Nostalgia: In the Prayer Chapel 31st March, 2013Posted by Scotty in Heart, Multnomah.
At the beginning of the month—thanks to the gift of airmiles—I was in Portland for one of my best bud’s wedding. During the trip I dropped by the Multnomah Campus to say hey to a couple of friends and to enjoy some moments of nostalgia. I had some time to kill between appointments and as usual my feet walked me to the little Prayer Chapel that sits on campus.
I went inside.
I sat there for about a minute enjoying the feel and the smell of the place. The smell is a funny one for me: I can’t work out if it’s simply that old smell—of old carpets and old wood; or if it’s the smell of years of prayer; most likely it’s a combination of both.
I’d forgotten how much I love this little chapel. I spent 20-30 minutes journalling and reflecting on the numerous hours I’ve spent with God in that tiny little building, learning from the Perfect Teacher, being operated on by the Master Surgeon, and having my heart renovated by the Great Architect. Here are some things I thought about:
- The hours simply praying: It would be fun to know how many hours I’ve spent in that little place. (Though I’m sure if I took the number of hours in the Prayer Chapel and compared it to the number of hours I wasted on nonsensical things, I’d not feel so great!) I spent numerous hours in the prayer chapel praying; praying with friends; memorising Scripture; playing piano and worshipping; reading Scripture or doing lectio divina homework assignments; interceding for friends, family, and difficult situations; asking God to grow and change me.
- The hours growing: I arrived at Multnomah fresh, excited and naive. I’d come armed with lessons I’d learned (or thought I’d learned!), theology I’d absorbed, and ministry philosophy I’d inherited. It was at Multnomah that I really grew. There in the Prayer Chapel God took the things I’d learned from others and sifted them through, leading me to embrace some things and discard others. It was there that my understanding of ministry moved from my head to my heart; and I began to understand who I am and how principles looked when lived out as me, rather than as an imitation of someone else. Seminary, ministry, and close community teach you lots about yourself. I often went to the prayer chapel to talk with God about my pride and selfishness, my fears and insecurities, my hopes and dreams. I went when things were great to praise and thank Him. I sat there when my heart was troubled and downcast pleading with God to intervene.
- The hours breaking: It was there that my heart began to break for the world. Sitting in classrooms engaging leaders from around the world, hearing the plight of various nations, and pining to return to my own to do what God had called me to… much of this was applied to my heart and carved there in that little prayer room. It was there also that my heart broke at itself. Actions, assignments, reflections, and scripture-responses all alerted me to the extent of my depravity; the understanding of my powerlessness to change apart from Christ; coming face to face with my sinfulness and beginning the slow and painful journey of embracing pain and brokenness to walk towards wholeness and holiness. A journey I’m still walking.
- The hours transforming: Although God had been working on me long before I went to Multnomah, I look at that time as the start of a huge season of heart transformation. While learning about God, and about myself, I saw more of the places where my heart was wrong. I wish I had one of those instantaneously-fixed stories, but I don’t. Instead, it’s been the long slow process of gradual change, grieving sin, repenting, making more mistakes, crying out to God, grieving some more, and having Him open my eyes to see my sin as He sees it. (Oh, but there’s the beautiful flip side of this too: having my heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh! My heart began to grasp grace; my identity in Christ; my role in His Kingdom; the gifts He’s given me; and the Power that works through me.
- The hours committing: On a regular basis I sat in that room offering myself to God. There were things I committed to not doing (wrong actions, attitudes, sins, etc) and then numerous commitments to doing His work, laying down self, and loving others. In the prayer chapel, seeking God’s guidance, I committed to pursue the girl who would become my wife—the greatest gift of my life outside of salvation.
Sitting in the prayer chapel again I reflected on the journey God has brought me on. We talked about my journey around the world and back. We talked about the massive leaps forwards in facing my brokenness. We takes about my journey from singlehood, through marriage, to parenthood. We talked about my season battling cancer. We talked about friends, conflicts, transitions, fears and blessings. I thanked God for His guidance, His provision, His sanctification, the gifts He’s poured out, and the way He’s walked with us so closely through everything we’ve faced.
Today is Easter Sunday.
Today we remember and celebrate the Resurrection Power of God. We rejoice in the incredible work Jesus did to give us the greatest gift imaginable.
Some days I look at my life and all I can see is how far short of Christlikeness I fall.
But today, as I think of the importance of the resurrection, I look back over my life and see how far I’ve come, and celebrate the Power and work of Christ in me.
I would love to say that all those hours spent in the prayer chapel resulted in me walking forward in a flawless pursuit of Jesus. Sadly, that’s not the case. But it did result in me walking forward with a greater awareness of my need for Jesus and knowing how desperately I need His power to be at work in and through me.
Oh how amazing it is to know that Christ is Risen. He is risen INDEED!
Why protestants should pray for Pope Francis 18th March, 2013Posted by Scotty in Church, Heart, Prayer.
Growing up, I never really understood the Pope. As a child, he was just a really old man in funny clothes. As a teen he captained the other team and so wasn’t relevant to me. As a young adult I listened to people debate about him. But as my faith has matured I’ve grown in empathy for this Roman Catholic figurehead. My curiosity was piqued reading Dan Brown’s novels, with their details of the conclave and the process for electing the pope.
I was intrigued when Benedict resigned, and began musing about the papal election. When I was in the airport travelling home from the States all the TVs were focused on the Vatican Chimney, and so I watched and pondered. As I was reflecting, I found myself more horrified for the man than excited for him, and I realised the tremendous responsibility we have as believers to PRAY FOR THE POPE. Here’s why:
- The Pope was appointed by God.
Scripture is clear: “There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Rom 13:1), and we are to pray for those in authority (see 2 Tim 2:1-4). If you believe the Pope is a good and godly man, pray for Him, for He has been appointed by God to lead the Roman Catholic church, and he needs our prayers for God’s Spirit to empower him to govern wisely. If you believe the pope is the antichrist, pray for Him, for He has been appointed by God, and needs our prayer for God’s Spirit to take hold of his heart. It doesn’t matter where you fall on this spectrum, the result is the same. We have a responsibility to pray that God would move in and through this man.
- The Pope is a sinner and in need of Jesus.
It is quoted that upon accepting the papal office, he said: “I am a sinner, but as this office has been given to me, I accept.” This is a truth we need to remember. The Pope is a sinner and needs to experience Jesus. He comes to his office with a past riddled with sin, and he will continue in sin while in this office… because he is human. It is wrong to venerate him as a god, as some will do. But we must not do the opposite and accuse him of being the devil incarnate, for he is no more a sinner than we are. A sinner in such a high position desperately needs the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
- The Pope is the face of Christianity.
Whether you like it or not, this is the truth! Ask a random person on the street to name influential Christians, and the person they’ll name is the Pope. They don’t know Tim Keller, or Mark Driscoll, or John Piper, or your denominational leader… but they know the Pope. Every move he makes, every success and failure will be broadcast to the world and impact how people view Christianity. The enemy of our souls would love to exploit this situation to mar the image of Christ, so let us pray that the opposite be true.
- The Pope immediately becomes the most loved and hated person in the world.
The instant Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, he became a figure adored by 1.2 billion catholics, but hated by millions who are antagonistic towards not only towards Roman Catholicism, but towards religion in general. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a “normal” person one day, and one of the most hated people in the world the next day. Moments after the election I saw an insane number of tweets and facebook posts simultaneously blessing and cursing him. The media now has their sights set on bringing out into the open any tiny piece of dirty laundry they can find, and conspiracy theories galore can be found with this man’s name as the focus. Throughout his life time he will receive death threats, curses, and all-night prayer vigils focused on his harm.
- The Pope has an unfathomable burden of responsibility to bear.
I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to carry the burden that Pope Francis now carries. I think only Benedict and other world leaders can comprehend that amount of pressure. 1.2 billion Catholics are looking to Pope Francis to lead their church. Within the Roman church competing factions all want him to address or ignore various issues. The rest of the world is looking on to see what he will do to address the major failings that the media has made us so aware of. No matter what actions he takes, people in and out of the church will not be happy! In the midst of all this, he is somehow supposed to seek God, hear Him and do His will. I would crumple under such a tremendous load. I have a hard time picturing a Cardinal sitting in the conclave desperate to become Pope for the power and accolades. Instead, I imagine drops of sweat pouring down the face of any man whose name was read out from a ballot because of the gruelling task of implementing reform that is being called for from both inside and outside of the church.
- The Pope has an unfathomable amount of power and influence.
He can use this power for good or evil. His actions will have incredibly large ramifications, sometimes in the direction he is hoping, and sometimes those consequences don’t go quite as planned. Through him, more people can be influenced towards Jesus, but equally, many can be turned away. At the same time, we need to remember that the power to bring someone to Christ lies not with man, but with the Holy Spirit. God can use any person or any circumstance (good or bad) to introduce people to Jesus. With such a visible presence, I am praying that God will use this man to draw people to Christ rather than pushing them away. Pray that God would protect him from the lure of worldly power and use him to influence people toward Christ.
- The Pope is a Christian.
Of all the things I’m going to write, I know this is the place where people may get heated. I believe this pope knows Jesus. I have read some articles by prominent Christians I respect who know this man personally and attest to his love for Jesus. I get frustrated when Christians use blanket statements which state that Catholics aren’t “saved” as if being a Protestant is what saves. I have some wonderful Roman Catholic friends who love Jesus more than most of my Protestant friends and are clearly in a saving relationship with Jesus. Yes, we disagree on areas of theology, but then I don’t see eye-to-eye with every Protestant either. (I’m yet to meet a Christian with flawless theology, and those who claim to have it are making a dangerous claim!) There are people in the Roman Catholic church who think they are saved but aren’t. That breaks my hearts… just as much as when I look at people in my own church who claim to be saved but live lives that show otherwise. Sadly, there are many people around the world who attend churches and confess to be Christians, yet they don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus. I am encouraged that Pope Francis has a desire to ensure that Christ is preached. And I am praying that God will use the Pope’s imperfect-and-sometimes-erroneous preaching to win people to Christ in the same we He works in spite of my imperfect-and-sometimes-erroneous words to the do the same.
For all these reasons and more, Christians world-wide should pray for Pope Francis. We can sit back and criticise, or we can pray. I know which one God commands us to do.
If you are looking for some fuel for prayer, here’s an idea: Spend some time this week imagining what you would do if you were the Pope. Consider how you would fare if you were given his responsibility to bear. How would you address the controversial issues that lie before him? What backlash do you think you’d have to deal with? What changes would you make to the church and how would you implement them? What events in your life would the media dig up and how would it make you feel having them aired to the world? Would you be able to stay faithful under the pressure and while being enticed with power and riches? Then allow this to inform how you pray!
Lord Jesus, I pray for Pope Francis. Enlighten the eyes of his heart that he would know You deeply. Pour your Spirit over him, filling him with grace and humility to advance your Kingdom, not any worldly system. If his ways are opposed to Yours, convict him of sin and align him with Your Word. Give him wisdom to do govern wisely, and use him to bring people to the cross and in doing so exalt the Name of Jesus. Amen.
One Year All Clear!!! 25th February, 2013Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
I have been sitting here taking care of some administrative tasks and just looked at the date and thought… wow… that crept up on me?! Yesterday… is the year anniversary of getting my ALL CLEAR from the hospital! It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that portion of my journey ended.
In the midst of chemo, I felt like the world was ending. It felt like it would never end. But here I am, a year later, looking back on it and I have a hard time believing that was me?! It feels like a different person, another life. It’s amazing how a difficult season can feel like a lifetime while you’re going through it, but when you’re out the other side and looking back–and especially if you’re looking from the perspective of eternity–it’s such a tiny slither of our existence.
God uses massive experiences like this past season to do huge transformative work in a person’s heart. I have a hard time reconciling the man who was diagnosed with cancer with the man who sits here typing. At some point soon I’ll try to put some of that transformation into words but for now I’m content simply to acknowledge the phenomenon.
I’m alive! My life is His to use in whatever way He sees fit. And..
To Him be the glory
Evangelism vs Discipleship 19th February, 2013Posted by Scotty in Challenges, Discipleship.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a dichotomy that is often seen in the Church that adds to our weak understanding of discipleship:
“evangelism” vs “discipleship”.
That is, there are those who do “evangelism”—the work of helping someone begin a faith relationship with Jesus—and those who do “discipleship”—used (wrongly) to refer only to the ministry of teaching and maturing existing believers.
So many times I’ve heard people say:
“I’m an evangelist. I stay outside the church and minister to the world. I let the people in the church do the teaching”.
“I’m more of a discipler. God’s called me to work in the church to work with those who already know Jesus. I do the teaching and leave them to do the evangelism”.
[I have a confession to make: That last line has come out of my own mouth in the past!]
Let’s remind ourselves what the Great Commission says:
“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 28:19-20, emphases mine)
Jesus commands us to Make Disciples. Then he explains what is involved in making disciples: Baptising them and teaching them.
Making Disciples involves evangelism.
The first part of the discipleship is evangelism! When Jesus says “baptising them”, He is talking about conversions. We won’t dive into a discussion of the theology of baptism (yet!), but for now it is enough to say that baptism immediately followed belief. It was the first step of obedience when someone placed their faith in Christ, in which they identified with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.
When we look to the discipleship process, evangelism is the foundation. It is the beginning of the discipleship process. When Jesus said to baptize, he’s talking about being God’s instruments in bringing people from the place of unbelief to surrendering their lives. Making disciples begins with evangelism, but that is not the entirety of the discipleship process. To stop here is to miss a huge part of the process. If this was what Christ wanted, He would have said “Go, make converts, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Making Disciples involves teaching.
The second part of the discipleship process is teaching (or follow-up)! When Jesus says “teaching them to obey”, he’s talking about the process of taking someone who has placed their trust in Jesus, and leading them to spiritual maturity by teaching (not just cognitively, but also whole life modelling) them how to walk in obedience to all that Jesus commanded. Making disciples involves a life-long process of leading people to growth and maturity.
Making Disciples is the partnership of “evangelism” AND “discipleship”.
The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians to tackle some issues that are causing disunity in the Church. Wrong theology is giving way to ungodly behaviours and so he writes to correct their theology and correct their behaviour. In tackling disunity he uses the imagery of the human anatomy (see 1 Cor 12): a body, with various parts, with different functions, all working together. The absence of body parts can have debilitating effects on the body. The presence of all the parts but not functioning properly in relation to one another, is equally debilitating. Right functioning requires all of the parts doing their job properly in relation to the other parts.
When it comes to making disciples, evangelism nor teaching is better than the other. If there is no conversion, there is no believer for us to teach. If we have no ongoing teaching, then people are led to the point of faith but are swallowed back into the world because they don’t know how to live as Christ commanded. In fact, the two terms, functioning properly, should be cyclical. Evangelism leads us to teaching people to obey, and teaching people to obey leads to them evangelising.
Leading people to faith moves us into showing them to obey; teaching people to obey moves us to show them how to lead others to faith.
Good at one does not mean exempt from the other.
The tendency we all have is to stick with what we’re good at. Those who are gifted in “evangelism”—bringing people from non-faith to faith—want to be out in the world reaching those who are apart from Jesus. They look at people in the church doing the teaching/maturing ministry and get frustrated that they are not out “making (new) disciples.” Those who are gifted for the work of “discipleship” (again, wrong use of the term)—teaching and maturing those who believe—want to stay in the church teaching and training, and get frustrated at those who like to function outwith the church programs which are “making (mature) disciples”.
Sticking with what we’re good at is not in itself a bad thing, but more often than not we use it as an excuse to avoid what we’re not so good at.
Being better/effective at evangelism is not a get-out-of-jail-free-card for taking the time to mature the new believer. In fact, being effective at evangelism puts a requirement on your life to be involved in teaching… helping people in your church to be more effective at evangelism! Conversely, being effective at the ministry of maturing does not mean you can opt-out of evangelism. Maturing-ministries tend to keep you cooped up in the church and out of touch with the world around you, which in turn can make us even less effective at evangelism. We need to be living what we teach. And unless you plan to avoid teaching people about the need to share about Jesus, this requires us doing our best to share the gospel too!
God is the One who works through us.
I am not trying to say that we have to become masters of every aspect of the Christian Journey. God has established the Church so that we are dependent on one another and so that no person can get all the glory. Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor 3:6-7)
We are the tools that God uses, but God is the One who does the work! Praise God!! That means you don’t have to worry about what you’re good at or bad at in the faith journey… God can produce fruit as you operate in your weak areas as easily as he can bear fruit when you operate in your strengths. The God who moved through Billy Graham leading thousands to Christ is the same God who will lead your neighbour to Him as you boldly share your faith. God, who moved in Paul as He penned 2/3 of the new testament is the same God who moves as you attempt to teach people to walk in obedience to Him.
Dawson Trotman, in his booklet Born to Reproduce, posed a question that demonstrates his understanding of the interplay of the parts of the discipleship process, and in it offers a mighty challenge to us as we endeavour to obey the Great Commission:
“How many persons do you know by name today who were won to Christ by you [baptised] and who are living for him [taught to obey]?”
Imagine Your Church… 11th February, 2013Posted by Scotty in Books, Challenges, Church, Mission.
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I spent the last few days reading Follow Me by David Platt. Towards the end of the book (p175-176) he says something that I think most churches today would find challenging and so I thought I’d share it:
“Imagine your church.
Don’t picture the building or parking lot, and don’t envision the activities and programs. Just the people. Whether there are fifty, one hundred, five hundred, or five thousand of them, simply imagine the people who comprise your church.
People living in a world of sin and rebellion, suffering and pain. A world where over three billion men, women and children survive on less than two dollars a day, and a billion of those people live in absolute poverty—in remote villages and city slums where hundreds of millions are starving and dying of preventable diseases. A world where billions of people are engrossed in false religions, and around two billion of them have never even heard the gospel. They are all (literally billions of people) on a road that leads to an eternal hell—suffering that will never, ever, ever end.
But you and the people in your church have been transformed by the gospel of Christ. In your minds, you know that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save people from their sins. In your hearts, you have tasted and seem that he alone can satisfy people’s souls. Your wills are now abandoned to his ways, and you long to be his witnesses throughout the world. God has banded you together as brothers and sisters in a local church with a global commission: make disciples of all nations. God has filled every single one of you with the power of his own Spirit to enable each of you individually and all of you collectively to reach the world with the gospel.
So if you had nothing but people—no buildings, no programs, no staff, and no activities—and you were charged with spreading the gospel to the whole world, where would you begin? Would you start by pooling together your money so that you could spend millions of dollars on a building to meet in? Would you get the best speaker, the greatest musicians, and the most talented staff in order to organise presentations and programs that appeal to your families and you children? Would you devote your resources to what is most comfortable, most entertaining, and most pleasing to you?
I don’t think your church would do these things—and neither would mine. Not if we really believed God’s Word and were honestly looking at God’s world.”
To give a wee bit of context… David Platt is a mega church pastor in the States. He’s been on an intense journey… thrust into the lead role in a mega church at a young age, pouring over the Scriptures, and trying to reconcile pastoring thousands of people with Jesus example of spending time with twelve men (and turning away thousands)!
He is in no way suggesting we throw out the baby with the bath water. He’s simply inviting us to consider what the Word says we should be all about (making disciples of all nations) and to evaluate how effective we are being in carrying it out.
How easy it is to get our priorities in the wrong place and subtly make it about us instead of the nations!
RESOURCE: Operation World iCal 9th February, 2013Posted by Scotty in Books, Discipleship, Mission, Prayer.
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In my last post The Radical Experiment, I said that one of the things my family is committed to doing this year it’s praying for the world. We’re working through the book Operation World (there’s also a website) which gives information, statistics and prayer points for all the countries
Now that we live in the world of smartphones (and knowing how terribly I function when I don’t have things in my phone/laptop calendar )I decided to perform a labour of love today:
I input the Operation World Prayer Calendar into a google calendar, so that I have daily alerts and quick access to the corresponding website content.
So, if you like to use digital calendars, and you want to join us in praying for the world, here are the links to access the calendar:
And if you like the idea, but still prefer the old school hard copy, it is available to print on the website (http://www.operationworld.org/prayer-calendar).
The Radical Experiment 2nd February, 2013Posted by Scotty in Books, Challenges.
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While the subtitle is “taking back your faith from the American Dream”, don’t think for a minute that the book is only for Americans. The more you read book that tackle how “the world” has seeped into the American Church, the more you see just how the rest of the world has adopted it’s own version of the American Dream. Here in the UK, this book challenges us just as much as (and sometimes more than) the churches in the USA.
The book calls us to something simple: look at the Word and live what it says.
My favourite part of the book is the final chapter which is titled The Radical Experiment, where he brings the theory of the book to it’s practical climax by setting us a challenge.
I want to extend that challenge to YOU.
Will you join my family as we live out The Radical Experiment?
The Radical Experiment is a year-long commitment to five specific challenges:
- To pray for the entire world (in a year).
- To read through the entire Word (in a year).
- To commit our lives to multiplying community.
- To sacrifice our money for a specific purpose.
- To give our time in another context (at least 2% of your year, 1 week).
There is a helpful website that accompanies the book (radicalexperiment.org). On the site you’ll find some fuller explanations of each of the 5 parts of the challenge, as well as a bibliography of links/resources to help which each point. Make sure you check it out. And if you’re looking for some inspiration (or conviction!) there’s even a section dedicated to testimonies from people who have put the experiment into practice.
The challenge is simple. The cost can be high. But the reward is infinite.
Will you stay comfortable, or will you rise to the challenge?
Some notable quotes:
“Plainly put, a relationship with Jesus requires total, superior, and exclusive devotion.” (p8)
“Disciples of Jesus–genuine, committed, self-sacrificing followers of Christ–are not made overnight.” (p93)
“So what is the difference between someone who wilfully indulges in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and someone who wilfully indulges in the selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible on caring for the poor? The difference is that one involves a social taboo in the church and the other involves the social norm in the church.” (p111)
“While some professing Christians have rejected universalism [the belief that all people will go to heaven] intellectually, practically the may end up leading universalistic lives. They claim Christ is necessary for salvation, yet they live their Christianity in silence, as if people around them in the world will indeed be okay in the end without Christ.” (p142)
“In our quest for the extraordinary, we often overlook the importance of the ordinary, and I’m proposing that a radical lifestyle actually begins with an extraordinary commitment to ordinary practices that have marked Christians who have affected the world throughout history.” (p193)
Discipleship: Empty Your Cup 28th January, 2013Posted by Scotty in Challenges, Discipleship.
Through meditating on the Great Commission I came to a very simple yet profound realisation.
If God commanded everyone to make disciples,
Then everyone is capable of making disciples.
The moment someone surrenders their life to Jesus they begin the journey of aligning their life with His Word, and their life comes under the mandate to make disciples.
I mentioned before in The Trouble With Discipleship, that there is no one-size-fits-all discipleship program. That’s because there is no one-size-fits-all disciple. God made us diverse, and though there will be similarities in the way we disciple others—since we’re all imitating what Christ modelled for us, and obeying the same Book—who we are, where we grew up, what our job is, and the unique work God has done in us, how we think and interact with the Word, all shape what we have to offer others as we invite them into our lives.
Last year I listened to a message by Andy Stanley (if you don’t know who he is, you probably want to change that!). Part way through the message he hit on a leadership principle that I’ve adopted as a fundamental discipleship principle:
Empty Your Cup
This is a great image for what we do as disciplers. Each of us is a cup, filled with a mixture of our personality, life experience, career, relationship with God, biblical knowledge, prayer life, mission experience, life wisdom, and so on. God has placed people around us and our job is quite simply to pour the contents of our cup into theirs.
When we realise that discipleship is about emptying our cup, we realise that everyone is capable of making disciples.
It flies in the face of some common excuses for why we don’t lead or disciple:
- I don’t know enough – FALSE
- I’ve not been a Christian very long – FALSE
- I’m not old enough – FALSE
- It’s not my gifting – FALSE
- I don’t have anything to offer – FALSE
- Other people need more than me – FALSE
- I need more training – FALSE
- (add your own here!)
Like so many things in life, the reality is that if we wait until we’ve got it all together, it’ll never happen!
We will never know it all.
We will never get enough training.
There will always be someone who knows more or does it better.
But that’s not our concern. Our job is simply to take what we do have and pour it into the people around us. We ask the Spirit to help us trust the work God has done in us, and we trust Him to use what He’s done in our lives for the benefit of those around us.
(A beautiful thing about discipleship is it is never a one-way process! As we’re pouring our cup into someone else, they’re pouring theirs into us. It’s mutually beneficial! This is the Body of Christ in action!)
If we communicate a message that says you have to be a highly trained expert to disciple people, then we are telling people they don’t have what it takes to do what Jesus commands.
God commands everyone to make disciples,
And so everyone is capable of making disciples.
That includes YOU! Stop fretting, start trusting, look around
Empty Your Cup!
A Prayer from the Scottish Bard 25th January, 2013Posted by Scotty in Art.
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Today would be Rabbie Burns’ 217th birthday. This is the day Scotland remembers and celebrates life and work of Robert Burns (a very likely ancestor of mine, since he’s an Ayrshire lad too!)! All across the nation this week people will be hosting Burns’ Suppers (check out the wiki entry for what that entails!).
Back in my young school days we would memorise and recite his poetry. I think I was 10 when I learned To a Louse by Robert Burns, and there is part of a verse that has stuck with me all this time:
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion
O would some Power the Holy Spirit give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion
What a profound thought. (And don’t you love it that an Old Scots church-word for Holy Spirit is the Giftie–the One who Gives Gifts). May God-given insight, poured into our lives, keep us from many a blunder!
I’m allowed to keep my wife!!! 21st January, 2013Posted by Scotty in Furlough, Married Life, Travel.
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So… we survived our trip to the States, travelling there with a 4 month old and arriving back with a 5 month old! Travelling with an infant is a very different experience! (Which also explains the lack of blogging for the last 6 weeks!) It took us a week and a half to recover from jet lag arriving there, since no matter how well we explained it to her, Ella didn’t quite grasp that 2.30am is not an appropriate time to wake up and be ready for the day. LoL.
We left the States knowing we’d be arriving home close to Mon’s visa expiry date. When we moved here she was granted a 2.5 year visa, which we thought expired at the end of February. We booked our flights coming back on Jan 17th, then, as we were looking into some visa details, we realised her visa expired on Jan 20th?!!?!? Yikes.
After lots of prayer followed by panic followed by prayer followed by… we managed to get a one-day visa appointment! So a couple of days ago, we compiled all the necessary paperwork (and lots of extra paperwork, just in case!), and headed to the interview. The result was the government granting Monica Indefinite Leave to Remain.
What does that mean? Basically… I’m allowed to keep my wife! (wooooohooooooo!!!)
Today is the day she would have had to leave the country.
Instead, she just made me lunch to eat as I work!