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Posts Tagged ‘Discipleship’

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  –2 Timothy 2:2

Here it is.  In one verse Paul describes the Christian faith.  A chain of grace, linked together by love and designed for living relationally generational.

It is a verse that demonstrates honoring your fathers and loving your children and grandchildren enough to leave a legacy of faith to those who will follow after you.

2 Timothy 2:2 identifies four people in this faith legacy — Paul, Timothy, reliable men, and others.  These are the people we must have in mind in the development of our spiritual life.  We must take the viewpoint of Timothy in this verse.  From those lenses, it is essential that we identify who fills the role of Paul as a mentor in our life and who fills the role of “reliable men” as the ones we are actively discipling.  And we must disciple those reliable men in such a way that they will be able to teach others.  In essence, we are loving those we may never know through the way we train those who will lead them.

This amazing verse in the book of 2 Timothy paints a picture of very deep and significant relationships.  Relationships which are not to be taken lightly, but must be given prayerful consideration and intentional development.

It is my sincere prayer that you may know where you fit in the chain of grace.  May you know those whom God has placed in your life to coach you along the way.  And may you know and develop those God has placed in your life to receive from the wisdom you have to offer.

May your children’s children be blessed and may they receive an inheritance from your life of faith.  Amen.

 

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Poland PreachingWe just finished a remarkable Ministry Training School in Gdansk, Poland.

I had the privilege of teaching with Randy Boyd of Prepare International and a new friend, Brad Davidson.  We taught seven sessions on Disicipleship and Spiritual Fathering.  It was a tremendous joy to teach on this subject alongside one of the most influential men in my life.  The message we communicated was more than words and principles, our very lives were a demonstration of the beauty and process of dicipleship over many years and stages of development.

A few observations from our weekend with these wonderful brothers and sisters:

  • The future of the Christian church in Poland is in good hands.  As I shared with 20 somethings through the weekend and teenagers on Sunday morning, I was blessed by the passion and caliber of these young believers.
  • Christians in Poland know how to worship! 
  • People in Poland are hungry for authentic Christianity.  A brief conversation on our flight into Gdansk connected a young woman with the local church.
  • Disciples are being made and will continue to be made in Poland!

Poland WorshipLord Jesus, thank you for the privilege of speaking life into believers in Poland.  May your fire and love fill their hearts and direct their steps.  I thank you for generational blessings flowing through the grace of discipleship among our Polish friends.  Strengthen the Body of Christ in Poland, Lord.  Encourage.  Refresh.  Bless.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

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spaghetti

Discipleship never tasted so good!

The kitchen table has always been a place of joy for my family.

Sitting together around the table, we seize the opportunity to discuss our day.  We solve problems together and role play solutions to the great dilemmas of life, such as what do you do when a boy in class keeps calling you an old lady.  (Our solution was to acknowledge him by name and ask how he was doing today — we figured he just needed a little attention.)

No other venue offers such an excellent opportunity to learn how to make a bid for a conversation, how to hold everyone’s attention when telling a story, or the ever important how to control the volume level of an excited dialogue.

Life happens at the kitchen table.  Valuable lessons are learned somewhere between the passing of the peas, sharing the last cookie, and not forgetting to clear your place.

Of all the benefits of the kitchen table, I believe its greatest potential is the opportunity it affords for spiritual discipleship.  We discuss the practical application of our faith at the kitchen table.

As far back as I can remember, we have played versions of Bible Trivia while eating dinner together, continually inviting our children to know and understand the Word of God.  Recently we stumbled upon a simple, yet amazingly powerful version of Bible Trivia that has upped the level of discipleship at the von Atzigen table.

“Where in the Bible does it talk about…?”  This is the simple question that is asked, and then my jaw drops as we go around the table and I listen to my children recite Old Testament Bible stories and relay the teachings of Jesus or the letters of Paul.

This simple question allows them to analyze what they have learned in their years of Vacation Bible Schools and Kids’ Church and then apply those lessons to the question at hand.

Right now our questions are simple.  “Where in the Bible does it talk about swords, scrolls, water, or honey?” have been some of the questions we have tackled.

But, a day will come when the question applies to a more serious topic.

  • Where in the Bible does it talk about broken hearts?
  • Where in the Bible does it talk about forgiveness?
  • Where in the Bible does it talk about God’s healing?
  • Where in the Bible does it talk about wasting your gifts?
  • Where in the Bible does it talk about what you are going through today?

If they can answer the question with lambs, princesses, and crowns today, then maybe they can answer the question of life tomorrow.

The book of Deuteronomy gives us some practical instructions for discipling our children.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates… (Deuteronomy 11:18-20 NIV)

And at the kitchen table, talk about them at the kitchen table!

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work of God - cover jpgI have been the subject of many discipleship experiments.  Many great men have taken me under their wing for spiritual growth and maturity, and I am thankful for each of them.  But, discipleship without relationship quickly succumbs to the slippery slope of checklists.  The message that gets picked up by many young believers is, “If you want to be a good Christian, then…”

  • Do this
  • Do that
  • Do these
  • Do those
  • Do memorize
  • Do read
  • Do attend
  • Do it again
  • Oh, and don’t do this, that, these, or those.

And the checklist of the Christian faith begins to pile up until it seems we can’t see Jesus for all the jobs we have to do for Him.

Measuring up to the expectations of others can be a crushing weight.

So what is it that God expects from us?  How long is His list?  How heavy is the burden He places upon those who would follow Him?

In John chapter 6, we are privileged to actually discover the answer to this question:

John 6:26-29 (NIV)
26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

I am so thankful to discover God’s checklist in the scriptures.  Now I can finally get it right and measure up! 

The checklist of God for mankind:

  • believe

 What?  What else?  There has to be more to do.  Where is my “this, that, these, and those?”

Leave it to Jesus to make the Christian faith so complicatedly simple.  Actually, He makes it simple, and we make it complicated!

I understand there is much work to do in the Kingdom of God, and I believe faith will lead us to a lifestyle of good works.  But, I have observed the confusion of those who behave as though good works will lead to a life of faith.  That mindset leaves people hard hearted, religious, and bitter.

Would you dare to embrace the checklist of God today?  It could get adventurous in a hurry!

Jesus said it best in Mark 9:23

“Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Do you believe that?

Podcast

Follow the link to access this Sunday’s message “The Work of God” from John Chapter 6.

Links

Bonus Post: Click here to explore a word study from John 6:26-30.

Mindy spoke yesterday about a wonderful website.  Follow this link to watch salvations occur in real time around the globe!

On the Radar

Our Lifegroups will kick off the Fall Semester on Wednesday, August 19th, at 7:00 pm, and our children will begin their new semester of Wednesday evening Kids’ Church the same night.  Make plans to take part of the “life” in our Lifegroups!

School is just around the corner, and Sweetwater Aglow is hosting their annual Back To School Prayer Walk this Tuesday, August 11, 6:30 pm, at Lighthouse Assembly (on Newman Street).  Make plans to come pray for our schools!

Our youth will meet for an on-site Bible study this Wednesday.  We will meet at 6:00 pm at the church, travel together to a surprise location, and return to the church by 8:45 pm.  Check out the new youth website at www.efcyouth.com for more info!

Are you a new member at EFC?  Interested in joining and partnering with us?  We invite you to attend a Membership Dessert next Monday, August 17, at 7:00 pm.  Childcare will be available.

You  Heard it at EFC

Been trying to remember one of those awesome songs we sang?  Here is our worship list from yesterday, for those of you who just absolutely need a copy for yourself.  You can find them for purchase on itunes.com.

  1. “We Cry Out” by Kim Walker
  2. “Mighty To Save” by Matt Redmand
  3. “Healer” (Here is a great video of the Kari Jobe version.) 
  4. “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan

Sunday Preview

Next Sunday is the third Sunday of the month.  We will be celebrating our Missions Sunday.  We will also continue our series “That’s My King!” from the book of John.

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