For my two previous posts, I’ve discussed the topic of fire. We all know how a fire starts and how it spreads. God’s creation unveils some wonderful illustrations—doesn’t it? He even uses these illustrations to explain His divine principles. The Spirit lights a fire within our hearts which both purges us and enables us to share the Gospel effectively. By “effectively,” I mean we go beyond just creating converts and enter the realm of discipleship.
In this article, I want to present some ideas on discipleship and share a very valuable resource for making disciples. For two to three years, I enjoyed the company of four men. We met in a small room on the upstairs floor of our church. Together, we laughed, cried, learned, and shared life together. We lived out the Biblical phrase, “as iron sharpens iron.” Our group formed from the initiative and efforts of my pastor, Ken Adams. Jeff Harper faithfully led our discipleship band of brothers.
Years ago, Ken began to understand the true focus and mission for the Church—to Be and Build Disciples. He strives to keep this the focus of our church here in Georgia—Crossroads. In a minute, I’m going to share an incredible resource Ken has created for the express purpose of carrying out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Before I do, I want to share some observations I’ve made over the years.
Jesus Could Have …..
Many Christians struggle with their life purpose: what is God’s will for my life, where does he want me to minister, and how does he want me serve? I can’t offer a definitive answer to these questions, but, perhaps, one place to start is by examining Jesus’ life and discovering what He spent His earthly days doing—and what He didn’t do.
Jesus could have created the greatest healing ministry the world has ever seen. Imagine what Jesus could have done to reverse the effects of aging, to stamp out all disease and to free everyone from the anguish of human frailty. But His ministry was not all about physical healing. Even the ones He did heal went on to grow old and eventually die.
Jesus could have spent all His time explaining the origins of the universe and life itself. Just think, we had an opportunity to really understand how God did it. Yes, He probably would have soared over their heads during that era, but Jesus certainly could have taught them and would have forever cleared-up our long debated scientific mysteries. He might have ended skepticism right then and there. But this was not Jesus’ prime directive.
He could have reformed government. Forget democracy. Jesus could have launched the world’s first, genuine and just theocracy. He would have been the fairest ruler the planet has known. Poverty and hunger would’ve been eradicated. Everyone would have a job and a decent education. Taxes would have been eliminated—yay! No more Democratic Party. Alas, Jesus did none of this. Instead, He lived and toiled under the rule of the Roman Empire.
What if Jesus had been a writer—a published author even? Imagine the volumes of books He would have produced. All of history and all of life’s mysteries could have been revealed. He would have easily knocked every book off the best-seller list. Writing would have risen to a new level. But as far as we know, Jesus never penned a single word—at least during His earthly visit.
Jesus could have been the coolest inventor. Talk about advancing society. All of the world’s problems would’ve been solved. No more energy crisis and no more pollution. Just think about all the advanced technology He could have developed.
God could have sent our Savior down for a 3 day weekend just to get the death, burial and resurrection thing over with. But no, He lived among us for some 33 years, enduring all of life’s frailties and challenges.
He could have formed the best church, the best choir (oh, the heavenly music we could enjoy), the best Bible studies, the best revivals, the best socials and fellowships, etc.
So What Did Jesus Do?
Certainly, the “what-He-could-have-done” list is endless.
So, what did Christ do while on the earth and specifically for those last 3 years of His life? First and foremost, He redeemed us through His supreme sacrifice. He taught us the truths He wanted us to know and hear—the truths that really matter. He modeled a lifestyle; He made friends, and He lived out His method for discipleship.
Jesus chose to spend His ministry years hanging out with and developing 12 men. Doesn’t sound like much—does it? But, what a difference it has made over the centuries. His small group of sparks and embers set the world on fire. Jesus’ method has spread the Gospel to all the corners of the world. His brief life story speaks volumes. Surely, it shows us where our primary purpose and focus should lie.
As mentioned earlier, Ken Adams has created a wonderful discipleship curriculum. He calls his study series—Impact Equipping. These studies provide a practical means for men and women to come together and learn about God’s Word and Jesus. To make disciples, you must first be a growing, Spirit-led disciple. This naturally—or rather, supernaturally—leads to building new disciples. I’ve used these resources and they work. God is truly blessing this ministry and lives are being changed. So, back to the dry tinder idea. As you walk the trails of life, who does God keep bringing across your path? Who does He want you to influence and to build-up?
If you want to start making disciples, I invite you to check out Ken’s website:
http://www.impactdiscipleship.com/ Ken has several small group resources. Look specifically for the Impact Equipping Series. If you know of other discipleship resources, please share that with us.