Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Making Disciples?

Sometimes I come across an excellent article. It might make a point in keeping with what I believe, or it might take a position with which I disagree. In either case, if it's well written and if I can get permission, I'll post it here.

I like this one.

It's written by two friends of mine, Barry and Linda Felis. You can access their web site by clicking here. The article follows below.

Making Disciples?

How is a disciple made? As I look back on our lives, Linda & I never really were discipled by other people. We would meet with people once a week for a couple of hours, follow different leaders, listen to and try new formulas and methods, and call that discipleship. The reality is, is that it was the Holy Spirit who caused any real change to take place in us. Let me explain what I mean:

A disciple is someone who applies their energies to learn a special discipline under a master teacher. There is no other way to be a disciple. There must be a pupil who is taught, and there must be a teacher who teaches. The disciple lives with the teacher, eats and drinks with the teacher, travels around with the teacher, observes the teacher during the course of the day and night, asks a lot of questions and listens intently to the answers. This is the Eastern way of making disciples, and it is the way the Lord Jesus discipled the Twelve. Disciples sit under the teacher - literally at His feet - and hang on His every word. It is not sitting with a person for an hour or two a week and thinking that is discipleship.

What is our idea of discipleship today? I hear some Christians say, "I have been sitting under the ministry of brother or sister so-and-so for a long time now." May I offer a word of caution at this point? Be careful of whom you "sit under" for you will become just like them, and you will never advance beyond them. Write it down, you will never advance beyond them. This is where so many of us have missed it. We are still looking for man - flesh and blood - to affirm and tell us what to do. Who tells the mentor what to do? His mentor? And who tells the mentor’s mentor what to do? The so-called disciple takes on the same characteristics as his mentor. Taken to the extreme it can become pretty ridiculous.

When our children Shad & Amber were small we told them what to do and what not to do. They were not able to make their own decisions because they had not yet matured enough to do so. When they became adults they were able to make adult decisions, learning from their good and bad choices. Unfortunately, many Christians today never mature to the point of making their own decisions. They must have a pastor or church leader to tell them what to do. Rather than mature saints, they remain spiritual babies.

When I was a senior pastor, many times people with problems and decisions to make, would asked me what to do. I would ask them, "What has the Lord told you to do?” They would get frustrated with that answer, because I would just point them to the Spirit of God in them for their answers. Many of them left the church to find some other pastor who would be more than happy to tell them what to do. May God bless them in their decision making.

The only problem is that they never learned to go directly to the source of life for the answers they were seeking. As far as I know, they are still depending on flesh and blood to show them the way. That can be dangerous. True discipleship is sitting at the feet of Jesus Christ and learning His ways. The Bible teaches us that we have no need of any man to teach us, for the Anointing (Christ) will teach us all things and will lead us into all truth.

My point is simply this: True discipleship is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior, sitting at His feet and learning directly from Him through His word, prayer and fellowship with other believers. God the Holy Spirit is well able to disciple you. John 14:26 says it this way, "But Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Something to think about the next time your challenged to go make disciples.

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