Archives For Discipleship

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.

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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?

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In Philippians 4:8, Paul instructed the church to think beautiful thoughts. He encouraged them to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of moral excellence, and worthy of praise. How often are our thoughts centered on things like these? I confess my own mind is not naturally inclined to go to such places. I will also tell you when I do think of such things, my mood improves dramatically.

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Such thoughts are a natural tonic and trigger the endorphin rush we all crave. When we dwell on dreadful things, our mood sours and our hearts darken. The question we must then ask is, why do we not spend our days thinking beautiful thoughts?

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When attempting to figure out God’s will for your life, it’s helpful to look at who God is. Since we are created in His likeness, it follows His will for us is to look like Him. It’s why both prayer and Bible study are so essential in the life of a disciple. If you want to figure out your purpose in God’s plan, you’ve got to get to know the author of the plan. From the beginning, we see God is relational.

Gods will for your life,Gods will,mission,purpose,commitment,discipleship,Kingdom of God,Gods Kingdom,John 1:1-3,in the beginning was the Word,everything was created through Him,relational God,relational,collaborative

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He created humans for us to not only worship Him but to commune with Him. God was not alone in the very beginning. Jesus was beside Him creating everything that was made (John 1:1-3). Creation didn’t happen in a vacuum, it happened through a collaboration of perfect unity.

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Right now is happening directly in front of you, but you probably don’t even recognize it. We’re constantly being caught unprepared to deal with the moment before us. Instead of proactively approaching each day looking for opportunities to build God’s Kingdom, we spend our time reacting to whatever may come. “Right now” occurs over and over each moment we live.

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Each of those moments is an opportunity to either build or tear down God’s Kingdom. Each of those moments is an opportunity to do the things God has told you to do, to be the person He created you to be or to forever be wasted. Right now, we get to choose which it will be.

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What does it mean to be a spiritual success? To some degree, we understand what success in the business world means. Financial success is somewhat obvious. We even know what successful parenting looks like. But what about spiritual success? A.W. Tozer said, “The laws of success operate also in the higher field of the soul— spiritual greatness has its price. Eminence in the things of the Spirit demands a devotion to these things more complete than most of us are willing to give.”

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I believe spiritual success is measured by our devotion to God. The trouble, as Tozer points out, is few are willing to put in the effort required to become what we would term a “spiritual success”.

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Are you living for or with Jesus? There’s a subtle but significant difference. We can follow everything the Bible teaches and still miss the point. This is, I fear, the state in which many “Christians” find themselves today. They are focused and determined to live for Jesus, and they engage in activities they believe are dictated in the Bible. But this misses the point of living with Jesus.

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From the very beginning, God has shown He is relational. He created the Garden of Eden, indeed, the entire planet, so He could spend time with His creation. He wanted to walk with us, and for us to desire to be with Him. God’s character is unchanging, so we know He desires the same things today.

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As I continue to seek ways to simplify my life, I’m amazed at how complex it continues to grow. There seems to be a never-ending flow of demands on my time, opportunities to pursue, and responsibilities with which to engage. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your experience is similar. We are a busy generation of humans. As I often tell my team at work, being busy is not synonymous with being productive.

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I fear many of us have allowed our lives to become so busy we cannot be productive for the Kingdom. We’re so consumed with the fleeting things of this world we are missing out on the great eternal work left to be done.

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As disciples of Jesus, our goal is to ever be drawing closer to Him. We want to know Him better, to understand Him on a deeper level, and to love Him more. Satan has other plans. The entire focus for Satan is to keep each Christ-follower unbalanced and distracted.  Sometimes he does this by insinuating himself into tragedies and disappointments we encounter. More often, Satan’s modus operandi is to subtly influence us to look away from God.

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The devil needs only catch the corner of our eye to accomplish his purpose. Whenever we can be influenced to not have our entire focus on God, Satan claims a victory. He is the master of distraction, and his distractions will erode both our walk and our faith.

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I love this quote from real estate mogul Gary Keller: “We don’t determine our lives; we determine our habits, and our habits determine our lives.” That’s great advice for life and general, but I think it is quite applicable for our Christian walk as well. What habits are you building into your life that will lead you to live wholly devoted to God?

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Discipleship never happens by accident. It’s not something we stumble into. Discipleship is a choice, one we must make every day. To continue making the discipleship choice each day, we’re going to need habits in our lives to make this easier. Our habits form the disciplines essential for discipleship.

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Surrendering our lives to Jesus is not a trivial decision. It means leaving behind everything we have known and to place our trust in the hands of a God we’ve never seen. While “Surrendering your life to Christ” is a common phrase we hear in churches, I believe we do an insufficient job of explaining what such surrender means. Because surrender is a commonly understood word, I think we neglect to explain the ramifications of such a decision.

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Complete surrender is not conditional. There are no areas of our lives we get to keep for ourselves. There are no aspects of our personality over which we maintain control. Complete surrender is the only acceptable way by which we can be called true disciples of Jesus.

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