Friday, October 30, 2009

The Atmosphere of Challenge

Matthew 14:22-33

Notice that the experience is more intense; the relationship more intimate, the revelation into who Jesus was is deeper.

MAIN POINT: In making disciples we must be watching for opportunities that the Spirit orchestrates and then lead those we disciple to step into experiences where their faith will be stretched, their fears overcome, and their worship of Jesus taken to new depths.

Observations and Applications from the story:

Our job is not to “invent” random experiences that we think are good but listen and watch for where the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives and helping them embrace His movement as much as possible.

1) Jesus was intentional: He MADE the disciples get in the boat. It was not a “whatever happens, happens” attitude to disciple making.
Part of our responsibility in disciple making is helping people see and take steps of faith.
2) Jesus stayed behind to be alone: He did not get in the boat with the disciples. He was alone, they were alone.
Sometimes the best thing for those that you disciple is for you to stay behind.3) The disciples were in the midst of the storm without Jesus, their discipler.
4) Jesus came out to them when the disciples needed Him.
Even though we may stay behind, we should still remain observant.
5) Even though He came to them He used the opportunity to push them further in their faith.
We don’t need to automatically play the role of rescuer but sometimes push people in.
6) Jesus spoke to the reality of their fear that could hinder their faith.
One of the central roles of the discipler is to help those you are disciplng to overcome fear. Fear may be the greatest enemy of faith so we need to be encouragers and challengers in moments of fear.
7) Peter responded to Jesus’ presence by asking him to prove himself.
8) Jesus responded. “come”
Help people hear, recognize and respond to God’s voice in challenging steps of faith.”
9) Jesus saw Peter and heard Peter’s cry for help and didn’t let him drown.
10) The response of Jesus in their small faith caused them to see Him deeper and led them to worship Him.
As people you are discipling step out on faith, point them to see and worship God in that moment.

Here are a couple of questions to help you discern what challenges God may want those you are discipling to walk through.
1. How do sense God moving in your life right now?
2. Is there something that you think God may want you to do but you are afraid to do it?
3. What could stop you from following through and why?
4. What can I do to help you?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Atmosphere of Vision

As you begin to disciple someone you must help them see their true identity and potential in the Kingdom.

The atmosphere of vision happens early in the relationship between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus has not revealed much about Himself to them yet but He is grabbing on to the moment and helping the disciples see life beyond themselves. He is telling them something that is almost impossible for them to believe about themselves. Robert Coleman in the book Master Plan of Evangelism describes the disciples this way.

“By any standard of sophisticated culture then and now they would surely be considered as a rather ragged collection of souls. One might wonder how Jesus could ever use them. They were impulsive, temperamental, easily offended and had all the prejudices of their environment…Not the kind of group one would expect to win the world to Christ.”

But imagine the sense of wonder and confidence that must have overcome them when Jesus looked them in the eye and said, “You will be fishers of men”, “You ARE the salt of the earth…YOU ARE the light of the world… …because of who you are people will worship God.

The atmosphere of vision is you helping a person see their life from the reality of who they are in Christ. It is helping them see that they are defined by God’s truth about them not what the world says. It is helping them see the things they don’t see about themselves; helping them see things they see wrong about themselves. Helping them see misperceptions about God and replacing them with Truth’s like Ephesians 1 that says

“God chose you before the foundations of the world to be holy and blameless before Him to praise of his glorious grace.”

“In Christ all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form and in Him you have been made full.”

Maybe it is just looking them in the eye and saying “I love you. I believe in you. You matter to God.”

When you help people discover their identity in Christ you are casting vision into their lives to do great things for God. It’s the atmosphere of vision.

Here are few questions that I often ask early in the discipleship process to help cultivate the atmosphere of vision.

1) Have you ever thought about how God could use you to change the world?
2) If you had unlimited resources and guaranteed success, what would you do with your life?
3) What do think it means to follow Jesus?
4) What do think could hinder you from being all that God wants you to be?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Atmospheres of Disciple Making: An Intro.

Over the next several posts I am going to be writing about what I call “Atmospheres of Disciple Making.” What I mean by this is that there are certain climates or conditions that we will see the Holy Spirit initiate for those we are discipling and we need to be ready to walk with them in the moment. It is not about manufacturing or controlling situations but responding to the leading of the Spirit and helping those we disciple see where God is at work in their lives. Then we challenge them to dig into the moment and face what God has put before them.

The end goal is always the same; lead those we disciple to encounter Jesus so that they can become more like Him and bear more fruit for Him.

I am going to walk primarily through the gospel of Matthew to show that over time Jesus built a deeper relationship with the disciples, created progressively more challenging moments for them to encounter Him, and lead them toward the glory of God in some way.

Before I get into the Atmospheres of Disciple making I want restate a couple of important things.

1. The only way to make disciples of Jesus is in the context of relationships based on sacrificial love. The discipler must lay down their life for those they are discipling.

2. Making Disciples takes a long time. There is no shortcut. The discipler must understand this or he will be filled with frustration when things do not happen as fast as they want.

3. The point is the glory of God through the multiplication of more disciples. The point can never be to just get people to do something. It must be about God being glorified as much as possible in them and through them.

Here are the Atmospheres of Disciple Making.