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

World Changer @JimHocking @LosAltosGrace Sunday 11/11

ICDI

One of the people in my circles who is making the most difference in our world is Jim Hocking. This humble man just wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people he grew up with in the Central African Republic. I’m so glad that we can have him with us @LosAltosGrace tomorrow! If you want to find out more about Jim’s Story…and ICDI’s Story too, check out this video!

You should read the story of Marcellin in the November E-Newsletter from ICDI!

ICDI
November E-Newsletter from ICDI

 

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

We’re Not Multiplying! by Traver Dougherty

Our community hasn’t multiplied for awhile; What should we do?

Tree GrowingOne of the more difficult things in the organic church movement is lack of numerical growth. No, this doesn’t mean the movement as a whole isn’t multiplying. It is. But sometimes, individual house churches either stagnate or seem to stagnate. What’s going on?Well, there’s a number of things. Sometimes we’re too eager for numerical growth. Sometimes we’re not actively making disciples apart from our house churches. Sometimes, a house church is in its golden years and, at some point, will die and open the door for a whole new crop of house churches.
There’s a Time for Everything
Excerpted from King Solomon’s writings; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Look CloserMy Reflections

While the answers to this question are not cut and dry, here are a few things to consider or things you can proactively do when stagnation sets in.

  1. Enjoy the golden years: My community is a 4th generation house church. While I think we may have some more reproducing to do, menopause may have already kicked in. Every church has a life cycle: birth, growth, stability, decline, death. Referring to his death, Yeshua (Jesus) said, “…unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (Jn 12:24). I have several theological reasons to believe this cycle occurs at the community level as well. Don’t fight it; the golden years are some of the best.
  2. Make disciples: Remember, Yeshua will build his church (Mt 16:18). Our job is to make disciples. Never ever think poorly of your community because it’s not growing. Let it be. If you want to do something (and we all should), pray for the lost, scatter lots of Kingdom seed, and begin discipling those who respond. I guarantee that if this is happening, your church won’t stagnate for long.
  3. Start another fellowship: There’s no reason why you can’t take part in an existing community and start another one; Paul the apostle made a regular practice of it. I may be in the middle of starting another community myself, but I’m still discerning. The disciples I’m making are just on the cusp of taking that next step.
  4. Talk openly with your community: Sometimes, fellowships close up because of past hurts. Allowing others to join opens the door to additional pain. When this happens, be sensitive. Before inviting new people, ask your fellowship if it’s okay. If they say yes, then proceed accordingly. If they say no, that’s the time to gently ask why and address the issue. If the answer remains no for too long, make some more disciples and start another community.
  5. Remember who’s in charge: Yahweh is, you’re not. Sometimes I think we need to take a collective chill pill. My eldest son just entered high school. He’s going to try out for the baseball team and I think he needs to gain a little weight. Every once in a while, I’ll get on to him about taking protein supplements. When I feel my “pushing” get a little out of hand, here’s what I try to remember. First, there are seasons for growth (he has yet to hit his pubescent growth spurt). Second, artificial growth has it’s dangers. Third, my un-contentment can sometimes send the wrong message – I don’t like you the way you are.

As you press forward, just remember that if you scatter lots of Kingdom seed and keep yourself close to Yeshua (Jesus), good things will happen. And no matter what, let’s keep things in perspective: we’re nothing really. Paul writes, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor 3:6, 7).

 

As always, The Banqueting Table hopes this was of some benefit to you.
Sincerely,

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table

Originally written August 15, 2011

Are You A Christ Follower? by Phil Helfer

It has become commonplace to hear believers refer to themselves as Christ-followers. What does following Christ actually entail? For many, following Christ means following those they see as His designated leaders. It’s as though Christ has delegated His authority to others and all one must do to follow Him is follow the direction these other leaders provide. Since Jesus made it clear that His kingdom doesn’t operate that way, why do we let people go on thinking this is right?  To be a Christ-follower, one must follow Christ. Seems simple enough doesn’t it?  But simple it is not.

Scriptures & Jesus Many understand following Jesus to be synonymous with knowing His Word. In many churches the one who knows the most about theology is considered to be the best disciple. The knowledge of the scriptures is a necessary ingredient in the discipleship process but to equate knowledge with discipleship is a huge mistake. When we do this, we forget that Jesus did not command us to teach them all He has commanded us but to teach them to obey all that He has commanded us. Most dedicated Christians are educated way beyond their obedience. Any form of discipleship that doesn’t focus on helping others to live out their faith in real terms is not discipleship at all. Even those who seem to understand this truth, sometimes fall into the trap of acquiring the requisite obedience by using outside pressure. This too results in producing an anemic follower of Jesus.

The temptation is to teach people to look to the scriptures for instructions on how to live a good life. The Bible is the truth, the inerrant and infallible word of God, but when people search the scriptures for rules to live by they settle for a life that is much less than it could be.

It’s clear from the gospel accounts that Jesus lived His life for the will of His Father. You will find Him saying things like, “I only do the things I see the Father doing” and “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak… the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”  And again, “I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.”  Jesus lived His life in constant connection with His Father. “I and the Father are one.”  He was perpetually obedient, even to the point of death on a cross. Jesus came to fulfill a specific mission. How is it that we seem to think that a life of generic good works is all God wants from us?

1 Corinthians 12 further supports this thinking. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. And each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  Isn’t it obvious that this infinite variety of gifts, ministries, and results is indicative of an infinite variety of works God intends to accomplish through His children?  Leaders often take it upon themselves to prescribe the work to be done by each individual and most individuals are happy to let them?  Jesus is the Head of His Body and He must be allowed to direct each member as He sees fit.

The scriptures have much to say about God, life, and the principles they contain. When these principles are observed and practiced can be of infinite value. But to substitute a relationship with the Bible for a relationship with Jesus is a fatal mistake. Paul makes it clear in his letter to the churches of Galatia that to live by an outside standard or set of rules is to seek a gospel other than the grace of Christ. Jesus, in a comment to the religious leaders of His day agrees, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life but it’s these that testify of me.” The scriptures are meant to bring us to Jesus so that He can write His words on our hearts.

The essence of discipleship is a vital personal relationship with Christ. This personal ongoing encounter with the Creator is the cornerstone of what it means to be a Christ-follower. Commit yourself to following Jesus and helping others to do the same. If you make this the cornerstone of your life, you will find that God will use you to further the fulfillment of the great commission.

_______

©2012 Phil Helfer

Originally posted in the February 2012 edition of The Messenger Newsletter for Los Altos Grace Brethren Church (Long Beach, CA)
On Twitter @PhilHelfer
Used with permission. All Scripture quotes from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

New Videos Posted @CMAResources

Some new videos have been posted on the CMA Resources website…Check ’em out:

Selecting & Making Disciples – Neil Cole

Sharing his story & about CMA – Mike Jentes for the Grace Brethren

Explanation of Person of Peace – Steve Addison

Modern Example of Person of Peace – Steve Addison

Movements that Change the World – Steve Addison

Consumers or Disciples? – Alan Hirsch

Following Jesus – Francis Chan

Sowing the Gospel – Romanian translation Greenhouse Story 1 Training – Neil Cole

5 Lessons for Making Disciples from Dave DeVries

Our friend Dave DeVries wrote a handy book–  Six-Word Lessons to Discover Missional Living to encourage every believer to align with Jesus’ mission.
Here are five of the 100 lessons from the Six Word Lessons book which focus on Disciplemaking:

Lesson 5: Discipleship starts with non-disciples, not Christians.
     Too often people think “discipleship” is for new Christians. When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” He didn’t mean to find those who are already followers and help them follow better. He sends us to make disciples of non-disciples.

Lesson 8: Key to multiplying disciples: obedient Christians. 
     Jesus told His disciples to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples who… (Matt 28:19-20). You’re a disciple of Jesus today because of Christians who obeyed Jesus. There’ll be more Christians and more churches when more Christians obey Jesus.

Lesson 9: Making disciples is not an option. 
     Obeying the Great Commission is not optional. Jesus expected His disciples to “make disciples.” And that’s what they did. So how is it that so many Christians treat Christ’s commands as optional? Why is disobedience tolerated in so many churches?

Lesson 11: Jesus’ method was to multiply disciplemakers. 
     Jesus was a disciplemaker. He launched a movement of disciplemakers. Are you part of the movement? Are you a disciplemaker? How are you multiplying disciplemakers?

Lesson 15: Reproduce disciples to the 4th generation. 
     Neil Cole notes, “Don’t call it multiplication until it reaches the fourth generation.” Anything prior to that is addition. Unless those whom you are discipling are actually discipling others who are making disciples, you are not multiplying.

____
Originally Posted on Dave’s Blog: Missional Challenge  http://www.missionalchallenge.com/2012/01/5-lessons-for-disciplemakers.html
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