Training Trainers: A New Paradigm for Discipleship

Church Planting, Discipleship, Equipping, Other Authors, Scripture, Uncategorized

I could not have said it any better. A must read for anyone interested in advancing the Church as Jesus directed us.

The Asian Rough Rider

No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong, especially leaders, pastors and church planters. We’ve devoted our lives to growing the Church but have we been doing it all wrong? I hate it when I’m wrong. My pride always says that I am right. But my pride can’t argue with results.

The results say that more churches have been started in the last 50 years than in all 2,000 years of church history combined. The results say that in the last decade, God used a humble Asian-American missionary couple to launch a discipleship movement of more than 140,000 new churches and more than 2 million baptisms in one Chinese city. There are dozens more examples from all around the developing world.

For us outsiders in the West who are looking in we’re saying, “That ain’t right! How can this be? Let’s analyze this until we are blue…

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Eternal Life

Church Planting, Discipleship, Scripture, Uncategorized

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Eternal life is a free gift, based on God’s grace.

  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
  • This might surprise you, but Heaven cannot be earned or deserved.
  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • Grace is what God wants to give you, but which you do not deserve.
  • It is amazing, but true; God wants you to go to heaven. Eternal life is a free gift!

People in themselves do not deserve the gift of heaven. Why?

  • We are sinners by nature and by choice.
  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
  • We are incapable of doing good according to God’s standards.
  • “…There is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12).
  • “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).
  • People cannot save themselves.
  • “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).

There is a penalty for sin.

  • God is love – He doesn’t want to judge you.
  • “The Lord…is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
  • But, God is also just – He must judge sin.
  • “Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:7).
  • “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), i.e. physical death and also spiritual death (separation from God).
  • Our basic needs are: forgiveness, eternal life and peace with God.
  • So, people try religion, good deeds, materialism, self-acclaim, etc, to satisfy their needs, but these do not solve the problem of sin.
  • But remember, God is love. He has the solution!

Jesus Christ is your only way to Heaven.

  • Who He is – the infinite God-man.
  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:1,14).
  • What He did – He paid the penalty for our sins, and purchased a place in heaven for us!
  • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
  • “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Personal faith in Jesus Christ is the answer.

  • Faith is not – merely believing a fact.
  • “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder” (James 2:19).
  • Many people agree that Jesus Christ lived and died, and they even believe in His resurrection! But, they have not turned from sin and trusted Him.
  • Faith is – turning from your sin and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your eternal salvation.
  • “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
  • “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
  • “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
  • The Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Can you think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to invite Jesus Christ into your life right now? Might I suggest a simple prayer?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gift of eternal life. I know I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for my sins and rose again from the dead to give me eternal life. I now put my complete trust in You alone for eternal life. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus name, Amen!

 

This post reflects my heart passion and was inspired by a booklet entitled, “Life’s Most Important Question” published by BMH, P.O. Box 544, Winona Lake, IN 46590, http://www.bmhbooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessing of God

Scripture

And I will bless the one blessing you, and curse him that curses you; and kol mishpochot haadamah shall be blessed through you. (Bereshis 12:3 Orthodox Jewish Bible)

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3 NASB)

Jacob Skips Rope

Scripture

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Bilious and bloated, they gas, “God is gone.”
It’s poison gas— they foul themselves,
they poison Rivers and skies;
thistles are their cash crop.
God sticks his head out of heaven.
He looks around.
He’s looking for someone not stupid—
one man, even, God-expectant,
just one God-ready woman.
He comes up empty.
A string of zeros.
Useless, unshepherded Sheep,
taking turns pretending to be Shepherd.
The ninety and nine follow the one.
Don’t they know anything,
all these impostors?
Don’t they know they can’t get away with this,
Treating people like a fast-food meal
over which they’re too busy to pray?
Night is coming for them, and nightmare—
a nightmare they’ll never wake up from.
God will make hash of these squatters,
send them packing for good.
Is there anyone around to save Israel?
God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.
[from The Message, Psalm 53]

“Oh that the Yeshuat Yisroel would come out of Tziyon! When Elohim bringeth back the captivity of Amo (His people), Ya’akov shall rejoice, and Yisroel shall be glad.” (Tehillim 53:6 Orthodox Jewish Bible)

“Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.” (Psalms 53:6 King James Version)

Kindness

Church Planting, Rambling Thoughts, Scripture

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” (Mark Twain).

I like that. Have you ever stopped to think that ‘kindness’ is a universal language? Each and every person understands and speaks this language. An act of kindness is never futile. If you are kind to someone it will reflect in your and their behavior. Being kind instills a positive feeling and makes your, and our, world a better place to live. Kindness can be defined as a caring attitude. But the definition of kindness does not limit it to ‘caring’ only. No, kindness is a complex word in that it varies with the circumstances. Kindness is being affectionate, caring, courteous, gracious, favorful, boonful, generous, understanding, sensitive, respectful and on-and-on. Showing kindness usually provides a feeling of joy and mirth to the recipient; and, the kind person is satiated with a feeling of warmth and satisfaction. Why? Because, kindness is a basic driving force of creation. God was kind to us by flourishing civilization through His kindness; and, then by instilling it in us through His creative order, making us in His own kind image.

Each of us has been taught to express kindness towards others. It is in our DNA. In fact, kindness is not restricted to human implementation. Even animals wave their tail as a return gesture to kindness shown to them by humankind. Similar responses can be seen in plants. They grow large and bear fruit in response to the kind behavior of their caretaker. All of nature has its own ways of expressing gratitude for kindness.

Kindness is not a virtue to be adopted or showcased just in specific situations; rather, it is be imbibed as a basic behavioral attribute. Kindness is well adjusted to all spheres of life. Being kind to your siblings or spouse or children helps to build a strong family foundation. Showing kindness to neighbors and colleagues helps in developing a positive social environment. Small considerations and selfless acts of kindness may even help in growing one’s business to significant profitability. The language of kindness is comprehended by each and every living being. If you have been kind to someone by ignoring their small fault or simply said, “Never mind, it’s okay,” will always be remembered by that person. In fact, selfless deeds often result in the most favorable and flourishing ‘deals’ of life.

The Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, Jesus Christ). So, be polite and kind in your behavior. It is what God the Creator intended for us. One last note: being kind to self is equally important as being kind to others. Don’t be too harsh on yourself; give space for the trivial mistakes you make. Learn from the experience, thanking God for a second chance, and move ahead being kind.

Blessings…

Enjoying a Fulfilling Life

Church Planting, Rambling Thoughts, Scripture, Uncategorized

It seems like every day there’s a new story, an encouragement, about having it all – enjoying a fulfilling career while maintaining what’s meaningful in your life.

Instead of entertaining the debate about whether or not it’s possible, why not just make it happen?

Here are some fun and creative ways to maintain a healthy work/life balance:

1. Multitask
2. Remind yourself to eat (there’s an app for that)
3. Let your phone go to voicemail.
4. Don’t get in bed with your gadgets.

Sure, these are a bit silly—but at least they may make you stop and think about how you can achieve a better balance.

And, above all, don’t forget God.

Psalm 126:3

The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.

Psalm 4:7

Thou hast put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Is Your Church Body Strong?

Church Planting, Rambling Thoughts, Scripture

A critical need in the Western Church is a biblical understanding and implementation of Ephesians 4:11-16 through of the use key word ‘equipping’. It seems that many, including us pastors, do not fully understand what is meant by ‘equipping’, and why it is different from preaching and teaching.

Although preaching and teaching are essential elements in equipping, they cannot stand alone. Preaching and teaching are static. Equipping is active; it is not possible to equip without active involvement in ministry. As my friend, Dr. Tom Julien said, “Though the terms ‘equipping’ and ‘involvement’ are not synonyms, they are inseparable. Involvement creates a thirst for learning, and enables one to discover their spiritual gifts. Sitting in a class or taking a spiritual gift inventory both have merit, but do not necessarily equip for ministry.”

Ephesians 4:11-16, with all its implications is the key for the growth and unity of the church, for the development of each member to his full potential; for developing the church’s “joints and ligaments” as leaders through leadership teams. In fact, I contend this is exactly what the Apostle understood and meant to convey. Working in teams, whether two-by-two as Jesus sent the early disciples, or in larger teams of 4 or 5, ‘equipping’ happens through the experience of working together; of trying different things, of using different energies that lead us to better understanding of our own spiritual giftedness; of learning how to work alongside those who don’t always agree with us and finding ways to accomplish the task in unity. One Church. One Body. Strengthened through joints and ligaments firmly attached and functioning well!

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”(Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)

Is your church body strong?

Practice What You Preach!

Rambling Thoughts, Scripture

Today I was reading Romans 2. I was impressed with the last paragraph, verses 17-29. This paragraph can be summed up in the last verse where the Lord teaches, “But, a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”

My reaction was quick and significant – The joy of my heart is to learn to live out what is in my heart – an exercise critical to effective Christian living and testimony. My prayer was this, “Father, never stop teaching me this art, allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to live His life in and through me.”

In essence, Kurt, “Practice what you preach!”

Three in One

Scripture, Uncategorized

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For centuries philosophers and theologians have tried to explain the Trinity, but their attempts always fall short. However, God in His wisdom, provided an example in creation that is a parallel to His own Triune existence—the universe. Enjoy this short clip from the Institute for Creation Research.

http://thatsafacttv.com/2013/03/09/episode-27-three-in-one/

Copyright © 2013 Institute for Creation Research. All rights reserved.