Have You Taken the Next Step?
Since I’ve been a teacher and a counselor to those in addiction and recovery for over 20 years now, lots of folks tend to think that the name of my ministry—The Next Step Training Program—comes from the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous. While I do help people apply the 12 Steps and similar strategies to their recovery in some of my Next Step materials, the name actually comes from a completely different concept that applies to all areas of teaching Christians, whether they are 4 years-old or 104, whether they are an alcoholic or a teetotal who has never touched alcohol, a minister or an unbelieving university professor.
Basically, God’s plan for the believer is simple and contains three steps:
Salvation—we come to know God and are “born again,” meaning born spiritually. This is often referred to as “being saved.” This is the “first step”
Service—we automatically become a “disciple” or follower of Jesus when we are born again. God’s plan isn’t for us to just work, raise kids, enjoy the creation, and so forth, He also has a plan for us to serve Him. This is called discipleship. Some people turn out to be good disciples, because they seek to serve Him, others turn out to be bad disciples, because they selfishly give all the time God has given them to selfish pursuits. But all are born again believers are disciples, whether they serve or not. This is the “second step” or, better called “the next step.”
Snatching Up—when Jesus arrives to create the Kingdom of Heaven one day, all will be “caught up” and follow Him in for His glorious arrival, receive rewards for what they did during the “next step” and be assigned their place of glory in His Kingdom and enjoy their first thousand years in their new bodies. Whether they have died or not, are on Earth or in Heaven, all the bodies of believers will be raised and transformed. They will be “snatched up.” This is what is called “The Rapture.” Some Christians believe there will be two raptures: a rapture of people before the final time of human rule over Earth, referred to as the Great Tribulation, and then another rapture when Jesus will return and resurrect those who were saved during that time, adding them to others. Other Christians believe there will only be one rapture, when Jesus arrives at the end of the Great Tribulation and all bodies will be “snatched up” together. Only a fool would waste his time arguing with someone over which will happen, because we believers have much more important things to focus on. Namely, we need to focus on “The Next Step,” which we do have control over. We have no control over The Last Step…the “Snatching Up!
So, what way of serving Jesus has God put on your heart today? Are you ready to take “The Next Step” and start looking around for ways to serve or learn about your calling? Send me a message today and let’s talk about it!