Illustration results for discipleship
In his book, “Imagine Your Life Without Fear” Max Lucado gives some significant insight when he says,
"Questions can make hermits out of us, driving us into hiding. Yet the cave has no answers. Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries, when we mix, mingle, confess and pray, Christ speaks."
The Didache, is a first or second century document that relates to us outside the New Testament the teaching of the early church. This document "prescribed two fast days a week: Wednesday and Friday." For early Christians; this was seen as a regular part of daily discipleship.
John Wesley sought to revive the teaching of the Didache and urged early Methodists to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. He felt so strongly about this matter that he refused to ordain anyone to the Methodist ministry who did not fast on those two days.
Matthew Henry said, "Fasting is a laudable practice and we have reason to lament that it is generally neglected among Christians."
Hudson Taylor the great missionary and founder of China Inland Mission, said, "In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon."
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "I wonder whether we have ever fasted? I wonder whether it has even occurred to us that we ought to be considering the question of fasting? The fact is, that this whole subject seems to have dropped right out of our lives and right out of our whole Christian thinking."
1 Thessalonians 5:18-5:18
1 Kings 3:16-3:28
1 John 2:15-2:17
2 Corinthians 9:12-10:1
ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
There was a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time his throat became very dry, about that time he saw a little shack in the distance.
He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water and a note.
The note read: "pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need". Now the man had a choice to make, if he trusted the note and poured the water in and it worked he would have all the water he needed. If it didn’t work he would still be thirsty and he might die. Or he could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction, but it might not be enough and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began to work the handle, at first nothing happened and he got a little scared but he kept going and water started coming out. So much water came out he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled all the containers he could find. Because he was willing to give up momentary satisfaction, he got all the water he needed. Now the note also said: after you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveller.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “ Please prime the pump, believe me it works”!
We have the same choice to make...
In a chapter about rethinking discipleship James Emery White states:
Some of you may remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He said when he first came to the United States from Russia; he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, "On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk--you just add water, and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice--you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to my self, what a country!"
James Emery White, Rethinking the Church, Baker, 1997, p. 55-57
An old American Indian tale recounts the story of a chief who was telling a gathering of young braves about the struggle within. "It is like two dogs fighting inside of us," the chief told them. "There is one good dog who wants to do the right and the other dog always wants to do the wrong. Sometimes the good dog seems stronger and is winning the fight. But sometimes the bad dog is stronger and wrong is winning the fight."
"Who is going to win in the end?" a young brave asks.
The chief answered "The one you feed."
Let’s play ‘Let’s Pretend’. Let’s pretend that you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a company that is growing rapidly. I’m the owner and I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until a new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family and move to Europe for six to eight months. And I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization. I tell you that I will write you regularly and give you directions and instructions. I leave and you stay.Months pass. A flow of letters are mailed from Europe and received by you at the national headquarters. I spell out all my expectations.
Finally, I return. Soon after my arrival, I drive down to the office and I am stunned. Grass and weeds have grown up high. A few windows along the street are broken. I walk into the Receptionist’s room. She is doing her nails, chewing gum and listening to her favorite disco station. I look around and notice the wastebaskets are overflowing. The carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks, and nobody seems concerned that the owner has returned. I asked about your whereabouts and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the hall and yells, "I think he’s down there." Disturbed, I move in that direction and bump into you as you are finishing a chess game with our sales manager. I ask you to step into my office, which has been temporarily turned into a television room for watching afternoon soap operas."What in the world is going on, man?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?""Letters? Oh yes! Sure! I got every one of them. As a matter of fact, we have had a letter study every Friday since you left. We have even divided the personnel into small groups to discuss many of the things you wrote. Some of the things were really interesting. You will be pleased to know that a few of us have actually committed to memory some of your sentences and paragraphs. One or two memorized an entire letter or two - Great stuff in those letters."
"OK. You got my letters. You studied them and meditated on them; discussed and even memorized them. But what did you do about them?"
"Do? We didn’t do anything about them." (Improving Your Serve, Chuck Swindoll)
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
The Unbaptized Arm
Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.
However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.
The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.
The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"
So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.
He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.
What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.
Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they w...
Brian La Croix
We all know what sins are, but let me focus for a moment on those hindrances.
Hindrances are those things that may not be sins, but still keep you from living a life totally surrendered to God.
Imagine you are at a track meet, and they’re lining up for the 100 meter dash. Everything’s fine except for one contestant. Instead of the regular shorts and track shoes, he’s wearing a snowmobile suit and galoshes.
Now that’s probably not against the rules, but he’s not going to win, if he even survives the race.
The clothes are a hindrance to his success.
Take an inventory of your life to see if there are any hindrances to your walk with God.
Helen Rosavere is an English woman who had interests in becoming a doctor and serving Do. Upon completion of her medical training at Cambridge University, Helen began to ask God where he would want her to serve. Before long, God directed Helen to an area in the Congo (Africa) which had a population of over 200,000 people and not one doctor in the whole area. This meant that she would be working seven days a week, always on call, no time off, and when a medical emergency arose, she would have to take care of it.
Soon a hospital and training center was needed. It was a great need and there was just no way Helen could build it. Helen then cried out to God, "Surely, Lord, there is at least one man in England who could come and build a hospital!" But Helen heard nothing. Later, Helen wrote a letter to her parents and asked them to send her a book on how to build a hospital!" But Helen heard nothing. Later, Helen wrote a letter to her parents and asked them to send her a book on how to build a hospital. Her parents couldn’t find a book on how to build a hospital, but they did send a book on how to build bricks. When Helen received the book, she cried out to God again, "Surely, Lord, there is at least one man from England who could come and build bricks for the hospital."
No man arrived. So, in the midst of Helen’s busy schedule, she followed the instructions. She made the bricks to be put in the kiln to be fired. After the bricks were dried, the rough edges had to be sanded down. One day, as she was sanding, she noticed a wet substance on the brick and realized it was her own blood. "Surely, Lord, there is a man somewhere in England who could come and make these bricks." At that time a man came running up to Helen and told her of an emergency at the dispensary. With her fingers still bleeding, Helen went to take care of the man. When she entered the scrub room, she began to take a wire brush and scrub her raw fingers. The pain made her more irate. She began to yell at God in her spirit, "Surely, Lord, there is at least one man in all of England who could come and make bricks for the hospital."The attendant began to pour alcohol over her fingers. The pain was excruciating. The Helen put on her gloves and did what she had to do. Following the surgery, Helen went back out to begin working on the bricks. While out there, one of the nationals approached her and began to talk to her. He said, "Doc, we no know that you love and care for us. When you enter the operating room wearing your mask and gown, and use your ability to heal the sick, you frighten us. But when you come out here and work with the rest of us and bleed the same as we do, we realize that you are one of us."
Helen, for the first time, realized why there was no man from England who could come to help. God said to her, "I didn’t have you come here just to heal the sick, Helen. I brought you here to befriend these people in order that they may see me through you." Helen thanked the Lord. She then realized that God didn’t call her to be a medical missionary, but he called her to himself.