Category Archives: Spiritual Development

Free PDF Download: “5 Threads of the Gospel: learn and share the Bible in 5 summary points.”

I am passionate about helping others understand the message of the Bible, and live it authentically in their daily lives. I write about this weekly over at and I also offer free content to my readers (as I am here).

As it can be very hard to navigate 1,189 chapters and make sense of it all, I’ve created some content to help you “get it.” Put in your email below and it’s yours free.

5 threads of the gospel

No fluff.

This PDF is succinct and provides the necessary scriptural references to help you share your message in less than 10 sentences!

If you learn these 5 points, you can have the confidence to share with others, in less than 10 sentences, the message you believe. 

And back it up with Scripture!

It’s now available at my free resources page (at my personal blog page) only accessible to insiders. Just put your email in below and get this PDF along with more free content.

Daniel Harrison:
Worship Pastor, Blogger, Singer-songwriter, Teacher
Church 212

Healthy Christians Grow; our stress, dread, unease, suffering, disquiet…

Healthy Christians Grow;
 (part 2)

4:30am brought a jittery conviction today to get busy. I had this eagerness like fever to start my day. But being a pastor I am forced to evaluate: is this feeling an authentic zeal for the great commission; or do I just love to work? I reasoned my way to a resolve; God put man in the garden to work, it’s not really “work” if you do what you love, and I love Jesus. But this morning he wasn’t put first. Work was.

Why is it so hard to stop, wait, listen, and pray—as the normal Christian does? It seems as though peace is waiting to be had by those willing to take it. Like the sound waves of phone calls, text messages, software updates, and routine noise, God’s voice is floating above our heads. All we have to do is look up and pull it down. But we are too busy.

In light of this realization I compelled myself to look for my bible and grab a short read. When I couldn’t find it I almost reasoned, “guess I can’t read my bible this morning. I’ll do some work.” But amusingly, the Lord changed my thoughts. Then I said, “I know some scripture. I’ll just sit down and quote it.” What a refreshing moment to recite and remember that Jesus is my daily bread.

Subsequent to last week’s post, here is the imposing problem: busyness is the disease of spiritual health; we don’t need to be told; our stress, concern, anxiety, dread, unease, suffering, suspense, fidgets, fuss, worrisome, and disquiet speak loud enough. The problem is to stop the loudness and remove the traffic. Then re-fill the new found space with growth opportunity.

Few people realize their level of spiritual aliveness. They have failed to see the murkiness that has crept into their vision and clouded their discernment. As a result we experience the emotions above. Our relief lies only in the unmerited and available grace given through Christ Jesus. But we must evaluate first and acknowledge our need. Then take steps toward growth.

A galaxy of God-breathed information is collecting dust on many American shelves. But we would be wise to take his word and let it bring transformation. This wisdom will be evidenced in our speech, character, knowledge of the bible, and of course the mending of relationships.

The point is that healthy Christians grow. As we previously covered, “If we live years without experiencing developments in our faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.”

Tweet: “If we live years of our lives not experiencing developments in faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.” @MultiplyingMen @DanielsWorship

So what?
This 2-part series has deliberately taken us to this moment–to view this passage of scripture and be reminded of the intentional forward progression that Christians make. Let’s approach this passage with two questions in mind:

1. What truths are in the text?
2. What disciplines can I practice?

As an example on how to study in this way, I have highlighted my truths in red. Talking to Timothy, Paul praises the Macedonians for their working faith whose anxiety is the craving of spiritual fervorness. We should emulate such Christians.

But read slowly, carefully, thoughtfully, prayerfully, humbly, contextually, practically, and repetitively.

2 Corinthians 8:1-11 ESV

1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (The Christian’s response to “severe trials and extreme poverty” is a spill over of joy and giving) 3 “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord.” (The Christian should give abundantly and willfully) 4 “begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— ” (These Christians literally begged to participate in ministry. Serving the church should be a desired and favorable opportunity) 5 “And this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (A sinner gives himself first to Lord. Then he gives himself to the authority of the church. Such spiritual submission is the will of God.) 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.” (In addition to one’s overflowing joy, rich generosity, unceasing giving, and eagerness for ministry, the Christian unquestionably excels in his or her faith, speech, and knowledge.) 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 “And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.” (A Christian’s faith works, not just for the sake of doing it or from obligation, but because he or she eagerly desires to do it) 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. (The work spoken of in this text is not the work humanity gives themselves; it’s the work given by God)

Evaluate the measure of your faith. Are you finding incremental changes in speech, character, and knowledge of the bible? If not, a desire issue has either fiddled it’s way in, or you’ve been competing against time. Reexamine every hour of your day. Is every hour doing useful work? Can any moment be handled with more proficiency? Create space and start a bible reading plan. Never be afraid to push out the urgent to make room for the important. You. Will. Grow.

Daniel Harrison
Assistant Pastor Church 212

This post is also available at

Healthy Christians Grow; Simple Truths part 1

It was one year at bible school when it clicked. It just dawned on me with sudden awe—the message I had professed to believe all these years earlier finally made sense. Ironically, my whole “believing” life, I actually didn’t know what I believed. I don’t think I could have given someone an adequate reason for the hope I had in Christ—my dad told me? That’s what a fellow employee told me when I was fifteen. He said, “you only believe what you believe because your parents raised you that way.” Made sense. Especially sense I had nothing to say back to him. Up until my first year in bible school, I hadn’t yet been smashed with the reality of my sin, the depth of Jesus’ grace, his death on the cross, & Easter for that matter.

I guess I’ve had selective hearing. No hearing maybe? The big picture of it all was greater than my ability to obtain it.

I have observed this is pretty normal for anybody—it attests to the truth that the Lord opens our eyes when he is ready for us to see. After all, darkness never created light. But “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

Nonetheless, two decades with limited understanding to the faith I proclaim–the faith that opened my eyes and saved me for eternity–seems a bit embarrassing itself. That’s kinda like the kid who spends 13 years at a Christian school and doesn’t know how to find Jesus in the bible.

There’s a truth here I’ve come to realize. I’ve learned it from myself, the lives of others, and of course the principles of Scripture. The simple (biblical) fact is—Christians were designed to grow. Yes. Simple. Christians grow—and in many aspects of the word. If we live years of our lives not experiencing developments in our faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.

Tweet: “If we live years of our lives not experiencing developments in faith, character, speech, and knowledge, we are missing something.” @MultiplyingMen @DanielsWorship

If we don’t see even a glimpse of change or increase in these things, there’s a problem. If our faith isn’t being tested and strengthened there’s a problem. If our speech hasn’t changed to glorify God, there’s a problem. If we have had little or no character developments in our lives and influencing those around us, there’s a problem. Basically, if 5 years from now, 10 years from now, we are in the exact same place that we are presently,… you get the idea.

It is all too common for us to get swallowed up in the business of our own planned lives, that we can easily forget the Christian life that God planned for us. It is all to normal for us to go about neglecting all the basic elementary disciplines of scripture and it is evidenced in the way we talk, act, and lead our lives.

I would like to encourage us to be an early Macedonian kind of people that we see in 2 Corinthians 8. Beware, it will seem a bit counter-cultural as we read this passage but it’s time our lives are evidenced by these simple truths.

Let’s break down 2 Corinthians 8:3-10 and see for ourselves a simple reality—the easily overlooked truths & disciplines of a simple Christian.

To maintain that simplicity, we are only identifying simple truths and practical observations as we read them in the text. Don’t rush. Ready carefully. You’re not reading this blog for my words anyway:

But I’ll post Part 2 next Monday… so see ya then. Or you can subscribe at the right and it will arrive in your inbox!

(To be continued…)

This post is also live at my personal blog page,
Stop by and say hi anytime.

Daniel Harrison

It’s Time to Grow Up: Part 1 (Anderson)

Return weekly for blogs from our various writers: The following blog is written by Frank Anderson on growing spiritually.

It’s time to grow up.

When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.                        (1 Corinthians 13:11)

In this installment, I want to make some observations about the maturity of some within the community of faith.

I notice that all creatures, while infants, rightly focus on their own needs – it’s a matter of survival. If they could articulate their thoughts and feelings, they would go something like this:

  • Feed me
  • I’m content
  • I’m frustrated
  • Change me
  • Hold me
  • Comfort me
  • I’m sick
  • I’m too cold
  • I’m too hot
  • I’m tired
  • I’m bored
  • I’m frightened
  • Entertain me

At birth, one’s circle of interest is strictly confined to self. Shortly, however, the circle of interest begins to include those that can meet the needs (mom and dad). Later, it can include siblings and other family members. In my case, the most painful lesson that I learned when my brother came along is that the universe does not revolve Frank Anderson. This was driven home again and again as I went to kindergarten and Sunday school.

Acting like a child is completely appropriate – for a child. As time passes, to continue to act like a child is an aberration, and is generally not tolerated, unless there is something wrong, and growth is arrested.

As one matures, we expect that the roles and actions change so that the cared-for becomes the care giver. Here are some of the hallmarks of a mature adult parent:

  • Focus is on others
  • Nurtures
  • Loves
  • Provides shelter
  • Provides food
  • Provides comfort
  • Provides medical care
  • Provides protection from harm
  • Provides education and training
  • Mentors
  • Provides discipline (structure)
  • Provides correction

Tweet: “As men, I believe we are to practice and model these behaviors to our spouses and our children.” @frankwanderson @multiplyingmen

The writer of the Book of Hebrews (my money is on Apollos) takes it to another level when he writes, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity…. and this we shall do, if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:1, 3)

So, what does spiritual maturity look like for the Christian believer? Before we consider that, let’s look at some of the hallmarks of an immature Christian believer. Here is a brief list of some of the attitudes that many very new believers possess:

  • Heal me
  • Help me
  • Bless me
  • Teach me
  • Give me money
  • Give me a car
  • Give me a husband/wife
  • Change my husband/wife
  • Give me a job
  • Give me a better job
  • Get me out of trouble

Just like the infant, the immature believer is very self-centered. This is not bad. Just like the normal infant, in the course of time, there is normal growth, and one’s circle of interest begins to increase. As one matures, his focus turns away from himself and he begins to see and address the needs of others.

Sometimes, however, there is arrested development, and a believer remains self-centered. This can lead to being double-minded and susceptible to being tossed about by “every wind of doctrine”. Even more tragic, a self-centered believer can become manipulative in order to get his own needs met, and thus, toxic to the community of faith. Furthermore, this is simply a rotten example to the rest of humanity.

So, what are some of the hallmarks of a mature Christian believer? Here is a short list of some of the traits I have observed among mature believers:

  • Prays for the sick
  • Helps those in need
  • Blesses others
  • Gives tithes and offerings
  • Gives time and energy
  • Submits to authority
  • Possesses integrity
  • Above reproach (e.g. obeys vehicle code)
  • Faithful to his spouse (i.e. even with his eyes)
  • Temperate
  • Prudent
  • Respectable
  • Hospitable (e.g. loves company)
  • Able and willing to teach
  • Even tempered
  • Gentle in word and deed
  • Uncontentious
  • Free from the love of money
  • Possesses a good reputation

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:14-16)

Frank Anderson
CFO of Church 212
Executive Director of Agape International