Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

As I look online for helps in life and ministry, I find things that need to be shared. I call it web slinging for at least 2 reasons:

1. “Web” for world wide web.

2. Web slinging to pay homage to the comic geek that lives within me.

Here are the most recent posts that need to be shared:

Gospel Centered Discipleship had a great post on family worship.

The Resurgence had a post on parenting pitfalls.

Michael Chanley had a post on his blog about leadership essentials for children’s ministry parts 1, 2, and 3.

Here is the latest batch of things that caught my attention around the web:

Gospel Centered Discipleship had a re-post by Justin Buzzard entitled “How to Disciple a New Believer“.

Epic Parent had a eye-opening post on “Acceptable Child Abuse“.  EVERY parent needs to read this.

Kevin Scott had a great post about “Things a Daughter Needs From Her Father“.

Jeff Bethke posted on “10 Things you have to do if you want the next generation to listen“.

Craig Jutila over at Empowering Leaders had a great post on “Questions to ask before making a change“.

Once again, here are some of the tweets that caught my eye.

Joe Thorn
@joethorn
“There is no sweeter fellowship w/ Christ than to bring our wounds & our sores to Him.” – Rutherford

Darrin Patrick
@darrinpatrick
It’s more important to prepare the pastor than to prepare the sermon. Lloyd-Jones

Ray Ortlund
@rayortlund
Your job does not provide for you. God does. He uses your job, but he doesn’t need your job. He is committed to you.

Tim Keller
@DailyKeller
Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.

Burk Parsons
@BurkParsons
We’re not first and foremost preachers, we’re shepherds who preach.

Jared Kennedy
@jaredskennedy
Prayer is the most effective yet counterintuitive strategy for parenting.

J.C. Ryle
@JCRyleQuotes
“A right heart leans on Christ, hangs on Christ, builds on Christ and cleaves to Christ.” ~ J.C. Ryle

D6 Family
@D6family
“The truth is that who we are at home is who we really are.” @robrienow

Dave Kraft
@Krafto
Never forget that leadership is a process, not a position

Paul David Tripp
@PaulTripp
Everything you will ever need to live according to God’s plan today has already been supplied in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Over a year ago I wrote a quick post about small groups and kids. I was basically asking the question, “Can adults and kids grow in the same small (from here forward called ‘community’) group?” After working out some of the kinks, I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is unequivocably, yes!

Let me say up front that I’m not a fan of having community groups where kids aren’t engaged in the study aspect of the group. It seems to me that it’s communicating the wrong message to them, the message of, “This isn’t for you.”

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that kids can be a distraction and that adults need time together with other adults talking about adult issues. I get why groups segregate, I’m just not convinced it’s helping either party.

Here’s What We Do

Our community group meets on Saturday nights at our house. We spend the first half hour eating a meal together and getting caught up with each other. After dinner is (mostly) cleaned up, we move from the kitchen into the living room to do our study. Since we started we have been using Marty Machowski’s family devotional book titled Long Story Short.

Each week the lesson has 5 parts to it. We do the first part together as a group. The rest are completed throughout the week at home as a family. Each lesson takes about 10 minutes to complete. We begin and end the lesson time with prayer, usually led out by one of the children in the room. From there the kids are dismissed to go play upstairs and the adults talk through the lesson, taking it deeper. We ask questions like why our kids need this story (and why we do as well) and how we can apply it ourselves. We end our time together taking prayer requests and praying with and for each other.

The rest of the evening is spent listening to kids make a mess upstairs, before helping them clean up before everyone has to leave so we can all be to church the next day.

This has worked great for us … most of the time. We have our nights where either kids or adults are in a funk and we struggle to get through, but we have more nights where kids are asking great questions that lead to gospel conversations and adults (re)learning how to study the Bible and have fun at the same time.

This is true community … multigenerational community … gospel community.

So far in this revisit we’ve seen God talk to His followers individually, to the family (specifically parents), and to the community of faith. There is one more group of people that God desires our lives to interact with. God’s message isn’t just individual or just for His people alone, ultimately He is looking to redeem an entire culture to Himself. How does He intend to do that?

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:8 – 9

The people of Israel used to take these verses literally. They created little boxes called phylacteries and mezuzots that held verses 4 & 5 as well as other Scriptures, for the purposes of wearing or being displayed. Is this what God desires? Empty ritual with no real heart change?

No, what God desires is that His people live such transformed lives that it is visable to anyone. A heart that is being transformed daily by the power of the Gospel will have visible signs. People should be able to tell the difference between someone who is following hard after God and someone who isn’t. There should be character qualities that are visible.

So why is it hard to see authentic, biblical, gospel & cross centered christianity sometimes?

What we aren’t talking about:
– Simply wearing a “christian” tee-shirt or jewelry.
– Having a cross or two on the walls of our homes.
– Attending a church.
– Just “reading” the Bible and maybe praying every once in a while.

Why? Why don’t these things lead us to a deeper connection with God? They can but, as we have already seen in this study, they must be as an outflow of a heart that God has transformed.

What we are talking about:
– Both our words and our actions point to the glory and grace of God (not ourselves).
– What we do isn’t motivated by personal gain or fulfillment, but is focused on bringing God glory.
– As we interact with those around us, they see that something is different, and want it for themselves.

This all sounds good, but why don’t we see it that way? Two reasons, fear and unbelief. In our culture today, fear dominates. Fear of being labeled “different” or “intolerant” or “over religious/zealous”. Fear also manifests itself in the believer as the constant “tug of war” between my sinfulness and the righteousness of Christ within me.

Unbelief creeps in when we buy into any one of the devil’s lies that tell us we don’t have all the answers. We don’t live like we believe that God doesn’t supply all we need, including words needed “in the moment”.

Ultimately, God desires what He is doing in our hearts to overflow in every aspect of life; our work, our free time, all the time. God doesn’t want to be (and can’t be) put in a box. Don’t live such a shallow christian experience that God only comes out of the box on Sunday. That’s not true Christianity. That’s not being visible.

So, lesson #4 from this Deuteronomy revisit is:
Your faith needs to be visible to the world around you if you are going to have the impact that God desires and demands.

Once God has all our heart (mind and might), and once we understand that we need to be ready to teach what God has put there at all times, (this starts first within us individually, then in our homes where primary influence should be), the question becomes, “What’s next?”

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Deut. 6:4

The message isn’t just for individuals. It isn’t just for families. It is for God’s people. In the Old Testament, the people of God were referred to nationally as “Israel”. When Moses spoke these words, he was addressing the people of God as a whole. As we move through redemptive history and get into the New Testament with Jesus, the “people of God” expand beyond the borders of Israel, and now we call them “the church”.

So, now the church has some responsibility. But what is it? It’s the same as for the individual. Love the Lord your God with all your heart/soul/might, and be ready to talk about it at any time. Why include the church in this conversation? Because the people of the church are in a unique position to influence each other and the community in which they are located. And that is what this is really all about; community. Parents should be the primary influence of their children, but not the only influence. It takes the church to create a culture where faith can thrive. This is part of what discipleship is about.

So lesson #3 for this Deuteronomy 6 revisit is:
Learning to live out faith happens best and most practically within the community of the church.

Last night my family spent some time in the basement. Not because we wanted to, but because we had to. We heard the tornado sirens go off, and down we went (into arguably the creepiest part of our house).

As we were down there, we had an amazing time of conversation and prayer. My daughter, Kate, was … freaking out. She was terrified, crying, almost uncontrollably.

At God’s leading, I started talking to her. We discussed Who was in control (God), Who caused the rain to come (God), and Who loves you more than you can imagine (God). From there we prayed that God would protect us, keep us from fear, and draw us closer to Him through this.

About a half hour later we came out of the basement. The kids fell asleep quickly as Cheryl and I thanked God for what He taught the family.