Thursday, 1/23/20 – Discipleship –God’s Will

God’s Will

woman carrying pot of green plant

Every now and then my wife will take off for a few days “with the girls” perhaps to stay a few nights at a lakeside cottage, or ‘camp’ which one of them owns. Other times she may fly solo to visit relatives to the west, or take a few days trip with our daughter and granddaughter to shop in some out of town specialty stores.

When she goes on such extended outings there is typically that last few minutes before departure where she sits me down and we go over “The List.”

“The List,” as most husbands know, is that itemization of tasks to be tended to while she’s away. You know, water certain plants with a certain frequency, but not water this or that one, be sure to pick up this or that item, tell so and so about the such and such and above all be ready to pick me up at the airport / bus terminal / friends house when I call.

woman s hand using a pen noting on notepad

I do these things because they need to be done. If I may be tired or sick while she is away I know I still must do them. I love my wife, and I want to please her. She entrusted me with these tasks. She has to. She won’t be here to do them, and there is no Plan B.

What is God’s Will? How do we know it? Well, in many ways we know it and obey it in a much similar manner.

Jesus has left us in a way, and for an extended period of time. All through His ministry years He left us a paper trail of instructions. “Love one another,” “Abide in Me,” “Treat others the way you would like others to treat you.” And above all, “Be ready for the day of My return.” Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James and others all wrote these things down for us and we can refer to their notes at any time.

silhouette image of person praying

Just before His departure Jesus gave us the greatest task of all. He said “…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” (Matt. 28:19-20).

We do these things because they need to be done. If I may be tired or sick while He is away I know I still must do them. I love my Lord and Saviour, and I want to please Him. He has entrusted me and every believer who hopes in Christ with these tasks. He has to. He won’t be here to do them, and there is no Plan B.

Press on…

20200108_072526Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 1/16/20 – Discipleship – Evangelism

Evangelism by Spirit, Abiding, Unity and Communion

man in black holding phone

Today I have something quite different for you, but your time with me may take a few minutes longer. They will be very worthwhile minutes however, about 22 to be exact, but stay with me.

Below you will find a link to a message by Francis Chan. Chan reminds us of Christ’s words on evangelism, and they may very well surprise you.

Jesus speaks of evangelism by our union and cooperation with God the Father and the Holy Spirit…

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothingno one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (John 6:63…64)

By our abiding in Jesus, the Vine…

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing….This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5…8)

By our supernatural loving unity with other believers…

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20, 21)

And by our sharing together in the Lord’s Supper…

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)

Take a few moments and check out Francis Chan on “Rethinking Outreach” (22 min.)

Press on…

photo of child reading holy bible

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey, turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 1/9/20 – Discipleship – Fellowship

Whats a “fellow”?

“Fellowship.” The suffix “ship” in this context refers to all the people in the group defined by the noun. So here, all the “fellows.” But what’s a “fellow”? Is a “fellow” the same as a “guy?” Is Christian “fellowship” only for men?

men s white button up dress shirt

“What is the female equivalent of fellow?” someone once asked. Though the term “fellow” is often used in reference to a male person, etymologically the word is not masculine. We kinda know this as most folk have no problem saying of a woman “She’s a fellow traveler,” or “She’s a fellow surgeon,” for example. And we know we mean both genders in phrases such as “My fellow Canadians…” or when singing at the office party “For she’s a jolly good fellow!” But in other contexts it seems strongly masculine, e.g.: “Who’s that fellow?”

Many English words have gender pairs: guy/gal; man/woman; boy/girl; lad/lass; brethren/sistren, etc. But Christ calls both genders into unity. Paul writes,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:26-29)

angel art black and white clouds

It seems that in Heaven genders will be nonexistent. Jesus taught that “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). Angels are genderless beings, and scripture says we will be like them.

So, how does all this relate to our discipleship topic today, “Christian fellowship?”

Christian fellowship is rooted in something deeper than surface characteristics… something deeper than physical appearance, financial or professional influence, common interests or gender. Christian fellowship is a bond with the Spirit of God which resides in every believer. Paul wrote, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 7:16). Christians sense this when they come together. Something ‘clicks’ deep within them. They know they are coming into a unity, a family, a “fellowship of the saints.”

backlit dawn foggy friendship

When it comes to “Christian fellowship” one could say the noun is Christ! Christian fellowship is that common bond we have in Him. It includes all the people in the group defined by Christ. If you belong to Him, you are among that great fellowship of all believers, the body of Christ, the Church universal!

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

Press on…

20200108_072526Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 1/2/20 – Discipleship – Prayer

Unceasing Communication

photography of women using mobile phones

I was just listening to an episode of Ideas, a CBC Radio program of contemporary thought and intellectual discussion. Today’s topic? – Boredom.

As part of this broadcast three teens were asked to surrender their cell phones for a day then report on their experiences of boredom. The request proved too much for them though so the producers negotiated the experiment down to just a morning.

All of the youth reported the great unrest they felt through that morning — how ‘socializing’ with their friends (who were all on their cell phones) was now impossible! (How this seeming inverted dynamic works I must admit is quite beyond me.) Once reunited with their devices, and only after several moments of getting ‘caught up,’ the teens acknowledge that now their worlds finally seemed ‘right’ again… back to ‘normal.’

woman in gray top using her mobile phone

I wonder what they chatted about on those phones? Did they express to their peers their gratitude for having got back their devices? Did they text through the day while doing other chores? Did they tweet about past and present activities? … sing songs maybe? Did they in every possibly boring moment pull out these communicators: in checkout lines, waiting rooms, traffic jams? If they mis-texted a word and inadvertently sent someone an insult did they admit it immediately so not to damage a relationship? Did they diligently watch and listen for replies?

depth of field photography of woman in pastel color sleeveless shirt and white sunhat

Does this list of possibilities seem familiar to you? If you are a regular reader of this blog it should. I itemized a very similar list in yesterday’s blog. But yesterday the object of such devotion was not a mechanical medium, it was God — God in Christ Jesus, the “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24).

To be in fellowship with God as avidly as these teens, to be in constant, even relentless, communication with Him! This is prayer… “praying without ceasing” as Paul urged upon the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:16). These teens prove we can do it… do it effortlessly…. instinctively… passionately… like breathing. Indeed, prayer is our spiritual life-breath.

Unceasing communication with Christ… Walking in the Spirit… Living in Christ… inhaling… exhaling… it’s the way of the Christian. Take a deep breath and try it today!

Press on…

photo of women talking while sittingAre you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 12/26/19 – Discipleship – The Bible

The Bible

jesus christ figurine

We have just celebrated the birth of Christ, the pre-existing, in fact eternal, member of the triune Godhead, the Word becoming flesh as John began his gospel account:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5, 14).

pigeon and seagull flying above body of water

During His ministry Jesus taught that after His departure He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us instead. This would be far better than His limited physical Presence for the Holy Spirit would actually live within each believer.

“…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

The arrival of the Holy Spirit is described in the 2nd chapter of Acts.

As these Spirit-empowered believers evangelized and formed the early Church, they wrote letters and histories as guided by the Spirit…

“…no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:20-21)

photo of person holding a bible

In time these writings were gathered to comprise what we call the New Testament. Both Old and New Testaments we call “The Bible” – a 66 document bibliography of sorts of 39 O.T. and 27 N.T. writings of every sort all telling one coherent story of the unfolding plan of God.

So by personage, spirit and writings God reveals Himself to us… to you. Trust in Him and rejoice this day in God’s revelations to us. Surely they demonstrate His Love and good intentions in eternity for all who place their trust in Him.

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 12/19/19 – Discipleship – Priorities

“Priority One”

20191218_195127“Hey Google,” I said, “What are the top three priorities?”

In an instant a female voice replied, “I found this on the web…” and a plethora of priorities scrolled down the screen: My children, my marriage and my education…. Stay sober, make lots of money, get a bigger house… Beat cancer, look after my little sister, get a new water heater… — Clearly our lot in life, social milieu and spiritual conscience all play a role in the values we adopt and the importance we ascribe to people, to money, and to things.

But is there one common denominator? Is there some one thing that every priority poll might indisputably place at the top?

20191218_200845Jesus gave us what must be every soul’s “Priority One”:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33).

How do we do this? “Abide in Me,” Jesus urged (John 15:4), “The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26).

20191218_200918When we make Jesus our top priority He begins to change us. He begins to work in our lives, our children’s lives, our marriages and other relationships. One’s education and career goals may change. We will have new focus and direction and hope… We will no longer desire to get drunk… Money will hold less value as we realize God can be trusted to provide… Earthly possessions like houses and cars lose their allure as we value more the rewards of eternity… We find Jesus can heal… Jesus can provide… Jesus can bring peace in the midst of our trials. — He can do all these things in ways we cannot imagine. When we seek Him first… His kingdom… His rule in our lives… When we seek to be righteous just as He is… then, all the other pieces and bits and decisions of our lives fall into their proper place.

C.S. Lewis spoke to this in several places…

“Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.” – Mere Christianity

“You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first.” – God in the Dock…

“Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.” – letter to Dom Bede Griffiths (1951)

The Apostle Paul’s great ambition was this:

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” (Phil. 3:12-15).

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 12/12/19 – Discipleship – Freedom

Look before you Leap!

20190428_090721Perhaps you’ve seen the picture… a goal-focussed German shepherd has spotted an eagle flying apparently low and within leaping range. The dog has honed in on it, calculated with stunning accuracy the muscle power needed for the lunge, propelled himself toward the prey gaining just the right momentum, knowing the exact timing…. he can almost taste his target… Now! He leaps, unrestricted… free!

We all long for freedom. We imagine complete freedom brings unlimited possibilities. Our lives are filled with “If only…” If only I could be free of this or that limitation, free of some barrier I imagine as the problem… the thing preventing my ultimate fulfillment.

But, like this carnal canine there is a flaw in our thinking, a factor unassessed, a deadly omission.

Had their been some guardrail, some guideline, some pull back of tether, a soul might have been saved.

Ah, but for you there is!

20191211_074023

You have an owner… a Creator! He has formed you with purpose, protected you with His Laws, but better than that He can enable you by His indwelling Presence… His Holy Spirit. Jesus said,

“…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…. the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:16-17, 26).

The Holy Spirit will work in you to transform you into the sort of creature that does not leap blindly out of instinct, but boldly out of faith… in new directions… obtaining newer and better things… becoming like Christ Himself.

True Freedom is found not in reckless independence but in the formative embrace of a Loving Heavenly Father

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.