The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Discipleship: A spiritual journey

At Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s student orientation, we were told our experience at this Columbus, Ohio, school wouldn’t automatically lead to spiritual growth. If a person didn’t have an established prayer/reflection/Bible study routine before coming to the seminary, one wouldn’t necessarily acquire it there without an intentional effort.

Today the ELCA wants to get everyone involved with more Bible study and prayer time. Just buying the new Lutheran Study Bible or participating in Book of Faith courses isn’t enough. It takes a sustained effort to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

For most of my life, I’ve consciously traveled down spiritual roads as well as leading small groups in this process. We’ve talked about what it takes to become better disciples on our spiritual journey. If we’re willing to invest time and emotional energy into this process, the Spirit opens our hearts to God’s love and direction — and gives us the vision to see opportunities for further spiritual growth.

Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is unlike any other journey. In our society we want instant gratification. Too often we’re unwilling to take the time to see worthwhile things through. To become better disciples, however, we have to sincerely seek God’s will in our lives through daily prayer/reflection/Bible study. This journey takes courage and determination. It’s important to take the first step.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). God wants to daily walk and talk with us. When we step out in faith on this spiritual journey, we are doing our part to open this communication channel with our loving Lord.

May God give us the increased desire to become faithful models and better disciples of Jesus Christ for the sake of the world.

This week's front page features:

Gatherings grow our faithGatherings grow our faith: The gathering results in a lasting journey of faith.

How does your garden grow?: In Texas, organically and for the community.

Imagine Appalachia: 'The pull to the home place is so strong here'

Casting out fear: Parents are key in helping children develop courage and self-confidence.

Also: Seen and unseen.

Also: Shepherd gathers talented flock.

Also: Grandpa's soup.

Heidi HagstromDiscussion Forum: Sept. 22-29: Join Heidi Hagstrom, director of the ELCA Youth Gathering, and discuss the event that took place in New Orleans. Join the discussion.  


Deadline extended: Bible verses that made a difference

What Bible verse made a difference in your life and why?

Please explain in 250 words or less. Include your name; the Scripture
(book, chapter and verse); your congregation (provide town and state);
and your e-mail address or phone number.

Send to: The Lutheran magazine, attn: Elizabeth Hunter, 8765 W. Higgins
Rd., Chicago, IL 60631; e-mail: elizabeth.hunter@thelutheran.org.

Deadline: Sept. 29


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February issue


Embracing diversity