Saturday, August 28, 2010

Discipleship Materials?

As I am about to shift to a new church, I want to make sure I take seriously the call to disciple God's people. There are a couple of books/curriculims that I am looking over and reading through. One book I'm presently reading is The Walk. This has already been a great read and one I plan to implement as I work to disciple others. Another resource I plan to look over is Design for Discipleship.

What other resources have you used or would you recommend?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Your Best Life Now?

I don't think Jesus would agree with this easy-believism that leads to having an easy (best) life today:
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Matthew 16:24-28 - I plan to preach this text this coming Sunday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Hectic Schedule

Over the next several weeks I have a crazy schedule. I would greatly appreciate your prayers.

This is my final week as the pastor of FBC. So this week I'm packing and trying to be faithful in shepherding our people here.

On Monday, August 30, the moving company will load our things (God-willing) and I'll drive down to Fort Myers, FL to unload and look for a house. While there I will also begin setting up my office and will preach both AM and PM on Sunday, September 5, at my new church, Cypress Lake Baptist Church.

On Monday, September 6 I will fly from Fort Myers to Charlotte, NC to be with my family. For several days I'll hang with my side and my wife's side of the family. We are greatly looking forward to this time!

On Friday, September 10, we plan to leave the Matthews area and drive to Rocky Mount, NC where we hope to see some friends. I am also going to preach the AM service at Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church for my friend, Justin Nale.

After the service on Sunday, September 12, my family and I will drive back down to Ft. Myers where we hope to settle in and start building relationships with our brothers and sisters there.

Thanks in advance for your prayers.

The Pursuit of Holiness

As I am packing up my books in my office, I started to thumb through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. This is a fantastic book. I highly recommend this book for every believer. As I was thumbing through it, I came across this quote on pages 97-98:
Discipline toward holiness begins then with the Scriptures--with a disciplined plan for regular intake of the Scriptures and a disciplined plan for applying them to our daily lives....So we see that we must discipline our lives for a regular healthy diet of the Word of God. We need a planned time each day for reading or studying the Bible. Every Christian who makes progress in holiness is a person who has disciplined his life so that he spends regular time in the Bible. There simply is no other way.

Wouldn't this simple plan help us be better disciples? Wouldn't it help us to make better disciples?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making Disciples takes Time

Many people are familiar with the Great Commission passage in Matthew 28. Many are also aware that the main verb in that text is to make disciples. However, where should we look to see this actually take place? I think we could say it's best to look at the model of Jesus. This again is nothing new, but I think it's often times talked about more than it's actually put into practice. Jesus spent time, lots of time, with his disciples. He was teaching them, leading them, loving them, and training them. After spending three years with His disciples He then commissioned them to go and make disciples of all nations.

What does this mean for us today? I know in my own life I have not been very diligent at making disciples. I have not put the time into people as I ought. However, while I've been the pastor of FBC I did something different than I had at any other church. In the Spring of this year I began meeting with a group of 4 others every Thursday morning. We read a book together and talked about what it meant to follow Christ as we shared life together. I didn't think much about 'making disciples' as we had our breakfast, but I can honestly look back and see a couple of positive outcomes to our meetings.

The first thing I noticed is the fact that I had bonded with those 4 (sometimes up to 6) far more than others. It's not that I didn't love the others in my church, I did (do!), but these few began to grow in grace together with me. As I am preparing to leave the church for a new ministry, I can see more fruit in them than I can in others. It seems that our learning together about the implications of the gospel actually helped create a community of faith!

The second thing I noticed is how easy it was to spend the time with them. This was not difficult. I enjoyed our time together. I looked forward to getting up on Thursday mornings and meeting with them. I couldn't wait to hear their thoughts and interact with them through this book. By the end of the meetings I rejoiced to hear some of the suggestions that they were making about putting into practice the things we were learning. They were truly beginning to follow after Christ.

The bottom line of this is the fact that I had only just started. There is much more work to be accomplished. We are called to make disciples. We are called to invest our lives in the lives of others that they may become devoted followers of Christ (and that they will be able to lead others as well). We are called to do exactly what Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, "what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

Making disciples doesn't come over night. Making disciples takes time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Move

Tonight was a difficult one for me with FBC. I have only been here for 22 months, but I have come to love the people in unbelievable ways. They have been far better to my family and I than I could have ever imagined. It was tough, however, because I was explaining to them that I am leaving after August 29. This was a difficult decision, but I think the right one. Before I say anything about where we're going, I want to make it abundantly clear that it was not because I felt I had to leave FBC. There was a time when I felt that, but not lately. In fact, lately I thought maybe I would spend my life there. The church loves the Word, and really was open to being led by me as their pastor. I will miss them greatly!

There was a time when I really felt I was going to church plant. That was my dream. In fact, I started working hard at figuring out how, when, and where that would happen. Every time I started moving forward I felt the doors close. However, there was a stirring in my heart that I couldn't shake. I sent my resume out to several churches and had many respond to me. However, most of them I knew weren't right. Others I thought maybe, but proved to be wrong as well. When this church sent me the first response through email, I almost didn't answer them. I had filled out several questionnaires already. I knew nothing about Fort Myers, FL. After several days I responded and the conversations went from there. Over the weekend of August 8 my family and I flew down to FL to check out the area, the church, and the possibility of a new move. We came back not sure if the Lord was in it or not, but after a short time of prayer felt it was of the Lord. The following Sunday (August 15) the church voted and called me to be their pastor.

I am excited about the opportunity ahead of us. There are many challenges, but we truly feel this is of the Lord. God-willing, we hope to give our lives to reaching the over 93% of unchurched in Lee County and seeing Cypress Lake Baptist Church become (continue to be) a church devoted to making much of Christ and seeking to make disciples of all nations.

Evangelism and Discipleship go Together

It seems strange to me that many people (churches?) seem to separate evangelism and discipleship as two distinct ministries. Of course, I understand that they are not the same thing, but they certainly go together. It's crazy to me to think that it's possible to not see that. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is clear that our task is to 'make disciples.' That is, we are to make followers of Christ Jesus as we 'go', 'baptize', and 'teach'. How is it possible for us to think we fulfill the command of Christ to make disciples of all nations if we neglect to teach them to obey all that He has commanded?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Walk

After reading Thabiti Anyabwile's review of this book, I decided to purchase it. It just came in the mail today so I'm anxious to dig into it. I hope it will be useful as I seek to help make disciples of all nations.

You can order 'The Walk: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Jesus' here.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Recently my good friend Justin Nale blogged about blogging for the glory of God. After thinking through some things, he changed his blog and refocused his blogging. Actually, I have wondered for quite some time why I was still blogging. The truth is blogging became more of a burden than a joy. However, there are occasions that I really like to blog and things I think would be very helpful for others. Therefore, I am redirecting my focus. As I work through exactly how this will be, I'll be sure to post. My guess is that I will focus primarily on the idea from the Great Commission and what it means to 'make disciples of all nations'. This will include a focus on missions and discipleship. We'll see how that goes.