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Facts of the Matter

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

Archive for September, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BOTTOM LINE DISCIPLING (Part 3 of 6)

In our two previous Facts we emphasized the importance of (1) regular times of prayerful meditation on Gods word (Quiet Time), and (2) Scripture memory.

Next, the discipline of Bible study.  The writer of the Book of Hebrews castigated his audience for their pitiful shallowness relative to Gods word: By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square onebaby's milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God's ways; 14 solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong (Heb. 5:12-14 Msg.).

If we are serious about growing to spiritual maturity, we need to get rid of the plastic floats under our arms and venture out into deep water and swim. There comes a time to move on from spiritual childhood to adulthood.  Q and A studies are OKfor a season, but we need to matriculate into serious inductive Bible study.

Here is what I mean by inductive Bible study: 1

Choose a passage of Scripture, from three to a dozen verses.  Or choose a chapter from a book of the Bible.  Ask the following questions about the passage:

 Who is writing or speaking, and to whom?

 What is the passage about?

 When does this take place?

 Why does the author write what he does?

 What problems or challenges are the recipients facing and how does the passage address them?

 How does this passage fit into the context of what is said before and after it? 

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

11 Adopted from God Squad, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, Googled from the Internet. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BOTTOM LINE DISCIPLING (Part 2 of 6)

In last weeks Facts we stressed the fact that (1) Assembly line approaches to discipling do not work. Basically it is a life on life affair. (2) The discipler must set an example of an in depth walk with God if he is to bear true fruit in the life of another.

Paul spoke often about the power and importance of example.  Thus, he enjoined the Corinthians to follow [his] example, as [he had followed] the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).  (See Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 1 Thess. 1:5, 6; 2 Tim. 2:2)  If we are to seriously affect anothers life we must give them access to our lives over a sustained period of time.  Imagine, Jesus being with the Twelve for 2 to 3 years, 24/7.  And change they did.

Next, we need to understand what to build into a persons life. First and foremost is the word of God. Several disciplines are paramount. At the head of the list is modeling from our lives regular time alone with God in prayerful meditation on His word.  We need to teach them how to slow down and take a small portion of Scripture, mull it over in their minds, and jot down their findings.  Then learn to take the time to stop and pray their observations into their life. They will not get the significance of slowing down to meditate on the word unless you model it and do it with them until they get it. 

Another critical discipline toward spiritual maturation is Scripture memory.  Building the habit and conviction of hiding Gods word in their heart will transform their lives and equip them like nothing else. (See Rom. 12:2; Psa. 11:9, 11). After all, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). The Navigator Topical Memory System is an excellent tool in this regard. (Google NavPress). Lets be honest, without knowing and internalizing Gods word you are like a guy playing the piano with gloves on: A sad display of ignorance and ineptness. I know of no discipline that is more spiritually transformational than regular, disciplined memorization of Gods word.  Few are willing to pay the price, however.  Here is where we separate the men from the boys. 

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BOTTOM LINE DISCIPLING (Part 1 of 6)

A lot of people dabble at discipship.  Most efforts are program centered with little attention to life on life relationships. Kind of an auto assembly line approach, where one size fits all.  So lets talk about what really transforms lives into Christs image in the discipling process.  It is a given that unless the Holy Spirit is at the heart of our efforts, it is an exercise in futility. 

Lets start with the discipler. If he or she is to bear true fruit, it will only happen as a product of a rich and deep walk with God. By that I mean the discipler is dead serious about consistent, unrushed, in depth time with God in prayerful meditation, study, and application of Gods word.  Feather weights in the spiritual disciplines are not fruit bearers.  Jesus talked about the vine branch relationship.  That is, Jesus, the vine, pours His life into us, the branch.  The two live in intimate union and communion with each other, and fruit naturally happens. Heres how He puts it,  Just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all (Jn. 15:4, 5 Philips Trans.).

Secondly, discipleship is not a program but a relationship.  One life poured into another.  Or several people; building into each others lives (See Col. 3:16; Eph. 3:16).  Paul talked affectionately of his son in the faith, Timothy, reflecting back on how they did life together over a period of about 17 years.  Pauls example of godly sacrifice was infused into Timothys life by their close proximity to each other:  You have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions (2 Tim. 3:10, 11 -NKJV) Timothy caught Pauls godly example, and chose to emulate it. (See Pro. 23:26; 2 Tim. 2:2)

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SEVEN PRACTICAL WAYS TO GET GODS WORD DEEP INTO YOUR HEART AND SOUL 1

 Believe it:  Paul testified before Pilate, …I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets (Act. 243:14b).

Memorize itWhen tempted by the Enemy, Jesus recalled from memory key passages from Deuteronomy and neutralized his power over him.  If Jesus mastered the Scriptures, what does that suggest to us?  (See Matt. 4:1-11)

Meditate on itDo not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful (Josh. 1:8). Observe the progression in Joshua 1:8: Speak the word = mediate on the word =obey the word = prosperity and success.

Study it Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15 Amp.).

Obey it: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Joh. 8:31b, 32). (See Jms. 1:22 25)

Defend it: Paul was appointed for the defense of the Gospel (Phil. 1:16). (See Jude 1:3)

Teach itGo and make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19a, 20a).  (See 2 Tim 4:2; Tit. 1:3)

CHALLENGE:  We are living in days of casual Christianity:  Just slop along at a superficial, experience centered level.  By way of contrast, Paul instructed Timothy to train yourself to be godly (1 Tim. 4:7). If you aspire to become a man or woman of God, you must take the study and the application of the Scriptures seriously. Excellence and discipline are required in medicine, education, professional sports, etc.  Your walk with God demands nothing less.

This week may you experience His grace, peace and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

1 The key ideas for this Facts were derived from The Power of Integrity John MacArthur Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 1997 pp 33, 34