May 2009


Acts 2:42 tells us that THEY devoted THEMSELVES to the Apostles doctrine. How much effort are we to muster to disciple someone? Many ministers can recount stories of devotion of time, energy, teaching and resources for the spiritual formation of a convert in their care, only to witness this person fall from the faith. Other stories demonstrate the small seed planted by one, watered by another and then supernatural increase by God’s own hand and their insatiable desire for His Word and His Presence.

Acts 8:34-39 further illustrates the point with Phillip and the Eunuch. Obviously, there are multiple passages that encourage studying the Word of God with one another, bearing burdens, and bearing the weaknesses of fellow believers. I just wonder (out loud-I guess) how much of our efforts should be placed on pushing Christians toward discipleship? Shouldn’t most of our efforts be toward salvation? Again, obviously, we should and must provide opportunity (and make that opportunity easily accessible) for Christians to engage in discipleship. We should provide structures, processes, trainings, resources to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. However, Christians/Disciples must devote THEMSELVES to the Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, prayer and breaking of bread (one of my first sermons focused on this passage as the four pillars of the church–discipleship based message–still believe it by the way).

However, shouldn’t most our resources be placed on sending the Gospel out into the community? Cultivating an atmosphere on Sunday mornings where God’s Presence reigns? (Thus, confronting, convicting and converting the sinner). Resources of creativity, money, talent, prayer, preparation, planning, recruiting (inviting lost), and anticipation should be poured into creating an atmosphere of God’s Presence on Sunday mornings that is soooo real that NO ONE can deny His existence. Lives are transformed. It’s not about seeker-sensitive, it’s not about culturally relevant, it’s not about performing excellence—it’s about creating an atmosphere where He reigns and demonstrates His power for salvation. Now, that doesn’t mean that all of those aren’t elements, there just not the main thing!! HE IS.

Discipleship MUST be about moving Christians toward salvation machines. It’s ALL about not letting people die and go to hell. Not just having a better marriage, not just having sweeter kids, not just saving/making money God’s way—-DON’T let your friends die and go to hell.

Let us be DOERS of the Word and not HEARERS only—deceiving ourselves and letting our religion become useless.

Advertisements

I’m totally ready (at least I think I am) for an Acts 4:31 leadership style to take over. Books, conferences, degrees, wisdom, strategy, planning, and new implementations of models and methods are great and effective….BUT, they don’t mean squat without a TOTAL infusion of the Holy Spirit’s power. I am totally into leadership and leadership development. We’ve all seen the leader that believes screaming, drumming up emotions, and speaking in tongues causes God to move and people to respond. Not so (Speaking in tongues is often our response to God). But, there is a place of Spirit-FILLED leadership. This place is one where we DO EVERYTHING with the power, authority and anointing of the Spirit of God. Lunch meetings ooze with His presence. I want to no, I need to be FILLED with His Spirit just like Acts 4:31. These men were filled in Acts 2, but now they experience another infilling.

Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales

35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.