Archives For Discipleship

In his groundbreaking book “Cross Vision”, Greg Boyd writes, “The way you imagine God largely determines the quality of your relationship with God. The intensity of your love for God will never outrun the beauty of the God you envision… the depth of your transformation into the likeness of Christ will never outrun the Christlikeness of your mental representation of God.” Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father.

likeness of Christ,John 14:9,if you have seen me you have see the Father,Greg Boyd,Cross Vision,revolting beauty,grace,love,discipleship,holiness,commitment,throne of God

image © palidachan via Fotolia

He is at once both the flawless depiction of God and is God Himself. If we have seen Christ, we have seen the Father (John 14:9). Our eyes have looked on the face of God. If we want to know what God is like, we need only look at the person of Jesus. He alone perfectly reflected and manifested the Father. If we have an imperfect mental image of Christ, we will have an imperfect picture of God.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Every new morning is a new beginning of our life. Every day is a completed whole. The present day should be the boundary of our care and striving (Matthew 6:34; James 4:14). It is long enough for us to find or lose God, to keep the faith or fall into sin and shame.” I find his words to be at once both inspiring and motivating.

long-term planning,planning,retirement,401(k),investments,worry,anxiety,stress,live for the moment,seize the day,carpe diem,Luke 12:13-21,rich fool parable,store up grain in barns,

image © Rawpixel.com via Fotolia

In the American culture in which I live, there is much emphasis on long-term planning. We plan for retirement and financial independence. We make 5, 10, even 20-year plans for our lives, all the while knowing Jesus called it foolishness as none of us has a guarantee of even tomorrow (Luke 12:13-21). It leads me to believe we as disciples of Jesus are getting it all wrong.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

How do you begin your day? Starting your day in prayer and studying Scripture is rocket fuel for your day and for your life. If you want to know Jesus better, there is no better way than to spend time with Him. If you want Jesus to be first in your life, there is no better way to demonstrate this than meeting with Him first thing every day. Forget your cell phone, forget your email; how you begin your day says much about what is most important to you.

how do you begin your day,morning ritual,priorities,commitment,Jesus first,Jesus is Lord,mission,love,discipleship

image © demphoto via Fotolia

So many teachers say to make certain you spend time with God each day, but let people off the hook by saying it doesn’t matter when this occurs, so long as it does.  I think this is ridiculous. Being a Jesus person doesn’t depend on you being a morning or night person; it depends on you saying, “I will give Jesus the first of my time, every day.”

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Those who have been reading my work for a while know I set a theme for each year in my life. One of my favorites from the past remains, “Consume less, contribute more”. That principle has stuck with me and continues to shape the way I live. As I contemplated this year’s theme, I kept bouncing between several ideas and could never seem to land on one. When I awoke on the first day of the year, I still had no theme.

to be like you,scandal of grace,hillsong united,aaron pelsue,discipleship,commitment,grace,mission,purpose,word of the year,one word,yearly theme

image © digitalskillet1 via Fotolia

As I was standing in the quiet of my house in the early morning, I suddenly felt compelled to go to my knees in prayer for the upcoming year. Out of this time, my theme very naturally presented itself. As I was praying, the chorus to the song, “Scandal of Grace”, began playing repeatedly in my head. It begins, “Oh to be like You”. I knew in an instant this would be my theme for the rest of the year.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

How might your life look different if you knew you had only thirty days to live? Pastor Craig Groeschel says you would do three things differently. First, you would turn your “when” into “now”. Second, you would trade your intentions for actions. Last, and certainly this applies only to those who are determined to be Christ’s disciples, you would devote your whole heart to Jesus.

thirty days to live,30 days to live,Craig Groeschel,life.church,lifechurch.tv,fear,perspective,mission,purpose,priorities,commitment,discipleship,procrastination,intentions,focus

image © biker3 via Fotolia

I agree with Mr. Groeschel. I think we recognize all these points to be worthwhile changes in our lives. If time were winding down, we’d want to make the most of it. I have news for you: time is winding down for all of us. The question then begs to be answered, “Why wouldn’t we alter our lives to affect those changes now?”

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

I have long been fascinated with Stoicism and am often intrigued by quotes from thought leaders of the movement. I often find an interesting application of Stoic principles in my own discipleship quest. One quote I read recently, from Marcus Aurelius, said, “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” This mimics – and is no doubt inspired by – Proverbs 23:7, which says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

dyed by the thoughts,stoicism,stoic,Marcus Aurelius,Proverbs 23:7,as a man thinketh,James Allen,2 Corinthians 10:4-5,take every thought captive,Philippians 4:8,think on these things,whatever is lovely,Hebrews 3:1,fixyour thoughts on Jesus,mission,Kingdom of God,thought patterns,thoughts,neural pathways,God's Kingdom,dcipleship

image © Feodora via Fotolia

What we think about defines who we are. You can’t think selfish thoughts and be an unselfish person. The brain doesn’t work in such a manner. Every thought burns a new neural pathway. The more we think the same thought or way, the deeper the pathway gets grooved into our psyche. We do indeed become dyed by the thoughts we entertain.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

I was listening to an old message from Francis Chan, and he said something was mind-blowing in a life-altering kind of way. While we’ve talked here before about living with Jesus (see “Are You Living For or With Jesus?”), Francis took it to an entirely new level for me. He said since Christ is both in us and with us, whatever we do, Jesus does.  Pastor Chan said it more forcibly. He intimated when we choose to engage in sin, we are essentially forcing Jesus to engage in the same behavior. He doesn’t mean this in a literal sense of course because Jesus never did and never will sin.

what are you making Jesus do,deny Christ,discipleship,commitment,Francis Chan,Matthew 10:33,if you deny me before men

image © Marina P. via Fotolia

But Jesus did experience the weight of our sin when He hung on the cross. So, every time we choose to sin we are causing Jesus to experience the horror and weight of that sin. Again, it’s not that Jesus must die again for the new sin. What He did on the cross was once and for all. Still, if we believe Jesus is always with us, does it not then follow He is with us when we sin?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Dorothy Day once said, “The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each of us.” This is the challenge for disciples of Jesus. Christ Himself was a revolutionary. The things He taught were unlike anything His listeners had heard before. His compassion dwarfed all who had come before Him. The wisdom of Jesus was unrivaled, and He demanded obedience and devotion to Himself and the good news He brought.

revolution of the heart,revolution and change,commitment,discipleship,starbucks,the church,mission,purpose,security,comfort,devotion,viva la revolution,viva la revolucion

image © dbvirago via Fotolia

Fast-forward to today, and we find churches full of so-called Christians content to live their lives in complacency and mediocrity. Instead of committing ourselves to the One who makes all things new, who brings new mercies to bear every morning, we succumb to the philosophy of “there is nothing new under the sun”. We need a revolution of the heart, and we need it today.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

You do know you can talk back to Satan, right? Jesus modeled this for us when the devil was tempting Him in the wilderness. Satan would tempt Jesus, and Jesus would talk back to the devil, reminding him who he was and putting him in his place. Perhaps you think it’s one thing for Jesus to talk back to the devil and another thing for us to do so. On the contrary, Jesus said we would do greater things than He had done (John 14:12).

not today devil,satan,devil,commitment,discipleship,disciple.temptation,1 Peter 5:8,devil prowls about,be ever vigilant,John 14:12,you will do greater things than these,James 3:5,small spark starts great fire,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive,resist temptation

image © kikkerdirk via Fotolia

As disciples of Jesus, we are to pattern our lives after His. What we see Jesus do, we should do. When Satan comes along flaunting temptation before us, we should not hesitate in saying, “Not today devil!”

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

In his book, “All Things New”, author John Eldredge writes, “Where we take our fantasies is a helpful way to know what we are doing with our Kingdom heart”. Which begs the question, “What is it about which you are fantasizing?” Said another way, when you daydream, about what are you dreaming? We go in the direction of the things about which we think. Indeed, we grow in the direction of the things about which we think.

fantasies and daydreams,dreams,purpose,mission,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,commitment,mission,discipleship,Neal Peart,Rush,drums,drumming,drummer,John Eldredge,all things new,wild at heart,greatest drummer,great drummers

image © Yulia Buchatskaya via Fotolia

Our fantasies and daydreams reveal the deepest desires of our heart. Far from fancy or whimsy, and regardless of their implausibility, fantasies and daydreams reveal what we would be if we were God. What are your fantasies and daydreams revealing about you? Are they revealing a God-focused, others-centered disciple? Or are they revealing a prideful and self-centered individual?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…