Nurturing the Divine Nature

Just as food nourishes our bodies to keep us healthy, God’s Word is designed to keep us spiritually healthy.

Are you starving or thriving?

Are those you disciple starving or thriving?

Most of us eat three meals each day, but as sure as skipping breakfast causes us to grow weary before the noon meal, skipping daily spiritual nourishment will leave us fragile, unguarded, and easy prey to the corruption of the world around us. We are literally unarmed against the onslaught of bullets the world and our spiritual enemy fires at us.

I am a walker. I take short walks three to four times each day. As I walk around the neighborhood in the evening, I can see that the television is on in nearly every household I pass. I don’t know what my neighbors are watching, but I often wonder what sort of moral or ethical filters (if any) they have in place to combat the onslaught of wickedness and sometimes erroneous messages being presented. Are they filtering the messages they are hearing and seeing?

In order to quell any suspicion of my condemnation, I turn on the television in the evening as well. I usually watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. If you have ever watched this program, you are aware that it is less than upright in its morality and is entirely accurate in its portrayal of our spiritually bankrupt culture. Quite often I fast-forward through scenes that are completely objectionable and I still get the story line without being subjected to offensive human morality.  I have filters in place that say, “Don’t go there!”  My filters are not perfected, but after more than thirty years of sitting at Jesus’ feet, there are filters in place.

The point being — what filters has the Lord put in place in order for you to navigate the murky moral waters in which we dwell?

There is a spiritual discipline we have learned by constant practice and development. It is the spiritual discipline of reading God’s Word daily.

I love the way David says it in Psalm 63:2

psalm-63_2-i-have-seen-you-in-the-sanctuary

David was a frequent flyer to the Lord’s sanctuary.

It is a fundamental responsibility for all His children to frequent His sanctuary to behold His power and glory.

His sanctuary is wherever we choose to make it. His sanctuary is wherever we are.

We enter His sanctuary seeking an increase of grace and peace for the day.  [1]

Nourishing the Divine Nature

2-peter-1_2_4-grace-and-peace

Nurturing the Divine Nature means we enter His sanctuary daily presenting ourselves to behold His power and glory, thereby taking in His promises and guidance as our daily nourishment.

Do you go into His sanctuary every day to behold the glory and power of the Lord?

Are your heart, mind and morals being transformed according to His divine nature?


Disciple Making Process

So, how do we, as disciple makers, train a new believer to nurture the divine nature they have been granted at conversion?

What do they need that will save them from the corruption of the world and their own evil desires?

It is our duty, as disciple makers, to train a new believer to form godly habits – but how?

If you have raised, or are raising children, you know they didn’t come forth from the womb with an appetite for steak or pot roast. You fed them milk before you introduced pureed cereal, vegetables and fruit. Later, after they grew some teeth, you methodically introduced them to solid foods. For me, it seemed like a never-ending process, but in retrospect it only took a year to get them to eat solid food.

Training a disciple in godly habits is the same process.


1 Cor 3:2 Nurturing DiscipleshipBaby food

Give the one you are discipling a daily assignment.

A new disciple’s greatest need is assurance of their salvation, so give them assurance of salvation verses to read each day.

  • Click here for a list of Assurance of Salvation verses.
  • Choose one per day until you next meet together.
  • Ask them to memorize their favorite verse from the list.
  • See the blog post “Self-Feeders” and pray for them every day!

When you come together again, ask them to tell you how they know they are a Christian.

If they are unable to identify themselves as a Christian, share the gospel message with them and invite them to become partakers of the divine nature.

Introduce “Quiet Time”

You can call it whatever you wish. Simply introduce them to the discipline of daily Bible reading.

Ask them to read only one assurance of salvation verse each morning.

Ask them to think of any questions they may have about it and write it down for your next meeting.

If you are led by the Spirit, call or text them to see if there are any questions after a few days. Do not call or text if you are not led.

Gentle encouragement is what they need as they begin their journey of discipleship.

One note here: If they do not complete these verses for your next meeting, you will want to pray about their commitment to the discipleship process. Do not waste your time if you feel they lack interest or motivation. If they have read more than the one verse per day, you know you have a dedicated disciple!


[1] Henry, M. (1996, c1991). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume (2 Pe 1:1). Peabody: Hendrickson.


Your Comments help keep this blogger going.  Don’t be shy!!!

Self-Feeders

Developing self-feeding disciples needs to be a disciple maker’s highest priority.

One of the pitfalls I have fallen into as a disciple maker is allowing those I have discipled to become dependent upon my instruction and direction each week instead of developing them into independent self-feeders.

When I invite someone into discipleship training, I ask them for a two year commitment of their time.  Jesus spent three years with His disciples and they were together pretty much 24/7.  That is some intensive life-on-life training!  My once per week table time with disciples is a pitiful investment by comparison.

Why is it so important that we develop self-feeders?

 

Jesus is the Bread of Life

“Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” [1]

John 6:57-58

 

Disciple Makers today have a plethora of material resources at our disposal for training disciples. However, if we don’t model and teach them to feed themselves on a daily basis we have failed miserably!


Pray for Self-Feeders

The following list is borrowed from “The Lost Art of Disciple Making” by Leroy Eims.

Pray your disciples will long for the Word of God.

Monday   

Pray Psalm 119:97

“Oh how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Prayer:  O Lord, may (name of disciple) love your law and meditate on it daily.

 

Tuesday 

Pray Psalm 119:29

“Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul observes them.”

Prayer:  Lord, may (name of disciple) consider Your Word wonderful and obey it fully.”

 

Wednesday

Pray Psalm 119:131

“I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Thy commandments.”

Prayer:  May (name of disciple) have this kind of a desire for Your Word.

 

Thursday  

Pray Psalm 119:140

“Thy Word is very pure, therefore Thy servant loves it.”

Prayer:  Lord, may (name of disciple) have a great love for Your Word.

 

Friday

Pray Psalm 119:148

“My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may mediate on Thy Word.”

Prayer:  May (name of disciple) look forward to nighttime so that (name of disciple) can meditate on Your Word as (name of disciple)                                              goes to sleep.

 

Saturday     

Pray Psalm 119:162

“I rejoice at They Word, as one who finds great spoil.”

Prayer:  O Lord, help (name of disciple) rejoice in Your Word constantly.


As you can see from this example, any verse from Psalm 119 can be transformed into a prayer for your disciple/s with regard to discovering a hunger and thirst for the Word of God on a daily basis.

Without learning to feed themselves on the Word of God, they will become wholly dependent upon you and others to feed them the pure meat of the Word.  They will be crippled for the remainder of their life if they do not learn to feed themselves.

Right now I am imagining a starving person.  We have all seen the images on our television or in magazines.  The emaciation of a starving human being makes us want to look away, doesn’t it?  The same goes for a disciple of Christ who has not disciplined themselves to feed on God’s Word on a daily basis. It is the same as going without nourishment of the body for days, weeks, months on end.  It leads to death – spiritual death.

Start them on the righteous path – pray for them to be given a hunger for His Word that they will nourish themselves daily for the rest of their earthly life.

Model self-feeding for them. Share what you have feasted on during your time apart from one another and ask them to do the same.

 

 

[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

How to Begin Disciple Making

“Keep the first things first.”  I have no idea who coined this phrase, but it is a good rule of thumb in disciple making.

Let’s begin by seeing how Jesus began His disciple making process:

In Luke 6:12-13 we get a big glimpse into the beginning of Jesus’ disciple making process.  THIS is the epitome of keeping the first things first!

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:

Prayer is the first of the first things.

Please note in the verses above that Jesus had many disciples.  Disciples are followers.  Apostles were  those sent out as messengers with delegated authority.  Keep in mind that the goal of all disciple making efforts is that we produce disciple-making disciples.


It is critical to never forget the goal of disciple making is to make disciple-making disciples.


Jesus prayed all night long for the twelve disciples/apostles.  I don’t know about you, but I have never spent an entire night in prayer for anything.  I have however, prayed for those whom He would choose for me to disciple.  Most of the time I didn’t have a particular person in mind.  It was interesting to begin praying for that someone, or someones, without any prior knowledge of who they would be.

I have performed this process many times in my adult life and I know the seriousness involved in praying for those whom you will disciple.  These would-be disciples are not unknown to our Father, but they may be to us.  There is a divine sense of anticipation when a disciple maker prays for that someone, or someones, they will be discipling.  I know as I pray for whomever He pleases that my life will be impacted as much, if not more, than those I would be discipling.  I knew I would be making disciples, but more than this, I knew I would be exquisitely gifted with forever friends and fellow soldiers in Christ’s army.  We will spend a minimum of eighteen months together, if not longer.  We wouldn’t just meet for discipleship training, we would socialize together, fellowship together, worship together, etc.  Disciple Making is wrapping our life around the lives of those we disciple, not merely one time per week, but truly knowing one another and doing life together.

So PRAY and ask the Lord to bring someone, or a couple of someones, into your path and invite them to join you in discipleship training.  The journey you embark on together will be the best thing you will ever do for yourself, your disciples, and for His kingdom.


A few qualifications for screening discipleship candidates:

  1. Do they have a hunger and thirst for His righteousness?
  2. Do they understand the commitment they are making?  Time:  study time, memorizing scripture, Bible reading, etc.
  3. Are they willing to make the commitment?

While this list may seem limited, they are the starting point.  Lay out the time commitment up front.  We live in a very hurried culture, so make certain they understand that discipleship training will be their highest priority for the next – however long you determine.  If you use discipleship curriculum, you will know how long the commitment will be.

Happy disciple making, brothers and sisters!  May He richly bless the desire of your heart to make disciples for His kingdom.

warren-wiersbe-saved-v-discipleship-quote-02112016

Like Disciple Makers on Facebook!

Journaling

The disciplines of the faith are not meant to be dogmatic or legalistic; they are simply a testament of our faithfulness and devotion to the Lord.

Journaling will undoubtedly be more random than some of the other disciplines of the faith such as bible reading and prayer because the pressures on our time are relentless. However, some do and will journal daily.

I can testify to the validity and veracity of journaling. I do not journal daily, but I have in the past.

Four compelling reasons to journal:

Journaling facilitates encountering God

Journaling is a written testimony of the work the Lord is doing in our lives. Journaling always follows bible reading and begins with a response to what you have read. We respond to whatever He has revealed to us in our reading for the day. It may be a few verses, a phrase, or a powerful conviction that spoke to you. Respond to it by pouring your heart out to Him.

Journaling gives us freedom to be who we are

Journaling is where we can be as honest and raw as we want. It is a place to lay out the secret grudges, fears, and pain that we are bearing. He is a very big God who can handle it all and wash it clean. He will give us His perspective when we submit it to His lordship. We will find answers and a line of attack for dealing with the darkest parts of our soul.

Journaling is a healing conversation with God

Journaling is a place of receiving. We spill our fears, concerns, and burdens which we might never share with another human being and find healing in the release.

Journaling creates stones of remembrance

Stones of remembrance are seen throughout the Old Testament. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan to take the land God promised to them, they set up stones of remembrance that they could return to and remember the mighty work of God on their behalf.

Your journal is something you can go back to from time to time and witness the growth and transformation that has taken place.

Those fears, burdens, confessions, etc. will seem trivial in light of the work He has wrought in the process of journaling and prayer. You will recall where you were at the time and how you were feeling and know the spilling of it on paper – to the Lord – marked a moment of healing, cleansing and transformational growth.


Examples of Journaling

I found a few images of art journaling, prayer journaling, and bible journaling which I thought might prompt some creativity in your journaling. Not all of us are artists, but as I look at these images I see the amount of time that was put into them – time that was invested in glorifying the Lord and impacting the journalist’s soul.

 

 

creative-journal-1
from Anita at https://aseknc.blogspot.com

 

art-journaling-1-kimberly-shan
https://kimberlyshaw.typepad.com

 

prayer-journal-image
Prayer Journal from Daniella Dickens on Pinterest

 

how-to-journal-in-your-bible
From Tumbler – author unknown – Bible Journaling

 

Follow Disciple Makers on Facebook!

 

Enjoy journaling for the glory of the Lord and the cleansing of your soul and spirit!

Let us know if this article was helpful to you.

Worshiping

Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Psalm 96:9

How would you define and describe worship?

 

For many years of my life, I believed worship was a noun.  In my limited experience and knowledge, worship was going to church.

It was a revelation to grow in knowledge and come to realize that worship wasn’t just a noun, it is also a verb. I believe with my whole heart that worship is a state of being verb.

When I came to know Jesus as my Savior and Lord, He opened my intellect in ways I could never have imagined. I LOVE the Word of God. I love the Word of God so much that I spend hours studying it and gleaning its meaning with the use of heavy reference books that magnify the meaning of the words in the original language. I find joy in mining the inexhaustible depth of His Word.

Through life experiences and circumstances I have learned to LOVE the God of the Word. I now find joy in His presence and person as well as His Word.

Having come to this revelation, I wonder at how I missed loving the God of the Word for so many years.

No one taught me to love the God of the Word. It is so much easier to teach others to love the Word of God than it is to teach them to love the God of the Word.

Loving the Word of God comes more naturally. It is tangible. We can see it, touch it, hear it…basically we experience it with our senses.

Loving the God of the Word is otherworldly. It is indescribable. However, it is not beyond our reach.

Human beings are created with an innate capability for worship. We are hard-wired to worship. The object of our worship is what needs to be re-directed when we come to salvation through Jesus.

As Americans enter into the Natl. Football League season, I am astonished at the lengths to which humans enter into worshiping their favorite team. I wonder what our churches would look like if we brought that enthusiastic worship into the sanctuary. We could all put on our Jesus jerseys and pray for a victorious church. Well, you get the analogy.


Worship is a state of being

Worship takes place in the church, but it is so much more than that.

Worship is a state of mind, emotion, and being. When we love the Lord, we transfer our worship from the tangible to The Intangible God. The life force within us is dedicated and consecrated to the Holy One of the universe.

worship-quote-aw-tozer


Teach Them to Worship

The best way of teaching a disciple to worship the Savior, Jesus and their God, the unseen Creator of the Universe, the unseen Provider, the God of Truth and the God of Justice, etc. is to ask them to stop and examine who God is as He reveals Himself in the Word.

God reveals Himself and who He is throughout His Word, we just need to slow down and pay attention to what He says about Himself.

Reading the Bible is another discipline of the faith, but so is worshiping Him. Teach disciples to slow down and pay attention to what He says about Himself.

Example:

Psalm 24
Of David. A psalm.
1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah

Here is what we can know and worship about our God from Psalm 24:

  1. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it [v. 1]
  2. The world and all who live in it are His [v. 1]
  3. He established the world upon the waters [v. 2]
  4. He has a hill [v. 2]
  5. Only the pure can ascend God’s hill [v. 3-4]
  6. He gives blessing and vindication [v. 5]
  7. The pure can seek His face [v. 6]

Responding to who He is in Worship

The more we know about our God and Savior, the more effectively we can worship Him.

Do you see anything in the exercise above that is worthy of our praise and worship? If so, how would you respond in prayer?


Methods of Worship

The methods and forms of worship are as diverse as the people who practice them.

Here is a short list to kick-start your worshiping the Lord and teaching others the importance of it:

  • Music
  • Singing
  • Raising Hands
  • Open Hands
  • Prayer
  • Silence in His presence
  • Adoration
  • Obedience
  • Surrender
  • Dedication
  • Service

 

 

This short post does not do service to the subject of worship. Please explore for yourself how you express your love and adoration to God. None of us will give the same answers because we are uniquely created by Him to worship Him as He leads.

Practice, practice, practice! The discipline of worship is a lifelong journey of getting to know Him and who He is to facilitate the expansion of our adoration of Him.

Blessings to you in all your endeavors!

Learning

A disciple is a learner.

Make certain the person you are discipling has a hunger for learning or you will be wasting your time. This may sound like a harsh statement, but it is true.

A teacher teaches, but it is incumbent upon the learner to learn. There must be a hunger and thirst for God AND His Word in order for a learner to learn.

Learning the disciplines of the faith is tedious toil. It is only achieved and perfected by those who are willing to commit themselves wholly to the Lord.

Pray for them. Pray the Proverbs for them. For example:

  • Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
    Father, I pray you grant a healthy fear of You to (name of disciple). Let (him/her) not despise the wisdom and discipline set forth for (him/her) in the process of discipleship training.
  • Proverbs 4:7 – Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
    Father, I pray you will give (name of disciple) a panting hunger for your wisdom; give (him/her) a sacrificial hunger to acquire understanding from Your Word.
  • Proverbs 10:8 – The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
    Lord, I pray you give (name of disciple) a wise heart that will accept your commands. Give (him/her) ears to hear and eyes to see the truth you have for (him/her).

Jesus trained twelve men during His three years of ministry. There were multitudes that followed Him, but He selected only twelve motley men in which to invest Himself. There were three disciples (Peter, James and John) who were privy to more than the other nine; they witnessed the transfiguration of Christ and they were invited to keep watch as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His arrest.

One of the key elements of discipleship is an eagerness to learn and grow spiritually.

The multitude was looking for easy answers, miracles, and a feel-good message; anything that would alleviate their present condition. The multitude wasn’t interested in self-sacrifice and demanding training. Their only concern was for temporal relief, not eternal salvation and wholehearted dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Choose whom you will disciple with colossal wisdom and discernment.

Test their commitment if you are hesitant.

I read a story about a fruitful disciple maker who had a young man pestering him for discipleship training. The young man even moved into an apartment overlooking the house where the prolific disciple maker lived. As the young man continued to ask what he needed to do to be discipled, the disciple maker told him to keep the snow off his driveway and then he would consider further. The prolific disciple maker never had a speck of snow remain on his driveway that entire winter. He knew the young man was earnest and eager to learn by his diligence in keeping the snow off his driveway.

Here are a few things to look for in a potential disciple:

  1. Is he/she eager to learn?
  2. Is he/she reliable? Will he/she commit to daily and/or weekly time with you.
  3. Is he/she available to meet with you and put in the effort (homework, daily bible reading, scripture memorization and journaling) required?
  4. Is he/she faithful?

Or, as a friend of mine examines prospective disciples, she uses this acronym:

qualification-of-discipleship-raft


Teach Them How to Study and Learn

Let me preface this section with a simple prayer I use when I open God’s Word. It goes like this: “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.”

This simple prayer sets my heart and mind in a state of listening. My mind tends to wander a bit when I’m reading, so this prayer helps me focus my mind and heart upon hearing what He has to say to me.

Inductive Study Method

I was instructed by my disciple maker to NOT purchase a study bible. She told me it would cause me to become too dependent on another man or woman’s opinion or thought – I needed to learn to study it, interpret it, and apply it for myself. She wanted me to be a Berean (Acts 17:11); one who receives the message with eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Since I was an eager learner, I grabbed hold of her instruction and education. The final phase of our discipleship curriculum was to study the book of 1 Thessalonians inductively. My disciple maker used The Navigators’ “Design for Discipleship” series that is still in print today. The seventh, and final, book in that series teaches inductive study methods. It was my first introduction into inductive study methods. Since then I joined in Precept Ministries Bible Studies and eventually went through their training to become an instructor. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of the inductive study method.

The inductive study method was first described to me with an analogy of learning the anatomy of a frog. I could either read about what someone else had written about the anatomy of a frog or I could dissect a frog and learn the anatomy – hands on!

I urge you to teach inductive study methods to educate disciples and you will witness Proverbs 9:9 come to life. “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.”


Experiential Learning

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Although much less rigid and structured than the inductive study method, experiential learning is accomplished with a Bible Reading Plan.

Bible Reading Plans are readily available online or in your local book store.

I would highly recommend advising a new disciple to read one book of the Bible at a time. The stories are congruent and compelling.

Experiential learning occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit in the following areas:

  • Teaching – The Holy Spirit teaches us what is right.
  • Rebuking – The Holy Spirit teaches us what is not right.
  • Correcting – The Holy Spirit teaches us how to get right.
  • Training in Righteousness – The Holy Spirit teaches us how to stay right.[1]

How are you doing in the Learning discipline of the faith?

Remember, those you disciple will model your lifestyle and practices more than they will your teaching.

In the comments section below, let us know what methods you prefer for teaching disciples to be lifelong learners.

 

[1] Wiersbe, W.W., & Wiersbe, D. 1986. The elements of preaching: The art of biblical preaching clearly and simply presented.  Tyndale House Publishers: Wheaton, IL.

Praying

The first disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. He taught his disciples to pray by giving them a pattern for prayer.  We find it in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.  We know it as “The Lord’s Prayer,” and many a Christian has memorized it. However, it is a pattern for prayer.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name,”
– Acknowledge He is our Father who resides in heaven and that His name is to be revered.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,”
– acknowledge He is sovereign over all the affairs of men and we want His will above our own; submission and humility in prayer

“Give us this day our daily bread,”
– petition Him for our daily needs; i.e., sustenance, harmony, peace, life to the fullest, contentment, whatever our needs for the day may be

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,”
– confession time!  Confess your sins (yes, we are all forgiven sinners) and forgive those who have sinned against us.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
– praying He will keep us on the narrow path, that we will not turn to the left or the right, but remain squarely in the shadow of His wings.

Teaching disciples to pray is, to put it lightly, a challenge.

Prayer is a posture we are unaccustomed to assuming. Western culture advances the school of self. Self-sufficiency, self-assurance, self-aggrandizement… There is a constant, droning, self-conversation running through our minds at all times.

Disciple makers teach others to turn their self-conversation into a conversation with the Lord about the things we are wrestling with.

In prayer we are acknowledging The Lord who dwells in heaven and hears our prayers. This is a paradigm shift that will forever change the life and lifestyle of the new and learning disciple.

The first feeble attempts at prayer are challenging for all who have chosen to follow Jesus.


TEACH THEM TO PRAY!

Methodology of Prayer

One of my favorite methods of teaching new disciples to pray powerful and effective prayers (James 5:16) is to introduce The Prayer Hand Illustration, and then teach them to pray the scripture in each of the five areas of prayer.  I believe the Lord delights in hearing His children pray His Word back to Him.  I love hearing my grown children repeat things that I told them when they were small, so I’m sure He delights in the same.

 

the-prayer-hand-illustration-the-navigators-70

courtesy of The Navigators @ www.navigators.org

Allow me to walk you through this process.  Teaching prayer will be ongoing throughout your time with those you disciple.  Don’t dump this on them in one sitting.

Go through these five aspects of prayer and concentrate on one of them at a time.  Once they get the hang of it, move to the next.

 

Examples of praying scripture:

Praise

(voice your wonder at who He is)  The Psalms are excellent for praise.

Psalm 18:1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.

Turn it into a prayer:

Father in heaven, I love you because you give me strength for this day. I have no strength of my own to offer; only You make me strong.


Thanksgiving

(thank Him for what He has done for you)

2 Corinthians 4:13-15 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Turn it into a prayer:

Lord, I thank you for raising the Lord Jesus from the dead so I too am raised from the dead. Thank you for pouring out your grace upon me in overflowing measure.

Thank you for (whatever answers to prayer He has given you)


Intercession

(praying for others)

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

See also: 1 Timothy 2:1-4 there is a list of others whom we should be praying for as well as the main purpose of our prayers for them – [v.4] “that they would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”

This aspect of prayer is easier for most.  They know who they want to pray for and what the need is.  The verses above will help them understand it is our duty to pray for others.  It is particularly important to teach those you disciple to pray out loud.  The more they practice, the more comfortable they will be.

How often have others asked you to pray for them?  It occurs quite often in my life.  I have to confess that I would say, “I will pray for you,.”  then neglect praying with them then and there.  I cannot recall how many years it took me to feel comfortable praying on the spot for someone who asks for prayer.  It is second hand now, but please know – particularly for introverts – praying with others is a major hurdle to jump!


Petition:

(praying for my needs)

Matthew 6:26-27 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

[Note] There is a vast difference between needs and wants. What do you NEED today that you do not currently possess? Is it material, spiritual, or relational? See your life in light of needs versus wants. Pray for both and leave them at His feet today.

Ask Him for your daily needs. Mt. 6:11 – give us today our daily bread

Turn it into a prayer:

Lord, thank you for providing all that I need for this day. I have food to eat, and a home for sleeping. Lord, I ask that you sustain me in this day, give me insight to see You in all my circumstances today.

Pray for your day, let Him know what concerns you have, the needs you have, the desires you have, etc.


Confession:

(agreeing with God about my sin)

Psalm 41:4 I said, “O Lord, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

Speak each word of Ps. 41:4 as your prayer and confess your sins.

[Note]  If the one you are discipling is a new believer, they may not be able to acknowledge their own sin.  I once had someone tell me, “I didn’t sin this week.”  Teach them from scripture, what sin is and why it needs to be confessed and repented of.  You may need to point out their sin to kick-start their listening to the Holy Spirit in the area of sin.


It is my prayer that this tool for teaching disciples to pray is helpful to you.  The best way they will learn this is to hear you pray for them often.  There is nothing more penetrating to the soul than someone praying for us, out loud, in our presence, with a heart full of love and support.

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you will grow in your prayer life as a result of this instruction.  I pray He will give you the desire to seek Him all day long and carry on a conversation with Him.  His smile is a blessing that keeps us going and growing!

praying-satan-trembles-when-cowper-quote-09-13-2016

Bible Reading

Peter, James, and John fell asleep when Jesus went to pray at Gethsemane and asked them to stay in this place and keep watch. Jesus returned to them three times and found them sleeping. Mark 14:32-41

We read this story and react with embarrassment or mocking at their falling asleep, but the truth is, we are all prone to proverbially fall asleep when it comes to the disciplines of the faith.

When you awaken in the morning, visualize Jesus sitting on your living room couch. He is longing to meet with you every morning. He desires to be the first, but we sleepily walk past Him and get on with the business of our day without giving Him a moment’s thought.

Our lack of discipline causes us to fall asleep when He is waiting for us to meet with Him every morning. This is a ringing siren that we do not fear God enough to give Him the first fruit of our daily lives.

The disciplines of the faith are our first fruit. They are the stuff of which disciples are made and affirmed.


Bible Reading

Why is bible reading such an important discipline to learn?

I would say the most important reason is found in Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than a double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Since the word of God is living and active, meaning it is alive with the Holy Spirit; the very nature and essence of God is with us as we read His Word.  It is in the reading of His Word that He shows up and corrects, rebukes, and encourages us.

Reading your bible daily is a discipline that requires perseverance and a plan.

We all live chaotic lives with pressures and demands, but the discipline of daily bible reading will pay dividends in alleviating the pressure and chaos that threaten to undo us at every turn.

Let the anchor hold! The Word of God is our anchor. It keeps us in safe harbor when the world around us is caught in the tempest.

Find a Bible reading plan and discover what works best for you in completing it.

Many might instruct that Bible reading take place first thing in the morning. However, God doesn’t care the time of day; He only cares that you consistently show up!

Any disciple maker worth their salt will instill the disciplines of the faith.  The fundamental nature of disciples is to follow and model.  If you, as a disciple maker, are reading your bible daily the affect will be obvious to those you disciple.

Go ye, therefore, and make disciples…. Mt. 28:19

abraham-lincoln-on-the-bible-09-10-2016

Here are a few recommendations for Bible Reading:
  • Go to Blue Letter Bible and choose a Bible Reading Plan
  • Go to Bible Gateway and choose a Bible Reading Plan (available in audio format)
  • Go to The Listener’s Bible; beautifully read by Max McLean (short and sweet)
  • Get up an hour earlier and read in a quiet place
  • Listen to the bible during your morning commute
    • Find a Bible app with audio for your electronic device
  • Read before going to bed
  • Disciple Makers: encourage journaling when reading, then ask them to share some insights when you are together

3 Habits for Hearing His Voice

 

Luke 8:8 “He who has ears, let him hear.”

As disciples, it is our supreme privilege to hear the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus.

How do we know we are hearing Jesus’ voice and not the voice of an imitator or imposter?

The sheep know their shepherd’s voice.

John 10:4b  …his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

When I became a mother I had the benefit of staying home to be her mother.  Her bedroom was on the second floor of our tiny townhouse. When she would awake from her nap, I would whistle to let her know I was coming to get her.  This tiny baby was able to whistle when she was four months old!

Do you think she recognized her mother’s voice?  She certainly recognized her mother’s whistle – and imitated it well.

Think for a moment about your parents’ voices.  Are you able to recognize those voices in a crowded room?  Indeed we would recognize those voices anywhere, anytime.

Not only do we recognize the voice of our parents, but we recognize the content of their character by the content of their conversation.  We hear their voices in our thoughts; they influence our character all the days of our lives (good and bad).

It is the same with knowing our Shepherd’s voice.  Every steadfast disciple of Christ has learned to recognize His voice and follow it as well as imitate it.

His voice is in our heads and hearts.  Therefore, it comes out of our mouths via the process of transference.

Whatever our hearts are filled with spills out of our mouths unaware.

 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34b

Have you ever participated in a conversation with a bitter person?
What about an angry person?
What about a Jesus lover?

Think about all your family members and friends for a moment. They are a mixed myriad of characters that have influenced your life story and your voice.

Each person we engage in relationship with has a distinct character aspect to their conversation.  We recognize them by the content of their conversation.

All disciples need to learn to recognize Jesus’ voice by the content of His conversation with us in His Word.

As disciple makers, it is essential we teach those we disciple to hear The Shepherd’s voice.  So, how do we go about teaching the delicate skill of hearing His voice?

 

There are three critical habits that must be formed in every disciple’s life.  It is not an overnight occurrence but a repetitive, habitual, learned discipline.

#1   Reading God’s Word

“The Word of God is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.” Hebrews 4:12

Teach those you are discipling to acknowledge the truth that our God, Savior, and Holy Spirit are present when a saint opens their bible to read.

I have made it a habit of saying this simple prayer as I open my Bible:

 “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10

 

3 Benefits of a Simple Prayer:

It places us in a position of consciously listening for His voice.
It acknowledges His presence in our midst.
It subjugates our self to His authority over us.

 

Reading God’s Word is a habit to instill in every soul you disciple.

Teach them to listen for His voice as they read.  Instill in them a fondness for His Word. As they meet Him in His Word, they will become familiar with His voice because it is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword.

It is noteworthy that we all benefit from journaling after reading.  This is where we process what we have heard.  In this electronic age we are able to journal electronically.  Teach them the discipline of journaling after they read God’s Word.  The journal provides stones of remembrance that we can go back to for encouragement.  It enables us to see the work the Lord has wrought in our lives for His glory and our highest good.

Introduce them to a Bible Reading Plan.  Any Bible Reading Plan for learning to hear His voice is one of the more successful tools for making disciples.

You may discern that a Bible Reading Plan is what will work best for you and those you disciple.  Let the Spirit lead in deciding the best approach for the one you are discipling.

 

#2   Scripture Memorization

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  Ps. 119:11

I know, I know – I’m hearing your audible sighs from cyberspace on this one.  However, I can testify to the validity and veracity of scripture memorization.

As a brand new babe in Christ, I was put under the strict discipline of a valiant disciple maker who required me to memorize scripture.  I memorized one verse per week.

Those first memory verses are still hidden in my heart to this day.  They pour forth in my mind and out of my mouth with ease.

I like to refer to scripture memorization as “God’s Tool Box.”  The verses and passages we commit to memory are always with us and are available for God’s purposes as we interact with others in our daily lives.  By memorizing scripture, we are transformed into His living, breathing representatives to a lost world.

Why Memorize Scripture

Allow me to borrow a superb list of scripture memorization benefits from John Piper. I am giving him full credit and linking to his blog post called “Why Memorize Scripture.”  I could not have constructed a better list.  (The link to this article can be activated by clicking on the title, “Why Memorize Scripture.”

  • Conformity to Christ
  • Daily Triumph Over Sin
  • Daily Triumph Over Satan
  • Comfort and Counsel for People You Love
  • Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers
  • Communion with God

Scripture Memorization Chuck Swindoll

Helps for Memorizing Scripture

Topical Memory System
The Topical Memory System has been used by generations of Disciple Makers and is a proven means for memorizing scripture verses that encounter life’s various demands.  Published by The Navigators.

Scripture Typer
An excellent free app for your electronic devices called ScriptureTyper.  You type in your memory verses and this app helps you memorize it by displaying some of the words of the verse (every other word) and you fill in the missing words.  You can also type the verse from memory until you have mastered it.

 

#3 Prayer

What does prayer have to do with hearing His voice?

Prayer is our conversation with God, therefore prayer is a two-way conversation.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isa. 64:24

The prompting we receive to go to prayer is from Him.

In the midst of prayer He hears us.

Teaching those you disciple to pray is critical to their progress as a disciple.

Can you imagine going through your entire life never communicating with the people you love?

How can we say we love Jesus if we never communicate with Him?

Prayerlessness isolates us from God and His mountain-moving power.

Prayer is where we get to know Him and His voice, but He also gets to know us and our voice.  Prayer is where He transforms us into His image.  He changes our mind, He corrects us, and He transfers His character into us.

Prayer is beneficial on many levels:

Prayer humbles us.
Prayer places us in His presence.
Prayer is our lifeblood to the ruler of the universe.
Prayer puts us in touch with the one who has all the answers.
He assures us He is in our midst while we are in prayer.
He answers prayer.
He prompts our spirit to pray for matters we do not foresee.

Here is a link to The Prayer Hand.  It is a tool for teaching disciples to pray.

In conclusion, let us all discipline ourselves in such a manner as is pleasing to God.  Let us draw near to Him that He might draw near to us and speak into our heart and soul that we might have ears to hear His voice.

Please comment below and let us know if this article has been helpful for you.  We invite conversation at Disciple Makers!

The Bridge

The Bridge Illustration

One of the most important tools in a disciple maker’s toolbox is The Bridge Illustration.

It is one of the most effective evangelism tools on the planet!  I don’t know where it originated, but I have used this tool with great effectiveness for many years.

Whether the person you are discipling has been a church attender for many years or knows absolutely nothing about Jesus, this tool delivers the full power of the Holy Spirit whenever and wherever it is deployed.  As you engage in disciple making you will discover that most people lean on their church attendance as evidence that they are a child of God or they don’t know anything about Him at all.  There is often a complete lack of understanding why Jesus had to die on the cross.  They may think they know God, but they do not have a living and active relationship with Him.  Until their blind eyes are opened to the truth, your discipleship efforts will be in vain.

The Bridge Illustration will open the eyes of the blind.

I have borrowed this particular Bridge Illustration from The Navigators due to its simplicity.  However, you will never use this particular illustration because you will be able to draw it on a napkin in a restaurant, the back of an old piece of scrap paper, or a marker on a piece of glass – whatever you have at hand in the moment.

The Bridge Illustration

 

How to Use The Bridge Illustration

  • Memorize all the verses and write them as you draw the illustration above
  • Draw the left cliff with a stick man on top
    • Share the Bible verses as you explain man’s separation from God and the penalty of sin
    • Write the verse reference on the drawing
  • Draw the right cliff and write “GOD” on top
  • Talk about the chasm between man and God.  Draw ‘The Bridge’ = Jesus Christ, our only salvation
    • Share the verses as you explain God’s miraculous provision for man’s salvation
    • Write the verse references
  • Ask for a decision
    • Wait for an answer – don’t be afraid of the pregnant pause, just wait for a response
    • Answer any questions
  • Lead them in a prayer to receive the gift of salvation provided by God in Jesus
  • If they have accepted  Christ write the date on the drawing, give them the drawing and ask them to keep it in their Bible as a memorial.
  • If they do not make a decision to accept Christ, give them the drawing and ask that they keep it somewhere safe.  It may come back to them in the future.

The entire process of sharing The Bridge Illustration takes 10 minutes or less depending on questions.

Come back here after you share The Bridge Illustration and tell us the story.  We all need to hear testimonials for encouragement!

Being

There is one thing that is essential for all disciple makers – BEING.

“You teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are.”  Howard Hendricks

In order to reproduce disciples of Christ, we need to BE disciples of Christ.

A disciple is an adherent who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct.1

I can testify that being a disciple is the chief essential for all disciple makers. If we believe we are the driving force of disciple making, we miss the mark. On our own, we will reproduce self-seeking disciples of ourselves.

The first priority of a disciple maker is to sit at the feet of Jesus, meet with Him daily, and dwell in His presence as a lifestyle.

The apostle Paul describes the results of this lifestyle with great eloquence:

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Can you imagine teaching someone how to weld when you have never touched a welding torch? You may have an intellectual understanding of welding from reading about it, but until you take the welding torch into your hands and set it to metal you do not fully comprehend being a welder.

It is the same for a disciple maker who does not sit at the feet of Jesus and absorb His life, character, essence and splendor.

It is at His feet that He transforms us into His own image. It is this transformation that attracts others to us; it is what they want for themselves. Therefore, making disciples has little to do with us and everything to do with His transforming power.

Do you invite Jesus into your existence? Does your heart yearn for His transforming presence? It is only by existing in His holy presence that we have the essential element for disciple making – the aroma of Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

We may have an education in biblical studies, but if we do not have the aroma of the Lord radiating from our being, we will not be an effectual disciple maker. We will tend to deliver head knowledge without heart knowledge.  We create an extraordinary learner, but not a disciple who makes disciples.

Being always precedes doing

Some time ago I was in a group where we were challenged to look up the “be” verses in the Bible. The “be” verses of scripture far exceed the number of “do” verses. It was a life-changing exercise for me.

We tend to want to do for Jesus. Doing is good, but being is exceptional. Doing follows being.

The only way we attain the aroma of Christ is by being His possession: sitting at His feet (learning from Him), meeting Him face to face (allowing His glory to burnish our soul), and linger in His glorious presence (in continual conversation).

Focus on being His disciple and the radiance of His essence will emanate from our being without our awareness. This radiance or aroma of Christ is only discernable to others.

Humility is the outpouring of the Spirit within us. Do not take credit or boast about being with Jesus, the effect of it is already evident to others. For those who are perishing we are the aroma of death, but to those who are being saved we are the aroma of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:15)

Go make disciples and teach them how to sit at Jesus’ feet where His transforming power will change the flavor and course of their lives for eternity.


Here is an exercise for practicing sitting at Jesus’ feet:

Sit at His Feet with some “Be” Verses

Look these verses up in your Bible so you can read them in context.
Highlight the word ‘be’ or ‘being’ then consider what He desires us to be and why.
Ask yourself, “Is it for His sake or mine?”

  • Matthew 5:48
  • Matthew 16:6
  • Romans 4:21
  • Romans 10:9
  • Romans 12:2
  • Romans 12:10
  • Romans 12:12
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13
  • Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Ephesians 4:2
  • Ephesians 4:22-24
  • Ephesians 5:1-2
  • Ephesians 6:10
  • Philippians 1:9-11
  • Colossians 3:9-10
  • Colossians 4:2
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16
  • Hebrews 12:14
  • James 1:2-4
  • 1 Peter 5:8
  • 2 Peter 1:5-8
  • Jude 22

What’s your story?

Don’t we all love a good story?

It is my desire that this blog include disciple maker and discipleship training stories for the benefit of the readers.

I have been a disciple maker for more than 20 years and I will confess that few of those disciples went on to make disciples.  I have met even fewer Christians who have been discipled.  From my perspective, there is a big black hole in today’s church when it comes to disciple making.

Due to the lack of disciple making in today’s church, your stories can add immense value to other’s lives by telling them how you were discipled and how you make disciples.

You can submit your disciple maker or discipleship training story by emailing it to us at stories@disciplemakers.community.

Guidelines for Stories:

  • No more than 1,500 words
  • Your story will be edited, if needed, at the discretion of disciplemaker.community
  • Keep your story to the subject of discipleship or disciple making

Here are some questions to prompt your writing process:

  1. If you were discipled, how long ago, by whom (no names necessary), how long were you in discipleship training?
  2. What material was used to disciple you?
  3. What was the setting of your discipleship training?  (restaurant, home, church, etc.)
  4. Did your disciple maker take you out to do street ministry, dormitory ministry, evangelism?
    1. In other words, was there a practical aspect to your discipleship training?
  5. What impact did discipleship training have on your life?
  6. Would you recommend discipleship training for others?
  7. Did you become a disciple maker?
  8. If yes, what are your methods of disciple making?
  9. If you are a disciple maker, what materials and methods do you employ?
  10. What is the duration of your discipleship training?
%d bloggers like this: