Archive for February, 2013

Discipleship, the provision that has been given.

disciplesOne of the greatest hindrances to discipleship and disciple making in the local church is this idea that “I can’t make disciples’. Why is it when we say “Discipleship” the first thing that people think is “Bible Study” Do not misunderstand me, bible study is a integral part of discipleship and part of following Jesus is certainly learning God’s Word and teaching others God’s Word. However, discipleship is not simply a 13 week bible study with a catchy name representing the latest and hottest book that is on the market. It is because of this understanding that many people feel they unable to be a disciple maker, mainly because of their unwillingness or simple inability to teach a bible study. Although I am not ready to sign off on the premise that they are unable to teach or lead in this manner. I do understand that not everyone is going to set out in that venue due to a sense of inability or perhaps even a conviction that they are not called to do so. However, EVERYONE is called to make disciples! Can I ask a question? Would God call us or command us to do something that He had also not equipped us to do? Of course the answer is a resounding NO. IN Acts 1:8 Jesus states very clearly the enabling catalyst that empowers and equips us to make disciples. It is clearly the power and person of the Holy Spirit of God. He is the real ‘Disciple Maker’ working through us to reach the Nations. I have a man in my church who served our country during the Vietnam war. He was a Green Beret, one of our nations most elite and best trained soldiers. His service to our country took him to not only a very remote part of the world away from friend and family, but it eventually took him to a North Vietnamese prison of war camp. He prevailed not only due to a deep faith and sense of Gods care and provision, but also because he had been trained as the best, by the best to do accomplish that which the ordinary citizen would be unable to do. Our nation did not send him into the Central Highlands of Vietnam to face a ruthless and cunning enemy without first enabling and training him to do so. Do you see the connection? God does not ask us to do the impossible without making it possible! The key is I think the Holy Spirit of God filling us and our surrendering to His rule and reign in our lives. Do you want to make disciples? It may simply start by your willingness to yield to Him and respond in obedience. The heart of a disciple maker very well may be found in the old invitational hymn “Wherever He leads I’ll go” Will you?

Discipleship, the question that must be answered

DiscipleshipTitleA couple of years ago I was able to take part in a event that would rock my world. I participated with the church where I served as pastor in a mission trip to Mexico in which we were to go and “help” and “encourage” a small local church in a community of roughly 5000 people. What happened was not on my agenda. Don’t you love it when God does that? What I discovered was a small church with little resources and whose people lived in relative poverty and what we as Americans would consider little means, who simply ran circles around my church in the area of personal and corporate discipleship. These wonderful brothers and sisters were not caught up in trying to grow a large church or attempting to be “relevant” or “cutting edge”, they simply invested their lives into the life of their community and made it their purpose to make disciples! Even their vernacular reflected this. They did not go “visiting”, they went “disciple making”, they did not have small groups, they gathered in “disciple” groups. Their pastor, who was not theologically trained and lacked the so called ministerial skills of American pastors (my tongue is firmly in my cheek) was consumed with the task of making disciples. He shared with me that it was not unusual for those who had received Christ within the same week they did so, to have been approached by a disciple making team and that when they came to church to be baptized they would actually bring two or three new believers with them that they had already began to disciple their selves! WOW! What did they posses that we do not and what were they doing that we seem oblivious to? It is simple. They understand the clear biblical call to make disciples. They also had no conceptional idea that they could not or should not do so. What was remarkable to me is that I had at that time been a pastor for 20 years and had missed this. My calling was not to grow great churches or lead great programs, but simply to invest my life into people and encourage them and help them invest their lives into others. This is what Jesus did plain and simple. He poured Himself into the lives of the 12 and commanded them to do the same. I am still in the process of figuring it out and as I find myself in a new ministerial assignment with the opportunity to help my new church develop a philosophy and culture of disciple making, I am excited about what God will do! In the next few posts we will be looking at and investigating what discipleship means and what it looks like. The question is simple and the choice is ours. Do we wish to be paid “religionest” and habitual practitioners of a western form of Christianity that if not un-biblical is at the very least extra biblical in many areas of its expression? Or do we want to simply obey the Lord and make disciples of the nations? To me it is a no brainer!