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!

A Teachable Spirit

7 05 2015

“The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.”  Proverbs 10:14

Do you know that even the greatest expert in any field still has much to learn about their area of expertise?  There is no such thing as a person who has learned all there is to learn, even if you have given your whole life to study and learn.  The reason a person becomes an expert is because they have committed themselves to learning and storing up knowledge in a particular area.  They have embraced the mindset of a learner.

A disciple must have a commitment to become an expert in Christ, and to do that, they must embrace a teachable Spirit that is hungry and thirsty to learn all they can about Christ and His ways.  A wise disciple understands that this will be an eternal quest, to “ know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”  (Phil 3:10)  We will be learning and growing in Christ for all of eternity.

What are you doing today that will increase your knowledge and understanding of Christ?  What are you discovering in God’s Word that you can put into practice today?  How teachable is your Spirit today?

A Desire To Grow

6 05 2015

“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.  Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.”  Proverbs 9:8-9

Have you ever told someone what they needed to hear, not necessarily what they wanted to hear?  How did they respond?  Did they appreciate your counsel, or did they get angry and upset?  Their response reveals everything about whether they have a wise spirit or a foolish one.  A foolish person will hate you, but a wise person welcomes the truth into their lives.

Many people, when they face difficulties, don’t want to hear the truth, but rather they want someone to listen to their problems, to feel sorry for them, to affirm what they want… and if someone presses them to consider wisdom, they angrily accuse that person of not listening, or not caring, or not having their best interests at heart.  The sad part is, these people have no desire to grow, but rather to have their selfish nature coddled and affirmed.  The bible calls these people foolish.

But the wise person has an earnest desire to grow and experience God’s very best, even if that means putting to death the desires of their selfish nature.  They welcome the counsel of others who are wise and who will share with them the Truth.  They have no desire to be coddled and cuddled… they want to grow.  They have a heart that is willing to do whatever it takes to draw closer to God and to grow in that relationship with Him.

God Is Working

5 05 2015

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

God is always working in the life of a disciple.  When a person makes the decision to follow Jesus, Christ makes it His task to mold and shape that disciple into the image of Himself.  It is a long and sometimes painful process, but the end result is a transformed life.  As long as you let Him, Christ will be faithful to work in you until he presents you mature and complete in Him.

This understanding should relieve a lot of pressure for us, because we can know that the work of maturing and growing in Christ isn’t something that we have to do alone.  This process is something that Christ directs and leads, and we simply have to submit ourselves to Him, and make ourselves available to His transformative work in us.

So don’t be discouraged and don’t lose heart if the process doesn’t seem as if it is happening fast enough.  Know that God is working, and that He will be faithful to “carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  This, we can be confident of.

A Prayer For Maturity

4 05 2015

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10

Do you pray for maturity in your life?  Do you pray for the maturity of others?  Paul was constantly praying that those whom he was pouring his life into were growing and maturing in Christ.  His prayer was that they would “abound more and more…”  This is a statement of growth, more and more growth.

Paul’s prayer was that the Saints would grow in their love, in their knowledge, and in their depth of insight.  As disciples, we need to press into growth in these areas as well.  That we might grow in our Love for God and for others.  That we might gain a greater wealth of wisdom and knowledge, and that we might have a growing understanding about how that knowledge affects our lives and the lives of others.

Why?  Because as we grow and mature in these things, we will be able to make the best choices, and to find ourselves pure and blameless when we stand before the throne of Christ.

Send Me

3 05 2015

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send Me.’”  Isaiah 6:8

When you look around, how many people do you see with their hands raised and trying to get the Lord’s attention and saying, “send me”? I would venture to say not many, in fact probably next to none. Most of us when the Lord is asking for someone to go and serve Him in ways and places that are uncomfortable, expensive, scary, difficult, etc. tend to slouch in our seat and look away hoping He doesn’t call on us. We act like a student when the teacher is calling on us to answer the question we don’t have an answer for, rather than as the player who wants to get into the game.

Let us be challenged today that fully committed disciples to not slouch or hide from opportunities to go as an ambassador for the Kingdom, but rather with eagerness seek out being the one to go.  Let Mark 16:15 be your mandate, let it be you hearing the Lord saying Whom shall I send, who will go for us? …

“And then He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation’.”

by Paul Hansen

One Nation

2 05 2015

“Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people.”  Zechariah 2:11

We’ve said it countless times when reciting The Pledge Of Allegiance, “One nation, under God…”; but have you ever stopped to think its implications beyond this nation in which we live? God’s plan of redemption was never intended to be for just certain people, but has always been inclusive to all who call on upon His name (Psalm 86:5).  While in this world we have formed 196 separate nations, to God there is just one nation.  Those who by faith and through the sacrifice of Christ have become His people, who have entered into His Kingdom.

To be a disciple with a global mindset and a genuine heart for the world, means to understand that the Lord not only views us all the same, but he views us as one. He does not have favorites here or there, but His love is for all those He has created in His image.  For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave his only son… (John. 3:16).

I don’t know about you, but for me there is something magnificent about watching the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics; with thousands of people from nearly every tongue and nation together in one place. In just a small way it gives us a glimpse into Heaven.

When all we see is ourselves, we only see a sliver of the greatness and the grandeur of God.  But here is the beauty of it all…  In the diversity of all the nations we see the fullness of who God is!

by Paul Hansen