Friday, December 30, 2011

Worship in 2012

Worship of Jesus/God is by far the highest and most important thing that we do. By that I do not just mean singing songs or attending services. That is really just a small part of it. As a matter of fact "singing" is not mentioned very often in the New Testament. What I mean by worship is orienting all of life towards glorifying Jesus Christ. His fame should be the motivating factor in our lives (family, work, church, leisure etc). Several years ago I wrote this definition of worship:

Valuing God above all things with all that we are by responding to all that He is in all that we do.

We value what what we love. We love what we hold dear. What we hold dear we deeply know and trust. So the question for us as followers of Jesus is what are we doing to make sure we are valuing, holding dear, deeply knowing and trusting Jesus? What I have learned about me is that the more I learn about Jesus the more I realize I don't know much at all about truly worshiping Him. He is so vast. So Big. So beautiful. So glorious. So mysterious. So much more than me.

I always need to grow in loving and worshipping Jesus.

Several years ago I started a new years tradition that helps me in my worship. It is called the 31 Day Journey. I learned this at a conference I was attending in 1997 and have done it every year since then. I have adjusted it a little over the years but the purpose remains, worship. Here it is: Set aside the month of January as a month to grow in your intimacy and worship of God. Here is what I do each day in the month in January.

1. Pray: Father teach me something new about You or remind me of something that You need me to remember.

2. Read and Listen: Begin reading in Psalm 1 and read slowly listening for God to say something about Him that you need to hear. You may read 2 verses or 5 chapters. It doesn't matter. But as soon as something stands out to you about God (ie. that He is strong, faithful, providing etc) stop.

3. Worship: Spend some time in prayer worshipping God for that part of Him. Take your time. Tell Him you love Him for that. Tell Him how you have seen that part of Him or how you need to see that part of Him.

4. Write: I know that not everyone journals but I recommend it. Take a moment to record what you saw in God's Word.

5. Remember: Think about this part of God during your day.

It is that simple. Do this every day for 31 days. It is quite probable that you will not get all the way through Psalms and that is ok. It is about God and knowing Him and worshipping Him.

The important thing to remember is that the worship of God is the most important thing you can do in 2012.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Disciple Making Definition

Loving others in such way that we are intentionally and relationally, teaching them to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ so that they will have the desire and ability to do the same.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Evaluating Leadership

Several months ago as I was walking in a somewhat discouraging season as a leader I spent some time trying to discern the right questions to help me evaluate my leadership at BCM. I came up with these 6 basic questions that I keep before me and go back to consistently. I am sure there are a bunch of other great questions out there, but I have found that theses help me evaluate my leadership.

Another thing I am doing with these questions is sharing them with those I am leading. I do that as a way to help them give me feedback. I really want our students to succeed and I know huge part of that flows from my faithful, clear, consistent, moldable, loving leadership.

Remember that for me, these questions all flow out of a simple vision at Clemson, “Cooperate with God in making multiplying disciples of Jesus at Clemson University.” But, whatever your context of leadership may be I hope they are helpful and make sense.

Leadership Questions

1) Is it clear where I am pursuing to lead us? Clear to me? Clear to those I am leading.

2) Are our vision/mission/goals easily understood in practical terms? Do those I am leading know what to do and why they are doing it?

3) Are my expectations clear and realistic as it relates to the leadership ability? Can they do what they need to do? Am I holding them accountable for what they need to do?

4) What are we producing? Is our fruit consistently moving closer to reflecting our long term vision?

5) Am I doing my best at what I do best? Do I know what that is? Am I ok with it?

6) Do I love them for who they are more than for what they do? Do I view them as brothers and sister or workers? How am I guarding against reducing them from people with souls to producers of goods?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thoughts for Prayer


On August the 10th at 10 a.m. for 10 minutes, people all over our nation and world will be praying for the college students headed to campus this fall. What is beautiful is that there several time zones represented in our prayers so it is really more than 10 minutes. God loves when His people pray and hope that we will have the heart of Is. 62:1-7 as we pray (check it out! It is beautiful).

I have written a few thoughts below to help give a little guidance to your prayer. Use them if you would like or just pray however you are led. I do encourage you to pray for specific people and campuses.

10 minutes will go by fast….so, keep praying if you have the time.


That they would honor and value Jesus Christ above all things.
Everyday students are bombarded with the opportunity to “exchange the glory of God for a lie”. That temptation may come in the form of an unhealthy relationship to believing that pursuing money will be more satisfying than knowing Jesus Christ. Pray that they would be worshippers of Jesus alone.
That they would live a life of sacrificial love.
Jesus told His disciples that the world would know they were His by the quality of their love for one another. Pray that the Christians on campus would be united in love for each other as Jesus prayed, “that they may be one even as We are.” Pray this so that those on campus who do not know Jesus would be able to see that Jesus is real.
That many who do not know Jesus would come to know Him.
Jesus told the disciples to pray, “Your Kingdom come…” This is a prayer for the rule and authority of Jesus to be manifest in people through them believing the gospel. His desire is for more people to know Him, love Him, and follow Him. Pray for the lost to be saved.
That they would persevere in trials.
Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would remain strong when he was tested. College students face every temptation imaginable on the campus. Pray that their faith would remain and that God would grant them victory over trials and temptations.
That they would be used to change the world.
I believe that all Christian college students are “workers for the harvest”. We need to pray that they would see themselves as world changers/disciple makers and be obedient to God’s call to the mission field they are on. Pray that they would be used to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth through their time on campus.

In the end we want to see God move in ways that cannot be explained by man. I pray that God would awaken all of us to His glory and the beauty of following Him with everything we have.

"Father, glorify Your Name" - Jesus, John 12:28

Jer. 33:3

Friday, March 18, 2011

You will frustrate Those You Disciple When, part 4

4. You disciple as their boss and not their coach.

“…not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
1 Peter 5:4

This is frustrating because the never know why or see how to do what is expected of them.

There is a major difference between being a boss and being a coach. This translates easily into the discipleship relationship. Just as a good coach shows people how to play and win, a good disciple will show others how to live for the Kingdom. Unfortunately, as a discipler, it is much easier but less effective to settle into the role of just telling the other what they should be doing but never take the time to walk with them in it. Ultimately this can be very frustrating because even thought the words may be clear there is no real model to imitate. After a while the one you are discipling will grow weary of hearing you give instruction with never seeing those instructions lived out in your life.

Here are some differences between a boss and a coach

• A boss gives orders. A coach gives an example.
• A boss controls. A coach involves.
• A boss seeks power. A coach gives power.
• A boss just tells “what”. A coach tells “why” and “what”.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

You can’t expect the disciple to share their faith unless you show them how.
You can’t expect the disciples to sacrifice their time unless they see you sacrifice yours.
You can’t expect the disciple love people unless you are loving them.
You can’t expect them to know how to read the Bible unless you help them.
You can’t expect them to live counter culturally unless they see you living that way.
You can’t expect them to be vulnerable unless you are vulnerable.

Paul said it well to Timothy. “set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith, and purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Will Frustrate Those You Disciple When, part 3

3. You disciple them for your gain and not theirs.

1 Peter 5:2 “…not greedy for money, but eager to serve.”

This frustrates them because once they have accomplished what you want them to accomplish they can be left with a sense of abandonment or confusion.

The person who disciples for their own success tends to view the other person as a project who helps them look better to others. This kind of disciple making is in line with what Paul warned us against in Philippians 2:3 when he said, “do nothing from selfish ambition”. This same theme is seen on Paul’s 2nd letter to the church at Corinth. “So death is at work in us, but life in you…For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God.”

Paul never served for the sake of his own gain but willingly chose to lay down his pursuit of gain so that God would be glorified in the ones he was discipling.

Biblical discipleship always looks to help the other person grow as a follower of Jesus for the sake of the Kingdom. You help them succeed. You help them discover what God is doing in them and then being committed to His movement in their life.

Here are a few qualities of someone who disciples to help others succeed.

1. Humble – Proud people are about themselves. Humble people are about others.
2. Secure – Secure people can help others succeed because they know that if the one they are discipling surpasses them it does not diminish their own value
3. Listeners – Developing the skill of listening to the one you are discipling rather than always being the one talking opens the door to more clearly hear the voice of the Spirit.
4. Teachable – To help others succeed you must be willing to learn and freely give away information.
5. Committed – Those you are discipling need someone to be committed to the movement of God in their life. They need you to be willing to walk with them as far as you can.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Will Frustrate Those You Disciple When....

You Disciple them out of DUTY and NOT LOVE

1 Peter 5:2“…not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you.”

Key: This is frustrating because it builds walls that block intimacy.

I recently heard a girl talk about her relationships with the girl that was discipling her. She had high hopes of being poured into and loved. It did not take long for her to realize that she was essentially not much more than a calendar item. This caused the one being discipled to not open her life fully and gave her a “bad taste” for how she understood “being discipled”.

God’s design for disciple making is love (John 15:12-17), a love that willingly lays down it’s life. Peter says in chpt. 1 verse 22 to “love one another deeply and from the heart.” Even when he was mad, Paul’s mode of operation was love (2 Cor. 2:4).

The reality is that if people do not believe that you genuinely love them then they will not be confident in sharing with you the deep things in their life. Which means they are not opening up the places in their heart where the Holy Spirit needs to move.

Here are a few ways to know that your discipling relationship leans more toward duty than love. If these happen consistently, you may be discipling out of duty
1. You have to squeeze them into your life.
2. You are not “with them” when you are with them.
3. It becomes to easy for you to neglect or cancel times of being together.
4. You do not think about them and pray for them unless you are with them.

To disciple out of love is to joyfully sacrifice your life so that Christ will be formed in them (2 Cor. 4).

Application thoughts:
• We can all only love so many people well. Ask for a loving heart and do not try to
disciple more people than you can love.
• Tell those that you are discipling that you love them.
• Ask those you are discipling how they receive and give love.
(Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages is a great resource in understanding this topic)
• Whenever you read Scripture ask the question,
“How can this lead me to love as Jesus loves?”

I pray that you would love well.