Meanderings of a Minister


Diagnosing Your Spiritual Health

Don Whitney, in his book Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, gives the following ten questions as a means of determining if you are growing in your faith, treading water, or actually backsliding:

  1. Do you thirst for God?
  2. Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
  3. Are you more loving?
  4. Are you more sensitive to God’s presence?
  5. Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
  6. Do you delight in the bride of Christ?
  7. Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
  8. Do you still grieve over sin?
  9. Are you a quicker forgiver?
  10. Do you yearn for Heaven and to be with Jesus?[1]

Chances are very good, if you are like most Christians, you have not really spent much time thinking about these things lately.  Whitney suggests that these questions provide a sort of spiritual pulse in the life of a growing believer.  If you answered know to most or all of these questions, you are probably spiritually backslidden, or perhaps not yet a believer.  If you answered no to some of the questions, but not most, you may be seeing the beginning of a spiritual growth problem.  If you answered yes to all of the questions, honestly, then you are growing and are probably relatively healthy.  If you are offended to be asked, you probably have some other issues.

“So what do I do if I am not doing so well in growing spiritually?”  I am glad you asked!  Jesus addressed this in his letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:5 “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place – unless you repent.”[2]  The best place for you get help in these and other matters is your local church.  I am not saying you must go to my church in order to grow.  That would be prideful and ridiculous!  But you must attend a Bible-believing church that preaches and teaches and disciples people in the Word of God.  With the holidays on us shortly, what a great time to plug in to a local church and get started making some good habits that could just make this your best year yet!

[1] Donald S. Whitney, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, Navpress, Colorado Springs, CO, 2001.

[2] New American Standard Bible, The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA, 1995.

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What Makes It Look A Lot Like Christmas?
December 10, 2015, 11:01 am
Filed under: Articles, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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For as long as I can remember, I have heard a song at Christmas, “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas Everywhere You Go.”  I confess that I do not know the rest of the song, but since it is 70 degrees this week, and sunny, I got to thinking…what makes it look like Christmas?

Now, of course, we could say snow and cold and chimneys streaming smoke above the skyline of homes in neighborhoods throughout the city and beyond.  We could talk about Hot Chocolate, Cider, Cookies, Fruit Cake, and much more, but is that what really makes it look like Christmas?

We could talk about the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season.  It seems that every day since November 30th, I have had a meeting, party, event, concert, ceremony, or some other engagement on my calendar.  I have been to see men and women honored on the Men and Women of Distinction Calendar, have attended a board retreat for the Chamber of Commerce, have attended County Commission, City Commission, and School Board meetings, have played Santa at a community gathering, and much more.  Is that what makes it look more like Christmas?

We could also talk about the Christmas music.  KJIL and KHYM are playing it.  Satellite radio has a channel dedicated to it.  Directv has a channel playing it night and day.  Schools are singing it.  Our church had a night of music where our Senior Adult Ministry (SAM), our Prayz Force (Children’s Choir), our youth choir, and our main sanctuary choir all sang it.  Our children are preparing a musical dinner theater to sing it some more.  We sing it at church, nursing home services, and even listen to it while in the elevator and while on hold.  It that what makes it look a lot like Christmas?

We could talk about the Christmas lights on houses as it seems that people have tastes ranging from simple to choreographed when it comes to lighting up their houses.  We could talk about the many Christmas trees that are visible out of the front windows of people’s houses.  We could talk about the decorations that show up in offices, cubicles, and even on vehicles.  We could talk about the brightly colored packages strewn about Christmas trees at doctors’ offices, the hospital, and even hotel lobbies.  Is that what makes it look a lot like Christmas?

We could also talk about the increased traffic on Kansas and Pancake.  We could talk about the number of carts not in the corral, the number of long lines at Walmart and Dillon’s.  We could talk about the beep, beep, beep of the scanners, guns, and wands as people spend money like it might not be there tomorrow.  Is that what makes it look a lot like Christmas?

What if it was more than those things?  What if it took something else?  What makes it look a lot like Christmas to me is that I see and hear the name of Christ mentioned.  I hear people wishing each other well because of Christ’s birth.  I see families take time out of their busy schedules to call, write, or visit loved ones because Christ was born to become one of us.  I hear songs that talk about Christ, hear conversations about keeping Christ in Christmas.  These are the things that make it look a lot like Christmas.

I see people caring for one another.  I hear stories of taking care of elderly people, the disabled, the orphan, the widow, and the homeless.  I watch as families read the Christmas story together.  I watch as parents encourage their children to share what they have with those who do not.  I see more hugs, smiles, and reluctance to part of strained terms.  I listen to stories of travel, meals, gifts, and inside jokes because we actually stop and share ourselves with each other.  That is what makes it seem more like Christmas.

How are you helping to make it look a lot like Christmas in your corner of the world?  Remember, Christmas without Christ leaves people wanting mas. (Spanish for more.)