BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for August, 2002

Thursday, August 29, 2002

PUTTING TRUE DISCIPLESHIP INTO PERSPECTIVE+

Jesussaid, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:18b-20)

True discipleship is:

 

  More about character transformation than the transmission of information. Some primary areas of focus are purity, integrity, holiness and humility. (Matt. 5:8; Psalm.101:2; Heb. 12:14; Phil. 2:1-11)

 

  A process that takes place within accountable relationships over a period of time for the purpose of bringing believers to spiritual maturity. (Jms. 5:16; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 1:27, 28; 2:2)

  A work of the Holy Spirit in which the discipler co-labors with God in modeling and giving out truth in a manner that guards against lifeless utilitarianism. (1 Jn. 2:20; I Cor. 3:2-9; 2 Tim. 3:10,11; Mk. 4:26-29 )

  About engaging the learner in a growing vital relationship with God that enables him to:

 

–  Walk in the light as He is in the light. (I John 1:7; Jn. 8:12; 12:35;Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:8; 1 Jn. 2:9,10)

–  Do the will of the Father from the heart. (Matt. 7:21; Lk. 6:46; Jn. 4:34; Act. 20:24; 21:13,14)

–  Abide in Christ in a vine/branch relationship (Jn. 15:1-17)

–  Love others as Jesus loved. (Jn. 13:34,35;15:12,13,17; Rom. 12:10; Eph. 5:2; I Jn. 3:16-18)

–  Compassionately serve others. (Jn. 13:2-17; Matt. 9:36-38; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 6:9,10)

–  Exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in bearing much lasting fruit. (Gal. 5:22, 23; Jn. 15:8,16)

  About the mystery of two walking together; not primarily about replicable, transferable methods. Otherwise, discipleship is treated as a problem to be solved, rather than as a relationship to be lived. (Ecc. 4:9,10; Pro. 27:17; Act. 13:2; 20:4; 1 Cor. 12:18-21; 2 Tim. 2:2)

 

  Validated by radical submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life. (Lk. 14:26-33)

 

  Also about meditation on the Scriptures, examination of conscience, fasting, participating in church life (including baptism and the Lords Supper), and works of mercy. (Josh. 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:9; Matt. 6:17; Act. 2:42; Heb. 10:24,25; Act. 2:38,42,46; 20:7; Jms. 1:27)

 

QUESTION: Are you taking Christs statement to make disciples as a suggestion, or as a command?

+Seed thoughts and quotes from The Eastborne Consultation Joint Statement on Discipleship, Sept 24, 1999

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

PUTTING TRUE DISCIPLESHIP INTO PERSPECTIVE+

Jesussaid, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:18b-20)

True discipleship is:

 

  More about character transformation than the transmission of information. Some primary areas of focus are purity, integrity, holiness and humility. (Matt. 5:8; Psalm.101:2; Heb. 12:14; Phil. 2:1-11)

 

  A process that takes place within accountable relationships over a period of time for the purpose of bringing believers to spiritual maturity. (Jms. 5:16; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11-16; Col. 1:27, 28; 2:2)

  A work of the Holy Spirit in which the discipler co-labors with God in modeling and giving out truth in a manner that guards against lifeless utilitarianism. (1 Jn. 2:20; I Cor. 3:2-9; 2 Tim. 3:10,11; Mk. 4:26-29 )

  About engaging the learner in a growing vital relationship with God that enables him to:

 

–  Walk in the light as He is in the light. (I John 1:7; Jn. 8:12; 12:35;Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:8; 1 Jn. 2:9,10)

–  Do the will of the Father from the heart. (Matt. 7:21; Lk. 6:46; Jn. 4:34; Act. 20:24; 21:13,14)

–  Abide in Christ in a vine/branch relationship (Jn. 15:1-17)

–  Love others as Jesus loved. (Jn. 13:34,35;15:12,13,17; Rom. 12:10; Eph. 5:2; I Jn. 3:16-18)

–  Compassionately serve others. (Jn. 13:2-17; Matt. 9:36-38; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 6:9,10)

–  Exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in bearing much lasting fruit. (Gal. 5:22, 23; Jn. 15:8,16)

  About the mystery of two walking together; not primarily about replicable, transferable methods. Otherwise, discipleship is treated as a problem to be solved, rather than as a relationship to be lived. (Ecc. 4:9,10; Pro. 27:17; Act. 13:2; 20:4; 1 Cor. 12:18-21; 2 Tim. 2:2)

 

  Validated by radical submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life. (Lk. 14:26-33)

 

  Also about meditation on the Scriptures, examination of conscience, fasting, participating in church life (including baptism and the Lords Supper), and works of mercy. (Josh. 1:8; 1 Tim. 3:9; Matt. 6:17; Act. 2:42; Heb. 10:24,25; Act. 2:38,42,46; 20:7; Jms. 1:27)

 

QUESTION: Are you taking Christs statement to make disciples as a suggestion, or as a command?

+Seed thoughts and quotes from The Eastborne Consultation Joint Statement on Discipleship, Sept 24, 1999

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

EVER WONDER WHY WE CONTINUE TO DO THE VERY THINGS WE DESPISE?

 

The answer is that Satan has established strongholds in our lives which center in the mind. It is here, in this area of weakness where he hits us again and again.

The entrenchment of these strongholds begins with a thought. One thought leads to a consideration. A consideration leads to an attitude. Which leads then to action. Action repeated becomes a habit. And a habit establishes a stronghold for the Enemy.+

TO BREAK THE BONDAGE OF SATANS STRONGHOLDS:

#1 Acknowledge the fact that you need not be a helpless victim who cannot be released from bondage:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)

 

Therefore, thank God for the freedom from the bondage that has already been granted you in Christ.

 

#2 Understand that victorious spiritual warfare demands the implementation of spiritual weapons:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:4) (See 2 Cor. 6:7; Eph. 6:13-18; I Thess. 5:8)

Therefore, defeat the Enemy by employing the spiritual weapons of warfare that God has made available, rather than through your will, reasoning, or cunning. (Eph. 6:10-18 should be carefully studied.)

#3 Determine to destroy the pride-centered strongholds of your mind:

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5a) (See Psa. 10:4; Isa. 2:17; Dan. 5:23-30; Rom. 1:21; 1 Cor. 1:27-29; 3:19)

 

Therefore, by utilizing Gods chosen weapons of warfare, choose to dethrone every form of human reasoning, thought, speculation, or attitude that creates a barrier between you and the knowledge of God. Most often, however, the change does come easily. Like a brick wall, a bad habit comes down the same way it went up one brick at a time. ++ (Rom. 12:2 and Eph. 4:23,24 should be carefully studied.)

#4 Surrender your mind to the will of Christ:

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5b) (See Isa. 55:7)

Therefore, elect to cultivate the practice of moment-by-moment surrender of your thoughts to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

 

 

+Discipline The Glad Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot, Fleming H. Revell, page 69

++Thoughts from the Diary of a Desperate Man, Walter A. Henrichsen, Leadership Foundation, page 307

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

ANGER AND FEAR are two emotions that paralyze our spiritual development and rob us of joy in our walk with Christ.

 

Anger usually focuses on our disappointment over occurrences of the past: The violation of our rights, frustration over how things have turned out, or lack of fulfillment over not having achieved our goals. We either doubt Gods ability to manage our lives, or we resent His sovereign intrusion into them:

They spoke against God, saying, Can God spread a table in the desert? (Psa. 78:19)

"But his subjects hated him [Christ] and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king. (Lk. 19:14)

Fear usually focuses on our anxious anticipation of the future: Do we have what it takes to realize our hopes and aspirations, or will our lives crash in upon us? In the future, will some uninvited calamity make its intrusion? Similar concerns faced the Israelites when they came back from exploring the Promised Land. Tragically, because they refused to take God at His word, they were diminished and immobilized by fear:

The Lord said to Moses, Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites

 

They came back[and] reportedWe went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruitBut the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very largeBut the men who had gone up with him said, We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are, and The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great sizeWe seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Numb. 13 Selected)

The opposite of anger is gratitude, and the opposite of fear is rest. If we are thankful and at ease over the fact that God is overseeing the affairs of our lives, we will experience an inner calm and joy. And joy is the necessary oil that lubricates the machinery of life. Unresolved anger or fear on the other hand, become the sand in the machinery, that will in time cause our lives to grind to a halt.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. (Pro. 10:28)

QUESTION: Would those closest to you say your life is driven by anger and fear, or characterized by gratitude and rest? If the answer is anger and fear, what changes do you need to make at this time?

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

HOW AM I DOING IN RUNNING THE RACE GOD HAS ASSIGNED FOR ME – AS OUTLINED IN HEBREWS 12:1-3?

 

Verse 1 – Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

 

Is anything hindering me from running the race God has assigned me? (Mat 10:37,38; Lk 8:14)

What is the good in my life that has the potential of becoming the enemy of the best? (Phil. 3:12-14)

Is there any sin in my life that is entangling me? (Psa.106:34-40;1 Cor. 9:25,26; 2 Tim. 2:4; 4:10)

Am I choosing to run with perseverance the race God has marked out for me? (Rom. 2:7)

Am I in rebellion against Gods plan for me? (1 Sam. 12:14,15;15:23; 2 Sam.15:1-18:33; Pro.17:11)

 

 

Verse 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Are my eyes on Jesus, or on someone/something else? (Isa. 31:1; 45:22; Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 4:8)

Is my faith being perfected (matured)? Or am I stagnating? (Psa 92:12; Col. 1:10; 2 Pet. 3:18)

If I am stagnating, what are the contributing factors? (Pro. 1:32; Zeph. 1:12; Rev. 2:1-4; 3:15-20)

 

 

Verse 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Is Christ the primary consideration in my life? Or have I pushed Him to the peripheral? (Col. 3:4)

If Christ is at the peripheral, what changes do I need to make to place Him at the center? (2 Pet. 2:15)

When I encounter opposition for my faith, am I choosing to endure? If not, why not? (Rev. 12:11)

Have I grown weary and lost heart? (Lk. 18:1; 2 Cor. 4:1,16; Gal. 6:9; 2 Thes. 3:13; Rev. 2:3)

What would I need to do to regain my strength and hope? (Isa. 55:1-3; Hos. 6:1-3; Matt. 11:28-30)