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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Discipleship is Dirty

Jesus got in the mud with me and led me out. This was a great picture of the discipleship Jesus has with us as presented by Randy Alcorn in his novel The Edge of Eternity (purchase here).

That's the truth about discipleship. It's dirty. It's usually a thankless job. It's tough. Making disciples of Christ requires a prideless attitude--a surrendering of needless comfort and self-seeking pleasure. It requires endurance (it's definitely not a sprint!). It takes time to develop.

Now, discipling some people can be a bit easier than others. Sometimes the one we disciple just seems to "get it." He really grasps onto the truth of our Lord and follows eagerly. Other times, as was the case with me for quite some time, we have to really sink in the mud with him and gently lead him out by the hand. This means that we will get--muddy. Mud cakes on and is very uncomfortable (unless you're a 5 year old boy, then you love it). It gets in places you wouldn't expect, and sometimes it is downright aggravating. To put it simply: discipleship is hard work.

But when Jesus told his disciples to make disciples, He wasn't asking them. He was commanding them. And almost all of them went much farther than mud in their disciple-making. They went to their deaths. Making disciples cost them their lives.

Jesus said the greatest commandment was to "love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." And the second greatest commandment is to "love one another" (Mark 12: 29-31).

Paul said to "bear with one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). What's the law of Christ? Love God, love one another.

So what's a little mud? What's a little discomfort? A little caked on yuk? Apparently, it was quite worth it for Jesus and his disciples. Plus, if it's a command by our Master, then disobedience to His command is a sin.

So latch on to this truth. Don't be afraid to call up that person who is in the fringe of your church, or that introvert whose name you can't remember, or that recently divorced lady in your Sunday school class, or that pot-smoking, tattooed up, long-haired, body-pierced dude who just heard the gospel and placed his trust in Jesus.

Anyone can go to church. It takes one who lives above the common to be a disciple-maker.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Come Suffer with Me!

Kinda awkward invitation, don't ya think?

But that's exactly what the Apostle Paul said to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:8), "So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."

So we've got a daughter who is battling cancer. And we suffer. We could ask why, but we have really been able to share the gospel with more people since Kristina's diagnosis last August than we have in quite a long time. We see many bald-headed kids and their families. Hopelessness distorts their countenance. Fear grips their hearts. And they have asked us about our joy.

This doesn't mean we don't hurt, but that our hurt doesn't overtake our hope and joy. And one thing we are realizing: because of God's grace--this suffering is not that bad. Before you write me off, allow me to clarify. When we place this suffering next the purpose of it, the worth shines brightly. Even Kristina has said that she is glad people are coming to know Jesus because of her cancer.

Suffering hurts. But it hurts less when there is hope and purpose. It's like a woman giving birth. It hurts, but the purpose makes it worthy of the pain and endurance. The gospel shared brings great glory to God. All throughout history, pain and suffering spread the gospel more than comfort did.

And so, with gratitude and enthusiasm, Paul invites Timothy to shamelessly and boldly join him in the suffering for the sake of the gospel. It's not that bad. The suffering only lasts for a while. Eternity is filled with bliss!

So I invite you, my fellow believers, join us in suffering for the sake of the gospel. Be not ashamed of our Lord, but be willing to suffer for the worthy sake of delivering His Good News to the nations!

Now THAT is living above the common!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bad News/Good News

The End of the World?

So according to Mr. Campings, the end of the world was supposed to happen yesterday. Either I'm a heathen, or it didn't happen. And I look around, and all my friends are still here: Christian and atheist. Mr. Campings was wrong.

Apparently, he has done such acrobatic feats with Scripture that has led him to such conclusions. If he twists passages pertaining to the end times, then he most likely twists the ones that pertain to salvation.

So now my heart is broken. Not only is it quite logical to think that Mr. Campings has never trusted Christ alone to save him, but Mr. Campings' followers might have very well been led astray from the truth of the gospel.

Oh Lord, use your people to bring your love, grace, and truth to Mr. Campings. May we go out of our way to share your gospel with them. Perhaps this would be a good time to tell them the truth that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. And trusting in Him alone will save for eternity.

I don't know if Mr. Campings is saved. But I know that his interpretation of Scripture is flawed. God, give us a passion to shine Your light in these dark places.

Give us a passion to live above the common.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gold's Gym, New Friends, & a Funeral

I love this line: live above the common. So I look for ways where I can fulfill this new life motto of mine (which comes from Jesus: the abundant life).

Got a membership at Gold's Gym in Kingwood, TX. Hired a trainer to kill me--uh, I mean, whip me in shape. This guy is amazing. His fiance was the one who signed me up. They've become friends of Melissa (my wife) and I--even on Facebook.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post his fiance made: her dad was in the hospital. I asked if I could go see him--to pray with him and the family. She said, "Sure!" I did so, and shared the gospel there.

About 2 weeks later, she posted that her mother was in the hospital. I asked, again, if I could go visit. She said, "Yes." Her mom was in ICU, but she was able to nod her head and squeeze her hand to respond.

One question I asked her--to which she gave a very definitive nod ("absolutely yes!"). I asked, "Are you trusting in Jesus alone to save you from your sins and make you ready for heaven?"

The dear lady passed away last Sunday. And my friend asked if I would share a few words at her Mom's funeral. Wow. Such an honor! I gladly did so--of course I shared the clear, simple gospel! (Learn how to here.)

My Gold's Gym trainer, his fiance, my wife, and I are planning to go out to dinner soon. Friendships are forming. They are asking about the church I attend.

You never know what could come out of a gym membership. Take advantage of every opportunity. God loves to orchestrate fantastic events for His glory!

Living above the common,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Live Above the Common

Have you ever wanted to be part of something much bigger than yourself? Did you know that Jesus came to give you life--abundant life? We like to call it: live above the common.

Child Evangelism Fellowship of Greater Houston is about to launch The RADIUS Initiative--a motivating and inspirational project prayerfully designed to move the Church outdoors to bring the holistic gospel to children.

Please prayerfully consider having me share this project with your church. Let's initiate The RADIUS Initiative.

Visit to find out more!