How do we make disciples?
This question should be at the center of everything that a church does. How do we live out the great commission that Jesus gave us? The strategy for many is to get people into the church building so that they can be taught. We want them in discipleship classes, Sunday schools, Sunday services, and sometimes Sunday night services. Before I go on, I should admit that there’s nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves. I am a full time pastor, and I teach some of these kinds of classes. The problem is that by themselves, they fall short. The heart of discipleship is teaching people to be like Jesus and doing this in a classroom alone means that we don’t have the chance to show people how to live. People hear us speaking, but don’t get to see us live it. That’s why life on life discipleship is important, and to do really be able to do that we have to be like Jesus all the time. Our lives need to be saturated with Jesus and his gospel. Continue reading
Jonas wasn’t interested, just then, in wisdom. It was the colors that fascinated him. “Why can’t everyone see them? Why did colors disappear?”
The Giver shrugged. “Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with differences.” He thought for a moment. “We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.” 
A long time ago as a kid, I read The Giver. I read it for school and as an adult most of what I could remember was that there was a community that lived life in black and white, then there was a kid who could see red, he met with an old man and then he escaped from the community. Recently, we watched the movie and so I was intrigued enough to go back and read the book. When I read it, I realized how much of the book I had forgotten or probably never even really understood when I read it the first time. While I was reading it, I was reading Scot McKnight’s A Fellowship of Differents at the same time. I don’t know if was the combination of those two books or just a sudden realization that The Giver has a lot to teach the church. Continue reading
What should the church look like? Who should make up the church? These are very important questions that most of us don’t stop to ask. Many would answer that Christians should make up the church. Some would say that the broken, needy, and hurting should be in the church. These are good answers, but Scot McKnight wants to help us answer this question. In his recent book A Fellowship Of Differents, his answer to the question, “What then is the church supposed to be?” is a mixed salad. The church should be made up of a different people. What most of us see and are accustomed to, however, is a group of people who are all relatively similar. While the church that I grew up in had different kinds of people, the overwhelming majority of them seemed to be like me. Continue reading
John Ortberg opens his latest book with the story of a town settled on the banks of a beautiful stream. This stream delivers pure water to the town. The town paid for an old man to care for the springs that fed this stream. After a long time of paying the man, the town decided that his work was not necessary and that they would spend their money on other things. After a while the water was no longer pure and people were becoming ill from drinking the water. The town realized their mistake and began to pay the old man again to upkeep the springs. Then Ortberg concludes the story by saying, “The life of the village depends on the health of the stream. The stream is your soul. And you are the keeper.” In this new book, Soul Keeping, John Ortberg challenges us to not neglect the keeping of our soul. In the same way the health of the village depended on the stream, our health depends on how well our soul is kept. Continue reading
If there’s one word that captures what happens when we make the choice to follow Jesus, it might just be transformed. Disciples of Jesus are not supposed to remain as they are, but instead we are transformed into something new, into the likeness of Jesus. It’s this transformation that Caesar Kalinowski writes about in his new book Transformed. Kalinowski, however, isn’t only concerned with the fact that we are being transformed, but also what we look like after we have been transformed. He writes, “The Bible teaches that if we are in Christ, we have become part of a family of missionary servants, sent as disciples who make disciples. This is who we are. This is our new identity.” And the more we are able to believe and wrap our minds around this new identity, “the more our lives will be transformed.” Continue reading