On our theme of ‘making disciples’
As we have previously discussed our unique gifts and talents ensure that no two disciples look exactly the same, as such we can expect that disciple making will also look different based on our individual interests, strengths and abilities. However there are common habits/themes which can be found in the lives of most active disciple-makers and these fall into three broad categories of Head, Heart & Hands
Habits of the Head: (Knowing)
To His glory alone
On our theme of ‘making disciples’.
What does a Disciple maker do?
Jesus was a disciple maker - He made disciples who made disciples. Jesus spent time with his disciples; he trained them, and he showed them how to pray. He helped them learn to trust God, to serve, to meet needs, to cast out demons, to teach the Scriptures, and so much more. Jesus instruction to his disciples is to “make disciples … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). With this in mind I think there are four key things which every disciple maker needs to do:
This list are just a starting point; a full list of what a disciple maker does would be very very long indeed.
What else might you include?
To His glory alone
On our theme of ‘making disciples’.
Money and investment is always a hot button item in churches today; Christians along with our neighbours are rightly concerned with budget, providing for our families and retirement planning. We are encouraged throughout scripture to be good stewards of our God-given resources, and generous on our giving; however at the same time scripture is also quite clear that financial security and earthly investments are not the ultimate aim for the Christian.
As disciples of Jesus, we should follow him in all things including what we treasure and what we invest in; so what does Christ treasure?
Biblical discipleship at its heart concerned with the investment of time; time in the word of God individually, and time in the lives of others. Beyond first decisions investing in discipling others means meeting regularly with other (sometimes new) Christians and opening God’s word for dialogue, correction, encouragement, or prayer, and together seeking to apply the word of God to our lives.
By investing time in the word of God and investing time in discipling others you are investing in the kingdom of God. Even if you only have 10min a day to be able to read or listen to the world of God - do it. And if you can only find 30min a week to invest in someone’s life - do it!
The dividends are eternal: treasure in heaven!
To His glory alone
Our overarching theme at St Luke’s in 2020 is making disciples.
Matthew 28:19 has come to be known as The Great Commission - the mission of every believer, the mission of the church. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”
This is the assignment given to us by Jesus, however you will note that the punctuation is a comma, not a full stop. There is more! Jesus didn’t leave it at ‘make converts’ he went on to say in V20 “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
By doing so Jesus assures us of his continual presence as we obey his command and, just as importantly, he told us how to do fulfil his command. So, How are we to make disciples? By baptising them and teaching them to obey. So there are two parts to what Jesus is asking us to do:
1: Share our faith - evangelising/making converts
2: Intentionally help others to engage in, grow in and live out their faith. - teaching them to obey
As Christians - as disciples of Jesus this is our mission!
We don’t have to become street preachers; Jesus walked along with his disciples and taught them as He went. He shared the Good News at every opportunity, and then as people came to faith, he taught through everyday process - the familiar, such as water, wheat, and even fish to teach Kingdom lessons to those who followed Him. He gives each of us common things every day that are opportunities to teach those around us. Are we willing to take the opportunities He gives us, regardless of where we live, to advance the Kingdom and make disciple makers?
Why should we do it
To His glory alone
Christmas is the highpoint on most people’s annual calendar world wide. So much so, that within days some people re-start the count down clock for next years festivities! But for now, the festivities have ended, and soon the decorations will come down. So what happens next?
For those of us who are disciples of Jesus; who truly embrace the meaning and hope of Christmas, this is a celebration which doesn’t have to end when boxing day rolls around. Christ has come, and is still here today! For the Disciple, Christmas should simply be a booster shot for an on-going and joyful celebration of what God has done and continues to do for us and all people!
So, Christmas is over, now what? How do I go on celebrating Christ? How do I use this season as a springboard or a booster shot that will help me to have an increased sense of joy in Christ? How do I make this season a time that I enjoy every moment of, remember with great fondness, and look forward to again and again?
As with everything, I found these answer to those questions in the Bible:
In Matthew 2:1-12 the Magi rejoiced when they saw the star indicating the birth of Christ, the ultimate King of the Jews; then sometime after the ‘Christmas event’ worshipped Him. They intentionally sought Him out, and throughout we are told that their joy was exceedingly great. So, whether it is at Christmas or any other time that we come into the presence of Christ we should approach with expectancy and worship with great joy simply to be in His presence.
In Luke 2:17-19 after the Shepherds had met with the baby Jesus they excitedly went out and told others what they had seen and heard. Mary “pondered these things in her heart”. So we should be going out through out the year telling others of what we have seen and heard, and privately pondering the great joy and hope given to us in our heart.
Now that Christmas is over, let’s do these things:
These things sit squarely with ur overarching theme at St Luke’s for 2020: ‘Making Disciples’.
As I was pondering the post Christmas malaise which often grips our churches until the beginning of Lent (or at least until school goes back!), I am reminded of what was said to the disciples in Acts 1:11: As Jesus was taken up to heaven to be glorified, two men in white robes came to the followers who watched Him go up saying, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!"
So, this year, let’s not just stand around wondering what will come next; let’s see Christmas as our booster shot and our springboard to do what it is that Jesus has sent us to do (Matthew 28:19) let’s GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES!
To His glory alone
Christmas is probably the most anticipated event in our annual calendar. It is a day of great joy and celebration around the world. It’s a time of giving and receiving, of parties and catchups and carols and food; and yet, in the midst of all the trappings and busyness of Christmas, it can be easy to miss why Jesus’ birth is so significant. The key to Christmas lies, not in the details of the shepherds’ visit or the wise men’s journey, but in the identity of the one whom they came to worship. In Jesus, God became ‘flesh’ and ‘made his dwelling among us’ (John 1:14).
Christmas is about Jesus!
Christmas is a story of love and renewal, it’s is a time where we remember the birth of Jesus as we eagerly await His return. Christmas is a reminder that even though we may have turned our back on God, He hasn’t turned His back on us! No matter how far we have wandered, or how broken we feel, Christmas is the reminder that God himself came to dwell among us; to bind up our wounds and to seek and save the lost.
My prayer this Christmas is that there will be a real sense of hope and joy right across our region; and that at Christmas and throughout the coming year every household will come to know the abiding love, joy and peace that is only found through relationship with Jesus Christ.
Advent is an important season in the life fo the church. This season speaks of our joyous anticipation and preparation for the coming of Christ. Our reflections should not simply recall the events leading up to the first Christmas; but should equally see us deeply preparing our hearts for the second coming of Christ.
Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord counselled ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’. The formula for finding Jesus has always been the same, the earnest and sincere prayer of a humble and pure heart. This years theme of 'Hope is Born’ calls us to recall just who the baby in the manger truly was, and what He achieved on our behalf. It calls us as disciples to renew our understanding of, and trust in God's promises, to renew our understanding of the sure and certain hope that we have in Christ Jesus, and to fully trust in His faithfulness.
I pray that as we undertake our advent preparations this year that each of us may grow in our awareness of God's love for us; and draw closer to Him, rendering our hearts to His service and our lives to expectant and purposeful preparation.
In His service always,
“Change always starts with your mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act.” (Rick Warren)
It’s been said that no one likes change except a wet baby (and even then they cry during the process!). I’m not sure that people really do hate change, so much as they enjoy routines and familiarity; most people welcome new things in their everyday life, like new seasons, new cafe’s, new technology, new friends, and new adventures. In reality I think that it’s not change that people resist so much as being changed. It’s not that we don’t like change, we just don’t want to change. Our resistance to change, in the main, is simply because it can be hard: It’s uncomfortable, often humbling, and painfully difficult. But as disciples of Christ, we must remember that change is really at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. When we believe the gospel, we accept the truth that we need to change. We know we are broken people whom God is making new through Christ. Not only us as individuals, but we believe that one day God is going to make all things new.
The key to understanding and accepting change is in the knowledge that God is author of change and that he has plans for your life, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11); that he goes before us in all things (Deuteronomy 31:8), that he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), and the that he will be with you when storms hit and the darkness of fear takes hold (Matthew 14:22-27).
So, here’s the bottom line for us as Disciples of Jesus: Discipleship has to be about more than just being comfortable! It has to be about striving, striving to be conformed and transformed into his likeness , and striving to live out his mission in the world.
Grace & peace,
“…there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which God, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” (Abraham Kuyper)
Stewardship is (mostly) misrepresented and misunderstood in the Church today; the result is a reluctance to speak of it, and a greater reluctance to participate. To the majority of Christians stewardship means giving, volunteering and fundraising; but the Biblical model of stewardship is about whole-life discipleship and the nurture and care of the entire world. Paul writes in Colossians 3:23-24, ‘work heartily, because whatever you do you are serving the Lord Christ!’ At the end of Matthew's gospel, Jesus passes his mission on to his disciples, and tells them to turn the whole world into disciples. Being a disciple, according to those final words of Jesus, starts with baptism, but continues with learning to obey everything he taught us to do. Interestingly a considerable amount of what Jesus taught can be described as "stewardship".
By definition, stewardship is the management of someone else's property or affairs. This very definition requires a definitive answer to the question of who’s property are we managing? To whom does it all belong? Psalm 24:1 tells us, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the earth and all who live in it’. This, along with dozens of other passages in the Bible point to God’s uncontested ownership of all things; at no time do we ever read of God relinquishing ownership of anything that set into motion. As Christians, we bear the image of God, and this is a profound stewardship responsibility in and of itself; then there is the cash in our wallets, the children in our families, our intellect and creative capacities, the breath we breathe, and the gospel message itself - everything tangible and intangible; it all belong to God! Real stewardship then, is an attitude which colours the whole of life. It says to God ‘Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand’ (1 Chronicles 29:14b). These words apply to far more than just money, they apply to everything we have, and everything that we do; from how we respond to the question ‘have you got a minute?’ to how we live as global citizens in an ever changing world. Of course money, alongside time and talents has a very particular role in our discipleship journey. Our diaries and our bank statements can be seen as a window into the heart the discipleship; they give material shape to what we say about our commitment to follow Jesus. Stewardship, done well, gives a material and physical expression to the love we profess for God and for our neighbour in hours, actions, dollars and cents.
Stewardship is the path that God uses to mould us into the people he wants us to be. Our obedience and intentional stewardship of “every square inch in the whole domain of our human existence” provides us with an opportunity to vividly reflect his image, and respond to his love.
Jesus said ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (Matthew 6:21)
What does your stewardship say about your discipleship journey?
Grace & peace,
‘A man or a woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven’ (A.W.Tozer)
Just as we need food, water and oxygen, we need worship. Worship is defined as giving adoration and reverence to someone or something. Colossians 1:16 says that we were created by God and for God. Our original purpose, being created in God’s image, was to worship Him. The term worship has become synonymous with singing, but that’s just one way that worship expresses itself. True worship happens when our entire life becomes a declaration of trust in God’s incredible mercy. The importance of true worship can not be underestimated in the life of the disciple, but too often distractions get in the way
Whilst we must have times of intentional worship set aside each day; worship does not stop when we close the book or lift our heads; true worship in the life of a disciple is a continual act, we never stop worshipping. So, if worship never stops, if we are continually worshipping someone or something, who or what is receiving your adoration and reverence Monday through Saturday?
'At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' (Philippians 2:10-11)
Grace & peace,