Well Done!

17 05 2015

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Matthew 25:23

We have come to the end of the 10 Marks of a Disciple series of devotionals, and our hope has been that each one has inspired you to be a more fully devoted follower of Jesus.  This is not the end of the journey of discipleship, but rather, it is just beginning… the beginning of a life long pursuit of a deeper and more vibrant life with Christ.

And when we come to the end of our lives, we pray that this series has, in some way, helped prepare the way for you to step before God with boldness, knowing that you have done what He has asked…

  • that you have made Christ your master and example to follow…
  • that you have cultivated a vibrant and life-giving relationship with God…
  • that you have developed a faith-filled prayer life of communion and communication with God…
  • that you are supporting and being supported in Christ-centered community…
  • that you are building relationships with those who are lost, so that they may be found…
  • that you are growing a heart that radiates generosity…
  • that you are dedicating yourself to the posture and the attitude of a servant in the body and in the community…
  • that you are allowing yourself to think and engage globally…
  • that you are constantly pressing to grow and mature in your faith and knowledge of God…
  • and that you endeavor, with your life, to Disciple others, to help others live out these 10 marks as Disciples of Jesus.

May it be true of all of us!

Do You Love Me

16 05 2015

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.”  John 21:15

Jesus’s life was spent pouring into the disciples, not so that the twelve would just become followers of Christ themselves, but so that ultimately they would continue to expand the Kingdom of God and make other disciples.

After Jesus’ death, the disciples quickly found themselves back on the lake trying to catch fish rather than out doing the work and ministry the Jesus had taught them and called them to do. Not honoring their master’s request and ultimately no longer expressing the genuine love for Christ and He desired fo them and that He desires of us.

It was not enough for Jesus to have Peter say he loved Him … Jesus wanted Peter to do and continue on what Jesus’ mission was. Just and Jesus had loved Peter by spiritually feeding him, now He wanted Peter to go and do the same in the lives of others.  Just like Jesus said to Peter, I believe He is also saying to every one of us :  Do you love me? … then feed my sheep!

by Paul Hansen

Sharing the Gospel

15 05 2015

“Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.”  Acts 3:6

Can you imagine how you would feel if you had not eaten for days, yet your friend, who had enough food for 100 people wouldn’t share any with you?  Would you be able to say that your friend cared about you?  Would you think that your friend was really your friend?

In the passage above, Peter and John didn’t have money, yet they were still willing to share their lives with this man who was in great need.  They didn’t hoard it, or hold it back in fear of being rejected.  They shared freely from the Spiritual Wealth that God had heaped upon their lives.  They knew that what they had been given was of precious worth to this needy man, and they willingly chose to share it freely.

Yet, many believers are hesitant to share the Truth of the Gospel, and their own lives as well, with those who desperately need to have someone invest in them.  The world isn’t just needy for the Gospel,  it is starving for the investment of Godly Lives of men and women who care.  The world needs men and women who have the Truth, are living in the Truth, and then who are willing to share their lives, just as Peter and John.  We don’t need to have everything, but we do need to share what has been freely shared with us!

More Just Like You

14 05 2015

“Be Fruitful and Multiply…”  Genesis 1:28

When God finished with Adam and Eve, He look at them with the same pride that a new father looks at his newborn child.  He said, “Be Fruitful and multiply.”  In other words, “I want more just like you.”

The Great Commission is also a call to be fruitful and multiply, yet it is put in different terms.  “Go, therefore, and make disciples”(Matthew 28:19) is another way of saying that God wants more people just like you.  He desires men and women who are dedicated to being in relationship with Christ, and helping others experience the same.  God has desired this from the beginning, and his desire is the same even now.

Are you intent on being a man or woman who is purposefully fulfilling God’s desire for more, just like you?

Simple Mathmatics

13 05 2015

“And more than ever, believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women…”  Acts 5:14

In impact, discipleship is really quite simple.  While addition is good, multiplication creates rapid exponential growth.  The “addition” approach would be to think in terms of “I can make one disciple” and thus add one more; The “multiplication” approach views discipleship as “I make disciples, then those I disciple make disciples, and those they disciple make disciples” thus creating an exponential increase.

Think of it like this :  If I disciple 3 people that give us 4 disciples (1+3); or if there are 3 of us each discipling 3 people then we are at 9 disciples (3×3).  While that difference may not seem all that significant, when you start creating that number in the hundreds or even thousands, then we see an explosive growth rate… we see what the early church experienced and recorded in the book of Acts when it says things like “3000 were added that day” …  “the Lord added to their number daily those being saved”… “believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women”.

What if today, in our generation, we took discipleship seriously.  What if we actually all personally understood the great commission to “make disciples” as something we all must do … I believe then we could say, just like the early church said, “And more than ever… people were growing as followers of Christ.

by Paul Hansen

Faithful Men

12 05 2015

“And the things you have heard from me, in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  2 Timothy 2:2

When God calls a Disciple to disciple another person, he doesn’t just say to disciple anyone, but rather we are to disciple those who will be faithful with what is being entrusted to them.  A disciple understands that to invest their lives in someone who will not be “faithful” is to squander the valuable possession that has been entrusted to them.  Even Jesus said that we must be careful not to “cast your pearls before swine.” (Matt. 7:6)

Think of it this way.  If the person who discipled Billy Graham had instead spent all of their time trying to get an uninterested man to commit to the life of a disciple, and Billy Graham failed to grow and mature as a result, what would have been the impact on the Kingdom?  If you and I spend all of our time chasing those who are “not faithful”, the ones who are faithful and earnest in their faith will suffer.  It’s not that every person isn’t important, but not every person chooses the path of faithfulness.

Follow Me

11 05 2015

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 11:1

When a Disciple makes a decision to enter into the realm of “Making Disciples”, what they say matters little compared to what they do and how they live.  It is the actions and the life of a disciple that will have the greatest impact on those whom they are investing in.  When Jesus invited His disciples to “Follow” Him, he was inviting them to follow His actions, not just to follow His teaching.

Paul exhorted the Corinthian church to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  Paul understood that the model for discipleship isn’t Paul, or Peter, or any other man.  The model of a disciple is Jesus, and Paul made it his goal to replicate that model so closely that those whom he was discipling could see it and live it, just as he was.

A disciple must always remember that they will reproduce who they are.  This should cause us to strive with great intensity to be men and women who, like Paul, seek to live like Christ, that those who are watching us can follow our example.

Would you feel comfortable having others follow your spiritual example?

DOT.Word (Doer’s of the Word)

10 05 2015

“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”  James 1:22

Learning which manifests itself into growth in our life happens most effectively when we put things into practice. I can read books, listen to instruction, and even watch an expert, but until I pick up a bat and start taking swings I will never become a good hitter in baseball. I can learn all about the right form and technique for shooting, but until I get out there and start taking aim and practicing shooting clays with a shotgun I will never be a good shooter.

When it comes to being a disciple we must put into practice the things Jesus taught.  The greatest discipleship failure of many christians is that they read God’s Word, but never push themselves to put the truths they learn into practice.  It’s one thing to know God’s Word, it’s completely another to live God’s Word. A disciple who is committed to growth, takes what goes in their head, allows it to penetrate their heart, and then acts it out with their hands and life.

It’s been said many times, “people won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. As a doer of the word there will be no doubt among others as to how much you care.

by Paul Hansen

Feed Your Appetite

9 05 2015

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  Matthew 5:6

We all have a natural reflex when our bodies need nourishment; when we are hungry our stomach rumbles, when we are thirsty our mouth gets dry.  In those moments, often times all we can think about is how to get something to eat or drink.

The same principle applies to our spiritual appetite.  When we have withheld from our soul its nourishment from the Word of God and refreshment from His presence in our life our soul begins to crave it.  The goal of a disciple should be to feed ourselves regularly, consistently so as not to starve our soul. When your soul begins to feel dry and empty, make sure to give it what it needs, and you will become satisfied.

Today if you are feeling a hunger and thirst in your soul, do not continue to withhold nourishment from it, but rather feed it so that you may continue to grow.  For an extra encouragement, read Psalm 63.

by Paul Hansen

Pass The Milk

8 05 2015

“…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation”  1 Peter 2:2

Our bodies all need nourishment in order to grow and flourish, but what about our souls?  Although we might not realize it, for our souls to flourish and to be healthy, they need attention and nourishment just the same.  And just as physical malnutrition can affect your entire life, spiritual malnutrition will do the same.

So how do we continue to grow and mature in the soul?  Peter says that we must remain engaged in the “pure milk of the word”.  It is through the Word of God that our souls are strengthened, sustained, restored, and renewed.  It is God’s Word that enables us to go from just “being saved”, to living and growing in our salvation.

Don’t neglect the pure and nourishing milk of the Word of God today.  It’s the only way that you are going to grow up in your relationship with God!