Disciple-Making Pastor, Part 6

The Understanding of a Disciple Making Pastor:

He commits time and resources to this effort. He understands the big picture – ideology, revolution for structural change. Theology of the church must be secure.

  1. The kingdom is the model: (Matthew 12:28, Luke 17:20-21, Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14, Mark 6:12).
  2. The cross is the means: with respect for resource and character, not methodology – (Mark 10:45, Mark 8:31-34).
  3. The commission is the method: clearly understood objectives produce sustained conviction. The church exists for mission – salt, light, leaven, a family, kingdom of priests, building, body, temple.
  4. The coming is the motive: to strengthen convictions and bring personal rewards (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) and accountability (what would we do without exams?).

The Commitment of a Disciple-Making Pastor:

Placing Disciple Making at the Heart of the Church (Isaiah 29:13). Why so often disciple-making gets only lip service? First, a belief that discipleship is a program that fits into a department of the church. Second, the pastor does not always make disciple-making his personal responsibility, Third, disciple-making may be believed to be too narrow for the local church (for only a small group of ultra-committed soldiers of the church).

  1. Proclaim is from the pulpit.
  2. Write it down and make it church dogma.
  3. Model disciple-making at the staff level.

Providing Clear Identification and Communication: avoid fuzzy thinking and call people toward obedient action of making disciples. The pastor is in charge of the cardiovascular concept, care for the heart of the church.

Proclaiming Priesthood of All Believers: (1 Peter 2:5, 9, Revelation 5:10) – Christians have the authority and responsibility to minister for Christ as the priesthood traditionally did. The word “called” (kletos) means vocation (1 Corinthians 1:26, Ephesians 4:1, Romans 1:6-7, Ephesians 4:11-12, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

  1. Pastor gives permission.
  2. Pastor gives direction – Reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18-21), Edification (Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Peter 4:10-11), Physical need (Luke 4:18-19)
  3. Pastor give training.

Planning on a Process of Multiplication: You did not choose Me but I chose you, to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last (John 15:8). Would you rather have $1 million today or 1 penny today doubled each day for 30 days? ($10,737,418.24). The world will not be reached through addition!

Prioritizing Disciple-Making: (Matthew 28:18-20). Fruit is expected (John 15:8, 16).

Proper Selection of Personnel: (2 Timothy 2:2). Multiplication requires several passes of the baton. Multiplication requires that those who have it pass it on. Multiplication means passing the baton to the right people (reliability) – Luke 16:10, 1 Corinthians 4:2). Multiplication means passing it on to qualified people (proven they can be trusted) – giftedness and suitability, not spirituality.

Set Apart From Birth

This is the first part in a series on the life of the apostle Paul. First off, using the term, “the apostle Paul” may conjure up images of some holy man, spiritual mystic, saintly statue or iconoclastic portrait, but in the original language of the New Testament (Greek), the term apostle really means “one who is sent out.” That is exactly what happened to Paul in the New Testament, he was called by God and sent out with a message. That is what we read about in the book of Acts; Paul and his missionary journeys take up most of the book’s content.

The passage today is from Galatians 1:15-16, where Paul tells us that he was set apart from birth and called by God; that the Father revealed the Son to him so that he might preach to the nations. The question comes, what may have been the upbringing of Paul? In what sort of home was he raised? Taken from Scripture and the Code of Jewish Law (which for centuries has been the foundation of Jewish life), Paul’s life was surrounded by Jewish custom and tradition, and guided his Jewish moral, social and religious behavior.

In Galatians 1:15-16, since Paul mentions being set apart from birth, he describes the rite of circumcision, which is the sign of the covenant (going all the way back to Abraham, Genesis 17:2, 7, 9, 10, 14). Paul includes in his testimony that he was the son of a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), a topic on which I will follow up next time.

The Jewish household was surrounded by Scripture, even from the very front door of the home. A mezuzah (the little container attached to the doorpost) contained a portion of sacred Scripture from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. These are the bedrock of the Jewish faith.

There were three priorities for the devout Jew: study of the Torah (the Law of Moses), marriage, and doing good deeds. I’ll save the look into Paul’s boyhood home for next time.

So, what does this all have to do with us today? When was the last time you looked at your spiritual past? From where did you come? How far has the Lord brought you? You know more than anyone where you have been, and out of what God has saved you. Do you understand that what he has done in your life is no accident? We can also have the same response as Paul, that we have been called from birth. Circumcision is not the issue, but once we have come into a relationship with Christ, we can begin to see that He has guided us down a path that includes providential care and provision. We might not see it during the early or dark days, but hindsight is always 20/20, we can see how God has led us to where we are today. Take time this day to rejoice in what God has done in your life.

Secondly, how committed are you to the Word of God? Does your soul hunger and thirst for the things of God? Do you long to hear from Him? Do the Scriptures comfort your soul and fill your spirit? How do you handle the Word of God? Do your kids know how much the Bible means to you and your spiritual life? Do they see you reading from it and do you teach its principles each day?

One last question: do you sense the need and urgency to make necessary changes to become all that God desires for you to be? Not just for your own sake, but for your family’s sake.

Pursuing Excellence

I’ve read that leaders pursue excellence. They lead their organizations, their families, their businesses, and their lives striving for their best. No one wants to settle for second best. Check out what was said about Jesus…

They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything He does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.” — Mark 7:37

I sense that Jesus was committed to excellence. We read in John 3:16 that God gave his very best–his Son. Likewise, as Mark reminds us, God’s Son gave his very best–his life (Mark 10:45). He prepared the best food (Matthew 13:19-20), made the best wine (John 2:9, 10), and the arms He healed were completely restored (see Mark 3:1, 5). Since we are to be in the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) we should do no less. Less than our best is inadequate, considering the fact that God gave us His very best.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Whatever our role, our position, our organization, or our lot in life, we must strive for our best. The measure of our success is not attached to our career or what we earn but to our character and what we give back.

From my days as a basketball player in school, excellence does not mean you’ll always win, or being the best, but it means being your best. Just as sanctification is becoming more like Jesus every day, excellence is being better today than you were yesterday.

I’ve heard it said that some people have fame thrust upon them. Think about it, very few men have excellence thrust upon them. Excellence is achieved and earned. So, what changes do you need to make so that people may say of you, “Everything He does is wonderful” (Mark 7:37)?

[print_link] [email_link]

How Do You Spell Love?

How’s your summer going? Bethany is on the MFuge trip to Phillly this week and I stopped to think about how fast the summer is passing by. There are only a few weeks left until she heads back to school.

That got me thinking…

Now would be a good time for the Men of Steel to consider how much time we’ve spent with our kids this summer, and how important it is to them that we do. I’m talking about personal, individual time.

Has it been minimal, or have you intentionally put your work and personal interests on hold so that you can invade your child’s world?

Have you spent time reading together? Talking together? Gone on walks, hikes, bike rides? Taken a family vacation together? Gone swimming together? Taken your daughter out on dates? Gone fishing, canoeing, or a ton of other fun outdoor activities with your son?

I read a great quote this week: “The thing our children need most is often in the shortest supply — our time.”

They don’t care or need the “stuff” that a good paying job with long hours can provide. Children of all ages spell love T-I-M-E.

So, before you begin this mental review of your summer schedule, watch this brief video. Hold on to the very end, it’s powerful.

[print_link]  [email_link]

When You Lose Your Way

Life can be hard, no denying that fact. We work all day, try to be a faithful and loving husband and good and nurturing father, a good employee or boss, a good neighbor and friend, a man of integrity… you try to catch a break every once in a while but then life still falls apart. We eventually ask a similar question as the disciples regarding the blind man, “Who sinned, him or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?” (John 9:2). What did I do to deserve this?

At times we feel as if God is out to get us. Why is that? Why do we not recognize that God is actually the one holding our lives together and the outright assault on our lives is really from our adversary and enemy (who is like a roaring lion ready to devour – 1 Peter 5:8)?

I listen to K-Love radio (when Bethany is in the car, 90.7 fm in Va Beach) and Toby Mac has a recent song with great lyrics (as usual):

You turned away when I looked you in the eye,
And hesitated when I asked if you were alright,
Seems like you’re fighting for your life, but why? Oh why?

Have we been there? Don’t turn away when someone reaches out to you. Remember that no man is an island. How often do we get asked the question, “How are you?” and we casually reply, “Fine” or “Good” or some other meaningless phrase that intends to dodge our hurting or the burning issues in our lives? The church is a community of believers who gather together not because we have it all together, but because we don’t. We gather to bleed together, and share each other’s burdens and pain (Galatians 6:2).

Wide awake in the middle of your nightmare,
You saw it comin’ but it hit you outta no where,
And there’s always scars, when you fall that far.

I love that phrase, there are “always scars when you fall that far.” Each of us has a past we are not proud of, and what I get from this song is just when you think you’re ready to stand, life comes out of nowhere to dash your hopes, dreams and plans. When it happens often enough, scars form, but scars are not always bad. They can remind us of where we have been, keep us from going there again, and help us to be thankful for the intervention that Jesus did in our lives (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20).

We lose our way, we get back up again
It’s never too late to get back up again,
One day you gonna shine again,
You may be knocked down, but not out forever.

We all can get sidetracked and lose our way. We start each day with the greatest of intentions, like living pure lives, showing kindness to our wife, demonstrating more joy as we spend time with our kids, but then (as the Nationwide commercial tells us) life comes at you fast. Remember it is never too late to get back up and do the right and godly thing (1 Corinthians 10:12, Ephesians 6:11, Colossians 1:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, James 4:6). The call of Christ is to stand firm!

You rolled out at the dawning of the day.
Heart racin’ as you made your little get away,
It feels like you been runnin’ all your life but, why? Oh why?

You pulled away from the love that would’ve been there,
You start believin’ that your situation’s unfair
But there’s always scars, when you fall that far.

To love is to risk (John 3:16, 15:13, 1 John 3:16, Romans 5:8). We become vulnerable whenever we open up to another person or even to our wife. Perhaps we choose not to hurt today and we close up to those around us. We “pull away from the love that would have been there.” But if we never risk, we will never feel the joy of solid friendships and a rewarding marriage. Don’t pull away or feel that life is unfair or regret past decisions. Risk, open up, and become vulnerable, because it really is worth it.

Sometimes we lose our way due to a conscious decision. James tells us that we will give in to sin due to being tempted by our own lust, which gives birth to sin, which then brings death (James 1:14, 15). We know the darkness that dwells deep within. Don’t be tempted. Flee immorality. Seek to live a life of integrity at all times.

Sometimes we do all the right things and life still may get the best of us, but continue to stand firm. Remain strong, and steadfast, under submission to God, allow the Spirit to guide you in the way you should go (Proverbs 3:5-6). As always, when you lose your way… get back up again.

[print_link] [email_link]