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Four questions and a cup of coffee (a simple way to make spiritual progress)

What if a few Christians got together once a week to share in an intentionally spiritual conversation that challenged each of them to reflect on their growth and challenges as followers of Jesus?

This was the principle beneath Wesley’s Methodism. He believed sanctification happened in community, in conversation, and he and his Holy Club met regularly to challenge one another deeply.

With questions.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been having this experiment in Christian conversation on Thursday afternoons (Panera Bread, Evans GA, 4;30p). Our conversation is guided by four questions developed by Mosaic’s discipleship team and inspired by Wesley’s accountability questions. These questions introduce four main theological themes being taught throughout the life of our church in the coming year:

  • Love God.
  • Learn his story.
  • Live for him.
  • Build the Kingdom.

Here are our four questions. If they resonate, use them to change the spiritual atmosphere where you are.

1. How am I intentionally spending time with God and the Bible?

This is a question of spiritual connection with God and the quality of that relationship. In our Wesleyan tradition, we believe the touchpoint of an authentic relationship with God is grace. Wesley systematized grace to show that its effect is not just “fire insurance” (salvation) but sanctification. In fact, an emphasis on sanctification is the one of the greater contributions Wesleyan theology makes to the Body of Christ and sanctification is a partnership. God transforms us as we enter into the means of grace. As Kevin Watson says in The Class Meeting, “If you are serious about participating in God’s work of renewal in your life, you will commit to do the things that disciples of Jesus Christ do: read scripture regularly, spend time in prayer by yourself and with others, worship with others who are seeking to follow Christ, receive the Lord’s Supper (which Wesley referred to as the ‘grand channel’ of God’s grace), give generously of your time and money, and serve others.” The key word in our first question is “intentional.” Spiritual discipline doesn’t happen accidentally or coincidentally; it is sought after, like a hungry person looks for food.

2. What is Jesus teaching me and how is it changing my story? If the first question is about the externals (the means of grace, spiritual disciplines), this one is about the internals. The means of grace are the things I do that lead me more directly into the influence of the Holy Spirit. This question then asks how that influence is transforming me. The questions asked of the members of Wesley’s “Holy Club” reflected that sincere desire to grow more deeply into holiness:

1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
2. What temptations have you met with?
3. How were you delivered?
4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?

Jesus says we are known by our fruit and this includes spiritual fruit. Am I going someplace spiritually? Am I further along today than I was six months ago, a year ago, five years ago? There are no stagnant ponds in the Kingdom of God

3. How is the Holy Spirit impacting the world through me? This question moves us from internal fruit-bearing to external fruit-bearing. This is about being on mission with Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the comfort of his gifts. How are my decisions and relationships being impacted by the presence of God and the means of grace in my life? When I am being changed by Christ, the world around me is being changed, too.

4. How am I helping to make disciples who build the Kingdom? This is about getting a Kingdom perspective and making a Kingdom investment for the sake of a Kingdom impact. It is one thing to be concerned for my immediate surroundings — my family, my workplace, my church — but do I yet have the mindset of a Kingdom Christian? Is my heart yet broken for the whole world? “It is too light a thing,” God says in Isaiah 49, “that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” God has planted us in this field that his salvation might be known among every tongue and tribe. He has called us to holy and global response. How are you participating in that Kingdom vision?

I wonder how it might change the spiritual atmosphere of your home, your church, your ministry if you began a regular practice of asking yourself a few solid, spiritual questions? How might it change your connection to the Body of Christ if you got together with a few others over coffee to ask those questions of each other? Could this practice move you more intentionally into the will of God?

Carolyn Moore

I follow Jesus.

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Holiness is at least this: a design of life that exposes us most fully to the heart of a good, loving and creative God.