Disciple Making Rather than Decision Making

Mother Teresa wrote this:

You, in the West, have the spirituality poorest of the poor much more than you have the physically poor. Often among the rich are very spiritually poor people. I find it easy to give a plate of rice to a hungry person, to furnish a bed to a person who has no bed, but to console or to remove the bitterness, anger and loneliness that comes from being spiritually deprived, that takes a long time.

I think that this is true and deep. Being spiritually deprived leads to anger, bitterness, and loneliness. And changing that reality doesn’t happen through a tract, it doesn’t happen through one conversation, it doesn’t happen through one big event. Changing that reality takes time, commitment, conversation, and, most of all, Jesus Christ.

I’ve often said that we here are much more interested in people becoming disciples of Jesus, rather than just making decisions about Jesus. Making disciples takes a while. It means addressing people’s spiritual deprivation, their hurt, anger, bitterness, and loneliness. It means being Jesus to them over the long haul. Not just a few weeks, but months, and years.

So here is my question for you: who are you committing to long-term?

It’s not just about giving someone a plate of rice. It’s about giving a plate of rice each week, sitting down for conversation, for connection and for a shared commitment. So that’s my question, who are you committing to be there with, watching, hoping, and expecting Jesus to become real in their life.

Because remember we’re here to make disciples, not just help people make decisions…

To Bless ~ To Give Life

This past Sunday we talked about how we are called to bless people.

The main idea was that blessing in Genesis 12 in the Old Testament was tied to giving life. I think this is a much better way to understand it for our lives today. The word bless seems to be one we only use when someone sneezes. “Blessing” can be hard to picture, and even harder to practice.

But “giving life” isn’t hard to picture or practice. Whatever makes someone else’s life full, deeper, meets a need, relieves a concern, frees a worry, or generates love is giving life.

This can be simply listening, fixing a roof, baking cookies, having neighbors in to your house. The possibilities of how to “give life” are endless. This as a church needs to be our calling. God in Genesis 12 has promised to bless us – or give us life and we are then called to bless others or give them life.

  • Imagine what would happen, and how disciples would be made, if giving life to others becomes a major part of our identity and action?
  • What if your house and home was known as a place of life in and for the community?
  • What if in your workplace you were recognized as the person who gives joy, love, and meaning to others?
  • What if your church was known as a place where those in need could find life in practical and real ways?

Doesn’t that sound like God’s Kingdom? It does to me.

So this week go out and start to bless people. To literally give them life. Be generous, be spontaneous, and give life in the context of relationship and share with me here how its going and what’s happened. Because when you share stories of blessing, you are also spreading blessing…

Discussion Questions from this Week Sermon

  • Adult Questions
  • Who in your life can you bless or “give life” too?
  • What needs do your neighbors have, or co-workers?
  • Who has blessed you in the past few weeks? Why not thank them.
  • Questions for Young Families
  • Talk to your children about how you are called to be a blessing to others and to serve. Ask them if they have any ideas who or how they could bless people. Maybe make cookies with them for your neighbors, or a card. Involve them in a giving life to others.

How do you make disciples? #missional

How do you make disciples?

It’s a great question and an important one too. Last Sunday I shared that Jesus didn’t leave his disciples with a 7-step program to making disciples. This is true.

But he did give his followers the Holy Spirit and some guidance. Maybe not a 7-step program but a relational way of life that builds bridges, creates connections, and start the journey of discipleship.

So this Sunday we’re going to discover together a characteristic that is intrinsic to the very nature of the church. We’re going to discover together something we are all called to be that is often the beginning of making a disciple.

Before we get there though: what do you think? How do you make disciples? What’s worked? What hasn’t? What have you learned that you might share with us?