Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Facets of Discipleship

How many of us know scriptures? It's a lot. Yet, we find that many Christians feel lost or ineffective in their walk with their Lord and Savior.

Discipleship is the mechanism for guiding new and self proclaimed, ineffective Christians, to a clear and productive walk. So, if you're going "all in" to seek the Lord, you'll find that in a discipleship relationship, you won't just walk. You'll run!

Teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Discipleship is more than just taking a class or hanging out with a knowledgeable brother or sister in the Lord. Discipleship takes the form of an intimate relationship between two brothers or two sisters in the Lord.

In a discipleship relationship you will experience a close relationship with someone who will help you understand who God is and His plan for this universe. They will guide you in understanding who we are in Christ, how to walk with the Lord and inform our ministry.

In this discipleship relationship, the "discipler," uses several skills, their experience and the wisdom that the Lord has developed within them. These all get expressed through mentoring, teaching and coaching.

Mentoring

A mentor is a wise and trusted advisor. In business, it is the practice of assigning a junior member of staff to the care of a more experienced person as a tutor and a coach. We see in the scriptures where Jesus and Paul express their mentoring role.

And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." - Mark 1:17 NASB
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. - Philippians 3:17 NLT

Teaching

Good, insightful teaching of the scriptures can sometimes be hard to come by. A disciplers work is not to give good advice, either as a dad, a husband, a friend, or a close coworker. A discipler is focused on introducing the disciple to their God and Savior.

The disciple and the Lord will work through the problem solving, overcoming and purpose in the disciples life. The discipler merely teaches the disciple to walk in that relationship. Once the disciple is rich in their walk with the Lord the discipler has one last role... get out of the way and go find another disciple! :-)

A discipler will strategically teach, correct, restore, answer questions, and guide in accordance to the scriptures.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB

Coaching


A coach is an expert listener who uses direct communication and asks questions. Not just any questions. A coach asks the questions that a disciple can't or won't ask about their walk with the Lord. The "can't," might be a type of question that the disciple doesn't know to ask. The "won't" is the type of question that a disciple is afraid to ask.

There are many good examples of coaching in the scriptures and as you can imagine, Jesus was highly effective in this skill.

Then he asked them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" - Mark 4:40 NLT - Powerful Questioning for Self Awareness
... he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" ... Then he asked them, "But who do you say I am?" - Mark 8:27, 29 NLT - Powerful Questioning for Distinction and Clarity
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? - Mark 8:36 NLT  - Powerful Questioning for Perspective
Jesus answered them with a question: "What did Moses say in the law about divorce?" - Mark 10:3 NLT  - Powerful Questioning to Drawout Information
But Jesus responded, "He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts." - Mark 10:5 NLT  - Direct Communication to Add Insight

Coaching guides in understanding, that leads to meaningful and consistent action. It's nurtures deep thinking to reinforce the mindset of a disciple for sustained fortitude in their walk.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Enhanced Perspective

Have you ever wondered why there are so many great Christian men and women that read the same scriptures and come to so many different and seemingly contradictory conclusions? Well, me too! There's actually a good way to understand this phenomenon, and understanding it can really help us in our discipling.


Perspective and fluid circumstances, are things that can be difficult to get our mind wrapped around. If only we were like the Lord and had unlimited knowledge. Yet, we will find that we don't need all knowledge if we have a great thinking strategy.

One reason we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our mind is because when we come to the Lord we think like the world. The challenge to transition our thinking is analogous to the question, "does a fish know he is in water?"

How can we take on God's thinking process when we are not even sure where the boundaries of our worldly thinking lie?

Jesus thought in ways that were foreign to everyone on the planet. He used parables, teachings and penetrating questioning to either enhance and/or disrupt worldly thinking and instill the mind of Christ. His perspective was extraordinary and had to be "discipled" or should I say, taught, mentored, coached and demonstrated.

Knowledge Impacts Perspective

Let's use a metaphor to illustrate "perspective," and why it is not our enemy and can be embraced. Understanding the concept of "perspective," will have the effect of bringing us closer to our brothers and sisters in the Lord and thereby bring us closer to our Father.

If I hand you a photo of a backpack laying on a table and ask you to describe everything you know about it, you can only give me so much information.

If I walk you around the table that the backpack is sitting on, you can give me even more information. In fact, there may be something that you would describe differently, now that you have more information. Yet, we still don't have all the information that we could have.

Next, I'll have you handle the bag. As you lift the backpack from the table you feel the weight. You can feel the material it's made of. You can tell if the bag is wet or dry. You can now, examine the harness, the pockets, the secret pockets, the loops, etc.

You can test the capacity by adding things to it and you can play with the adjustments on the harness. You can describe the contents and tell me if the water bottle has hot or cold liquid in it. Maybe you thought it was empty before you held it? Maybe you didn't even see the bottle in the picture?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Discipleship is the Next Step

There are three basic ingredients that go into our walk with the Lord. Prayer, reading the scriptures and connecting with other Christians. As much as we are grateful to the Lord for our new life, we still find that we struggle to do even these seemingly simple things. Why is that?

If you find someone who will take the time to walk in a discipleship relationship, don't let them get away.

It's because we do not understand the process of growing in the Lord. We need to be discipled. It is a vital part of coming to know the Lord and designed to bring us together that we can be of one mind, as the scriptures instruct us to do.

Without discipleship, we see growing in our walk much differently than the Lord does. In fact, the ways of the Lord are difficult to understand until we grow into them.

As a new creation in Christ we grow through having our mind renewed. There is a way that God sees that we cannot. God has a thought process that our old nature, which is the only way we knew, cannot understand.

We need to adopt a new way of thinking or we simply will not know God or who He is. We cannot become like Him, until we think like Him.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT 
So this begs the question, if I don't know God's ways, then how in the world can I grow?

A Mystery Revealed

Yep! It's a mystery. Fortunately, the mystery has been revealed to those who are in Christ. The answer is discipleship!

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God--his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. - 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 NLT

The ability to grow in Christ was formerly not possible. This is because we did not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us until Jesus sent Him to us. God in us, the hope of glory is the mystery revealed. He is the mechanism by which one learns, grows and teaches in Christ
But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. - 1 Corinthians 2:14 NLT

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Path of Repentance

We continue to drill down through the Three Phases of Salvation, into Sanctification, and finally, with a focus on repentance.

Repentance & Renewing Your Mind

There will certainly be more to be said about all of the aspects of falling into sin and returning to obedience but here is a quick outline to use as a guide when we do fall. The path of repentance is the process of recovering from our sin and is the mechanism of renewing our mind.

The Path of Repentance

~~~~~~~

Falling Into Sin

So, let's say we fall into sin. Jesus takes up our case and presents it to our Father. 

The Path to Repentance - Sin

~~~~~~~

Conviction

The Holy Spirit then immediately brings conviction.

The Path to Repentance - Conviction

~~~~~~~


Godly Sorrow

This conviction brings sorrow. If we have a worldly sorrow we remain in our sin and ineffective. If we have a Godly sorrow it will bring us to repentance... every time! 

Sorrow can be as quick as, "Wow! I know that is not who I am in Christ and I want to be like Jesus!" It can also be as deep as the sinner who falls to his knees crying out to God, "I am a sinner and so far from you!" You will most likely find a deeper sorrow for a deeper sin. It all comes down to how much you hate a particular sin.

An important thing to note here, is that sorrow is not repentance. Sorrow is it's own work. Repentance is it's own work as well. They go together but are not the same thing.

The Path to Repentance - Sorrow