Category Archives: Disciple-Maker

The Sin of a Random Life

Last week the Lord convicted me about about a sin that had been slowly growing stronger in my life. It had gotten to the point where it seriously affected my personal walk with the Lord, and if it wasn’t dealt with would directly affect ministry.

it was the sin a random life

The random life is one that has little structure within in it. Instead of having things carefully scheduled out, you spend lots of time wondering what to do next. Even worse this lack of structure leads to a life without discipline….over time you know what you should be doing, but simply don’t do it.

My random life centered on getting away from specific habits that helped with effectiveness

  1. A healthy eating plan that emphasized eating at regular intervals
  2. Setting aside time for reading books
  3. Using social media as a “teaching tool” through blogging and devotional videos
  4. Deeper Bible study through meditation on Biblical principles
  5. And organizing my day into a detailed schedule using lists to get things done efficiently

As frustrating as the realization of my sin of randomness was, I’m thankful for the lords reminder that self-discipline is an absolute necessity in the Christian life.

There are those who feel that self-discipline is a sinful thing and any kind of effort goes against the Grace of God. But the truth is the Lord calls us to a life of discipline.

  1. A life that chooses to invest time in things that challenge the mind instead of entertainment
  2. A life that doesn’t wait until you “feel” like doing the right thing (because you never will)
  3. A life that chooses the hard road over the easy road
  4. And a life that chooses excellence over a “that will do” work ethic

It is true that this is accomplished through the Holy Spirit…but there is some effort involved on our part.

Last Wednesday I brought my daily life back under discipline by revolving around spiritual disciplines or Godly habits. It is tough rebuilding a life of self-discipline (especially when we have allowed laziness to creep in) but the effort put forth will bring forth fruit that will glorify God.

Don’t Waste Your Singleness

Dear Single Christian,

On Valentines day (or as I like to call it “the day of the Black Death”..just joking) its easy to feel ashamed or less than important because you aren’t married, or in a relationship.

So today especially let me remind your there’s an incredible blessing serving God as a single person.

As a forty-two (next month forty-three!) year old single person I definitely understand the frustrations with serving God as a single.

  1. the Bible clearly teaches God is glorified in the marriage relationship between a husband and a wife
  2. Marriage is especially necessary if you are serving within the local Church like I am
  3. Obviously this also presents purity challenges which God gives help with
  4. And serving as a single makes it easy to become isolated from others, just doing things on your own

At the same time there are blessings for the single Christian. One of the greatest being a large amount of free-time.

A great privilege within marriage (speaking from the husbands perspective) is protecting your wife and children, as well as caring for their financial needs. The wife’s privilege within marriage is caring for the day to day needs of children (a HUGE ministry) and encouraging her husband.

Obviously between work and these responsibilities there is little free-time left for yourself. This isn’t a bad thing since family is your priority. However there is little extra time or energy for deeper study or ministry.

The single person on the other hand has lots of time to themselves….

At the moment as I type the only other sound is a wall fan, and occasional snoring of a sleeping dog. That silence allows me to get MASSIVE amounts of work done in a short amount of time since I’m not interrupted.

Its possible on a good day to complete in 30 minutes what would take other people an hour or more. Thats not because I’m incredibly gifted, but because I have silence.

So Christian single let me exhort and challenge you to use wisely the free-time you been given as a gift of God.

  1. Use it for deeper Bible study
  2. Extended prayer
  3. Reading a challenging book
  4. Focusing on intense uninterrupted work (called “Deep Work” in Cal Newports book)
  5. Creating something (writing, building, etc)
  6. Ministering to those around you in a strong way
  7. Taking well-calculated risks
  8. And being purposeful with your life

There is still a part of me that seeks marriage if it is God’s Will because marriage is clearly commanded by God. But until that day (if it ever comes) I am committed to using the gift of singleness to the greatest effect possible.

Ignoring the Silly People

Working with children in Bible Club three days a week has led me to create some rules that clearly explain my expectation for them. One of the most foundational ones (after zipping up) is “ignore the silly people.”

When I began Bible Club there were children who enjoyed coming by and disrupting the lesson in any way possible. My first response was to stop teaching, and make sure they moved down the road so things could continue uninterrupted.

Then one day It occurred to me….

that’s what they wanted me to do!

Basically they were trying to play a game of Catcha (Vincentian for tag) that involved distracting me till my patience ran thin, and then running down the road when I stopped teaching

Now of course they were wrong, but my playing “their game” was a much bigger problem.

So I changed the game…

now they are ignored and usually leave in about six seconds, or don’t bother me at all.

Sadly there are “silly people” in the world who take a huge amount of joy in making other people angry. In extreme cases they will say or do specific things to Christians just to get a response.

It would be easy to respond with righteous outrage at their words or actions…but then we would be playing their game.

After Church every Sunday I put a chain up in front of the Church where I serve. This keeps cars from using the Church area as their personal parking space, and men from a local bar to congregate in front of it. Recently they have started asking me why the chains up, and telling me that’s a very unloving thing to do. Since I ignored this they decided to become a bit more extreme.

Yesterday afternoon I was driving a member to our ladies Bible Study and saw some of the men drinking and smoking weed along the wall about five-feet away from the Church chain.

They went out of their way to get as close as possible to the Church while still staying on the main road so I couldn’t say anything. Just to make sure I got the message they all gave angry glares as I drove by.

I responded with a smile

I could have (and should have) stopped the car and given them a lecture about smoking weed so close to the Church and their disrespect for the house of God. But that was what they wanted.

So instead I ask the Lord to convict their hearts and recommitted myself keeping the chain up. Fifteen minutes later they had moved farther down the road.

There is definitely a place for confrontation of sin, but we must make sure the people are willing to listen instead of just trying to stir us up.

Ignoring the silly people can be illustrated by two rules for social-media that come from Ben Sasse that I shared last week.

1. Not every bad thing in the world requires a response from you.  
2. Not every mean thing said to you requires you to acknowledge it

The Place for Partners

As a child, Saturday morning always meant doing some extra chores or jobs around the house. But before those started I was able to sit down, and with a large bowl of cereal watch “Saturday morning wrestling.”

Some of my favorite matches were tag-team matches which always went the same way

  1. The good guys “or babyfaces” would start by beating up the bad guys “or heels” until the bad guys got an advantage (usually by cheating)
  2. The bad guys would then beat down one of the good guys and keep him from tagging in his partner
  3. After almost (but not quite) tagging in his partner a few times, the good guy would finally tag him in, and the partner would proceed to beat up the bad guys (commonly called a “hot-tag”)

The idea of tag-team wrestling and “partners” has been on my mind for the last two-weeks because I’ve been preaching on Joshua 9:23-27 where the Jews were tricked into partnering with people living within the land of Canaan. By the time they realized it was a trick the partnership had already been made, and couldn’t be broken (Joshua 9:7-27).

Studying this passage reminded me that while partners (those who will stand with us) are necessary in ministry, we must choose them very carefully

Occasionally in wrestling they will split up a tag-team for some reason. This is usually done through what’s referred to as a “heel-turn”.

As the beaten down good guy starts to struggle towards his corner the crowd begins to cheer in expectation of a “hot tag.” His fresh partner holds his arm out excitedly urging the wrestler on till pulling his hand back at the last moment.

Cue the look of disbelief on his partners face….and the booing of the crowd.

Sadly each of us have had moments of reaching our hand out for that partner only to find nobody there.

The answer isn’t to isolate ourselves and live the Christian life on our own (you can’t anyway)….but to seek Godly partners who are always ready to be tagged in.

A Lifestyle of Quiet Excellence

This afternoon my brother after five-years of study will receive his Doctorate!  I’m incredibly proud of him knowing the hard-work, dedication, and discipline that went into this endeavor.

His accomplishment today symbolizes the testimony that was modeled by our parents during childhood and teenage years (continuing into their retirement) something that I call “quiet excellence”

As you can probably tell, quiet excellence is about doing things in a well-organized and meticulous manner that doesn’t bring attention to itself;

  1. Quiet excellence doesn’t usually bring massive results or big crowds
  2. Or boast dramatic stories in prayer letters
  3. Quiet excellence doesn’t promote itself on social media by oversharing
  4. Or have to get any kind of recognition

The truth is those who have embraced quiet excellence live in the shadows, unknown by most people. 

But that’s okay

Because Faithfulness finishes the job

  1. Long after the Innovative ministry program is obsolete
  2. and the zealous ambition has run out
  3. After the successful stories are gone
  4. And most have given up because its too hard
  5. They will still be there….and cross the finish line with integrity  

Strategic plans and ministry programs are good, but they can replace the philosophy of quiet excellence

Get up before everyone else

Have a clear understanding of what God wants you to do

Accomplish it with all your might

And repeat that for thirty-years or so

Its not flashy, but I guarantee you it brings results.

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