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Sometimes the benefits of receiving training and instruction are not fully appreciated until a situation develops where it is needed.  I was reminded of this in a recent driving incident that involved a near miss with an out of control Toyota Land Cruiser on a gravel road.  Approaching a bend in the road, we were presented with the sight no one wants to see. A large vehicle, under heavy braking, drifting to the wrong side of the road. To my right was the approaching car. To my left was a steep embankment with rocks and trees at the bottom. Not a happy place with about three seconds to act! There was no time to weigh the options. Instead, my defensive driver training kicked in. Don’t focus on the thing you need to avoid. Focus instead, on where you want the vehicle to go; to an area of safety. So I steered for the gap. It wasn’t very wide. We avoided both the Land Cruiser and the embankment  (by centimetres) and remained in control.

I don’t remember the name of my defence skills driving instructor from all those years ago, but he has my heartfelt  gratitude. The solution that I was seeking to this situation had been planted during my training and was available when I needed to draw upon it. This incident reminded me of the importance of training and discipleship for us as Christians.  Scripture provides us with important information relating to the importance of growing as followers of Jesus. 

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
Second Peter 3:15

Being prepared to make a defence usually requires preparation and training. Preparation and training were tasks that were practised by Jesus during His earthly ministry, and by the Apostles during the development of the early church. Teaching was not confined to the New Testament.  The song of Moses also provides insight about the role of teaching and the benefits that it can bring to those who receive it.  

“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
        Deuteronomy 32:1-2

This is a beautiful illustration of teaching encouraging growth within the assembly of Israel that can be applied today. Just as dew and rain bring growth to plants, knowledge of God, His love and grace will bring growth to us, and through us, growth to others.

As residential development in Legana grows, we can reasonably expect the size of our congregation to grow. We will see people from our community respond to the saving grace of Jesus. These new followers of Christ will require discipling so that they will become equipped to ‘seek a solution’ when the need arises.

For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
Hebrews 5:13

New Christians will have questions regarding Christian doctrine and will seek answers when going through tough times, or when they have their new faith challenged by their friends, work colleagues and family members. Whether this training is obtained from Legana Kids, Legana Youth, Home Group leaders, from the pulpit, or through self or formal education, people can become better equipped for that ‘difficult challenge’ and less exposed to being influenced by misleading views about Christianity.

So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Ephesians 4:14

As we learn more about our God, our relationship with Him can grow deeper and we can have a positive influence on people who are seeking answers. 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.
Hebrews 5:12

If we are prepared to learn to teach well, we may be able to help our brothers and sisters in Christ to seek a solution. One where they can ‘go for the gap’; the gap that is Jesus focussed when they are facing a challenge. When people can arrive at this solution, they will be better placed to avoid focussing on the threat being faced.  People tend to steer towards what they are focussed on. If we continue to read God’s Word and are prepared to increase our knowledge, we are planting seeds that will assist us in seeking a solution to difficult circumstances. We are also equipping ourselves to teach and train others. When this is the case, people won’t have to seek a solution for an adverse circumstance. They can draw upon the knowledge and skills that we have helped to impart with God’s help.

Let’s help them get there.

Your pastor,