“Disciples That Make Disciples That Make Disciples”
The above idiom is a fishing term (but you probably knew that!). What it refers to is when a hungry, aggressive fish swallows all three; the hook, line, and sinker – Bam! The fish is “all in” – completely and totally, without hesitation or reservation. Bam!
Is there anything we can be “all in” on without hesitation or reservation, “hook, line and sinker?” It seems to me we all long for just such a thing that both defines us and directs our actions….something that is bigger than ourselves and gives us the purpose we were created to live in. I am amazed that even those who think there is no God and no meaning to anything still search to find something that will define them and give their actions a meaning beyond themselves, something to live for, so to speak. What about you?
Here at St. Matthew we talk about being disciples (followers of Jesus) who make disciples who make disciples. Why? This is what we were created to be “all in” on, hook, line, and sinker. It is a gift of God in Jesus.
Jesus begins His ministry by bursting on the scene and saying, “Come, follow me.” In a sense He is fishing for you and for me. What is His bait? Having – and doing - life with Him! It is the only place where we are complete and whole. It is who we were meant to be. It is our lost identity. A follower of Jesus…a disciple. And what is our purpose? What is the “doing” that can finally make a difference and give meaning beyond ourselves? At the end of His ministry, following His resurrection, Jesus gives us this gift as well: “As you are going, (that is, as parents, spouses, friends, and in your neighborhoods, wherever you live your life) make disciples…. that is, make and grow followers of Jesus.”
Ok. How do we do that? What does it look like? What are the variables involved? In the next few weeks, we will explore these questions… what it looks like and how we can take steps to grow in being followers of Jesus who in turn make followers of Jesus. For you see, it is always about following Jesus. It is always about teaching another to follow Him as well.
Where does it begin? In the closest of our relationships – with our children and with our spouse (our FAMILIES!) – but it then continues to our brothers and sisters in Christ and beyond, wherever we live our lives, filling every nook and cranny of our lives! We are called to be “Disciples -followers of Jesus – who Make Disciples who Make Disciples.” In this is both our identity and purpose. This is where we can be whole and complete! May we swallow it “hook, line, and sinker” – and grow in living in it! This is our focus in the next few weeks. May God bless us and grow us!
Sat./Sun. August 10th, 11th. Jesus (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
The very first creed of the very first followers of Jesus was this; “JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.” It was and is foundational! To follow Jesus is to receive Him as your Lord in every nook and cranny of your life. Where do you struggle with this? This is an important question, because if we are going to be about making disciples, about being used by God to grow others in following Jesus and growing in the fullness of life that He gives us, it is from us that they will learn -from our modeling - what it means to receive and live in Jesus Christ as Lord, beginning with our own families and our own children!
Sat./Sun. August 17th, 18th Intentionality (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
I remember watching a World Series a number of years ago where a Yankee baserunner intentionally got in the way of a relay throw, much to the chagrin of the fans of the other team. Intentional. On purpose. Actions with a particular result in mind. The Yankee baserunner knew what he was trying to accomplish, and it directed his actions. So too with Jesus. He lived His life intentionally, certainly in going the way of the cross for us that we might be His, but also intentionally coming alongside others, investing Himself in them that they might grow as His followers. And He would teach us to do the same.
Sat./Sun. August 24th, 25th Relationship (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
One out of two people in our society have no one to talk to. This is what sin does. It isolates us…both from God and from others. Adam ran away from God and “threw his wife under the bus”- “this woman that you gave me!” He was absolutely alone! To be a disciple is to live in relationship with Jesus. To live as a “disciple who makes disciples” one must forsake the notion that my life with God is just “Jesus and me” and embrace living in relationship with others. For this-relationship – is what we were created for! “With God, nothing is impossible!”
Sat./Sun. Aug.31st, Sept.1st. Teaching (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
In Matthew 28, Jesus gives His people their “marching orders.” He says, “Go and make disciples of all nations…..teaching them to OBEY everything I have commanded you.” When I got my California Teaching Credential, I remember we learned about various levels of learning. The lowest level was rote memorization with the highest level being the student internalizing it, making it part of who they were. Jesus said, “blessed are those who hear my words AND PUTS THEM INTO PRACTICE.” This is a lifelong learning endeavor both for ourselves and for those who we are discipling and those who they in turn will disciple. Certainly, we are called to “know about” the things of God, but true teaching (and blessing!) comes as we grow and teach others how to put them into practice!
Sat./Sun. September 7th, 8th Modeling (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
Every teacher will tell you; one of the most effective ways to learn and to grow – to put knowledge into action – is to have a peer model “what it looks like.” This is especially true with any kind of “movement” as any coach will tell you. To see what it looks like is powerful and helps us to learn to do it! Today, we focus how Jesus models for us what it looks like to make disciples so we can do the same.
Sat./Sun. Sept. 14th, 15th Exercising/Practicing Our Faith (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
When I was in college, I did a paper on this new kind of knee surgery called Arthroscopic Surgery. It was so new that I had to use the research library in the hospital where my mom worked as a nurse. Of course, the advancement in caring for injured knees was amazing but one thing that came up again and again in the research papers was the absolute correlation between success and how many times the surgeon had done the procedure. You can be told how to swim, you can watch someone else swimming, you can write about swimming and even talk about swimming, but the only way to learn how to swim and to get better at it is to do it – and then to practice! So it is with being – and making – disciples! Today, we explore what this means!
Sat./Sun. September 21st, 22nd Accountability (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
To hold one accountable means that something matters. To want to be held accountable means that I agree that it matters. To walk with Jesus matters. To disciple others to walk with Jesus matters. I am convinced that one of the greatest ways we show love to each other is to, in love, hold one another accountable. Just ask any parent! Oh, and by the way, it is what Jesus does for us – and what He would have us do for one another!
Sat./Sun. September 28th,29th Reproduction (Elements of Disciple Being And Making)
Following Jesus is never just about “Jesus and me.” It is always looking beyond “me “to the other that I can bless as I grow him/her as a disciple of Jesus. It is living in the heart of God who “loved the WORLD so much that He sent Jesus.” Disciple being and making is the way Jesus chose to bring His life to the whole world. We are always both following Jesus in relationship and connecting with others in relationship to grow them in following Jesus…who in turn are connecting with others in relationship to grow them in Jesus. This is the way of exponential reproduction so that in every nook and cranny of the world people might follow Jesus in the way of life. This is the mind of God, the paradigm of the kingdom and Jesus would have us in awe joyfully embrace it and live in it!