discipling (3)

Intentional Grandparenting: What? Why? How? #3

My good friend, Phil, recently asked how I "re-imagine" discipling in today's world. My reply to him, as you'll see here, does not point to trendy technology or novel approaches. It points instead to timeless truth and ancient paths -- for ourselves and our grandchildren.

  I re-imagine that we'd "zero-base" our goals and strategies for cultivating Christlikeness in ourselves and others. Starting at zero, we'd re-examine the Scriptures for key goals and strategies. Ten steps would emerge, which we'd take ourselves. Then we'd recommend them to other God-followers whom we influence:

  1. Trust Jesus Christ--and Christ alone--for His redemption of9570812857?profile=original your "wages of sin" (Romans 3:23).
  2. Bask in the Bible and in the presence of God.
  3. Ponder the interrelationships among, and implications of, these scriptures: Matthew 5:14-16; I Corinthians 13; and Ephesians 4 & 5.
  4. Ask the RIGHT questions – the core, “Why?” questions -- about these scriptures.
  5. In prayer and unrushed reflection, with God’s Spirit filling your heart and mind, embrace God’s answers to those questions.
  6. Decide what you will say “no” to in your current swirl of goals and activities, so that you can say “yes” to focusing on and cultivating #5.
  7. Go out and do it. Walk as a child of light (Ephesians 5:8-10).
  8. As you walk, look for others whom you may influence in this same way.
  9. Be available to them; develop a healthy, Christlike relationship.
  10. Speak mostly with your life, not your words. As appropriate, share your journey with them in ways that encourage them to walk as “children of light” who influence others in their world likewise.

  Questions for journaling or discussion:

  1. Which particular steps (above) reflect Deuteronomy 6:4-7?
  2. What scriptures come to mind in support of step #2?
  3. What key goals and strategies do these steps suggest to you as you convey your spiritual legacy to your grandchildren?

(c) 2019 John Garmo

Read more…

Discipling & Harvey

Our tragic Hurricane Harvey has a golden lining: thousands of people praying, caring, & sharing their faith while working together to rescue lives and meet needs caused by that crisis.

But what do you suppose will happen when the spotlight shifts to the next public crisis? Yes, you're probably right: Emotion, money, and momentum will move mostly to that next media moment. And then the next one after that.

As a fellow disciple with you, and in the context of discipling others whom you influence, may I suggest some brief, basic observations and recommendations?

7 Observations:

   • Many non-Christians are also significantly helping victims of Hurricane Harvey.

   • It is common to care in a crisis.

   • Although it is both practical and vital for Christians to care in a crisis, that alone does not distinguish Christians from people of other faiths. (Ponder 1 Cor 13:3.)   

   • Selfless love [agape] -- the "love" in 1 Cor 13 -- is steadfast. It takes that critical 1st step of care, but continues beyond it. This love continues after the media spotlight turns away. That is one of its distinguishing features. Like the steadfast love [hesed] of God toward us.

   • Effective disciples cultivate agape love (1 Cor 13). This alignment of heart/attitude/behavior is directed upward to God as a daily act of personal worship.

   • But selfless love (secondarily)also provides a distinction, and a model for mentoring other Christ-followers (John 13:35).

   • One significant way we can bring a smile to our Father's face is for us, as influencers of others, to pray & plan wisely for the post-crisis phase of this trauma.

So . . .

3 Suggestions - Thru your church, parachurch ministry, and/or an informal group:

   • As you pray, care, & share in your response to Harvey's tragedies, embrace and embody agape love as an act of personal worship to Him.

   • Model Christlike character [agape] to another of His disciples, mentoring and including that learner as a participant in your response to Harvey.

   • Plan and delegate where possible the continued discipling of Harvey victims. As God's Spirit works, bring them (1) to faith in Christ and then (2) to maturity in Christ.

Your thoughts on this? (comment below)

Read more…

Whose Job is it to Make Disciples?

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a training conducted by Jeff Sundell, founder of the new 50-5-50 Network and the new National Director for e3 USA, an initiative of e3 Partners.This training has me thinking, what is necessary to make disciples in the USA.

Jeff was with the IMB for more then ten years and saw a disciple-making/church planting movement rapidly spread through Nepal to involve 10,000s of house churches. After returning home and not content to simply be assimilated into the American Church scene, Jeff is now leading a vision to see disciple-making movements started in 50 of the largest USA cities, deploying the same disciple-making methodologies he used in Nepal. This is what some know as the T4T or Four Field model. You can learn more about this at T4TUSA.com. Jeff is just one among a growing group of practitioners to these principles. 

At this recent training, I was challenged with this question: "Whose job is it to make disciples?"  According to Jesus, in his  Great Commission  (Matthew 28:19-20), the job belongs to everyone who would follow him. According to Jesus, all who would follow him have been called to make disciples! Isn't that awesome!? The first challenge  however is that in the USA, and elsewhere, the job of making disciples is often left to the professionals, seminary trained pastors. This leads to the second challenge, which is that all indications are that we are not really making disciples the way Jesus taught.

But what does it mean to make disciples? The way I would answer that question is this: Following Jesus example, by living for God's purpose for the knowledge of his glory in Christ to be known among the nations and teaching others to do likewise by our example (John 17:1-4).  We are called to reproduce ourselves until the knowledge of God's glory fills the earth. For that to happen, it is necessary to flip our existing disciple-making paradigm.

Below is an illustration of what I mean, not my own but something that Jeff taught, I simply reformatted it. If Jesus had in mind that all who would follow him would make disciples, how do we flip the existing paradigm that has produced our current lack of disciple-making in the Church? For starters we can learn from what's happening in areas of the world that are witnessing disicple-making movements and apply similar principles here. Since the principles are right out of Matthew 10 and Luke 9 and 10, they should work here as well.

How would you answer this question?


Read more…