Jesus taught that if someone asks you to go one mile, go the 2nd mile as well. In the 2nd Mile Podcast, host Travis Agnew seeks to equip you to do more than the bare minimum in the areas of faith and family. Don't settle for an average life.
The United States of America is less than one week away from the polls closing on the 2020 election. Depending upon who wins, the administration will go in one of two very polarized directions. To what level should a Christian expect or desire? It's time to go the second mile in identifying the government's role.
As the presidential race ramps up in the remaining days before the election, you have a choice to make. You may have already made your decision regarding your candidate of choice, but if you haven’t, have you considered the weight of your decision? It’s time to go the second mile in determining your presidential vote.
Every day we draw nearer to the most contentious election of our lifetimes, and every moment we come closer to living in the aftermath of half of a country who is infuriated by the results. How do we, as Christians, keep the main thing the main thing? It’s time to go the second mile in protecting commissioned objectives.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape from the increasing political tension. While we are one month from the presidential election, we are in the middle of numerous controversies. As a disciple of Jesus, don’t get caught into traps laid out for us. It’s time to go the second mile in avoiding political extremes.
People have always maintained different opinions on world issues, but, due to the rise of social media, everyone has an opportunity to broadcast and amplify their voices more than ever before. How can we endure the next few weeks in a tense election season? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in learning to be slow when speaking.
As disciples of Jesus, we have the good news that this world needs to hear, but are we sharing it? Instead of waiting for people to come to you in need, have you ever considered inviting them to walk with you as you follow Jesus? I promise that it’s not as difficult as you think it is. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in bringing friends along.
As our world continues to polarize its citizens into different camps, how should Christians respond? Instead of retreating from this world, we need to be blessing this world. Your city should be a blessed place because of your church’s involvement in it. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in seeking the city’s welfare.
When times are difficult, it makes it easier for us to justify sin. As the pressures of 2020 rise, do you find it easy to excuse yourself for wayward behavior? Now is not the time to give in to sin, but to push towards obedience.
For anyone who has committed to a local church but never felt connected, I want to help you. The reason some never experience deep relationships is because the interaction is never pursued outside the weekly gathering. You can’t connect through 1 hour a week. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in committing to intentional checkups.
When social distancing hit, most churches went to groups online. While we were all thankful for apps like Zoom, we also feel the fatigue from it all. As we navigate the upcoming months, you need to commit to yours and others’ spiritual growth. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in prioritizing your weekly group.
Now that we have made it through the first half of 2020, people are constantly asking - when will we get back to normal? I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think we are going to return to it, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing for your life, family, or church. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in the new church normal.
The 10th commandment warns against coveting. While this sin may be last on the list, it is one of the most prevalent in our hearts. In fact, our casual acceptance of it reveals that we don’t take it that seriously. Deep down, this is as serious of a sin as they come. It’s time to go the 2nd mile on controlling comparison.
The 9th commandment warns against lying. You can tell our culture doesn’t see lying as that big of a sin when we always categorize our deceit as just “a little white lie.” Bearing false witness speaks clearly about our character and teaches others that we are untrustworthy. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in highlighting honesty.
The 8th commandment warns against stealing. Most of us think of theft as something that only criminals and children struggle doing. We almost feel impervious to such temptation. But are we? How frequently do we justify our subtle possession of things that do not belong to us? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in redefining robbery.
The 7th commandment warns against adultery. The marital union is so unique, so precious, that nothing or no one should ever interfere. A marriage cannot work with three people in it. Whether you have been guilty, considered it, or believe yourself to be immune to the temptation, it’s time to go the 2nd mile in avoiding adultery.
The 6th commandment warns against murder. While we all agree about the serious nature of this sin, not many see it as a real temptation. When Jesus came, he explained that the real danger was in the heart before it was in the hands. You might be more guilty than you realize. It’s time go the 2nd mile in addressing anger.
The 5th commandment is to honor your father and mother. We often see this commandment for those 18 and under, but are adults supposed to obey this as well? Just realize that God gave this word first to an 80-year-old man who he expected to obey it. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in prizing parents.
The 4th of the commandments is about keeping the Sabbath day holy. In most circles, that just meant you better go to a church rather than the ball game when Sunday rolled around. While that is an accurate way to apply it, it is so much more than that. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in reclaiming rhythms.
The 3rd of the commandments is about not taking God’s name in vain. When I was a kid, it just meant by grandmother would correct me if I ever used the word, “gosh.” While that might be a concern, it is really about using God’s name in any empty way. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in fading flippancy.
The 2nd of the commandments is forbidding idolatry. Now, here is a commandment that doesn’t condemn you, right? Wrong. This command is more than just ignoring the worship of statues. In fact, we are guilty of it more than we realize. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in waiving worship.
The 1st of the 10 commandments is all about having no other gods. It seems pretty simple in theory, but we are not so apt to keeping it. If you have reduced this rule to associating with only one religion, it is much more than that. We need to evaluate. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in removing rivals.
The 10 Commandments. Should Christians see them as archaic and useless, fulfilled and pointless, or timely and necessary? The 10 rules that provided direction for the nation of Israel still maintain a worldwide impact. How should we respond? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in championing commandments.
As our world tries to discover the rhythms of the new normal, whatever that is, you have a summer ahead of you. Regardless of your stage in life, you will probably have more margin than you typically have. What do you want to do with it? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in making the most of your summer.
There are 153 million orphans in the world. Every single day, another 5,700 more children become orphans. Those numbers are staggering, and you may feel defeated because you can’t help all of them. But what if you could help one? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in helping the orphan crisis.
When the unexpected happens, we all have a choice to make. Two options lie before us. We will each choose to draw closer to God or further away from him. In your discouragements, distresses, and disappointments, which way are you headed? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in drawing close to Jesus.
The current state of the world has changed all of our plans. No graduation. No trip. Change in job. Expectations unmet. Disappointments abound. You wonder why a door that was supposed to be open has now been slammed shut. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in respecting closed doors.
Your schedule has probably simplified in recent weeks. In fact, you probably have more margin now than ever to be able to read the Bible, but have you taken advantage of it? If you are not careful, you can waste this present opportunity and let the time slip away. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in developing a reasonable Bible study goal.
As you develop your budget and try to live financially responsible, it can be overwhelming at all the areas you need to address. How do you know what should be your priority? How do you know what you should tackle next? Maybe you need some practical guidance to start. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in developing money milestones.
You know that budgeting is important, so what is keeping you from working on one? Maybe you don’t want to face reality, but if you don’t address your financial situation, reality will interrupt you at the most inconvenient time. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in developing a budget.
A financial crisis has a way of waking us up to reality. Whether it is a national recession on the horizon or a personal consequence based on a decision, we each know how money can affect us in numerous ways. The way we handle our money says a lot about us. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in financial budgeting.
As we each grasp with learning how to function during an international pandemic, we have to innovate among restrictions. We all have stuff we still have to do, and we want to be used in a purposeful way, but everything is different now. If you want to faithfully productive, we must go the 2nd mile while working at home.
Last Sunday, people all over the world had to rethink church gatherings due to the COVID-19. Whether you watched online, had a drive-in at your church parking lot, or some other option, worship felt a little bit different. As we adapt to our circumstances, it’s time to go the 2nd mile in being the scattered church.
Life as we know it as changed just a wee bit. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives are being changed. If you aren’t quarantined, you are at least limited. So, what should you do when your schedule has changed and the world is in fear? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in quarantined discipleship.
If you are like me, you often feel overwhelmed. The standard answer to someone asking, “How are you doing?” Is apparently supposed to be “busy.” We all say we are busy, but are we effective? Are you satisfied with the progress you are making in life? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in evaluating your progress.
Sometimes, finding God’s will is easy. The righteous decision is always preferred over the sinful leaning. God never wants us to go against His design. But what about discerning among good options? How do you know what to do when either option seems OK? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in finding God’s will.
Each of us struggles with some level of anxiety. Certain triggers seem to exasperate it at times, and yet many of us don’t know what to do when the onslaught begins. The issue is not if you will be anxious but what to do when you become anxious. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in answering anxiety.
Following behind Jesus is a good path. Walking beside your spouse is a special journey as well. What happens if those two directions are opposing from each other? It is possible to follow Jesus and walk beside your spouse. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in prioritizing a spiritually-enriching marriage.
If each of us is promised to encounter trials in this life, that guarantees that those who are married will experience double the amount. Life will throw certain challenges at each of you, but they don’t have to come in between you. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in having a marriage triumphant through trials.
If you are single, maybe you think about getting married one day. As friends progress through their wedding days, the pressure can mount for you to find someone. While eagerness for marriage is a good trait, you must be careful not to rush into something that’s not ideal. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in your dating preparation.
As you seek to become a better student of the Word, you quickly realize that this process takes work. It doesn’t come naturally, and the Bible is a very big book full of complex details. Good intentions can easily become sidelined. God wouldn’t set you up to fail. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in protecting your Bible reading plan.
Bible reading is one of those tricky habits for a disciple of Jesus Christ. We all know we should be doing it. We assume that everyone else is more consistent than we are, but yet we start numerous plans only to stop along the way. You are not alone. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in finishing a Bible reading plan.
Proverbs 22:1 reads that “a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” The reality is that each of us will be remembered for something, but will you be remembered for something good? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in your life’s ambition.
Plenty of people associate with Jesus, but very few keep their steps at a pace where they can truly follow him. He is not someone that you want to follow halfway with mediocre attempts. If you’ve been following Jesus at a distance, it’s time to go the 2nd mile in your spiritual journey.
The lights are hung, the presents are wrapped, the food is prepared, and the sweaters are laid out. What could be missing? Jesus. Jesus might be missing. If you are worried of missing Christ this Christmas, it is time to go the 2nd mile in your Christmas celebration.
The Great Commission calls us to make disciples – not converts.
As he ascended into the skies, Jesus clarified our purpose of discipleship when he delivered the Great Commission. The job is incomplete when someone comes to faith in Christ. Discipleship – and not conversion – is the goal.
Evangelism is necessary, but it is not ultimate.
Most Christians can easily communicate the importance of making disciples, but few can articulate how they are personally engaging in the process. Proclaiming the need for discipleship in theory is not the same as prioritizing its implementation in life. Most churches and ministries are very busy with numerous activities, yet many regularly lament the lack of tangible success despite extensive efforts.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most frantic. As you prepare for Christmas, you may feel many expectations that can cause you to make some poor financial decisions. You don’t have to go broke during the holidays. It’s time to go the 2nd mile on Black Friday.
While we are much more than what we do, a significant portion of our lives will be spent in the 9-5 realm. That’s why how we approach work is so vital to our overall outlook in life. Have you ever considered your work as it relates to your walk? It’s time to go the 2nd mile as a kingdom-minded employee.
You know your marriage needs work, and you accept that your spouse isn’t 100% completely to blame for the condition of your marriage. You are ready and committed to do the work, but what if your spouse isn’t putting forth the same type of effort? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in working on your marriage all by yourself.
You’ve already been tempted to sin today numerous times. While everyone is tempted, particular people are more prone to certain temptations than others. While you can’t avoid being tempted, you can fight against its pull. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in overcoming temptation.
It almost seems necessary for young parents to speak as if their children are a hindrance. As parents bemoan their roles as pure drudgery, the culture and the kids get the message: children are unwanted. If you read Scripture, you realize that children aren’t a burden - they are a blessing. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in affirming your children.
If you grew up in church, you probably memorized the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6. In many services, the entire congregation recites it out loud as a part of the worship. While this is a great implementation, did Jesus mean for us simply to quote it? It’s time to go the 2nd mile with the Lord’s prayer.
Each of us must count the cost to follow Jesus. We need more than motivation to begin; we need preparation to endure. If not careful, we will start with high aspirations yet fail to follow through due to a lack of planning.
For all the progress you have made in your life, have you ever realized how desperately dependent on God you still are? Our cultural mantra wants to espouse independence as if we have it all together, but the longer we walk, the more it seems that we trip up. Do you feel like you don’t have it together? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in your dependence on God.
Have you considered the spiritual giants in your life and why they are that way? They just seem to be in a different category than everyone else. We often categorize them as those who must be more spiritual than the rest of us, but what if that’s not it? What if it is because they are more disciplined than the rest of us? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in spiritual disciplines.
You’ve made some adjustments. You’ve seen some improvement, but you also admit that you’re not there yet. Each of us have many areas in our lives that could benefit from some further growth. In discipleship, you don’t have to be there yet, but you should be getting there. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in admitting your needed development.
Are you confident in the fundamentals of your faith? Maybe the better question is, do you believe what you believe? As a follower of Jesus, you have a set of doctrinal beliefs that come along with the territory, but are they settled in your mind? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in reinforcing the most critical doctrine.
There is a sin or a few sins that easily entangle you. While we all can struggle with every possible sin imaginable, there are certain sins with which we regularly drift. In order for you to make progress in your discipleship, you need to narrow down the list to the sin which is critical for you to address right now.
You don’t have to follow Jesus; you get to follow Jesus. The moment that you can see your walk as an opportunity rather than an obligation is the moment when your growth will progress exponentially. If you have felt like you are following Jesus out of duty, it’s time to go the 2nd mile in rediscovering delight in our discipleship.
We talk about discipleship in churches a lot, but are we really doing it? Jesus’s words are straightforward - make disciples of all nations. Before we attempt to make a bunch of disciples, maybe we just need to learn how to make one. It’s time to go the second mile in developing a discipleship plan.
At some point in our lives, we have all desired to know God’s will in some area. We almost speak of finding God’s will as if it is something he is trying to hide from us. God wants you to do his will even more than you want to do his will. It’s time to go the second mile in finding God’s will.
For the last few decades, we have expected church programs to do what God has called parents to do. We have effectively dropped our children off at church and expected them to be Jesus-loving, Bible-obeying, manner-displaying kids by the time we pick them up. If we want children like that, we will need to be parents who prioritize family discipleship and not just rely on church programs. It’s time to go the second mile in prioritizing the family altar.
Where our worship wars used to be over what style of music a church should use, I believe the current worship war is the manner in which a worship team leads. While songs can still be divisive, subtle yet serious danger transpires when a worship team employs worldly practices instead of biblical principles. It’s time to go the second mile with the ministry of your worship team.
Things to Remember
There is no room for celebrities in our churches.
Ministering to people off the stage allows me to be a more effective minister when I am on the stage.
Platform ministry can never replace relational ministry.
While time on stage may provide ministry affirmation, the time off stage provides ministry validation.
This podcast episode comes from a chapter in my book called 5 Worship Team Killers.
To honor your marriage, you must keep the marriage bed pure from anyone else invading it. That includes real experiences and virtual experiences. Sex isn’t the problem. Sexual desires are not the issue. The dilemma is when we attempt to meet a God-given desire in an ungodly way. You are supposed to have your sexual needs met with your spouse and pornography is robbing you both.
Oftentimes in ministry, I want to discover what is the secret ingredient in the life that continues to grow in Christ and what is lacking in those who experience downfall. Where I used to think it was diligence or dedication, I have learned that many people continue to grow simply because they surround themselves with solid friends who want to grow as well. It’s time to go the 2nd mile in our friendships.
The best way to follow God is walking beside others who are going in the same direction.
Those who are closest to me must be closest to God.
Every person in your life is either sharpening you or dulling you.
It is important to highlight the need for a personal relationship with Jesus. But somewhere along the way, we have made our faith so private that we neglect the benefit of walking alongside others. Have you ever wanted to continue your growth but find yourself falling time and time again? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in having an accountability partner.
It happens at every summer church camp. It’s the final night of worship, and almost every person in attendance is ready to make a decision. If the person is confident in salvation, he or she might repent of sins or make a rededication of sorts.
Since last year’s camp got them all excited about living for Jesus, they thought it would be different. Unfortunately, many go back to previous ways of life once they get home. At camp this year though, it is promised it is going to be different.
Whether it is a summer camp or a Christian retreat, we have all made those commitments and fallen short eventually. Are you tired of those empty promises? It’s time to go the second mile in maintaining camp commitments.
First-mile believers hope that the spiritual high will last. Second-mile disciples take what they learn on the mountains to prepare them for the valleys.
5 Steps to Ensure Camp Commitment
Establish the Credit – If your life truly changed, give Jesus the credit for that change – not camp.
Commit to Church – Decide that you will connect with the church that brought you to equip you for further growth after camp.
Identify the Dangers – Acknowledge the weak areas in your life and make preparations to combat them.
Create a Plan – Much of the change happened due to the exposure you had to God’s Word. I have great news – the Bible goes home with you!
Find a Partner – Who is someone who you will be around that pushes you closer to the image of Christ? Talk with that person and commit to running this race together (2 Tim. 2:22).
I love sitting down with couples to lead pre-marital counseling. As we discuss all the opportunities and complexities that marriage brings, I will often ask, “So, tell me how you two handle conflict?”
In some instances, they will look at each other in such a way that makes me think they were arguing on the drive over to meet me. In other scenarios, the couple will look at me and explain, “We really don’t fight with each other.” That statement tells me two things: 1) they don’t know each other that well yet, and 2) they are going to be unprepared on how to fight well when the conflict finally comes.
Whether you are married or on the path to marriage, it’s time to go the second mile in establishing fight rules for your relationship.
First-mile believers fight unfairly and brush the recurring conflicts under the rug. Second-mile disciples learn how to work through conflict in a biblical manner.
Never Go to Bed Angry
Don’t Use a “Sorry, But”
Don’t Retract Your Forgiveness
Never Play Out of Bounds
Imagine a time in which you were surrounded by danger. Forces were against you that literally threatened your very life. Someone comes up to you at the scariest moment and seeks to encourage you. Instead of providing personal counsel, this individual actually quotes a Bible verse to you. Recited from a beloved psalm, this verse reminds you that God will watch over you.
Does that sound comforting to you? It should until you realize who this mysterious Bible-quoter is. The psalm-toting individual is none other than the devil himself. This scenario isn’t imagination but history. Jesus was being tempted, and Satan tried to get him to bite on that temptation by taking a Bible verse out of context to fit his agenda.
The scary thing is that many of us are guilty of the same tactic. It’s time to go the second mile in prioritizing biblical context.
First-mile believers find a verse out of context to fit their agenda. Second-mile disciples study the Bible in context to align with God’s agenda.
When it comes to reading Scripture, context is key. Too much of our current biblical study focuses on isolated verses and neglects the context of which the verses were originally written.
Consider the Reader’s Context - Don’t seek to fit your expectations upon the biblical text.
Consider the Author’s Context - Evaluate the complexities that went into writing this section of Scripture.
As a young Christian, people always told me about the importance of having a quiet time without anyone ever showing me how to have one. I tend to be a rather loud person anyway, so setting apart time to quiet myself seemed odd in the first place. What exactly am I supposed to do during that quiet time?
All the godly people that I esteemed all talked about what God taught them during that time. I would often feel guilty for not being consistent in my own practice. Maybe you feel the same way. Have you always known you need to have a quiet time but unsure what others actually do? It’s time to go the second mile in having a quiet time.
First mile believers will read the Bible and pray when times get difficult. Second mile disciples are those who are seeking the Lord through daily spiritual habits.
3 Daily Practices
Pray a Psalm
Study a Chapter
Memorize a Verse
BONUS - Pray Through Schedule
We all know reading is supposed to help us, but many of us also feel as if we could be more dedicated readers. The reason many of us struggle is that we don't have a reading plan that has specific goals. If you ever wanted to become a more avid reader, it's time to go the second mile with our books.
How to Discipline Yourself to Love Reading
Commit to reading from 2 books every day.
Create a deadline for book completion.
Diversify the types of books you read.
Create a reading order.
Summarize and archive the most important points.
Our culture worships the Wiki God. We want ever so desperately to serve a deity whom we have the freedom and capability to edit. Many people are attempting to revise the Christian faith by cutting out what they don’t like, copying favorable ideas from other worldviews, and pasting them into some hopeless attempt at a hybrid faith. How do we reject our culture's desire to serve the Wiki God?
We all want change, but few of us were willing to do the work with one another to see that change happen. Discipleship happens within the context of intentional relationships. If you have gotten tired of spiritual stagnation, it’s time to go the 2nd mile with your small group.
6 Helpful Tips
Maybe you don’t consider yourself a theologian, but I would beg to differ. You have beliefs about God and you share them with others even if by default. You really are a theologian, the question is: are you a good one? It’s time to go the 2nd mile in our theology.
This episode explains the content of my new book, Wiki God, being released within a few days. I also read some sample content from it with the hope of inspiring you to develop your own theology from the Bible.
If you have ever desired to have meaningful Sunday worship experiences with your church, the process starts on Saturday. In fact, if you don't prepare well, your frantic pace on Sunday can rob you of meaningful interactions with God and with God's people.
In this episode of the 2nd mile podcast, I share 10 tips to ensure you have a great Sunday.
Prepare your stuff on Saturday afternoon.
Prepare your hearts on Saturday night.
Beware of Saturday night’s content.
Set an adequate alarm.
Drive past the best parking.
Get there 15 minutes early.
Look out for new faces.
Engage Jesus passionately.
Encourage others intentionally.
Hang out for 15 minutes afterward.
Biblical illiteracy is on the rise. Why are so many people without a thorough understanding of scriptural teaching? One of the main reasons is we are reading it in a different way from how it was written.
Don't attempt a marathon before you have completed a lap.
Don't get stagnate with your time if you don't have an adequate amount of time.
Don't read the Bible like a yearbook.
Don't read the Bible like a fortune cookie.
The best way to read the Bible is book by book.
Each book of the Bible has a beginning, middle, and end.
Bible intake is essential to Christian discipleship.
You can read 40 out of the 66 books of the Bible in less than 1 hour.
You can read the Bible if you want to read the Bible. You just have to make time.
List of Average Reading Time for Each Book of the Bible
The reason we want to go the 2nd mile in our lives is because Jesus went the 2nd mile in his death. It’s time to consider how Jesus went the 2nd mile to secure our forgiveness.
7 Quotes from the Cross
"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
"This day you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).
"Woman, behold your son" (John 19:26-27).
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matt. 27:46).
"I thirst" (John 19:28).
"It is finished" (John 19:30).
"Into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46).
Why are those who have been changed by the gospel so timid to bring Jesus up in conversations? How does fear paralyze us so when the opportunity comes to declare our allegiance? Why does it almost seem that when we ask someone to come with us to church, we peg it as a negative thing?
It's time to go the second mile in inviting someone to church (without scaring them off).
5 Steps for Evangelism
Identify - Luke 19:10
Intercede - Eph. 1:18; Col. 4:3
Initiate - 1 Thess. 2:8
Individualize - 1 Pet. 3:15; 1 Cor. 9:22
Invite - Rom. 1:16; 2 Cor. 5:20
Have you wondered about the legacy you are going to leave? It’s time to go the second mile in your discipleship legacy.
WORK WITH THE PROVEN METHODS
1. Chronologically Teach the Bible
Teaching children isolated stories can teach moral lessons but possibly neglect God’s truth.
Prioritize a method of teaching your children the big picture of the Bible.
2. Highlight Teachable Moments
Embrace the scheduled and spontaneous moments of family discipleship.
The most memorable lessons are often associated with a pivotal experience.
3. Initiate Open-Ended Questions
Refrain from using leading or closed questions to ascertain a child’s real comprehension of spiritual matters.
Always display motivation and excitement when a child shows interest in spiritual matters.
4. Live an Authentic Example
Children are able to ascertain the difference between a parent’s desire and a parent’s obligation.
If you wouldn’t be satisfied if your child imitated your example in a particular area, you need to make changes now.
5. Decipher a Child’s Readiness
Beware of the danger of a child desiring spiritual growth due to peer or parental pressure.
Parents should continue to monitor progress over the years to reaffirm decision and discipleship.
For all the role models I want my children to have, the role model whom they desperately need is me. Children need intentional parents if they are to develop in the most critical areas of life. Are you wanting to make an impact in your children? It’s time to go the second mile in your parenting.
Prioritize placing your children in the most spiritually-nurturing environments as are available.
The most critical spiritual environment is the one in which you live.
Parents are called to be the primary evangelists and disciple-makers of their children.
“Do as I say and not as I do” will not work in discipleship.
It’s difficult for a hour-long service to combat a week-long environment.
The Progression (Deut. 6:4-9)
The unrivaled God deserves an unrivaled devotion (6:4-5).
God’s Word must be the essential guide for every aspect of our lives (6:6).
Parents must take diligent responsibility for the spiritual formation of their children (6:7).
We must view discipleship as a process rather than a program (6:7).
Allow God’s Word to permeate our lives, to fill our homes, and to invade our communities (6:8-9).
What if I don’t present the information correctly?
Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know."
Be committed enough to say “I’ll find out."
Allow this to encourage your own growth (2 Tim. 2:15).
Wouldn’t a trained professional be more trustworthy?
A pastor might know the material better, but he will not know your child better.
You should be the most constant figure in your child’s life.
Your involvement will endure even when other role models change.
What if I turn them off to Christianity?
Children aren’t turned off to Christianity if their parents are devoted disciples but if they are fake followers.
Let your love for Jesus be contagious.
Your job is to point to a relationship of grace rather than a religion of works.
Are you working towards marriage? Don’t ruin the gift of marriage while you endure through the time of engagement. It’s time to go the second mile in your engagement.
The 1st mile of engagement is working towards marriage while avoiding physical temptations.
The 2nd mile of engagement is working towards marriage while addressing spiritual connections.
As I think through components that helped new marriages thrive, many of them worked on four key relationships during the engagement.
Romance, nurture, and communication takes time. Setting an appointment to spend together is going the first mile, but that isn’t enough to have a thriving marriage. Do you want your relationship to feel vibrant again? It’s time to go the second mile by making time for your marriage.
The tragedy of how we spend our time is that it is often our marriages that suffer the most.
The one who deserves your best often gets your worst.
If you allot your time wisely, you will make time for your marriage.
Ignore the lie that once you get through a particular season of life, you will have time to spend together.
If you don't schedule your priorities, someone or something will schedule them for you.
3 Important Time Commitments
Many marriages I know struggle greatly with the smallest of discrepancies. The issue seems rather small but if the couple fails to address it, it will create a great mess. It’s time to go the second mile in addressing the small issues that bring potential big impact.
1. IDENTIFY: Sometimes the smallest things in marriage can become the most dangerous.
What are the obvious marriage separators endangering couples?
What are the dangerous nuisances in your marriage?
2. CATCH: Relentlessly catch the small “foxes” that seek to ruin your marriage.
Song of Solomon 2:15 – Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.
The most dangerous nuisances in your marriage may not be the ones that are so glaringly obvious.
3. RESIST: Resist the perspective that causes you to go to battle against your spouse when you should be going to battle with your spouse.
Your marriage has an enemy, and it isn’t your spouse.
Your marriage should be progressing towards greater intimacy and not drifting towards relational complacency.
Our church is hosting a marriage conference, and I would love for you to attend as we seek God's help in strengthening our marriages. You can get more info here.
I wrote a book on marriage. If you would like a small book with some practical help to help your marriage, you can check out What God Has Joined Together here.
Have you ever felt like you were wasting time because you simply didn't have the right tools in your hands? It's time to go the second mile in selecting the right productivity tools for the job.
Why Is This Important?
To whom much is given, much is required(Luke 12:41-48). Jesus taught a parable that highlighted the need to be faithful as stewards of the time God has given us. If you have been given much from God, are you being faithful with those opportunities?
To whom has invested much, more will be given(Matt. 25:14-30). Jesus taught another parable of a man who trusted stewards with different amounts of investments. For the one who failed to do anything with the little amount, the master took it away and gave it to the one who had more.
If you want to be faithful with the time and opportunities you have been given, decide what will be your go-to tool in these 4 areas:
Coordinate your entire schedule through a calendar system that works with your pace and your personality.
Current Tool: Google Calendar + YouCanBook.Me
Organize your needed content into a system that allows you to collect, archive, and access information easily.
Current Tool: Evernote
Ensure that your contacts are easily accessible and updateable.
Current Tool: Google Contacts
Commit to a trackable system of collecting and completing your tasks.
Current Tool: Todoist
Do More Betterby Tim Challies
What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Doneby Matt Perman
Crazy Busy!by Kevin DeYoung
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
For many of us in life trying to go all in and all out, we get frustrated because we lose time and effort in wasted pursuits. We might find ourselves going the 2nd mile, but we travel it in the wrong direction. If you have ever felt like you are wasting opportunities, it's time to go the 2nd mile in prioritizing your purposes.
How do we ensure that we go the 2nd mile in the right direction?
Identify Your Primary Purposes
The Spirit gifts every believer for the glory of God and for the good of others (1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11).
We are saved for good works that God has prepared for us (Eph. 2:10).
Identify what your primary purposes are and refuse to allow anything to get in your way of accomplishing them.
Address Your Secondary Issues
Don't miss out on the great opportunities for which you were primarily called because you neglect the secondary issues for which you are still responsible.
Being zealous for good works means caring for all different types of good works (Titus 2:14).
The early church leaders made sure they addressed the secondary issues so they could continue to prioritize the primary purposes (Acts 6:1-7).
Eliminate Your Tertiary Distractions
You only have enough time to do God's will (Acts 20:24).
Our lives are fleeting so don't waste them on meaningless pursuits (Ps. 39:4).
Acknowledge what your greatest time-wasters are and relentlessly combat them.
The iPhone recently celebrated its 10th birthday. Let's just imagine that your usage was on the lower end of what some of the reports are giving us. Let's say that you are on your phone "only" 90 minutes a day. You know what that would equal to over the last 10 years?
228 days (62% of 1 year)
Over the last 10 years, you would have spent 228 days with your eyes on a smartphone. And those are days you can never get back.
Are you missing out on opportunities to travel the 2nd mile because your gaze is on your smartphone?
Of what is your smartphone robbing you? Here is a list to consider:
We lose time to spend with God.
We miss opportunities to engage with our loved ones.
We settle for pseudo-community.
We are training ourselves for constant distractions.
We become addicted to social media affirmation.
We are bombarded with too much information.
We reduce our chance of going deep in anything.
Set a goal for the time you will spend on your smartphone.
Plug up your phone once you get home.
Resist the urge to check your phone while in conversation with others.
Install apps for limiting your time on certain apps.
Reduce the notifications that clamor for your attention.
Resist the urge to engage in every social media platform.
Outsmart your smartphone by making it help you focus on worthwhile pursuits.
People often cannot start the second mile because they can barely finish the first. Are you missing opportunities to be used by God due to laziness?
STOP MAKING EXCUSES
If you are going to fight procrastination, you are going to have to address the procrastinator.
Stop disguising laziness by claiming that you aren’t the organized type.
Don’t blame God for your laziness.
You don’t need more hours in the day; you need more discipline in your day.
START MAKING SOLUTIONS
Even if you are not naturally organized, you can train yourself to be disciplined.
Acknowledge your weaknesses and find ways to bypass them.
Stop prioritizing your schedule and start scheduling your priorities.
Be relentlessly zealous with your time to create margin for worthwhile works.
If we truly desire godliness, Scripture memory must be prioritized in our lives. While the task can seem daunting, we have to start somewhere. In this episode, discover some practical steps to go the 2nd mile in Scripture memory.
The Purpose of Scripture Memory
We must discipline our minds to have the words of the Bible accessible even when a copy of the Bible is not available.
Something happens when the Word becomes portable with you. Your spiritual growth is exponential. The discipline of mediating and memorizing Scripture turns God’s Word Bible from a book on a shelf to words on a heart.
Meditating on it day and night (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2), we lay these words on our hearts (Deut. 11:18) and they become the joy and delight of our hearts (Jer. 15:16). We store it in our hearts so that can stop sinning (Ps. 119:11). We are to have it dwell so richly within us that it comes out in what we teach to others (Col. 3:16).
The Power of Scripture Memory
Joshua 1:8 - From Joshua’s example, we see that Scripture memory:
Calms – Memorizing Scripture stills our heart when we are fearful regarding our circumstances.
Reminds – Memorizing Scripture is a tangible expression of the presence of God in our lives.
Equips – Memorizing Scripture allows us to speak God’s Word rather than our opinions.
Focuses – Memorizing Scripture gives us truth to meditate upon throughout the day and night.
Directs – Memorizing Scripture gives us clear applications of obedience in our lives.
Benefits – Memorizing Scripture provides beneficial success in our lives.
The Path of Scripture Memory
RESEARCH which important verses you need to memorize first.
REWRITE the verse into some type of collection tool.
READ the verse out loud numerous times.
RECITE out loud by sections until you can say the complete verse.
REFER to the book, chapter, and verse before and after reciting it.
REPEAT the verse until you have mastered it.
REVIEW the verse through intentional accountability systems.
Many disciples of Jesus struggle with distracted, neglected, and boring prayer lives. The problem of prayer is not the content or the recipient – it's the method. In this episode, discover some tips to stop boring prayer times.
Lack of Faith - Relying on a God we cannot see with requests we cannot handle requires faith.
Lack of Familiarity - We talk awkwardly if we don't know the person to whom we are talking.
Lack of Focus - Conflicts, concerns, and chores fill our minds and hinder our prayers.
Lack of Form - The problem of prayer is not the content or the recipient – it's the method.
Pray Out Loud
Pray on Your Knees
Pray with a Guide
Pray with Variations
Prayer Weekly Calendar
As believers, we should be in a state of spiritual growth, but too often, we seem to be stuck in the same place. If there is a true profession of faith, there should be a true progression of faith. In this episode, we discuss the importance of selecting that next spiritual discipline to make intentional progress in following Jesus.
Getting Honest (You're Not There Yet)
If there is a true profession of faith, there should be a true progression of faith.
Spiritual disciplines are not meant to make you more liked by Jesus but to make you more like Jesus.
The Path of Holiness:
Justification – the declaration of holiness
Sanctification – the process of holiness
Glorification – the completion of holiness
The proof that we are neglecting sanctification is the lack of holiness present in our lives.
Making Progress (But You Should Be Getting There)
If your goal is anything other than godliness, then your spiritual disciplines will be more like drudgery than delight.
1 Tim. 4:6-10
No discipline is more important than regular Bible study because it encourages every other worthwhile spiritual pursuit.
Getting Specific (By Taking the Next Step)
True disciples discipline themselves.
Imagine the health of one’s soul if he or she spent as much time developing it as he or she spent on the body.
Can you think of one spiritual hero that doesn’t prioritize at least one spiritual discipline?
If you have been reading the Bible lately, can you think of what you read? What has impacted you? Where did you find it? Here's my realization regarding many people's dilemma: If you find time to read, you rarely remember what you read.
Why is that? Because we settled for reading the pages of the Bible instead of meditating on the truths of the Bible. The difference has paramount implications.
If you always forget what you read in the Bible, maybe it is time for you to discover the lost art of scriptural meditation.
The definition of meditation is to think deeply or carefully about something.
How to Meditate on Scripture
Commit to a reading plan.
Create enough time for meditation margin.
Pray for God's insight into the text.
Remember that less may be more.
Summarize what you read.
Seek a way to apply the truth.
Share with someone regarding what you've learned.
The people who make the greatest impact are never those who do the bare minimum. So why is it that we are often inclined to do "just enough" and not give our absolute best? What would our lives be like if we tried to go the 2nd mile in every worthwhile endeavor? That's what this podcast is about.