Category Archives: PRACTICING CHRISTIAN

SPEAKING SPANISH IS AN ACT OF LOVE.110815

smiley fashion designer holding tailors scissors and looking at cameraSo I went to the fabric store with my wife yesterday.  I’m telling you, my wife knows more about fabric and fabric stores than most of the people who work there.  She is buds with almost all the little ladies that work in the fabric stores in our area; on a first-name basis, if you know what I mean.  My job was to hold her place in line at the cutting table while she picked out the material and the pattern she needed.  So mostly I just get to watch and listen; maybe put in a little side-bar or two.

There were two ladies working the cutting tables, measuring and cutting the material.  At my table was a grandmother and her late teen granddaughter buying bright picture-pattern fleece material.  The cutting lady was showing them how to do some complicated sewing maneuver.  I said, “This is a great store.  You can buy material and get free sewing lessons.”  We all laughed.  The grandma said, “We need all the help we can get.”

At the other table was a family of Hispanic ladies, an ‘older’ lady (not as old as me, but older than the others), two younger ladies and two or three children.  Continue reading

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MAKING DISCIPLES, HOW DO YOU DO IT? 110315

Teenager having daily devotional at home. Christian lifestyle. Peace and love while prayingIf you’re going to make a disciple, presumably you’re going to teach ’em something.  So what are you thinking about teaching them?  I’m of the opinion that if you want to have a lasting effect on someone, the best thing you can do is change their behavior; more to the point, you create some new habit that will stay with them for a long time, like having a quiet time: reading the Bible and some devotional and then talking and listening to God for a few minutes early in the morning each day.  If you don’t do anything but that, and it sticks, it’ll have a profound effect on their lives forever after.

But let me tell you.  It’s not easy to get people started on a new habit, even if it’s short; even if it gives them a whole new outlook on life; even if it changes their hearts and eventually changes their lives.  I’ve talked to my kids (I have four) about this subject on repeated occasions, and so far two have really gotten it.  I’m still waiting, and hoping, and praying that they will get it and keep it forever.  But it just doesn’t work to brow-beat them about it.  Some days I think repetition is the key.  On a good day, maybe they’ll say “Yes, I’ll do it.”  But it’s easy to fall off the wagon, even when you’ve been doing it for a long time.  I know that from experience, so I’m pretty unjudgmental about how, where, and when they have a quiet time.  The really great thing is, God is working! He’s moving in their lives, even when I’m not looking.

 

KBMT FOR JESUS #2. 103115

IMG_7045 (1)A lot of Christians think the process of making disciples is reserved for clergymen (aka pastors and priests), missionaries and others who are particularly called to this area of ministry; and the rest of us are supposed to sit in the pews, listen to them talk about God, pray a little, send a little money, and be satisfied that we have done God’s will.

But if you’re a “practicing” Christian, and you’ve been developing a personal relationship with Jesus thru a daily quiet time and weekly sharing with others in a small group, you already know that making disciples is part of God’s plan for your own personal life. (and I bet you are already developing those relationships  to make disciples, even though you may not yet realize that’s what’s happening or that’s what you call it.) You know, this discipleship process is ALL about developing relationships.

Since long before you and I even thought of it, God (by His Spirit) has been preparing the hearts of the people He wants you and me to touch for Jesus.  The main point of ‘making disciples’ is that you have to trust Jesus and obey Him in order to do His will in this.  Because He has all power, like it says in Matt. 28:18, and He is going to do His will in us, it will only happen as we surrender ourselves to Him, and let Him work through us to touch the lives of others.

KBMT FOR JESUS #1.2TIM2:2.103115

Business concept image of a businessman pointing Coaching icon on virtual screen over blue backgroundThe word ‘disciple’ as used in the Bible, means ‘follower’ or ‘one who is taught’, that is ‘a student’.  But it’s more than a student, because these people devoted all their time and energy to the process.  They lived with their teacher.  In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says  to Timothy, “You have learned many things from me, on many occasions, so teach those things to trustworthy people who will be able to teach others also.” These relationships are the process for making disciples.  In Matt. 28:18-20, Jesus says, “Go make disciples .  .  .”; and He had already started the process, with His first twelve disciples, (later known as apostles).  He taught them, and other followers, for three years.  Later He commissioned Paul as one of His disciples, in a dark room in Damascus.

Paul knew Jesus, and Jesus (by His Spirit) taught Paul to be a disciple, to make disciples, and to teach others to make disciples. Timothy knew Paul, and Paul taught Timothy . . . Trustworthy people knew Timothy, and Timothy taught them . . . Others knew those trustworthy people, and those trustworthy people taught them . . . and those ‘Others’ taught still others, right down to today.

I’m convinced that every person who has made a commitment to Jesus should be moving up this continuum of Know a disciple, Be a disciple, Make disciples and Teach others to make disciples for Jesus, from the time we first come to know Jesus until we meet Him in heaven.  We are able to do this because Jesus has empowered us BY HIS SPIRIT within us. This is the primary means God uses to change the world, by changing people from the inside out, and sending them into the world as his ambassadors.

So where are you in this process of making disciples?  You may be like me.  I’m old, and I just recently figured out I was supposed to be making disciples.  Or you may be ‘just a kid’ who is truly excited about the fact that the Spirit is moving in your life.  But no matter when you come to the revelation that you belong to Jesus and He belongs to you, right then you begin to see and develop discipleship relationships with the people God puts in your life, whether you’re intending to or not.  This is truly a Spiritual adventure!

You’ve heard the term ‘mentor’; in this case a disciple is someone who continues to learn from Jesus while she is spending time teaching others; someone who not only teaches you facts, but also shows you (demonstrates) how to live.  That’s who a disciple is and that’s what a disciple does.  Only difference is they are doing it, not just for the student (or for the teacher), but even more, they’re doing it for Jesus, by His Power that works within them.

SHARING YOURSELF.103015

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeAwhile ago we started talking about what it means to be a “Practicing Christian”.  We suggested that a “Practicing Christian” is one who practices the fundamentals of Christianity, which include focusing on God every day; making Jesus the Lord of your life; having a quiet time which includes reading the Bible and some devotional, praying, meditating and listening to God (every day); and sharing yourself, your life and your knowledge of God with others, through prayer and share, Bible studies, Church and Christian activities (every day).  You notice I’m stuck on the part about ‘every day’.  That’s what Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would follow Me [be My disciple, My student, My follower], let him deny himself, take up his cross DAILY, and follow Me.”

So today we’re talking about sharing yourself.  After you’ve spent a little time focusing on God and doing the things that are listed above, you’ll see that your relationship with God is beginning to develop, and without even trying you start feeling the urge to say something to other people about what’s happening to you in your heart.  (It’s that change that the Greeks call metamorphosis, sometimes translated into English as “transformation”.)  It’s the same thing that happens when a caterpillar changes from a worm into a butterfly.  That’s us, when we start to spend time focusing on God.  Paul talks about it Romans 12:2. Continue reading

PRAYER AND MEDITATION.102915

Young man holding Bible and praying by windowIt’s sad to say, but a lot of people think prayer is solely about asking for stuff, especially in an emergency.  Even sadder is that a lot of them only pray in an emergency.  Makes for a strained relationship with God, if the only time you talk to Him is when you need something, especially only when you are in dire straits.  I’ve heard a lot of parents say that it makes them sad that their college age kids, or even young adult children, only call them when they need money.  Sounds like the kids don’t really care about having a real relationship with their parents.

But you know, God’s not like that.  He really wants to have a close, personal, dare I say intimate relationship with you.  He already knows all about you anyway.  He’s been looking at your heart.  Why shouldn’t you really let Him in and begin to develop a relationship with Him where you know a lot more about Him.  Get intimately acquainted with God.  For my money, that’s what prayer is, and should be about.

Oh, about meditation.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 7: Daily Quiet Time, Part 2.Devotional.102715

Surprised woman using laptop in parkI started reading the Bible pretty regularly fairly early in my life (maybe age 35-40) It was quite a bit later when I started reading a devotional every day.  In fact it was in 2000, after I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, in my weekly ‘Reunion Group’ they would start their meetings by reading that day’s devotional from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.  Someone gave me a copy, and I started reading it (every day).  I’d write down what it meant to me.  Then I’d compare my daily Bible verse from my list with Oswald’s point(s), and I’d try to figure out what God was trying to say to me from those two sources, taken together.  I got some amazing revelations from Him in those little sessions.  I’m still doing that, 15 years later.  But now I’ve started including two or three additional daily devotionals from various writers, like Brennan Manning, or Charles Stanley, or Max Lucado, or Alistair Begg, all of whom I respect as committed men of God.  In my journal I write down the most important point from each one’s post for that day, and then compare them to see how they fit together.   Again, major revelations appear from those short readings and comparisons.  Continue reading