May 3, 2016


It's a discussion I had before but for a few minutes allow me to revisit a conversation that should be important for every believer.

The topic centers around converts or conversion growth vs or over against the making of disciples.  Clearly, Jesus left his disciples with the command to make disciples.  I think we all understand that prior to becoming a disciple, one must convert or to put it another way, repent from their sins and decide in their mind and heart to follow Christ.

In fact, Jesus told his first disciples that they should follow him but that he would make them "fishers of men."  A different way to say this is that Jesus would first make them disciples and then make them in disciple makers.

There is a real question that faces all of us as we seek to fulfill the command of Christ in this modern age.  I suppose it's been true in every age but it seems very appropriate for us today.  Alan Hirsch put it this way, "If we don't disciple, then the culture around us certainly will."

In today's world, we are often defined by what we consume.  It is the secularism of our day.  We are something because of what we have or can buy, so we think. Today there exist, even in the church, a mindset that says, "I have not commitment beyond the meeting of my own needs."  It is impossible to fulfill Christ' command to make disciples if this is our attitude.

The Bible makes it very clear that we are to become like Jesus.  The simple truth is that if Jesus is the Lord of your life and mine, he will be the priority and we will gladly obey his commands.  There is not bigger nor more important command than to do all that we can to allow him to turn us into disciple makers.

David Platt stated recently, "Shouldn't it concern us that the Bible never says, "accept Jesus into your heart by praying a prayer?"  And yet, that is often our shortsighted goal.  We are rather, to follow Jesus in every aspect of our lives so that we might make disciples.

I hope you are clear on the priority of this command in your life.  I hope that I am too!

Mar 9, 2016

Don't MISS the METHOD of Jesus!

I can't remember how long ago it was that I first began to hear about the discipleship strategy of Jesus.  I do think that Dann Spader was the first one to drive this thought home to me. Over the years, I have thought about it and even taught on this strategy but the troubling thing for me is the lack of implementing this strategy in my life and ministry.

The only thing more disturbing is the fact that I see little attention being given to this on the local church level.  Recently, I heard a sermon that made a point of how much believers tend to replace the priorities of Jesus with whatever is going on in our lives, especially those things that are "successful" and meeting a perceived need.

These things, stated the preacher, have a way of becoming a "god" for us and as a result we end up chasing these things rather than making it our number one goal to please God by doing what he wants us to do.  This in my opinion is exactly what the church and individual believers have done in regards to making disciples.

Making disciples is the primary thing that Jesus wants us to do and it's the last thing he told his disciples before he ascended.  The way I look at it, Jesus has a perfect memory and when he returns, he is not only going to welcome us into the kingdom of God, but his "well done" will have something to do with what we did with his commission to make disciples.

Spader, in his book "4 Chair Discipling," a recent publication notes that Christianity has put an unhealthy emphasis on the message of Jesus to the neglect of a perceivable strategy for making disciples.  We need both.  On page 14 of his book he writes,

"But I would argue that if you completely understand the message of Christ but fail to understand his methods, you won't truly know the Jesus of the Scriptures.  Jesus was much more than just His words and message."

What do you think?  Have you missed the Method and if so, why do you think that happened?

Aug 14, 2015

To Lead or Not to Lead?

If you take the time to view the short video below by Bill Hybels on leadership, you will hear a statement like the title of this blog post.

This simple question puts the emphasis on the most important aspect of biblical leadership and for that matter, any type of leadership.  Read well on the subject and you will discover that every leader is to be well fed.  Case in point, I have heard something like, "Every leader is a reader!" 

While I think this is true, it is clearly not enough.  One can read and read for all its worth and still not be very effective in leading.  The issue is not only the matter of taking in information regarding what it means to lead, a real leader must not only take it in  but he or she just digest it and assimilate it into their lives.  Simply put, a leader must lead.

To lead or not to lead, is the real question.  To lead or not to lead is the real challenge for anyone charged with leading others. This type of leadership will not only necessitate the proper understanding of what God expects you and me to grasp about leadership, but an acceptance of the fact that our leadership is intended to bless those around us, far away and near.

The Bible is quite clear about how this work of leadership is to take place.  Paul, in writing about spiritual gifts to the believers in Rome makes it very clear that the one who leads has a responsibility of doing it in a certain way. Here's how he puts it, "...the one who leads, with zeal" (Romans 12:8). You are to lead with diligence, that is, do your very best when you lead.

Is this where you are in your leadership journey? Are you leading with zeal and diligence? I hope so! If not, take the time to review your approach to leadership. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the zeal you need to lead properly.  If you do, I know you will see the difference!

Jun 8, 2015


Have you ever wondered why those who do not know Christ as Lord can't seem to understand why others do?  Something that seems so clear to me, as a believer, seems like foolishness to unbelievers. 

In the book of First Corinthians, Paul the apostle, spoke of those who wanted something that would prove to them the reality of Christ. Greeks wanted wisdom and the Jews wanted a sign.  The world in all its supposed wisdom could not see the truth about Christ, and the Jews would not accept any sign, although many were indeed given. 

My wife and I have raised our kids in the church and by the Word of God or at least we thought we did. However, at this point the result is rather discouraging. Neither of our boys profess faith in who Christ is.  They are quite caught up in the philosophy and thinking of the world.  They might as well be "Greek" or "Jewish," as it seems like foolishness to them.  They are okay with us thinking that way, but as yet have not seen it to be true for them.

Proverbs 16:25 states a profound thought, "There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way to death" The frightening reality of this statement is that a person can go through life thinking they are right in their mind and heart, only to discover that they were wrong.  And at that point, it's too late.

I don't want that for my boys or for anyone else.  God wants the best for you and for me and that is to live our lives under the truth of who he is.  When this is in place, all other things fall into line.  This does not mean that a believer has no problems but rather that the believer does not have to fear. They can face anything with the peace of God in their life.

Proverbs again says in 16:9 that "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."  Here we see what happens when a man or woman is centered in Christ.  The way they plan their lives may not be perfect and without error, but the end result is that God watches over them and establishes their steps.  So much so, that he (God) will "...make even his enemies to be at peace with him" (16:7).

I want this for me and I want it for my boys.  I hurt when the choices they make hurt them and sometimes others around them.  I long for them to commit their way to the Lord but I can't make it happen.  I am committed to praying for them and will continue to keep that promise.

Perhaps you are in the same life boat.  You have those whom you love, friends or family members who just don't get it.  That is, they don't see why you and I love the Lord so much that we trust him completely. Someday, I hope they do.  May God bless you as you keep that faith and as you share it with those whom you love the most.

Jan 1, 2015


It's probably true that most people do not look at the New Year in this way, but every time we enter one, we have a chance to set a new direction for our lives.

There's something about a new beginning that can be a catalyst to becoming more effective at living our lives the way we want to and more importantly, the way the Lord would have us live. As I have given this some thought, a few ideas have emerged that seem important if we are going to be serious about making the most of our new"chance" to live more purposefully.

As a Christian, we must remember the absolute priority of the Word of God.  I am taken back sometimes when I hear that people are making decisions and actions regarding something for which they have not looked one time to see what the Bible says about it. Perhaps, and even worse, is the practice of doing something in our lives, and assuming that we know what the word of God says and discover later that we are not even close to what the Bible prescribes.

Next, in order to make sure that our new effort for change in the new year sticks, we must share this with someone we trust.  It has to be someone that knows us and is willing to share in our attempt to be more purposeful in our daily lives.  We must share the specifics and not speak only in generalities. It seems that we must say more than "I want to lose weight."  It would be better to say that this is what I weigh now and by May I want to lose 30 pounds.  I want to walk, drink more water and keep track of my progress.  By doing this, my friend can hold me accountable and support me along the way.

By being specific, I can commit myself to praying for results in the specific areas of need. The third thought I had was that any part of my life is important and worthy of thinking about spiritually.  God is not only concerned about my faith, He is interested and concerned about everything that I seek to do, especially those things that will bring him honor.  Our example above is perfect.  No one cares more about your body than the Lord, since your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

The great thing about a new year is that there's plenty of time to reevaluate and adjust your original plans.  Sometimes we overshoot our target and sometimes we underestimate what we can achieve if we put our minds to it.  Regularly evaluating where we are in achieving our goals can enable us to see exactly what we need to do in order to hit our target.  If we are doing well, there will be the opportunity to change our goal and achieve even more than we thought we could do.

These are very basic steps but often overlooked when we try to have a fresh beginning in the new year. I, like you, want to make the most of this year for the Lord and for all who know me. What's really great is that we get another chance to get it right and make the best of all the Lord gives us.  I hope your New Year is filled with creativity, purpose and fulfillment in every way.  Happy New Year!

Dec 17, 2014


There is something different about this time of the year.  I get the same type of feeling when the Easter season comes around.  People are seemingly kinder, more polite and just seem to be in a better mood.

I don't know if people realize that they are acting differently, but they do. Go into a store during another time of the year and you do not always sense the same kind of generous spirit or attitude. Don't get me wrong, I like it but I do find it interesting.

Indeed, we are created as emotional people.  The way we feel has a lot to do with the way we act, especially toward others.  But where does our emotional makeup come from?  According to pastor Pete Scazzero, author of the very popular book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality," a lot of who we are comes from how we were raised.  Over the years, the emotional imprints become visible in how we look at life, treat others and in many ways, even how we relate to what God wants to do in our lives.

Once Jesus was confronted with a very important question.  The lawyer asked, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"  Jesus responded by saying, "You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Mt. 22:37).  He followed it up with a second commandment just like the first, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt. 22:39).

To be able to obey these two commandments one would have to be spiritually and emotionally healthy. If one is obedient to these two commandments, he or she would be able to have the right attitude all the time, whether it was Christmas, Easter or not.  The christian's goal should be to develop a lifestyle of obedience to the degree that everything they do gives evidence of their spiritual and emotional health.

Yes, it is Christmas time and it is a special time of the year. But, everyday is special when one understands the privilege and responsibility that we have as believers in Christ.

Sep 3, 2014

Equipping the Saints to do What?

No too long ago I read an article where the author was addressing the role of church leaders in the context of the local church. His point was simple and based upon Paul's writings in Ephesians where he defines the work of the pastor as one who "equips the saints for the work of the ministry" (4:11-13).

This would be, I think, especially true for the pastor-teacher.  For many of us, he is the one who takes the majority of responsibility for carrying out this work.  According to the author, this not only is true for the pastor-teacher but for the other leaders God has given to the church.

One only needs a small amount of exposure to a present day local church body to realize that much is missing today when it comes to this mandate being fulfilled.  Of course, there are many things expected of the pastor and leaders that in and of themselves aren't bad, but nevertheless fall way short of what it seems God wants for the everyday believer and member of his church body.

Many will say that the primary role of the pastor is to preach.  In fact, there are many who would judge a pastor to be good if he is a good speaker.  While I agree that preaching the word is central and very important to the work of the pastor-teacher, this alone falls way short of the ultimate standard.  What then, is Paul suggesting the leaders of the church be able to do?

The text says that they (church leaders) are to equip the saints (believers) for the work of the ministry.  It would seem easy to figure out what this means but maybe not.  No one would not expect believers to serve the Lord in connection to their spiritual gifts and talents. But, to get at the heart of the mandate we probably should ask a question about the primary focus of the early church at this time.

Without question, the answer seems clear.  The early church was about evangelism. That is, the expansion of the gospel into an unbelieving world. With this view in mind, the use of our gifts makes a lot of sense.  We are to use our giftedness as tools to be use in reaching out to a world without Christ.

Now, if we go back to the point at which we began, we can see why many churches are not growing and what must be done.  In order to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, we must return to the work of equipping the saints to understand the gospel and show them how to share their faith with  others who do not know him yet.

If we stop at talking about evangelism or be satisfied with preaching occasionally about the importance of evangelism, then we deserve what we get.  But, if we are committed to what's important to the Lord about the church, then we must equip the saints to evangelize effectively.  And this will take a lot more than mere talk. What do you think?