Friday, February 16, 2007

One Challenging Week

It's been a challenging week to say the least. Last Sunday morning, my dad called and told me my grandmother passed away. This was my mom's mom, and we lost my grandfather over Christmas, so my mom has lost both parents in a very short amount of time. My grandmother was in advanced stages of Alzheimer's, and she really hasn't been herself for the past 5-10 yrs. The great news is that she is free now. She was a Christian, and it's encouraging to know that she no longer has a frail body and weak mind. Thank you, Jesus.

Just as we were trying to get everything ready to travel to the funeral, Blake got a stomach bug. As a precaution, I made the trip on my own and Amy stayed with the boys. Subsequently, Blake shared the virus with Amy and Will. I returned late Wednesday night, and I was supposed to have a Greek test on Wed., but my professor let me do it today instead. I was far from ready for the test but gave it my best anyhow. I'm just glad this week is over and as of yet, I'm not sick.

Exciting news for us...we're taking a trip to Colorado! Over spring break, we're going to drive up and spend a week with friends and family. I'm completely psyched about this trip. I'm going to get to ski with one of my best friends(see picture) and reconnect w/ people we haven't seen in 7 months. Woo Hoo!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

One more thing...

I just read this...after my initial post. Amy and I are now attending Northwood Church, and this interview is of the pastor, Bob Roberts Jr.

Soul-Winner or Disciple Maker?

Heard a good message in chapel at seminary the other day (to view, go to and click on Feb. 1, 2007 Chapel video - you can skip to the message which is probably about 30-40 minutes into the video). The pastor talked about the difference between soul-winners and disciple-makers. A soul-winner shares the gospel but doesn't carry on with the new believer once they've become a Christ-follower. (I like the idea of using the word Christ-follower rather than Christian b/c 51% of Americans say they are "Christians" but I imagine a much lower percentage are actually Christ-followers...more about this below).

Jesus, in the Great Commission, called us to make disciples, not win converts. A disciple-maker doesn't just encourage a new believer to go to a class to learn more about the faith or invite them to church with them or get them involved in a program, although these are definitely important steps. A disciple-maker comes alongside the new believer and gets integrally involved with their growth in the faith. I've known a lot of good soul-winners who are terrible disciple-makers, but I don't know that I've known any true disciple-makers who aren't also good soul-winners. I'm tooling around these days with new lingo, not really b/c I want to coin a phrase or pick up the latest fad but more because I think words/terms capture thoughts and using new terms helps us focus on the meaning rather than blindly ignore it b/c we've heard it so many times. Instead of soul-winner, I propose faith-sharer. Who knows, I may change to a different one down the road but this one will work for now. A disciple-maker is a faith-sharer who knows it's a hard road to walk helping a new Christ-follower adjust to new life in Christ and begin to grow. A disciple-maker echoes the words of Paul, "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ." (Colossians 1:28) To say it another way, a disciple-maker works to present new Christ-followers to Jesus as "ready for service".

Now back to the lingo shift to Christ-follower instead of Christian. My brother and I have talked recently about the debate that's existed called the "Lordship Salvation" debate. Basically, some people say that when you can accept Jesus as Savior (forgiver of sin) and that you grow towards making Him Lord (master). I side with what I would consider the biblical position that you can't have Jesus as Savior if you don't allow Him to be Lord. We do not have an a la carte Jesus. Romans 10:9 makes it clear that we must "confess Him as Lord". I was talking to my dad about all of this, and for those who don't know, he was a 41-year old deacon in a Baptist church when he became a Christ-follower as a sponsor at youth camp. Before that, he would have said he was a Christian and others around him would have probably said the same. He realized that he wasn't a Christian and had never allowed Jesus to come in, declare Him righteous, and take control of His life. This conversation causes us to consider ourselves, doesn't it (see 2 Peter 1:1-11 for why this is a good thing)?
If you've made it this far through my ponderings, I congratulate you. So where does all this lead me on a practical planting, of course. As God continues to work on me about the possibility of planting a church after seminary, I want to make sure that wherever He places me, I'll be a disciple-maker. Disciple-making churches typically aren't mega-churches b/c they do the hard work of making disciples rather than record a bunch of baptisms and never see the vast majority of those who were baptized do anything more than casually attend church...if that. Now, this is not to say that if you have a mega-church, then it is not a disciple-making church. (For more on this, watch the video I've mentioned above) I will say, though, that when you start challenging people to become true Christ-followers, this may sift out some who were just buying into a good idea and didn't want to go to hell. If they have no intentions of allowing Jesus to be Savior and Lord, then they will probably bail. Jesus experienced this as well. As he called people to step up to the plate, many walked away. Look at Luke 9:57-62 (notice they call Him Lord) and John 6:60-68. Such is the straight and narrow, I guess. Few walk it, but those who do, they discover the true treasure, Jesus Christ.
Praise be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope this will prompt you to check out Scripture and bring you lasting joy in Christ.