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Jesus’ disciples never stopped being disciples or making disciples. We must ask ourselves are we following their example?

We are all being discipled everyday by someone, the media, radio, music and the people we hang with. Billions of dollars a year are spent on media to give people meaning, identity, belonging and purpose in the products and services they want us to buy. The causes they want us to live for spend our lives for.

For the follower of Jesus, discipleship is not a one time class you take class you take when you received Christ, but the fulfillment of their destiny to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom.8:29). It’s a life long event of both being discipled and discipling others. Jesus made disciples that made disciples, that is what it looks like to be Christ like, we make disciples.

Keys to Understanding

· Involves the critical task of becoming more like Jesus

· Generates authentic followers of Christ

· Established, well articulated discipleship standards are the norms for the community

· Discipleship practices are developed through a community-wide, collaborative process

· Disciple Making engage people as significant agents in ministry

Who is discipling us, everyone is being discipled by someone, are we being discipled by Jesus’ via His written word, infused with the Holy Spirit through prayer. Being discipled by other followers, His disciples through daily fellowship with them. With then through the word and doing life together.

We must be in true fellowship with Jesus and His body, other followers of Christ, not in shallow relationships with them, the meet and greet on your way in and out of the church building. But in disciplining relationships daily like we see in Act’s, doing life together daily, having meals together in fellowship around Jesus. Around His word, in worship and praise of Him.

The media creates consumers, people who consume what they sell.

The church does not need consumers, people who come to get, be entertained, and be waited on. Its need disciples, those who come to disciple others, give Jesus to others. The church needs to create disciples, not consumers, and they must be disciples that create disciples.

 

Company of Men I keep, Francis Chan, JD Greear

I believe one of the most important elements of our lives is the company of people we keep, hang out with, do life with. And this especially true for Christians, especially if you want to walk with Christ and be used by God.

I have been keeping the company of men whom I highly respect; men that I think are exemplary models of what our lives are to look like as followers of Christ. Frances Chan, and J.D. Greear. Each of the men are boldly living for Jesus in a way that I desire to, each have gifting that let them excel in their callings.

J.D. Greear went from college to the mission field, to pastor and church planter, pastors one of the fasting growing church in America and has so far sent out over 300 church planters to start churches across the globe. Raleigh, South Carolina

Frances Chan, my favorite pastor for the last several years, I have listened to him for many years while he pasted his church plant turned meg church, that he left two years ago to as he put it, do church right, the biblical way. After some time in Southeast Asia he returned to California and is embarking on planting churches across the bay area. San Francisco, CA

All are passionate lovers of God the Father and Jesus, purse them with all their heart and life. Passionate about preaching the gospel and salvation of the lost. Passionate about making disciples, equipping the body and sending them to Go into the world.  Passionate about God’s word, study and teach it diligently. They are Spending their lives Going and Doing, they don’t just sit on their theology, beliefs and talk about them, they are doers. “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.” Matthew 24:46, that is them.

They are the kind of men I want to do life with, imitate, keep company with, although I cannot hang out with these men, do life daily with them, they are spread out across the country. I have been connected to them as much as I can, listening to every sermon they give, attend every conference they speak at. Read every book they write, and blog post they write. Wishing all along I could sup with them, labor shoulder to shoulder with them for Jesus.

All of these men have an understanding, grasp of the gospel that is beyond the vast majority of churches in the US, and teaching it like no others. Francis Chan, JD Greear all understand the great commission, the call to preach the gospel and make disciples, and live it out, they are doers, everyday doers. they  have planted and are planting church across the globe, Frances Chan understands what the church is to be better than anyone else today, my heart has been burden for the same church his burns for, what we read of in the book of Acts.

I am now on the quest to find a group of men such as them to keep company with, do life with, gather with daily and labor shoulder to shoulder with them for Jesus. Passionate lovers of Jesus.

Men whose bibles are falling apart because they are so well used, pages worn out, highlighting, underlining on every page and notes written in every available white space on the page. They never go anywhere with out their bible in hand. That’s to say they study diligently the bible daily.

Men who have camel’s knees for spending hours a day in prayer, the can think of no better place to be that before the face of the Living God. That is men of prayer, deep, intimate prayer.

Men who worship with great passion, men who cannot sit in a pew and watch a “worship service”, but must worship in Spirit, with their whole being. They must dance before their God in celebration.

Men, who burn for lost souls to be saved, burn to preach the gospel to every living person. There passion is to take, preach the gospel in every corner of the earth with apology. Men who see the world as their backyard, they don’t just talk about the great commission, they are fulfilling the great commission.

Men who are disciple makers, they are about making disciples that go and make disciples. They know this is our first calling by Christ, the priority of our life. They don’t just talk about it, they are doing it.

They are church planters, they preach the gospel, souls get saved, then disciple them and there by plant churches.

So in prayer I am asking for such a group of men, even one man who is like the group above, lives as I described above, who lives near by that I can keep company with, break bread with, study the bible with, preach the gospel with, make disciples with, and plant churches with.

fuller theological seminary sign

 

I have begin taking classes from Fuller Theological Seminary (in my opinion the best seminary) working on my Masters, so far loving it. Even in the first classes I have learned new things, and they say you cant teach an old dog new tricks. Been good to renew old knowledge, refresh things learned in the past, sharpen the mind. Thank God for the internet,  how you can take classes from any college right from you laptop where ever you are, still would much rather be in the class room, long for the class environment, to participate in the discussion as well as the study fellowship. Looking forward to the challenge ahead, new knowledge, new skills to serve the Lord with.

Class I am most impressed with so far is “Christ Centered Preaching” loving it, it just does not apply to preaching from a pulpit, but witnessing, teaching, and even general conversations with others, loving it.

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I read this and found it of great encouragement, such a truth that I had to post it, if only that I might read it over again and again myself. This is what  Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, instructed her fellow workers as follows in the winning souls.

"Do not tell anybody they are saved. I never do. I leave that for the Holy Spirit to do. I tell them how to get saved. I try to help them to the way of faith. I will bring them up as close as ever I can to the blessed broken body of their Lord, and I will try to show them how willing He is to receive them; and I know that when really they do receive Him, the Spirit of God will tell them quickly enough that they are saved. He will not want any assistance about that. I have proved it in hundreds of cases. Nobody knows the soul but God. Nobody can see the secret windings of the depraved heart but God. Nobody can tell when a full surrender is made but God. Nobody can tell when the right hand is cut off, or the right eye plucked out, but God. Nobody can tell when a soul is whole-hearted but God, and as soon as He sees it, He will tell that soul it is saved." Catherine Booth

Word on keyboard

These are three key things I now ask about a church, three questions I ask about a church, and  require of a church before I would be part of it.

I ask these three questions about a church…..

1. How many churches has the church planted?

2. How many missionaries have they sent out?

3. How many baptisms do they do a week?

What I am look to learn, find out, is the church actively fulfilling the great commission, about Equipping and Sending, that is Making Disciples and Going into the world and Baptizing people. ( Matthew 28:19-20 , Mark 16:15 )

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”, so then as followers of Jesus, as the church we want people to become both disciples of Jesus and to Go and make disciples for Jesus. That is what the church is for, to make disciples, to equip them to be disciples of Jesus, and to go into the world and make disciples of Jesus. That is what Jesus did with the twelve disciples, He equipped them, then sent them to do the same thing.

If a church has been around for more than tow or three years should have a list of churches it has planed, missionaries they have sent out. A church that has been around 10, 20 or 30 years that has not planted a church is a dead church. Any church that’s not equipping, sending, and planting churches is not taking Jesus, nor the great commission seriously. It’s not doing its job to equip and send out.

Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa got it right, it is one of the few church in the last four decades that got it, when I was left there in the late 80’s Calvary had planted over 2,000 church around the world. Chuck Smith understood its all about teaching the word (verse by verse), equipping the body and sending them out to reach the lost of the world, planting churches.

If you entered ministry you where expect to Go, no one was to be on staff from more than three years, after that you where expected to Go and plant a church. I went out from Calvary as a missionary with YWAM.

So I have returned to my roots so to say, to the root of Jesus’ mission for His people, His church, to Go, to Go preach the gospel, to make disciples and to baptize, every nation. Every church should be doing that, must be doing that, the church’s  very commission by Jesus was all about Going, Making all about Multiplying.

The gospel should so compel us that we are never satisfied to attend the same church every Sunday year after year and set on our pews. As a pastor you should never be satisfied with one church, growing in numbers of pew warmer, people who keep coming year after year to just sit there and admire you. Or with growth coming from transplants from other church, no one getting saved, just other church goers switching brands. You should burn to have a line of people to be baptized every Sunday, see the gospel go forth and soles get saved. That every Sunday there are names to be read of those who are Going, being sent out as missionaries and church planters.

Jesus was passionate about Going, spreading the gospel and so I’m going to be passionate about Going, taking the gospel to the world. And I want to fellowship with those who have the same passion as Jesus. Be part of a church that has the same passion. It was Jesus’ last words on earth.

If the word is being preached and the gospel being proclaimed then naturally the people will be Going into the world, people will be getting saved and therefore churches are being planted.

So now when I meet a pastor, or talk to others I ask, How may churches has your church planting? How many missionaries has it sent out? How many baptisms do they do a week? If the answer is none, my next question is Why Not?

And honestly the way I feel these days is that any church that is not doing those three things should stop calling it self a church, perhaps call it a Christian entertainment center, or Christian Community center, but certainly not a church.

Any church that is not “making disciples of all nations, baptizing them”, “Going into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”  why would any follower of Jesus want to be part of it?

orphans and widows

What does God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: ________________________

How would you finish that sentence? How you answer that statement will define not only your life, but how you live out your life before God. How you prioritize everything in your life.

We don’t have to guess how to complete that sentence, you don’t have to fill in the blank, James in his letter to the churches, that includes us today, in chapter 1 verse 27 gives us the complete sentence.

“What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this:

to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.

I just read some of the work of Samuel Chadwick, a pastor who lived from 1862 to 1932, I was so moved by his passion for being a pastor. this is what he said..

Samuel Chadwick on Preaching
I would rather preach than do anything else I know in this world. I have never missed a chance to preach. I would rather preach than eat my dinner, or have a holiday or anything else the world can offer. I would rather pay to preach than be paid not to preach. It has its price in agony of sweat and tears and no calling has such joys and heartbreaks, but it is a calling an archangel might covet; and I thank God that of His grace He called me into this ministry. Is there any joy like that of saving a soul from death? Any thrill like that of opening blind eyes? Any reward like the love of little children to the second and third generation? Any treasures like the grateful love of hearts healed and comforted? I tell you it is a glorious privilege to share the travail and the wine of God."

Oh if only the churches in America where filled with such men today, do you even know of one pastor who would make this same statement, “I would rather preach than eat my dinner, or have a holiday or anything else the world can offer” or say “I would rather pay to preach than be paid not to preach.”

If the Lord gave me a chance I would do it, and for nothing, no salary required. And I would preach from sun up to sun down seven days a week.  Like Samuel said above, “Is there any joy like that of saving a soul from death?” What Job, what pay check could be more desirable than that? None!

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I started fasting the first of August from all news for the month, no network news, no web news, no CNN, none. Except for what came across Twitter and Facebook, and people telling me about something, I stayed a way from the news.

I also fasted from politics, did not care about the election in the least, did not what to hear about it or talk about it. Except for a few conversations that others started about politics, of which I changed the topic as quickly as I could, I sustained from the rhetoric, Mudslinging, name calling, from the lies, deceptions of all the candidates, from both parties.

It has been wonderful, I noted a big attitude change in my self, my thoughts not as negative and my conversation more focused on meaningful things. It been great to unplug from the world news and politics.

In fact its been so great I have, I can honestly say that No News is Good News.

So I will continue to fast from the news and politics for the rest of the year, and the first of January I will decide it perhaps it will be permanent.

chan_and_platt

Francis Chan, my favorite pastor and David Platt, (in my top 10)  have been teaming up on a new venture to help followers of Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, ….” (Matt. 28:18-20).

You can see their new Multiply Website with resources to help us make disciples.

The free and downloadable Multiply Material will be contain a 24-session discipleship experience where one person helps another understand what it means to follow Jesus, study Scripture, and be the church.

And there will be a Multiply Gathering that is a free, once-a-year webcast with Chan and Platt, where followers of Christ can gather and encourage one another in the disciple-making process.

You can register for the Free gathering here. The first two online events in 2012 will be on Friday, November 9 (7-10 PM, CST), and Saturday, November 10 (6-9 PM, PST).