Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bringing Variety To Ironman/woman Teams

One of the struggles that can come along as Ironman/woman teams continue to meet is they can become stale. Below is the latest email from Multiply Movement, the originators of the Multiply book, a wonderful tool to use to disciple others. It is, by the way, a great tool to use in Ironman/woman teams.

I trust you will find this as helpful as I did.


I want to ask you to shoot straight: Are your meeting times getting, well, a little stale? You can be honest.

If you feel like you’re limping along right now in terms of leading this discipling relationship, let me make a suggestion: introduce some variety into your weekly meeting. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not asking you to abandon your study of the Word. What I’m suggesting is that you might want to spend a session ministering in a very practical way. You could try serving together in one of the following ways:
  • volunteer at a homeless shelter
  • find a venue where you might engage unbelievers with the gospel
  • visit a homebound member of your church
  • serve in a needed capacity in a church ministry
Of course, you could do all these things on your own, but why not bring along someone else and then talk about the experience afterwards? You might be surprised at the ways that engaging others in selfless service will give your discipling relationship a whole new context. It just might breathe new life into your study of God’s Word as you become more aware of the needs of those around you.

Keep up the good work,
David, Francis, and the Multiply Team

Saturday, July 20, 2013


The following poem was written by a friend of mine, Jerry Kershner. I wanted to share it in this week’s blog post. Enjoy it.

i am less than a punctuation mark
in a disposable sentence
On one page of one thousand pages
In a book of one thousand books
On one shelf of one thousand shelves
In a library in a city of libraries
In a nation filled with such cities
Upon a planet with ten thousand nations
In a system of these planets
in a galaxy of such systems
in a universe of such galaxies.

Yet Jesus knows who I am, 
And most remarkable of all:
he loves me.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Not Just "Believe"?

In John Piper's classic 1986 book, DESIRING GOD: MEDITATIONS OF A CHRISTIAN HEDONIST, he asks and answers the question, "If your aim is conversion, why don't you just use the straightforward, biblical command, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved'? Why bring in this new terminology of Christian Hedonism?" His response is worth quoting at length since what John was  trying to achieve (calling people to true, saving, joy-filled faith) needs to be carefully and intentionally pursued by Christians in every generation. Also, what he is trying to avoid (leading people to engage in spurious faith that inoculates them to their need for the gospel) also needs to be combated today.

My answer has two parts. First, we are surrounded by unconverted people who think they do believe in Jesus. Drunks on the street say they believe.... Elderly people who haven't sought worship or fellowship for forty years say they believe. All kinds of lukewarm, world-loving church attenders say they believe. The world abounds with millions of unconverted people who say they believe in Jesus. 

It does no good to tell these people to believe in the Lord Jesus. The phrase is empty. My responsibility as a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth.

This leads to the second part of my answer. There are other straightforward biblical commands besides 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.' The reason for introducing the idea of Christian Hedonism is to force these commands to our attention. Could it be that today the most straightforward biblical command for conversion is not, 
"Believe in the Lord," but "Delight yourself in the LORD"? And might not many slumbering hearts be stabbed broad awake by the words, "Unless a man be born again, into a Christian Hedonist he cannot see the Kingdom of God"?

Lord, grant us grace not only to delight our self in the LORD, but also to be your instruments in bringing others to do the same!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How A Joyful Follower Prays for Family

In The Valley Of Vision: A Collection Of Puritan Prayers And Devotions we find the following prayer that serves as a wonderful guide for us as we bring spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins before the throne of grace:

O God, I cannot endure to see the destruction of my kindred. Let those that are united to me in tender ties be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory.
Sanctify and prosper my domestic devotion, instruction, discipline, example, that my house may be a nursery for heaven, my church the garden of the Lord, enriched with trees of righteousness of thy planting, for thy glory;
Let not those of my family who are amiable, moral, attractive, fall short of heaven at last;
Grant that the promising appearances of a tender conscience, soft heart, the alarms and delights of thy Word, be not finally blotted out, but bring forth judgment unto victory in all whom I love.

May this be our constant diligent prayer! And for Christ may this prayer be heard!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Hospital That Did Not Treat Patients

There once was a hospital that was second-to-none when it came to its facilities and all its equipment. It had the most modern building imaginable, the latest in diagnostic and treatment tools, and a cadre of physicians and nurses with the finest training. What is more, the morale of this institution was unsurpassed. They had the best parties and the most helpful personnel in human resources. As a result of all this, whenever a patient came through the doors there was just a sense that healing was possible.

There was just one little chink in their armor. It did not actually treat patients. Doctors, nurses, and other support staff were often around the beds of the patients, fluids were placed in I.V. bags, and reports were placed in charts. There was no lack of activity from wall to wall and door to door. But everyone positioned themselves to act as support staff and not get their hands dirty. You might even say they did everything but treat the patients. No medications were given, no salves applied, no surgeries done, and no therapy was actually administered.

You might think it out of the ordinary, but this staff would actually have considered you strange for your conclusion. After all, they knew of many other treatment facilities in their area that also didn’t quite treat the sick. “This is what hospitals do,” they would respond to you. “Why, it was in such a hospital as this that I decided health care was the profession I would pursue.” It would have seemed scandalous to them, if you offered your opinion that they should do something as radical and extreme as treat the patients.

A hospital that does not treat patients;  isn’t that like a mechanic shop that does not fix cars, a hair salon that does not work on hair, a school that does not teach, a dental clinic that does not work on teeth, a manufacturing plant that manufactures nothing, or a church that does not make disciples? Woe, you lost me on that last one! What is that all about?  Isn’t that a little too radical? How does it fit in with the other examples?

Yes, it is true that a church that does not make disciples is like a hospital that does not treat patients. Yes, it’s true that so many churches have ceased making disciples it simply seems like the norm. Yes, it is true that the average church is full of much activity, but focuses little on intentional disciplemaking.

Yet, consider what Jesus stated is the mission of the church (Matthew 28:18-20):
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Whatever our congregation is doing, it is not fulfilling Christ’s mission for us, unless we are making disciples. And, remember, that you and I make up the church. That means we are to have a similar mindset as the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:24 (New Living Translation): “ But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

So, ask yourself some pointed questions: Am I in an Ironman/woman team with anyone?  If I am in such a team, am I seeking to help him/her turn around and reproduce the likeness of Jesus Christ in someone else, who will in turn reproduce in someone else (see 2 Timothy 2:2)? Am I so satisfied in Jesus Christ that I cannot help but be praying for the lost and seeking to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them (Phil. 1:21-23)?  When is the last time I shared that good news with someone? 

I encourage you to take up the challenge. Oh, and please keep me accountable to the same challenge. Please pray for me and feel free to ask me what is going on with me in this whole area of disciplemaking.