Being accountable to someone isn't easy. It's hard enough to be open with another person about the sins you are trying to overcome, and for some reason, we don't like talking about our spiritual practices all that much either. By the time our accountability meeting rolls around, several things have happened. 1) We've forgotten when we messed up. 2) We've forgotten what we read in our Bibles when we read it. 3) We've forgotten to do things that we wanted to be held accountable to do. 4) We've haven't held one another accountable throughout the week, so we know we've forgotten to do something we were supposed to do. Technology can help solve these problems. Here are some awesome accountability apps. Not all of them are directly related to accountability, but they can help you stay accountable more effectively.
I'm sure there are a lot of other great accountability apps out there. Which ones are you using? Comment below and let me know.
This weekend, Donald Whitney will be on campus at First Baptist Rogers. He will preach at our Pleasant Grove campus on Saturday night at 5:00 and Sunday morning at 8:00, 9:15, and 10:30. He'll be back Sunday afternoon for the 2016 Grow LIFE Group Leadership Conference. Here is a short preview of some of the things we might discuss.
Launching LIFE Groups Together
Part of what we do at First Baptist Rogers is launch LIFE Groups. We can't over emphasize how important this is. Launching LIFE Groups gives others an opportunity to lead and exercise their spiritual gifts. It gives current leaders the ability to disciple other leaders and reproduce themselves. It increases spiritual growth by keeping LIFE Groups small enough to facilitate good, open, and honest discussion about real issues in life. It creates more space in individual LIFE Groups for growth. It creates more "boats" for Jesus to fill with fish. We need to launch more LIFE Groups!
Bible Intake Together
In LIFE Groups at First Baptist Rogers, we teach the Bible. Nothing more, and nothing less. By doing so in small groups, people have the ability to hear the Word of God. They have the opportunity to think about it as engaging questions are asked and discussed. The Bible is and must remain central to everything we do in LIFE Groups.
It would be very difficult to pray for every person in the church every day. However, when we get in small groups, we can pray very specifically for the people around us. We can go to the Father and petition Him to meet our needs according to His purposes together. We must be praying for one another together in LIFE Groups.
Evangelism and Service Together
"Sunday School" (what we now call LIFE Groups) was originally created as an evangelistic organization. We shouldn't lose that aspect of life together just because we changed the name from Sunday School to LIFE Groups. We should come together to serve our community for the purpose of showing them the love of Christ and building relationships through which we can share the good news that Jesus Saves.
Encouragement and Accountability Together
Most of us probably get involved in relationships for the purpose of encouragement to a certain degree. There is a comfort in relationship that builds us up and refuels us in some way. But part of encouragement in the Christian life is accountability as well. If we encourage one another in sin, we're not encouraging one another to good works. We also have to hold one another accountable to those good works, loving each other as spiritual siblings and co-heirs of the universe with Christ.
We need all current and future LIFE Group leaders, including our preschool, children, and student leaders to attend this annual leadership conference. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!
Reasons to Read This Book:
1. You probably don't know how to pray.
Let's be honest. How frequently do you pray the exact same thing? How frequently do you confess sin? How frequently do you pray specifically for the lost and for God's kingdom to reign in people's hearts? How frequently do you specifically ask God to save people in your life that are lost? How frequently do you pray for the President, Congress, Supreme Court, judges, prosecutors, city councils, school boards, highway commissioners, and so forth and so on? How frequently do you ask God for something without considering what He wants in that something?
Jesus taught His disciples how to pray and gave us the model prayer. The Battle Plan for Prayer expands on it consistent with what the rest of Scripture teaches about how, why, and what to pray. The Kendrick Brothers go so far as to discuss the biblical postures of prayer (kneeling, hands raised, laying prostrate, etc.). They review Scripture that informs us on how we should prepare to pray and pray to prepare. They give biblical examples of specific prayer strategies that call on God by His many names and incorporate the Word of God for the will of God to get from God whatever He wants to give us. The single greatest benefit of this book is adding to the believer's arsenal strategies and means of prayer that are more effective and thorough.
2. You probably don't spend enough time in prayer.
Let's be honest and take account of your time in prayer over the past week. How much time did you spend in prayer? The 2014 American Time Use Survey indicated that people in the most religious states in the U.S. only averaged 17 minutes of spiritual activity per day. People in the least religious states in the U.S. only averaged 2 minutes per day. Of that, some of it probably involves Bible study and devotional reading. Of the time devoted to prayer, much of it probably is taken up by prayers before meal times that are often routine and not well thought out.
How much time could you have spent in prayer last week? How many problems came up? Did you immediately try to fix them yourself, or did you immediately turn to God in prayer seeking a solution? The Battle Plan for Prayer spends chapters discussing the importance of scheduled prayer and spontaneous prayer. Several chapters discuss the daily heart-and-mindset necessary to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). There are chapters that discuss the need to pray offensively and preemptively in scheduled prayer as well as defensively in spontaneous prayer in response to problems that arise throughout the day. An entire section of the book is dedicated to routine problems that come up: the lost, prayer requests from believers and family, social problems in government, and so forth. Reading this book will equip you to revitalize your prayer life not just in the morning and at meal times, but throughout the day.
3. You probably don't need someone else's opinions of how to pray.
There are literally hundreds of books on prayer, but most of them involve someone's opinion as to what prayer should be or what has worked for them in prayer. Some of them are historical reviews of the prayer lives of heroes of the faith. These are important, but the do not necessarily teach us how to pray biblically. The great strength behind The Battle Plan for Prayer is its heavy reliance on the Word of God for the scenarios which spur on prayer, the means and methods of prayer, and the heart of the person who prays effectively. It is more than just the Kendrick Brothers' opinion - that fills the pages of this book. It is soundly biblical.
4. You probably don't need another spiritual book with a lot of big words that few people use anymore.
Our prayer books are often filled with words like beseech, supplication, intercessory, and a lot of other words that only "spiritual" people regularly use. The Battle Plan for Prayer uses those words on occasion, but only to explain them in everyday English to spur the reader to beg God for things within His will and based on His mercy for ourselves and on behalf of others in our lives. In other words, the book is easy to understand and follow. It is written as if it were spoken, which adds to the ease with which the book can be read. It is broken up into very small chapters of no more than 4-5 pages so that each can be read, digested, and thoroughly understood.
5. You've probably thought or heard a lot about prayer lately.
There are movies about prayer that have performed marvelously at the box office. People are reading and writing books on prayer more than before. Google trends indicates that the interest in the practice of prayer in the U.S. has almost doubled in the last ten years. The global interest in prayer has tripled in the same time period. In my church, I've seen groups spontaneously begin meeting throughout the week for the sole purpose of prayer (including one at 6:30 on Saturday mornings). God is calling His people to pray. Reading The Battle Plan for Prayer is a good first step towards answering that call and satisfying a spiritual curiosity that only the one true God can satisfy and answer.
I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I am a candidate for a Ph.D. in ethics from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a JD from the University of Arkansas, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.