For several years I’ve been writing this book, and after many ups and downs, God let it be published. It’s about discipleship, but it’s not your standard book on the subject. The other day I was at the bank talking to them about opening a new bank account for marketing and promotion of the book, and I was talking to the bank manager and one of the cashiers named Polly. I showed them a copy I just happened to have handy (Ha!). I told them a little about it, and I mentioned that it was available on the Barnes and Noble website on the ‘Net’. I said I had been looking at their website and they had the first 29 pages of the book as a ‘reading sample’. I thought that was pretty cool. They were nice and said they thought it was really neat that I had actually gotten a book published! I said, “Thanks.”
The very next day I was back in the bank, with all my paperwork in hand, to open that new account. I was sitting at the manager’s desk, talking about the particulars, when Polly came up behind me, put her hands on my shoulders, leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I read the first 29 pages of your book, and I really like it. I’ve been thinking for a long time that God wants me to be a missionary, and your book really inspired me.” She walked away. I sat there thinking, “Even if this book never amounts to a hill of beans, God has used it to touch someone’s life.” Praise the Lord! Continue reading →
“I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye.” Disciples Indeed, Oswald Chambers.
Matthew 7:21, 24-27: 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter . . .” 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. . . . 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. . . .” NLT
What is the “will of the Father”? For us to do what Jesus says. In John 5:24, Jesus said, “If you [pay attention to] (heed, obey) what I say, and trust Him who sent Me, you have eternal life; you will never be condemned; you have passed from death unto life.”
But don’t just say the words. God is looking at your heart. He knows if your heart has been changed.
James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
What is this message? Take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. If you take care of the orphans and the widows, God will take care of you. How do you do it? There are several ways. You can make their needs your needs. You can give them food, shelter and money; and that is very important, considering that so many of them really don’t have enough. You can do what it says in this verse. You can visit them. You can become involved in their lives. You can let them into your heart. If you open the door just a little, they’ll come in, and your life will be changed. (forever)
Some people actually adopt children. It’s a hard process, but so fulfilling if you just persevere. There are many people out there who are actually called to be foster parents (like preachers are called to the ministry). Some of them start out doing it for what little it pays; but more often than not, they too are changed. It’s because of that love that God puts in our hearts. But many kids stay in foster care until they ‘age out’, without ever being adopted. Often it’s because of behavioral issues; or learning disabilities; or prenatal drug addiction. Sometimes four or five kids from one family become orphans in one fateful accident. CPS just can’t keep them all together, and they become ‘lost in the system’. (one by one) There’s a group called ‘Foundation for Christian Adoptions’ whose mission is to find and help families who are willing to adopt sibling groups. They do it in all kinds of ways; from making connections between the kids and the parents, to providing housing for such families.
The world is full of ways to help. Get on the ‘Net and see. God is calling us all to come to the aid of our brothers and sisters in need, especially those who need a momma and a daddy to love them.
You’ve heard that old song, “If it’s good for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me.” There’s lot of stuff from “the good ole days” that IS good enough for me. I mean not from ‘their’ era, but from the days of my youth. Good ole Gospel singing. Billy Graham preaching. Maybe even a tent revival with preachers speaking the truth of God, and the people truly rising to the occasion and meeting the Spirit with their hearts. It’s been a long time since I experienced the movement of the Spirit like that.
But as it applies to ‘making disciples’, what I experienced when I was young fell short of what I now perceive as God’s will for our lives as disciples of Jesus. Even now-a-days I find much of the teaching in churches about discipleship is pretty dry and academic. I hear about programs for college kids where they spend the summers working at jobs and spending all their ‘free’ time walking the beaches talking to people about Jesus. High intensity training in making disciples. In six to eight weeks each kid gets to talk to several hundred (200-300) people. People are getting saved, making a commitment to Jesus. Their lives are being transformed; the kids (the evangelists) as much as their contacts. No matter what they do for God in the future, it changes their whole perspective on what it means to “follow” Jesus. Continue reading →
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.
It’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.
Just for the record, a “Daily Quiet Time”, is a short (maybe 15 minute) time each morning when we focus our attention on talking to, and listening to, God. It usually begins with reading a Bible verse or two, and a short devotional from some brother or sister or group, concerning our lives and our hearts as Christians, and writing in a journal the main point of the verse and the devotional. It ends with a period of sitting (or kneeling) alone, in the Presence of God, and thinking about what I’ve read, how it applies to my life and what is happening to me today, and listening for God to tell me what I should do or think about it. That’s where the revelations come in. Do you know that verse/passage in Matthew 11:25-28, where Jesus is talking to God, and He says, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent andhave REVEALED them to babes.
I haven’t been having a “daily quiet time” all my life. I didn’t know what one was, or even hear the expression till about 10 years ago. I guess I’ve been reading the Bible early in the morning almost every day for maybe 20 years or longer. Continue reading →