“There is no other way to retain continuity with the apostles than to keep on doing what they did.” –Carl E. Braatens
If God has rescued you, then He rescued you for a reason. And that reason is not just so you can live a happy life with a happy family and go to a happy church every Sunday.
God rescued you so you can introduce the people you love to your Rescuer. As Perry Noble says, “Found people find people.”
Here are 3 simple reasons you need to be finding people…
1. You’re living in a family/neighborhood/office/town full of dying people and you can make a difference! Jude 22-23 says, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them…”
2. God is building momentum in His Church, bringing people into contact who have unique gifts and talents to lead…in areas of worship, art, technology, community, mission. Maybe your neighbor is the next key piece of the Kingdom and God is calling someone to find him/her. And maybe YOU are that someone!
3. If your boss gives you a task and you care anything about your job, you work to complete it on time and with excellence. Well, you’re a part of a Kingdom with a King and He has given you a very clear mission… Matthew 28:19 says, “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Man or woman, boy or girl, young or old, the King has called you!
God is moving in amazing ways in Brown County! He’s working on hearts and in lives in ways no one ever expected. Hardness is being broken down, sin is being revealed, community is being established and potential is being realized. I have NEVER been more excited about the future of the Kingdom and role that we are playing in that future!
I often tell people that I feel like we’re riding a wave without completely knowing where that wave is going. It would be comforting to see into the future, but that’s not how faith works. So, for now, I’m thrilled to be riding the wave of God’s Will, heading into an unknown future with only one guarantee… “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
If God’s with me on that wave, then that’s the only place I want to be. Jump in and let’s go! If you’re a “found” person, then “find people” to come along and, together, we’ll ride into the future that God has planned!
There is no other way to retain continuity with the apostles than to keep on doing what they did. –Carl E. Braatens
When I hear someone say, “I just don’t know what God has called me to do,” I assume they’re looking for the specific task God has given them. And I’m always excited to join in the search but I toss this out this consideration…
Your mission, first and foremost, is to make disciples. If you’re not fully engaged in making disciples, don’t waste time worrying about what God has specifically called you to do. Make disciples first, then search for your unique role. Because before you were called to work with children, you were sent to make disciples. Before you were called to sing, you were sent to make disciples. Before you were called to write, you were called to make disciples.
If you know nothing else about your role in the Kingdom, know this: You were saved to save others. You’re surrounded by family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and you’ve been sent to make disciples of them.
So, as you’re patiently waiting for God to “call” you into a specific ministry, consider that maybe God’s patiently waiting for you to be faithful with the first mission He gave you.
Discipleship has always been about imitating God.
- God began something at creation, eventually sending Jesus to reach from heaven into the mess of earth.
- Jesus was imitating the Father, saying, “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)
- Paul was imitating Jesus, saying, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
From creation to today, there has been a direct line of men and women imitating the heart of God as they saw it in the previous generation. Some generations have certainly done it better than others, but through several thousand years, the heart of God is still alive and beating in His people. And now, if it’s going to pass to the next generation, it’s up to you.
Soemtimes, when you’re surrounded by a broken and messed up world, t’s easy to sit back, look at the mess all around us, and ask, “Why isn’t God doing something about all of this?”
Well, the truth is… He is. You’re it.
Take a look at the pain and the brokenness and the hopelessness all around you and then consider this: The way God will shine His light into the darkness is through your life. YOU are the conduit for His power. You are the model the next generation is going to imitate.
That’s a risky level of responsibility. And you’ll completely fail if you try to fix things your way. But if you calibrate your life around God’s voice, you’ll begin experiencing unexpected breakthrough and you’ll begin to understand that if God’s going to do something THROUGH you, He’s going to first do it IN you.
That’s why, over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing some of what God’s been doing IN me as I’ve been learning to let Him work THROUGH me. Hopefully, we’ll be able to journey together and begin seeing the Kingdom come to life all around us!
Throughout this week, I’ll be sharing simple verses that have rocked my perspective on life and faith, with just a short note. My hope is that God will move in a similar way in your heart…
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop…” -Matthew 13:3-8
Tonight, I came face to face with a reality I’ve always avoided… If Christians are “farmers” sowing the seed of the Gospel, we’ll be investing significant time, money and energy – spiritual, emotional and physical – into people who will NEVER produce fruit for the Kingdom.
In fact, we’ll be pouring our lives out in the pursuit of a cause bigger than anything we could ever fathom but we’ll be succeeding about 25% of the time. Actually, according to Jesus, 3/4 of our effort will fall on distracted, disinterested and deceived ears.
I HATE THAT.
I hate feeling like I’ve failed. And I know… I’m called to make the investment, not produce the crop, BUT, I like knowing the process has a payoff. That I can celebrate. Today.
Tonight, I looked someone in the face and knew the pain that Noah must have felt, preaching for a hundred years with no one responding. Or Jeremiah. Or Elijah. Or Hosea. Or Jesus.
God calls me and promises me life in His Word, followed by an unimaginable payoff in eternity. But, right here, right now, this is the process. And the process demands that I pour myself into the people God has brought into my path. It invites me to pray and pray and then pray some more, with the hope that the ones I’ve grown to love will embrace the promise of the payoff as well.
Someday I intend to stand before the throne, hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And I hope and pray that I’m standing next to the face I stared into tonight.
But all I can do today is immerse myself in the process (because the process is the point) and trust that God will do what only He can do.
Who are you in the middle of the process with? Take a deep breath and be reminded that you’re not alone.
Events are easy.
They start on time. They end on time. And there’s an easy way to judge success.
Was there a big crowd? Was there a good vibe? Was there a good response? Was there a big finish?
It’s easy to make church into an event.
As a leader, Sunday morning is predictable, controllable and comfortable.
As an attender, Sunday morning is agreeable, acceptable and memorable.
It’s tempting to turn the process of discipleship into an event – not unlike a movie, a basketball game or a family reunion.
As the Kingdom grows, discipleship must remain the process that Jesus modeled for us – messy, unfiltered and occasionally offensive.
As a discipler, I expect to be cussed at, lied to and taken advantage of. I anticipate disappointment and prepare for pain. I realize I don’t live in a sterile environment of “Christian-ized” events so I don’t shy from the crud of our culture.
I endure the junk because I know that every collapse if followed by a rebirth. Some things just have to die before life can really flourish.
It would be so much simpler if the Church was an endless series of events.
But it’s not.
So let the process consume you. Let discipleship be the core of who you are. It won’t be easy as the event was but it will change a lot more lives and be infinitely more fulfilling.