The Death and Life of Discipleship

"The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death - we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise godfearing and happy life, but meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 89)

To abandon the attachments of this world is a tough order. However, those attachments are often more valuable to us than Christ. If we are to be His disciples, we must treasure Him above all else. The amazing thing is that in dying to ourselves we find life in Christ (Galatians 2:20). What joy to be a disciple!

Posted by Jack | at 3:46 PM | 0 comments

Why not disciples?

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20

I have always been a Southern Baptist. It seems that there are two passages from the Bible that most Southern Baptists either know or know they should know. One is John 3:16. The other is Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission. These passages have driven an evangelism and missions for years.

Discipleship has been heavy on my heart as of late. By discipleship, I don't mean classes or programs, but the act of sharing life with others that they may follow Jesus with you. The scary thing is that from my vantage point, there are not many who are committed to this idea. So many will give the religious portion of there life to Jesus, but don't willingly surrender it all.

Please understand that this is not a desire to bring condemnation down upon a church or denomination. I simply began to ask myself, "Why are there not more disciples?" I have a few ideas:

  1. Making disciples is hard work. To truly invest in someone's life to see them forsake all to follow Jesus and stick with them through the process takes time, effort, and energy. It takes grace to forgive and correct. Jesus spent three years with His disciples and they still had much more to learn. What does that say about us?
  2. Many of us have not been discipled. By this I do not mean that we haven't grown in our faith but rather that no one took the effort to pour into our lives so that we would be better disciples. As a result, we may not really think that we are supposed to do it.
  3. We often confuse "disciple" with "convert". When someone accepts Christ, they have taken the first step in discipleship. They still have to be taught all that Christ commanded. If we simply say that our job is done when someone accepts Christ we show that we have a deficient understanding of the meaning of what it means to be a disciple.
  4. We are absorbed in our own sanctification. Following Christ is a difficult life. In fact, without the Holy Spirit it is impossible. Because of this we can become so focused on growing in Christlikeness that we feel we have no time or resources to allocated towards discipling someone else. In this we miss the amazing fact that God uses our obedience in making disciples as part of the sanctification process in our lives!
  5. We feel inadequate. The thought of directing someone's spiritual life is too much for many of us. What if we teach them wrong? What if we don't do it right? What if they ask a question to which we don't have an answer? These are honest concerns. However they are not legitimate reasons to disobey Christ's command. God did not command a specific few to be discipliers while the rest sit around and think about heaven. We are all to be about the business of making disciples.
I hope to respond to these in a few days with some Scriptural direction for anyone who might struggle in these areas. Until then...

Posted by Jack | at 1:17 PM | 1 comments

A New Magazine I found

Bible Study Magazine and Mars Hill are giving away 20 copies of Mark Driscoll’s new book, Vintage Church. Not only that, but they are also giving away five subscriptions to Bible Study Magazine and a copy of their Bible Study Library software! Enter to win on the Bible Study Magazine Mark Driscoll page, then take a look at all the cool tools they have to take your Bible study to the next level!

Posted by Jack | at 7:44 AM | 0 comments

How not to love God with your mind

To understand what it means to love God with our minds, I believe that it is beneficial for us to look at an example of how we can use our minds to not love God. Paul gives us great insight in the book of Romans.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:5-8

The natural bent of our minds is to focus on things which feed our flesh. Here flesh refers to the sinful nature we all inherit (Romans 5:12). In other words, we naturally will use our minds to think on things that are against God. We see this in the fact that Paul states that "the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God."

I cannot love God with my mind if I am using it to pursue those things which are hostile to Him. How could I? Would I not be considered an enemy of America if I sought to align myself with the thinking of Osama Bin Laden? Would I not be labeled anything less than a mutinous traitor?

So I must set my mind on things of the Spirit. I must meditate on Scripture, not merely read it. I must dive into difficult portions of Scripture and wrestle with them for meaning instead of avoiding them like the plague.

Setting our mind on the flesh doesn't necessarily mean that I sit around thinking of all kinds of evil things that I could do. In fact, I can set my mind on the flesh by simply being to lazy to use it for Christ. After all, the flesh says the it is too hard and not worth the effort.

I want to please God with my mind. That's where we will head next time.

Posted by Jack | at 1:59 PM | 0 comments

A new series

Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30 just how we are to love God: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." There is a certain part of that verse that has made me pause. When I think of love, I think of the heart. My mind often goes to feelings. However, I don't usually think of loving with my mind, much less all of it.

Maybe because of this I truly began to ask myself what all is entailed in loving God with all of my mind. The more I thought (no pun intended), the more clear it has become. My hopes is to share in the next few weeks the outcome of these pontifications.

Any thoughts?

Posted by Jack | at 3:40 PM | 0 comments

Not serious enough. Maybe it should be?!

I really don't think anyone follows my posts. After all, they are so infrequent; who would hang around that long. I have been contemplating lately become a little more serious. Maybe something will come of this. But then again, I have started lots of things before that have trailed off into oblivion...

Posted by Jack | at 5:44 PM | 0 comments