Category Archives: WITH ALL YOUR HEART

ARE YOU A DISCIPLE-OR? 110215

Father playing chess with sonSo we’ve been talking about “making disciples” for Jesus, as in Matt. 28: 18-20, when Jesus said, “All power is given to Me, in heaven and in earth, so Go and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and [know this], I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  I am satisfied that ‘making disciples’ is the duty of every practicing Christian. You know, “practicing Christian” means a person who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and they have the Spirit of the Living God residing in their own personal hearts and bodies.  (As in 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Don’t you know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit?”)  Earlier, we have defined “practicing Christian” as one who talks to and listens to God during her daily quiet time; and as one who meets with other brothers or sisters weekly to tell each other what God is doing in their lives.

So if practicing Christians make disciples, how do they do it?  Well, that’s a pretty big subject; we probably can’t cover it in 300-400 words; but at least we could talk about how to begin.  Continue reading

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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.

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 5: Making Jesus Lord.102515

Jesus is Lord LetterpressI’m pretty sure most people in America are not ready to let anyone, even Jesus, be the Lord of their lives.  At least no one besides themselves.  We’re all too focused on me.  But God is constantly moving a person in that direction; to give up himself, to “deny himself; to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.”  (Luke 9:23)  To “take up your cross” means this: “I am crucified (I died) with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)  Jesus said that verse in Luke to anyone who wanted to be His disciple (his student, his follower).  If you give up yourself, surrender yourself, deny yourself, die to yourself, then you DO make Jesus the Lord of your life, because He comes in to your own heart and body and fills you with His Own Spirit, and He BECOMES the Lord of your Life.  That’s how you make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Actually Jesus is the One who chooses you and then you let Him come in. (John 15:16)   Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART FOUR.102415

Silhouette illustration of a man praying under the lightSURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE (every day)  In some Christian churches you can ‘get saved’ by walking down the aisle at the end of a service and declaring your allegiance (devotion) to Jesus.  Maybe you fill out a card with some personal information.  Then the pastor introduces you to the congregation and they vote you in on the spot and you’re saved. You’re a full member of the Body of Christ.  You’re going to heaven.  What more need be said?  Well . . .where’s the teaching and the understanding and the commitment?

In other churches you’re baptized into the church as an infant, then when you’re around 12 you go through confirmation, with the intention that you learn the basic principles of the faith and then you make a commitment to follow Jesus, with baptism by the clergy, and hopefully of the Holy Spirit.

Clearly either of these systems is dependent on concerted effort by the church community to teach the Bible, to demonstrate the fundamentals of the faith, to show ’em what it feels like to have a personal relationship with the Living God.  It requires all of us having a consistent commitment to Jesus and to our brothers and sisters in the Body. Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART THREE.102215

Stress Burdens Sticky Notes Reminders for Stressful LifeIn the most recent post on this subject, I discussed that ‘practicing’ Christians follow certain fundamentals in their lives, the way baseball players follow certain fundamentals in playing baseball, and 1] is FOCUS ON GOD EVERY DAY.  I said something like, “Give Him some time and attention”.

Just this week I’ve been reminded that there are a lot of distractions in the world that keep us from (or impede our progress in) building this kind of relationship with Jesus.  I’m talking A LOT of distractions.  Some of them large and threatening, others apparently small and insignificant, but just as distracting.  Many of these are serious problems that require a great deal of time and attention, particularly in the eyes of well-meaning, God-fearing, Bible-believing people.  Things such as the state of our nation; the many astounding changes in our culture regarding sex, marriage, constitutional issues, leadership problems, immigration, liberal vs conservative disputes, and others too numerous to mention.  There are many, many things wrong, and someone just MUST do something about them.  All are legitimate concerns that require attention.

On the next level are all the things that we have to do TODAY!  Depending on what stage of life you’re at right now, Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN PART TWO.102115

Young christian woman turning pages of the Bible searching for promisesPracticing being a Christian is sorta like practicing to be a baseball player.  If you want to be a good baseball player, you do it every day; you focus your attention on it, you replay the game in you mind, you dream about making it to “The Bigs”.  But most of all, you stay focused on the fundamentals. The fundamentals in baseball are throw, catch and bat.  Being a Christian is a lot like that.  Practicing Christians do it every day too, they practice THE FUNDAMENTALS every  day; they 1] FOCUS ON GOD EVERY DAY; give Him some time and attention 2] SURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF THEIR LIFE (every day) 3] READ THE BIBLE and some Devotional 4] PRAY and MEDITATE on what they’ve read; 5] LISTEN FOR GOD to tell them what to do about it. Continue reading

FROM WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN.101915

Beautiful female ballet dancer on a grey background. Ballerina is wearing an orange tutu, pink stockings and pointe shoes.In Luke 12:48, Jesus said to his disciples, “ . . . From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

I’ve told all my kids this verse.  I’ve explained to them that God has given them a brain and other gifts and talents and He expects them to use those gifts to help themselves and to help others.  He didn’t give them special gifts and talents so they could waste them on just themselves, or ignore those gifts and not use them for the glory of God and for the good of people.  He wants them, and all of us, to recognize the talents and gifts we have and use them to their full advantage.

This principle applies to our spiritual lives as well as to our natural lives.  ‘Course we all know that Jesus was talking about spiritual things when He told his parable about the Master and the servant.   He says, “Who then does the Master trust?”  He trusts the one who He finds doing his job, being obedient to do what God has told him to do, what He has prepared him to do, with his God-given talents and resources, not wasting his time and his talents.  I just love the concept that God trusts us, just like we’re supposed to trust Him.  We’re pleasing to God when we do His will by being obedient to work WITH God to accomplish His purposes on this earth.  How’s that for a high calling?!  He says, “Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when he comes.”

Best I can tell obedience is one of the highest virtues in a servant of Jesus Christ.  This is one of those duties we should fulfill, not grudgingly, but with all our hearts and all our souls and all our strength and all our minds.  Just like the way we’re supposed to love and trust God, with all our hearts .  .  .