Tag Archives: #1 essential for disciple makers

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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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.

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