The first major holiday of the first year of The Celebration of God is over. How did you do?
The Year Long Celebration of God is a family resource from Truth.Love.Parent., a ministry dedicated to rooting families in God and maturing families for God so they can harvest blessings from God.
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The first minor holiday of the first year of The Celebration of God is over, and the first major holiday is coming to a close. So the important question now is how did you do?
Today’s episode notes are going to be a little different. Today we’re providing a checklist so you can evaluate if you’re growing in your celebration of God.
You can download it and read the transcript from today’s show on The Celebration of God blog at CelebrationOfGod.com.
I remember the first time I had to create a rubric. It may have also been the first time I actually interacted with the word in any meaningful sense.
I was teaching 6th grade, and I had to create a measure by which I could grade my students’ assignment.
In educational and work settings rubrics are normal and expected. In fact, if there were no rubrics by which a student or employee could measure their success, I believe most mature people would see a problem with that.
But what about a rubric for life?
That’s where we start to get into dicey areas.
First, no one wants to be told what to do by anyone. Our culture has convinced us that no one has the right to tell us how to do anything. We can dress how we want, act how we want, talk how we want, eat how we want, and it’s no one’s business.
But is that true from a biblical perspective?
Second, though it can easily be argued that organized religions do have rubrics per se, many of them include questionable standards and evaluations.
Well, rest easy, today’s rubric is just for you, and it’s not an indicator of your standing with God.
However, it should help us figure out how we’re doing in regard to The Celebration of God discipleship experience. And — by extension — to the degree that The Celebration of God is inviting us to submit to God’s expectations as laid out in the Scripture, we could say that it may be a helpful indicator of our spiritual growth.
Either way, any time we engage in a new endeavor, it’s valuable to judge our performance. Music students have recitals, driving students have driver’s tests, and swim teams have meets.
It’s true that some people take up hobbies with no real intention of actually learning anything or improving their skill. They simply like what they’re doing and have no expectation for themselves beyond their current abilities.
But The Celebration of God is consumed with knowing, loving, and serving God better.
II Corinthians 3:18 describes our sanctification as a process where we move from glory to glory as we’re transformed into the image of Christ. This teaches us that it’s not a once-and-done process, but it also teaches us that it’s continual and measurable.
As a friend of mine once said, “We’ll never be sinless in this life, but we should sin less and less.”
So, what will you find on today’s checklist? How will you be able to judge how well you “performed” during Creation Week and Labor Day?
Well, you will find two categories.
The first category includes things that are unique to The Celebration of God. Though we have biblical reasoning behind them, it would be impossible to say for sure that one is sinning because they didn’t do these things.
However, the second category are things the Bible is very specific about. To lapse in those areas could very well be an indicator of sin, but definitely is an indicator of spiritual immaturity.
Therefore, it should be very helpful for us to gauge our hearts.
Now, one last caution before I work through the list with you today: the Christian's actions (we could also call them behaviors and works) are fruits of their lives, but that doesn’t mean that checking an item off a list means that a Christian is glorifying God.
Let me give you a perfect example. One of the items on the first list is “I displayed Bible verses consistent with the theme of Creation Week.”
Will a Christian take joy in displaying Scripture in a Deuteronomy 6 way? Yes, they will. But, could an unbeliever also display verses? Definitely.
A simple action is not an indicator of spirituality. An unbeliever can preach, share the gospel, give money to the church, attend a Christian school, be a member of a church, and even perform what looks like a miracle. Scripture and history are abundantly clear that these works can be done by someone who doesn’t even have a relationship with God.
Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness.’”
The unmistakeable fruit of the Spirit is not outward behaviors, but inward heart responses. The Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 are not actions. The Armor of God from Ephesians 6 are not physical works.
The heart motivation is the real indicator of true spirituality.
One of the line items from the second part of the checklist is “I read my Bible in order to learn more about God.” An atheist can do that. The better determiner of whether or not God was glorified by our celebration of Him is whether or not we intentionally did it as an act of worship for Him and Him alone.
So, this checklist is going to be very helpful in a number of ways, but don’t be fooled into thinking that if you check every box that you are someone a super Christian.
This checklist is designed to help us be more intentional in the behaviors that are designed to help us know, love, and serve God better. Whether or not we choose to love and serve God better is up to us.
Okay, here’s the list.
The first part of the list is called simply “Celebration of God” because these are unique to this discipleship experience.
1. “I subscribed to The Celebration of God podcast.”
That’s very important. I encourage all of you to do that because it’s an easy way to have a weekly reminder to worship God.
2. “I listened to the Creation Week Podcasts from this year.”
Again, this is simple, and — if you’re listening to this episode, you probably already did. However, if you didn’t because you’re new to the show . . . no big deal. There’s always next year.
3. “I listened to other Creation Week podcast episodes from CelebrationOfGod.com."
I’ll mention this again later in the list, but there are some wonderful resources at CelebrationOfGod.com under The Holidays tab. You should check it out. There’s stuff there that will help you in your Preparation, Celebration, and Anticipation as well as your personal and corporate discipleship.
4. “I displayed Bible verses consistent with the theme of the Season.”
This one is very similar to . . .
5. “I displayed Bible verses consistent with the theme of Creation Week.”
Remember, in my personal opinion as the guy who created the discipleship program known as The Celebration of God . . . you cannot put too much emphasis on God’s Word.
Read it, post it, share it, talk about it, pray it, obey it . . . there’s no way to interact with the Bible too much.
6. “I set up a Celebration Wall.”
If you did, I hope you’ll share it with us on Facebook or by emailing us as Team@CelebrationOfGod.com.
7. “I interacted with the Celebration Wall during Creation Week.”
This could look like a lot of things. We’d also love to hear the unique ways you, your family, your church, your class, your community interacted with your Walls.
Numbers 8 and 9 are similar.
8. “I utilized Creation Week resources from CelebrationOfGod.com."
9. “I utilized the suggested Anticipations from CelebrationOfGod.com."
Again, you should get into the habit of visiting TheCelebrationOfGod.com to see what Holiday resources are being shared this year.
10. “I told other people about The Celebration of God podcast.”
This is a fantastic way to spread the Word about the glory and majesty of God, but it’s also an amazing way to engage in a discipleship relationship with someone.
11. “I told other people about Creation Week.”
It’s pretty natural to wish people “Merry Christmas,” but Creation Week is new. Did you take the chance to tell someone at church or in your neighborhood or friend group or at school about Creation Week?
Remember, this isn’t about promoting a program. It’s about taking every opportunity to better know, understand, love, and serve God . . . and helping other people to do the same. What if introducing people to Creation Week helped them worship God more? That would totally be worth it!
12. “I invited a person/people to participate in the Preparation for Creation Week.”
This can be as easy as having your community help you set up your Wall or prepare their hearts by reading the suggested passages.
And finally . . .
13. “I invited a person/people to participate in the Celebration of Creation Week.”
Did you have someone over for dinner? Did your friend and your kids do some activities? Did your church or class watch any of the videos?
Okay, so that was the first part of the list. Those things are unique to the Celebration of God.
The second list is called “Spiritual Disciplines” because these are things God expects from His people.
1. “To Prepare my heart to worship God, I read my Bible in order to better know and understand Him.”
This should be the posture all Christians take when they approach their Bibles. We shouldn’t neglect the Scriptures, and we shouldn’t approach it merely from an academic standpoint.
Our goal should be the same goal we have when we go out on a date. We want to better know and understand the person sitting across from us so as to hopefully develop a deeper relationship with them.
The next two items are similar.
2. “To Prepare my heart to worship God, I prayed — making sure to thank God for His mercy.”
3. “To Prepare my heart to worship God, I prayed — making sure to thank God for the Creation and what that communicates about Him.”
Now, those may sound uniquely Celebration of God specific, but are any of us going to argue that Christians shouldn’t otherwise praise God for His mercy? Should Christians never praise God for creating us?
Yeah, I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure truly born again believers are going to naturally want to thank the Lord for Who He is and what He’s done.
The next three are all related to the actual celebration of God.
4. “As part of my Celebration of God, I took time to read my Bible as an act of worship.”
I separated the acts of Preparation and Celebration because the Bible makes it clear that we should put thought into preparing for an event. On a number of occasions the book of Proverbs refers to a person giving a gift to a king and the benefit that gift provides them.
One of the implications is that it is wise to plan to do something that will have a beneficial effect on us. In the same way, there is wisdom in Preparing my heart to meet with God in the same way as there is value in meeting with God.
Of course, worship is worship. The act of Preparing to worship God is — in fact — an act of worship to God, but I believe it shows great wisdom and maturity to take time to get ready to worship God well.
5. “As part of my Celebration of God, I took time to pray as an act of worship.”
And . . .
6. “As part of my Celebration of God, I took time to talk about Him with others as an act of worship.”
And this point directs our minds to our responsibility to disciple those whom God has put into our lives.
Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
James 5:16-20, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. 19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
II Timothy 4:1-2, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
Ephesians 4:15 and 16, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ . . . [which] causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
And we could go on and on.
And that’s why the last 4 items on the Spiritual Disciplines list are discipleship related.
7. “I engaged in a relationship with one or more professing Christians so as to help them better know, understand, love, and serve God.”
8. “I prayed for my friend(s) throughout the week.”
Remember that we’re using the word “friend” to refer to a disciplee. That person may be anything to you, but if you are purposefully engaged in spiritually sharpening this person to the glory God, they are your friend.
9. “I prayed with my friend(s) throughout the week.”
10. “We spent time talking about what we read in the Bible.”
So . . . how did you do?
I can’t say that I perfectly completed every one of those points, but I do hope to grow in my worship of God.
And I hope you do too.
We’ll have another chance to celebrate God in the Creation next year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read those passages of Scripture and pray and talk to others about the Creation before then.
Obviously, you are welcomed and encouraged to worship God for His greatness every moment of the day.
But there are plenty of other fantastic opportunities to worship God coming up, and I invite you to jump into those.
So, to that end, please join us next time as we talk about our first Solemnity and how it interacts with the Day of Atonement.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.