There seems to be a pattern of behavior in the church that needs to change. What is that pattern you might ask? Focusing on getting people saved with little or no sense of direction provided to those who declare their allegiance to God and proclaim their affirmation of Jesus as their Savior. They come down the aisle, say a prayer, and off they go with an emotional rush that can come crashing down once the cares of the world rear their ugly head.
We are all likely familiar with the Parable of the Sower. Some seed fell and nothing happened, some seed fell and immediately sprouted yet had no root, and some seed fell in rich soil, took root, and grew into a mature plant. In many respects, those who declare they are saved are like that seed. Some have nothing more than an emotional experience with no firm root that keeps them grounded in Christ and they wither away. Others become rooted and are able to endure. Why the difference? I think the difference comes from the necessity of discipleship. Those who wither likely had no faith while conversely, those who are rooted in the faith were given the tools so the ground could be fertile to allow for proper growth.
A helpful tool that will assuredly go a long way towards tilling the ground to make it ripe for fertile spiritual rooting and growth is Alex Early’s recent release titled, The New Believer’s Guide to the Christian Life. Now keep in mind the purpose of this book is not to provide a comprehensive guide to every possible thing that will happen in life and what to do about those situations. While Early does engage a number of life’s issues in an honest and practical manner, his focus is to answer the question of “Now what?” I made a decision to follow Christ so what does that mean?
Early looks at some very important and foundational questions of the faith such as our identity in Christ, what it means to be a child of God, what is a covenant and how does it impact our relationship with God, how to pray, the importance of obedience, the necessity of baptism and fellowship with a local gathering of like-minded believers, and that often thorny issue of money.
What I appreciated most about this book is the practicality of Early’s approach. He does not hide the fact that the Christian life is not always easy. God is our Father and as His children, we should be obedient. The unfortunate reality is we disobey far more than we obey. The temptation to sin will continue. Early really drives directly to the crux of the issue concerning obedience by noting it is a heart issue. He saliently notes, “We pursue God’s will because the love and glory of God has captivated us, and it simply looks better, tastes better, and is more satisfying than anything this world has to offer.” How true that is and how many times even the most seasoned believer needs to be reminded of that reality.
This is a book that will be a tremendous help to the new believer. Moreover, I highly recommend it as well for those who have been walking in the faith for some time. We all need a helpful reminder regarding all the topics Early covers in this book. If you are new in the faith, please take the time to read this book. If you are a church looking for a discipleship tool, please take the time to check out this book. As the people of God, we need to focus on more than just getting folks to walk down the aisle and say a prayer. We need to ensure the seed is watered, the ground is tilled, and that quality time is spent helping those who are new in the faith understand what their life-changing decision is all about. The New Believer’s Guide to the Christian Life by Alex Early is an excellent resource for doing just that.