Now for my follow up question – how many eyebrows did I just raise?
Being well aware that you’re probably either a) surprised that this law-defying natural phenomenon had taken place or b) a little bit more than slightly concerned about my lack of understanding regarding plant development, I’m going to jump right to the chase.
Of course, I would agree that this would be both an unrealistic and implausible scenario. In other words, you may now rest assured knowing that the laws of nature have not changed, and that the planation of a lemon seed will still result in the growth of a lemon tree.
While the outcome of a lemon seed resulting in a lemon tree that would then bear the fruit of a lemon seems to be a relatively straightforward concept… is that all it is? Is it really as simple as it seems? Or would there be any other environmental variables such as light, water and...
Have you ever noticed that after spending an extended period of time with a particular person, that you have gradually begun to sound more like them or maybe have picked up on some of their characteristics? Maybe it was the way they laugh, a specific mannerism or a gesture they make when talking?
I know I certainly have! Reflecting on the different friendships that I have developed over the past few years of my life; I can definitely see how those closest to me have both influenced and shaped who I have become.
I’m sure there are also several examples that you can think of within your own life of where this has been the case for you.
Why does this happen?
What a strange notion! That those around us can have so much power over the way in which we either do or do not live out our Jesus-like possibility.
See, if I hang out with a friend once a month, then it is not likely that I will pick up on their characteristics or mannerisms....
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… don't give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end.
Based on this saying, would you contend that the ideology surrounding persistency being key acts as a blanket rule, applying to all situations, or a rule with some exceptions?
Let’s say you have a friend, let’s call him Alex, who was unemployed and kept complaining to you about not being able to find a job. You know that your workplace has a new position available of which Alex has the appropriate qualifications. You tell Alex about the position and set up an interview for him with your boss.
The time of the interview comes, and Alex is nowhere to be found.
You are left feeling confused, you know that not only had Alex had asked you to do this as a favour, but he also needed it to stay financially afloat for the next few weeks.
You confront Alex and ask him why...
You are a mechanic leaving your workplace after putting in a hard day’s work. You’re on your way home when you suddenly see a limousine pulled over on the side of the road with a group of women frantically pacing back and forth. As you get closer, you notice the limousine has a flat tire... and maybe a mechanical problem!
Then, you get even closer and notice the women are all dressed up, in fact, one of them is wearing a white dress. You suddenly realise… it’s a bridal party!
You now realise you have a decision to make, will you stop to help the bride? Or will you keep on driving?
You think through the possible options.
As a qualified mechanic, the task will be an easy fix. Why? Because you had not only been trained in fixing this problem, but had done this so many times, you could do it in your sleep!
You decide to pull over and instantly notice the look of relief on the bride’s face. ‘Wow, what a commotion!’,...
Invariably, as you invest in discipling people in your world, you will be confronted with times when they are facing diverse struggles. Struggles that you can't do anything about! So, what do you do when it seems that you can do nothing?!
In our last blog, we agreed that a discipler ought to intercede through prayer and fasting.
Now the power of prayer has been established in the last blog, let’s explore fasting, another powerful method of intercedence.
The power of fasting can be seen throughout the book of Esther.
In Chapter 4, Esther is informed by her cousin Mordecai of an evil plan that has been put into place to annihilate the Jews. Esther, Queen at the time, is told that the only hope of saving God’s people was if she entered the presence of the King and begged him to save her people. However, in order for Esther to do this, her life would be put at risk. This was because the law stated that if anyone who entered the King’s presence without being...
It can be hard when someone in our world is struggling, and there's no clear-cut method of stepping in and helping them out. Sometimes it is hard enough just to think of how we can help those struggling with normal day to day circumstances, let alone when someone is struggling spiritually.
So, what do we do when a person we are discipling is struggling? Is there one specific solution? A one-size fits all approach?
Unfortunately, the fallen nature of our world means that there may be a vast array of difficulties or problems that an individual may be dealing with at any given moment or time. This means the probability of coming up with a single solution for each problem disciples might be facing, is inevitably slim.
However, despite this seemingly grim reality, the good news is that as followers of Jesus, we don’t have to fear or worry about what can or can’t be done in the natural. Why? Because we have God on our side! Our all-loving, all-trusting and all-knowing...
I’m sure you would agree that prayer is not just an important but rather an essential part of having a relationship with God. So, it is important to have a clear understanding of how we can model, teach and partner with those we disciple, as they learn to pray.
Do you know why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1)?
It wasn’t because Jesus had previously taught them some hard to grasp, abstract ideas on prayer, rather it was a natural reaction to watching Him pray!
Jesus showed them what type of prayerful disciples they could be. He illustrated to them who they could become! It moved them. It aroused their desires to be like Him.
A vital aspect of teaching prayer to those we disciple involves modelling a possibility. To put it simply, to model a possibility means to show those you disciple WHO they are, through the lens of Jesus, before they see themselves as such. For example, disciples may not yet see themselves as those...
Commencing a Discipling relationship with someone is a bit like screening someone on a dating App!
When it comes to discipling, my intentions are always long term (as in, I’m praying for the best possible outcome and for a long lasting relationship) - but I’ve been alive for long enough to know it takes a while to know if someone is compatible or not. Yep. Compatibility plays a part in discipling, too.
For these reasons, I always throw in an initial disclaimer or loophole when I’m looking at adding one more woman to the tribe of disciples that I invest in. My disclaimer is this: “Let’s try it out for 6 months and then re-evaluate.” I told you, there’s so many similarities to dating!
The other day I started a discipling relationship with a 20 year old woman. I’m 47. Age doesn’t matter that much, but I’m just painting the picture for...
How do you select people that you can disciple?
Disciplers must choose carefully the type of people they invest in. Selection is essential for the long-term effectiveness of the process. Jesus prayed and selected His disciples carefully. Paul instructed Timothy to look for people who are faithful (character) and able (competence) to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
In a recent training workshop, disciplers affiliated with GenJ documented important considerations involved when looking for someone to disciple. We formulated two lists; one called The Green Lights and one called The Red Lights.
We would love to share these with you. Much of the ideas included in this blog come from the insights of experienced disciplers and from the principles found in the New Testament (Luke 10:5-12, 2 Timothy 2:2, 3:10-17, Philipians 3:15-17).
Nowadays, discipleship maybe a buzz word and a puzzling work, all at the same time.
Empirical research paints a bleak picture of our current discipleship approaches in the West. As documented in the Transformational Discipleship book, research amongst born again church-goers in the USA indicates that our discipleship models do not have the slightest resemblance to what is required to produce transformation (Geiger, Kelley & Nation, 2012, p. 12).
Invariably, within our churches, pastors, leaders and disciplers invest a significant amount of time and energy to support members’ spiritual development. We offer biblically-sound sermons, well-coordinated activities and fellowship-oriented Small Groups. We work hard, don’t we?
Yet, why is our hard work isn’t resulting in effective heart transformation?
Why are we struggling with our discipling endeavours?
Maybe we attempt to accomplish the GOAL of discipleship (transformation towards Christlikeness) with a faulty...