At the beginning...
of this manual, we looked at the Matthew 13 passage that tells the story of a farmer scattering seeds. Not all the seeds grew; some died off. Only the ones planted in the fertile soil grew and remained stable. Our lives can model this passage as we look to grow in the fertile soil of a deep relationship with Jesus. In fact, we can think of Jesus as our “Source” of life. In Jesus we can grow deep and be rooted firmly.
Who is your favorite person in the world? Write down that person’s name.
How would you feel if you never spent time with this person? Take a moment and write down your thoughts.
How do you think that person would feel if you never spent time with him or her? Take a moment and write down your thoughts.
We spend time with the people we value. The same idea is true in our relationship with God. We have the opportunity to develop an intimate relationship with God—if we spend time with him. God wants to laugh with you, listen to you, teach you, direct you, lead you, correct you, comfort you, and show you incredible plans for your life. God is our Father, and his heart breaks when we don’t spend time with him.
As we grower deeper in our relationship with Jesus, we discover how awesome he truly is. Jesus is more valuable than all of the world’s riches, cooler than any friend, and better than any movie or video game. We experience fulfillment when we tap down into God, just like a taproot of a plant.
A taproot is the main or primary root that grows from the seed; lateral roots will branch off the taproot. It forms a center from which other roots sprout laterally.
The key to getting rooted is placing Jesus at the center of your life and having everything else grow off of him. God desires to have a personal relationship with you and help you become more than you could ever imagine or dream! It’s not about what you’re giving up; it is about what you are pursuing—and pursuing Jesus is better than anything our culture has to offer.
We are all vulnerable to falling back into destructive patterns of sin and unwise choices, and dying spiritually. The deeper our roots are in Jesus, the more we can live and grow strong and withstand any storm by his strength. Jesus is referred to in the Bible as the waters of life (John 4:1-26), the light of the world (John 8:12), and fertile soil (Matthew 13:3-8). He is the source of our spiritual growth, helping us become the men and women God wants us to become.
How do we Get Rooted in Jesus?
Growing in Jesus is simple; it’s the journey of understanding how to Get Rooted in him that confuses people. Here are three foundational steps that will help you Get Rooted daily: reading and studying the Bible, praying to God, and worshipping God.
1. Reading and studying the Bible
What is the Bible?
Holy Bible simply means sacred book. Pretty simple! The Bible is the divine, inspired Word of God written for us.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5 NLT).
The Bible consists of 66 different books, divided between the Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament tells us about God’s followers before Jesus; the New Testament tells us about Jesus’ ministry and the earliest Jesus followers. The Bible is filled with true action, drama, romance, crime stories, poems, struggles, and characters. They aren’t fiction! It is written in many different types of writings and is important to read it within context. Getting a study Bible helps do this. Read not just for information but also heart transformation. A great template is UP/ IN / OUT—how is this all about God, how is this transforming my life and how can I go out and live it.
The Bible is better than any movie ever written, and it contains so many stories that people have been imitating it for generations. The Bible is one big story about Jesus and God's plan of redemption for his glory.
Why read the Bible?
The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible reveals the story of God’s love for you. It is where you learn of Jesus. It is your authority and source of wisdom. God wants the best for you, and the Bible serves as a road map for life, and ultimately a road map of who God is revealing himself to us.. It is the standard for life, filled with absolute truth.
The Bible teaches God’s character, reveals God’s will for our lives, shows us the mysteries of Jesus, and enables us to learn how we can honor God with our lives.
The Bible is supreme and living to help you Get Rooted and grow a deep relationship with God.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).
Jesus taught and studied Scripture, as should we (Luke 2:45-47). It’s critical we are Rooted in the Word so we aren’t let astray (Colossians 2:6-8). Apart from the Bible we cannot be Rooted.
What happens when I read the Bible?
When you read the Bible, your faith increases, you understand more about God’s will for your life, you learn about God, you discover God’s desires for the world, and you see God’s plan for saving us from sin.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:17 NIV).
The Bible also helps you grow in wisdom.
You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17 NLT).
This passage includes four words that reveal ways the Bible is useful:
· Teach—giving you instructions about how to live
· Realize—showing you what you are doing wrong
· Corrects—showing you how to adjust and make right choices
· Equip—helping you to pursue a life that honors God
When you read the Bible, you can use this process to understand what God is saying: Teach, Realize, Correct, Equip.
Investigate: Ask the right questions (who, what, where, when, and how)
Who is this being written to? How does this reveal more of Jesus? Who is this passage about? What is happening in this passage? When was this written? How do people react to the passage?
Ask Why: Consider and meditate on what it means
The key part to this step is why. Why is this included in the Bible? Bounce these thoughts off your leaders. Is the passage talking to a particular person, addressing sin in someone’s life, revealing God’s character, speaking about Jesus, or presenting some other important idea?
Live: Add it to your life; make it your mission
How can you apply the passage to your life and live it out? Take the truths you find in the Bible and put them into practice. Reading the Bible is a lifelong experience that will help you grow daily in Jesus!
Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it” (Luke 8:21 NLT).
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9 NLT).
2. Praying to God
“My sheep listen to my [Jesus’] voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27 NLT).
What is prayer?
Prayer is talking with God. It’s a conversation, not just talking TO God. Like all good friendships, your relationship with God will take time. The cool part is you can develop that relationship NOW, if you haven’t begun already. God is waiting! Prayer is something you get better at the more you do it, and you don’t need to be fancy for God—he already knows your thoughts anyway. God is just waiting for you to tell him about your needs, your desires, your challenges, your dreams, and your struggles, and God wants to speak to you. Prayer shows our utter dependence on God. We need him and want to lift him up!
· Communicating with God
· Bringing all requests to him
· Powerful and can change circumstances in our lives
· Bringing God’s will from heaven to Earth
Prayer is not
· All about us
· Only before food
· Only at bedtime
· Only at funerals or church services
Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night (Luke 6:12 NLT).
Jesus frequently withdrew to pray. If praying was important for Jesus, shouldn’t it be even more important for us? Praying can help us with worry and stress. Lots of people are anxious and worried about life. Quieting yourself before God and spending time with him can give you peace.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
Prayer is a fundamental root that will help you become deeply rooted in Jesus . Talking with God on a regular basis gives you strength to overcome temptation and sin. It allows you to stay close to God and helps you make right decisions. When you pray, you have the ability to communicate with the God of the universe—and that is AWESOME! Prayer rocks!
How do I pray?
Prayer is not meant to be difficult, so think of the ways you might talk to a close friend. Jesus did give us an example of how to pray:
“Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13 NLT).
Quick tips on how to pray
· Get a journal or notebook so you can write down what you pray and what God reveals to you.
· Find a “secret place” where you can go to talk to God, worship God, and listen to God; basically, find a spot where you quietly focus on God.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 NLT).
· Pray out loud so you can hear yourself; your mind is less likely to start wandering.
· Thank God for who he is (may your name be kept holy) and pray for God’s will to be done on earth (may your Kingdom come soon).
· Take your requests and needs to God. Talk to God about everything. God wants to be involved in every area of your life. You can talk to God all day long. God wants you to ask him for help.
· Confess your sins; God is faithful to forgive you.
· Be calm and reflective and think about who God is; spend time being quiet before God, so he can speak to you.
· Pray for others, pray for the unfortunate, pray for people who haven’t yet decided to follow Jesus (see Acts 26:18).
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1 NLT).
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:44-45 NLT).
· Be still and listen.
· Finding other Christians to pray with can be very powerful, too (see Matthew 18:20).
When you communicate with God, he wants to speak to you also, just like in a conversation with a friend. It probably won’t be an audible voice; it’ll probably be an inner sense you have or a voice speaking inside of you. The more you pray, the more comfortable and natural this will become. God speaking will always line up with his Word.
What are some of the things you are thankful for about God? Take a moment and write them down.
What are some prayers you have? Take a moment and write them down.
Which people are you praying for? Take a moment and write down their names and their needs.
3. Worshipping God
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker (Psalm 95:6 NLT).
What is worship?
Worship simply means to bow down, show reverence, or to uplift or glorify or honor. It’s a relational experience with God. It’s a lifestyle and a decision—it’s not just the music we sing in church services.
How do we worship?
Think of worship as an opportunity to honor God with every part of your life. It’s a reflection of your love for God. You can worship God while listening to music on your own or at church, but that’s just one way to honor God. Truly worshipping God can be done in all things. You can worship Jesus by reading the Bible, by giving money in an offering, by doing your best while at school, by serving people in need, by working hard at sports practice—the list is endless. You can simply say, “God I worship you and I want to honor you right now with this activity.” You don’t have to wait for the worship music.
When you are at church or when you’re listening to music that honors God, don’t be afraid to lift hands to praise God. It shows we are surrendering to God and his will for our lives.
In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy (1 Timothy 2:8 NLT).
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17 ESV).
Connecting with Jesus is a lifelong experience. He is our “Source” for life and should be the center of our lives, just like a taproot. As you grow in Jesus you will find purpose and more meaning to life. Your commitment to growing in God overflows to every Root in your life. Your identity and worth are found in Jesus. You are not defined by how the world views you; you are defined by how Jesus views you. You are a child of God, and that is something to celebrate!
Look at your life like a root system, and grow down into the true source of life. By reading and studying your Bible, praying to God, and worshipping God, you can grow deeper in Jesus each day!
· Jesus is the “Source” we need to grow in
· Bible is the Word of God, the supreme authority for our lives, and where we learn about God
· Jesus is the taproot/center for our lives and all grows from him alone
· Prayer is simply communicating with God
· You can pray to God often about everything and anything
· God is worthy of worship
· You can worship God in all you do
· Read Matthew, the first book of the New Testament in the Bible. (If you don’t have a Bible let your group leader know, or use www.biblegateway.com.) List the questions you have, and bring them to the next session for your Root Group Leader to consider.
· Find a “secret place” and spend time praying to God.
· Get a journal or notebook to write down your prayers, and write down what you feel God is saying and revealing.
· Think of ways to honor and worship God this week that have nothing to do with music. Choose to do one of those things as an act of worship. Find and bump some worship music.
· Ask your Root Group Leader about Communion.
· Ask your Root Group Leader about a Bible study.
· Make a list of questions that you may have about the Bible, prayer, or worship to have answered by your Root Group Leader.
A Prayer for Today
God help me to grow deep in you, the true source of life in Jesus. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you. You are great and awesome. Give me the strength this week to seek you and grow in you through the Bible, in prayer, and through worship. In Jesus’ name, amen.