Monday, April 27, 2009

Missing the Most Important Thing

I have been sitting on this last week and not making the time to post it. These two emails came back to back and speak right into the topics of Church Shame and the Real Gospel that we went over the last couple weeks. Allison has recently been reading this book and says it is one of his best. It will be one of my next two to read.
Enjoy.


Ransomed HeartWhat IS Discipleship?
04/21/2009
What have we come to accept as “discipleship”? A friend of mine recently handed me a program from a large and successful church somewhere in the Midwest. It’s a rather exemplary model of what the idea has fallen to. Their plan for discipleship involves, first, becoming a member of this particular church. Then they encourage you to take a course on doctrine. Be “faithful” in attending the Sunday morning service and a small group fellowship. Complete a special course on Christian growth. Live a life that demonstrates clear evidence of spiritual growth. Complete a class on evangelism. Consistently look for opportunities to evangelize. Complete a course on finances, one on marriage, and another on parenting (provided that you are married or a parent). Complete a leadership training course, a hermeneutics course, a course on spiritual gifts, and another on biblical counseling. Participate in missions. Carry a significant local church ministry “load.”

You’re probably surprised that I would question this sort of program; most churches are trying to get their folks to complete something like this, one way or another. No doubt a great deal of helpful information is passed on. My goodness, you could earn an MBA with less effort. But let me ask you: A program like this— does it teach a person how to apply principles, or how to walk with God? They are not the same thing.

(Waking the Dead , 95-96)



Missing the Most Important Thing
04/22/2009
We take folks through a discipleship program whereby they master any number of Christian precepts and miss the most important thing of all, the very thing for which we were created: intimacy with God. There are, after all, those troubling words Jesus spoke to those who were doing all the “right” things: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you’” (Matt. 7:23). Knowing God. That’s the point.

You might recall the old proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same holds true here. Teach a man a rule and you help him solve a problem; teach a man to walk with God and you help him solve the rest of his life. Truth be told, you couldn’t master enough principles to see yourself safely through this Story. There are too many surprises, ambiguities, exceptions to the rule. Things are hard at work—is it time to make a move? What has God called you to do with your life? Things are hard at home—is this just a phase your son is going through, or should you be more concerned? You can’t seem to shake this depression—is it medical or something darker? What does the future hold for you—and how should you respond?

Only by walking with God can we hope to find the path that leads to life. That is what it means to be a disciple. After all—aren’t we “followers of Christ”? Then by all means, let’s actually follow him. Not ideas about him. Not just his principles. Him.

(Waking the Dead , 96-97)

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