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Tools in the Hands of the Disciple

toolsblog

Each Sunday morning for the past several months, Bob has been walking us scripturally through Meadowood’s mission statement and pointing out the main areas of focus we should concentrate our attention as we embark on all God has called us to as a church.

It’s been a lot to take in, but it has been refreshing to gather and remember what we are to be about.

Lately, we’ve been camping in the strategic purpose of developing disciples, and we’re sure that has generated a number of questions concerning your own abilities, knowledge and faith.

Let us remind you that the biggest barrier to developing disciples is you. When the debilitating questions arise and attack our resolve, what we need is a renewed commitment to fulfill all God has commissioned us to accomplish in His name.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living or whether you’re a “people person” or not. It doesn't even matter how long you’ve been a follower of Jesus. The command Christ gives to “make disciples of all nations” beckons all believers to help others in their walk with Him.

So, we’ve decided to be a little more helpful by suggesting some tools you might consider digging into as you process what it means to be a disciple and to make disciples who follow Jesus.

Let’s start with a couple of caveats:

One of the first things we must realize is there is no substitute for God’s Word—the Bible—in the life of the believer. No resource can duplicate what the Holy Spirit has inspired. You can read all the latest books from the biggest names in the Christian “business”, but you will never come close to what God as already handed down to us in His Word.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living or whether you’re a “people person” or not. It doesn't even matter how long you’ve been a follower of Jesus. The command Christ gives to “make disciples of all nations” beckons all believers to help others in their walk with Him.

Jump off the high dive and cannonball into the deep waters of Scripture. Immerse yourself in the very Word of God. Drink deep of the living, lasting fountain that flows from the pages of the Bible. You will never find its equal for instruction, direction, grace and peace.

Realize today that that’s the reason we have the Bible—to display the gospel for us, to call us to repentance, and to motivate us and assist us in telling that “good news” to others.

Resources are tools in our hands, not foundations to build on. Our only foundation is God as revealed in Christ through His Word.

We also must come to grips with the reality there is no “required reading list” to gain entrance into the Kingdom or to effectively serve as a disciple of Jesus. No one emerging from the baptismal waters is handed a syllabus laying out a list of lifelong Christian course materials to work through.

Books can be tremendously helpful, but they can also be a discipleship liability.

We too often resort to books about discipleship in hopes we can pile enough knowledge into our brains to disciple anyone and everyone we come across. Surely if we can read the latest bestsellers, we’ll be equipped to do the work of making disciples. The problem? We end up putting our faith more in other people and publishers than in the God we claim to know, love and serve.

Just because Francis Chan, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther or anyone else has something to say about discipleship doesn’t mean it’s what you need to be a disciple and make disciples.

It boils down to you, your trust in Jesus, your time in the Bible and your commitment to the One who has saved you.

With all that said, it can be helpful to supplement your Bible study and growing discipleship relationships with quality books and other materials.

If you’d like to look into some, we would recommend the following (for simplicity, we’ve linked each title to Christian Book Distributors, an online store for Christian resources, though most can also be found through Mardel and at your favorite ebook seller):

First up are a few books that can assist you in striving to be a disciple.

  1. Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby — This book has been in print for several decades, and it remains a quality volume you would do well to add to your personal library. It is practical help in just being a disciple as you prepare to make disciples.
  2. The Imperfect Disciple by Jared C. Wilson — Though relatively new, this little book is equal parts funny, encouraging and self-deprecating. Wilson gives insight into being a disciple maker through sharing some stories of his own struggles in sharing the gospel and helping it take root in others’ lives. The good news: you don’t have to have it all figured out before you start discipling others.
  3. Follow Me by David Platt — Jesus made a simple statement to His disciples. “Follow me” was a call to a completely foreign way to live and think. But it wasn’t meant only for those first followers. It is a clarion call we all must obey.

But the second component of being a disciple is a commitment to making disciples. The good news we have been handed—that has turned our world upside down—has been given to us so that we will carry it to others in our homes, our neighborhoods, our workplaces and around the world.

  1. Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden — This is more of a workbook designed to help you and/or a group walk through core Christian teachings. It can serve as a basic framework for a discipleship group or simply give you a systematic walk through the foundations of the faith.
  2. Multiply by Francis Chan — This book, and its corresponding videos, is another workbook of sorts that guides the reader(s) to follow the disciple making pattern Jesus demonstrated.
  3. Transformational Discipleship by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley and Philip Nation — Here is a combination of research and examples to help you better understand how people grow. It can assist you in developing your own personal discipleship framework.

Additional consideration: Rediscovering Discipleship by Robby Gallaty; Knowing God by J.I. Packer; The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer; The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne; Real Life Discipleship by Jim Putnam; Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. And remember, these are suggested resources, not required reading.

What resources that have been helpful in your life and witness?

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