Monday, October 29, 2012

being useful

2 Tim 2

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. ...
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.
21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

First, I want to be investing in reproducing discipleship.  I want to be intentional about helping people grow in walking with the Lord in a way that is self-replicating.

Second, I want to be a clean instrument that the Lord will use.  I want to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Heavenly Father, please help me see myself from your perspective.  Lord, please use me to share the love of Jesus with others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

servant leader

1 Tim 3

1 ... If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

I was challenged by one of my spiritual leaders during college to be aware of opportunities to serve the body as a leader.  I distinctly remember encouraging another Brother in the same way about a year and a half ago.  I think we need to encourage leadership, knowing that God desires faithful leaders to step up and lead.  I am also reminded of a little quote that one of our pastors in Austin shared with us:  "Efficiency is doing things right.  Effectiveness is doing the right things."  I think leaders focus on doing the right things.

I need to pray more for my pastor.

Heavenly Father, thank you for opportunities to lead in your Body.  Lord, please give me strength, and may I serve well in your Kingdom, so that you will be pleased.  Lord Jesus, please give strength to our pastors.  We love you, and we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


1 Tim 2

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Brandi and I have been hosting a homegroup for almost two years. We are thankful that the Lord has grown our group, but we need to multiply.  Not for the logistical reasons of trying to fit too many people in our house, but because God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  I believe that one of the most effective ways of engaging people who do not know Him is through inviting people over to your house for dinner.  Thus, we need to multiply so that the people in our group will be sent out to engage others with Christ.

But Brandi and I can't simply mandate multiplication; it has to be realized and appreciated by each person in the group.  Of course, I am glad that we have a good group dynamic where people feel welcome, but I want people to learn, grow, and go replicate.  I think we need to be more proactive and intentional about helping our group understand the multiplication process.

Heavenly Father, thank you for a friendly group.  Please help us all see that your desire is for all people to experience the forgiveness and love of Christ.  Help us see how we can share you with the people around us.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


1 Thes 5

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Last night, a couple of Brothers came over to the house.  I think all of us have been wanting to get together on a regular basis for discipleship, but we just haven't made the time.  But I think we are ready.

We ate some sandwiches and talked about what we want to get out of regular meetings.  We talked about whether or not we should study a book of the Bible, or maybe have a standard set of questions that we ask each other every week.  But I think the conclusion was that we are all familiar enough with the basics principles of following Christ, and it is the collaborative effort of implementing the lifestyle of Christ that we seek. 

So, we sat on the back porch and talked about what is going on in our lives.  Each of us was very open and transparent.  As I think about it, I think this is more like what the disciples experienced with Jesus.  I think they probably discussed a lot of things.  I don't think Jesus lectured as often as we might imagine.  I bet he asked a lot of questions.  Questions that make you think.  Questions that make you ask more questions.  This seems like the pursuit of Christ.  Collaborative.  And always growing deeper.  It is not a set of knowledge to assimilate, but a Person to incarnate, corporately.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the chance to pursue you with some Brothers.  Thank you for honesty and transparency.  Please continue to deliver us from religion and trying to know about you.  Please reveal yourself to us, and grow us by incorporating Christ's life into our lives so that we walk in His Way.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

sexual purity

1 Thes 4
3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.[b] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
I think this is one of the more direct passages regarding sexual purity, as well as the connection to our relationship with God.  I have also been recently convinced that I need to spend more time with Brothers in Christ, encouraging each other to stay pure from sexual sins.
Heavenly Father, please keep me clean, and keep me close to you.  And please use me to help my Brothers who struggle.  May we be aware of the Enemy's attacks and guard each other.  I love you and ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


1 Thes 3

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

What is "discipleship"?

If you had asked me eight years ago, I would have given you a very different answer.

I sort of got into an argument with a brother about the meaning of "discipleship".  In his mind, I am guessing, "discipleship" has a connotation of didactic systematic theological instruction and accumulation of knowledge about God. I think he thinks that "discipleship" is the study of facts and details about the religion of Christianity.

However, I now believe that "discipleship" is the practice of being and growing as a disciple of Jesus.  The Greek word for "disciple" means "student", so of course, it involves learning, but this learning is the subjective and experiential implementation of the life, mind, attitude, character, and person of Jesus in our lives.  So, I see "discipleship" now as the collaborative effort of a small group of Christ-followers to help each other grow in letting Jesus incarnate us more completely as He identifies and crucifies selfishness in us.

Heavenly Father, please help me practice discipleship effectively.  I want to grow in sanctification, and I want to be useful in the sanctification of others.  May Jesus more fulling incarnate me today and each day following.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Col 1
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
Heb. 10:14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
I don't think of myself as holy.  Sometimes I think about trying to become holy.  But the Scripture says that he has already accomplished holiness for us.
So maybe I should live FROM holiness and TO holiness.   Holiness behind me, and holiness before me.  Only Jesus.  Grace.  No works.  But holy works because of grace.
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me holy through Jesus.  I am a follower of Jesus.  I am holy because of Him.  And I am trying to live a hly life as I abide in you.  I love you, and I want to honor you by allowing you to demonstrate your holiness through me.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 8, 2012

carry your cross

Phil 3
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Yesterday, Anne spoke from Luke 14.  I have heard it many times, "27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."  But what does it mean to carry your death instrument and follow Jesus?  What am I carrying?
Heavenly Father, I know that I have to die to myself to follow Jesus, and I know that you will resurrect me from the dead.  But please help me know what it looks like in my life to carry my cross and follow Jesus.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, October 5, 2012

training my children

Eph 6

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

This verse challenges me.  I don't think I exasperate my children.  But I don't feel like I am nearly as intentional about training and instructing my children as I should be.
Thinking about the body, soul, spirit reality, I want to train my children to be disciplined and healthy with respect to each aspect.  Good nutrition and exercise, reading and social interaction, and scripture and prayer.  Not just reactive, but proactive in teaching them these principles.
Heavenly Father, please help me train my children, and please show me grace by leading them to love you and walk with you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

children of light

Eph 5
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
Last night, I attended a play called "Let Newton Be" by Craig Baxter.  It was a very interesting presentation of the biography of Sir Isaac Newton, whose primary interest was theology.  From the presentation, it seems like Newton was thoughtful of physics and mathematics in response to his understanding of God.  Pure speculation here, but I wonder if Newton's interest in light and optics stemmed from the many references in Scripture about light and its association with God.
Heavenly Father, I want to live as a child of light.  Please shine your light in my, on me, and through me.  I pray that I will be a reflection of your light in this world, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, whose eyes are like blazing fire, and whose face is like the sun shining in all of its brilliance.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

building up the body

Eph 4
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
I have received a deeper appreciatin for these verses over the past several months.  Our pastor, Greg, has challenged the leadership of our church to really think about how Christ has gifted us and how we can engage in service to the body.  As a teacher, I am thinking about different scales of teaching: larger gathering, home group, and one-on-one.
I think I need to pray more about how the Holy Spirit wants to use me.
Heavenly Father, please use me to build up the body.  I want to be available for you to use.  Show me how I can serve the body. I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 1, 2012

spiritual prayer

Eph 3
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. ... 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father ... 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Paul asked the Lord for (1) spiritual strengthening, (2) Christ's dwelling presence, (3) and appreciation of the love of Christ.  And he acknowledged that God will do more than what we can ask, for Christ's honor.
Heavenly Father, I pray this for my wife.  You have given me such a wonderful partner, and I am so thankful for her.  Lord, please strengthen her, dwell in her heart, and amaze her with your love.  Lord, please continue to use her to advance the Kingdom of Christ, for His glory.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.