discipleship

What Our Church Really Needs

There is a huge difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is an accurate understanding of truth. Wisdom is understanding and living in the light of how that truth applies to the situations and relationships of our daily lives. Knowledge is an exercise of your brain. Wisdom is the commitment of your heart that leads to transformation in your life.

Watch yourself

There are two poems that mean a lot to me and my walk.  I like them both because they impact my life in the way that I walk and the way I want to share my life with others.  This past weekend I lead our men's group and we talked about discipleship.  I asked three of my leaders to come up to the front with me and to share what discipleship means to them.  Along with that, I asked them so questions like why do they do what they do?  Why do they stand in the gap?  In God's math, do they feel like they get more than they give? discipledock

One of the poems that I really like (and quote often) is the 5 watches:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”  - Frank Outlaw

W - watch your words - Matthew 12:37  (NIV) 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Psalm 141:3 (NIV) 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;  keep watch over the door of my lips.  Scripture says what needs to be said here.

A - watch your actions -  1 Peter 2:12 (NIV) 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

T - watch your thoughts - Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Why are we, as disciples, called to renew our minds?  Simply put, we were once lost but now are found.  For those of us that bear the Fruit of the Spirit, we know that there is a war that goes on from our old selves to our new selves (in Christ) and we have to put that old self (and its thoughts) to death daily.

C -  watch your character - 1 Timothy 4:16 (NIV) 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

H - watch your habits - Psalm 119:56 (NIV) 56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts (a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought).

We are called to go and make disciples.  We are called to renew our minds.  We are called to love our brothers.

As striving to be the disciples that Jesus wants us to be, then we have to understand that nothing we can do can ever erase the debt or earn our way into heaven - Jesus paid it all.  Jesus is the answer.  Therefore, as disciples, what are we called to do:

  • to be pure (God is Holy)
  • to stewardship (of our time, of our talent and of our treasure) - It's all God's.  What we do with it will either give him all the honor and glory or it will give it to the world.  Whom will you serve?
  • to discipleship - how we live, even without words, should imitate Jesus and our lives should point others to Jesus.

I will even challenge you on this.  If we look at our walks in 3 steps:  Biblical purity, biblical stewardship and then discipleship, then I want to challenge you on this question:  How can we be an effective disciple (being more Christ-like) if we do not hone in on purity and stewardship (of a time, talent and treasure) before we can become a serious disciple.  Acts 11:26b (NIV)  says this: "So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."  Did you catch that?  When they first became born-again (profess and confess and transformed) their lives a new in Jesus Christ they were known as Christians.  As they walked with Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for a whole year they were then known as disciples.  A Sensei literally means one who has gone before.  Both Barnabas and Paul were sinners, saved by grace, and went before the others as Apostles.  They met men and women where they were and did life with them together in relationship.  They taught them, shared with them and prayed with them.  They were in Scripture together and talking about real life issues and providing for one another.  They were first called Christians and then, after a year, they were known as disciples of Jesus Christ.

If the world is watching us (and they are), is our life pointing them to our old self (our old sin nature) or our new self in Jesus Christ.  Is our life pointing them to the Savior?  If they look at our purity (are we striving toward holiness as we are commanded?)  If they look at our stewardship (investment, giving, serving, and so on) does that point them to Jesus?  If we have purity and stewardship (this does not mean that we have it altogether and we live perfect sinless lives - of course we cannot), but it does mean that the Spirit and His Fruit is present in our lives.  We show humility and love in all circumstances.  Do you think that would be an effective disciple?  I most certainly do!  Challenge - look at Scripture and tell me whether or not you agree with me?

Watch your thoughts, they do become words.

Watch your words, they do become actions.

Watch your actions, they do become habits.

Watch your habits, they do become your character.

Watch your character, it does become your destiny.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

The Doctrine Of The Four Chairs

Which chair are you? Yesterday I had the privilege of attending an "Iron Sharpens Iron" event in New Lenox, Illinois.  We saw a host of speakers and had the options to spend 75 minutes in between to talk with other speakers in breakout sessions.  The morning Keynote Speaker was Mr. Adrian Despres and who spoke on the principles of four chairs.  The first chair is what a true disciple of Christ would be.

aLDchairsHe would be an individual who is walking by faith, praying and living by the very words of what Jesus calls us to do - Trust and Obey and to follow his precepts and to be totally and completely reliable on Him for our daily bread.  In other words, the first chair Christian allows Jesus to be Lord over his entire life.

The second chair Christian is one who is more of a "pew sitter" instead of a "heavy hitter" for the Kingdom (aka "The first chair").  The second chair is what the Book of Revelation calls the lukewarm Christian. Remember what Jesus said, that He would rather have that Christian be cold or hot, but as lukewarm, he considers the second chair as puke in his mouth and would rather spit you out.  Adrian, then skipped the third chair and referred to the fourth chair as the unsaved chair.  Maybe he is someone who is seeking the Kingdom of God and wants a relationship with Christ, but because of the examples of the second and third chair he could become disgusted with the "body" of Christ (that church) and walk away calling chair number one and two - unloving, judgmental, hypocrites who practice Truth more than Grace.  Now, chair number three, Adrian referred to as the most dangerous chair in the body of Christ.

This is someone who may have grown up in the church, knows Scripture better than most and has pretended to play church their entire life.  This person may, at Judgement, say to Jesus, "Lord, Lord, save me"  And Jesus will say, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."  This chair is a fake and this life is not reflecting any of the Fruit of the Spirit that we find in Galatians Chapter 5.  Fourchairs Here is the thing, whatever chair you are in right now, that doesn't matter to God, because He still loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His only son for you.  You have to make an honest confession right now with what chair you are sitting in and not only repent to God and give that up if you are in #2, #3 and or #4.  If you are in #1 then get serious, stay focused and work on changing the second and third and reaching the fourth chair.  If you are #2, #3 and or #4, then repent.  Confess your sin to God and move over to Chair #1.  To God be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.

By the way, if you get a chance to see this great Evangelist, then by all means look him up!