DJ: 4 Goals from Ephesians 4  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Someone was asked "what are you seeking to build into people's lives?" Their response was:

I have been studying Ephesians 4, looking closely at what leaders are supposed
to do. Four things stand out: equipping God's people for ministry,
building up their faith, helping them know Jesus more intimately, and
encouraging Christlike character.

Consider the ministry of Jesus in disciple-making:

1. He Equipped Disciples for Ministry: His methods were a dual approach of direct teaching and then modeling by example. He made sure they saw Him living out the mission and ministry they were to inherit. He served, He reach out, He dined with those in desperate need of hope and restoration - with the Disciples always nearby to witness the ministry life. He sent them on trips (Lk 10), excercises and gave them instructions of things to do.

2. The Ministry University of Real Life: Jesus addressed everyday stuff with the Disciples, and was known as "the Teacher." He talked about taxes, greed, family division, marriage/divorce, stewardship, lust, resentment and all that other stuff that comes up in daily living. He made sure they connected theology with practical living, that they lived in the "spirit of the law" not just the "letter" of it. He made sure they knew the "Word" of God (Jn 17:14).

3. Revealing the Real Source of Ministry Power: Jesus also was always directing His followers to the Father (Jn 17:6). Jesus spent a lot of time on identity questions. Who are you? Who am I? Who is God? Identity and lifestyle are directly related, so He made sure that they didn't let identity drift by.

4. Character to Lead: Jesus also spent time talking about the value of character, integrity-driven living, lifestyle that radiates from a correct identity. Humility, faith and love were trademarks of His teaching points. When his followers lost sight of the real goal (Lk 9:54, Mk 10:13-16, Mk 10:35-40) Jesus always brought them back to a love from the Father that draws people to Himself.

5. He Sent Ambassadors In Process: after a couple of years of training, while still working out the kinks Jesus also sent His followers out on a short-term mission. He knew that sometimes the things they knew, saw and believed would only meld together and be tested for substance when in practice. They hadn't arrived yet, but they had the pieces and some road tests were needed to fashion real ambassadors for His kingdom. (1 Cor 3:10)

*adapted from the article Soul Training: 4 Goals that Guided Jesus' Discipling by Dirk van Zyulen from the Mar/Apr 2001 DJ magazine

DJ: 3 lessons from Barnabas  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Looking at the Levite from Cyprus, Joseph (commonly referred to by friends as the Son of Encouragement, or Barnabas) provides some interesting principles on certain approaches to discipleship:

(1) Discipling the Enemy - when Saul the Christian-hater became an infant believer, Barnabas took the risk to step out and bring him into the fellowship of saints. He was willing to believe a person who was violently opposed to the Gospel could be used by God.

(2) Discipling the Inconvenient - associating with Saul/Paul was not fashionable. He was a suspicious character, had a reputation to get around and was rough around the edges. Barnabas didn't teach Paul everything he ended up knowing (that was the work of the Spirit, Scriptures, time, and communion with the Body), but he did sponsor his entry into the Church. Barnabas introduced Paul into the right gatherings of people, opened doors for growth opportunities. He went where it was inconvenient to help the inconvenient person grow towards Christ.

(3) Discipling the Failures - besides Paul, Barnabas also played a key role in the restoration of Mark. Mark had slipped up, made some mistakes, and faced division within the Body. Barnabas stepped out and again sponsored the unlikely character, bringing Mark back into the ministry and advocating for his acceptance among others - believing that change is always possible.

I thought these were some very practical and applicable principles for each of us to chew on.

*these points were adapted from the article "What Barnabas Taught me about Discipling" from the Mar/Apr 2001 issue of the "Discipleship Journal" magazine published by NavPress

A Light in the Darkness  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

I read last night a thought about light and darkness.

The statement was made that "space" is filled with light. It only appears to be dark because there is no object to hit and reflect its light.

Could that be why the world seems so dark at times?

Get Dirty and Disciple  

Posted by archie

Discipleship requires involvement. Everyone you touch, you have an opportunity to disciple. Many times a single word or thought is taken away by the interaction and the parties continue to dwell on the communication or event. The old adage, "Actions speak louder than words" is typified by the leadership of Grace Point. Thank you Grace Point for allowing me to serve.

Surf to:

You will be blown away by the discipleship demonstrated by actions in preparation for the Easter Services. There was more going on, but this was my part in the blessing.

Call a spade a spade...Clarity in Speech  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

When we've talked about "Clarity" so far, it seems we have, as a culture, come to think the term is referencing viewpoints, opinions or proposed rules. Certainly those are cases where some might talk about "clarity," but the more basic level of need is just in the words we use. What do we mean by what we say? Are we clear in our own mind what we're trying to communicate? Clarity starts with vocabulary, with talk, letters, promotional efforts and relationship.

When you say, I'd like to be your friend...does that mean be bowling buddies, quilting queens, hang out partners for local restaurants, or do you mean to offer an "iron sharpening iron; keeping you warm when life is cold; picking you up when you fall" type of relationship?

When we say, "we need to do more discipleship" are we really thinking about making more authentic followers of Jesus without any strings, or do we really mean we need to get folks off the bench and into the game of serving locally?

Jesus seemed to have a knack for pointing out where people lacked clarity. He would get asked one question, but reply by saying something like, "No, what you mean to ask is blah-blah-blah, so how about you tell me what you believe about that first and then I'll answer." People hated it, because He masterfully saw through the fluff of words and into the heart of what they were really looking at. Sometimes the clarifying retort of Jesus made people walk away because He revealed something they didn't want to deal with....other times it was the catalyst question that changed lives.

We need to first be diligent to think about what we say. Do we know what we're asking? Do we know where we're sending?

Then, we need to, as leaders, promote "clarity" with those around us. This transcends just those we lead, mentor and be-friend, but also into our discipleship walks.

When Marco was giving me a barrage of apologetic questions I reached a point where I asked, "Are you really looking for answers so you can have faith, or putting up excuses to avoid a faith decision?" When someone is complaining about marital distress, sometimes the Spirit reveals that you need to ask the clarifying question of "do you think your struggle loving your wife in this way or time is really because of a lack of loving relationship with your Heavenly Father?"

What do you think? How problematic do you see clarity to be within the church, your social circle or your home? How have you seen a lack of clarity cause problems lately?

Revisiting Clarity  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Does this represent your thoughts or feelings from recent discussions?

Jesus Said a Few Things on the Subject...  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8)

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)