Disciple Making: It’s In You

It’s In You

Daily Reading: (Matthew 28:20):

“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I want you to imagine in your mind what it would be like if Michelangelo never painted. Think about that. Imagine if Beethoven never composed music, if Jane Austen never wrote, and if Jackie Robinson decided to quit baseball because of hatred toward him. What if Thomas Edison never pursued any of his inventions? Imagine if Billy Graham gave into his own doubts about his abilities and never delivered another sermon. The list could go on and on but the point is, this world would be impoverished without the contributions of these individuals. They used the gifting that God gave them, the talent that was inside of them and left a mark on the world. I can’t imagine the world being the same without them and the work they did.  When we think about ourselves, we probably would never believe that we could leave a mark on the world quite like these people, but I got to tell you ours can be an eternal one.

There are many people who have been lied to and stolen from, individuals who never truly have discovered what God has placed in them and the world is impoverished because of it. Others it might take a long time before they are awakened and encouraged into moving forward using their gifts for God’s glory, let today be that day. Because this verse is an announcement to all believers, that what you need to move forward into your calling and bless the world, it’s already in you. You have a grand calling to change the world.

Matthew 28:20: “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The reason you will be successful in making disciples as you pursue it is because Jesus lives in you, is with you, and the Holy Spirit will empower you, because you are doing what you are called to do. It’s in you to make disciples. Or maybe I should say Christ in you enables you to make disciples.

The gifting God has given you whether you like to write, play music, build things, whatever it may be, the purpose for them is for God’s glory and also for your enjoyment. There is no greater joy than to see lives changed and added to the Kingdom.

Now what we can do is re-imagine how can this talent God has placed inside me lead me to use it to build relationships and get involved in my life calling to make disciples?

I want to go to the story of when Matthew the tax collector was called to follow Jesus and see what he did to lead others to Christ.

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9). Jesus only needed to speak two words to forever change Levi’s life, “follow me”. Join Me. Become my disciple. 

“Follow me” Jesus said to a man that was hated by almost everyone. Levi/ Matthew is the perfect choice to follow Jesus, to show that no one is disqualified from receiving His grace, no matter what has transpired in their past. Follow Me is an invitation in your present and it leads you into what God has prepared for you in the future, and it shows your qualification for salvation has nothing to do with your past except for that everyone’s past dictates that we all need saving. This is the Gospel. We don’t deserve it, we can never earn it. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. It is the ultimate unifier of us all, and it absolutely removes our pride and it causes us to want this same thing, salvation for even the worst tax collector.

Before Jesus came into his life, the tax collector was known as Levi. Levi comes from the Hebrew word meaning to lend. The name itself also means attached or pledged.His old name was exactly what he did. He loaned the Jewish taxes to the Roman’s that he attached himself to and then would take from God’s people extra money. But then Jesus comes along, simply says “follow me” and Levi is transformed into Matthew. Matthew comes from the Hebrew word given. And it means gift of God. Levi used to take from people, but Matthew will give to people what he received, the very gift of God, grace to others, Jesus.

Levi was given a fresh start and the very next thing he does is he throws a party and invites everyone he knows. Grace in your life will bring out generosity towards other people. His desire is that they might meet grace personified and have their lives forever changed just like he did.

“Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 5:29-30)?

Of the four Gospel writers, it was Matthew, the least likely choice to become a disciple of Jesus, who is the only one who presented Jesus to the Jews as their hoped-for Messiah. From that time on, instead of collecting tax money, Matthew collected souls for Christ. Matthew got together some people he knew and shared Christ.

What Matthew the disciple learned is key to disciple making, and it spurs us on to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, and it is found in a single word that speaks of Jesus’ heart for the people, compassion.

“When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

The potential to leave a greater mark on the world than Beethoven, Edison, Austen, Robinson, etc.. is when we will follow Jesus’ lead and have compassion on others. Use the talents God has given you to be a Matthew-a gift of God gracing others with Jesus.

What is Your Boat?

Peter’s Boat: What is Your Boat? 

Daily Reading: (Luke 5:1-4):

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

The people are listening to the Word of God share the Word of God. The Greek word here that is used is logos and it is the same word John would identify Jesus as being “the Logos” in chapter 1 of his gospel. So, Jesus was sharing the Word/Logos himself with the crowd (Luke 5:1).

What was Peter involved in doing when Jesus was teaching the people? Washing his nets (Luke 5:2). At this moment in time Peter had not found his true calling of being a fisher of man, he was still pursuing being a fisherman. It is in Jesus that we find our true identity and step into our God-given calling. Jesus is in Peter’s boat so what does Peter’s boat represent and why does having Jesus in your boat give you a new life calling? Jesus actually gives us the answers to these questions as we progress in the text.

Jesus revealed how you fish for people as He taught the multitudes the Word of God as Peter and others tended to their nets. After placing the greatest calling on the life of all of His disciples to fish for men, they left everything behind to teach others about Jesus (Luke 5:11).

So, what this comes around to is what does Peter’s boat represent and why does having Jesus in your boat give you a new life calling?

Peter’s boat would represent the vehicle by which he made his living, or you could modernize this and call it your vocation. The thing you do that pays your bills is your vessel or boat. And even if you are retired or out of work you aren’t without a boat. You boat could be represented by your hobbies, social clubs, spheres of influence. We all have a boat, and the reason I know this is because every single follower of Jesus has the mission of making disciples- of fishing for people. The great news is Jesus is in your boat, as He was in Peter’s boat, and there is an opportunity because of that to land a grand catch for the kingdom.

#Saved to Serve

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:38-39 & Luke 5:4-7):

“Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.” “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.”

Salvation is possible when we recognize someone is suffering and in need of salvation and we ask Jesus to help (Luke 4:38).

What is interesting is this story is in all three synoptic Gospels and they all say just about the same thing but there are some unique details to gain from each.

Matthew’s focus is on the touch of Jesus and the fever was gone (Matthew 8:14–15).

In Mark, Jesus took her hand and lifted her up and her fever was gone (Mark 1:29–31).

For Luke, Jesus bent over her and rebuked the fever- and it left her (Luke 4:38–41).

So, three accounts are all slightly different.

Who was right who was wrong? They were all right if you view this as a bunch of snapshots on a camera and place them together to make a movie. Jesus bent over her, rebuked the fever, touched her hand and lifted her up and the fever was gone (Matthew 8:14–15, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38–41).

The other thing of note is what did Peter’s mother-in law do the moment she was healed. “She got up at once and began to wait on them.”

What do ministered to people do? They minister.  Do you know what the word minister means? Diakoneō: ministered/ serve. The title of today’s devotional is saved to serve. That’s what we see here- Peter’s mother-in-law was saved through healing –and then the first thing she does is serve or minister.  Don’t get me wrong- this isn’t a saved to slave. We are saved where we serve in the kingdom as beloved children of God. Servants who minister love, and joy, and peace.

Jesus was not merely teaching the Word of God as He sat in the boat (vv. 1, 3); He was showing something, by His actions and words, about how He means for his followers to win men to faith. By Jesus’ power and authority multitudes of people will be caught for eternal kingdom blessings by the followers of Jesus who teach the Word of God (Luke 5:1-3). People are caught like the fish when we take notice of their condition and we bring Jesus in to help and offer His salvation (the story of Peter’s mother-in-law).

The comparison is between trusting Christ to help you gather fish and trusting Christ to help you gather people. The gathering of people is for rest (Matthew 11:28-30) and joy (John 15:11) and eternal life (John 3:36).

Peter is not brimming with faith. “Master, we worked all night. We know fishing. You don’t. This place is fished out. Besides, we are exhausted. We were up all night.” Oh, how many are the excuses we find for not man-fishing. But isn’t it encouraging that the Lord provides the miracle despite the lack of strength on the part of the fishermen (Luke 5:5).