I realized that I have not posted here in a long time. A lot has happened since I last updated this site. I’ve changed because He’s changed me. I’ve become more focused because He has given me direction. I’ve dedicated myself to making disciples because that’s the one thing that He has asked us to do. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately in light of the election and other major events going on in my life and I realize just how much people will attach to the Gospel. Just how much of our own agenda we marry to Christianity. The simple truth is: Jesus doesn’t care about our political affiliations or personal finances. He didn’t tell us to hold ice cream socials and New Years parties. He’s not impressed by the church with the coolest Christmas special. He has asked us to make disciples. This age will end and the only thing he requires of us as His followers is to tell as many people about Him – to make as many disciples as possible – before He returns.
I feel like those who have been “churched” know the great commission by heart. It has been committed to memory and could be recited frontwards and backwards, upside down and inside out, in several foreign languages and while we are sleeping. The problem is: Jesus didn’t ask us to recite Him, but to follow Him.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. -Luke 9:23
What does that even mean? For most, this means attending Sunday services, enjoying fellowship with other believers, being Republican and voting for “Christian values”, hanging out at ice cream socials, and listening to Christian radio on our way to our comfortable jobs while we tuck away plenty of cash in a 401K for a nice cozy Christian retirement where we will continue to attend service every Sunday and praise God for all that He has given us.
I’m not saying that any of those things are bad, per se, but they certainly aren’t what Jesus asked us to do, and, thus, cannot be married to Christianity. Jesus didn’t ask us to live a life of comfort. He didn’t ask us to isolate ourselves with other fellow believers in our ‘country club’ churches. He didn’t ask us to reach out to our communities with ice cream socials and hope that somehow the prospect of an cool treat would lead them to Him. How are our nice little comfortable outreach programs ever going to lead our neighbors to Jesus if we aren’t sharing the Gospel? How are we going to get them to trust the Savior if we aren’t convicting of sin? How are we going to make disciples if we can’t show them a life of sacrifice? Let’s take a look at how Jesus describes the Christian life:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” -Luke 14:25-35
Ouch. I don’t think that very many of us, no matter how comfortable in our Christianity we thought we were, can really look at this and say, “Yes, I’m giving Jesus my all.”. We let His message get muddled with our own. We let His agenda take a backseat to our goals, but we just cleverly disguise them as His. We love to put the big “Jesus stamp of approval” on whatever it is that we are doing, thinking, promoting, or advocating so that we can feel justified, regardless if that thing actually brings honor and glory to Him.
Here’s a big ‘for instance’. This election year was huge for me. Why? It was the first time that I didn’t vote. For one, upon being called, Jesus very clearly told me to stay away from politics. Not that He would tell everyone to do so, but for me politics are a stumbling block. In my previous life, I often put politics in the place of Jesus, seeking justice rather than mercy. Secondly, I couldn’t advocate either major candidate. I noticed, however, that many Christians, my church included, seem to be pushing for endorsement of Romney because of his stance on issues such as abortion and other Biblical values. I wonder how many of these same Christians were bothered by the fact that Romney is an abortion profiteer. I wonder how many were also interested in the fact that his presidency would have allowed for lower taxes on the middle class. I wonder how many thought about the prospect of the bolstering of the Mormon church as a result of having a Mormon in office. Are we advocating or allowing the spread of a false gospel, and in the name of Christ??
We can’t keep attaching our agendas with that of Jesus. If we are going to be His disciples, we have to get back to what it is that He has called us to do. I know we all know these words by heart, but I’m going to reiterate them here. Rather than just read them without giving them another thought, or pretending that we are following them, I ask that when we read them we really meditate on their meaning and pray that the Spirit would lead us in carrying them out in our lives.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20
I have committed myself to making disciples. For the last several months I have scoured my church and community for those willing to come with me – to sacrifice everything – to make disciples of Jesus. I currently have one person working with me, and I thank God for him. I have been witnessing in the workplace and in the home, to family, friends, and coworkers non-stop for the last two years, and the Lord is making me more effective in doing so all the time.
I am very excited to see where this discipleship ministry will go in the future, and I will surely chronicle the whole experience here. So far, we have launched home Bible studies using the NavPress DFD curriculum, but with limited success. This will be revisited in the future once we have a more solid plan for doing so. We have also begun meeting weekly to talk over our strategies and to pray for those we are witnessing to. We will also begin using the Francis Chan book Multiply to arm our group for making disciples who make disciples.
My hope and my prayer is that this will be introduced and adopted by our church, and we would gain a new focus for intentional disciple making. That we would work together to really study our community and the demographics of the unreached. That we would reach out to them, striving to present the Gospel to them in a way that they can understand. I’m not content sitting within the walls of my church and ministering to the needs of those who already know Jesus.
I do not believe that we’ve been called to isolate, but to infiltrate.