Mat 28:19-20 NIV – 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [emphasis mine]
Read the verse again slowly if it’s never occurred to you before that the type of disciples Jesus wants are those that learn to obey. Those who have no interest in obeying Jesus are not His disciples. Obedience is essential, but what type of obedience is the Lord looking for? Here are a few thoughts.Obedience From Faith
Rom 1:5 ESV – 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, [emphasis mine]
Paul’s mission was to call people to obedience. But not just obedience. Obedience by itself can be very dangerous because it can puff oneself up into self-righteousness. “I thank you God ... Continue Reading.
Disciples follow. I would probably get more clicks on this post had I called it “Disciples Lead” because leadership is vogue these days and followership is old. But a disciple is nothing if not following, after all ‘disciple’ means ‘follower or student’.I heard someone ask a group of people recently how many times they supposed that Jesus commended people toward better leadership. The answer is that Jesus never commended people to become better leaders, but rather to become better followers of Him. Christ isn’t against Christian leadership, but in His kingdom a leader is the first to follow, as Paul said “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1Cor 11:1).
So what does it mean to be a follower – more specifically what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? Here are a couple verses and some thoughts
Mar 1:16-18 ESV – 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I ... Continue Reading.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
There are a few important truths that one needs to understand before we are willing to submit to the God’s Word as the guide for our life. One main one is found in verse 33: we must believe God’s ways are “inscrutable”. This word means “unable to be searched out” or when put within verse 33 we are taught that God’s ways are unable to be figured out. What does this mean?
Well, we know that it does not mean that God wishes to be unknown by his creation since John 1:18 says that Jesus came that we might know God. The Father sent Jesus in the flesh that we might know Him. He wants us to ... Continue Reading.
When you think of a disciple what comes to mind? Do you think of the 12 disciples? Do you think of guys wearing togas? Do you think of yourself? Do you think of yourself in a toga (not a pretty thought). Well, if you’re a Christian then you are a disciple – toga or not.
The bible uses the word ‘disciple’ more than any other word to describe what the followers of Jesus are? ‘Disciple’ appears in more than 200 verses of the new testament but the word ‘Christian’ in only 3 verses. Now there’s nothing wrong with calling ourselves Christians (after all, ‘Christian’ means ‘little Christ’), but Christians should identify themselves as disciples.
What is a disciple? What motivates the disciple? What do disciples do? These are questions that I hope to stir up and answer in the next week through several posts called “4 Things Disciples Do”.
In case you’re wondering…
Disciples Follow. Disciples Obey. Disciples Die. Disciples Go
Stay tuned for more…
John 14:21 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
If we come to a verse that seems to be a contradiction to another section of the bible, we can never throw out what seems to be the inconvenient verse. God’s Word is true……all of it! In fact, what we should do is dig into those “contradictory” verses and find out what they mean in relation to each other. Many times what we find is a deeper, more impactful truth.
If you’ve been exposed to solid, truthful teaching of the Scriptures, you may read John 14:21 and ask: how does that work with Ephesians 2:4-5?:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
The John verse seems to say that we are loved because we love God, but the Ephesians verse seems to say that we ... Continue Reading.
Let Us Love One Another
I wanted to share an encouraging note I received after a women’s event a few weeks back. A woman who had never been to Bend City before wrote,
“I just want to say thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome. I have never been so comfortable among a group of strangers.”
I know quite a few others who have shared this same sentiment, however I also know that this is not how every new person at Bend City has felt.
Our church has had the great privilege of seeing a huge wave of new faces begin to attend regularly around the same time. This is an exciting time for our young body and yet a time that calls us to be more intentional and more aware of the new and/or non-connected people.
As a new person it would be easy to have wrong perception that we are the ONLY new person and that everyone else is talking to life long friends, when in reality many of the conversations that go on at ... Continue Reading.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples,“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was traveling through all the cities and villages around Jerusalem and he noticed that there were many, many people that were confused on what God was like, what it meant to follow God, and who the people could look to for help in the midst of a broken world. The spiritual leaders of the day had become more interested in sideline issues, whether it was meticulous law keeping or status within the nation of Israel, than the huge, glaring needs right in front of them. The people needed help, Jesus had compassion, and Jesus called for workers. Here we are exiting 2012 and entering 2013, and the conditions (although culturally different) are the same. People are still harassed and still needing help.
Who will help?
If you are reading this, ... Continue Reading.
When I was young(er) and had fewer children, I came across these verses:
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV84)
11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
Paul here is writing to the church in Thessalonica about how he loved them and dealt with them as a father would his own children. Although the point of the verse is that Paul dealt with his non-relative church family as if they were blood family, I was struck with HOW Paul explained a father’s actions should be toward his children. I took it as a verse to model how I should deal with my own children. I come back to it often:
Encouraging: This may be a no-brainer in theory, but it is way more difficult in practice. A father should be quick to encourage his children and definitely quicker to encourage than discourage. I need to be reminded of this often.
Comforting: Godly comfort must find its ... Continue Reading.
Thinking of myself as a sheep (from the last two Sundays’ sermons) is both encouraging and laughably realistic. I am thankful for this not-so-flattering metaphor because it keeps me from taking myself too seriously – a fault that trips me up often. This is not to take our sinful natures lightly – but it takes away the self-condemnation and puts it in the perspective God wants.
Not living in a rural culture, the metaphor takes a while to sink in, but it is still a powerful one. Certainly following the voice of my Shepherd is my goal in life because I know whose side I want to be on and to follow. I know who is for my good. I know who knows better than I.
But I have a found a distinguishing characteristic of this particular sheep (me) – and some of you may relate – that I just don’t want to FOLLOW him at times. I really want to show Him I can take care of myself – to “help Him out.” He’ll like me more that way.... Continue Reading.
Are you crazy? You be the judge of that. Well, maybe you shouldn’t be the judge of that. Can a crazy person tell if they’re crazy? I wonder if a crazy person thinks that he is normal but everyone else around him is crazy? So, maybe you should let Scripture be your judge.
Craziness is a result of not being right in the head. Right? We know that craziness can be produced by chemicals, hormones, or accidents. But I’m not talking about that kind of craziness. There is another kind of “not being right in the head”. I’m talking about the type of craziness that comes from not being right in our thinking.
Romans 12:3 ESV – “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment…”
“Sober judgment”. That’s an interesting phrase because the Greek that makes it up is found elsewhere in the New Testament translated a little differently. Let me give you one. Mark 5:15 ESV – “And they came to Jesus and ... Continue Reading.
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