Belize Day 4 –
In the last post, Simple Discipleship, I tried to bring you up to speed on where we are at the moment. I also encouraged you to study several key verses and see what God was saying through them.
In the post, I have included the main points of my notes and the link for the live teaching I did at Living Water Church. I would like to invite you to comment with your observations and what God was saying to you while studying this teaching.
Before we get started with the discussion, here is the topic for next week:
Intimacy/Love of God
Scriptures for Study: John 15:1-17, 1 Cor 13:1-13, Eph 3:16-21, Deut 7:6-9
This is the first discussion in the Simple Discipleship Series.
Here is the Link: Being a Leader/Disciple
Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 1
Since I have included my full notes, I will try to make this more of a coherent summary.
As we study what a disciple and leader are from scripture, we need to understand the definition of each.
What is a Disciple? .
Are you a Disciple?
What is a Leader?
Who are you leading? What are you leading them to?
A leader is to be more of a father that walks with you through the day to day struggles of life than an instructor. Anyone can tell you what you should be doing, but a father will take you hand and work through the hard times with you to make sure you come out the other side.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
It is the job of a father and leader to encourage, comfort, and challenge the people following them to walk more in line with God.
Every single one of us is created to be a good disciple and a good leader. How are you doing? You will be discipled by something and you will lead others into something. What are you being discipled by? Where are you leading others?
From the scriptures we studied, we can see a few characteristics of good disciples and leaders.
We must be do everything out of love!!! Jesus even loved Judas who he knew would betray him.
We must have Humility!!! Jesus took the lowest job and did it well even when no one else wanted to do it.
We must Serve others!!! We do not get to choose who we serve or how we serve them. We must humble ourselves and honor all those we are leading.
We must be the Example and Pioneer!!! Do as I do. Lead others by doing it first not just talking about it. God blesses us when we act, not just when we know or say the right things.
A Good Leader is a Good Follower!!! We must follow Jesus first and foremost and have a close personal relationship with Him. We must look like Him, smell like Him, walk like Him, and talk like Him so that we can lead others in the right way. And so they never go astray.
We must give God the Glory!!! Everything we do is through His power and authority so he gets the glory and honor that He rightfully deserves. We may get some honor and blessing for being obedient, but God gets the ultimate glory and honor for making it happen.
We are Influencers of Heaven!!! Our actions influence heaven when we are walking in line with Jesus. Heaven has influenced us and transformed us into sons and daughters. Because of this, we have the influence of heaven on this world.
We must be Selfless!!! We deny ourselves legitimate (and illegitimate) pleasures of this world so that we can be truly free and filled with the Presence of God!!!
We must know True Value!!! First, we have to know the true value that God has for us, and then we have to know the value He places on the souls of all mankind.
1 Timothy 4:8 godliness is profitable for all things
We must be Faithful and Steadfast!!! The only time for us to test our allegiance is right now. Will you stand for Jesus when no on else does?
We must Know God!!! This is the key to being a disciple and leader. Seek to know God in a deeper way!!!
We must Be Strong!!! When we know God, He makes us strong
We must be Adventurers!! When we know God in a deep way, we have what we need to do great things, and He can trust us to be obedient in doing great things.
We must be Lead Others into Knowing God More!!! Part of us knowing God is us sharing that knowledge and relationship with others. Part of us growing in God us teaching others what we are learning.
We must Understand our Authority!!! God has given all authority to Jesus, and Jesus has given it to us. Jesus’ authority is ours if we will only walk in it.
We must Go!!! God calls His followers to action and doing. What are you doing for Him right now?
We must be Disciple Makers!!! We are called to make disciples of nations. This comes by us raising up others who can reproduce the discipleship we have instilled within them.
We must be Carriers of Christ!!! Jesus goes with us, and His power, His Presence, and His authority works in us and through us.
We must be Lovers of Jesus!!! We must love Him first and foremost in all things, and this love should eclipse all other loves
We must be Willing to Sacrifice!!! We must lay down our junk and take up what God has for us. We must lay down our very lives.
We must be Finishers!!! Being a disciple and being a leader are not easy things, but we do not start what we cannot finish.
We must be Spicy and Full of Flavor!!! People recognized Jesus because of what He said and did and people should recognize us because we are just like Him.
What are we worth if we no longer look like Jesus???
What is a Disciple? A disciple is someone who leaves everything behind and follows Jesus out of a heart of love.
What is a Leader? A good leader is a disciple, who is leading people to do the same thing that He is daily doing.
Our position in the Kingdom is not made up of what we have, it is determined by what we are willing to give up out of love and obedience to our Father.
What does this study mean if we do not make it personal??? I want you to meditate on these question:
Who am I leading?
Who is leading me?
Who can I disciple?
Who do I want to be discipled by?
Is it worth it to you to be a disciple and leader?
Ask Holy Spirit to bring revelation to you how you can follow Him more closely. Anything that you need to confess and leave behind, do it now and never look back!!!
Remember that we are all walking through this together. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
God brought us to Cambodia on the eighth stop in this crazy awesome faith journey that He has us on. He did some cool stuff there and had us speak in a few churches, lead Bible studies, and encourage the staff at the YWAM base in Battambang.
I shared in the previous post the message of the Call to Commitment that we as followers of Christ are called to walk in. After I delivered this word to the church, the Holy Spirit came upon me in a powerful way. As I sat there, He began to speak to me that for the people in the church this message would cost them much more than it would ever cost me. He said that this would even cost some of the hearers their very lives. As the Lord spoke this to my heart, I began to cry and be moved in my spirit for the people.
Here in India, Hinduism is predominant, and Christianity is the minority. It is legal to be a Christian; however, it is against the law to share your Christian faith. This being the case, we are international lawbreakers!!! For us, the worst thing that would happen to us is that we would be deported. However, the nationals we minister with every day, face much more life changing consequences. They can be fined, beaten, imprisoned, or even killed in keeping with the law. This persecution causes the people here to make a complete commitment to Christ every single day fully knowing the cost of their actions. In America, often we will face the “persecution” of people mocking us, calling us names, saying mean things to us, treating us poorly… Here, when the people turn from hinduism or islam (both of which are much more prevalent than Christianity) they will be completely disowned from their family and possibly village. This along with physical persecution causes Indians to truly understand the cost in following Christ before coming to Him. By the time they are willing to come to Him, they know that there is no turning back and give themselves completely to His service.
In spite of all this persecution, the church in India is growing and thriving in a mighty way. Too often, in the US, we will make the half-hearted commitment to the Lord and easily turn back from doing the great things for Him that we were all designed to do before we were born.
How would each one of our lives be different if our commitment was true and full; and no matter what happened to us, our families, or our lives, we pressed in and were completely committed and obedient to the Lord???
What would the day to day changes be, in full commitment to Christ, that would cause us to be “persecuted” in our school, work, and even church?
When we seek to be committed to the Lord in such a way, the enemy will come in and try to make us do far less than the great exploits that Daniel spoke about. The devil will try to use anything he can to keep us from being fully committed and doing great things for the Lord. These are just three key lies the enemy has used against great men of God to keep them from being used greatly.
3 Lies that Make us Ineffective
- Too young (Jeremiah 1:5-10) Here, Jeremiah buys into the lie that he is too young to do what God is calling him to. God encourages him that He will be with him and do great things. The rest of this book proves the great things Jeremiah does when he overcame this lie and committed fully to the Lord.
- Past sins that are too horrible (Jonah 3:4-10) Jonah gets a call from the Lord and simply does not want to do it. He runs from the Lord, and his heart is so hardened against the Lord that it takes three days in the belly of a fish before it is softened enough to repent. Jonah grudgingly carries out the command of the Lord and offers a simple eight word proclamation to Nineveh. As a result, over 120,000 people turn to the Lord and the whole city is saved. God used him in spite of His unwillingness and blatant disobedience. In the same way, God can and will use you if you are committed to Him no matter what the past held for you.
- Excuses, Excuses (Exodus 3-4) When God comes and supernaturally speaks to Moses, Moses gives Him any and every excuse that he can come up with. He says “I am nobody,” “I cannot speak,” and “Use someone else”. God continues to destroy all of these lies, and Moses is used to free an entire nation of people.
Sadly, people are so steeped in the wisdom of this world that even in the church, they can rely on their own insights and miss the wisdom of the Lord. When we were preparing to go out on this mission we knew that God had clearly given us a word to “Go”; however, there were many good Christian people that advised against it. These counselors knew us and wanted the best for us, but I understood later that they had no investment in our lives. The people that we called to pray and fast with us for a week, all gave us the confirmation that we were to go. The ones that listened fully to how God had called us and the word that He had spoken to us understood and have encouraged us along the way. The Lord had called us and we had to choose whether to follow Him in full commitment or to do what made sense. We do not know yet the full outcome of our obedience, and I pray that we are always able to follow Him in what he calls us to do no matter how others will end up treating us. In the end, we have been obedient and the Word of God has gone forth. Whatever things that come from this mission, whether great or not, we know that we have been obedient to the Lord.
I pray that you are encouraged to be committed no matter what the cost may be or the tests that may come. Whether we are ever tested as the Indians are or not, we must stand as truly committed followers of the Lord no matter what!!! We are designed to truly carry out great and mighty things. James 5:17 tells us that Elijah was man just like us. There is no difference between us and this great man of God. Wherever he came from and whatever the Lord took him through, he stood the cost of commitment, and God did great things through him. For us, the choice is the same as every one of these men in the Bible. Leonard Ravenhill said once that sometimes “the enemy of the best is the good.” We can do many good things, but if we settle for these because they are easier or require less of a commitment, we are not doing the best that God has for us!!! You have been created the best, by the Best, for the best!!! Never settle for only the good, press in for the very best!!! Never back away from your commitment!!! Always stand for the Lord in every situation!!!
Are you conquering the lies of the enemy that will hold you back from being truly committed to Him?
Ask Holy Spirit to reveal any lie that has caused to you settle for less than the best He has for you. Examine the cost of following Him into the great things He has for you and ask Him to strengthen you to walk in the very best ways!!!
The promise of the Lord is that if you are completely committed to Him you will be strong; and just like Daniel, Jeremiah, Jonah, Moses, and Elijah, you will do great things!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Yesterday we went on our first house visit here in India. Jeremiah and I joined some of the World Race girls that were going to visit Pastor James at his home/church in the slums. When we arrived there, we were very much welcomed. The Pastor’s wife began making chai tea (as is usual and much to Jeremiah’s delight) for us and gave us cookies to eat with them. We were greeted many times by new people that were coming in the room, many were family but many were people who had been with them and been told we were coming.
After Pastor Daniel translated for us the family’s testimony and how they had come there, they sang some worship songs in their language; and the pastor’s son, who is a composer, played the piano with them. When they had finished their songs, they asked us to sing. Prior to this day, I had made mention to the people on the team in a conversation that I am a person of all worship and if you want it, I probably have it. So upon being questioned this, every person seated against the wall, one by one, went down the line looking for someone to lead the worship until all eyes were on me; since none of them were musically gifted. Possessing the secret knowledge that I taught myself to play the guitar many years ago, and once played in the youth band at church, but have not played in almost two years, I find that all reliance is upon me to share the joys of American worship with these intrigued people. Since there was only a keyboard there, of which I taught myself chords over one year ago but have no idea how to make it sound pretty, I decided that I would let the gifted ones lead worship by playing some songs from my phone.
After worshipping a little bit, we were offered more chai and biscuits according to the Indian hospitality. Very quickly, we transitioned into prayer time. We learned that soon the government will come and bulldoze all of the land in the area and build on it. The homes that are there have been built on government soil so they are choosing to displace 500 families to attain their desire for expansion. Pastor James, his family, and the people there are among those being displaced and will soon have no place to go. Believing that God is a God who answers prayer, we began praying for he and his wife and children. He has dedicated his life to serving the Lord and helping others come into relationship with Him. After praying and laying hands on them, I saw that the room was full of people wanting prayer. One by one, people and families were coming forward desiring prayer. Jeremiah had told me in the past that here, people are hungry for prayer; and you really are there until you have laid hands on and prayed for every person. It did not seem as real to me until that moment. Pastor James kept calling people from other rooms to come in for prayer and they kept coming. He called in his son’s wife, Rebekah to come and told us that she and his son have been trying to have children for 4 years with no change, and they want prayer that God would see their desire and reward them. When laying hands on Rebekah and praying for her, I became very overwhelmed with the Spirit and the Father’s heart, to tears. The Lord really touched my heart in praying for her and I truly believe that the reward of new life will be brought to them.
My heart melted when Pastor James asked another woman to come from one of the rooms. She came out holding her newborn, 15 day old, baby girl. She stood in front of me and handed me her daughter. She wanted prayer for herself and her baby girl that they would have good health and blessings. From the moment she placed that precious girl into my arms, whatever the Lord had begun doing in me in praying for Rebekah, He just broke me down. I have never felt so broken when praying over someone before, and I could not contain the tears and sobbing over this beautiful baby. She had the markings that the doctors or people place on newborns’ heads and hands, marking them for hinduism. The enemy through that is trying to lay claim to this precious life, but in Jesus name, she belongs to the Lord. My greatest prayer for her more than health was that the Lord’s hand would be upon her so richly that she would never know a day of her life where He was not with her and Lord over all in her life. When we finished praying for everyone, we had to be dragged out of there to leave because we were so engulfed by the people. Some followed us outside and one of the elderly gentlemen wanted prayer for the pain in his leg, so Jeremiah and I prayed for him. Indians passing by in the street were flocking to Jeremiah and I shaking our hands, wanting pictures, and talking to us. I realized when looking back at this all, what it must have been like when Jesus went to villages and vast crowds followed Him, even if it meant searching everywhere until they found Him. On the way back to the house, I was so undone over what the Lord had done in my heart in being in an area where there was nothing but desperation in the people, that I cried the whole way back. The words that kept scrolling through my minds was how the Bible says over and over again that ‘Jesus was moved to compassion’, ‘Jesus wept’, ‘Jesus felt sorry for them’, ‘Jesus was amazed.’ I see now that this is the lifestyle that He lived, and the lifestyle He calls each one of His believers to follow, a life of brokenness for His people. I truly know now how I am to live the rest of my life, moved to compassion and ever-increasing brokenness.
The Apostle Paul said that ‘the love of Christ compelled him to go places he never thought he would go and to do things he never thought he would do’. Has the love of Christ touched your heart to the degree that you would count the cost and live a life of radical abandonment, being a laid-down lover for Jesus? Would you be willing to leave everything behind, when He calls you, and to follow Jesus wherever He takes you and to whomever He brings you? This was the life of Jesus’ disciples, and if we are true followers of Him, our lives can be no different!
Katie, Pure Fire of Yahweh!!!