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Counterfeit Freedom

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

Here Paul starts with a question. Do we get to sin more because God’s grace covers us? Is the freedom given through the abundance of God’s grace in Christ a free ticket to indulge in every sinful activity under the sun? Paul has an emphatic no! Them asks if we are new in Christ and died with him, how are we still living in sin? Do we not understand? Those who proclaim to be Christ followers through the example of baptism proclaim a new life. One that died to sin and is raised to walk in this new life.

Counterfeit

The word or concept of counterfeit has been coming up a lot in my life lately. Most of the time, it is a preacher, sermon, or a Cristian-based book discussing the idea of something being counterfeit. What does it mean to be counterfeit? Merriam-Webster dictionary says counterfeit is made to imitate something else with intent to deceive or insincere. Have you ever had something in your life that you thought was authentic only to find out later it was a counterfeit? Or did you purchase an item knowing full well that it was an imitation?

Years ago, I worked with a guy that used to buy boxes of “Oakley” sunglass and sell them to the guys he worked with. He never tried selling them to us at the price of Oakley sunglasses; it was always much lower. They looked like the real thing, but I knew they weren’t. I broke a pair or two just putting them on. The item was from a distance; I could look like I could afford hundreds of dollars in sunglasses. The reality was they were twenty-dollar knockoffs that were cheaply made. But I knew that when I bought them.

Imitations

Where is the counterfeit in your life? Do you know that it is counterfeit, or do you walk around believing that whatever it is authentic? How can you tell the difference between the two? What do you use to measure what is real in your life? What if you are the thing that is being counterfeit? Does depending on where you are, make a difference in how you are perceived? Is there a church version of you, a work version, a party version, or any version of you that has the intent to deceive or be an imitation of the real you?

We live in a culture of death, but as Christ-followers, the wrong things are dying. Instead of dying to sin, we kill that still small voice of God. When we should be dying to ourselves, we indulge in what the world has to offer. We find ourselves immersed in political views, sides of opinions, and dealing with distractions of every kind. Instead must be focused on a life of freedom in Christ. If we are made new in Christ, we are free from this world’s pressures. We should find our “want to” of loving our neighbor instead of tiptoeing around what can and can’t be said.

Authentic

Are we in Christ? Or are we slaves to sin and bondage, living in fear of men and this world? I think we all want to live free. To sever others. I want us to encounter God regularly and be stirred in our souls to be Christ-like. But our distractedness, we miss out on that stirring and turn to those fleshy things that help us deal with the pain of life. We will encounter hard things. Life is not promised to be easy. What will it take for us as believers to take that step toward a holy and just God? To die daily for things I want in my flesh and strain for the Kingdom of God. We can do it! But will we do it?

Prayer

Father, we are sinful people who get wrapped up in our kingdoms and neglect Yours. And your loving kindness always leads up to repentance. It is an absolute miracle that you are always there waiting for us no matter how often we choose sin over holiness. Let us never get to thinking more sin equals more grace from you. Let us find the will and want to choose You over everything. To bring you glory in everything we do. Amen.

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What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 7

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”

Teaching Them?

I never considered myself a teacher of anything until recently. The idea of trying to get someone to understand something always seemed out of my capacity. I feel that way my brain views the world through the eyes of a puzzle solver. Breaking things down or building them up is easy for me. “There is no way to teach someone how my mind works, so just let me go do what needs to be done.” “I can get this done quicker if I do it and don’t have to stop and show somebody else what to do.”

Could the fear of failure have kept my teaching abilities at bay? Or that I struggle with relationships and the fear of being misunderstood was more prevalent? The idea that I would open and share a thought, and no one would listen to me paralyzed me. Feeling insecure and insignificant was easy to hide when I never opened my mouth. The problem was God had me with a purpose and calling. I was not living up to that calling, and I was allowing the spirit of fear to control my life. I didn’t see myself the way God sees me.

Goals?

So now I am looking at verse 20 of Matthew 28. And it is Jesus’s final words before he ascends into heaven. He says disciples are to teach disciples to observe all that He commanded. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, this statement belongs to me. The guy who struggles with the concept of teaching anyone anything. I would say that I wrestled with this for a while, but that’s not true because I was not intentionally making disciples. And If I wasn’t intentionally making disciples, this verse doesn’t have a lot of weight in my life.

The preacher we listened to this past week made an interesting observation about these passages I have talked about for the past seven weeks. If Jesus’s last words on this earth were to make disciples, teaching them to follow what He commanded. Could His first question to us in heaven be, “Where are your disciples?” If nothing else, his observation had me thinking. How are we, “the church,” living a life worthy of the calling? Where are the disciples making disciples? How important is it to the men in the church to lead their family or the guy next to them?

My Goals?

Last week in part 6 of this series, I talked about how broken-hearted I am because of the state of children in this culture, how they are trying to cope with life with all the wrong things and are headed down paths of destruction. Do you think it could be that they were discipled to be who they are becoming? Were they taught to run to sex, drugs, and alcohol instead of Jesus? How many kids at a church camp do you think have church-attending parents? Does it add up to you? There is a gap between men being Godly disciple makers and men just being in the church, and the next generation is paying for it.

Is there a perfect generation? No. Does every generation suffer the consequences of ages before? Sure. But right now, in this time, what I see is time for men to step up and be Godly men. To quit being passive in their leading of the family. Stop being blinded by how their inability to allow self-control in their life impacts the spiritual needs of those around them. We need to wake up! Stop being so self-centered! Find our purpose and become who God has called us to become! What are you becoming? A consumer of God or a servant of God?

Prayer

Father, I need Your help teaching others to follow your commandments. I need help following Your commandments. I am a prideful sinner who tends to do what I want instead of what you want. But you are a gracious God that loves me, and through your loving kindness, I am led to repentance. Thank you for being a marvelous God!

What does it mean to be discipled?
What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 6

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”

Authentic?

Have you ever been part of a group you believed was a true community? Were you able to be vulnerable with those in the group? Did any of those group members know you at your worst and your best and yet love you just the same. Was something inside you challenged, disrupted, and elevated so much that it caused you to be long to know God better? Was life poured into you as you were pouring that same life into someone else? We are desperate for security and significance. There is a hunger in us to be known, loved, and feel like we belong somewhere. We search for the perfect community, and I think few of us ever find it.

God is a triune God. He is in a perfect community with Himself. All three persons of the trinity equally pour into each other. When God created Adam in His image, I believe we received that desire for a perfect community. I feel far too often His people are given counterfeit community and drink it as if it were the real thing. All the while, they are drowning in death instead of receiving Living Water. Then the lies they consume are passed on to the next generation continuing the cycle of living off scraps of what a true community could and should be.

Camp?

This week I went to church camp with the students from our church. Long days, little sleep, and 100-degree heat are always fun. Watching the kids during worship, recreational games, and bible study has been remarkable. The guy preaching was phenomenal! His messages were ringing truth through the air, and I hope that some of these kids snatched them right up. Words that point us to the Cross and the good news of Christ. Truths that they could take home at the end of the week and apply to our lives.

On the flip side, I became very broken-hearted for every young soul on the campground. And paralyzed to do anything about it. We live in a culture determined to drag our children into any depth to find peace from everything other than God. They will do anything to try and fit in and find a community that accepts them. They will find anything to try and numb the pain of life. All the while, they are getting further away from the one who can provide peace. They will destroy their bodies to find the security and significance that only God can provide.

Burden

The revelation of how much our children are trying to cope with life in all the wrong ways was staggering. All these souls cry out for relief and peace in their lives, not knowing what to do to “fix” it. How are the communities that they call home working for them? How much abuse, neglect, and apathy are they enduring? Not every kid at that camp had a relationship with Christ when they got there or left. But the droves at the alter calls make me believe they realize they are missing something. Are they getting “fed” at home? Is their student ministry the only place they can find some semblance of what authentic community looks like?

Coming from a background of working through my addictions to sexual sin and overeating, I carry a burden for those who struggle as I did. With today’s culture and trying to be careful of not overstepping boundaries, I wrestle with how do I help? Pornography is hitting our children as young as six years old. We are way behind the curve if we must wait until they are eighteen to start helping them deal with it. That’s twelve years of training a body to live outside of God’s purpose before they can begin to find real help.

Freedom

I think discipleship and finding an authentic community is crucial to helping the next generation. I can’t see every discipleship group, and to be honest, I only know of a few. As the Church, we need to step it up. We must figure out what hinders our walk with Christ and start dealing with it so God can work through us. Then we must stop being passive. Men lead your families first and then find the next guy to disciple. Women, there are other women out there who need you to walk alongside them in the same struggles you have dealt with. Be a part of an authentic community. Allow God to use your struggles of brokenness as something beautiful.

Prayer

Father, thank you for allowing me to be a part of camp this week. To be reminded that the next generation needs You just as much as I need You. It’s just that I was able to find a community that helped me find freedom. I want these kids to find freedom in you as well. To find the healing that comes from doing life together.

What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 5

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens, I will be with you!”

Baptism

Have you ever publicly declared anything about yourself? Maybe in an ice breaker game for some group. The game was “Tell us the most interesting fact about yourself.” It goes around the room, and people say the most exciting thing about me is “blank.” By revealing this fact, did it change the definition of who you are to the group? Did you start feeling more self-conscious about your actions after revealing this fact and the need to fulfill your life with this new definition? And if it weren’t for the truth being told, you wouldn’t change anything in your life?

How are you living out your faith? Does anyone know that you are a Christ-follower? Do your convictions align with the words that come out of your mouth? Are you conscious about your actions, and are they on a path that is becoming Christ-like? Do you have people in your life that know you and can point out shortcomings in your daily walk of faith? We are our worst false prophets, and living a life of secrecy prevents us from having accountability. Accountability begins with publicly declaring we are Christ-followers.

What examples!

I think of the demonstrations of baptism in the bible and wonder what life was like in that period for those that chose to follow Christ.  Most examples I can think of were people becoming a believer and immediately going to a body of water to declare their confession of faith—the bible talks of thousands coming to faith and being baptized. There was no hiding what you had done. The word was out that you believed and followed Christ!

I am not saying that we hide our faith today or that thousands don’t know of our faith. But how are people seeing what you believe? The command is to go and make disciples of all nations and baptize them. We must live out our identity in Christ, including our baptism. Our profession is we are buried with Christ. A profession that we died to worldly things. We declare that we take up our cross daily and do the will of the Father. We give up our pride, lust, and control to crucify it daily so that we are raised with Him. A new creation!

Put on the new!

Our baptism signifies that our old self has died, and we a new in Christ. Why would we keep living a life where we say we are new, and yet it seems that our life professes nothing is new. We can’t seem to get away from our addictions. Our thoughts race and focus on the immediate pain relief sin offers and never really get to the point of trusting God with our pain. Again, not saying we are perfect people. But are you becoming? Are you trying to know God amid your pain and trusting that He is good? Or are you reading scriptures daily, which is good, but why? Are you reading to solve your problems? Are you begging God for something to be different in your life, a problem to be solved? Would you rather have a handyman in your life, or would you rather know God and have a relationship with Jesus?

Is that what we need? A solutions expert in alleviating all the pain points. I know God is completely capable of solving all the problems. But if he solves all my problems, does that make Him good and just? For me to get what I want? No, we must believe and demonstrate our faith that even though life seems out of control, God wants what is best for His children. And through the chaos, He is a good Father, and I can trust Him.

Prayer

Father, help us live out our professions of faith. Guide us in being a light for this dark world. To know You and reflect Jesus to those searching, those who need hope and encouragement. Let us press on to the prize of Christ Jesus toward the ultimate goal of knowing God. Then live it out by obeying His commandments and teaching them to others. Amen

What does it mean to be discipled?
What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 8

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”

Greek

When I am studying a passage of scripture, and I want to understand what it means, I take the passage and refer to it in its original language. Here this passage was written in Greek. So, Matthew 28:20 is

διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.

And a direct translation from Greek of this passage reads, “And behold, I with you am all the days, until the completion of the age.” Next, I look at the meaning of keywords in Greek.

Behold – to see, perceive, attend to, experience, discern

I – the first-person pronoun (Jesus was speaking)

With – among, in company with

All – every, the whole, every kind of

Until – as far as up to

Completion – a joint payment, consummation, end

Age – a cycle of time, one of a series of ages stretching to infinity

So, in straining to understand this passage, I reword the selection using the definitions provided. I could say I am to perceive that Jesus is with me in total every day until this series in time passes to the next series in time in the grand scheme that stretches to infinity.

What do I see

What does this mean for you and me? Do I perceive that Jesus is totally and completely with me daily in my relationship with Christ? The definition of perceiving is to become aware of something directly through your senses, primarily through sight and hearing. Do I see or hear Christ every day in my life? I want to go with a churchy answer and say, “of course I do!” But to be honest my everyday life, I would say I struggle with seeing tangible evidence of Jesus being with me. What evidence do I even look for?

Should I notice that a parking space opened up when I pleaded with God not to walk a mile into the store? Is that evidence of Jesus in my daily life? That seems like a Santa Clauseish view of God and Jesus. Does he care for me? Absolutely! Does getting a closer parking space advance the kingdom of God and give me evidence of Jesus for the day? I offer pause on answering yes. On the flip side, does a terminally ill child not being healed through prayer prove the absence of God or Jesus in everyday life? I’m not sure that it does.

Perception

Maybe perceiving Jesus daily takes more than what is happening around me. Could it be that I can still have peace and joy in good or bad circumstances? Should I still notice the happening and embrace the blessing or trial? And in the happening, have the knowledge Jesus is with me and use the experience to help someone else? My perception should be based on my ability to know God and how he works in others. To see a need in someone else and to fulfill that need spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

I guess I am trying to say that if we are the actual church body, then we should be representing Jesus. Our daily pursuit of Christ should be the thing that everyone sees, and that would be enough for everyone to say, “Oh, there go those Christian people. They just overflow with love for everyone.” But I’m afraid we have fallen far into selfishness from secular culture. We live in denial of our pain and the pain of those around us. Our self-medication in every indulgence to numb our emotional hurts and become highly ineffective in our ministry. We can’t see or display Jesus because we can’t get past ourselves.

Clarity

Some of us desperately need an “Aha!” moment. A moment of clarity with Christ changes their trajectory from one of self-medication to one of others’ motivation. What if the only perception of Jesus for others was you? Yes, the heavens declare Your glory, but we should be in the world and not of it. Would others see any glimpse of who Jesus is in your life? Could they see an eternity future from what you display? Is that eternity with Christ? What keeps you from being a whole-hearted committed Christ-follower who picks up their cross daily? What are you going to do about it?

Prayer

Father, we are desperate people in need of You. I pray that Your church will turn and focus on You. That we would wholeheartedly pursue what it means to be Christ-like. That we would lay down anything that separates us from You. And in doing so, we are effective in the Kingdom of God. Nothing of our strength or even victories by human standards. But to be who you called to be. How could the community I live in be different, from the city to parish, to state, and the country? If we would surrender to You? Move among your people and teach us what it means to be a light in a dark place. Amen.

What does it mean to be discipled?
What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 4 

Matthew 28:19-20 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens, I will be with you!”  

Nationality 

We live in a world that is full of diversity and segregation. Not just of nationality, skin, or economic level. We live in a broken world that has a distinction between believer and no-believer. Yet it seems the world is more concerned about where you fit in politically, environmentally, or sexually. When this life is said and done, the real personal question for all of us is, “Who do you say Jesus is?” Are you a believer that Jesus is the Messiah who stepped out of eternity into a womb, was born, lived, died, and rose again? We can work out the details of theology later but without this central core belief, what else is there to worry about? 

Why, as the church, would we get stuck arguing about what political leader is leading a nation? Do we believe the bible when it says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Romans 13:1. Because if we do, then at the very least, God allows leaders in our lives with values that don’t align with ours. I am not saying that we, as God’s people, should never speak of these things but focus on the larger story. I think we are meant to keep our focus on God while living in these times. God knew you would be living in this exact time in history, so what will you do while you’re here? 

Which nation? 

In 1 Peter 2:9-11, we are called a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. We are strangers and aliens in a foreign land; we are to abstain from the lusts that wage war on our souls. Which nationality are you claiming? Are you being in the world and not of it? Again, we are not perfect beings, but we are becoming something. Where is our focus placed? Are we becoming more and more like the world and aligning our thinking with culture? Falling into traps of having to believe their way or you’re considered worthless. Or are we aligning with God?  

Are you slow to speak and quick to listen? Do you show grace and mercy to those who would call you an enemy? God called us enemies when we were against Him, yet He still sacrificed perfection for the hope of imperfection, drawing us close to Him again. We are to be a particular people. Not being different just to be different, but our lives should stand out from the crowd. In John 15:18, Jesus said if the world hates you, know that it hated me first. So if I truly follow Christ’s example, I will be hated by the world. I struggle with this. I am working through the need to require human affirmation. The need to want to perform and do well to feel accepted and loved by others.  

Now I am not looking for a fight, but how many people “in the world” hate me. I’m sure there are a lot. How many do I know? Very few. Does that mean I’m not living up to my full potential as a Christ-follower, or I don’t even know the “or”? 

Chosen 

I am becoming confident in who I am as a Christ-follower. There will be days of opposition that will be stronger than others. I know I must stand firm in my faith and be a part of this holy nation, for I was called out of the darkness. And in my calling, I have to see who people are becoming, and my purpose is to encourage them to be Christ-like. Either they come out of the darkness or draw even closer to the light. We are never stationary in this life. We are either moving toward or away from something. I hope I am walking with you toward Christ, making a disciple along the way. 

Prayer 

Father, thank you for Your Son, Jesus. He came, died, and rose again so I could have a purpose while on this rock. Thank you for placing me at this point in history, so I can encourage others to follow you. Open our eyes to the world as you see it. Please give us the desire to be strangers and aliens in this land. To know our home is actually with you. Encourage us to encourage others to long for that moment of coming home. Amen. 

What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 3

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”

Make

The creator of heaven and earth has given us the ability to be creative—to make something out of the resources given to us. As humans, we can take the things of this earth, twist them, contort them, and stretch them into amazing things. For example, musical instruments can play sweet lullabies to put our children to sleep and play orchestral masterpieces that can exhilarate some of us. Some can take oils and pigment and smear them on a stretched canvas; somehow, it becomes the most beautiful works of art you have ever seen. Others can take leather wrapped around a core, hit it with a wooden stick, and drive it out of a baseball field.

Then some believe they cannot create anything. They do not even try because they are convinced, they cannot be creative. I do not think that is true. If the creator of the universe created Adam in His image, then would not it make sense that as a human race, we too would have the markings of creativity given by a Father. I believe the enemy does not want you to be creative because it is an expression of God in us. We give God honor and glory through our creativity; Satan hates it.

And Make

If you begin to understand that you can be creative, then you may be creative enough to make something that resembles you. And if you resemble Jesus, then you make a disciple. Another human to follow Jesus. Now the counter to that is when we twist and contort creation to bend to our prideful ambitions. The problem is we are still making disciples, but disciples of what? We are charging and arming people to be anti-Christ. Anti-Bible. To be self-sufficient humanists working under our own power and trying to fill a God-sized hole within us that will never be satisfied. We may be unintentional about it, but how is an unintentional Christ-follower any different than an intention lost person?

I am struggling with this question. How many “Christ-followers” are in “The Church” and are completely ineffective? I was there not that long ago. I did my best. I lead groups. I strived to be significant in the kingdom of God, all the while spinning my wheels because I had secrets. I had areas of my life that others did not know about. And one person challenging me to share my story and expose my secrets caused me to evaluate my leadership as a father, stepfather, and disciple-maker. I had to speak and talk about something I was barely doing in my life. That catapulted me into digging into what it meant to lead others. From that moment on, I have been becoming a disciple-maker and will continue to become a disciple-maker until the day I stand before Jesus and long to hear “Well done!”

And Make More

What is getting in your way as an intentional disciple-maker in the Kingdom of God? Do you have secrets that are keeping you bound and ineffective? God has given us the ability and resources to be creative. Find ways to walk alongside other people and guide them into a relationship with Christ. And then for them to grow and flourish in their walk of faith. Finally, once we have walked together and a disciple launches, do it all over again. Find the next one, and then the next one. If we are to be conformed to the image of Christ and encourage the person next to us to conform as well, are we ever really done being a disciple or making disciples of Jesus?

Prayer

Father, help us be conformed to the image of Christ! Lead us to those who can disciple us and bring those who need discipling to us. Expose the things in our lives that stunt our creativity. Bring to light the secrets that separate us from Your presence. Give us the courage to walk away from those things and take up the banner of Hope. To be of the kingdom of God, not just in it! Amen

What does it mean to be discipled?
What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 2

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”

Therefore

I have been told when you are reading scripture, and you come across a “therefore,” you ask what is it there for? In this passage of Matthew 28:19, we could rephrase the verse by taking some of the wording from last week and applying it here. So we could say; Because you are a follower of Jesus and as you go through life, live out your faith daily and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

By reading it this way, a few things come to mind. First, are you a believer? Do you believe Jesus came, died, and rose again for you? Second, what does your daily Christ-following look like? How do you approach life? Do you only guard your mouth on Sundays or every day of the week? Does your social media expose you as someone desperately seeking the will of God, or does it blend in with our culture? Third, are you concerned with more than yourself? Are you blinded by your sin, addictions, and self-serving that you don’t see how you are leading your family into the same patterns?

Only by His power

We all have something to do with our faith. Not that works save us, but what use is faith without works, according to James 2:14. So how are you working out your salvation? How are you leading others? Whether you are a well-seasoned Christ-follower, a brand-new believer, or somewhere in between. You need to be a group of two to three people digging in scriptures and working out what it means to live as Christ lived.

I was saved as a senior in high school, and I missed out on someone discipling me. It wasn’t until twenty-plus years later that I experienced what it meant to sit under this kind of leadership. Don’t miss out. You lead if you can’t find someone to sit and learn under. There are all kinds of resources out there. If you can find them, email me I will send you resources.

You’re probably thinking, “I can’t lead a group. I don’t know what I’m doing.” Faith is moving. Faith is action. The fruit will come, grace will be found, and Jesus will be you always.

Prayer

Father, stir Your church to be in a unified community heading toward Your Son Jesus. Teach us what it means to be discipled and how to disciple others. Draw us in closer to You, and let us encourage others along the way. Amen.

What does it mean to be discipled?
What does it mean to be discipled?

What does it mean to be Discipled? – Part 1

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens; I will be with you!”

Disciples Go

Poreuomai is the Greek translation for go. Strong’s Concordance poreuomai is “I travel, journey, go, die.” In the NASB, poreuomai is translated to some of the following: am on my way, following, go, go on their way, goes, going, indulge, pursued a course, sets, started, walking, and way. I have heard sermons where “go” means as you are going through life, you are to make disciples. Which I believe is true, but my question is, what kind of disciples are we making? Do we have a set course in mind? Which way are we walking? Are we indulging in the things of Christ, or are we indulging in the things of the world? I firmly believe that we shape those around us no matter what actions we take. We influence the lives of those around us.

Have you ever just been living in a manner that pleases God, and someone kind of close to you starts asking about your faith? They see something different about you and try to understand what it is. Are you a peculiar person? Does your faith even stand out?

What church do you go to?

At points in my life, I can say that my faith would shine better than others. And not even because I got older. I had a job several years ago where I worked under a guy who was rather crass, loud, and very lost. He asked me about a week or two into being on his crew. We were doing something on a construction site; it was hot. The team was getting at each other; tension was in the air. And out of the blue, he looks at me, “What church do you go to?”

Going on my way, I did enough things counter to the culture that a lost man could see that I didn’t fit in with the crowd. How are you going about life? Are you influencing those in your sphere to ignore the bible and God because you verbally claim to be a Christ-follower, but your actions don’t line up? What you do matters! You are being discipled. What are you being conformed to in your discipleship? You are discipling. What are you teaching others to be like?

Going doesn’t require being in another country, state, city, or town. It doesn’t even mean you have to leave your house. Do you have kids? What are you teaching them about faith? They will gain their knowledge of who God is through you. What are you teaching them?

Prayer

Father, remind us that others are observing everything we do. Help us follow you, and stay a peculiar person. Let our lives reflect Jesus and bring you honor and praise. Amen

Go therefore and make disciples!