I've loved writing since childhood, writing essays in elementary school and later for writing contests. Throughout my career in ministry and secular roles, writing came with the territory of responsibilities. I still enjoy it as a way to gather my thoughts and communicate with others.
Upon learning in mid-2020 that my employer of 17 years would lay me off later that year, I started pondering how I would spend my time without full-time employment. I hadn't planned on retiring that soon, but the writing was on the wall, at least for my profession in online community management. The thought of pouring myself into writing was appealing and natural, so I started thinking about what that might involve. I was reading through The Spurgeon Study Bible in my daily devotional times and was eager to write regularly about matters of Christian faith. I fondly recalled a series of 366 blog posts I wrote in 2012, capturing daily lessons learned for every day of that leap year.
I decided that a series of devotions based on readings from all 260 New Testament chapters would be a significant challenge and opportunity. I wasn't aware of another devotional work precisely like that, so the thought seemed unique. After spending the last few months of 2020 capturing ideas from every New Testament chapter about possible topics to write about, I started writing the devotions on January 1, 2021.
There are many subjects addressed in Next Step Devotions as the Subject Summaries at the back of the book details, but the discerning reader will recognize some issues that appear more than once. For example, the nature of salvation by grace through faith is foundational to Christian belief and essential for believers to understand for themselves and in conversations with others. We must affirm the individual's responsibility to respond in repentance and faith to what God has done in Christ. Confidence in the reliability and authority of God's Word is crucial for believers to have a solid foundation of truth and a biblical worldview. The need to grow intentionally in our faith to stand firm in an increasingly anti-Christian culture must be encouraged if Christians are to be salt and light in the world as Christ calls us to be. And as our world moves closer to its ultimate consummation according to God's plan, believers must be prepared to face and endure the persecution that will only increase as the time of Christ's second coming draws nearer. These are some of the reasons behind Next Step Devotions.
As the book cover states, "Being a disciple of Jesus includes being intentional about maturing in our faith. We can't follow where Jesus leads if we stand still spiritually." So, my goal is to share insights based on God's timeless Word that will help make stronger disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. I long for this book to strengthen individuals, small groups, and churches so that we present to Christ, our Bridegroom, the purest bride we can when He comes again.
Christ's Great Commission for us is to "make disciples," as Matthew 28:18-20 says, and each child of God has a role to play in that process. May God be glorified by disciples growing in their faith, love, and service for Jesus as a result of pursuing Him through Next Step Devotions. May we be disciples who make disciples.
To God be the glory!