Tag Archives: making disciples

November 27; It’s Not Right

I Corinthians 8:1-11:1

Our society is obsessed with “rights,” aren’t we? The right to an abortion. The right to marry who I want to marry. The right not to look at a Confederate flag or a caricature of a smiling Indian on a baseball cap. We are so determined to exercise our “rights” we don’t care who we have to step on to get them.

Paul says if anyone has “rights” it’s a Christian. In 10:23 he tells us that for those of us redeemed by the blood of Jesus, “everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

The apostle tells us he willingly gives up his “rights” for the good of others. He gives example after example of this in the chapters we read today. He goes as far as to say, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (22b)

Not long ago I heard a preacher use that verse to promote contemporary worship. That is a twisting of this Scripture that makes me so angry. Paul is NOT talking about worship at all. What Paul is talking about is much harder than rocking to a few repetitive phrases in order to “experience worship,” or even to entice people into attending the service on Sunday.

Paul is talking about what you are going to do today to reach someone for Jesus’ sake. Paul is talking about investing yourself in the life of a non-believer, spending time talking about and doing the things that person enjoys. Paul is talking about giving up some of your rights in order to put that eternal soul ahead of your own comfort or desires

I don’t know where we got the idea that Jesus wants us to invite unsaved people to church. He never said that. In fact if you read the Bible you’ll see that the church needs to be restricted to believers for a very good reason.

What Jesus told us, and what Paul is demonstrating, is to get off the couch, let go of what you think you deserve, and BE the person that will make that non-believer want what you have in Jesus. Go, Jesus said. Make disciples. Think of others more important than yourself.

I know that takes effort and energy. It takes time and it’s not always convenient. But it’s not right for a Christian NOT to.

October 13; You Talking’ To Me?

Mark 14:29-44; Matthew 14:1-21; Luke 9:7-17; John 6:1-15

What did Jesus mean by telling the disciples to feed the five thousand men (plus women and children) that day they were on that remote hill? The disciples suggested the people leave to go find food for themselves. There weren’t exactly Walmart stores around the corner. The people had been there all day, some had come from great distances. They were hungry. And Jesus said, “Feed them.”

You talkin’ to me, Lord?

The disciples found a few loaves of bread and some fish and brought it to Jesus. “This is all we have,” they told Him. And it was enough.

What did Jesus mean by telling us to go and make disciples?

You talkin’ to me, Lord? I didn’t go to seminary. I’m not great with words. I’m shy. I’m just a regular guy, no Billy Graham here. I wouldn’t know what to say. Send them to the preacher, or the Sunday School teacher. Or let them figure things out for themselves. I don’t have what it takes to make disciples.

In the feeding of the 5000 Jesus didn’t expect his disciples to scrounge up enough food for everyone. He asked them to give Him everything they had. They did, and the people were fed – with plenty of food left over!

Who is Jesus telling you to feed today? Are you going to let them fend for themselves, or will you expect them to go somewhere else to hear about the Savior because you are looking at your meager abilities?

Hear Jesus tell you to give Him what you have, and let Him take those meager abilities and turn you into a disciple-maker.

Yes. He’s talking to you!

March 30; A Candle In The Window

Joshua 19:32-21:45; I Chronicles 6:54-81

Joshua instructed the tribes to assign cities for the Levites. Remember, the Levites did not receive an inheritance of land in Canaan. God Himself was their portion. But they had to live somewhere.

As a result, sprinkled throughout the Promised Land, there were forty-eight cities designated as Levitical towns. The Levites were the sanctuary protectors, the priests, the Truth authorities. And God made sure they were accessible to everyone in the country.

Matthew Henry says this about the Levitical cities we read about here in Joshua:

“Thus God set up a candle in every room of his house, to give light to all his family.” (Commentary In One Volume; Zondervan; 1991; page 235)

I like that analogy. I’m reminded Jesus called Himself the Light of the world. (John 8:12) And in Matthew 5 He tells us WE are the light of the world and should never hide our light under a bowl. Before He went back to heaven, Jesus told us to go into all the world, to share the Gospel and make disciples. In other words, to shine our light!

I think God would have us consider our spiritual wattage. Are we, as children of God through the blood of Jesus, shining His light into a world that desperately needs Him? If not, why not?

May we each be that candle through the window that bids people come to the Light which is Jesus Christ.

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Zephaniah; Complacent

I don’t think we fully understand the length to which God goes to address sin in our individual lives, and in the world. This God, who is not willing that anyone die without Him, who went to the cross so no one has to, is actively working in all our lives to get our attention, to draw us to Himself, to hear us confess our sin so He can shower us with His amazing grace. But some of us are so stubborn.

Chapter 3 talks about the lack of morality, how brazen people can be in their depravity. Verses 6-7 tells us God disciplines sin with the intent people will recognize their need of Him and repent, so that He can remove His hand of judgment, and bless them. “But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.” (Emphasis mine)

Now, before we get too comfortable thinking, “I’m not committing any brazen acts of disobedience, or living a sinful lifestyle,” let’s back up to Chapter 1:12. God says He will punish complacency, those who think, “God won’t do anything either good or bad, so I’ll just sit here in the comfort of my pew.”

Look at 2:15.

This is the carefree city that lived in safety. She said to herself, “I am, and there is none besides me.” What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists.”

Does that sound like 21st Century USA? I think it does. But the bigger question is: does that sound like any of us? Are we banking on that day when we accepted Jesus as our Savior, thinking we’ve got it made-in-the-shade because well, once saved always saved. But we don’t make an attempt to “grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus,” and we don’t live lives that look different from the world, and we certainly don’t share Jesus with anyone else for whatever reason. Oh, we go to church most of the time. And we even keep our Bible on the table next to our beds. We pray before we eat when we remember to. And we recognized how blessed we are to live where we live, to be able to pay our bills, and see the doctor only at our yearly exam. Life is good. And we’re a bit smug about it all. Isn’t that the definition of “complacency?”

Dear one, Zephaniah tells us God punishes “complacency.” If you think you can be described as “complacent,” ask God to forgive you. It is a sin. Then get out there and get busy making disciples.

I am reminded, through Zephaniah, that God does and will continue to punish sin (including complacency), until we repent or He comes again. And His discipline will only continue to hurt more and more as long as people continue to act corruptly. I’m also reminded God WANTS to stop the hand of judgment, and He will, if we turn to Him.

“But they were still eager to act (complacently) in all they did.” (paraphrase mine)

May no one ever have a reason to call you or me complacent. May we be busy doing the will of God, growing in our relationship with Him by studying His Word and praying. May we be actively leading people to their Savior, so that God can forgive and bless us, our land, and the world for Jesus’ sake and for His glory.