Questions for You

Journey North Character is about “walking with Christ and becoming more like in Him.”  This is an audacious goal, except when one considers that the Holy Spirit, no, the entire Godhead resides within believers! This concept is mind-blowing. But Scripture says so!  Take a look at Ephesians 3:16-19 and then at the fuller context. This passage has always boggled me. 

Our little, inner, immaterial containers called our hearts are capable of being “filled up to all the fullness of God” (verse 19), in which “Christ dwells in [our] hearts through faith” (verse 17), and we are “strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit” (verse 16)!  The new birth — being born again in Christ — creates this capacity. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (II Corinthians 5:17, ESV).   Christ in us; we in Christ.  (I love prepositional phrases.)

Well, I’d like to unwrap this book with you and “ooh” and “ahh” at its amazing contents. Rich, rich, rich. Maybe we’ll do so on this blog someday. However, today I’d like to ask you a few questions about “growing in the grace and knowledge” of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18) and how to help a fellow believer grow.  I’d appreciate if some of you would answer some of these questions.  Hopefully, each question will receive at least one response, maybe several.


1) When you were a new believer in Jesus Christ, what steps did you take to develop your knowledge and faith?

2) What guidance were you given as a new believer?

3) What would you counsel a new believer today? What assistance would you give? What role would you play?

4) What tools and materials have you used to help someone learn how to use the Bible and how to mature in the Christian life?  Would you recommend them (strengths and weaknesses)?

5) Would you disciple a teen differently than an older, new believer?  If so, how?

Obviously, I could place more questions on the table, but this is enough for now. Why do I ask these questions?  We are grappling with some real life discipleship needs in our church, especially with our young people.  I could explain more, but I want to leave this open, so you’ll be free to respond from your own experience and biblical understanding.  I’m sure most of you have dealt with the same concerns and would appreciate the insights of others.

Please give this some thought and send in a response!

Muchas Gracias!!

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Questions for You

  1. Deb

    i remember attending sunday school class as a teen where we read the bible and were free to ask tough questions about what we read. the leaders didn’t always have he answers but we discussed, prayed, etc and i think that established a foundation of trust with God that was crucial for me to build on my faith foundation. i needed to know that i would not be bullied by God or that He would leave me based on my questions, arguments, etc.

    as a young adult, i attended a bible study that used the Navigator (NavPress) 2:7 series workbooks. i think the first was called Growing Strong in God’s Family. these are excellent books to build the foundation of core beliefs and also teach scripture memorization of key verses.

    i remember sam attended a men’s discipleship class with the Pastor on Wedn. evenings (Pastor Peters at First Baptist) which is still precious to our memories. so much foundation building was done in that class! i remember taking walks with thomas in the stroller and reviewing sam’s memory verses. that class built a pattern for our family.

    something else that might be of help with teens is the experiencing god by blackaby. i had my kiddos work through this.
    and don’t forget teen bible quizzing! it is an excellent discipleship tool. 🙂

    • kltolsen

      Thanks, Deb. This is good. It is common sense. There are many elements in discipleship, opportunities coming from different directions, as your experience shows. You also illustrate the necessity of desire. You have to have a “want to” in order to grow in the Lord.
      Yes, Bible Quizzing was a big element for your family! It was important in our family too. However, most churches do not offer it. I absolutely loved Bible Quizzing when I was a teen, but only had the opportunity for two years. Yet, those two years made a huge, life-long impact on me.

      Thanks for your good insight, Deb! Hope all is well with your beautiful family!!

  2. Drusilla

    At the age of 9. I made a profession of faith based on my mother’s desire for me to do so. I remember that our pastor would come to the house once a week and go through a booklet on being a Christian with me. The Lord continued to convict me of sin and when I went to Bible College, I finally realized that I was a sinner and accepted Christ as my Savior. I guess the Bible College and the church were my guidance at that time. It wasn’t until after my dad passed away in 2005 that God, Bible and Heaven became real to me. I started looking for a book about Heaven and was directed to Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I was then excited about my future. I wrote a small devotional about Life on the Ranch and shared how God taught me so many spiritual truths.

    I think that each individual needs a different approach to help them grow. That may be difficult in a church situation or a Sunday School. I would counsel a new believer to really find out what Heaven is like. Knowing what our future home will be like should give us an excitement to grow in Him and share Him with others.

    One thing that our church did for the college students in the area was to have “adoptive parents”. Families in the church would “adopt” a college student and reach out to them during the school year. That could also be done with teens.

    Thank you for your blog and reaching out to the DeFord boys and I am sure others as well.

    • kltolsen

      Oh, I’m so pleased to hear from you, Drusilla! Thank you for your well thought out reply! I appreciate hearing your faith story beginning from age 9, illustrating both a systematic (intentional) plan by adults who taught you, along with an organic element of growth arising from your response to life’s situations. It’s interesting that your pastor visited your home for weekly visits after your profession of faith. About how many visits did he make? I have thought that we should encourage more home visits by teachers (Sunday school, Awana, kids’ clubs, Bible quiz coaches, youth leaders, and such). I also like the “adoptive parents” idea.

      Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, stirs one’s thoughts about heaven and sends the reader back to the Bible to see what it reveals about heaven. While Randy uses his imagination (extrapolation at times), he encourages us to live this life with the end in sight (eternity’s value’s in view, as some say). This is good and does motivate us to want to grow in Christ.

      We are thinking of the DeFord family every day…. I especially think of Mom. They’ve set up a memorial fund, and I pray that the resources will be used in ways that Dustin would have invested his life. These funds, in part, represent his legacy.

      • Drusilla Dye

        I couldn’t give you an honest answer about the total visits that Pastor Regier made to our house. He was our pastor in Clear Lake, SD and then when Dad lost his job, Pastor Regier found a job for him in Deadwood, SD. I would think that the visits would run for at least 6 weeks or we may have doubled up on some of the lessons.

      • kltolsen

        For a pastor to visit your home for six weeks or so to help ground you in your new faith is impressive. And you were just nine years old, I believe. What an example for the rest of us — to take the faith profession of a child so seriously. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jess Harkins

    I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was too young to remember, and during my adolescent years I was unsure of even being saved, I helped my father in the work of the ministry every chance I could. My dad was in a mission work doing evangelism on the Parana River in southwest Brazil. There were a lot of things I did that some people thought I was too little to do, I piloted the boat, helped with doing up ropes, worked on the motor, bailed water when we had a leak. When we would hike inland for a evangelistic meeting I usually carried Dad’s briefcase (which was the lightest thing.) Dad carried a gas lantern. (we always came back to the boat after dark) I read the Bible out loud a lot, as many of the people couldn’t read. Through all of this I was expected to become a mature Christian, I guess by exposure. What made the biggest difference for me was when a discerning Christian came along side of me and mentored me as a partner, understood where I was.
    So many times during childhood and adolescence, I sensed disappointment and disapproval because I didn’t meet the expectations of the grownups around me that so much that I didn’t want to be a Christian.
    I believe that in growing children and adolescent Christians we need to allow them the time to grow spiritually just as we do physically. Adolescents need one on one mentoring.

    • kltolsen

      Wow, Jess! What a story! I’m so glad you described your experience! You have good insight for us, showing us the vulnerable heart of a child. Good lessons for us. I’d like to respond more, but I will save some thoughts for another post.Thank you so much!!!!

      So, how are you doing spiritually now, Jess?

      • Anonymous

        I’m doing Good. I hope I’m still growing spiritually. My fear has always been of coming to a spiritual plateau, and sort of fleshing the spiritual walk, (doing things automatically). My Children are grown and walk with the Lord also, My youngest Graduated from C B I this spring and is headed to Brazil to help My folks out. So I’ve been wondering what the next chapter on this journey will bring.

      • kltolsen

        My Dear, I don’t know who you are, but you sound wise. Are you an MK? Did you grow up in Brazil? How wonderful that your children are walking with the Lord! Well, this next chapter will be interesting! May the Lord bless every page!

  4. Jess Harkins

    I’m sorry I forgot to enter my Email on my last reply. I think it’s a bit much when people expect me to read minds, and then I go and do the same to you. I grew up in Brazil on the mission field. Sorry I left you guessing. Jess Harkins.

    • kltolsen

      Thanks for the clarification. You have quite a story, I’m sure! I appreciate your sharing some thoughts. Do so any time!

  5. Hi Karen! I am a random stranger and fellow traveler. I ran into your cousin, Sherrie in the grocery store. Divine intervention, lol. She referred me to your blog. Great to visit here.

    • kltolsen

      Thanks for visiting! Come back anytime!! And give my cousin a hug, when you next see her!

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