The Ablaze 25

We have a list of 25 topics that we believe every person should know, do, and be able to teach to others by the time they graduate.

The Great Commission - Based on Matthew 28:19-20, we have a Great Commission mindset of going out and making disciples of all the nations. There are many effective ways to share the gospel, and sharing regularly is something we are all called to do. We value planting new churches to reach new areas and to give people room to grow. We are called to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) and to actively participate in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

Identity in Christ - It is foundational that we recognize our identity in Christ because what we believe is what we will become. We are new creations in Christ and holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4), so we need to live that truth. It is easy to get distracted by what we think of ourselves or what the rest of the world thinks of us. But we know the thing that truly matters is who God says we are.

Holy Spirit - We desire to walk with the Holy Spirit daily (Romans 8:1-39) and understand His role and His power. We were given the Holy Spirit to be our helper, guide, and advocate (John 14:16). Listening to the Holy Spirit is important to our daily lives as well as knowing and understanding the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We want to work actively to better distinguish the Holy Spirit’s voice from the noises of this world.

Prayer (Prayer and Worship) - Many Christians approach prayer as a sort of cosmic vending machine. But prayer is a powerful tool that God has given us in order to communicate. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances for that is God’s will for us. Prayer keeps our relationships with God strong. Worship is also a key element of our communication with God. At its core, worship is a recognition of who God is, what He has done, and who He says we are. Worship is not just singing, it can be done throughout our daily lives.

Bible Study (Studying the Bible) - First, it is important for every believer to study the Scriptures daily. When studying the Bible, it is important to understand the context and type of literature. History is read as history, poetry as insight and poetry, parables as figurative, prophecy as potentially figurative and potentially literal, and commands as commands. The Bible is never in error and never contradicts itself. If we think it does, we just haven’t found God’s intended meaning of the Scripture. We should rightly handle the Word (2 Timothy 2:15) and know the true reasons for God having given it to us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In interpreting Scripture, we have seen that the simplest, most straightforward reading of the passage is typically the most accurate. We strive to understand Scripture as it would have been understood by those to whom it was written.

Understanding God’s Will - Romans 12:1-2 shows that there are three steps to determine and follow God’s will for you: offer yourself to God, stop conforming to this world, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. James 3:17 tells us what God’s wisdom is: pure, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, peace-loving, submissive, and sincere. We seek to understand God’s will on a moment by moment level as well as at the life decision level.

Old Testament Survey - The Old Testament timeline can help us better understand the nature of God. He is the same in the Old and New Testaments, and the Old Testament gives us real examples of who God is and what does and does not work in our relationships with Him. Prophecy in the Old Testament gives us evidence that proves that Jesus is the Messiah. The Old Testament prophecy is also one validation that the Scripture is divinely inspired and therefore true.

Grace and Faith - We are God’s workmanship, and we have been saved by God’s gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-10). We seek to understand and live in the tension between God’s Sovereignty and His desire to have a genuine, two-way relationship with us. Hebrews 11 says that it is impossible to please God without faith and gives many examples of people in the Bible who had strong faith in God.

Accountability and Submission - God has called us to be in submitted relationships. First, it is a form of humility, just as the Son submitted to the Father’s will (Philippians 2:5-8). Therefore, voluntarily submitting ourselves to accountable relationships is one of the most effective ways of growing in Christ and gaining victory over sin in our lives. Unfortunately, we often fight against being accountable because we don’t want to submit to one another. We should be accountable to God, others, and the Body of Christ.

Mentoring - Mentoring is a long-term relationship where one person passes on wisdom to another. 2 Timothy 2:2 says that we should share what we learn with others who are faithful so that they can also share. Mentoring-like training is the most similar teaching method to that which Christ employed with His disciples.

Servant Leadership - In order to be an effective leader, we must be a servant of others first because Christ did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as ransom for many (Matthew 20:25-28). This is the type of leadership that Ablaze teaches and encourages of its leaders.

God’s Provision - Matthew 6:33 says that we should seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we put God first in our lives, we will be blessed with what we need. We need to be faithful, content, and live generously. Tithing regularly is a good way to do this financially and acts as the starting point for generosity. God always provides what we need, even if it isn’t always what we want.

Right Perspective on Trials, Disciplines, and Rebukes (Godly Perspective in Trials) - Trials happen in our lives in order for us to learn (Hebrews 12:3-11) and grow (James 1:2-4). We should rejoice in our sufferings because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope (Romans 5:3-5). Mindset is everything when it comes to trials. We strive to change the words “trials” and “suffering” to “training” in our minds. When we experience trials, we can be beaten down and discouraged by them, or we can think of them as training and learn from them.

Proper Way to Handle Conflicts (Biblical Conflict Resolution) - When handling conflicts it is important to pray about the situation (Philippians 4:2-9). Proverbs 15:1 says that a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. We are called to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8). We should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger because the anger does not produce righteousness (James 1:19-20). Listening and empathy will do far more to resolve conflict than trying to “win” in a given situation.

New Testament Church Model - In Acts 2:42-47, the church devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. All who believed were together and had all things in common. The New Testament church puts God first and each other next. The NT church is simply focused on relationship, discipleship, and mission, and this is what we strive for.

Great Commission Core Values (8) - We all have core values that lead and guide us. Everything we are as a church can be traced back to our core values of Submitting to Scripture, Abiding, Vulnerability, Every Member a Minister, and Raising Godly Families. You can read more in depth on those values here.

Daily Disciplines - Like any relationship, having daily communication is helpful in having a healthy relationship with God. Daily time abiding in Christ allows the disciple to learn from the Bible while also connecting the insight of the Holy Spirit through prayer. Like exercise, we get stronger spiritually when we use those spiritual muscles every day. We want our walk with God to be growing stronger every day.

Spiritual Gifting and Serving in that Area (Spiritual Gifting) - We are all designed uniquely and have been given spiritual gifts for the good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7). Ephesians 4 says that the whole body of Christ is stronger when everyone with it does their part. We want to make sure we value the different giftings of others without feeling either prideful or inferior by our gifting. Regardless of their appearance, all spiritual gifts are honorable to God (1 Corinthians 12:15-26).

Unity - Ephesians 4:1-16 says that we should walk with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain unity of the Spirit. Maturity is equated with unity in Ephesians 4. In John 17:20-23, Jesus asks God for those who believe in Him to all be one, just as the Father is in Him and He is in the Father. In a time of increasing division, we want to be people focused on unity and reconciliation.

Forgiveness and Healing - Ephesians 4:32 says that we should forgive one another as God in Christ forgave us. If we forgive others their trespasses, God will also forgive us; if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive our own trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15). Releasing bitterness is an essential part of healing and if not done, can greatly stunt one’s spiritual growth.

Knowing Where Your Heart Is (Godly Intentionality or Intentions) - We need God to search our hearts and test us so that we can be guided in His way (Psalms 139:23-24). If a person has good treasures in his or her heart, the person will produce good. If there are evil treasures in the heart, evil will be produced (Luke 6:44-45). What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart (Matthew 15:18-20). We should pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). The heart behind our actions is just as important as the actions themselves.

Relationships and Purity - Sexual purity and godly relationships can be areas of constant struggle. The Bible teaches us that purity is important and is so serious that it would be better to lose part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell (Matthew 5:27-30). We should flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Hebrews 13:4 says that we should honor the marriage bed. Sex is a wonderful thing that God has reserved for marriage. Relationships should be pursued with intentionality and purity.

Character Qualities - There are many qualities any Christian should have: integrity, humility, hard work, compassion, gentleness, self control, patience, friendliness, love, servant/others-focused, and generous. As the Holy Spirit permeates more of one’s life, these traits will be more often exhibited.

Understanding Biblical Poverty Alleviation (Biblical Poverty Alleviation) - Isaiah 58:6-7 is an example of true fasting when it comes to the poor. It is important to understand that there are different types of poverty, such as material, relational, and spiritual. Everyone is poor, although not everyone is materially poor. We need to understand the ways to alleviate poverty without hurting both the helper and the helped. The goal of material poverty alleviation should be to restore the person to a right relationship with creation so that they can provide for their own needs from the fruits of their own labor. However, we should also be aware of the different forms of poverty, how we can help, and how we can seek help when we are poor materially, relationally, or spiritually.

The Complementary Roles of Men and Women - We believe that God made man and woman as unique, complementary beings. Genesis 2. Therefore we believe that a biblical marriage is between a man and a woman. We also believe that marriage beautifully reflects Jesus' perfect sacrifice in that husbands are called to lay their lives down for their wives just like Christ did, and wives are called to submit to their husbands just as Christ submitted to the Father. Ephesians 5:22-24. While neither of these self-sacrificial roles fit well within a "me-first" culture, we believe them to be Biblical, and will therefore lead to the most satisfying marriages as we obey God in them.