Friday, January 22, 2010

Wired to make disciples

[Excerpt by Kenny Luck - New Man eMagazine - 21 Jan 10]

Risking spiritual reproduction of yourself requires guts and perseverance. But it is also the greatest adventure God's man will ever take. Raising up and training a leader to do God's work is nuclear—it has a blast zone that extends to people you will never know you influenced. [Liane – I LOVE this statement!!]

It will happen because you invested yourself and made deposits into the life of one other person and intentionally brought him to maturity so you could release him to ministry. People touching people who touch people for Jesus in a chain of relationships that span centuries.

As a men's pastor, my goal for the guys in my church is that they be "contagious" reproducers—that other men will be "infected" with a desire for spiritual reproduction. The reason is that Jesus shared His life and mission with 12 men who in turn went on to infect the world with the gospel. Paul had the same mentality. How about you?

Kenny writes Paul defines discipleship in the simplest and most functional sense: taking another man on a spiritual journey with you. He grabbed Timothy and hit the road! They traveled together; taught together; ate many a meal together; laughed, I'm sure, together; and saw large numbers of people come to know Jesus. Paul passed down a pattern of thinking and teaching to his disciple while they were together over the years that Timothy needed to retain, protect and preserve as he lived among others he would influence for Christ.

Jesus influenced through RELATIONSHIP!

The concept of taking another man on a spiritual journey with you is something very close to my heart. If God can use me to change another man (or woman’s) life for good, then I’m in! One thing that Kenny touches on that resonates in my heart is in the first paragraph: “risking spiritual reproduction of yourself requires guts and perseverance.”

Firstly, when you have a burning desire to help God change lives, it most certainly challenges you to stay abreast with your own growth/development in God, because you cannot give what you don’t have, therefore whoever is under your leadership can’t grow bigger than who you are. You have to make sure that you never stop gaining something new in your character to give away. Ray McCauley said it well when he explained that our lives needed to be like a river and not a swamp. A swamp does not sustain life because the water is dormant. There is no in- or outflow... no movement. A river on the other hand has an in- and an outflow. Because there is constant flow of water there is consistent space for new and fresh water. Therefore it has the power to sustain and reproduce life. So not only is it good for us to give away of ourselves so that we can consistently be topped up with new Life, but it also changes another person’s life – a gift of eternal value! I’M IN!!!

Secondly, according to God’s standards, it will always be: FIRST the WHO (we are), THEN the WHAT (we have or do). Who we are in our character – eternal value to an eternal God – determines the life we live on this earth, which is anyway the temporary part of it all, since we’re just ‘passing through’, according to the Bible. While we’re here we can therefore not loose sight of what really matters. If we focus on what is most important (the WHO), then the WHAT will chase us, instead of us chasing it. Besides that, if we are not mature enough in our character, we cannot be trusted with valuable treasures that God have for us.

Someone once preached on it, and it made good sense to me, where he compared it to a human passing away and leaving an inheritance to a minor child. According to law the child cannot receive his father’s millions because he is considered under age and not responsible enough to know what to do with it. Therefore it is managed by selected adults – mature enough to know what is best for the minor. However, as the child comes of age, he might receive portions or all of the inheritance – often at the age of 21. At this point the law considers him/her an adult and able to make his own decisions in a more responsible way.

The preacher continued explaining about the prodigal son who asked for his inheritance and then ended up with the pigs after having wasted it all away. He did not have the character to know what to do with the inheritance. If he did, the story would probably have ended very differently. In the same way it is important that we mature in our character so that we are able to know what to do with that which God wants to entrust us with. I want all that God has for me, so I’M IN!!!

Thirdly, when God entrusts you to work with people, it is VITAL to remember that those people belong to HIM!!! What you do with it matters to Him greatly, and you dare not have a ‘don’t care’ attitude about it! The Bible says that spiritual leaders will be held accountable by God for the lives that they worked with. These people are God’s jewels, and He loves and cherishes them. We dare not treat it with disrespect or careless negligence. Do you know Who you’re dealing with? I have great reverence for this fact.

Fourthly, you can never invest of yourself in another and NOT grow yourself. What you experience with the disciple, will always be worked back into your own life by God to mould and shape you where He knows you also need it. The miracle of this is that it happens while you’re focussing on giving to someone else. It is not because of your effort, so in the end God gets all the glory, because you were distracted from trying too hard to fix yourself. I’ve often heard it said, and I agree with it, that when you need God to do something in your life you should find someone for whom you can do something that will help them. While you’re busy helping someone else, God sorts your situation – it distracts you with something positive so that you are not consumed by your own problematic situation and neither are you having a tug of war with God over who gets to deal with your problem. He can work in peace, and the next thing you notice, it is resolved.

The last thing I want to point out is how important it is to remember that it is always GOD’s work. He chooses the assignments and the timing and we are merely instruments for His glory. We should never loose sight of that. We stand in service of the King and we do as He instructs, not as we please for our own glory. So it is important for me to listen to God’s leading. Who does He want me to become involved with – to journey with – how long the journey should last, and what my role is in it – to speak when He tell me to and to say what He needs them to hear. He is always centre stage. Also, He is the only One who knows exactly what that person needs and how to influence their lives, so it is important that He holds the instrument (us) to get the job done precisely. We just need to have our heart in the right place and be willing... with a humility to submit to the leadership of the One who knows it all!


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