Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Easy and Hard Parts of Making Disciples

In my last post, I began a discussion on what discipleship is all about.  For many Christians, making disciples is the role of the pastor or someone else...anyone else!  As we learned in the last post, Jesus' last words to His followers were to imitate His way of living by making disciples just as He did (Matthew 28:19-20).  I promised to comment on how making disciples is both easy and hard so here we go :-)

Making Disciples is Easy
The simplest way to explain what it means to make disciples is to be with people, pointing them to Jesus and living in a way is consistent with that direction.  It really is that easy but once you choose that way of living, it will become hard.

Making Disciples is Hard
I do believe that making disciples is as easy as walking with others in the same direction towards Jesus...for a long time and often for a lifetime.  That is the hard part for most people, the long haul mentality and just how messy that can be.  This type of discipleship requires a focus on others, not upon our selves.  This type of discipleship requires a deeper interaction and a commitment to engage others through good and bad times.  This type of 'walking together' towards Jesus demands transparency, authenticity, tolerance, humility, patience, prayer and a deep focus on love.  The Apostle Paul said it this way, "Be imitators of me as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1).   Christ layed down His life for us and Paul was imitating that sort of living style - self-sacrifice.  That is were the real hard aspect of pointing people to Jesus is found, in the choosing to sacrifice our own profit, desires and even needs for the benefit of others.  Discipling others requires the uncommon quality of unconditional love and a focus of living out the truths of Christ in community.  This will cause for exposure, risk and pain.  It is a high price but it is the price Jesus calls us to live.  The rewards will be worth it, Jesus makes that promise.

Certainly in the midst of living life together there will be time to study the Bible, doctrines and truths from the Scriptures that are necessary for our souls.  Questions will arise, answers will be investigated and stronger footing will be found.  I think some of the best description of making disciples and sound doctrine (Titus 2:1) is found in Titus 1:16-3:11.  Take a look at this section of Scripture regarding the making of disciples and sound doctrine and see what God has to say to you.  Share your thoughts below if you'd like.  Next time, I'll give you a few of my thoughts on this passage.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Disciples: What's It All About?

I have been having an e-mail conversation with a guy who many would view as a seasoned believer who is faithful, an entrepreneur, and very talented having accomplished much in life and ministry.  Many churches could easily desire him to move in the direction of eldership in their community of saints.  With all of this man's wonderful talents, abilities and accomplishments he made the following statement in one of our recent e-mail exchanges; "Still trying to figure out what it looks like to make a disciple though."  

My friend is not alone.  There are many 'seasoned' people I meet that can't really articulate what it takes to make a disciple.  Most would admit that they have never made a disciple themselves.  This seems odd to me because it is the final commandment that Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19-20.  We really should be obeying this command with intentionality.  Many view the making of disciples as a cognitive (knowledge based) exercise.  Disciple making is too often reduced to a set of beliefs, Bible studies and doctrines.  When discipleship is defined as teaching people doctrines and facts, then I can understand that why most people don't make disciples or are even able to articulate what the process looks like.

I believe that helping people to be like Jesus (a disciple), is both much easier - everyone can do it - and much harder - it really takes commitment - than teaching a set of doctrinal beliefs.  Next time I'll write about how making disciples is both easy and hard, until then, I'd love to hear about what you think is involved in making disciples.  Please jot a thought or two (or more) below as a comment and let me know what you think is involved in making disciples.  If you'd like, let me know if you are making disciples or if you feel that you have ever made a disciple of Jesus.  I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Short Pop Quiz for All Christians

The following is a short four question quiz that any believer should be able to ace.   If you want the correct answers, please click HERE.  After you take this pop quiz, let me know what your thoughts on how you did.

1. Is the following equation true or false?
More right behavior + Less bad behavior = Righteousness

2. If God were to give you a grade today between 1 and 10 with 10 being the best grade possible, what number would He assign to your life today?

3. Which of the following two pictures more preciously captures the reality of God?

                         Picture "A"                                                                    Picture "B"

4. Do you view yourself as a sinner or as a saint?

If you want to see the correct answer with Scripture, please click HERE.  Please leave any comments you have below.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Do You Have Unbiblical Thinking on Evangelism?

Here is an e-mail conversation I received from a pastor in North America who has bought into an unbiblical thinking regarding evangelism and the common believer.  

“Whether there is a gift of evangelism or not, some people just find it very difficult to get their friends across the line.  Where as others find it easy.  I for one find it very easy to share my faith and help people become Christians. I have led heaps of people to Christ.  My friends who are very passionate about reaching out to unchurched people find it much more difficult than I do. They really appreciate the fact that they can 'invest and invite'. They appreciate the opportunity of having someone who is better at communicating the gospel than they are. They see more evangelistic fruit by working as a team, bringing their friends to church, rather than just trying to share the gospel on their own.”  

This type of thinking continues to reinforce the bad evangelistic theology that is rampant in the church today.  It is sad and it is expanding and it needs to change.

It is no wonder the harvest seems poor.  It is in part due to the lack of seeds that are being sown because people believe evangelistic myths instead of Biblical truth.  Because the church is more about multiplying listeners than communicators, we are losing ground!  What the church needs today is a strong Biblical theology regarding evangelism.  These unbiblical teachings that gag us from sharing our faith must be debunked, destroyed and decommissioned from the pulpits, websites and teaching institutions around the world.  The truth must be told and we must be freed so ordinary people can give the Gospel of Jesus Christ away indiscriminately with power, precision, personality and passion.  It is time for the ordained to tell the truth to the ordinary about the authority and power that every believer is given by God from the moment his or her relationship with Jesus began.  Every believer is 100% successful, 100% of the time.

What are your thoughts or questions about what I've written today?