Billy's Blog
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May 9, 2017, 9:12 AM

Do As I Do

I have learned a lot of lessons from parenting. I know that my school is not closed. If the Lord wills I have many more years of parenting left to learn lots of new lessons. One of the things I've learned is that kids pay way more attention to what you do than what you say. As a preacher this makes it very challenging. My kids pay attention to what I say. I know this is true, because when I don't practice what I preach they remind me of what I've preached. Having children helps keep me both humble and accountable. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. 

When Jesus started his ministry he called 12 men to follow him and learn from him. They were called, disciples. The original Greek word for disciple means: a learner and a pupil. Jesus called these men so that he could teach them what he wanted to be continued through the church after he died and resurrected. Jesus didn't just sit them down and tell them what to do he lived right there with them and modeled what he wanted them to do. 

So who are we discipling? 

One of the challenges Jesus gave the Pharisees in Matthew 23 is that they were not very good at discipling. Well, you could say they could make disciples, but what they made people wasn't good. 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15-17

Jesus was pretty harsh with these guys. He said they made twice as much a child of hell as they were. Ouch. 

One of the most challenging things to me is to model what it means to follow Christ. The apostle Paul told the people to "follow me as I follow Christ." Wow...I'm just not real sure if I'm ready to make that statement. But maybe I don't understand what he meant. Here's a few things I've learned about discipleship. I wish I had learned more, but I can be hard to teach sometimes. 

1. You don't have to be perfect. 

When Paul told the people, "follow me as I follow Christ", he wasn't saying he was on par with Jesus. He too was following Jesus. He too was in desperate need of the grace of God. He was not telling the people to do everything he did all the time. He was challenging them to join him on this journey. 

2. You have to know Jesus. 

In Matthew 16 Jesus asks the disciples who the people are saying he is. They responded that some said he was one of the prophets or maybe even John the Baptist. Then Jesus makes it personal. He asks them who he is to them. Peter gives the famous response that he's the Christ, the son of the living God. 

If you are going to help people follow Christ you have to know him. You have to have a personal relationship with him already. You can't lead people to somewhere you've never been. 

3. You have to be willing to open up your life. 

One of the things I appreciate about my wife is that she's been willing to open up our lives to people. I am naturally much less of a private person than her. I am much more outgoing naturally, but she has been more than willing to open up our home and lives to people. She has created her own discipleship moments because of this. What you see in our lives may not be what we always want you to see, like imperfection, but it's real. We have opened up our home to a small group Bible study for probably the last 10-12 years and it's been great. Our current group in Lancaster is such a blessing to us. We want to help people understand what it means to follow Jesus. 

4. Keep nudging people to Jesus. 

When you open up your lives to people you will have some opportunities. Keep nudging people to Jesus. Take opportunities to pray with them. Encouraged them to attend church. Create opportunities to serve others. Keep helping people see Jesus in their everyday lives in the same way that you do. Help people see blessings rather than strange coincidence or luck. 

Discipleship might be the toughest job I have a pastor and follower of Christ. I have been heartbroken by people who have just flat-out fell on their face or just gave up. I have been disappointed by people who I thought had so much potential but just never realized it. I have been hurt by people who I thought I was influencing for good but were imposters. But despite all of this, I have looked back and seen people grow and become more than I thought they would ever be.  These people make you realize this is why you do this. You know that you've made an eternal difference in their life. 

Go out there and make a difference in someone's life today. 

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