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