Thursday, November 15, 2012

thinking on discipleship: it's not a good idea, it's our sole job

I've had several conversations about discipleship, primarily the lack thereof, and how to do make our people into disciple-makers.  I think what has been an overwhelming and ugly truth to recognize is that our churches (obviously not all of them, but generally speaking) in America have failed to disciple the next generation of Christ-followers.

Let me ask you a question. Has anyone ever sat down with you and taught you individually how to study the Bible, how to pray, what worship is, how to be a giving steward, how to witness to the lost, how to be a servant? Then did they take you alongside themselves and show you what it looks like? I was asked this question in a room full of men and women you have been faithful Christians and pastors their entire lives, and do know how many raised their hands? Two. Two people could say that someone intentionally taught them and then showed them how to follow Jesus. So how did they learn? The most common response was that they had just kind of picked up on it along the way.

Now let me ask you this. Did Jesus' disciples pick up on how to pray along the way? Did they learn to serve along the way? Absolutely not! Jesus lived life with them. And while doing so He showed them how to be a servant, they asked and He told them how to pray, He used the Old Testament scripture in their presence, and He gave all He had in servitude to show them what it looked like.

And what was the result? The few people that Jesus decided to invest in turned an overwhelming profit in the Kingdom. They knew how to be true disciples and executed it, AND they in turn showed others, thus the greatest movement in our faith the world has ever seen.

The Bible commands us to "entrust these (the things you have learned) to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." -2 Tim. 2:2b (content is parenthesis derived from first half of verse)

So find someone that is faithful and disciple them, so they can in turn make disciple-makers. It's not quick, it's not always clean. It's living life together for the sake of the Kingdom and the next generation.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

thinking on the state of the church

In reading today I came across these words from God through the prophet Jeremiah:

Everyone is greedy for gain,
And from the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.*

I immediately thought of the quote from House "Everybody lies." This quote was always spoken intentionally and unapologetically.  House never felt he was generalizing, but instead was convinced that literally everybody lies and everyone acts selfishly.

I admit that as the world continues to turn this seems to become more and more true. I recognize that I am pessimistic, but really who is completely unselfish and honestly? Even God's chosen people were, according to Him, "greedy" without exception and "dealt falsely." So if a people called to be sanctified to the Lord fall into the same category is there reason to be optimistic?

Absolutely YES is the answer! Why? Because we as God's people are capable through the power of the Holy Spirit in us to break out of the mold, to be different, called out, set apart. We are compelled to be in the world, but not of the world according to John 15 and Romans 12.

So I ask you to join me today, to work together at being set apart!

*Jeremiah 6:13b

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

i'm writing, but not a writer

Against all good judgment I decided to start a blog. Unlike other moments of weakness (when I started tweeting or taking all the advances in the technology of camera optics and threw them out the window in exchange for the yellow blurriness of instagram) this one might be beneficial.

Now make no mistake, I do not assume that this will be beneficial to you guys; I am not intelligent enough, articulate enough (if that counts in writing), nor interesting enough to benefit such a bright and distinguished audience.* Instead, I intend for this to be beneficial to me and just maybe it will be to you too.

Allow me to explain: today I was reading a book when I realized that I am not a very good reader. I don't actively engage in books much of the time. I can read several pages or even chapters and be completely checked out, not giving any thought at all to what I am reading, why I am reading it, or how it might help me or others. This thought spurred along another--the thought that I dread writing. Whether it be short articles, newspaper ads, or bulletin blurps, I hate writing! Why is that though? It's because writing requires my attention, undivided, for as long as it takes to write and think critically of ideas to write about.

What I realized today was that though I do not like writing, writing is a medium that forces me to think, so if I just determine to write/think/dwell about "these things" as they are spelled out by Paul in Phlippians 4:8 then writing could be a tool to cause me to regularly think on "these things" and hold myself accountable to do so, especially since you guys will anxiously be hanging on the edge of your seats for my next post.†

So this can serve as an introduction to my thoughts on "these things" and your invitation to hold me accountable and maybe find something that you can relate to.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is justt, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence ,if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

*see what I did there
obivously I am exercising my very healthy sarcasm muscles