The 3 Core Relationships of a Disciple Maker – Part 1

I hear lots of people talking about wanting to be a disciple, but far less talking about being a DISCIPLE MAKER.  One of the hardest things to do as a Christ follower is this, INTENTIONALITY in disciple making relationships.  Over the next 3 weeks at our church, we will be starting a series that explores three key relationships if we are to be disciple makers.  Our identity is ones who are sent as image bearers of Jesus.  Here is what I have found in my life:  Two of the relationships come easier than the third.  It is easy to hang out, surround myself, be friends with and insulate my life with a bunch of people who think like me, believe like me, act like me and even like the same things that I like.  This is comfortable, but this IS NOT what we are called to if we are going to be disciple makers.  This is NOT healthy over the long term as it creates a dependency on religion, rituals, worship services and eventually leads to legalistic interpretation of disciplemaking.  In order to be a disciple and in turn be a disciple maker, we must stretch ourselves to achieve excellence in three core relationships.  This is usually where being a disciple maker usually starts…

Key Relationship #1 – Jesus & The Trinity 

Up disciple

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. Matthew 22:37-38

Your relationship with God is meant to be reciprocal!  So there it is, if we are going to be a disciple and a disciple maker, we must invest our whole life in Pursuing God Passionately.  This means at different times we interact with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Our identity in every part of our life must be with the Gospel of Jesus.  This blog is not meant to be a to do list, but an aid in helping us discover the continual experience in rhythm with the one who was sent to us to give His life.  Everything Jesus did was to establish a relationship with us.  But we have agendas, desires, and idols in the way.  My encouragement to you is to create intuitive rhythmic patterns of authentic dependence on Jesus so you can experience the fullness of Him in your life.  I hope this helps.

Four Strategies to Build Your Relationship With Jesus –

1. Sabbath – Do you take a sabbath?  If God rested on the seventh day, what makes you think you can work 28 straight days and then get away with it?  Your body was not created to work seven days a week.  You were designed with a whole day of rest in mind every week.  Jesus redefines the sabbath and worship.  God desires to be with you!  Heck, it is even a commandment:  Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, TAKE A SABBATH!  This must be important to God.  Sabbath is the starting point with Jesus.  We were meant to work out of the strength that comes from resting with God through Jesus and living in his presence, not the reverse.

Question:  What day is your sabbath?

2. Prayer -Prayer is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the spiritual disciplines.  This is because the only prayer we experience is in a church, or a circle where someone prays out loud.  How ridiculous is this?  The beauty of prayer is you can do it ANYWHERE, ANYTIME!  Here are a few types of prayers we find in scripture.  Arrow prayers are those that are quick and easy, they help us build a constant dependence on Jesus.  Intercessory prayers are those that cause our heart to break for others and for specific needs.  Confession prayers help us come back to a dependence on the Gospel and the Holy Spirit.

Question:  What place can you designate as your prayer closet?

3. Read, Study, & Listen to the Word – Ok, stop feeling guilty. The word of God is meant to be interacted with on a consistent basis.  Consistent engagement allows us to develop deep theological convictions.  Some of us are auditory, some of us love to read, some of us love to study, but whichever camp you fall into, you must live out of a love for the word.  Every word is profitable and good. 2 Timothy 3:16.  Here are 4 ways you can interact with the word practically:

  • Familiarity Reading – This is exactly what it sounds like.  Just get in there and start getting familiar with the word.  Start in John or Philippians if you have never done this before
  • Devotional Reading – Spend a portion of time every day working with a tool or resource that aids you in your daily understanding of the word.  Usually these are shorter times of daily discovery.
  • Studying Scripture – This is where you systematically work through a book of the bible to observe, interpret, compare other texts and then apply the scripture to your life.  Usually as you study scripture, God will point out exactly what you need to change and apply.  The key to effective study is clear action plans following the study.
  • Develop Core Material – This is something I began to do 10 years ago.  I have selected, specific books of the bible, people, parables, Psalms, and passages that I want to ‘master.’  It seems these are the passages that speak loudest to me.  I want to know EVERYTHING I can about these passages in order to grow in my knowledge and understanding of who God is.

Question:  How and when do you best interact with the Word?

4.  Sing / Worship – Battles in your spiritual life are won as we sing, at the top of our lungs often when we are alone with God!  Your finest moments of worship will come usually when NO ONE ELSE is around.  Many people don’t know how to worship and claim they are “introverts”.  Express what you feel to God and let God heal you.  We must choose to  emotionally engage with Jesus.  Worship establishes who is in charge.

Question:  When do you worship best?

Blueprint Blog Rec


My prayer is you will grow strong and discover His blueprint for being a disciple maker. #BeADisciple #MakeADisciple

Josh

 

Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.

 

How To Face Your Goliaths

This Sunday we celebrate FIVE YEARS together as a 217church family!  But before we started the church we had to face some GOLIATHS!  10 years ago, the vision for a new church was started inside our hearts.  We were living on the other coast and to get to where God wanted us would take us jumping into uncertainty and a huge test of faith.  We heard God say, “Take the first step.” God had to POSITION us before he PLANTED us. After 4 years of praying and preparation, things started to happen.  It wasn’t easy, nor did we have all the details.  The vision became clearer, the response rang true, and on February 21, 2010 a church was born.  Now 5 years later, 212 baptisms, over 75,000 different individual worship moments, countless people have been accepted and loved, thousands in our communities are cared for, and over $3.5 million dollars has been given to “rebuild lives one person at a time.” Our GOLIATH was our Doubt,  What is your GOLIATH?

Slingshot

45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. 1 Samuel 17:45

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath?  Of course you do, but if not, here is a short refresher.  In 1 Samuel 17 we see Goliath defied God, the Israelites were afraid, none wanted to fight the giant, but David said, “I’ll fight!”  David was naive enough and raw enough to simply trust in God’s leading and direction in His life.  And a few hours later, David precisely whirrled a small stone at his GOLIATH, struck him in the head, and killed him.  Sounds a bit scary and gory right?  Well, facing a GOLIATH is just that.  Addiction, sickness, abandonment, bankruptcy, abusiveness, divorce, separation, betrayal, no matter what the GOLIATH, we can learn much from David and it might get messy fast.

How To Face your GOLIATHS

1.  Remember Yesterday’s Life Lessons – My life story from the beginning is a story of God’s incredible faithfulness.  Before my wife and I moved to Jersey, we had to remember what God had already DONE.  God had taught us so much up until that point and my life had become a series of trusting God and learning to take faith steps.  Just one of them: One warm fall day, I packed up my 1985 Chevy Celebrity and drove across the country with $700 to my name and started Bible College in Eugene, Oregon. A faith step, a GOLIATH had to be faced.  I needed courage.  What lessons can we learn from David?

  • Don’t ask anyone to do what you are not willing to do – David had to be willing to step out in faith and face GOLIATH, even when NO ONE WENT WITH HIM.
  • Remember where you have come from – When you read David’s story, you see he killed the Lion and the bear, pretty sweet set up for defeating a guy with a spear.
  • Choose Your Weapon wisely – Saul tried to outfit him in His armor, and we can imagine how ridiculous that must have looked.
  • Face the GOLIATH head on – Sooner or later you have to charge into the valley and start flinging rocks. He learned that from the bear.

WHAT LIFE LESSONS HAS GOD TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU NEED TO REMEMBER?

2.  See Things With God’s Perspective Perspective is EVERYTHING.  Many times we are paralyzed because of our perspective.  The Israelites saw GOLIATH as a giant, intimidating beast that would tear them from limb to limb.  Their perspective was that it was an insurmountable task to win over him.  But Davey boy, he saw him as just another beast that God would give him victory over.  Here is a faith boost for you:  Read and then repeat:   “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

WHAT PERSPECTIVE DO YOU HAVE THAT IS INACCURATE AND NEEDS CORRECTION?

3.  Initiate Victory  – So are you ready?  This is where you find out what you are made of and what God is REALLY DOING.  For David it meant selecting weapons, a strategy, and a careful calculated action plan.  When you read the story of David, some would see a careless young boy who was ill prepared and over matched.  I see a well understood young man with careful consideration of God’s power and ability.  Often times we can’t achieve the victory because we are trying to claim victory on our own strength and not in the strength of the Spirit of God.  One more thing you need to know:  WHEN you start to initiate victory, it might not get easier and there WILL BE those who mock, scorn, chastise, make fun of and say, YOU CAN’T do it.  But remember, you already knew that was true, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this blog.  Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST STEP IN INITIATING VICTORY?

SO what is your GOLIATH?  Comment Below, I would love to pray for you that you would be bold and courageous and run into your valley to defeat your GOLIATH!

 

Josh

 

This Sunday at 217church

February 22nd – Joy & Our Future – We will Reveal some Faith Steps God is asking us to take as a church as we face our #GOLIATHS

 

Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 10:15.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.

 

How To Deal With Addiction – Grace

(This is a guest post by Dan Gay, our Hamilton campus pastor at 217church) Maybe you can identify with this…When I was just a teen I created a mental checklist of what I wanted out of my life and then I went about working to achieve it. Wife, check. Family, check. Job growth, check. House, check. Church, check. I filled my life with what I thought I needed and didn’t let anyone get in the way. It was all done MY way for the benefit and exultation of ME, in MY time. I had built my life, my way and so I should be happy right? But then I was faced with the ugliness of my dissatisfaction and disappointments with my own pursuits so I wanted more. What was the result?

 

The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us.”  C.S. Lewis

Bondage

Addiction to pornography…My addiction gave me an outlet for any pent up emotions. I only knew two ways to process disappointment or anger or hurt or frustration. Either control the situation or medicate it away. As a result I became numb. Numb to my wife, numb to my children, numb to any emotions that I couldn’t control, and numb to God’s spirit within me. I thought a good Christian man shouldn’t feel or act this way, so I spent my energy building and living a double life. I lived one way in public another one in private. I started to believe the lies I told, and I was losing who I was. The double life led me to the bottom.  Fueled by guilt I created a prison, locked my self in and locked God’s joy, grace, and mercy all outside. I was convinced after all I had done, God couldn’t still be there for me, so I stopped trying to pursue Him. I – was – finished.

Then the roof caved in. My children, my ministry, my job and especially my marriage, it all was crumbling. God was showing me how much he loved me and wanted a relationship with me by removing everything in the way. I was broken, feeling like I was in the bottom of a pit as God brought the hammer down on me. I had wiggled out of many predicaments but this was different, I felt distant from God with no hope. So I cried out to him, I didn’t ask to be rescued, just to be heard and to feel I was His once again.

 

Crying Out

“In my distress I called upon the Lord;
    to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears.” – Psalm 18:6

It was then I felt the love God had for me in a different way. It was then I realized He wanted me more than anything I could give Him. It was there I began to understand GRACE and it changed my life! Not only does he forgives us but he declares us clean! It started to sink in.  God’s grace is not dependent on what I do, but rather what he DID for me. I had believed Jesus was my savior but had not allowed him to be my Lord. He wanted to know me and to do that he had to break me of ME, so I could be rebuilt through HIM.

God then began to show me that just wanting Him as my friend wasn’t enough, I had to NEED GOD, to be desperate for Him. My faith took on a whole different perspective and priority. I had to push reset and start my life all over.  My new priorities were that I wanted to know Him, I wanted to be known by Him, and I wanted to understand what He wanted for my life – could God still use me, even after all I had done to run from Him? Is it possible that He has a plan for my life? He answered a simple, “Yes.”

“Blessed be the LORD!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.” – Psalm 28:6-8

 

Addiction Defined

What is your addiction? Before you answer too quickly, let me explain my definition of addiction.  Addiction is anything that you go to and find comfort in that hinders or replaces your dependence on Jesus. The question isn’t what you are running to, what your addiction is, but rather what are you running from? There are addicts that run to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or sex. There are addicts that run to food, work, relationships, exercise, ministry, serving just to name a few. It’s all the same. If we are running to anything other than Jesus for our comfort, our peace, our joy, then we need to press reset on our relationship with Jesus.

 

The Triumph – Accepting Grace

  • Remember God’s Promises and Covenants – We are at war with the great deceiver, he takes things that are black and white to God and makes them all look grey. When approached with lies you have to do as Jesus did and confront it with the truth, God’s word. It is through Gods word we can find the promises that God gives us and cling to them even in the dark times.

 “12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” – Jeremiah 29:12-13

  • Repent of ALL Past Behaviors to Someone – You have to share it with someone. Repent means to confess and turn away from the sin. The things you have done you are carrying with you and it’s weighing you down from following the path God has for you. If it is not confessed, then you are still carrying it and if you are still carrying it, then you are vulnerable to attack. You have to let it go to accept forgiveness.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 1 Chronicles 7:14

  • Restore Your Relationship with Jesus – With confession and repentance comes an ability to hear the Spirit, God’s voice clearer. This will bring a fresh and newness and will rejuvenate your relationship with Jesus in personal way.

 

Questions to Consider

  1. Does the enemy have you in bondage from guilt and are you tired of carrying around your past like a heavy backpack that weighs you down? Find someone and confess.
  1. Are you running from instead of to Jesus? What is your idol that competes with Jesus in your life?

 

From Trials to Triumph (Chapter 4)

“Turning Deep Wounds Into Great Impact”

Enter your info in the box to the right to download your free copy

 

Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 10:15.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.

 

Welcome To Your Free E-Book: From Trials to Triumph

To Download Your Free E-book, FILL IN YOUR NAME AND E-MAIL IN THE BOX TO THE RIGHT.  (or if you are viewing this on mobile device, turn off “mobile view” at the bottom)

Dealing with addiction, divorce, loss of a loved one, physical sickness, or are you finding yourself asking, “Why me?”  Do you know someone in these circumstances?

In this book you will:

  • Read stories of triumph
  • Be encouraged through scriptures leading you to your victory
  • Understand more fully how God is working through his perfect plan

“It is out of our deepest wounds that Jesus calls us to have our greatest impact because joy is not a circumstance but a covenant.  My prayer through this book is you will experience what Paul did as he worshiped in Philippi with Silas in a desolate jail cell.  May your chains be unfastened, We win!”

After you read it, I would love to know how this book impacted you in the comments section below.  May God turn your trials into triumph!

5 Strategies To Increase Spiritual Health

So how is your Spiritual Health, really?  I remember a time not to long ago when I sensed I was getting sick.  Not physically sick, spiritually sick.  I had a bad attitude, was doubting God’s call on my life and I was tired.  I was working seven days a week and I didn’t even want to go to church for a season because everything just seemed empty.  I – WAS – SICK.

Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you EVERYTHING. 

Spiritual LD

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Philippians 2:12

Whenever I ask people how there spiritual health is, it is usually a very ambiguous answer.  One of the reasons for this is because we really don’t know how to measure spiritual health. Let me give you five strategies to increase and measure your spiritual health.  I know there aren’t any perfect formulas, but following Jesus is supposed to be joyful, not a chore.  The whole theme of the book of Philippians is JOY.

Five Strategies to Increase Spiritual Health –

#1 Sabbath – Do you take a sabbath?  If God rested on the seventh day, what makes you think you can work 28 straight days and then get away with it?  Your body was not created to work seven days a week.  You were designed with a whole day of rest in mind.  Jesus redefined the sabbath and worship.  Heck, it is even a commandment:  Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, TAKE A SABBATH!  This must be important to God. #REST

#2 Listen – Do you know how to listen and hear the voice of God?  This happens many different ways for many different people, but the principle is sound.  If you aren’t LISTENING to God you will get sick, discouraged, troubled, confused.  A great question to increase spiritual health, What was the last thing God told you to do?  Did you do it?

#3 Prayer – How is your time where you talk to God?  Here is a three prong strategy to learn to pray.  Divert daily, Withdraw weekly, Abandon annually.  This means you are going to set aside focused time every day, week and year to talk to God.  The priority of prayer = progress

#4 Community – Are you faithful to your friends who are Christ followers?  Are you living as a family as the body of Christ.  This means you have to be committed to the church in your local community being inspired, shaped and encouraged by others.  Don’t get duped by angry, hurt Christians, The church matters to Jesus, engage in it 100%!

#5 Serving – Some people try and limit spiritual health to learning, reading and consuming God.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Do you have a constant output and passion for serving those whom you come in contact with?  Serving might just be the thing you need to kick that nasty spiritual virus you have been carrying around.

Our small groups are kicking off and these next four weeks will be teaching us to totally DEPEND on God.  The Gospel is worth it.

Leave a comment below of what is ONE Action STEP you will take to increase your Spiritual Health? 

Josh

 

Join us at 217church for our new series Live Differently…

April 27 – Spiritual Health

May 4 – Financial Health

May 11- Family Health

May 18 – Physical Health

Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Grace Rogers School in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.