Posts Tagged With: John

Discipleship

I once had a chemistry professor (Dr. McKnight) at Hinds Community College who told all his classes upon their first meeting the following statement or something pretty close to it, “In chemistry, it is very easy to get bogged down, confused, overwhelmed and discouraged. When you feel yourself getting to this point, go back to the simplest most foundational point of chemistry. “Matter cannot be created nor destroyed.” All the rest of chemistry is based upon this principle.

As a pastor, it is really easy to get caught up in, bogged down, confused, overwhelmed and discouraged. There is always a meeting going on; someone is always unhappy with something that you said, did or didn’t do; someone who is sick; something that demands your time and always a sermon to prepare. As a member of a congregation, many of these same demands apply and certainly some additional ones.

I believe in these times, and in all times, it is important to remain focused on the foundation. Upon what Christ told us to do. I’ve read the Scriptures, been to seminary and cannot find it anywhere that Christ says we must attend all the committee meetings of the church. (Please don’t yell or throw stuff at me). However, I just can’t seem to find it. I can find in red words where Christ says, “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.” The Great Commission.

So, if we are to break it down to the simplest terms, we are to make disciples! Have you ever asked yourself what a disciple looks like; what does one do; what makes up a disciple? These are important questions because if we cannot answer these questions, we don’t know if we are doing what we are commanded to do by Christ himself. And so, here are 4 qualities of someone who is a disciple:

1. A DISCIPLE IS ONE WHO IS COMMITTED TO FOLLOWING JESUS
- One who has made Jesus Lord of their life.
- One who has surrendered their life to Christ.
(Luke 9:23, John 8:31)

2. A DISCIPLE IS ON WHO IS BECOMING LIKE CHRIST IN ATTITUDE AND ACTION.
- One who is being made or remade into the image of Christ.
(John 13:35, 15:8; Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:22)

3. A DISCIPLE IS ONE WHO HAS COMMITTED THEIR LIFE TO THE MISSION OF CHRIST.
- Ambassadors of Christ
(John 15:8; Matthew 4:19, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20)

4. ONE WHO IS IN INTENTIONAL RELATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS WITH OTHER SPIRITUALLY MATURING BELIEVERS.
- Being in relationship with other believers
- Learning from other believers
- Supporting other believers/seekers
- Holding and being held accountable for spiritual growth.
(2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 3:12; Deuteronomy 6:4)

Being a disciple is much more than giving your one hour a week on Sunday morning, sitting on a hard pew, listening to a sermon. It’s a way of life that is lived 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It’s hard! It’s time consuming! It takes you out of your comfort zone! It’s the only thing in life where you will find the JOY the Lord has for you. It’s worth it.

Categories: Faith Journey | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Generosity by Julie Holly

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him.” 1 John 3:16-19

When we are the recipient of generosity—when someone does something for us— we are more likely to be generous ourselves.  This is a fairly natural and expected response for most of us.  And this is something like what the author of 1 John is saying about how people are expected to act once they have received the gift of God’s love through Jesus

When I say it is expected, I don’t mean that it is expected as in, “I expect you to do this or else…” But expect as in anticipation.  It is more like when you add vinegar to baking soda and you expect it to bubble up.  The natural and expected response to being filled up with God’s love is that one will also flow out with the same.  When we have received love, we are expected to share it with others.

There is also an element of expectation, as in obligation, involved in this as well because in order to live as a person of God, we are expected and commanded to love God and neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39).  But because it is the gift of God’s grace that fills us with love and makes it possible for us to act out of love, then what God commands us, God also gives us the power to do.

One of my favorite quotes about giving is attributed to Amy Carmichael, who was a Christian missionary to India from the early 1900’s.  She left her family, friends, and life in Northern Ireland to serve the people of India for 55 years.  She said to have shared this message, “one can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving”.  That is pretty much what the Gospel of John is saying here: We cannot believe in Jesus without loving, and we cannot love without giving.

In order to grow toward self-sacrificing generosity that embodies the love of God, most of us won’t just jump right in head first.  We need some beginner steps, like…

  • reading what the Bible says about giving
  • praying and seeking God’s guidance
  • giving a little something to see what it is like
  • talking about it with each other—to see how others do it, to receive encouragement, and to be challenged to continue growing

And then finally, we will get to a place when we can live it.  We will not just say that we believe, we will also do what we believe.  Our actions and our lives as individuals and as a church will speak much louder than our words of faith.  We will become generous followers of Jesus.

Julie Holly is the Senior Pastor at Discovery United Methodist Church in Birmingham. You can follow her blog by clicking here! or with this address: http://pastorchickword.blogspot.com

Categories: Church, Faith Journey, Friends, John Wesley, Leadership, Stewardship, Stewardship | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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