Tag Archives: teaching disciples

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.

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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!

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

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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!