Daily Post

Take a walk on the wild side… Support wildlife.


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As I have traveled Africa, it has become clear to me that the “wild side” of planet earth is diminishing too quickly. It is a shame, not just for the animals, but for our children and grandchildren. To think that they will not have the pleasure of seeing a lioness nurture and train her cubs, or a gangly new born giraffe stumble about trying to get its balance and footing brings on a somber mood. We have a responsibility to manage resource with wisdom and to provide our children the opportunity to experience the variety of life our earth offers. Help me save a small part of this. I wish to purchase a property in the Moditlo area of the Selati Game reserve in order to give roaming area to the last of the the Big Five animals including the endangered rhino and elephants. With my purchase I will receive voting rights in the conservancy and can block moves to open hunting, or to commercialize game land. This effectively provides a safe haven for animals, a natural environment for them to grow in without the threat of human hunting, and provides the wider benefit of influence in the management of a larger game area. The money raised here will go toward the purchase of land approved to house wild game and the rest will be used to improve game fences, conservancy security and access for wildlife veterinarians and conservancy specialists. The Moditlo area is in a clean conservancy, meaning disease has not effected the animals. With this investment, we ensure the future health of this wildlife and the possibility that someof the wild world will remain.

If you would like to conserve the future of wild animals and ensure this wonderful experience for your children’s children, partner with us by clicking the link below:

Daily Post

The Zambia Harvest


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cropped-logo-white-JH

We will be working in Zambia with the Leya, Subiya, Shanjo, Mashi, Simaa, Ndundulu, Imilangu, and Lozi tribes. This is accomplished through the discipleship and training of identified “son’s of peace” (Luke 10) within an 800 sq km area in southwestern Zambia, near the borders with Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola. We will uitlize the John Journey method of discipleship developed by Judea Harvest as well as the Gospel of John translated into the local language, audio Bibles, reference Crosses that represent our relationship with God, our separationg from sin, our relationship to the Body and our relationship to those who do not share an intimacy with Jesus Christ. We will stay in the area, helping to develop leaders and church planters. The effect will be saturation church planting (home churhes) throughout the 800 sq km area, that will lead to the establishment of a strategic local church from which similar evangelism and church planting can take place.

Partner with us!

or Here!

 

Daily Post

Philosophy of Small Groups


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Introduction

The church was founded and organized in small groups which formed the visible Body of Christ here on earth as a witness and light to the world. Believers met for worship in each others homes, and they lived in community, sharing each others burdens, and encouraging each other, building up the community through the spiritual gifts and loving one another, and “by this all people will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35, ESV) [1] Discipleship occurred in community. Each member submitting to each other in service and learning from one another. “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Corinthians 14:26). The church is small, outward looking, mission focused groups that live in loving community as examples of Christ on earth, and their purpose is to build up the Body through the use of spiritual gifts and to expand the Kingdom of God through making disciples of all nations.

Overview and Purpose Statement

This paper is about small groups, their purpose, and how discipleship occurs within that setting. The purpose of this text is to explain the philosophy of small groups within a ministry organization, to discuss the importance of this relational group in authentic disciple making, to explain how missional groups can help the Body of Christ move into the community and replicate. Finally, it explains this writer’s status in regards to living in community with other believers and being missional with that community.

Small Missional Groups

Small groups are “are the primary means of making disciples who make disciples.”[2] By adding missional to the name it sets a precedence and the stage for the focus of the group. Taking a missional approach keeps the group focused on Christ’s commission as well as His commandments. The Moravians were the most successful mission in the modern era. In twenty years they started more missions than protestants in 200 years. How do they accomplish this? “[T]he Moravians saw evangelization as essential and made it a common concern of their community.”[3] They sent small missional groups to settle in foreign areas, including very remote locations, whom would then live as witnesses for Christ.

The members are on mission and “where one member is, there is also the whole body, and where the body is, there is also the member.”[4] The small missional group is the church and is where ministry happens. The small missional group is the connecting point with the lost, it is where believers live with nonbelievers, and where the world sees the light of truth. Multiplication occurs when new small missional group leaders are developed by and through the gifts of the members of the missional group. New leaders are discipled in community and by the community. This is “a simple church model that naturally reaches people with the gospel, empowers them to grow, equips them to serve, and releases them to the mission of Christ.”[5]

Disciple Making

Discipleship is accomplished in community. Each member of the Body of Christ is given a spiritual gift that is to be used for the purpose of up-building the body. Each teaches and develops the other, and lives as an example through service to the rest.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

When Paul wrote this letter, His intent was not to create a list from greatest to least of the spiritual gifts. His purpose was to explain that each gift is to be used for the encouragement and building up of the body as a whole. The only reason a gift may be seen as more important than another is related to how much that gift builds up the body. “The Spirit produces visible effects for the profit of all, not for self-glorification.”[6] When the small missional group comes together for worship, they fellowship, one-with-another, through the breaking of bread, through teaching the Word and sharing revelation, as well as prophesying, and encouraging. Through these encounters each member is disciple by the others.

Outward Looking

Mission is mindset. For one to be on mission successfully, they must understand the mission and its purpose. This purpose is the intent of the one who sends on mission. Why does Christ want His followers on mission? What is the mission and purpose given? The Great Commission lays out the mission for all believers, that in going, they make disciples of all nations, baptize them and teach them the commands of Christ. For what purpose, though? The answer is found in the purpose of Christ, which is “He intended to save out of the world a people for himself and to build a church of the Spirit which would never perish.”[7] To understand what Christ intends is to understand calling, mission, and direction. If every member of the small missional group understands Christ’s commission and purpose then “you should never have to worry about how to spend your time or how to use your spiritual gifts or where to invest your money and resources.”[8]

Replication

The goal of discipleship is replication. Paul’s missionary methods were based in replication. He did not bring the Gospel to entire regions on his own, “Paul’s theory of evangelizing a province was not to preach in every place in it himself, but to establish centres [sic] of Christian life in two or three important places from which the knowledge might spread into the country around.”[9] Paul would replicate himself in those communities, not in every believer, but in those that were committed and filled with the Spirit. He preached to the community, and disciple a few in it, in order to raise up leaders capable of taking the message into other areas, and his model was very successful.

Community

This writer finds Jesus’s missionary methods to be the most sound in all of history. Jesus spoke to the masses, but focused on a few, drawing them near to Him. They shared life together and learned through personal teaching and from watching His example. Those few He poured His life into spread His message through the power of the promised Holy Spirit. The model of the early church is the model that this writer is called to live in and replicate. Through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the missional team here is called to create a network of interconnected missional churches. The call is to pour into sons of Peace (Luke 10) and the community, and to raise up leaders that will carry the Gospel message into the rest of the province. The Holy Spirit wants to ignite a fire in every province of every country in Africa. This can only be accomplished by the obedience to the Holy Spirit and through relationship. The team will stay in villages as long as is needed.

Evangelism:Preaching

Figure One: Small Missional Group planting process through the use of a son of Peace. Chris Brennan

Conclusion

The church is small, outward looking, mission focused groups that live in loving community as examples of Christ on earth, and their purpose is to build up the Body through the use of spiritual gifts and to expand the Kingdom of God through making disciples of all nations. This is best accomplished through small missional groups that live in community and in contact with the lost. These missional groups seek to disciple others and organize them into similar groups that will again replicate throughout an entire province creating a network of missional small groups. Each group grows in community a through the gifts of the Spirit and maintains an outward look and goal of continuously accomplishing the commission of Christ to make disciples of all nations.

Bibliography

Allen, Roland. Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991.

Blackaby, Tom. The Commands of Christ: What It Really Means to Follow Jesus. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Discipleship. Edited by Martin Kuske, Ilse Tˆdt, Geffrey B. Kelly, and John D. Godsey. Translated by Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss. Vol. 4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.

Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Grand Rapids: Revell, 2006.

Earley, David and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is . . . How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Kindle version. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2013.

Hesselgrave, David J. Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and beyond. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000.

Putman, Jim. DiscipleShift – Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Exponential Series). Zondervan, 2013.

Thiselton, Anthony C. The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

[2] Jim Putman, DiscipleShift – Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Exponential Series) (Zondervan, 2013), 184.

[3] David J. Hesselgrave, Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and Beyond (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), NPN, Chapter 6.

[4] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 234.

[5] David Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is . . . How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Kindle version, Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), location 4503.

[6] Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 936.

[7] Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Revell, 2006), 17.

[8] Tom Blackaby, The Commands of Christ: What It Really Means to Follow Jesus (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2012), 118.

[9] Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991), 12.

Daily Post

Discipleship and a Healthy Church


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Introduction

The Body of Christ or the Church, which is the bride of Christ, is made up of gatherings of disciples all over the world. The goal of discipleship is replication, and as disciples of Christ are replicated they must be brought into communion with the rest of the Body. Because of this necessity, a goal of discipleship is a healthy church. The church will be healthy if the people in it are healthy.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this paper is to explain how a healthy church is a goal of discipleship and to examine the ministry, For Hope and Healing, to identify the top three weaknesses that need to be addressed in order to create a healthier Body of Christ. This paper will also discuss initial steps the ministry will take to improve its spiritual health.

Healthy Body, Healthy Church

Our body is made of various parts and systems that all work together in order for us to enjoy a healthy and fruitful life. It is God’s desire for us to have a healthy body, and His goal for His Son’s Body to be full and healthy. As believers, when we confess Christ as our Lord, we become a part of His Body, and we have a particular set of gifting’s that are to be used to keep His Body healthy. “All gifts work together for the overall good of the church, in the same way that the various parts of a human body come together and function as a unit.”[1]

The church body is built up through the encouragement and development of its members. If the members are healthy, then the church will be healthy, if the church is healthy, then the Bod of Christ will be healthy. How is the church and its body of members kept healthy? The pastor’s and cell group leaders, youth directors and worship leaders must all proclaim the Gospel by word and through their actions. New believers must be baptized and learn to surrender and sacrifice for the kingdom. These new believers must be developed and nurtured individually, taught to share their resources, and to follow the commands of Christ. The leaders must view their role as on that equips and empowers. The focus should be on raising people for the kingdom call to go and make more disciples for Christ. The body should be growing in wisdom, discipline, unity and love for one another. Discovery of spiritual gifts and opportunities to use them is paramount. A life of prayer, and Gospel sharing should be the norm, not a weekend practice. All of this should move toward accomplishing Christ’s mission wherever members of His Body go, and new churches should be planted along these paths. “A healthy church is a representation of the people of God coming together to accomplish the mission of God for the glory of God.”[2] Ultimately, health of the Body can only be accomplished through following the commands of Christ. “A church is “healthy” when its values and practices, what it is and does, match the standard of the New Testament.”[3]

For Hope and Healing – OverlandAfrika

For Hope and Healing is an overland ministry throughout Africa. Its goal is to create a web of interconnected churches throughout every country in Africa. Currently, the mission has seven members and is working to engage partners throughout the continent, even as new members join. As members are added, spiritual maturity of the individual must be assessed so that further discipleship can be performed so that no one member becomes stagnant in their person walk with Jesus. The only way that this can be done is to keep Christ the focus, even above the ministry work. Everything must be secondary to Him, and all people must follow Him. If this is not true, then there is no real ministry. In addition, the home churches must also be healthy. “The whole Body must keep itself healthy, if the Hand which reaches out to gather from the ‘regions beyond’ is to be strong for its work. An unspiritual home Church will not long sustain healthy mission work.”[4] There are three areas in which For Hope and Healing can focus in order to foster a healthier environment, time in prayer, specifically together, time in worship, and time in fellowship.

Time in Prayer

We are to pray at all times. Pray is not an event, but a lifestyle that does not cease. “Prayer is the language of spiritual intimacy. In prayer, we open our hearts to God and each other.[5] Every hour we need our Lord, and it is He who makes our paths straight. Prayer together is a part of church history. The early church prayed together with one mind. “They prayed ‘with one mind or purpose or impulse.’ Fervent worship and prayer together is a significant part of church history.”[6]

Time in Worship

When we worship God we give Him glory. In turn, He cleanses us, which brings out love. It also opens the human heart to ministry and discipleship. When we worship God, we become open with others, and willing to share our hearts. “Worshiping together is the most powerful way to bring a personal life into focus. Authentic worship always brings truth to bear on the individual’s life. There is often greater courage and honesty in sharing after a group has worshiped together.”[7] Worship, within the body, does not only include musical praise, but embodies the act of being Christ-like as character. “A healthy church understands that the ultimate form of worship is living for God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”[8]

Time Together

Time in fellowship together gives the opportunity to pray and worship together. Included in this even should be the breaking of bread in remembrance of Christ. He said to do it as often as possible. The early church is our example, “[O]n Pentecost, following Peter’s sermon, ‘about 3,000 souls were added’ (Acts 2:41). One thing to notice was the natural course of things that followed. Those 3,000 immediately began to fellowship together, worship together, mutually support each other, and eat together (Acts 2:42). ‘And the Lord was adding to their number day by day’ (Acts 2:47). Acts 2:42–47 implies relationships among people, among friends sharing a common bond.”[9]

Conclusion

The Body of Christ is the functional oneness of all disciples, in every local church in the world. For the Body of Christ to be healthy, the members must be healthy. These members are organized into various local churches in every nation. These churches need to be healthy in order for new and healthy disciples to grow and contribute to the work of the Body. In observing the missional organization, For Hope and Healing, the group can become more aware of Christ’s calling to oneness by praying together, worshipping together, and living in fellowship together.

Application

A move towards increased health takes action and intentionality. If behavior is to become habitual, then it must be practiced regularly, with discipline. Beginning with regular fellowship and prayer amongst couples in the organization, the changes that need to take place will grow from that. Fellowship around the remembrance of Christ leads to prayer and worship. It is the only response to the great mercy of Christ. New believers that have been ministered to must be integrated into the Body immediately and prayer and worship should surround them so that they are saturated in the Gospel truth and the examples of obedience to the commands of Christ lived out in front of them. Practically speaking, the team will meet a minimum of once a week for the purpose of worshipping the Lord, and praying thanksgiving and for guidance. The rest of the week will be spent in continuous prayer, ministry, and fellowship as a family. Through applying these practices as normal life, the Gospel and Christ become the message lived out in each believer. The love of the Lord will grow in us, and as we follow Him, He and the Father will reside with us.

Bibliography

Beyerlein, Ann. “Adoring God: Worship & Prayer.” In Small Group Leaders’ Handbook: The Next Generation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.

Earley, David and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is . . . How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. B & H Publishing Group, 2013.

Everett, Gordon L. “Relationships: The Missing Link in Evangelistic Follow-Up.” Bibliotheca Sacra 142 (1985).

Foster, Henry J. I & II Corinthians. The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary. New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Gasser, William W. “What Is a Healthy Church?” Journal of Ministry and Theology 6 no. 1 (2002).

Keefauver, Larry, and Judy Keefauver. Seventy-Seven Irrefutable Truths of Marriage. Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2002.

Putman, Jim. DiscipleShift – Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Exponential Series). Zondervan, 2013.

Webber, Robert. The Ministries of Christian Worship. 1st ed. Vol. 7. The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Nashville, TN: Star Song Pub. Group, 1994.

[1] Jim Putman, DiscipleShift – Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Exponential Series) (Zondervan, 2013).

[2] David Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is . . . How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (B & H Publishing Group, 2013).

[3] William W. Gasser, “What is a Healthy Church?,” Journal of Ministry and Theology 6, no. 1 (2002): 121.

[4] Henry J. Foster, I & II Corinthians, The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary (New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892), 589.

[5] Larry Keefauver and Judy Keefauver, Seventy-Seven Irrefutable Truths of Marriage (Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2002), 67.

[6] Ann Beyerlein, “Adoring God: Worship & Prayer,” in Small Group Leaders’ Handbook: The Next Generation (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1995).

[7] Robert Webber, The Ministries of Christian Worship, 1st ed., vol. 7, The Complete Library of Christian Worship (Nashville, TN: Star Song Pub. Group, 1994), 48.

[8] David Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is . . . How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (B & H Publishing Group, 2013).

[9] Gordon L. Everett, “Relationships: The Missing Link in Evangelistic Follow-Up,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142 (1985): 156.

Daily Post

New Issuer of North American Carnet


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News Release

December 16, 2015

For immediate release

 

FIA Carnet de passages en Douane Issuer for North America Appointed

 

CAA is pleased to announce the new issuing authority for the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Carnet de passages en Douane (CPD) in North America.

 

The FIA has appointed the Corporation for International Business (a.k.a.) Boomerang Carnets℠ based in Barrington, Illinois as its new Service Provider of CPD services for Canada and the U.S.. CPD processing and distribution services will be offered under the brand name Boomerang Carnets℠ to take on the task of administering the FIA Carnet program for AAA and CAA members as well as non-members in both the U.S. and Canada.

 

The Corporation for International Business’ founding family has a history in the international trade and transportation industries dating back to the early 1900s. A long-time issuer of the commercial ATA Carnets, Boomerang Carnets℠ will use this experience to expand its portfolio to include the FIA Carnet de passages en Douane for tourism purposes.

 

Prospective FIA Carnet customers are invited to use the following contact information:

 

Boomerang Carnets℠ C/O

Corporation for International Business (CIB)

325 North Hough Street, 2nd Floor

Barrington, IL 60010 USA

 

Carnet HelpLine℠ 1-800-282-2900℠

Mobile Carnet HelpLine℠ 1-847-638-8325

Fax: 1-847-381-3857

 

The contact information form can also be used for enquiries located at:

http://www.atacarnet.com/contact-us or email us at carnets@atacarnet.com.

 

Current holders of existing CAA issued Carnets must, on their expiry, return them for discharge to:

 

CAA National Office

500-1545 Carling Avenue

Ottawa, Ontario, K1Z 8P9, Canada

 

Should a replacement Carnet be required, it must be requested from Boomerang Carnets℠.

 

CAA is a federation of nine clubs providing over 6 million Members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

David Steventon

Senior Manager Standards, Accreditation & Automotive Services

CAA National Office

(613) 247-1007 ext 2015

dsteventon@national.caa.ca

 

Daily Post

For His Glory


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          We have begun a Pauline style journey to every nation in Africa. We have partnered with Judea Harvest, a 501c3, in order to reach the “man of peace” in every province of every nation in Africa, in order to disciple him into a church planter. We need to raise funds for Bibles, audio-Bibles, training materials, and a trailer.
          Since we all like t-shirts, I designed a special one for my Recon Marine, SARC, and Raider brothers. The Hebrew says “For the Glory of the Lord.” The proceeds go directly to our missions support account. Thank you for your help, and I pray the Lord blesses each of you and keeps your minds, bodies, and spirits healthy for His purposes.
Chris “Shifty” Brennan
4th Marines Recon Platoon
3rd Recon Company
1st Force Recon Company
III MEF SOTG – CQB
If you are a Recon Marine, SARC, Raider or family member check the link below:
Daily Post

Block Diagram of Scripture


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Romans 8:1-8 KJV (182 words, 1 paragraph)

No condemnation

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation

____________________to them which are {1}in Christ Jesus

____________________who walk

_______________________not after the {2}flesh,

_______________________ {1}but after the Spirit.

Freedom from the Law

8:2 For the {1}law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free

__________________from the {3}law

_________________________of sin and death.

Condemnation of sin

8:3 For what the {3}law could not do,

____________in that it was weak

______________________{2}through the flesh,

God sending his own Son (a)→ . . . condemned {2}sin in the flesh(b)→

(a)→. . . in the likeness of {2}sinful flesh, and for sin,

___8:4 (b)→That the righteousness of the {3}law

________________might be fulfilled in us,

_____________________________who walk not after the {2}flesh,

_____________________________but after the {1}Spirit.

The Flesh and the Spirit

8:5 For they that are {2}after the flesh

______________do mind the things of the flesh;

{1}but they that are after the Spirit

___________________the things of the Spirit.

The Carnal Mind

8:6 For to be {2}carnally minded

__________is death;

{1}but to be spiritually minded

_________ is life and peace.

8:7Because the{2}carnal mind

___________is enmity against God:

___________for it is not subject to the {3}law of God,

_________________neither indeed can be.

8:8 So then they that are {2}in the flesh

__________________cannot please God.

Numbered items are running themes:

{1} In the Spirit; In Christ

{2} In the Flesh; Under the Mosaic Law

{3} Mosaic Law

→Goes with; Go together

. . . Pulled from the order of the text

Main Point

Sub Point

All else is supporting element of either sub points or main points

Daily Post

What’s In a Name?


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What’s in a name?

A huge circle I have turned. With my question also comes a comment; it is not the name but Christ whom defines.

My name was placed in the heart of my parents before my birth. Christopher, bearer of Christ, Christ within, he whom carries Christ.

I am in Christ and Christ is in me. Christ is my light and my shield. I am not the light, but Christ is the light within me.

When I was young many who were troubled came to me and would tell me of their problems. I had no experience to draw from so I just listened. They would thank me for talking with them and say they always felt better. It always confused me and I would say, “I didn’t say anything,” and they would say, “Well, it was a good talk, I needed it.” As I grew older and more experienced I began to see that God had given me a good mind, and I began to think that it was because of this that people wanted my advice. So I began to draw from my experience and worldly knowledge to give counsel, and a strange thing occurred. They no longer received comfort from our conversations, and my advice seemed to have a less than positive effect. I felt confused and unhelpful and more importantly as if I had lost something.

God revealed that it was not me that they sought, but Him, and when I was young I would listen and pray for them rather than intellectually analyze their problems and attempt to fix them. I failed as a friend by seeking to help in my own strength. The Lord revealed this helpful truth:

Christ is in God and God in Christ. Before the cross Christ prayed to the Father that He would unify the church into one body and that we would be in Him – in Christ. From that time forward Christ said we are in Him and He is in us. So, since we are in Him, present tense, and the present being before the Cross, then we were in Christ when He was crucified for us. Therefore we and our sinful nature were crucified with Him. Just before Jesus gave up His Spirit, He said, “It is finished.” Present tense, in His time. He did not say, “It has begun,” or “Open their eyes and let the struggles with their revealed sin begin.” He said, “It is finished.” So sin is finished, my death in Him is finished. Then, still being in Him I was raised from the dead and in Him I ascended to the Father. Now I know this truth, and I was baptized into my new self; my new body dead to sin. This was the beginning of my changed heart. It is not I that will overcome, it is not my strength or desire, or anything else but Christ is in me. I am nothing. Christ is everything. The Holy Spirit will wrought Christ in me. It is only Christ whom pleases God, so He must be in me. I am not Christ. I do not become Him. I become His vessel. I am a cup and Christ fills the cup. It is not the cup that gives peace and comfort, but what the cup bears. People do not thirst for the vessel, but what the vessel carries. I carry Christ in me. Therefore, Christ is the light in me. He is what people see and desire to speak with. It is Christ in me Whom ministers to them and gives them the peace they seek.

My prayers have often been, “God give me the strength, give me the will, give me the power.” God wants to weaken me and teach me that it is Him and it is Christ in me that is my strength, my light, my shield, my salvation. He is the light of the world in me. It is not I that overcome, but Christ in me that has overcome. I am just a bearer, a vessel, the cup, and Christ is what the world needs and Christ is in me, and I am in Him.

Daily Post

Power to Change the World


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Violence, hate, destruction, lack of care for the environment, terrorism, greed, and all other negative forces in action throughout the world are mere symptoms. All of these things stem from the same source. In 2001, when the World Trade Centers fell, my heart desired to destroy our enemies. When I hear of rape, murder, child abuse and molestation, my flesh cries out for vengeance and my mind plots the death of the wicked. For I am human, and I reside in flesh. Attacking each of these “symptoms” that we see in the world does not cure the deeper problem. The deeper problem is the heart of man. The heart of man is wicked, and his flesh desires evil. Therefore, there is no end to these tragic events in our world outside of change in the heart of man. Only one Name can accomplish that change. Only one Name has the power to divide soul from flesh and bone from marrow. There is only one Name in heaven, on earth or under the earth that can soften our hardened hearts. That one name will also bring justice to the wicked. That name is Jesus Christ. Do not speak religion to people. Do not speak evil or curses to your enemies, instead pray for them and bless them. Forgive them. Speak life, and do so by speaking the Word of God to them. The power of the Word of God can overcome all evil. Nothing can stand against it. I must speak it to myself, for vengeance is the Lord’s, vengeance is not mine and I cannot claim it for myself. Why are we surprised when the Godless murder. They are sons of perdition. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. He works through the Godless. We do not fight against men, but the spirit behind them. However, Jesus has given us authority over these spirits in His name. We must counter evil with good. The Lord sends rain on both the righteous and the wicked. He would rejoice if any of them turned to Him and repented. How can they repent unless they hear? Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God. Will we stand in the Armor of God and share His good news with our enemies? Test the power of the Word of God and find it true. Speak it today and everyday. Pray for those who are lost in evil. Ask to be sent that you may speak life to them, and pray that the Lord will change their hearts.

Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[a] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Daily Post

Christ Centered Discipleship


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The Centrality of Christ in Discipleship

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40, ESV).

What is discipleship? According to Jesus, a fully trained disciple becomes like his teacher. Does this mean that the one being discipled should become like the one discipling? Yes, with the exception that, within the Christian faith, it is important to know that, though a man may disciple another man, it is truly the Holy Spirit within him that does the discipling. Therefore, the disciple is not becoming more like the man, but more like the Spirit of Christ within the man. We are not called to make our own disciples, but disciples of Christ. This means that Christ must remain at the center of all discipleship, and every disciple must be obedient to Christ. For it is Christ that they are becoming like. “[T]he Twelve became disciples by following Christ’s example.” [1]

Obedience to Christ in Discipleship

In Christ’s commission He states that those that are discipling others should be “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). According to Jesus, observing, or obeying is central to being His disciple. “Jesus expected the men he was with to obey him. They were not required to be smart, but they had to be loyal. This became the distinguishing mark by which they were known.” [2] No one can be a disciple unless called, and no one can be a disciple unless they are obedient to that call and come to Jesus; “only the believers obey, and only the obedient believe.” [3] Further evidence of the need to obey can be found in Scripture, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). As Dave Earley puts it, “The Great Commission and the commands of Jesus are, indeed, ‘battle cries’ to be obeyed.” [4]

The Three Steps of Discipleship

There are many methods for discipleship, just make sure the one chosen is after the model of Christ and is led by His Spirit. David Early and Rod Dempsey have categorized discipleship into three steps: Declaration, Development, and Deployment. These steps will be covered in this section, as well as how one can be “obedient.”

Declaration
This step is fairly straightforward, it is the time when a person investigates Jesus, and through the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes to terms with the fact that they are a sinner and in need of Christ’s redemption. “While salvation often begins with curiosity, it takes more than curiosity in Jesus to experience true conversion. It takes experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit as He convinces us of our sin, our lack of true righteousness, and the resulting judgment (John 16:8).” [5] Jesus teaches people to repent of their sin by turning away from it and towards Him. Then He commands that they believe. What are they to believe? They are to believe in who He is.

Development
Step two is captured in the statement, “Follow Me.” By following Jesus, and spending time with Him, disciples are immersed in Him. Jesus’ call is to committed followership in which the disciple spends his days in fellowship with Christ, learning to be like Him. It is not a following of convenience, but an immersion into the Christian community and the words of Jesus, and His mission and ministry. In the Nestle-Aland Greek Testament, Mark uses the verb ἀκολουθέω and its imperative form ἀκολουθείτω in chapter eight verse thirty-four. This word means follow or go along behind. The imperative form means that the word is a direct command, and the double use of it in one sentence is a method used by New Testament writers to add emphasis. “[T]he repetition emphasizes the fact that discipleship means following in the same path, and being ready to share in the same fate, as the one who leads: those who want to follow Jesus must follow him even when he is carrying a cross.”

Deployment
The final stage of discipleship is the final stage of any workup – deployment. Deployment in discipleship terms means replication. To replicate followers of Christ, new disciples must be found for Him. Therefore, each disciple must be deployed on mission with Christ. In other words, a disciple must “go.” In going he is to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that I [Christ] commanded [them]” (Matthew 28:19-20). This is the pinnacle of the discipleship process, the purpose for which one is discipled, and is the mission of the church here on earth.

Christian disciples are sent men and women—sent out in the same work of world evangelism to which the Lord was sent, and for which he gave his life. Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do. It is the commission of the church that gives meaning to all else that is undertaken in the name of Christ. [6]

Therefore, it is imperative that disciples of Jesus remain obedient in all phases of this process. By design, the Lord’s methods were intended to produce more disciples for Him. His mission is to save out of the world a people for Himself and to build a church of the Spirit which will never perish.

Conclusion

Discipleship requires a focus on Jesus as the center. For it is Christ whom is discipling, and Christ whom the disciple hopes to replicate in the world. Obedience to His call and His commands is the mark of true discipleship. The disciple must declare his faith in Christ, follow Him, and go as His witness. This is a continual process. A disciple remains that way for the rest of life, while he brings others and teaches them to follow the commands of Christ so that they may also be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.

[1] James G. Samra, “A Biblical View of Discipleship,” Bibliotheca Sacra 160 (2003): 222.

[2] Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Revell, 2006), 43.

[3] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 63.

[4] David Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is . . . How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence, Kindle version, (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2013), 918.

[5] Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, 63.

[6] Coleman, Master Plan of Evangelism, 79.

[5] Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, 63.

[6] Coleman, Master Plan of Evangelism, 79.