Illustration results for Discipleship Training
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.
Sooner or later, it seems that at least once in their life with God, every Christian gets infected with the virus of "false maturity." It's a weird virus in that it's symptoms are often easily seen and felt by others, but invisible and unfelt by the infected one!
Once infected, the poor soul suddenly experiences a profound shift in the perception of reality in which he/she believes that full maturity is automatically attained by said individual simply being a Christian "x" years, going to church or listening to messages of various preachers "x" times a week, proven accomplishment in their career, an ability to find a Scripture reference in under 30 seconds, exceeding a certain number of marks & highlights in their personal Bible, and/or simply by obviously not being as immature or sinful as that person next to them.
As I mentioned before, I was saved my sophomore year in college. Somewhere, sometime in the few months after I graduated I picked up this virus. At first, I thought it was a special gift from God. Eventually, I learned it was a curse from my old nature. By the time I had been a truly-saved Christian less than two years, I had become a leader in campus ministry, led other students to the Lord, taught Bible Studies, was used as a special speaker, invited to debates, co-hosted a Christian radio program with a loyal following of saved & unsaved, etc.
When God first called me to vocational ministry, I had to be dragged into it as I felt I was too young in the faith. But then I went to a specialized training for youth ministry and found myself being praised for being bolder, understanding theology, giving good counsel much more so than most others -- most of whom had been Christians since children and raised in Bible churches. Then I took my first position as an Associate Pastor -- Youth.
My first week I got baptized & became a church member for the first time anywhere. It was a small, troubled church in a very small, very dysfunctional and very rural community in MN. The Sr. Pastor was clinically depressed and about as energetic & inspiring as Eeyore. He was also a good & godly man, but few ever realized it. Within six months I was told that I should be the Sr. Pastor. Within 14 mos. I got 'infected' & started to believe it might be so -- blind to my own faults & sin.
Before my two-year Anniversary, the Holy Spirit cured me & showed me that I really was still just a juvenile who had MUCH to learn. The next day I resigned. Many of the deacons & congregates tried to get me to stay. But God had already made it clear I had much I needed to learn from Him & others before I could further fulfill my call.
What is your story? Who are you allowing to be your spiritual teachers?
Dr. Paul W. Brand, the noted leprosy expert who was chief of the rehabilitation branch of the Leprosarium in Carville, Lousiana, had a frightening experience one night when he thought he had contracted leprosy. Dr. Brand arrived in London one night after an exhausting transatlantic ocean trip and long train ride from the English coast. He was getting ready for bed, had taken off his shoes, and as he pulled off a sock, discovered there was no feeling in his heel. To most anyone else this discovery would have meant very little, a momentary numbness. But Dr. Brand was world famous for his restorative surgery on lepers in India. He had convinced himself and his staff at the leprosarium that there was no danger of infection from leprosy after it reached a certain stage. The numbness in his heel terrified him.
In her biography of Dr. Brand, Ten Fingers for God, Dorothy Clarke Wilson says, "He rose mechanically, found a pin, sat down again, and pricked the small area below his ankle. He felt no pain. He thrust the pin deeper, until a speck of blood showed. Still he felt nothing...He supposed, like other workers with leprosy, he had always half expected it...In the beginning probably not a day had gone by without the automatic searching of his body for the telltale patch, the numbed area of skin." All that night the great orthopedic surgeon tried to imagine his new life as a leper, an outcast, his medical staff’s confidence in their immunity shattered by his disaster. And the forced separation from his family. As night receded, he yielded to hope and in the morning, with clinical objectivity, "with steady fingers he bared the skin below his ankle, jabbed in the point--and yelled."
Blessed was the sensation of pain! He realized that during the long train ride, sitting immobile, he had numbed a nerve. From then on, whenever Dr. Brand cut his finger, turned an ankle, even when he suffered from "agonizing nausea as his whole body reacted in violent self-protection from mushroom poisoning, he was to respond with fervent gratitude, ’Thank God for pain!’"
Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Ten Fingers for God, pp. 142-145.
THE PRIZE IS WORTH THE CHALLENGE OF THE JOURNEY
Volleyball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo games. A Japanese women’s team was chosen to represent their nation for the event. Hirofumi Daimatsu, their coach, put the women through a grueling training program that resembled a Marine boot camp. The six day a week training program was quite brutal on the women both physically and mentally. Daimatsu, in fact, was trying to utterly break the women. He promised them two things: those who could not survive would be released from the team, but those who did would win the Olympic gold medal.
The training, however, did pay off and they eventually did win the gold. When they stood to receive their medals every woman was crying.
“It was a glorious moment,” said team captain Masae Kasai. “We all cried for two reasons. We had won the gold medal and had fulfilled our expectations and that of the Japanese people. Even more, we cried because this would be our last game together, and even though we had been through so much pain and anguish it was worth it. I’m sure we would all do i...
When someone becomes really great at what they do, it almost always because they spent years dedicating themselves to it. Pete Rose didn’t just wake up one day as a great ball player, he dedicated his life to being a great ball player. Tori Murden didn’t just hop into a boat one day out of the blue and row across the ocean – it took her three tries before she made and countless hours of preparation and training.
Back in the late eighties Meryl Streep stared in a movie called Ironweed. She played a ragged derilect that died in a cheap motel room. For more than half an hour before the scene she hugged a bag of ice cubes in an agonizing attempt to discover what it was like to be a corpse. When the cameras came on she just laid there as Jack Nicholson cried and shook her limp body. The just laid there for take after take and in between take too. One of the crew members got scared and went the director and said, What’s going on? She’s not breathing!” When the director looked at her he saw no signs of life, but he let the camera keep rolling. After the scene was done and cameras were off she still didn’t move. It took ten minutes for her to come out of the state she had sunk herself into. The director was amazed and said, “Now that’s acting!! That is an actress!” She was willing to go the extra mile and do the unthinkable in order to be a great actress. I wish more Christians had that level of zeal when it comes to their walk with the Lord.
In Roman twelve Paul exhorts us to be living sacrifices to God – lay all that we are on the alter. The only problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the alter. We must stay on the alter, we must value Christ above all else if we are to continue to grow as Christians.
From National Public Radio -- June 6, 2002 -- Writer Bob Greene calls it "the miracle of the trains." Starting in December 1941 and throughout World War II, volunteers in North Platte, Neb., greeted and comforted millions of soldiers and sailors heading off to battle as troop trains made brief stops in the little town.
"The people of the town were there, every train for the entire war," Greene says. In a Morning Edition interview with host Bob Edwards, the Chicago Tribune columnist and author discusses Once Upon a Town, his new book about North Platte.
The numbers are astonishing. "This town of 12,000 people... greeted 6 million men. Sometimes with as many as 20 trains a day, sometimes 7,000 or 8,000 people came through this little town. And the men pulled in and they looked out the train windows" and saw the locals waiting for them with a smile and a meal.
The North Platte Canteen was an oasis for "the boys" -- many of the soldiers were teenagers, who were lonely, hungry and tired. Many had never been away from home before "and they didn’t know if they’d ever come back," Greene says.
But during their 10-minute stops, they were greeted with chicken and egg salad sandwiches, coffee and free magazines. Volunteers from North Platte and 125 farming communities from around Nebraska came to the canteen. They took turns preparing meals for the GIs. The locals would stay up all night cooking chicken and "in an assembly line they would make hundreds or thousands of sandwiches in a day," Greene says.
(cold bottles of milk and coffee with free magazines and books were made available; some gave above their ration card… only $5.00 from F.D.R. the only government aide given to the project!)
There was even time for a bit of socializing. "There was a piano in the corner of the canteen and they would play the piano and the men would dance with these girls for 10 minutes," Greene says.
The men received popcorn balls with little slips of paper tucked inside with the addresses of local high school girls or young women for the soldiers to write to. In researching his book, Greene says he even found two women who ended up marrying men who found their names in the popcorn balls. (pen pals… some even married)
Other places around the country sporadically pitched in to help soldiers during World War II. But in North Platte, it was a constant effort. Greene says the Nebraskans "were doing it for themselves, doing it to say, ’This is what it means to be an American.’"
The soldiers were amazed to see the locals waiting for them -- even in the middle of the night -- and would talk about their brief visit when they got to the battlefields of Europe. Greene says: "The men would say to each other, ’Ever been to North Platte, Nebraska?’ They never forgot because the trains only stopped for 10 minutes.
The people of North Platte made those 10 minutes count."
(Source: Gonzalez, Justo, The Story of Christianity, Volume 1, HarperSanFrancisco, 1984.)
In 202 A.D., five young people, some of them teenagers, who were in training and preparation for baptism were arrested—three men and two women. The father of one of the young women tried to persuade her to save her life by abandoning her faith. She answered that, just as everything has a name and it is useless to try to give it a different name, she had the name of Christian and this could not be changed. After a long, drawn-out trial, in which they all continued to stand firm, all five were thrown to the beasts in the arena.
In a discipleship training series called “The Agape Road”, author and speaker Bob Mumford talks about what he calls “The White Knuckle Club”. In other words, sometimes God will bring some area of our lives to our attention and we will realize that we need to change. So, we’ll go to God and promise to do better and we’ll try harder. But, what God wants for us to do is to bring that area of our lives to Him and allow Him to change us from the insid...
To understand that calling and Jesus’ invitation, we need to understand the context. In Jesus’ day, childhood education started at age five as young boys went to the synagogue school to learn Hebrew and memorize the Torah. By the time of his bar mitzvah at age 13, a typical Jewish young man had memorized all of the Old Testament. Those who showed great promise were encouraged to continue their education and begin studying the authoritative interpretation of the Torah known as "The Yoke of Torah." After that next multi-year phase, the young men who continued to show great promise were further encouraged to extend their training by spending time (typically ages 17-20) with a rabbi in a multi-year experience. There they would hone their ability to interpret God’s Word as it relates to all the practical issues of daily life.
The student would choose a rabbi and ask to become his student. Because of the great interpretive diversity amongst the rabbis, the decision to ask to be a rabbi’s disciple and receive religious training from him was not made lightly. Some rabbis interpreted the Scriptures literally. Others focused on the spirit of the Torah, while still other rabbis emphasized different areas of emphasis, e.g. ritual purity laws. These diverse approaches often led to very different interpretations and application of Scripture pertaining to issues of daily life. Since a rabbi’s interpretation of God’s Word was forever binding on his disciples, great care had to be taken by the disciple in choosing a rabbi and his teaching to make sure it was something he could identify with and live out for the rest of his life.
A 1st Century rabbi would only choose a very select few, highly promising young men from all the wannabes who asked to be his disciples. He selected only those who he thought could fully measure up to his standard and eventually become just like him. What the rabbi was looking for was not just a detailed knowledge of the Scriptures, but the ability of this candidate to interpret the Scriptures and apply them to real life. Remember, the issue for an observant Jew in the First Century was never what God’s Word says. They all knew what it said. They had memorized it. The issue was: can they interpret the Scripture just like him. So when a Rabbi gave his invitation of "follow me," he was saying: "Come and be with me as my disciple and submit your life to my authoritative teaching." Hearing those words meant you had made the last "cut." These words were deeply significant to hear. This was everything a young man had trained and studied for since age 5. Now their dreams and all of their hard work could be realized.
SEPARATE: STAYING IN RANKS
The word "separate" is a military term, and it means to "stay in ranks." My son Jason just graduated from an intensive 9-week school for Drill Sergeants (we Brownworths never seem to finish going to school!). He will now be responsible for training as many as 240 "raw" recruits in each cycle what it means to form and stay in ranks. More importantly he will help them know that in battle keeping in ranks may just save lives. Rank and file is not just about marching in parades on holidays – order, discipline and tactical symmetry are the strength of ranks; it is how battles are won or lost.
Soldiers need to stay in their ranks; Christian believers are also in ranks (local churches) as parts of the Body of Christ. We must not only stay in ranks, there is also the need to keep those ranks strong and alert for signs of the enemy. Paul put it this way – what possible relationship can light (Christ) have with Belial (Lucifer, Satan)? What happens when you mix darkness and light? One of them has to die!