Tag Archive: Discipleship


Too often we get so wrapped up in our own importance we forget that we are not the solution. My knowledge, my strength, my culture, or my will power is not enough for myself let alone anyone else. “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Luke 2:16-17) Christ lived among the sick, he walked beside them, reaching out to them at their level. We can learn a lot from his approach and how he loved his neighbors.

Too often we in the church think we are the solution and forget that Christ is the solution. He is the reason why we do the things we do. We serve not because it earns merit or favor but because he served us first when we didn’t deserve it, when we were sick. We serve not to be cured but because we are cured. God has been reminding me of this over and over again the last few months, from the video above, a buddies sermon, friends, my kids, and through the people I have the privilege of serving at work. Christ came, died, was resurrected, and will return, not for the righteous but for those who are sick. Stop trying to be the cure and start offering the one true cure.

around the hospital Nov 3

Will you offer the one real cure to those around you who are sick?

Sound doctrine is not enough, because, according to scripture, the fundamental qualification for pastoral ministry is godly character. Neither skill, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, nor reputation, nor personality, nor apparent fruitfulness of public ministry will suffice. Scan 1 timothy 3 and Titus 1, and you will encounter a profile of personal piety.
~ CJ Mahaney, preaching the cross, pg. 121
 

AND: DOCTRINE AND LIFE – article from The Resurgence

We must not lean on doctrine to reach the lost or solely lean on being an example. It is a balance of both and both are needed. “In our zeal for sound doctrine, we must not become heady and abstract”(AND: DOCTRINE AND LIFE, PART 2). Paul tells us “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4.16)

The already and the not yet, it is easy for Christians to expect everything to be perfect now, however that is never seen in scripture. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5.45). This Two Kingdoms series will examine three of the different areas within it: burdens, culture, and sin.

Part 1 – The Light Burden

“ Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Via the Gospel Project

Christ never promised to take away the burdens of this life or that as a follower you would never have to work. He did say that you would find rest in him and that the burdens will be made easy. The work you do in his name will never be in vain (1 Corinthians 15.59). We look for ways to make this life easy and carefree however this was never what God planned for us. The great rescue plan does not end with health and wealth for those who believe. The burdens that drag us all down will be around us until that glorious day when Christ returns. The great rescue plan ends with the re-creation of this world, restoring it and us to paradise.

Christ our strength

The burden does not change however the source of our strength to endure does. Christians are diagnosed with cancer, bones break, jobs are lost, mortgages foreclose, and our feelings get hurt. A C&MA International Worker visiting my church once said “God is not a pill that makes all your problems go away but he will never leave you!” (The Great Omission). These burdens are not due to a lack of faith, but serve as a reminder that we are not home yet.  Our strength does not come from within or even from around us, but from above.  “The Lord is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed” (Ps. 28.8). Can you still worship God in times of burden?

Worship in our Burdens

With our strength coming from above rather than from within one is freed from being trapped by the burdens that engulf us all. That is something to marvel at and worship God for. As one of my pastors stated recently during a sermon “Followers of Christ follow Christ”. We must remember that God’s Word shows us how to worship him and what is acceptable in worship to him. We see a clear example of true worship and false worship with Cain and Able. One brings a pleasing offering to the Lord and the other only brings what he desires to give. We also see the good and the bad when the Israelites were at Mount Sinai after being rescued from Egypt. Richard Elliott Friedman in his Commentary on the Torah explains that Exodus 32:1 shows that “Less than forty days earlier they heard the divine voice itself say that God brought them out of Egypt, but, like the wine steward and Joseph’s Pharaoh, they still focus on the human rather than on the deity”. We can worship God despite burdens because our eyes are on Jesus the deity, not on ourselves, and it is his strength that gets us through. The Psalms are clear examples of this as well. When we are struck with sorrow, pain, and depression we lift our eyes to heaven and we are free. Where do you turn? Inward on you or outward to God?

 

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

 
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
 
~ 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman 2011

Where do you find your strength?

10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman on Vimeo.

Okotoks Alliance’s current summer sermon series

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
Judges 2:10

What are we showing our kids today? If we, as parents, are not willing to share our relationship with God with our children what then will they see as important in our lives, work, works, looking just so, sports, watching TV?

 
“If you are regularly prioritizing sport over the worship of God [our children] will get the message loud and clear concerning what is really important.”

~ Pastor Terry Lee – Experiencing God in the Mountains – The Showdown on Mt. Carmel

Watch the quote in the context of the point below or watch the entire sermon here on 1 Kings 18.

As I started out on this discipleship journey of posts I thought it would be quick. God had a different idea and led me down a path that took a little more time. I have had the chance to listen to several great podcasts, read a couple of books on discipleship, and spent time with seasoned friends learning more about the importance of being a disciple. Several of my posts over the last few months touched on this topic, but this post is a continuation of True Discipleship – Part 1 .

How do we get from a church full of infants to having a church filled with people digging deep into the Word and discovering who Christ is and who they are? How do we become true disciples, someone becoming more like Christ? What does true discipleship even look like?

Three Options for Discipleship

In Larry Olson’s book Sticky Church he states that there are 3 kinds of discipleship models. There is a mentoring model, an education model, and an apprenticeship model. Mentoring is one on one and relational. It is best over time and is not effective in a fast paced changing environment. Education is long-term and requires a large commitment. It works best with linear goal-orientated personalities and is highly structured. Apprenticeship lets people do a task and be the leader is there to help them pick up the pieces. The nature and dynamics of life demands that we really need to use a combination of the three as they all have strong advantages but fall short in other areas. For example, I love going to school and loved learning about the history, traditions, and methods of the church. Yet when I started applying the things I learned they always needed tweaking to fit the ministry of where I was at. At this point the apprenticeship model kicked in and a seasoned leader was able to help guide me through the issues in a way that stayed true to biblical principles and was able to respond to the human factor of the situation. The mentoring model is also part of my life and it keeps me in check with my motives and my own issues. These three discipleship models when in sync with each other can propel us to grow deep and stretch us in growing wide.

Building a Church Culture of Discipleship

Discipleship requires commitment from both the disciple and from the mentor. This means we must be intentional and open about how we disciple. The C&MA has put together a few examples of different discipleship plans by its member churches called Discipleship Pathways. If we want to get out of the pastor-do culture that is prevalent in the North American church today we must present and implement an alternative culture. A culture that raises Christian adults, mature followers of Christ, true disciples. As Paul says in Hebrews 5.14 “Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” If we desire to grow deep we must allow ourselves to be held accountable and learn the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

Held Accountable

My wife and I love giving our kids gifts, but we also love watching them grow as they become caring, compassionate, and God centered. This is not developed by simple showering them with gifts, but also, when needed, to give correction and discipline. Too often in the church today we resist giving and receiving discipline. The Father loves giving good gifts (Matthew 7), but He also disciplines out of love so that we can grow and share in His holiness (Hebrews 12). In a blog post by Jared Wilson, he says “In discipling relationships, we are always disciplining one another, not chiefly or only in the fight against sin but largely in our encouragement of each other, edifying one another, teaching one another, and sharing one another’s burdens. In short, disciples know each other. And so Matthew 18:15 might be happening all the time, perhaps weekly within loving relationships where there is no imminent danger of somebody being kicked out of the church but rather a constant iron sharpening of iron” (5 Ways to Keep Church Discipline from Seeming Weird). To be discipled we must allow others to call us on our sin so we are held accountable for what we do, otherwise we will stay as infants and our paths will remain crooked and broken.

Why?

Discipleship gives us the tools and skills to take the Gospel out into the world. As we go we will be able to share His great name. Faith in Christ is not meant to be kept to ourselves, but shared with fellow believers and shared with non-believers as a testimony of God’s glory. Why do we attend church? Why do we go to small groups? Why do we serve the poor? Evangelism and discipleship are not the same thing however they do work intertwined with each other. “If you think your heart is growing in love for God, but your heart is not growing in love for lost people, you  are deceived.” (Chip Ingram- High Impact Church Law 8).

Are you being discipled?

Here are a few resources I found:

 How to Build a High Impact Church – Chip Ingram

 & the post 5 Ways to Keep Church Discipline from Seeming Weird

 C&MA Discipleship Pathways & Southview Alliance’s Aspen Strategy

If you think your heart is growing in love for God, but your heart is not growing in love for lost people, you  are deceived.

Chip Ingram – Law 8 – The Law of Focus

 

Download the series for free from Walk Through The Bible

 

Inside & Outside

Artist: Perugino
Year: c. 1481-1482
Type: Fresco
Dimensions: 330 cm × 550 cm (130 in × 220 in)
Location: Sistine Chapel, Rome

The Law of Liberation – Growing churches train their members to discover and deploy their spiritual gifts and passions both within and outside the church.

Chip Ingram – Law 4 in How To Grow A High Impact Church

In my attempt to write part 2 of my True Discipleship post I have started to come across some pretty great articles, books, & podcasts about what discipleship is and is not. One being the How To Grow A High Impact Church series by Chip Ingram.  We have been liberated from sins grasp so that we can fulfill our purpose to glorify God (Isaiah 60.21, Romans 11.36). “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”  (1 Corinthians 10.31). The role of the church is not to do the work, but to empower and release the workers within and outside, as they are driven by the grace that Christ has shown them.

Stay tuned part 2 will be posted soon.

According to the 2001 Canadian census Canada has 22,851,825 Christians. Our population was 29,639,035 which means that Canada is 77% Christian. It also means that we have a ratio of more than 3 Christians to every non-Christian in our country. In the world today there are 2.27 Billion Christians and 2.84 Billion unreached people. The Joshua Project defines unreached as:

 

From this overall ethnic people group list, a subset of unreached / least-reached peopleshas been identified based on the criteria of less than 2% Evangelical and less than 5%Christian Adherent. This subset helps focus attention on the unfinished task of the Great Commission. We desire that this list be used by mission agencies, denominiations, churches and missionaries to accelerate the Gospel’s advance into each of the least-reached people groups. Joshua Project has also developed a Progress Scale indicating a spectrum of reachedness rather than a simple on / off indicator.
 

Global Statistics

Peoples-by-Country Individuals
All People Groups 16,655 6.87 billion
Unreached People Groups 7,056 2.84 billion
% Unreached Peoples 42.4 % 41.3 %
10/40 Window Total 8,687 4.53 billion
10/40 Window Unreached 5,995 2.75 billion
10/40 Window % Unreached 69.0 % 60.8 %
  Count
Affinity Blocs 17
People Clusters 253
Peoples Groups (without reference to Countries) 9,989
Unreached Peoples Groups (without reference to Countries) 4,373
Countries 237
Languages 6,517

As a person who feels strongly called to reach out to all people in the world (Matthew 28.19-20) with the message of who God is and what he has done for us I don’t think we can just stay home and say “I am not called to global missions”. I know and understand that we all have different gifts and abilities which allow us to reach different people, however it seems that we have huddled up in a corner and are failing at reaching out to all the people groups in the world. John 3.17-18 says “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” A lost soul is a lost soul and the Good Shepherd will leave the 99 to find the 1, “it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (Matthew 18.14). We must reach out to both the lost here and over there, that is what we are all called to as followers of Christ.

Are we following Christ’s footsteps and looking for the lost?

http://www.joshuaproject.net/

What does Jesus say? Make disciples not make decisions. Disciples, what you can say is, here is a follower his life used to like this and this is what it is like now, his marriage used to be like this and this is what it is like now. Well how does that happen? You need to know your purpose is to make disciples. You need to have a plan of evangelism. Lost people come to Christ. Then a plan of discipleship, you assimilate that person now that they are a believer and are baptized not just with water but into the life of the body of the church where they are loved and cared for. And then we teach them all that he has taught us so that their lifestyle actually demonstrates the life of Christ.

Chip Ingram from How to Build a High Impact Church Session 1

Free download on the High Impact Network site

Check out his podcasts

I recently read  a small booklet called Why Be Missionary? written by Dr. Arnold Cook, retired president of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, Canada. It was a great 20 page read and was a reminder of why missions is in the name of the denomination I am a part of. Here are a few excerpts:

Why Be Missionary?

At our origin in North America we were known as “The Christian and Missionary Alliance.” As autonomous churches were established around the world, each assumed its distinctive name. Many have not adopted the equivalent to “The Christian and Missionary Alliance,” and even in North America the name is frequently shortened to “the Alliance Church.”
Although we may lament the loss of these terms which depict our historical distinctives, our energies must be directed toward the core values of being “Christian” first and “missionary” second. I will first enunciate ten reasons for being missionary, then five ways “missions” dies and finally three ways God restores missions in our churches.

Missions is at the centre of our faith. Our God is a God that does not wait around for people to seek him, but He actively goes out to seek the lost (Luke 19.10). God wants to use his people in blessing all people,  “…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12.3). Dr. Cook goes on to list 10 reasons for being Missionary. I believe that the below point speaks directly to our typical mentality today within the church. It examines the plank in our own eye (Matthew 7.1-6) and calls us out to exam what it means to pick up our crosses daily (Luke 9.23).

 7. Only Missions Saves the Church from Self-Destruction

Who is enemy number one of the Church? Islam? Buddhism? Secular humanism? Communism? It is true that historically these have been enemies from without. 
But our greatest enemy always has been within-“self.” The unconquered “self” destroys more Christians and churches than Communism ever did.

Click for a history of the C&MA

Much of the giving in a “non-missionary” church is self-motivated. We give to build our churches which serve our families. We give toward the pastor’s support, which is biblical, but he also is serving our family. Only giving to the cause of missions to reach the powerless and lost people of the world becomes “true giving.”

The destructive nature of “self” really grasps the idea of what Christ meant with “…‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12.31). If we, Christians in the Church, conquer “self” and give our time, money, and abilities to spreading the gift of grace we have been given what difference will we see in this world? The Gospel would reach every corner of the globe.Click here for a history of the C&MA

We would see the fulfillment of the great commission (Matthew 28) and the Glory of God will shine brighter than the sun (Revelations 21.23)!

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