Why did you write 30 Days to Growing In Your Faith?
I remember many years ago, late at night, sitting on a park bench under a soft street light at the Christian college I was attending, wondering why in the world the Christian life wasn’t working for me.
I hadn’t grown up in a Christian home, so knew very little about living a truly Christian lifestyle. After I graduated from high school, I attended a state university where I supported myself by playing drums in a rock band. During this time, I had ample opportunity to nurture attitudes, values and behavior that didn’t translate well into the Christian life. I became a Christian the summer after my first year in university, transferred to a Christian college and jumped into the deep end of the Christian life.
Only problem was, I didn’t know how to swim. I didn’t know how to live the Christian life. I stopped doing all the bad stuff. I quit running around with bad people doing bad things. I instinctively knew that much. But inside, I was still selfish, needy, arrogant, angry, biblically ignorant and very confused.
I sat there on the park bench journaling in a notebook, chronicling my failures and wondering what was wrong with me.
Many decades later, I realize nothing was wrong with me. I was just going through perfectly predictable spiritual growth pains. The people who led me to Christ gave me a Bible and told me to read it every day, pray and go to church. Their advice was good, but it was like bringing a squirt gun to a forest fire. It wasn’t enough. I needed more. Much more.
Now, many years later, I am finally beginning to understand some of the things I didn’t understand back on that park bench.
As a result, I have written 30 Days to Growing in Your Faith. It is a companion volume to my previous resource, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. The book gets out to all four corners of the Christian life on a very basic level (what a Christian needs to know, be and do), but does so in a super-condensed format that enlightens but does not overwhelm.
If I could time-travel back fifty years and talk to young Max on that park bench, I would tell him what is in this book. Then, I would tell him, “This book doesn’t contain the most you need to know. It contains the least. Reading this book will not be the end of your learning in the Christian life. It will be the beginning.
“After you read this, there will still be things you don’t know, things you won’t be, things you can’t do. But it will give you the foundation you need to guide and accelerate your spiritual development.”
I can’t help but wonder where my life would be today if I had known and understood all this back then.
What do you hope reading the book will do for the reader?
One of my most influential seminary professors used to say, “Most true learning is self-generated. So, teach the basics, and the students will be able to go on to a more complete understanding themselves.”
That was true with me. I believe it is true for others. So, I have lived the last number of decades with a passion to teach the basics with the hope and prayer that that foundation will enable a believer to build a more complete and robust Christian life.
Knowledge isn’t everything, but everything rests on knowledge. As I say in the book:
- You can’t believe something until you know it,
- you won’t live it until you believe it.
- and you won’t impact others (including your family and loved ones) until you live it!
So, as I said, knowledge isn’t everything. There is more to the Christian life – much more – than just knowledge, but knowledge is the beginning, the starting point, the foundation. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
If you don’t have mental ownership of a biblical knowledge base sufficient for life in the 21st century, you will never be able to build a robust spiritual life, and you will be in danger of being swept out to sea by the riptide of modern culture.
Who will benefit from reading the book?
So, I hope you will get my book, I hope you will read it, and I hope you will use it in your ministry and recommend it to others. After having studied for years, having written over 25 previous books, I don’t know of another volume that covers the breadth of issues in the Christian life that this book covers, particularly while keeping it brief and simple.
But don’t let the brevity and simplicity deceive you. There is depth in the book, also, which if embraced, will leapfrog a believer years down the road compared to not learning this information.
Your church is likely full of people who would benefit by a more complete understanding of how to grow in their faith.
- They may be newer believers just getting started, like young Max.
- Or established believers whose biblical education has holes in it (nearly everyone, according to a recent Barna poll).
- Or more mature believers who would benefit from a better 30,000 ft. view of the Christian life so they can be of greater help to others.
As I have emphasized, knowledge isn’t everything, but everything rests on knowledge. If you help your people digest this super-condensed body of information, it can prepare them to benefit from your overall pastoral ministry in a way that few other things can.
What are some ways I might use this book?
- Fall reading challenge (available Aug. 3). Some years ago, the pastor of a large church in Texas challenged his people to read my other book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, and then offered to meet with them on a Saturday morning where he would conduct a Q&A session with them over the contents of the book. He said he thought maybe a hundred people might take him up on it. Twelve hundred people did! Your church may or may not be that large, but it doesn’t matter. A good percentage of your people may take you up on an offer to read 30 Days to Growing in Your Faith if you promise a Q&A session at the end. You might start in August or September and finish before the winter holidays.
- Small group/Sunday school curriculum. You might use this book as curriculum for small groups or Sunday school, if they kick off or start new curriculum in September. There is even a free Leader’s Guide available to you to make it even easier.
- Discipleship ministry. If your church is smaller, you might lead a discipleship group through the book. If it is larger, you might take disciplers through the book, and they can then draw on that experience to lead others through it.
- Homeschooling and other parents might go through it to help prepare them for leading their children to a deeper understanding of the Christian life.