“bASS Ackwards”

In continuation of previous post: “Compound Interest”

Our problem is that we are impatient. We want “get rich quick” schemes, and don’t typically like to work hard for things. We want things NOW, and we want them easy. We are this way with our money, and we are this way in our discipleship methods. Last week I posted “Where’s The Value?” suggesting that we do not value the things that Christ valued based upon how we refuse to disciple others in the way that Christ modeled for us to do so. (By pouring ourselves into just a few people at a time for a few years at a time in such a way that they can & will go and do likewise)

Not only do we want things fast, once we get them we quickly grow discontent with those things we so badly wanted. It intrigues me that we can have such a strong/pure desire to see someone come to know Christ (Neighbor, friend, co-worker, classmate, etc.) that we will pursue/invite them into a relationship with Christ, and think we’re “all done” once they have made a verbal profession of faith, and been Baptized. But, this is only the beginning! When someone commits their life to Christ they have simply committed to beginning a process of discipleship that will go on for the rest of their lives! How have we been tricked into thinking this is the END goal!? This is merely the FIRST step! For the disciples the first step was that they left everything the follow Christ. What if Christ had said, “sweet, I got you to leave everything to follow me, but now you can go ahead back to your life. I just wanted to see if you’d do it”!? Is that not what we do as Christians? We desire someone to “accept Christ”, and when they do we act as if we’re DONE! Picture it: A person has been shadowing us, and watching us. They have allowed us to introduce them to their future Savior. They’ve been wrestling for months with this BIG life decision. They’re finally ready, and we are excited. We lead them through what a decision for Christ means, and maybe Baptize them. Then, we act as if the “job is done” when all along the person thought they were just entering into the beautiful beginning by making that decision!

I know too many stories of people who were led to Christ, and then left high and dry. This is sad to me; I’ve done it before as well. At best we pawn them off to our church “leaders”, or a nearby church to do OUR job, as disciples of Christ, for us. It’s time we step up and take the call to live out the Great Commission seriously. It’s time we actually BE disciples of Christ, and not just call ourselves disciples. We must stop kidding ourselves. We must stop pretending.

So do we truly find value in “making disciples”, or just getting people converted? I would submit that the conversion is the beginning of a discipleship journey that is accompanied by life transformation. We must continue that process with a process of discipleship. May we all search our current lives to see who we are in the process of “leading to Christ”, and who we are discipling.

“Tension Wood”

Tension Wood“, replied my friend when I asked him what the technical term was for what had happened to the below pine tree…

Let’s talk “missional” – Morgan and I became close friends with our neighbors across the street a few months ago. They are not a project. They are not a charity case. We are not their saviors, and have no desire in our own power, or by our own efforts to try & “save them”. The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, working through His followers, will gain standing in the lives of those we are in relationship with. We do not do the saving, but allow the Holy Spirit of Christ in us to work through us to capture the hearts of those who do not know Jesus intimately. We also don’t have a “covert operation” going on to convert them. We have grown to love them, and they have grown to love us. They have become some of our best friends in the city. Do we long for them to be captured by the Grace of Jesus more and more each day? Of course. Just like we long to be captured more by the Grace of Christ more and more each day.

As Christians we have fallen trap to an US vs. THEM mentality. This can hinder us from modeling the life of Christ to those we come in contact with. We are not in a competition with the lost. Jesus was not competing with those He served, healed, forgave, and saved. He desired for them to know Him, and He loved them into a relationship with Him. As Christians, in our insecurity, we feel the need to “one-up” the lost, or think we are better than them. We sometimes even let them know how right we are, and how wrong they are. This becomes dangerous when we communicate these things as if we have done anything in our own power, or by our own efforts to be right. It would be contrary to the Gospel, and we’d be boasting as if WE did something to achieve our status on the “winning team”. (Sounds like those guys in the Bible that Jesus spoke very strongly to about their self-righteous attitudes…the Scribes and Pharisees)

Again, this is not a competition we are in against other children of God, whom He does not wish to perish. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) I believe that darkness manifests itself in the form of self-righteous pride like a disease among people who claim to follow Christ sometimes more than poor, broken, adulterous women drawing water from a well.

Over the past few months we have spent five of the seven nights in a week on the front porch with our new friends. We’ve had amazing opportunities to serve them, and BE SERVED by them. We’ve been there for them, & loved on them. They’ve been there for us, & loved on us. The Gospel has been LIVED out, as well as SHARED. Scripture has been read. Prayers have been prayed. (Initiated by our new friends at times) Nothing has been forced. Our hope is that our neighbors have truly encountered Christ in us. They might not know it, but we have seen glimpses of Christ in them. Real life has been lived. The activity of the Spirit in the lives of friends right in front of our eyes is an absolutely incredible sight to see. Now, on a lighter note…

People in Vegas tend to head about 45 minutes north to Mt. Charleston to escape the heat. We went out there with them this past Sunday for a picnic lunch. This is what happens when a few guys find a limp pine tree in the woods….