Making Disciples

Acts 11:26 And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Interesting things happen when I am working in the yard digging in the dirt. I am able to settle my mind, and just talk to the Lord. I ask a lot of questions about things I’m seeing that I don’t understand. And since I understand so little, there are a LOT of questions.

Anyway, as I was moving one of those 80# blocks for the retainer wall–(did you know that 80# did not used to be so heavy?!? I don’t know what they put in those things, but they certainly weigh more than they did 40 years ago!)–I began laughing at how backward we have become in the church.

There is a major move on today to make disciples within the churches. This is a good thing, but not the best thing.

Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.

As the gospel has become more watered down to make it more appealing to more people, we have this interesting situation where pastors are calling their people to become disciples. It seems that we went into all the world and made Christians of all people–but few disciples.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his seminal work “The Cost of Discipleship,” made it clear that being a disciple is much more demanding than the greasy grace to which many have been called. It was so demanding for him in Nazi Germany that he lost his life as a result.

The term “Christian” was first used as a pejorative term, a slam against the disciples who so stood out from the rest of humanity that others mocked them. Their discipleship was so visible that a nickname had to be given.

So, the joke now is: “Where will the Christians first be called disciples?”

This is That!

Jesus never did the same thing in exactly the same way twice. When He healed blind Bartimaeus He merely spoke the word, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole,” and he received his sight. But when He healed the two blind men in the house He touched their eyes in addition to speaking a word. And when He healed the man born blind from birth He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and commanded him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. So what is the best way, the right way, the sonship way to heal a blind man? No one can tell you! What is the best way to preach the Gospel? No one can tell you, although the seminaries think they can! What is the best way to hold a meeting? Again no one can tell you. Jesus never had a song leader or worship director, never by singing, clapping, or worshipping “created an environment” for the Father to manifest Himself in their midst. Yet, if you were to ask me what the right way is, I would have to say that I do not know. I really do not know what is the right way to do anything. I do not know the right way to meet humanity’s needs, or solve the saint’s problems, or bring people into the present truth. In the Bible you cannot find THE RIGHT WAY to minister or to do the work of the Kingdom. This is because the Kingdom of God comes by the dispensation of the Spirit. It does not come by outward observation — by forms, methods, or techniques. What ever you do in the Kingdom, what ever way you use, wherever you go, it must be by the Spirit. The Spirit is never traditional, predictable, or static — He is always original, always fresh, new, and transcendental. He may never repeat what He did yesterday, or the way He did it. In these last years, wherever I have gone, I have never paid any attention to the way. Regardless of the way people meet, or don’t meet, or minister, or serve the Lord, or walk with God, it does not mean anything. The real question is: Are they led by the Spirit? Is there the flow of His Life? Is there the manifestation and quickening of Himself? What is GOD doing? And HOW is HE doing it? I look to see what God IS DOING, rather than trying to introduce some “order” for God to move in.

The above quote was lifted from a forum I participate in which is sponsored by our home church in Missouri. The subject was around differing types of evangelism and what ‘works’ or doesn’t–what is of God or what is not.

This brother’s response has been churning within my being for a couple of weeks now as God uses it to change some things within me.

The first thing, and perhaps most importantly, is that it no longer matters to me HOW church is done. That was a big deal to me for a long time. I’ve studied the Bible and read the books and gone to the seminars. Because I’ve never been one to feed myself only on what I already know, I’ve been exposed to the wild, the woolly, the wacky, and the wonderful–all in the name of ‘getting it right.’

How did I become such a legalist in the things of God?  Oh, I have an answer to that, but it is quite vapid now upon the reflection caused by this brother’s insight. (Those who know me would not apply the term legalist to my approach; but I now see how easily I could have simply stepped over the line into that realm.)

Another area that has changed for me is that I am no longer asking God to bless my efforts to serve Him. (If I had known this one a year ago, I might still be in SW Missouri.) Now, all I want to know, all that I ask, is “What are You doing?” and, “Can I tag along?”

I need to become more like Peter on the day of Pentecost rather than like the pharisees in their day of visitation. The pharisees had it all figured out how it was supposed to happen. So they completely missed the Lord’s visitation, because His style was not in accord with their handbook on how it was done.

Peter, on the other hand, was familiar enough with the prophet Joel that he was able to say, “This is that!” He hadn’t tried to work out every little detail about what it was supposed to look like. He just knew it when it happened.

I want to be so familiar with what it feels like to be in the presence of God, that I can say, “This is that!” no matter where I find it. I do not want my preconceived notions about what God will or will not do prevent me from being a part of His outpouring of blessing. His presence and His blessing is the first thing I look for, and once I find that there is nothing else to look for or at.

What freedom.