Monthly Archives: June 2011
Yes, we’ve been up to a lot of discipleship. In fact, we recently celebrated the marriage of two dear friends whom we’ve been walking with for a while now – Rory Martin and Coral Neurohr were joined in marriage in May of this year at a private ceremony in Cashiers, NC. We’re very excited and honored to have a front row seat for what God is doing in and through them as they stand in the gap and boldly say “as for me and my house, we shall follow the Lord”.
I saw a billboard (actually from our home church) that says “Who Needs Church, Anyway?” This comes on the heels of a conversation I was having with a friend of mine who 1) considers himself a believer in Christ 2) doesn’t go to church, yet 3) is frustrated about the condition of the world today and how far from God people are. I know, some of you are already connecting dots. When I pressed him for a reason, he confessed that church always makes him feel “convicted” or emotional. I understood. It’s kind of like saying “lifting weights always makes my muscles ache”.
Yeah, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Well, one of them, anyway.
As the conversation went deeper, I could smell something in his story that was just a bit sour. This was a guy who, like many of us, had made the entire church experience about Jesus. Okay, no, not at all. Like many of us, he had made the whole experience of “going to church” all about himself. Yet, a car is not all about the wheels, any more than a body is all about a pinky or a chest. Neither is the body of Christ about one member (or even many members).
As I read the account of the church’s growth in Acts and as we talk about our love for the church against the backdrop of the many modern day maladies plaguing it, we can’t deny the fact that the believers had everything in common, sold their stuff to help those in need, even launched a relief effort because of a prophetic vision (Acts 11.29) before text messaging!!! Some guy sold his property and donated the money to help the poor. Jesus had told them all before He left the planet that He had a new command (Greek: kainos: fresh, unprecedented, uncommon, new) love one another. At no time was the church about “what’s in it for me”.
Are we tracking together?
So, this week, a great topic for conversation could be – what do others have to get out of church? What do I bring to the table? What unique gifts, perspective, or large leaning shoulder do I bring with me that could benefit someone else?
This week, at ONE TH1NG, Jesse Whitfield will be setting up a discussion for some brave guys to chew on at the tables around index cards and golf pencils – what does someone else need in the current economy that you could bring to the table? See also Samuel 23.16 ”
What is it about a wise man that he knows sometimes you just have to be a go to the guy guy? Sometimes, it’s about being available, being present, just showing up. Paul wrote to the church in Rome about how he longed to be with them so they could be mutually encouraged by each others’ faith. What is it about being present? What is it about being brave enough to be humble that can help strong men grow stronger in their faith, their walk, their Lord? If you’re wise, prudent, brave, or just desperate for truth, we’ll see you at a table at the Cabernet on Windward at 6:30 AM.
As a dad, I don’t feel like making a big to-do about Father’s Day. I’m not sure what deep seated issues I have that keep me in that state of mind, but I just feel like – “I’m a father all the time, my rewards will come when they’re grown and I see the fruit in their lives that the Lord has planted, I’ve tended, and hs grown in His light.” Is that false humility or does it resonate with you, too?
My personal convictions aside, the Bible has much to say about being a parent, much to say about discipleship, and plenty to say about wisdom, all of which fall under the purview of being a godly Dad. One of the most critical issues of being a leader of any sort – at home, in friendships, in the marketplace, in church – is that we are always learning. So, too are our children, our peers, and those who stand in our shadow. We all learn not only what is taught, but what is “caught”. Discipleship – learning – happens both formally and informally when we submit to what is being taught. Or, as I recall the quote posted on a local restaurant restroom wall:
“If you can’t be a good example, you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.”
If you’re wondering what to get me for Father’s Day, I’m about to tell you a great idea. BUT FIRST, if you’re wondering what to get any dad of daughters I not only recommend this book at the bottom of this post, but a great title that I’m currently reading (again) by Dennis Rainey, called “Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date: 8 Steps to No Regrets”. It is a step-by-step guide to help you as a father to stay appropriately involved in your daughter’s discipleship in the area of love, sex, and dating (whether you even believe in the unbiblical concept of “dating” or not).
As our daughters (and/or sons) grow, we must remember this: “someone is discipling them”. Formally or informally, they’re constantly learning. Our responsibility is to “train them up”, one we cannot abdicate. Why not teach them what God and wisdom have to say about dating before they learn it through the “school of hard knocks”? Why not embrace our God given responsibility with wisdom, counsel, and prudence instead of letting “girls be girls” or “boys be boys”? How much good, or let me say it this way – how much God ever came out of leaving broken people to themselves?
Back to the main recommendation – the following book doesn’t immediately mention the Holy Spirit and from the sample I’ve read, I don’t know if it does, so take this all with that as a grain of salt to wash it down. Daddy Dates is a practical guide that answers the question “WHAT THE HECK DO I DO?” when you’re the father of girls.”Daddy Dates” is a great book for you to check out and/or put in the hands of a dad you know. If he’s honest with himself, he’s like all of us – secretly, somewhere, insecure about whether or not he has what it takes to connect with, shepherd, and disciple his daughter, or at least how to do it for under a million dollars, the same million dollars that can’t reverse the pain, confusion, and emptiness she could easily experience if she submits to the discipleship of someone less than her dad.
Kelly Kapic describes sin as a two step process “Turning and Taking”. Sometimes, when we’re having discipleship conversations, the subject of a particular sin recently committed comes to mind. From this point forward, I hope we are able to deconstruct the incident in these simple terms: “What made you turn from God and what did you take?”
The first question God ever asks is “Adam, where are you?” Rest assured that when God asks a question in scripture, it is not because He does not know the answer. Rather, it is because He is demanding that we come face to face with the answer. Adam had taken not only the apple, but the lie “surely, you will not die”, and held it in his heart. This is a turning of the heart, a rejection of God’s sovereignty and Word.
One of God’s greatest desires is that we are ever connected to Him – “abiding” in the vine. But, in our broken world and thanks to sin, we turn from Him and take what He has not intended for us to have. Therefore, in preaching the gospel to unbelievers and believers alike the first command we must heed is “repent” – turn away from our sin, back to God. The second, I believe, is “surrender” – though these are really just two aspects of the same command. We cannot hold onto God while clinging to that which we have taken – goods, control, an idol, etc. cannot remain in our hands or our heart if we have truly “turned” from them.
So, what are you holding in your hands? What’s in your heart? Is it something God did not intend you to have?
What are the things you have taken that God did not intend for you to have?
We take money from others when we don’t do our job as if God is our boss. How much time are you spending on Facebook while you’re at work?
We take control when we violate the speed limit – turning from trust that God will get us there at His appointed time rather than ours.
We take purity from our spouse (or our intended future spouse, if we’re single) when we look at images