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Disciplined Discipleship

Disciple Makers must always have a plan for discipleship.

The goal is to produce disciple-making disciples and one does not get there if there isn’t a well-defined plan to get them there.

There are a plethora of discipleship curriculum out there and it is my strong belief that curriculum is essential to any disciple making endeavor.

Four Motives for Purposeful Disciple Making

Set the Course

It is imperative that you set the course for your budding disciple. There is an end goal to be achieved which is a rooted and established disciple.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The only method of getting a disciple rooted and established is through a carefully planned course. With the multitude of discipleship courses available, why reinvent the wheel?

Choosing a curriculum will require careful consideration. Don’t just read the book cover, examine the content of each lesson. Go through it yourself, if need be, so you have full knowledge of its content and depth.

When I entered into disciple making, I used the curriculum that I was discipled with which was the Design for Discipleship curriculum from The Navigators. I have also been through The Navigators’ 2:7 Series which is also excellent. You may have been discipled with curriculum you are familiar with and want to do the same for someone else.

Make certain the curriculum offers a systematic progression to maturity.

When curriculum is used, there is a beginning and an end. Instead of an “end,” let us consider it their launch. Your disciple will be ready to enter into disciple making as a result of their training.

Keep this in mind as you disciple others — the goal is to launch them into disciple making.

Disciplined Progress

The highest motivation of all disciple makers is love. We were loved into the kingdom by someone. We were discipled by someone who loved us enough to develop us into Christ-loving disciples. We were loved enough to be taught the disciplines of the faith that persist in us to this day.

Even if you were not discipled with a formal discipleship process, you can begin by learning along with that new believer God has called you to disciple.

Learning the habits of growth takes time and commitment. This is not an un-disciplined road.

We all live busy lives filled with commitments. One of the first priorities of discipleship is rearranging those commitments in order to dedicate ourselves to a new lifestyle.

Simon and Andrew dropped their nets and walked a completely different life path when Jesus called them. The same is true of all disciples throughout.

Matthew 4:18-20 (KJV)
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

New habits will be formed and developed in a purposeful progression when using a formal discipleship process.

“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Samuel Johnson

Dedicated Preparation

Selecting a disciplined discipleship path offers benefits beyond measure.

There is preparation that must be completed before each meeting. A superb curriculum will promote daily assignments in order to instill new habits. To whom much is given, much is required.

Homework – or dedicated preparation – signifies sacrifice.

Since both you and those you disciple have committed to preparing yourselves before each meeting, you will come together with your own personal insights and questions. The Lord will have had your full attention for a specific amount of time each week and He will have had the opportunity to convey His thoughts to you.

A simple, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.” prayer before beginning each daily assignment will reap a harvest of insight and transformation. His Word is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), therefore, He is speaking to us when we spend time in His Word.

There is built-in accountability when a purposeful discipleship curriculum is utilized. You and those you disciple will have completed your homework because you do not want to disappoint one another.

Spiritual Dividends

As mentioned in the previous section, the time invested in preparation reaps a harvest of spiritual dividends.

There is a measured progress of maturing going on in both you and those you disciple as you make your way through a formal discipleship curriculum.

Obedience to His commands is a sure sign of spiritual progress.

Obedience isn’t a concept our culture lifts high these days, but it is a key theme throughout all scripture. Watch for signs of obedience to His Word as you progress.

As a disciple maker, you would do well to call attention to the growth you witness along the journey. It is a source of encouragement to the one being discipled. You must also mention signs of your own growth as you learn together; it will encourage them that our maturing in Christ never ceases.

If you use the same curriculum over and over again as you invest in the lives of others, you will be able to add more and more insight with each passage through the same curriculum. You will never grow weary of the same curriculum because we never arrive at maturity.


The following video from Francis Chan offers a compelling argument for ordinary Christians who are prepared and able to teach others how to grow in their faith.  Christians cannot lie back and assume disciple making is for the ordained ministry staff.  Disciple making is for the ordinary, everyday Christian.  Equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12-16) was never designed to be the role of the clergy alone.  We are all charged with the task of disciple making.  Do not shirk your duty!

Christian Apps for Disciple Makers

Since I am a bit on the “snow capped” side of life, it is easy to lose touch with what is new in the realm of information and helps for disciple makers.

This World Map of Christian Apps is a surprising discovery. Many of these apps I am familiar with, but most of them are not familiar.

This list was compiled in 2015 by disciplr.

As 21st Century disciple makers, we need to keep pace with the burgeoning growth of electronic resources. Check it out for yourself!

By clicking this link:  The World Map of Christian Apps 2015

world-map-of-bible-apps-2015
Courtesy of: Disciplr

I was not able to locate an updated list, but if you know of one, please let me know.

Mary and Discipleship

Luke 1:26-38
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.[1]


Who is Mary?

We learn the basics of who Mary is from Luke 1:26. It is pretty straight forward information, but it all bears noteworthy information about her.

  • She is from Nazareth in Galilee
  • She is a virgin
  • She is engaged to Joseph, a descendent of David (2 Samuel 7:12)
  • The Lord is with her
  • She had found favor with God

Mary is a young teenaged girl when she is introduced to us by God through the pen of Luke.

I don’t know about you, but I have always regarded Mary to be a girl beyond her years in maturity of faith. I don’t know any teenage girls who would respond to the angel Gabriel in the manner in which Mary demonstrates. However, a well-discipled teenage girl might have the wherewithal to respond in faith as Mary.

Examples of discipleship from Mary’s encounter with Gabriel

Fear

In Luke 1:29-30 we see that Mary was afraid. The meaning of the Greek word used here is to agitate, trouble. To stir up throughout. Spoken of the mind, and elsewhere, to disturb, agitate.[1]

We see this often in the scripture when an angel shows up to make an announcement to humans. The first, and very human, response is fear.

I have never been visited by an angel, have you? I can only imagine it would be an unsettling experience.

As a matter of fact, when I was encapsulated by the Lord Jesus years ago, it was an unsettling experience for my mind and soul. I knew change was coming and it frightened me beyond any fear I had experienced in the past. It was a fear of the unknown, the changes to take place and the disruption to my pre-Christian life.

Fear has been hard-wired into all of us when big change is on the horizon. Mary’s reaction to Gabriel’s appearance was her natural human response.

When you begin the discipleship process with another, fear will likely be one of the new disciple’s greatest adversaries.

Help a disciple overcome fear with faith.

Share some of these “fear not” verses with a new believer who is frightened of the changes they will be experiencing throughout the process of discipleship.

  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Psalm 56:3
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • John 14:27
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • 1 John 4:18

Questioning

Mary’s second response to Gabriel was to question what he was telling her. She wasn’t questioning from an attitude of doubt, she was questioning from an attitude of faith.

Luke 1:34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

When Mary is described as a “virgin” the original language for the word “virgin” literally means one who is not intimate with a man. She knew how babies were made; she just didn’t know how that could possibly happen to her. She was a good and obedient betrothed; she wasn’t messing around on the side.

Mary’s question is a growth question. Her eyes could only see the human aspect of the scenario described by Gabriel. She was asking how. She did not ask why.

She had her plans laid out; she was betrothed to Joseph and she would be married when the year’s time had passed. This pronouncement threw a kink in her timeline.

As disciple makers we will be asked how questions all the time. Be prepared to give an answer from scripture.

When I was being discipled, I asked a lot of questions. I had no biblical background and had never owned a bible. Every bit of information I was being taught was a foreign concept. My disciple maker possessed the patience of Job and answered all my questions with compassion and patience. When my disciple maker didn’t know the answer she would pull out a reference book on the spot or she would research the answer and share it the next time we met.

Gabriel answered Mary’s question with compassion and patience.

Submission

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary’s response to Gabriel’s message is astonishing! Her complete submission and obedience are what all disciples are to achieve.

Mary heard the message, questioned it with faith, then completely submitted to it with full confidence in the One who delivered it.

Obedience to His Word is where real growth begins.

For some disciples of Christ obedience to His Word seems as easy as walking – it comes naturally to them. For others, obedience will be a challenge.

Make sure you can identify the difference between learners, listeners, and life-giving obeyers.

  • Learners take in information and may or may not obey.
  • Listeners hear, but do not obey.
  • Life-giving obeyers take it in and obey what they are told.

if-we-truly-trust-and-believe-in-gods-power-to-deliver-on-his-promises-alannah-francis

Read the article by Alannah Francis here!


[1] NASB

[1]Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G1298). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

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.


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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

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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!

Broken Bread

I read Oswald Chambers’ devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, pretty much every day.  In the past few months I repeatedly encountered the phrase, “broken bread and poured out wine.”

This phrase is stuck in my mind and will not relent.

What does it mean to be broken bread and poured out wine?

Perhaps I think too much, but when God’s truth wants to get itself into me, it will not let me go until full comprehension is obtained.

In chewing on the phrase, “broken bread and poured out wine,” an image came to mind.  There is a little Italian restaurant I absolutely love not far from my home.  They have the best crusty bread on the planet.

In our Lord’s impeccable timing we met some friends at this little restaurant and the “broken bread and poured out wine” thing became crystal clear.

Here is a photo of the delicious crusty bread at Paravicinis Restaurant:

Paravicinis Bread

We pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a small plate for dipping.

There is one problem.  The crust on this bread is so hard it cannot absorb the delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I tried just to make sure.

Doesn't Absorb Anything

The crusty bread must be broken to facilitate exposing the porously soft bread within.

Take a look at what occurs when the bread is broken:

Absorption

The essence of being broken bread is to break the hard crust of our heart so we can absorb everything Christ needs us to be and desires us to comprehend in order to feed His sheep.

Brokenness is the hallmark of every disciple and disciple maker.

It is what keeps us on our knees; wholly dependent upon Him, sitting at His almighty feet perpetually learning, developing and maturing.


Addendum:

In the context of being disciple makers, I located this definition of being broken bread: 

The process of being made broken bread and poured-out wine means that you have to be the nourishment for other souls until they learn to feed on God.[1]

See the footnote for its source.  You may be a surprised as me.

 

 

[1]Chambers, O. (1993, c1935). My utmost for his highest : Selections for the year (February 9). Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers.

3 Requirements of Dicipleship

We know we are commanded to go and make disciples from Matthew 28:18-20, but do we know that there are requirements of discipleship?

Let us consider the requirements Jesus laid out to his disciples and the multitude in Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23.

Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.[1]

There are three demands made by Christ that qualify what discipleship is and what it costs.  Yes, there is a great cost to discipleship.

Jesus prefaced the three requirements of discipleship by saying, “If anyone would come after me…”  This literally means “If anyone desires following me these are the requirements.”

#1  Deny himself

It means to reject self, disapprove of self, to make self void, null, and stand firm against self.

Discipleship costs our very life.

All the dreams, the pursuits, the striving after our own glory must die.  We must bury the old man to make room for the new.

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest (January 16), “Have you had your “white funeral,” or are you piously deceiving your own soul? Has there been a point in your life which you now mark as your last day? Is there a place in your life to which you go back in memory with humility and overwhelming gratitude, so that you can honestly proclaim, “Yes, it was then, at my ‘white funeral,’ that I made an agreement with God.”

Can you say with the Apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Every disciple of Christ must have a last day to self or they are not a follower of Christ at all.  They may have given intellectual ascent to Him, but they are not following Him.  Jesus demands that we deny our self – a once-for-all-time and continuing decision.  It costs a lot to give up the self, but the life that replaces it is eternal.  When we come to our last day, we will know without question when that day occurred.

If you are a disciple maker, make sure the one you disciple has experienced his or her last day.  If they haven’t, they will not mature or bear fruit.

Speaking from personal experience, I know my self was laid in the grave when I made the decision to follow Christ. I also know from experience that I have had to stuff my self back into the coffin on innumerable occasions since. This denying of the self is an ongoing act of obedience.

#2 Take up his cross

The act of taking up our cross is to daily accept that we have been crucified with Christ.  It is another form of self denial and yet it is an active acknowledgement that we will find ourselves at odds with the world we have denied. We will be misunderstood and jeered by those who are of the world.  In America we do not see beatings, imprisonment and death as Christ followers, but it does not mean that day may not be on the horizon.

Alistair Begg described cross-bearing as, “Walking in one way and not coming back. It is a one-way journey with no possibility of return. You are not your own and this is the defining mark of a true Christian.”

It is accepting that the world we left behind will not know us because they do not know Him.  The follower of Christ swears allegiance to Jesus and as a result we may suffer marks in our bodies and even death, but one thing the world cannot take from us is the eternal life we have in Jesus.

The follower (disciple) of Christ is equipped to lose his life for Jesus’ sake because he has laid his life in the gracious nail-pierced hands that purchased his eternal soul.

Are you willing to lose your life for Christ’s sake?

This is a weighty question all disciples are required to answer in the affirmative if they desire to follow Christ because Jesus says in Luke 14:27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

All cross bearers experience a miraculous transformation either at conversion or sometime later in their walk with Christ.  It is a decisive moment of complete surrender of the self when the cross bearer picks up the cross of Christ and never looks back.

A Man of the Cross AW Tozer quote

#3 Follow Christ

Judas is the prime example of how far one can go with Jesus.  For all intentions, he looked like a disciple of Christ, he probably talked like a disciple of Christ, but his end revealed his true disposition.

Following Christ is a disposition of undivided devotion.  Your family, your friends, your work, your interests – all is nothing compared to Christ.

The High Cost of Discipleship

In The Navigators’ Design for Discipleship series, there is a question:  “Are all Christians disciples?”  In the 22 years I used the Design for Discipleship series to train disciples, this question never failed to puzzle.  The usual answer to the question was, “Who are we to judge who is a disciple and who isn’t?”

Our politically correct culture has cast a shadow over truth. However, Jesus isn’t concerned with our political correctness any more than He was concerned with political correctness in His days on earth.

Discipleship is costly.  It will cost your very life.


Has Jesus got all there is of you?

Has he got a fully surrendered life?

 

A perfect song of personal worship is “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Mk 8:34-35). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

But..But..But!

What Are Your Objections to Disciple Making?

What keeps you from entering into discipleship relationships?

Are you objecting to His command to “go make disciples” in Matthew 28:18-20?

Let me share a personal story of my greatest objection to something the Lord asked me to do.

When I was a brand new baby believer in Christ, our daughter was barely two years old. My disciple maker talked with me about homeschooling. I listened to her case for homeschooling with outward respect, but internal skepticism.

Firstly – I had never heard of homeschooling. Secondly, I was not a certified teacher. Thirdly, as a baby believer, did not assume I was capable of teaching my child – that is what public schools are for. Therefore, when my daughter came to school age, I sent her off to public school.

However, the appeal to homeschool remained in the back of my mind.

Have you ever noticed when God is calling you to do something for Him, it (or He) never leaves you alone? The thing He is asking of you never leaves your thoughts! Continue Reading

Organic Mentoring

A book resource for disciple makers

Today, I listened to Family Life Today and found a resource that might be helpful to those of you who disciple younger women.
The radio broadcast features Barbara Neuman and Dr. Sue Edwards from Dallas Theological Seminary talking about a book they have written titled, Organic Mentoring.

Barbara Neumann and Dr. Sue Edwards write from their experiences of discipling younger women. They come alongside young women and build them up in the faith. In the context of Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Edwards and Barbara Neumann are in a setting where young women are in abundance and seeking guidance.

The points shared by Barbara Neumann and Dr. Sue Edwards are far less disciplined and structured than the disciple making I have been accustomed to in the past. Proving there are infinite processes that are effective. The points made in this broadcast are designed to meet the needs of the 20-something generation who are somewhat averse to having specific times, dates and processes in their lives.

Personally, I believe discipline is integral to disciple making. How does one become a disciple of Christ without the disciplines of the faith taught in the Bible? Timothy was a disciple of the apostle Paul. Paul spoke and wrote to Timothy on many occasions about discipline.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
What sort of disciples are you creating if there is no discipline involved in the process? I know this makes me sound very old school, but isn’t this a valid question to be asked?

Fellow PatientI adore the C.S. Lewis quote to the right. If a disciple maker has one most important thing to know, this quote says it all. We are all patients in the hands of God. Those who have been walking with Him longer possess the keys that will unlock the mysteries of the faith to new arrivals.

A few great points from this broadcast are:
• 80% of younger women drop out of mentoring programs within three months. They say, “This isn’t working for me.” Due to the structure of a program, it is awkward. The relationship feels forced.
• What needs to change in order to have real influence and impact?
• Teach the younger generation to make godly decisions.

 

I don’t know how long this radio broadcast will remain on the archive pages of Family Life today so please let me know when this link to the broadcast no longer works: “Organic Mentoring

Here is a PDF file of the program transcript as well. Organic Mentoring

Go With What You Know

Since this is my first blog post on this new blog, let me begin by saying I am not a licensed disciple maker. There is no such license to be obtained.

Disciple making is an assignment.

Disciple Makers has been created as a resource for disciple makers or those who want to know what a disciple maker is, does, and how they accomplish the assignment given to all Christians.

I hope you will find encouragement and inspiration to become a disciple maker who influences others for eternity.

Let’s begin by answering some basic questions.

What is a disciple?

A disciple is a learner. The Greek word for disciple is mathetes; to learn, to understand. A learner, pupil. A disciple is an adherent who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct.1

A disciple never stops learning because the Holy Spirit never stops teaching. A disciple can read a familiar passage or verse in their bible for the one hundredth time and glean something they never understood before.Go Make Disciples

A disciple yearns to follow closely, learn incessantly, and joyfully distribute what they are learning.

What is a disciple maker?

A disciple maker is a disciple who distributes what they know and are learning. If you are still learning, then you have all manner of thirst quenching merchandise (knowledge and wisdom) to share with someone else. In all instances, a disciple maker is a disciple who learns along with others in a disciplined progression on the road to godliness.

I was discipled in the early 1980s by a woman who is one month older than I. I wasn’t a believer when we began the process of discipleship training so she had her work cut out for her because I was a very tough nut to crack. This woman was my first introduction to discipleship training and disciple makers. Her role as a disciple maker included evangelism which is not at all uncommon.

I became a believer within months of entering into discipleship training and the Lord opened my heart, soul and mind to become His child and a consuming learner – a disciple. It wasn’t just head knowledge; it was heart knowledge that was being imparted through that courageous disciple maker.

The story of my journey to salvation and discipleship training is available on another post that you can read here.

A question the Body of Christ has been trying to answer for some time now is,

“Why are so few Christians making disciples?” Continue Reading