It’s easy to talk about changing your life. Here’s how to actually do it.
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About the Author
Kevin G. Harney (kevingharney.com) serves at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey, California. He is the author of many books and studies, including Organic Outreach for Ordinary People, Seismic Shifts, and Reckless Faith.
Read an Excerpt
Shifts That Bring Greater Joy
Than You Can Imagine
The Seismic Shift from Infancy to Adulthood
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ.
--- Ephesians 4:14 -- 15 TNIV
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk,
being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righ teous ness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.
--- Hebrews 5:12 -- 6:1
Babies are cute. They can do the smallest thing and adults cheer with delight, laugh with joy, and stare in amazement. Think about it, parents actually talk with pride about how their little boy holds his head up or how their little girl smiles on command. They act as if these relatively common activities rival the exploits of great athletes.
Chapter 1: The Seismic Shift from Infancy to Adulthood 23
How do parents feel when they realize their child's growth is stunted?
The answer is obvious: they are deeply concerned. If their little boy or girl has a physical problem, they call a doctor. They will go from specialist to specialist and do all they can to help their child overcome this obstacle.
If their son or daughter is dealing with an emotional or mental hurdle,
they will contact a Chris tian counselor or a psychologist to get help. Any loving parent who sees something hampering the growth of their child will take action.
Seismic Shifts That Lead Us toward
One Sunday morning, I was preaching about God's desire to see us grow into mature followers of Jesus. To make the point, I showed a video clip of a dad and mom teaching their little boy to walk. I borrowed a home video from a woman who works in our church office. This sixty-second clip of John and Chrisann teaching their firstborn to walk communicated more clearly than I could have hoped to with mere words.
Little Evan was doing his best to keep his balance, putting both arms straight up in the air. In his white T-shirt and diaper, he took wobbly steps across the kitchen floor until he got to the little mat by the sink. As he stepped on it, the mat shifted ever so slightly, and he lost his footing and dropped to the floor. His mom cheered him on, 'Great job, Evan! You're doing great.' He struggled to his feet and kept crossing the floor, arms in the air, a look of determination on his face. Then with no warning, he pitched straight forward and fell with a thud to the cold tile floor. The congregation gasped. You could sense that everyone wanted to reach up to the screen and help this little guy back to his feet.
There he was, sprawled with his nose just an inch off the floor, his little butt sticking up in the air. Then his father spoke, 'Evan, stand up and walk to Daddy.' He lay there, frozen for a moment. Then from somewhere deep inside, Evan found the strength to push himself up, turn around,
and begin walking toward his father. The congregation watched, wanting to cheer but absolutely silent. Step by step, he crossed the floor until he fell into his daddy's arms. The response from the congregation was both joy and a huge sigh of relief.
This video clip illustrates something God wants all of us to understand.
He looks at us and sees beloved children. When we lose our balance and fall flat, he is right there. He says, 'Stand up and walk to Daddy.'
That's the heart of God for you and me. He wants us to get back up each time we fall and continue the glorious journey across the linoleum tile of life until we reach the arms of our Father.
Maybe you are lying on your belly in the middle of the kitchen floor.
You are tired, discouraged, and don't feel you can get up and press on. It feels better to just stay right where you are.
Your Father is there. Can you hear him? 'Stand up and walk to Daddy.
Stand up and walk to Daddy.' He is so close. His arms are open. Don't give up. Stand up one more time and keep on trying.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the church in the city of Corinth, he lamented the fact that they were not growing up spiritually. They had slipped and fallen, but they refused to get up and try again. He writes,
'Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly ---
mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready' (1 Cor. 3:1 -- 2 TNIV). In common language, Paul is calling the believers in the city of Corinth a bunch of spiritual babies. Ouch! He then goes on to tell them about some of the signs of their spiritual infancy and challenges them to enter a process of growing up in faith.
The Holy Spirit invites every Chris tian to enter the joy of spiritual growth. We accept by learning to identify signs of spiritual adulthood and committing to take consistent steps toward maturity. These seismic shifts propel us to deeper places of intimacy with God. Along the way,
if we listen closely, we will hear our heavenly Father cheering for us and celebrating each step.
In the rest of this chapter, we will look at seven key indicators that we are moving toward spiritual maturity.
Seven Indicators of Growth
Learning to Feed Ourselves
When a baby is born, we know he needs help eating, at least for a time. He can't find his own food and prepare it. A mother offers her milk as the basics of life. But if Mom and Dad refuse to provide for the baby,
he will die. Someone must spoon-feed this little guy for many months.
But all parents expect a healthy little boy or girl to learn how to eat on their own eventually. If they don't, the parents know something is very wrong.
Chapter 1: The Seismic Shift from Infancy to Adulthood 25
Seismic Shift Suggestion
This Week's Menu. For many people, a great step toward spiritual maturity is simply spending a little time in God's Word each day.
Block out at least fi ve minutes for personal Bible reading each day for the coming week. Find a quiet place, open God's Word, and read.
If you are not sure where to start, you can use the six-week daily reading guide provided in the back of this book.
In the same way, our heavenly Father wants his children to learn how to dine regularly on his Word, the Bible. It is our primary source of spiritual sustenance. Those who are moving toward spiritual adulthood learn that they can't expect others to feed them forever. It is certainly helpful to have spiritual mentors, Sunday school teachers, mature family members,
pastors, and teachers who assist us in our growth. But we need to learn how to study the Bible on our own. This movement from relying on others to feed us spiritually to developing an ability to feed ourselves is a seismic shift each of us should make. When we do, our movement toward spiritual maturity accelerates rapidly and we discover amazing joy.
One key indicator that a person is growing spiritually is when they make regular Bible study a part of their spiritual journey.
Table of ContentsContents
Introduction: The Little Things Do Matter 9
Shifts That Bring Greater Joy Than You Can Imagine 15
1. The Seismic Shift from Infancy to Adulthood 19
2. The Seismic Shift from Doing to Being 31
3. The Seismic Shift from Somberness to Celebration 42
Shifts That Expand Your Faith 55
4. The Seismic Shift from Me to God 59
5. The Seismic Shift from Snacking to Feasting 69
6. The Seismic Shift from Monologue to Dialogue 84
Shifts That Bring Health and Rest 97
7. The Seismic Shift from Rushing to Slowing 101
8. The Seismic Shift from Stuffed to Satisfi ed 115
9. The Seismic Shift from Anxiety to Peace 130
Shifts That Build Dynamic and Lasting Relationships 141
10. The Seismic Shift from Burning to Building 145
11. The Seismic Shift from Served to Serving 160
12. The Seismic Shift from Flattery to Truth-Telling 172
Shifts That Open the Floodgates of True Riches 183
13. The Seismic Shift from Mine to God’s 187
14. The Seismic Shift from Hamsters to Sharers 202
15. The Seismic Shift from Fleeting Wealth to True Wealth 214
Shifts That Will Help You Impact Your Community and the World 225
16. The Seismic Shift from Us to Them 229
17. The Seismic Shift from “One Size Fits All” to Your Outreach Style 241
18. The Seismic Shift from Closing the Deal to Making a Journey 253
Conclusion: From Glory to Glory 266
Appendix 1: Weekly Reading Guide 267
Appendix 2: Praying the Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9 – 13 269
Appendix 3: Daily Health Sheet 271
Appendix 4: The Best News Ever 273
Study Guide 276
Recommended Reading 287