Jump In: Amazing Things Happen by Joe Caruso

In short, when Joshua was leading the Israelite people into the land God had promised them, they had come to a point where they needed to cross the Jordan River in its flood stage.  The Ark of the Covenant, the key item that symbolized the presence of God, was carried by the priests into the river and the water stopped flowing so that all of the people could cross on dry land.  Incredible.

The lesson of this story?  Amazing things happen in the river.  Not on the ledge, not with toes in the water, but when you’ve jumped in.  We often think, “God, hey, you do something awesome to prove you’re in this, and then I’ll get involved.”  That is not faith, and God very rarely operates this way.  God would say, “Have faith in me – jump in – and I will show up in powerful ways.  You have to jump in to see what’s amazing.”

jump-in

We see it over and over again.  “Noah, build an ark.”  “Moses, approach the most powerful leader on the planet and give him the what for.”  “Joshua, walk around this city for 7 days.”  “Gideon, take less guys and grab some jars.”  “David, yeah you – the teenager – go grab 5 stones.”  “Daniel, pray even when it’s illegal.”  “Peter, leave your nets and livelihood behind and follow me.”  And EVERYTIME, God did what He promised.  He shows up.  He delivers.  He takes care of business.  He transforms the lives of those involved and of those impacted.

We need to get our toes out of the water.  Did God intend for us to just be slightly better versions of humankind?  Did He intend for us to just be more civilized?  To do the same thing year after year, after year, after year…

Or did God intend for us to be a part of something supernatural?  Of something impossible, awesome, and dream-worthy?  If this is it, then He calls us to jump in the river.  Otherwise, we’ll “miss it” and faith will be boring.  It will be same old vanilla day-to-day, and we’ll call it “walking with Jesus.”  Of course, in reading the scriptures, it doesn’t seem like walking with Jesus was very boring.  It seemed, well, impossible, awesome, dream-worthy, and supernatural.  Why should we expect much different?

How do we jump in?  Get involved in the inner-city.  I don’t mean look for a semi-annual project, I mean jump in and get involved.  Watch a kid’s life change because you and Jesus connect with them consistently over the next months and years really loving them.  Invest in the lives of those around you that are exploring Jesus or those that are completely lost.  Check out the roundtable discussions coming soon on how we can work together in ministering to the homeless and those locked into human trafficking nightmares.  Start believing Jesus’ words that “where your treasure is, your heart is also” and give to his kingdom work – the church, local partnerships, or missions.

Break the staleness of normalcy, and jump in.  Your best years are NOT behind you.

____

Thanks to the always insightful Joe Caruso.
Article reposted from the GiveItAway Blog of Grace Church

Understanding “Disciple” in the Biblical Era

According to The New International Dictionary of Testament Theology (NIDTT):

“A man is called a [disciple] when he binds himself to someone else in order to acquire his practical and theoretical knowledge. He may be an apprentice in a trade, a student of medicine, or a member of a philosophical school. One can only be a [disciple] in the company of a … master or teacher, to whom the [disciple] … generally had to pay a fee. An obvious exception to this is when [disciple] refers to spiritual dependence on a thinker long since dead.” It is interesting to note that Socrates avoided using this term in part because of “its impersonal and commercial associations.”

 

Upon reading these words, you likely thought, “That’s close, but not really what Jesus intended!” Keep in mind, however, that this was the manner in which most people living in that period understood the term disciple.

Why House Churches?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a variety of discussions about house/organic/simple church.  I’ve referenced and even shared with others my original article on “Why House Churches?”  I thought I’d repost it here…

 

 

why house churches?

 

Jesus modeled for His followers a God-honoring life 24/7.  To often we compartmentalize our lives into boxes—a “work” box, a “family” box, an “emotional” box, an “intellectual” box, a “spiritual” box, etc.  Jesus loved and lived as a whole person and encouraged His followers to do the same. . .

Jesus said, “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:37-39

The early followers of Jesus lived out their lives loving God and loving people.  They did it in the “everydayness” of their lives.  They saw it in Jesus and began living it too.  They didn’t stop living to follow Jesus.  They brought Jesus into their living.  So at a pragmatic level, they used the things that were already present in their life to follow Him.

The followers of Jesus were spiritual families—also called “churches.” These churches were the collection of followers of Jesus who lived in community with each other.  They didn’t go out and find a building to become a church.  The group was already “living as the church” together.  They used the everyday stuff of life—their houses—to provide a place to gather the people.

We desire the same—to live in community with each other and to bring Jesus into our living.  We long to love God and love people in the “everydayness” of our lives.  We gather into our spiritual families in our houses—because it is something God gave us and we ought to use for His purposes. We are not about “houses.” We are about being the Church together.

Maybe you want to go a little deeper than this.  The next section examines what the Bible records about the early followers of Jesus and what they called –“the church that meets in your house.” We are shortening that phrase and calling them “house churches.”

 

 

the Bible & house churches

Introduction

This biblical tour will give an introductory sentence or two, then a statement directly from the Bible (in the NIV– New International Version).  These statements speak volumes about how the initial followers of Jesus lived in the first century.  The challenge is on the table as to how we will live nearly 20 centuries later.

Let’s look. . .

 

The early followers of Jesus gathered in a house together right after Jesus went up to be with his Father.  They were living out “church life” even before having the Holy Spirit

When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:13-14

 

They received the Holy Spirit in a house

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4

 

Eating together—it doesn’t get much more ordinary than eating—but eating together in homes was an important part of their lives together.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, Acts 2:46

The good news of Jesus was talked about in their homes . . .daily.

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:42

 

Saul (who later becomes Paul and writes half of the New Testament) sought to wreck the church.  He went to homes—to those following Jesus in the “everydayness.” He didn’t burn books or a building. Instead, he dragged off people . . . because people are what the church is about.

But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Acts 8:3

 

Peter’s miraculous release from prison was being prayed for by a gathering of his spiritual family in a house.  Read the whole story in Acts 12 . . .it is amazing.

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Acts 12:12

 

After Lydia embraced Jesus, Paul and company stayed at her house.  Then days later, after Paul and Silas were released from jail, they went to her house for a “spiritual family” meeting.

“If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Acts 16:14

After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left. Acts 16:40

 

Paul focused on telling the truth about Jesus in the synagogue, but when he was opposed and abused, he went to an everyday place—the house next door.

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Acts 18:7

 

Again, Paul focused on telling the truth about Jesus and His teachings.  Paul told it everywhere: public spaces and private ones.

You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. Acts 20:20

 

In the personal greeting section of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he sends a special greeting . . . to a house church.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.  Romans 16:3-5

 

Now that house church of Aquila and Pricilla’s sends a special greeting . . . to the church in Corinth.

The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 1 Corinthians 16:19

 

Another special greeting to a house church—

Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. Colossians 4:15

 

This letter to Philemon was also addressed to the house church . . . because  it asks Philemon to do some difficult things and Paul wants them all to know.  Read the whole letter to figure it out.

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: Philemon 1:1-2

 

Conclusion

That’s the end of this Biblical tour.  The conclusions are pretty obvious.  Hopefully this was helpful for your understanding . . . now you have to do something about it.  What will you do?

 

© 2002 Mike Jentes and thequest

Originally posted at  http://thequestcolumbus.com/origins.html

The content of this article may be linked to, copied, and distributed for the purpose of discipling the nations if credit is given to the author & the website address is cited.  Written publication of any/all the content of this article requires the written permission from the author.

 

Can we make disciples like Jesus modeled? video by Erik Fish

Erik Fish

Catalytic leader of the Student Church movement, Erik Fish shares about making disciples at Cornerstone Community Church in Kansas City, KS. Erik challenges us with the question “Can we do what Jesus modeled for us today?”

© 2012 Cornerstone Community Church and Erik Fish – posted originally HERE

Erik & Jen Fish have a passion to be on mission with Jesus – as a family. They help catalyze Student Church Movements –see how student church planters are bringing the gospel to universities and the nations at http://studentchurch.org

More at http://ErikFish.com or on Twitter @FishErik

 


See also the articles:
Dumb Mistakes I Made Growing Movements by Erik Fish
Matches and Movements: What Kind of Revival Do We Want? Erik Fish

Cultivating A Life For God E-Book

Cultivating A Life For God Cover

Cultivating A Life For God CoverThe classic work by Neil Cole on discipleship, Cultivating A Life For God, has just been released in an E-Book form on Kindle and coming soon on Nook and other e-book formats.

The new version is sporting a new cover designed by Neil Cole himself.

This book has sold thousands copies and still has a potent message to leaders and churches about making and multiplying disciples. Life Transformation Groups are being used fruitfully to make and multiply disciples all over the world!

We are pleased that CMA Resources could bring this important book into the electronic medium.

“In my years of ministry, I have not found any method that produces such powerful results in fulfilling the Great Commission. I personally plan on using this system for the rest of my life to make as many disciples of the kingdom as I can before Christ calls me home!” – Neil Cole (page 89)

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Added May 12, 2012

Now available on the Barnes & Noble’s NOOK also.

Something better than drawing multitudes by Neil Cole

We must remind ourselves that there is something better than drawing multitudes to our services. Jesus often turned away from the multitudes and was even know to turn away the multitudes with hard words. More people attending does not mean success. Nicer buildings does not mean your church is any better. The key to a healthy church is not better messages, better music, better methods, and more money. It is time to abandon those ideas and search for how the Kingdom is truly meant to expand.

E.M.Bounds once wrote, “Men are looking for better methods, God is looking for better men.” One of the driving convictions of our movement is summarized in the statement: A church is only as good as her disciples. Healthy disciples make up a healthy church. Reproducing disciples will make a reproducing church.

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© 2005 Neil Cole
Used with Permission.

Follow Neil on Twitter

An excerpt from a longer article: Multiplying On the Micro Level
http://www.cmaresources.org/article/multiplying-on-the-micro-level_neil-cole

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