LIFE NOTES

Serving the servants who lead life change.

Finding Freedom From The Oppression Of Busy-ness

If you’re reading this, here’s what is probably true about you.

You’re passionate about your calling to make disciples.

God called you to make disciples. Through community. Through teaching. Through mentoring. Through friendships. Through engaging with neighbors. Through missions. Through serving together. Through nurturing maturity. Through encouraging accountability. Through proclaiming the Gospel.

And this calling…it isn’t something you can opt in and out of. Sure, it would be convenient and easy if you could. But like the prophet Jeremiah, your heart would become like a burning fire shut up in your bones.

You have a divine calling to pursue this work. Of that you are certain. But that can get complicated because…

You’re also very busy. 

You’ve got a lot going on and, based on next quarter’s projections, nothing’s slowing down. Marriage. Children. Grandchildren. Family. Relationships. Friendships. Careers. Projects. Ongoing education. Ministry. Extracurricular activities. Caring for aging parents.

It’s exhausting.

Few, if any, of these responsibilities are optional for you. Almost all of these good things require direct action on your part. And, if you do all of these things well, more responsibility will follow.

And that can tricky because…

You want to make an eternal difference.

While you want to be successful in this life, you desperately want to succeed in God’s economy. You want to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of Heaven. You want to glorify God with your calling. You want to store up treasures in Heaven.

All seems good on the outside…but secretly…

You’re frustrated with how you perceive your impact.

You can’t help but ask, “Am I really making a difference?” “Am I doing the right things?” “Is this what a great disciple-maker does?” “Is God pleased with me?”

You’re experiencing great deal of inner tension and turmoil. You’re not satisfied with mediocre results—those are the things that fill your nightmares. Mediocre results sometimes feel worse than failures. But sometimes, you feel like mediocrity is all you’re giving these days.

And that drives you crazy.

I know this feeling because I have lived it.

I have been overwhelmed and over-engaged. I have considered backing out, giving up, letting someone else do what God called me to do. I have wondered if the decisions I’m making and the activities I’m choosing are those of a fully committed Christ-follower or those of a crazy person.

I have almost burned out.

How do you find freedom from the oppression of busy-ness?

In this new series my goal is to help overwhelmed disciple-makers, like you, pursue your calling with clarity and confidence. Finding freedom from the oppression of busy-ness starts by honestly answering several questions:

  • What is my God-given vision?
  • Why is that vision so important?
  • What am I already committed to?
  • What is essential/most significant?
  • What needs to be eliminated?
  • Who or what is missing?
  • Is it working?

Answering these questions is the easy part. Doing something with those answers requires tremendous courage.

Life will always be busy. Gaining clarity on what God has called you to do, enables effective in ministry in a busy world.

4 For July | The Essential Trait For Effective Gospel Proclamation

Throughout July, I’m reaching back into the recent archives to highlight four posts. You told me that these four posts were particularly helpful for you in gaining clarity and confidence to pursue your calling to make disciples and multiply disciple-makers. I’m calling this series “4 For July”!

Talk about the recent archives! “How Great Life Groups Regularly Proclaim The Gospel” was originally posted on June 23, 2015! It was one of those messages that resonated with many. The new title, “The Essential Trait For Effective Gospel Proclamation” speaks to what separates “good” Life Groups from “GREAT” Life Groups. I hope God uses this to grow you.

This post has been slightly modified from the original.Continue Reading

“4 For July” — The First Step Toward Innovative Discipleship

Throughout July, I’m reaching back into the recent archives to highlight four posts. You told me that these four posts were particularly helpful for you in gaining clarity and confidence to pursue your calling to make disciples and multiply disciple-makers. I’m calling this series “4 For July”!

“There’s More Than One Way To Nurture Spiritual Maturity” was originally posted on April 14, 2015. At it’s core, discipleship is about becoming a “learner”; we want to learn what it means to live a way of life centered on Jesus. And while aspects of discipleship are obviously unique, the methods by which we develop as disciples are not all that unique. This post was originally written to remove some of the mystery of disciple-making and to help bring clarity to the task.

This post has been slightly modified from the original.Continue Reading

“4 For July” — Want To Win In Life Group Ministry? Start here!

Throughout July, I’m reaching back into the recent archives to highlight four posts. You told me that these four posts were particularly helpful for you in gaining clarity and confidence to pursue your calling to make disciples and multiply disciple-makers. I’m calling this series “4 For July”!

“Communities That Make Disciples and Multiply Disciple-Makers” was originally posted on March 17, 2015. In the current social and cultural context, one of the things that can impede spiritual growth is what I call the “class” mentality. It’s the idea—whether conscious or subconscious—that real discipleship only happens at a particular address, in a certain room(s), during specified hours, on a designated day of the week.

To counter this mindset, we at Warren pursue discipleship through “Life Group Communities” and not “Sunday School Classes”. It matters which name we use.

This post is the foundation of a vision for discipleship. In many ways, it is the first page of our playbook for discipleship. Want to win in Life Group ministry? Start here!Continue Reading

“4 For July” — The Most Effective Discipleship Strategy We Have

Throughout July, I’m reaching back into the recent archives to highlight four posts. You told me that these four posts were particularly helpful for you in gaining clarity and confidence. I’m calling this series “4 For July”! I am happy highlight these posts in the hopes that they will help you pursue our mission with clarity and confidence!

“Communities” not “Classes” was originally posted on March 10, 2015. I genuinely believe that Life Group Communities are the most effective strategy we have to fulfill our mission of making disciples and multiplying disciple-makers. This post has been slightly modified from the original.


Until 2006, Warren utilized a Sunday School model to pursue discipleship and spiritual growth. Many people came to know and grow in Christ during that time. But our period of “Sunday School” has passed.

We want to honor our past, but we cannot remain there. Foundationally, the model of Life Group Communities more closely aligns with our vision for the future. So, we encourage you to change your “c” word from “class” to “community”.

Here’s why.Continue Reading

How Great Life Groups Regularly Proclaim The Gospel

Throughout this month’s series, one word has dominated the discussion. It’s a word that’s not limited only to conversations about proclamation. In truth, it may be the key word to describe the entire process of Christian discipleship. If you’re going to be a maturing disciple, you’ve got to have it.

It’s a trait that should permeate every spiritual discipline. Whether you’re discussing the why’s, the what’s, or the how’s of proclamation one word must shape the conversation.

What is it?Continue Reading

4 Ways To Cultivate Gospel-Intentionality In Your Life Group

Throughout June we’re taking a look at the third priority of our Life Group Communities: proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Last week we started with the “why” and gave four important reasons why Life Group Communities should proclaim the Gospel. This week we’re going to get practical and answer the “how” question: “How can Life Groups proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”Continue Reading

4 Important Reasons Communities Should Proclaim the Gospel

Throughout June we’ll take a detailed look at the third priority of our Life Group Communities: proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism is fueled by our commitment to and awe of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the greatest story every told: the one all-knowing, all-powerful creator God, emptied Himself of His glory, was born in the likeness of men, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…that He might redeem His creation (Philippians 2:5-11)! This is good news!

Most Christians don’t need to be convinced that evangelism is a “good thing”. We gladly affirm that. Most Christians need to be convinced that evangelism is an essential discipline they personally need to develop.

It’s true of individuals and it’s true of our communities. Evangelism is a discipline every Life Group must prioritize and intentionally work to develop. Why?Continue Reading

Getting Practical About Relational Accountability

Encouraging relational accountability is essential to nurturing spiritual maturity and effectively proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remove these personal relationships and you’re left with nothing more than a cold, lifeless spiritual-checklist. But when we encourage Gospel-centered relationships, we see one another as Christ sees us: men and women in need of His grace.

Throughout May, we’ve talked about why we encourage relational accountability and some of the foundational truths of this task. To summarize…

  • We emphasize authentic relationships because the Bible emphasizes authentic relationships.
  • Relational accountability is upheld by the continued work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Encouraging relational accountability requires intentional intimacy.
  • The outcome of relational accountability is spiritual growth.
  • Regardless of your age or stage of spiritual maturity, God wants to use you to help others grow.

Now let’s look at the practical “hows”. How are Life Groups at Warren practically encouraging relational accountability?Continue Reading