can then be used to help them in other areas of their lives. And, of course, they can share what they have learned with others.
Do others want to hear? Sure, they do. Those who have experienced God's powerful Word at work in their lives share personal testimonies on how the Lord led them from defeat to victory. And so with each victory, they are touched more and more by God's love and find freedom and desire to serve others.
Most Christians, unfortunately, have no clue that they can overcome these things. God makes them aware of their problems that they might seek Him for answers. But all they hear are things like,
And so, they just accept these problems as normal rather than areas needing breakthrough.
Many Christians today do not have the stamina or motives to serve. They are fighting too many problems in their own personal lives or at home to 'take on' anything else at church. Or they just lack the faith to step into service. They feel very insecure about their defeated Christian lives. This is, perhaps, all they know and feel. Who can blame them for lack of commitment?
This intermediate stage is a process. Many different things are happening over a period of time. The basic training can take place in just a few months, but this intermediate stage will take a few years depending on their training and receptivity. But the changing point happens when they can see their faith grow by how God has led them into victory over their sins. God, their Savior, is really alive and personal by rescuing them from the influences of sin in their lives.
There is so much more to share about how God helps us grow and how we actually use God's Word to find that victory. Worship for the new Christian is based on forgiveness of sin through Jesus. But the Christian in this stage will find a fuller sense of worship because they are constantly reminded how their loving Lord led them out of their personal sins that brought pain wherever they turned.
The articles we have to share are powerful because they show how God's Word, under the leading of the Spirit, brings His people into victory where previously, there was only defeat.
The confusing part is that there are so many areas in our lives that we need to grow in and learn how to apply the power of God’s truth to. The key is to focus on one area at a time and keep pursuing growth in that area by using God's Word. Once a man or woman has been brought through this stage, they are not easily defeated by the evil one. Of course, there are temptations as long as we are on earth, but they are of a different nature.
This is discussed more in the Advanced Discipleship stage. Those that have seen the powerful work of the 'sword of God' (the Word of God) are not easily cowered into a corner. They have learned to fight!
Biblical Foundations for Freedom (BFF) has a lot of materials discussing discipleship at the basic level as well as at the intermediate and advanced levels. We even have a diagram that shows the flow of discipleship from one stage to another. But now we briefly introduce the wealth of materials available here free of charge at the Intermediate Discipleship stage. We do not charge for the use of these materials.
Our burden is to equip Christians to grow. We recognize that many around the world do not have the many materials we have available around us so we have made them free to get, use and adapt for teaching purposes. We thank the Lord for grace to be able to maintain this vision.
BFF has many sets of intermediate discipleship materials as well as individual articles. They are designed to train the Christian how to use God's Word to have victory in each area of their Christian lives. More can be said, but we hope sufficient material can get you growing in any area of your life.
We have mentioned God's Word several times. As Elder John has said, it is key to gaining victory. BFF also has many resources on getting to know God more. This is a lifetime pursuit. It is essential to make Bible reading, study and meditation a regular part of your lives. We suggest that after you read a passage or book of the Bible, go to our Bible resources page. And read a bit. Take your own notes of how God is speaking to you. As we grow in God's Word, we will be more able to grow strong in battle.
Be sure that spiritual growth is not possible without the Word of God. We suggest that you go to BFF's topics or Bible reference index. If you do not immediately see your topic, put one or two words in the search box there. You will be surprised to see how many passages and articles that refer to the topic that you are interested in. The truths that these passages bring out are largely those truths that we need to know to overcome temptation, whether it be Old or New Testament. All are important. Without a good grasp of God's Word, you will stand victim to the devil's attacks.
Read on to see read a brief introduction of each set of intermediate discipleship material. As you are reading through, the most important thing for you is to identify for yourself where you are facing problems in your personal walk or areas that you need to grow in (they are associated). As you are reading through, God might prompt you about one category.
Or if you are interested in reading more about discipleship, go to the directory at the bottom of the page. This will lead you to where you want to go. We suggest you start at the Reaching Beyond Mediocrity series first introduced. It is foundational to all the other material.
Think of intermediate discipleship as the time one learns about how to rightly handle God' Word so that you can overcome temptation. We are excited to introduce a whole new D2 Intermediate Discipleship series. All the following materials are built on top of this general introduction. Don't skip over it! It is fundamental.
Here are some basic questions that are answered in this series.
And do note the introduction of video podcasts into this training. Order the BFF DVD to help you keep all these materials organized and ready to use.
Reviving Our Personal Devotions
One of the most important spiritual disciplines in our Christian lives is to regularly meet the Lord. We are not being presumptuous in stating that we want to meet God. We are God's children and regular time with our Heavenly Father is our blessing and privilege.
But we do recognize that many Christians are very confused about devotions. For many, the time in God's Word and prayer becomes a boring habit. They are not meeting God.
We challenge you to start expecting to meet and hear from God each and every time you meet with Him. Reviving Our Personal Devotions will go through many of your questions step by step and hopefully provide the answers. God is waiting for you. Meet with Him today! Printed and eBooks are available at the BFF Resource Center.
The Big Race
Striving for Moral Purity
Building a Great Marriage!
Changes that bring great results!
Marriages are intense training grounds! Some would suggest that even that phrase is mildly put. But it is true that God uses marriages to help us grow. By forced closeness, we need to see another person face to face and as a result, we get to see ourselves more closely than ever.
In this 'Building a Great Marriage!' seminar, the key principles for having not only an okay marriage but an excellent marriage are graphically explained and illustrated. The power of God's Word is used on the very areas that we need, either to totally rescue our marriage or improve it. BFF's material strives to not only show where we need to be (goals), but also on telling you how to get there.
Ten hour seminar sessions work through the basic issues in recovering and renewing your marriage. Of course, there are many more questions to ask about particular circumstances. Many of these other questions can be found at our Marriage Navigator.
We have arranged more than sixty powerful articles under three topics:
Again, these are most helpful after you have used the Building a Great Marriage! seminar as a foundation. All these articles are online for your perusal! But the reading can get long. You might need a printed copy. Or, if you use these materials for a class, there are handouts, printed materials and even Powerpoint slides available on the BFF Marriage and Family DVD found in the BFF Resource Center.
There is nothing like a gift to your spouse of dedicating yourselves to improving your marriage. You don't start with your partner but you and God. Don't tell your spouse about this special gift. Let him or her discover it by God's change in your own life!
Biblical Parenting Principles
Happy families are a gift from the Lord!
Every couple is so happy with their first child. Hopes of great joy are captured by oodles of pictures and careful baby preparation. But parents don't realize that some of the greatest challenges to discipleship are found in that little cute baby. The couple can ignore this for a few months, but soon they find the challenge of their livesthat cute little one. They soon start wondering, "Did we ask for this?"
Principles & Practices of Biblical Parenting unfolds the key foundational Biblical teachings that produce a great family. Our first mistake is to think that good families are accidental. That is, either you have one or not. The second mistake is to just leave things the way they are. This will assuredly bring about an unhappy family because it is an ungodly one.
When we start to train our children as instructed in God's Word, then we see astonishing things happen in our children and in our own lives and relationships with them. The truly happy family is the godly family and the main principles and many practical details such as what to do in this or that situation are all here. The lessons are very practical because the Lord hasn't allowed us to stop parenting, having graciously given us eight children.
We have many other articles on parenting including another whole seminar called Godly Beginnings for the Family. These eight lessons include the needed Biblical framework and practical applications to know how to prepare for a baby before, during and after birth. We have found that when we do things as instructed in God's Word, He blesses. We just want to share these things with you. And don't forget a whole lot more parenting articles on the Building A Godly Family directory.
Principles & Practices of Biblical Parenting is online free of charge. It is great to refer to your friends. But as some of our other seminar materials, they can get rather long. If you would like, order the book from the BFF Resource Center and while you are there, get a BFF Marriage and Parenting DVD that has all the reading in printable form along with the handouts and Powerpoint slides. The printing and handouts for the Godly Beginnings for the Family series is also on that one DVD with other marriage and family resources.
Why put up with anything less than a good godly family?
Finding Peace, Discovering God
Step into God's peace! There is a world of difference between trust and worry.
People worry because they were never designed to handle the stresses of life on their own. God wants to help you. Your Creator has designed a way to experience His inner peace while walking through the stresses of life.
Each of the ten sessions of Overcome Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God is freely available on the web and each takes you one further step over the bridge into His peace.
Some steps are more strenuous; others more reflective. But each takes you to know and regularly experience the awesome peace of God. This series is very helpful for also understanding how to deal with fears and temptation. Only with such understanding can one move on and break addictive-like thoughts.
If you are interested in obtaining the printed or electronic version so that you can print out your own, visit the BFF Resource Center, a place you can rely on for practical Biblical advice with graphical appeal.
Anger destroys people.
Anger is Satan's insidious way of destroying relationships. Most people do not know that they can overcome anger. God's grace is sufficient to transform the way we use our tempers into steady and sure love. The world only knows how to manage love but God wants to resolve it.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom has three sets of material focusing on anger. We first introduce the problem of anger and then provide teaching and six practical steps to overcome anger along with charts to shift ourselves from understanding to application of God's Word to our problems. Many other Biblical materials are also available from BFF. Just put anger or angry into BFF's search box.
Don't let anger ruin your life. God wants to bring you into a more powerful way to relate to peoplethrough His love. These materials are free. Check out the BFF Discipleship DVD found at the BFF Resource Center for printed versions that you can use for teaching and easy reading.