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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Discipleship

Feature Friday (3/24/17)

The service started at 5:00, and we were pulling into the parking lot at 4:58. My wife would tell you that we were early; I knew we were late. We got the kids out of the van, bags in tow, and began heading toward what seemed like the entrance. The closer we got to the doorway, it became evident those doors were not the entrance. When we eventually found the right door, a younger guy greeted us, then quickly turned around and ensured the door was closed. I looked left and right and saw no sign of where to drop our kids off. I felt confused, out of place, and partially unwelcome.

Ever have an experience like that? Unfortunately, this is the reality for too many visiting families when they arrive at church for the first time. As the saying goes, “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Check out today’s Feature Friday, where I wrote a guest post for Disciplr blog. I share 6 How To’s on welcoming church visitors to a children’s ministry. Enjoy and as always, be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Feature Friday (3/3/17)

Words can be confusing. The English language is a difficult one. Do I use “their” or “there”? What about “conscious” or “conscience”? There are a lot of words and the meanings can differ slightly in light of context and usage, which can make understanding terms difficult and confusing at times.

The same is often true when words from the Bible are used. People often use similar words in very different ways, which can cause lots of communication tension. One of those biblical words often misused or misunderstood is “salvation”. As Bill Hull points out in his article “The Importance of Defining Salvation“:

“Salvation is a big word that covers a great deal of territory. We talk about the need to be saved, or we ask people, are you saved? But what does that mean? What do we need to be saved from? Why do we need to be saved? While we inherently know that humankind is in a complex conundrum of trouble, the great minds of the world have been unable to come up with an answer. God has provided an answer for us…”

Enjoy and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Discipleship: How Jesus Made Disciples

discipleship_graphic1aMatthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples”. This was Jesus’ final command to his disciples as He left this earth to return to the Father in heaven—five simple words that form one small statement. But this final command of Jesus summarizes His purpose for those who call themselves His followers, His disciples, those who wish to learn from Him. While this commission from Jesus has been performed for millennia since the ascension, it is often vague or misunderstood so that those who believe themselves to be “making disciples” really are not. So what does a disciple-maker do? What does it look like for one to make a disciple? In order to make disciples one must know what a disciple is, what the internal characteristics of a disciple are, what the external characteristics of a disciple are, how Jesus made disciples, how one will make disciples, as well as what success will look like in making disciples. This series will engage those topics continuing with: How Jesus Made Disciples. The gospels lay out how Jesus made disciples in 5 steps.

First, Jesus called for disciples. He did not wait for them to come to Him and inquire about how they may or may not get involved. He went to where they were. He got in their fishing dingy (Luke 5:1-3). He passed by and visited them at their workplace (Mark 2:13-14). Jesus did not just visit them at a synagogue meeting or when friends had a party. He engaged them in areas where they spent a lot of their time and life. He even went out of His way to visit them at their homes (John 1:43). But Jesus did not just go to where they were, He called them from where they were. He called for them to get out of their boats and follow Him (Luke 5:1-3). He invited them to leave their work behind and follow Him (Mark 2:13-14). Jesus was inviting them to come and see Him, to meet Him, to know and love Him (John 1:45-51). Jesus called for disciples where they were and from where they were. He went to people and called them to have faith in Him (John 4; John 9).

ModelSecond, Jesus modeled life to His disciples. Jesus did not just sit around in an ivory educational tower teaching the disciples what a disciple was…He showed them. Jesus denied Himself all the time. His very existence in the form of a man was a self-denial (Philippians 2:6-8). While He was well above menial tasks, Jesus never acted as if He was anything but a servant (John 13:1-20). Jesus led by example in many ways throughout His life. From the very beginning, Jesus was modeling the life of a disciple for His disciples. While in the wilderness, He even demanded John to baptize Him, not because He needed a baptism of repentance, but to fulfill the righteous plan of God and set an example to His disciples (Matthew 3:13-15). Even in the face of great temptation Jesus modeled the life of a submissive disciple. When tempted three times by Satan, when He could have called down a legion of angels to catch Him, what did Jesus do? Submitted to the Father’s plan and obeyed the Father’s Word (Luke 4:1-13). Jesus modeled the life of a disciple to His disciples, all the way to the end (Matthew 27:32-50).

Third, Jesus lived with His disciples. He did not just visit with them every third Thursday of the month. Jesus actually lived life in the highways and byways with His disciples. He traveled to the places they traveled (Matthew 8:23). Jesus ate meals with His disciples (Matthew 9:10). He even walked the same roads with them and shared snacks from time to time (Matthew 12:1). He used normal routine activities of life to teach real life discipleship rather than hypocritical religiosity. Jesus did things with the disciples. He would share responsibility with them, delegating actions to be taken (Matthew 21:1-3). Christ served alongside of His disciples to minister to people (Mark 8:6). He did all of this in life with the disciples because He was not just teaching religion, He was making disciples. Jesus lived with His disciples.

servant-leadershipFourth, Jesus loved His disciples. He showed His love for them by protecting them on many occasions. When in the middle of a great storm that the disciples were so distressed about they thought they would die, Jesus calmed the storm and protected them (Mark 4:35-39). He protected His disciples by standing up and defending them against hypocritical false teachers (Matthew 12:1-8). And Jesus protected His disciples from false teachers not just directly, but indirectly by teaching them how to identify these deceitful tutors (Matthew 16:5-12). But Jesus loves was more than just protection it was action. Jesus loved His disciples to the end, completely (John 13:1). He held nothing back in service and love to them (John 13:4-5). Jesus loved His disciples by teaching and praying for them and with them (John 17:8-9, 15). And greatest of all, Jesus demonstrated His love for His disciples by laying His life down for them (John 15:13). Jesus loved His disciples.

Finally, Jesus sent His disciples. He sent them to serve others (Matthew 14:13-22). When Jesus was ministering to a group of people He enlisted the help and aid of His disciples alongside of Him. But Jesus went further. Knowing He would one day leave this earth, to return to Heaven and prepare His disciples a place (john 14:1-3), Jesus commissioned His disciples to continue preaching the gospel. He did this first of all, while He was still around (Luke 9:1-6). But Christ also said they would be His witnesses and empowered them to continue without Him by sending His Spirit to indwell them (Acts 1:8). Jesus’ final command to His disciple was to make disciples. Jesus sent His disciples to do just that.

discipleshipAnd as His disciples we are called to the same thing. Are we making disciples? Are you calling for them? Modeling the life of a disciple to them? Living life alongside of them? Loving them? And are you sending them to make more disciples? The mission of Jesus was to make disciples that would make disciples. The mission Jesus gave His church was to make disciples. How are you doing at being a disciple?

Make sure to stop by next week where this series on discipleship continues with How You Can Make Disciples!

Feature Friday (1/9/15)

imagesModesty. An issue that almost makes you cringe. However, when you speak of such a topic around Christians and in regards to church attire, the debate will rage. So this week’s collective post brings great insight into the question of modesty in answering the question: “What To Say to That Immodestly Dressed Girl at Church“.

Enjoy and be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Getting Outside of Me

More Important than Getting Things Done

Donny. Just another name, another face, another person in the endless sea of faces (as the band Kutless once put it in a song title) someone may interact with everyday. However, Donny taught Tony Anderson an important lesson; a lesson I believe every human being needs a reminder of daily. But also a lesson every believer in Jesus Christ needs challenged with and encouraged with. In a world full of getting things done, checking things off of to do lists, and getting to the top of our dreams, Donny is a much needed rebuke and reminder. This video speaks volumes about relationships and the importance of them. But even greater this video speaks volumes about a a lifestyle of discipleship the church needs to be focused on. Who helps you get outside of yourself?

Discipleship: The External Characteristics of a Disciple

discipleship_graphic1aMatthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples”. This was Jesus’ final command to his disciples as He left this earth to return to the Father in heaven—five simple words that form one small statement. But this final command of Jesus summarizes His purpose for those who call themselves His followers, His disciples, those who wish to learn from Him. While this commission from Jesus has been performed for millennia since the ascension, it is often vague or misunderstood so that those who believe themselves to be “making disciples” really are not. So what does a disciple-maker do? What does it look like for one to make a disciple? In order to make disciples one must know what a disciple is, what the internal characteristics of a disciple are, what the external characteristics of a disciple are, how Jesus made disciples, how one will make disciples, as well as what success will look like in making disciples. This series will engage those topics continuing with: The External Characteristics of a Disciple. The gospel of John lays out the external characteristics of a disciple which include an abiding in the word, a loving one another, and bearing fruit.

First, a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ will abide in the word. In John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus used the verb abide, which means to remain, to dwell, to continue or to have a determined resolve.[1] This word carries with it the type of resolve a dog shows when it really wants to chase a ball, but stays put because the owner told the dog to “sit”. Paul uses the same word when he speaks of his desire to be with Christ yet truth that he will ‘remain’ in the flesh (Philippians 1:21-25). This type of abiding gives assurance to a genuine disciple. Confidence is built by consistence. And the consistent abiding for a believer is in the word. This word is the Jesus’ teaching, His example, His life, His commands. This word is the Word of God. It is this Word that God points us back to over and over and over again (Psalm 1, Psalm 119, Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:19-21, Hebrews 2:1-4). Disciples abide in the word.Jonah

Second, a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ will love one another. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This type of love is one that cherishes. it is a love that is a determined, willful, selfless love. It is the love Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 13 as, patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not iinsistingon its own way, not rejoicing with wrong, but rejoicing with the truth.  This love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This love never ends. This is the love disciples show to one another. It is a love they display to other believers. It comes out in a multiplicity of actions (Mark 9:50, Romans 12:10, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:7, 14, Galatians 5:13, James 5:16). But the ultimate example of this love was in Jesus Himself who died for the sins of others (1 John 4:9-11). Disciples love one another.

Third, a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ will bear fruit. In John 15:7-8 Jesus says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” The verb to bear means to produce, to follow a course, or to demonstrate the reality.[2] Jesus is illustrating for us the truth that a branch does not bear anything unless it is connected to the vine or tree. And as disciples of Jesus people will bear fruit. Fruit in this teaching of Jesus is referring to actions. Other places in the gospels Jesus constantly referred to actions as fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). And the ultimate fruit of disciple is described in Galatians 5:22. This fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These actions come as one has the Spirit that comes through connection with the Vine, Jesus Christ. Disciples bear fruit.

fruitSo are you a disciple? Are you evidencing the eexternal characteristics of a disciple? Do you find yourself abiding in the word? Is there a love for other believers evidenced in your life? Finally, are you bearing the fruit of the Spirit?

Make sure to stop by next week where this series on discipleship continues with How Jesus Made Disciples!

[1] Robert H. Mounce, “John,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 10 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 479.

[2] Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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