Word of the Week: Discipleship

 

“People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy,” once quipped the 18th-century Anglo-Irish essayist, playwright, and poet Oliver Goldsmith.

In an age of extreme individualism that sets oneself as the standard, that parrots such expressions as “I must live for myself,” or “I must be true to myself,” and “I can only know what is right and wrong for me,” Goldsmith’s observation finds modern-day application.

Not long ago freelance writer Matthew Miller published an article entitled, “The Radical Individualism Raging Through America.” In it, he quoted Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, in a piece titled “The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America,” which espoused that “too many Americans now subscribe to the positive power of greed and the innate belief that everyone is better off when they pursue their own self-interest.”

Unfortunately, this spirit has too often found its way into the church. It is witnessed in both overt and in subtle ways that elevates one’s personal preferences, political opinion, and self-interests over the collective good of the church and the leadership of godly Shepherds.

Most seriously, however, individualism diminishes the Biblical teaching of discipleship that values the virtues of self-sacrifice, self-denial, and self-control. It flatly contradicts Christ’s teachings that challenge us to follow Him.

Consider Jesus’ characterization of discipleship.

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14;27).

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Lk. 6:40).

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me’ (Lk. 9:23).

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:37-39).

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn.10:27).

Hearing Jesus, heeding Jesus, following Jesus, and striving to become like Jesus is the essence of discipleship.

Being a disciple of Christ calls for submissive, sacrificial, servile, and selfless attitudes and actions. This means that we submit to His will and Word. That we serve the needs of our fellow man and our church family. That we’re willing to give up whatever stands between us and our relationship with the Lord. And that we surrender our pride, prerogatives, privilege, and personal opinions.

A cursory study of the first-century disciples beginning with Acts 2:42-47 reveals that discipleship…

…Requires attachment to the Body of Christ. You can’t go it alone.

…Involves learning. Increasing in knowledge is a must.

…Engages in a devoted, loving fellowship. Think the “one another” commands.

…Issues itself in worship. Assembling with fellow Christians to praise God is vital.

…Results in evangelistic outreach. How can you not share the joy of your faith?

If all of this raises concerns that you fail to measure up to this Scriptural standard, be advised that discipleship is not an event. It’s a process. A life-long process. In the parlance of the Christian race analogy. Discipleship is not a 100-meter sprint. It’s a marathon. An ultra-marathon.

In the words of Bill Donahue,

“Disciples are not just people with more answers to Bible questions who attend more events or listen to more Christian radio. Disciples are people who act like Christ, who are willing to train to be like Him, who practice the disciplines of prayer, solitude, worship, Bible reading and study, community and ministry. They are lifelong learners and lovers of Jesus.”

Let us “Renew in ‘22″ our commitment to Christian discipleship.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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Looking in Four Directions

As Christians meet for worship today around the world, local churches will meet at different times. Culture and customs may impact the order, style and length of worship.

Some churches will meet in modern facilities with large crowds attending. Others will assemble in simple, nondescript buildings. Some may meet in rented storefronts. And others may gather in a small group in a family home.

Furthermore, I wonder how many different languages and dialects will lift their voices in praise and prayer to God today? Continue reading

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Weekly Recap: May 15-21

 

Good morning from Beverly Hills,

What a night!  Thunder. Lightning.  And pouring rain.  Based on this week, I think our summer rainy season in Florida has begun. At least I’m saving money on watering my lawn.

Hope all is well with our readers and that you’ve enjoyed this week’s posts. Our Saturday post offers an opportunity for you to catch up in case you missed one.  Also, it’s a good way to share ThePreachersWord via email or social media. In addition, there’s a bonus post from 2012 that most of you have never seen. Continue reading

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Friday’s List To Live By #85

A good friend messaged me the other day to share some personal thoughts and mentioned he was rereading Dale Carnegie’s classic book “How To Win Friends and Influence People.”

I recalled it was one of the first books I read regarding relationships when I began preaching. Our exchange triggered the thought to share a few highlights from the book for today’s list.  Published in 1936, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”  has sold over 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.

These simple, succinct suggestions, are still valid.  And will make a difference in all of your interpersonal relationships. Continue reading

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When Politics are Problematic

According to a recent poll by Lifeway Research of 1,000 Protestant Pastors, 44% said their “people’s political views” were difficult to deal with.

Additionally, 48% of the respondents expressed concern regarding, “people’s strong opinions about nonessentials.”

“Congregations are filled with many opinions,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. Continue reading

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Acts 24:22-27

Josh McDowell, the author of several books on Christian evidences, once remarked that even if he could answer every question a skeptic could throw at him, he still may not believe.

Why? Continue reading

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Evil Strikes Again

Actually, evil strikes every day. But some days evil is so horrific that it’s headlined on the evening news.

This past weekend five shootings across the US made the news.

Three separate shootings occurred outside the Milwaukee Bucks arena following their loss to the Boston Celtics in game 6. Fortunately, no one died. But 29 were injured.

On Sunday afternoon a shooter killed one person and wounded five others at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California. Continue reading

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Word of the Week: Ethical

In one of his devotional books, LeRoy Brownlow told a story about a man explaining ethics to his son.

“Ethic is vital to a workable and confident society,” he said. “For instance, a friend paid me back today a loan with a new hundred-dollar bill. Later I discovered there were two hundred-dollar bills stuck together. This immediately presented a question of ethics.” Pausing he said… Continue reading

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Quotable Quotes: Honoring Jesus

Today we gather in our churches around the US and all over the world for one central reason and for one special focus. To remember Jesus.

On the eve of the His crucifixion, during the Passover feast, Jesus instituted a memorial, later called by Paul, “The Lord’s Supper.” When partaking of it, Jesus instructed, “This do in remembrance of Me.”

Today we assemble because of who Jesus is. Because of what He did. And because of our relationship to Him.

For today’s seed thought, consider these great quotes about Jesus. Continue reading

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Weekly Recap: May 8-13

Good morning from Beverly Hills,

For those who think Florida is oppressively hot 24/7, 365, this current season is a very sweet time here.  Low to mid-60s in the morning.  Low to mid 80’s during the day.  However, we know that 90+ degree temperatures are coming.  But, it’s pleasant right now.

For the next three weeks, we’re home before we begin a pretty busy summer schedule.  If you’re visiting or in the area of Crystal River, I’ll be preaching at the West Citrus Church on May 15, 22, and 29.  Sunday Bible is @ 9:3o AM and Worship @ 10:30 AM.  Come and join us. Continue reading

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