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Day 26

Questions for Discussion from the Book, More Disciples

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The Revised and Enlarged Version of More Disciples (now available at Amazon) adds significant text, including Questions for Discussion. For the benefit of any who bought the “1.0” version of the book, we’re including those questions here in full so you don’t miss out.


Chapter 1

Why Make More Disciples

  1. How might you have previously answered the question, “What is a disciple?” Do you agree or disagree with the definition provided in this chapter?
  2. How did you view disciple-making before reading this chapter? Compare and contrast your prior understanding with any nuances you’ve picked up from this reading.
  3. This chapter pointed to the fact that the early church seemed all the more to thrive in the midst of persecution. Would you say there is persecution where you will be making disciples? Has the church thrived? Offer some theories as to why or why not?
  4. How might you have previously explained the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15? As a result of reading this chapter, how has your understanding changed, if at all?
  5. If a friend were to ask, “Does making more disciples somehow add to the global voice offering glory to God,” how would you answer? Explain the basis of your position.

 

Chapter 2

A Way Forward

  1. Roland Allen’s books weren’t published until some 50 years after he wrote them. Why do you suppose it took a while for others to see value in his writings? (Try doing some research online about this question.)
  2. Some have ventured that Patterson’s approach was remarkably similar to CPM/DMM approaches used today — and it was plainly very effective for his time. Yet it can be said that relatively few churches/workers implemented his strategies. Why do you think it’s seemingly difficult for churches and leaders to change the way they do disciple-making? How might we shift the future?
  3. McGavran witnessed whole villages and sometimes entire districts coming to Christ at once. Try to picture being involved in something like that. How would it change the way you felt about evangelism and church growth? Explain.
  4. Pick one of Garrison’s universal elements that you believe is commonly misunderstood or about which people today have a misconception. Offer some ideas as to why.
  5. Garrison is a researcher. He found that the 10 Universal Elements were present in every movement toward Christ that he studied. How many of these elements might exist in the church that you attend or in the field where you hope to make disciples? How might you be a part of changing the future there?

 

Chapter 3

Disciple-Making Works

  1. Describe the growth you’ve seen so far in the church you attend or in the field where you hope to make disciples. Compare or contrast this with the case studies illustrated in this chapter. Why might God bring about such movements in one part of the world but not in another? Explain as best you can.
  2. Some of these stories seem almost beyond belief. Yet researchers like Garrison have actually visited and verified the fruit. Imagine how you might feel as you interview members of the 27th generation of disciples in a rapidly-growing movement toward Christ. How would that impact your faith in or walk with Christ? Explain.
  3. Does it bother you that the Global South might end up sending more missionaries than historically mission-active regions like the USA, Europe and Australia? Why or why not?
  4. Does it bother you that the church is growing faster in the Global South than in the Global North? Offer some of your own theories as to why this might be taking place.
  5. Do you believe movements like these can happen in North America? Why or why not?

 

Chapter 4

Prayer is the Catalyst

  1. If Jesus wants all people to be saved, why do you think prayer seems to be a universal element in launching disciple-making movements? Why do you think God seemingly waits on us to pray?
  2. How might we motivate believers to understand the potential power behind prayer? How could you do so for the initiatives that you are imagining for the church you attend or the place where you hope to make disciples?
  3. If you were asked to pray for an unreached people group, never before engaged with the Good News, what would be some of your requests to God?
  4. Take a moment to look up an unreached people group at www.JoshuaProject.net. Read about their needs and the opportunities for the Good News to spread there. Now take a few minutes actually to put into practice the concept of praying for the people about whom you’re reading.

 

Chapter 5

Obedience as the Command

  1. Describe a church you have previously attended. (It could be your home church or the one you attend now.) In what ways do you feel this church has emphasized knowledge and attendance? In what ways has this church emphasized obedience and accountability?
  2. Now that you’ve read this chapter, if it were up to you to design the perfect church, how might you recommend that we do church differently? (Note: Please avoid “trashing the bride of Christ.” Please give respect to the church leaders who have gone before us and have done the best they can with what they understood.)
  3. Have you seen churches which have emphasized teaching knowledge more than requiring obedience? If so, in your opinion, what is the root cause for this behavior?
  4. This chapter compared obedience to breathing. What was difficult or helpful for you in looking at obedience in this way? If possible, explain your answer by giving an example?
  5. This chapter opens the door to the concept that we might hear God’s voice in the present rather than merely in the past. Is this concept troubling or encouraging to you? Do you agree or disagree with the idea?

 

Chapter 6

Discovery-based Learning as the Method

  1. Assess why discovery-based learning might provide a better solution for training leaders in a fast-growing movement? Has your church or organization tried to use this approach? If not, venture guesses as to why not.
  2. Some have said that utilizing the same set of questions about each new Bible passage would become formulaic (the pattern would “get old” or become too mechanical rather quickly). Do you agree or disagree?
  3. What would it mean to you to study the Bible using discovery-based learning? Would you feel you were somehow “missing out” on the insights of a great teacher that you respect or know? Explain.
  4. You’ve probably heard before that “active learning” increases our chances of retaining information. Yet, would you agree or disagree – most churches have retained the form of teaching known as “the sermon.” Offer some best guesses about why the church has retained this approach down through the centuries. Does it create a moral dilemma for you to ponder the possibility of transforming this approach to a new paradigm?
  5. For you personally, does it bother you that discovery-based learning isn’t mentioned per se in the Bible?

 

Chapter 7

Peer Accountability

  1. Perhaps you’ve already participated in a Bible study in which you were held accountable to make decisions about your actions then follow through with them. (If not, then try to imagine it.) Does it – or would it – annoy you to have someone ask you, the following week, if you followed through? Explain.
  2. The author held that accountability works not because we want to look good (pride), but rather, because we don’t want to look bad (disobedience). Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  3. This chapter gave some very practical ways to implement accountability at the close of a Bible study. Analyze for your life – does this concept seem too rigid or cult-like to you? Why or why not?
  4. This chapter provided an example of a Bible figure sharing his plans or next steps prior to implementing them. Do you agree or disagree that this is an example of peer accountability? Why or why not?

 

Chapter 8

Multiplying Groups

  1. This chapter doesn’t criticize a church for meeting in large gatherings. Rather, it points to a way forward that focuses on multiplication rather than addition. Can you think of an example of this in a church or campus ministry that you’ve attended? How might multiplication be a help?
  2. Think hard about your own life. This chapter speaks of regularly being part of two churches – one church or group for our own spiritual worship and a second church or group that we’re helping launch. Ponder this thought for your own life. What would it take for you to implement this concept?
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of a church or group that you’ve attended compared to the paradigm presented in this chapter. Compare and contrast.
  4. Assume for a moment that multiplication is the best way forward. How might we help the church at large to grasp this paradigm and do it?

 

Chapter 9

Maximizing Fruit

  1. Compare and contrast the “SOAPS” Bible study approach to the one you’re using now. What are the advantages or disadvantages of each?
  2. Do you believe that being in an accountability group (such as the one described in this chapter) would be helpful for the typical believer? Do you think the typical believer is in such a group? If not, can you venture some guesses as to why or why not?
  3. What would concern you most about participating in a 3/3 group, as described in this chapter? Explain what you think might be some benefits and also some risks.
  4. This chapter offered two key approaches for increasing our own involvement in prayer. (Can you remember them both?) How do these approaches compare or contrast with typical prayer approaches used in churches you’ve attended? Give examples.
  5. Consider the town, city, people group, or country where your church is located or where you hope to make disciples. How does it change the way you think to ask the question, “What’s it going to take for all these people to hear the Good News and follow Jesus?”

 

Chapter 10

Im pacts on Disciple-Making

  1. Offer some of your best guesses as to why you believe the church seems to flourish in the midst of persecution.
  2. Examine your own life and the amount of time you have to add activities or approaches. When you read the ideas in this book and process the time it would take to implement them, is it sobering for you? Why or why not? How will you personally decide about your time priorities?
  3. Have you ever experienced cross-cultural confusion or “shock?” Give an example.
  4. The author wrote in this chapter that the church can expand rapidly within a common language and/or culture. Is there a language or cultural group that you wish could know and follow Jesus? If so, describe it.
  5. This chapter presents the concept of filtering for a “person of peace” to help introduce you to another culture. Have you ever experienced anything like this (someone introducing you to a new group or crowd)? If so, describe how it worked. Analyze how it might work with the Good News of Jesus.

 

Chapter 11

Templates for Training

  1. This chapter provides several formats for introducing CPM/DMM strategies in your church or in the place where you hope to make disciples. Imagine for a moment… why would you think the author would offer these formats? What were his intentions? In your opinion, are those intentions valid? Most importantly, how effective would you say his proposed formats might be in your church or in the place where you hope to make disciples?
  2. Evaluate the question: “Is it sneaky to start the organic way?” (In other words, must we gain the approval of our church or organization’s leaders in order to experiment/experience CPM/DMM approaches?)
  3. In your opinion, does the multiplicative approach remind you of network marketing? How is it similar? How is it different? Does it bother you to think of Jesus as asking us to “market” (i.e., persuade people to follow) the Good News? Why or why not?
  4. In your experience, where do these ever-expanding chains break down? In other words, offer some guesses as to what might sabotage a movement.
  5. Based on your learning style, would you rather be involved in a “live training” with an “expert” (an experienced disciple-maker) or would you be comfortable using a web-driven tool like Zúme as your learning approach? Explain.

 

Chapter 12

Tools and Tips for Im plementers

  1. This chapter presents 17 tools or tips for those wishing to launch CPM/DMM in their particular context. Pick out the top three approaches that would seem the most practical and effective for you, in your church or context. Explain why you chose those three.
  2. Consider the idea of making a list of people for whom you will pray. Does it bother you to think you might be on such a list (that someone else made)? Explain why or why not.
  3. For your learning style and preferences, would you rather learn “Creation to Judgment” (C2J) or the Three Circles Life Conversation? Explain why. What would it take for you to learn such a tool well? Would it be helpful? If so, what’s stopping you?
  4. This chapter mentioned that it might feel, at first, intimidating to think of baptizing someone. Does it seem that way to you? Why or why not?
  5. Is it hard for you to lead others? (For example, are you afraid you’re not good enough to do so?) Explain your answer by referencing the section, “Duckling Discipleship.”

 

Chapter 13

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. This chapter attempts to discuss how CPM/DMM views the existing church. Explain why that question is difficult to answer. (Hint: Remember that “CPM/DMM” isn’t an organization but an organic collection of strategies and life practices.) In light of what you’ve now learned (or learned previously) about CPM/DMM, how do you view the existing church. (Remember — never trash the bride of Christ.) In an ideal world, what would be your perfect design for the church?
  2. Sometimes in the past, the idea of “discipleship” has meant other things than the way the term “disciple-making” is being used in CPM/DMM world. Compare and contrast with some of the meanings you’ve heard previously. How is the CPM/DMM usage helpful or not helpful? Why?
  3. This chapter pointed out that some CPM/DMM trainers emphasize only baptizing groups (never individuals). How do you feel about this idea? This chapter asserted that the Bible gave examples of instances in which individuals were allowed to come to Christ as individuals. Do you agree or disagree? How do you reconcile these two seeming contradictions between some trainers’ philosophy and these case studies from the Bible?
  4. Analyze the difference between emphasizing “works” and accountability (in CPM/DMM strategies). How do you feel about the difference?
  5. Do you think CPM/DMM will, in the end, be a fad? Give your reasoning.

 

Chapter 14

A Call for Unity

  1. Try to think of an example of a new product or movement that began with one individual or one company. In those cases, how did it help or hurt the promotion and acceptance of that product or movement? In your opinion, how does it help or hurt that CPM/DMM strategy wasn’t “invented” or isn’t shepherded, as such, by any one person or organization?
  2. At this point in your understanding of implementing CPM/DMM strategy and life practices, would you rather be bold in your proclamation? … or do you see yourself more “laid back?” How will you react when you meet someone who feels it’s imperative to be more forthright in one’s presentation of the Good News? Explain why.
  3. Can you think of any other examples in which Godly men and women have disagreed about doctrine or biblical approaches? Name a couple and give examples of how this has helped or hurt the growth in Kingdom of God worldwide.

 

Chapter 15

Epilogue: Understanding Faithfulness

  1. Curtis Sergeant feels that two ideas have caused a number of problems in the church today. Which do you think has caused more problems than the other and why?
  2. Does it bother you to consider that you might be following someone who is still “learning to ride a bike?” (In other words, could you see yourself following an imperfect mentor?) Explain your answer.
  3. There have been some disturbing studies recently, like the one referenced in this chapter by Lifeway Research. Can you remember any recent findings about Christendom that shocked you? For example, something about a certain generation falling away or a study about how many people can’t remember what the Great Commission is? How can you reconcile these findings with our current method of discipling believers? In other words, what has gone wrong? How would you fix things if you were in charge?
  4. Where are you on the spectrum of knowledge versus practice? For example, do you believe God can work through a new believer to win or teach others? Why or why not?
  5. This chapter emphasizes a humble spirit for all teachers. Can you remember a preacher or pastor who seemed a bit prideful? How did it impact your willingness to listen and obey?

 

Wrapping up

Questions for Discussion about the book as a whole:

  1. What did you find most interesting in this book? What did you like?
  2. What did you find most difficult? What caused you the most confusion?
  3. What did you learn about people in this book?
  4. What did this book teach you about God?
  5. Is there anything in this book that you feel called to obey? What will you do about the things you’ve learned? What will be your next step? How will you begin implementing these teachings? Explain.
  6. Is there someone you might be able to train about any of these concepts? (Please write down a name.) Who can you tell that might hold you accountable to do that?
  7. With whom can you share this book and these teachings?

A Poverty of Time

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(Note: Curtis Sergeant wrote this Introduction for the new book by Doug Lucas entitled, More Disciples.  Because Curtis’s words ring so true in so many contexts, we’ve adapted his introduction as a blog entry here at the companion website.)

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
(Refrain from “Only One Life” by C.T. Studd.)

In Bethlehem, at the Church of the Nativity, there stands a statue of St. Jerome. He was the translator of the Latin Vulgate, which served as the official Catholic Scriptures from its completion in 416 AD until the latter half of the 20th century. It is widely considered to be not merely the first translation of the entire Bible, but the most important translation ever. The Church of the Nativity was built on top of a series of tunnels and caves where Jerome lived and worked on the translation for over 30 years. You will notice when you look at the statue that there is a human skull chained to his left ankle. Jerome lived with that skull chained to his leg in order for it to be a constant reminder to him of the brevity of life. That sort of dedication and focus enabled him to make a massive impact on the world for the Kingdom of God. (Note: This photo, right, of the statue of St. Jerome, from the actual Church of the Nativity, was taken by Curtis himself and is used by permission.)

In our day, it is perhaps more difficult than ever to maintain such focus. From New Delhi to Beijing, Lagos to São Paulo, London to New York, our increasing urbanization and the integration of new technology into our lives has led to a new sense of busyness and poverty, the poverty of time. Over and over, when seeking to disciple others and equip them to make disciples, I hear objections related to the lack of time.

The last time I checked, everyone still had 24 hours in a day. What has changed?

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This tells us that God has specific plans and intentions for what He wants us to do. In the Gospel of John, Jesus repeatedly spoke about the fact that He only said what He heard the Father saying and did only what He saw the Father doing.

My conclusion is that, if we don’t have enough time, it must mean that we are not limiting ourselves to what God intends for us to do, but rather we also are seeking to do some activities we want to do. The result is, indeed, we do not have enough time. Similarly, rather than restricting ourselves to saying what the Lord is saying, we spend time saying things we want to say. The result is noise which, when added to the voluminous data our society churns out, fails to achieve the purposes God intends.

It is a matter of stewardship. We must be more in tune with the Spirit in order to utilize the 24 hours we are given each day. We constantly must be attentive to the Lord’s intentions and desires in order to achieve His purposes in our communications with others.

Knowing Him and making Him known is the life of being a disciple. Constantly, He is expressing Himself and revealing Himself and communicating to us. He does this in large and bold and loud ways in nature and creation and the rise and fall of empires and the making of history and societal events. He does this in small and intimate and quiet ways through silent impressions and thoughts, dreams, and minute gestures or facial expressions of people. He does it through Scripture, prayer, fellow believers, and pain or grief. To the degree we are sensitive to His communications, we have the opportunity to know Him more intimately and make Him known more effectively.

It is a journey. This journey will not reach its destination until we see Him face to face. We are destined to be “on the way” or “in process” until then. Of course, because He is infinite and we are not, our recognition of Him will always be limited. To the degree we know Him, however, we will be remade more in His image. One purpose of our lives on earth is to begin this process in preparation for an eternity of fellowship with Him and worship of Him forever. The other primary purpose is for Him to use us to be part of His speaking to others.

More Disciples, the book, along with this companion website, provides tools and concepts to help us develop patterns that support living this sort of life, one that is on a trajectory of knowing Him more fully and making Him known better by others. Some people complain that any tools or patterns are deadening and lifeless and interfere with having a living and vital relationship with God and others. That is ridiculous. We should view such tools and processes in the same way we view eating utensils and mealtimes. Is food boring and bland because we eat with utensils? Does the use of eating utensils ruin the experience of eating? Are meals rendered meaningless because we use a knife, fork, and spoon over and over and over again? Do we lose interest in eating because of the life-draining repetitiveness of the endless cycle of breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Do we quit loving food because of these empty habits?

The tools and concepts in More Disciples provide ways for us to be intentional in listening to God, pursuing the life He intends for us, knowing Him more deeply, making Him known more effectively, and, most importantly, loving Him more passionately. Let us strive to live our lives in an intentional way like St. Jerome in order that we might please the One we love.

In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul says, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

The book, More Disciples, provides a toolkit to help us build in this way. This website can help you too. Either way, may you become a skilled craftsman.

Integrating “Shema Statements” into Your Daily Life

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[The following is adapted from the Appendix of the Revised First Edition of the new book, More Disciples, available today on Amazon or Kindle.*) One of the hardest parts about launching a disciple-making life is getting from “Hello” to a spiritual conversation or group. Statements like these (below) can help you steer the subject toward spiritual things and even “filter” to see if your friend or listener is open to hearing spiritual things. Some call these “Shema” statements. (Shema is the Aramaic word for “Listen.” It’s the opening word in Deuteronomy 4, “Hear oh Israel…”)

 

In addition, statements like these can help others realize that you are a genuinely a person of faith. As a result, if/when they have a problem or feel troubled someday, they might remember that you are a Godly person and come to you seeking spiritual help. If they have a dream with some kind of deeper meaning (maybe a spiritual meaning?), for example, or if they feel at the end of their rope, they might ask for guidance. Of course, these statements only work if you’re truly authentic from the inside out in your love and speech. On top of all that, they help us establish more courage in bringing up God in our everyday conversations. Try setting a goal to use one Shema statement per day.

 

Here are a bunch of samples to get you started. You’ll soon be thinking of others on the spot.

  • “I read something that seems hard for me to obey in the Bible today”.
  • “I wonder how (a religious behavior) connects to __ (a heart issue)?”
  • Verbally long for the day when ugly things will be swept away when Jesus returns.
  • “God speaks to me in prayer or through his Word.”
  • “I was having a hard time with _ (an issue), so I _ (a spiritual solution).”
  • “I asked God for help and He…”
  • Ask questions like, “How do you show love to God?” or “What was the last thing you heard from God?”
  • “I read a wonderful story today. May I tell you?”
  • “God taught me something today.”
  • “I read something really interesting about God today.”
  • “God is light, and he shines into the dark places of my heart.”
  • “Do you think God could stop all of the bloodshed in…?”
  • “Did you ever have a dream from God?”
  • Use a Proverb to apply to a current situation.
  • “How should a person of God act here?”
  • Thank God for something difficult.
  • “Do you think God cares about….?”
  • “God wants to walk with me so I walk with Him.”
  • “I believe only with God there is hope for….”
  • When telling your children’s names, or your own name, share the meaning.
  • Mention something that you prayed for and how it was answered.
  • Response to a social issue.
  • “Jesus dealt with and said some interesting things about it.” “As I was praying for you today I sensed God…” “I feel encouraged about something that I learned about God.” If you are by the sand or looking at stars in the sky, reminisce about God’s blessing to Abraham. “God healed my friend.” “I feel sad when I see trash, because God created the earth.” “I was reading today and God reminded me…” “I am thankful for ________. What are you thankful for?”
  • “God hates injustice and he has a lot to say about it.”
  • “Do you know which day God created…?”
  • Context = complaining about their country… “It doesn’t matter which country you are in but to be where God wants you to be.” “I know this is a place of great conflict and God wants you to experience peace.”
  • “Can I tell you a story?”
  • “I don’t need _____ to protect me. I pray for God to protect me.”
  • Children: “Blessing and hard work make me rely more on God.”
  • Spouse: “God will give me a wife in just the right time.”
  • In response to not having children… “Marriage is a picture of Jesus and His church.”
  • “Yes, I miss home, but God meets me in my loneliness. God will never leave me nor forsake me.
  • “What is most important to you?”
  • “What do you think are the most important values you can give to your children?”
  • “When did you feel most safe or secure?”
  • “Can we pray for this meal?”
  • “Can we please bless your home or your family?”

(*These sample statements adapted from the list accessed at https://www.jeannie-marie.com/articles-and-resources/2017/11/fifteen-shema-statements-you-can-say on April 10, 2019. Adapted with permission of the author.)

Garrison: “T4T is the Most Powerful Church-Planting Tool in the World”

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David Garrison has said, “T4T is the most powerful church-plnating tool in the world.” He made this observation after seeing the tool at work in his own ministry in India. He has also conducted some 1000+ interviews in over 40 countries all over the world in his church planting research. He literally “wrote the book” on “Church Planting Movements” (that’s the title, by the way) AND his most recent work, “A Wind in the House of Islam,” reinforced the conclusion, even among Muslims.

So what exactly IS T4T? You can learn a lot by visiting the T4TOnline website. But we’ll admit, getting your arms around the whole T4T vision is a bit like figuring out “what is DMM.” The truth is, they’re kind of the same, when you get down to it. Those closest to Ying Kai (the man who has inspired the T4T vision) have observed that his work and his understanding of T4T began in a training session on DMM by Curtis Sergeant.

Watch the complete video archive of the webinar that featured David Garrison talking about T4T. Here’s a copy of the Powerpoint for that webinar and the Notes in PDF form.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 26

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I’m blogging on behalf of yesterday… I just ran out of time to write about it while it was still yesterday.

My morning started with me texting my friend Morgan who was on my prayer calendar for today.  I’ve been talking with and praying for Morgan a lot lately, but I texted her to see if there was anything new that she needed prayer for. She replied with, “Wow you’re timing is perfect. There actually is and it just popped up…I’m pretty amazed because I was just talking to my Mom about it then you texted me.” I’ve continually been in awe of how God has been working through the prayer calendar in this challenge. I know it can be one of those things that’s easy to forget, but set a reminder in your phone because I’ve just seen God move through it so much and I’d hate for anyone to miss it!

After texting Morgan, I was sitting reading my challenge for the day when my mom walked out and struck up a conversation about the challenge. I have really been encouraging her to do it because my mom is already a disciplemaker and I think the challenge would really just give her new inspiration that she would LOVE. But, she has been going back and forth wondering if she really has time to do it and if she does do it when she should start and when she starts who is God leading to be her prayer partner? I really think that Satan has been trying to distract her with the logistics because we are always at battle, but through our conversation we were able to overcome these doubts and answer her questions. I talked about how the challenges really are doable, the thing that takes me the longest is blogging about them and she isn’t going to blog. Also I love that you can pour as much or as little time into the challenges as you want so if you have more time one day you can use it but if you’re in a crunch then you can still be intentional and do the challenges in a shorter amount of time. Also, after talking with my mom I was able to help her sort through and think about the woman that she will ask to be her prayer partner. I’m excited that my mom has now decided to start the challenge on Monday once we are back from vacation! 😀 I can’t wait to see her grow her disciple making skills and watch God move through her doing the challenge!

Also today’s challenge was to move from one conversation point to the next with someone. We’ve been on vacation with my grandpa and step grandma all week. My conversation with my step grandma has been pretty casual, but this afternoon as everyone else was out at the pool I offered to make her a cup of tea and we began talking about a relative of ours who is getting ready to begin going through chemo therapy. It honestly happened without me even realizing it but then we began talking about her parents who both passed away due to cancer and some of her other close relatives that are going through Chemo now too. We definitely moved into the meaningful conversation category today and it was a sweet time with her.
For my SOAP time today, I looked up Romans Road and began reading through it to work on improving how I tell God’s Story.

Day 26 – Moving from Mundane to Meaningful

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I live in a neighborhood made up of smaller, tightly-spaced homes, with well manicured lawns.  During the summer, especially, people are out working in their flower beds or sitting on front porches.  Most summer evenings in Michigan are spectacular.  Very few of my neighbors are active in a church.  This is my mission field.  Not long ago we invited our neighbors to attend our church Friend Day.  Instead, they went to the zoo.  We’ve got to move beyond, “How ’bout those Tigers?”  Lord, help me get to the question, “How ’bout Jesus?”  How we all need Jesus!

Who are you Battling?

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“For our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”  Ephesians 6:12

Think of the most difficult person, most pressing problem, and/or most overwhelming circumstance you’re facing in your life right now.  Think of several if you like.

Whatever it is you’re thinking about, whether a person or a circumstance – whoever or whatever it is – it is not your real problem.  Hear that again:  IT is NOT your REAL problem.  The most troubling things in your life, things that you perceive with your five physical senses, are not your real issue.  Though you may be wrestling with them verbally, emotionally, financially, even physically, you are wasting your precious time and energy that needs to be reserved for the real culprit – the one who is behind the scenes, striving to direct the details of some of your most acute difficulties.  Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world.  Sounds like a movie, huh?

But Paul’s words, directly out of Ephesians, tell us that we wrestle not against man but with the ruler of this world which is Satan.

Your real enemy – the devil – wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind the physical one.  Because as long as you’re focused on what you can see with your physical eyes, he can continue to run rampant underneath the surface.  The more you disregard him, the more damage he is free to do.  The enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional.  He is very real, and very persistent, waging war against us constantly.
Our enemy celebrates lethargic Christian living.  When we’re giving up on relationships, disregarding the purity of our reputations, yielding to our appetites without putting up much, if any, resistance, he can basically go unchecked.  Ultimately, the enemy can hamstring the church from achieving the purposes of God.  That’s why he works so hard to beat you down with discouragement.  Make you discontent.  Lie to you about who God is, causing you to doubt the Lord’s all-good intentions toward you.  Hammer you with accusations that place a burden of shame and guilt on your shoulders too heavy to carry.  Trick you into thinking your situation will never change, and that God doesn’t hear you or care when you call out to Him.  Soon your fire of passion starts to burn low.  You become disinterested.  Low in spiritual fiber.  Your spiritual armor goes unworn and unused.

Now you’re exactly where the enemy wants you – where you no longer want to fight for peace and passion in your marriage, where you no longer believe your child can be restored, where you no longer hope for healing in your body, where you no longer see any path to freedom from your addictions, where you just don’t see the purpose in praying anymore….so you don’t.   You don’t ask or seek or knock.

Did you know that more than 4,000 churches close each year?  That the 5th largest unchurched nation is the United States?  Could this be because His Church, the Bride of Christ, is not standing together, a vast army, united in prayer?  The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere.  God shapes the world by prayer.  Prayers are deathless.  The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive the world.

So what if our world is morally declining because our generation fails to pray?  What if this generation has been too busy or too unbelieving to pray?  What if God’s conquering days are when the Church has given herself to prayer – praying for the advancement of God’s cause?

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

Ask of me is the condition – a praying people willing and obedient.  The strongest one to stand against the enemy is the one who is the best knocker.  The secret of success in Christ’s kingdom is the ability to pray.  To stop the advancement of the enemy we must stand together and fight in prayer.

 

Portions adapted from:

  • EM Bounds on Prayer
  • The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
  • Moving Mountains by John Eldredge

Day 26: The Next Level

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I love the story he shared!  Wow!  It is amazing how God works.  How the mother and daughter both came to Christ.  The power of prayer.  It is just incredible how these young Christians have such faith in prayer we who have had it our whole life just take it for granted.  If we really understood the power we had in prayer and in Christ would we really treat it so nonchalantly.  I want to pray like this little girl with that kind of faith!

 

After reading the challenge I am already thinking how I can take my conversations with co-workers especially to the next level.  I have had many spiritual conversations but I want to share what God is speaking to me lately.  I have been struggling with my calling and what I am made for and as I was listening to a podcast tonight from Francis Chan he said try too hard to figure out what we want.  What we need to do is just draw as close to God as possible and he will show us what we need to do.
I feel like God has given me more boldness in many ways lately especially as I have read through this challenge and watched the videos.  I also have some buddhist friends I want to be more intentional with and start asking more questions and being intentional.  My goal is this week to have more of these conversations and am going to have the guys in my bible study hold me accountable.                 

Discipleship When Life Is Busy: Day 26

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Day 26: You Will Be My Witnesses.  This hasn’t happened so smoothly every day of this challenge, but I actually read the challenge and watched the video this morning before work.  On my way to work, I took time to pray that God would put someone in my path that I could move into a meaningful conversation with.  I am so glad that I was able to do all of that this morning, because I hadn’t been at work 15 minutes and I was given the perfect opportunity.  A parent was late to a meeting we were holding so I was talking with one of my teachers about life and the end of school.  She has a TON on her plate right now with the school year ending, her family purchasing a new home, and her mom having some health issues.  I felt the Spirit nudge me that this was my opportunity, so before I left, I asked her if I could pray for her.  I am so glad that I took that opportunity because as much as I care about her and have had many meaningful conversations about work, life, kids, family, etc. I had never taken the opportunity to offer prayer for her.  I am continuing to pray for her privately as well that she would come to know Christ better and that she would know that her salvation comes from Him.

How do we share Good News with Muslims?

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Following a recent webinar by Curtis Sergeant, a participant, Ken, asked, “There are many Muslim immigrants in the USA these days. What can local church members do to share the hope and help of the Good News with these new neighbors?”

Curtis answered, “My current favorite generic approach for sharing with Muslims is called the ‘Any 3’ approach.  It was developed by Mike Shipman in Indonesia.  It is best viewed not primarily as a Muslim evangelism tool (although it can serve that purpose) but as a filtering tool to help identify persons of peace.  You can Google the term.  There is also a book on it by that title.”

[Note: Grab the whole approach, compressed in a handy PDF, here: http://moredisciples.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Any3-Expanded.pdf ]

Love like Hell Loves

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Where I grew up (in rural southern Indiana), when the ambulance siren is heard coming from Seymour or Brownstown, we all would begin to wonder, “Who needs the ambulance?” It was a really big deal. We were a small town. Everybody would come out by the fence to see the flashing lights and try to track where they were headed. An emergency was a huge deal. Now, in the big cities where many of us live, ambulances chase by night and day and we never pay attention. They’ve become part of the background noise of life.

Could it be that THAT is part of the reason why many of us aren’t as involved in making more disciples? … because we let distractions and the busy pace of life choke out the feeling that we’re living in the midst of an emergency. But the Bible is clear. Hell is real. Punishment is real. Death is real. Listen as Curtis Sergeant encourages us to “love like Hell loves.”

David Garrison wrote the book on CPM’s

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Garrison-head_shotIn many ways, much of our thinking about disciple making movements (DMM’s) traces back to David Garrison’s research on church planting movements (CPM’s).  Read his book, entitled, appropriately enough, Church Planting Movementshere. (We’re grateful that he subscribes to the axiom, “Freely you have received, freely you should give.” Thanks to Dr. David Garrison for his willingness to give away his research for the good of the Kingdom.)

David Garrison: Amazing Global Growth

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Brigada asked, “Is this the most encouraging video of the decade?” The talk in question is this one (below), by Dr. David Garrison. He delivered it at Finishing the Task 2015 at Saddleback Church. Many considered it the most exciting address of the entire conference. Check it out for yourself.

Kingdom Movements for Christ

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If we can build more disciples into true witnesses for Christ, we will build a stronger Kingdom Movement. To learn more about the concept of a Kingdom Movement, check out this 45-minute video by Jerry Trousdale, author of Miraculous Movements.