Tag Archives: disciple

The Class Meeting

The Class Meeting by Kevin M. Watson describes the kind of Christian group that appeals to me.  The format of the Class Meeting is actually from the eighteenth century, and John Wesley is given much of the credit for it’s design and impact.  The principle behind a modern-day Class Meeting is to become doers of the Word, not just learners.  This aligns perfectly with a phrase from Jesus’ Great Commission, “…teaching them to obey everything  I have commanded you.”

It seems to me that most “small groups” in the USA church are either affinity groups based on having fun, or studies based on collecting knowledge.  Class Meetings are designed to enable group member to live more holy lives.  Let me share a few ideas from the book.

  • The class meeting is essential because it is a logical, practical, and proven way to make disciples.  It forms righteous thinking (orthodoxy) and righteous action (orthopraxy).
  • Judgment does not prevail in Class Meetings.  Unless I have asked to be accountable, rarely will the Class Meeting members hold me accountable.  The person who judges me is myself.  The Class Meeting is a weekly self-inventory of my own life.
  • People who protest against the Class Meeting because it may be uncomfortable must admit that comfort isn’t a good indicator of whether something is good for me or whether I need to do it.  Comfort is focused on my desires, not God’s desires.

Honestly, what would happen if the church would actually live what they already know they should do?  The book is designed to enable the reader to start a Class Meeting.  If you are desperate to become more holy, check it out.  If you’re comfortable and want to stay that way,  the book will only make you uncomfortable.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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Filed under Be Like Jesus, Missions

Preparing The Way

weekly theme #2 Preparing The Way*      

week containing the second Sunday of Advent

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”  (Shakespeare –  As You Like It)  The life of John the Baptist would certainly bear evidence to that concept.  John’s destiny was foretold before his birth, and his place on the stage confirmed.  I think John’s introduction, preparation, and purpose were all unique, but the concept can also apply to me.  I am called to my part in God’s story, a part designed for me, or me for it. My cooperation with the Director’s instructions can have broad and deep impact on many others in the story.

Twice Satan called for proof from Jesus that he was the Son of God. (Matthew 4)  He challenged Jesus and showed doubt about Jesus’ position as Lord of creation.  Then, in the third confrontation, Satan portrayed himself as the owner/ruler of all earth.  He offered Jesus power on earth in exchange for Jesus worship to him, but Jesus did not lose his focus.  He kept his eye on the way prepared by his Father, and he ignored the way prepared by the enemy.

Decades ago I heard a message about Isaiah 40:3 whose theme still remains with me.  Between God and each human lies a path to salvation.  The path is littered with memories, attitudes, excuses, and beliefs that hinder them from making progress toward redemption.  My role is to add no new obstacles and remove as many obstacles already present as possible.  I save no one, God does that, but I can help prepare the path.

Part of my preparation for preparing the way is to become instinctively prayerful.  At this time in my life, I need visual cues (prayer lists) and audible reminders (an alarm on my phone) to prompt my prayers, but I desire to make praying an innate part of my living – like blinking or breathing.  This opens me to the Holy Spirit working through me to speak wisely, live holy, and to sense what I am unable to sense on my own.  I can be used to make the path exactly what a person needs in order to take their next step to Jesus.

I do not have the ability to woo a soul.  I can manipulate superficially for a desired response, but heart change comes from the Lord.  He must prepare and call the soul of the person.  Consider the preparation for Jesus’ first coming:

  1. sacred scripture foretold his coming
  2. he was the creator of the creation he entered
  3. John the Baptist served as his advance man
  4. Angels appeared at his birth

Despite all that, he was not widely accepted as the Messiah.  I should not beat myself up if not all those I try to “prepare” do not accept him.  I may sow and water, but the Lord gives the increase.

*A Guide To Prayer For Ministers And Other Servants by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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The Luke 10 Manual

This booklet by Steve & Marilyn Hill took me by surprise.  The fervor, thought, and boldness combined to make me fearful, taken back, captivated, and challenged.

Honestly, it’s written pretty bluntly at times, but I much prefer curtness to the wordy authors who take a chapter to speak a page.  In fact, the Hills did what I think numerous other authors should have done.  They wrote a sixty-page booklet rather than a two hundred page publication.  No, they don’t make money from it, this link takes you to where you can download a free PDF, but I think they made an impact.  I know they have.

Basically, the Hills challenge the trappings added to being a disciple.  They dare me to explain why I go to church rather than be the church.   They challenge academia to train laborers for the harvest fields, not middle management for the denominations.   A quote would give an example of their writing style: “Jesus commanded us to go and we keep asking the world to come to us.”

I haven’t even skimmed the surface of this deep pond.  I challenge you to check the link.  Maybe download the booklet to look it over. I bet if you start, you’ll end up reading on.  I’m not saying I understand all he is proposing, let alone agree with everything.  But I know there are parts of it that I needed to hear, agree with, and do.  I think you’ll find some, too.

 

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Filed under Be Like Jesus, Missions

Christianity Beyond Belief

Todd D Hunter has written an engaging book.  In my opinion, the foundation of the book is the idea that the goal of the Christian life is not to get into heaven but to live like Jesus.  I venture to say some of you are saying, “Of course!”  But there are many in the USA church who do not live that way.  It’s actually an interesting clash in most of us.  We certainly want to go to heaven, and we’re counting on going there, but our minds and lives are rooted deeply in this world.  The concept Jesus mentions in his most famous prayer, “thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”, doesn’t really get fleshed out.

I really enjoyed Hunter’s concept of living in God’s story.  The Bible starts with creation and ends with the eternal river of life.  All of human history falls between those two events, and that includes my life.  And yours.  We are part of God’s story.  We have been given a speaking part in a story that includes some of the greatest characters of all time.  I awake in God’s story every day.  All I have to do is play my role as it’s written.  Yet, even though all of us have gone off script, he keeps us in the story.  He keeps pointing to the script that’s prepared especially for me.

I’ll close with a couple more of my favorite thoughts from the book: 1) My need is not so much to add spiritual activities to my life, but to make my daily activities spiritual.  2) Learning to walk with the Spirit includes some stumbles and falls.  Keep walking.  Trying and failing is success.  Not trying is failure.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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Filed under Be Like Jesus, Cacophony

Spiritual Health

I view exercise as one of four factors that I can do on a daily basis for good health.  The other factors are rest, hygiene, and nourishment.  (Yes, there are other things such as regular checkups, but I’m talking about daily activities.)

That made me ponder my spiritual health.   How do I get exercise, rest, hygiene, and nourishment for my soul?  So now I ask you….

What are examples of spiritual exercise?

What are examples of spiritual rest?

What are examples of spiritual hygiene?

What are examples of spiritual nourishment?

I have my own ideas, but I would be interested in yours.  Click below on “Comments”.

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Filed under Christianity