We are looking forward to celebrating God’s faithfulness in our students lives. Our Canadian School of Discipleship will be having their graduation this Friday, December 19 at 2:30 p.m. EST. We encourage you to stream in.
Click here to watch the graduation
With joy in Jesus,
School of Discipleship Team
We are looking forward to celebrating God’s faithfulness in our students lives. Please join us this coming Tuesday, December 9 at 4 p.m. as we rejoice in what God is doing in students lives.
Click here to watch the graduation
With joy in Jesus,
School of Discipleship Team
As my year at School of Discipleship draws to a close, there is the ever-present question of “what’s next?” or “what is God’s will for my life?” According to God’s word, I do know that “God’s will” is just that–“God’s will.” This means not my will–which ultimately means a total abandonment of self and all self-interests and the total consecration to the Lordship of Christ in my life!
As I have pondered the various ways in which I could legitimately lay down my life for Jesus and the gospel sake, the Lord told me to read Matt. 28:18-20. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth… Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” I had read this passage so many times and yet this time it stopped me and got me thinking really deeply concerning Christ and His eternal glory. As I felt the Spirit urging me to commit my life to pioneer missions amongst the unreached, especially to nations and peoples that don’t have any local witness, I questioned God by asking, “Why should I go? I mean, of what use am I to foreigners who will think me weird? And besides, I am not adequate to go anyhow.” The reply was very clear… “All authority has been given onto me”
“JESUS IS WORTHY!” This is the reason why I should go no matter how high the cost. In fact, the greater the price I am to pay to follow Him, the more precious and glorious He will become! The absolute Sovereign Lordship of Christ and His supreme glory over all the nations is what makes this such a “GREAT COMMISSION!” My only response can now be… “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
A Wounded Heart’s Reflections on Growing Up
As I was reading a blog recently, I was taken aback by one of the opening statements:
“Most of us had absent fathers.”
Piercing. Piercing, because I am a part of that “most.” I was raised by a very strong and capable woman, was loved and provided for and never wanted for any physical needs, so why, I wonder, do I feel a such a deep void in my life today that stretches back to my childhood?
The answer is simple, but complicated: it’s because dad wasn’t there. Dad, like many men today, was a victim of his own poor upbringing, and through substance abuse, checked out early – way too early. He checked out so early that he never got to see either one of his boys walk an aisle past preschool graduation. He wasn’t there when I had my heart broken for the very first time, when I won my first wrestling match or when I got my driver’s license. He wasn’t there to congratulate me for doing well in school, for making good choices or for getting my first job.
Worst of all, he wasn’t there to show me how to be a man. I never learned what a loving husband looks like, or how a man is supposed to lead his family. So here I am, 18 years after his death wondering,
“What in the world am I supposed to do now?”
Not that I’m married yet, I’m not, but I suspect it’s not far down the road.
Taking nothing away from my mother, who was and continues to be amazing, there are just some things moms aren’t designed to do, and being a dad is one of them. Thankfully, mom was there every time dad wasn’t. My gratitude to God is continually increasing for that.
Dad’s gone. I’ve accepted that. What I’m now trying to accept now is that although I think I’m fatherless, I’m not. I’ve had a Father all along, just one that I can’t see with my physical eyes.
One of my goals coming into my second year of the School of Discipleship was to learn what it means to be a biblical man. I’m in awe of the faithfulness of God not only to put that desire in me, but to father me by teaching me what He has about manhood, and in the process, restoring to me what I’ve missed out on all these years. He’s brought men into my life that are committed to loving and investing in me. God is a God of restoration.
On this short journey, I’ve seen many things that have depressed and elated me. I’ve seen the standard for manhood: Jesus Christ, the perfect man who was tender, yet intrepid. In His zeal for God, he stood against corruption by clearing out swindlers who were defiling God’s house, yet had compassion on all who needed Him. He touched lepers and welcomed children, but didn’t shrink back from the agonizing pain of torture, and selflessly laid His life down for a creation that scorned Him.
That’s a big God.
What are the positives that I’ve seen on this journey? I’ve seen men embrace their role to serve and represent Jesus in their weaknesses and shortcomings, trusting in God to give them the courage they need to do their God-given duties. I’ve seen God respond to that trust by making otherwise incapable men capable of doing great things and commanding great respect from people in the process.
I’ve seen men who love their wives and kids, and demonstrate patience and gentleness with them, which is nothing short of a testimony to God’s power and faithfulness.
On the other hand…
I’ve seen men afraid to embrace their faults and failures and run away from the valorous calling that God gives to all men – to lead, take dominion, and demonstrate God’s strength and love to a hurting world.
I see men in their twenties behaving the way they did in their early teens because there was no man before them to demonstrate godliness.
I’ve seen young men hurt by dads who were there, but weren’t really there. Passivity is the easy thing to do in the home, and sadly, most men that are given responsibility over families have taken that route. I’ve seen men domineered and controlled by their wife or kids because they don’t feel like they’re capable of leading well.
I’ve seen young men find their value in things that aren’t Jesus. They look to young women for affirmation, potentially causing damage to them and the women by not guarding their hearts. They look to friends, to self, but not to Jesus. Insecurity and self-focus abounds as a result, which perpetuates the behavior of looking for value outside of Jesus.
Perhaps the worst part of all of this is when men, both young and old, out of emptiness, longing, and desperation, prey on women or scour the internet to feed their sinful passions. This is the deepest distortion of masculinity known to man – taking what is sacred, and perverting it because of selfish desires. Men, who should be protectors, become the ones who take captives.
May I please humbly say that I am aware of these things because I in some measure represent or am prone to all of them?
Despite fatherlessness devastating a generation, I think God is doing something in the hearts of men today. I believe God is restoring true masculinity to the church by starting with individual men and teaching them to live and to lead their families according to His Word. I believe God is moving in the hearts of men in this generation to give them something to fight for: God’s glory. He’s letting us know that we’re not fatherless. We’re not orphans. We’re sons, because God has adopted us and is recreating us in His image. Our value and worth are in Him, simply because He values us enough to give everything to purchase us (Matthew 13:44-46).
Men, we may be weak, insecure, and afraid, but we are strong, because God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Our shortcomings aren’t barriers which keep us from Jesus, but are bridges to Him. We were made to fight. We can’t waste our lives on things that don’t matter. We can’t spend ourselves on the metaphors of sports and video games as substitutes for what’s real: struggle, battle, adventure, hard work, and most of all, victory.
Sure, we men try too hard to be strong and pretend like we’ve got it together because most of us are insecure. Am I doing that right now as I write this blog post? Probably, but I’m slowly learning that my strength IS my weakness, because, God’s power is made perfect in my weakness, and even in my failure, He is to be glorified and praised for the mercy and love He shows us, in spite of what we’re not or fail to be.
Please, pray for me, and for all men. Please pray that God would give us grace to humble ourselves and be okay with the fact that in God’s economy, manpower accomplishes nothing. Please pray that God will allow men to see that Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer. Pray that God will allow us to see that His grace is sufficient for us, and that it’s okay to be weak, so long as we never use it as an excuse to justify sin.
By God’s grace, let us be a generation of men who can give to others what wasn’t given to us.
Lord, only You can make a man. I’m just a little boy, but I want to be a man. Would you please do this for your sake, Father, please? Help us to love you and to know that you are better. Our hearts wander and are so easily enraptured by everything except You. Show us how you love us, and show us how to be like You, and to love people like You do. Make men out of this generation of boys who don’t know how to live selflessly and sacrificially. Make us brave in the face of uncertainties and chaos. Teach us how to make order, and teach us to trust you to find the courage we need to move forward, despite not knowing what to expect. We don’t know what we’re doing, Abba. Show us what Jesus did for us, please Lord. For your name’s sake, and for your glory’s sake, Father, please, do this. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Here is a poem I wrote based off my experience in the second year of School of Discipleship. The Lord taught me how I needed to surrender everything and trust Him!
The time has come to look ahead,
To hit the mark, my path to tread.
The past is gone, the past is dead,
I’ll look to Christ, my daily bread.
I’m not my own, I am His slave;
He came to earth, my soul to save!
In Christ alone, this is my call,
He is my strength, my all in all!
In times of sorrow I can see,
My God and Father leading me.
And when I stumble, when I fear,
my precious Savior draws me near.
I’m not my own, and this my plea:
That I could give my all to Thee!
In Christ alone, this is my call,
He is my strength, my all in all!
I find that a lot of my problems arise from me worrying. I tend to focus my sight on my circumstances, problems, and even myself a lot more than I do on Christ. These instances were never fruitful and always left me depressed or distraught. I don’t know why we (I’m speaking mostly for myself) allow these things to take our sight off of Christ. If we were to account for all of the innumerable moments God displayed His faithfulness in our lives, fear and worry would be nonexistent when difficult trials came our way.
This has been, and continues to be, a lesson the Lord so faithfully teaches me. Fix my Sight. Do I believe and trust in Him even when all seems to be lost? Do I have enough faith to believe that He is sovereign over everything? Apparently not. But I’m grateful the Lord has brought this to my attention. It allows to me to acknowledge my weaknesses and shortcomings and humbly come before Him asking for His grace and strength. His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and this encourages me to continue to fix my eyes and heart on Him evermore. He is faithful, and He answers prayers.
Fixing your sight is the first step to being grateful and steadfast. It acknowledges the one who is sovereign over all things, and it dissipates the cloud of fear that so often blinds us. When we abide in him and walk in his light, darkness has no place. When we fix our sight on all that he is, when we gaze upon the beauty of His majesty, and when set our hearts on Him, there is an overwhelming sense of joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. I thank God that He has taught me this lesson through the awesome leaders and staff here at School of Discipleship. Brian, one of the teachers here, put it in a way that resonated with me. I pray this is as encouraging and uplifting to you as it is to me.
“We can get to a point in our lives where we see a fork in the road and start to worry about which way we are supposed to go. We don’t realize that if we are walking with Jesus step by step, there is no reason to worry. He is either going to go one way or another, and we just have to follow Him faithfully.”
Fix your sight on the Lord!
The School of Discipleship
“Disciple” isn’t a word we use very much in churches anymore; it’s not a word we use very much in general really. We tend to say “I believe in Jesus,” but hardly anyone says “I’m a disciple of Jesus”. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say that. I think we’ve lost the understanding of discipleship because we no longer receive our education by this method.
To think of discipleship, consider a mechanic’s apprenticeship. The apprentice works under and with the master for, usually, 2-3 years. The master mechanic shows and teaches the apprentice how to do particular tasks, and he allows him to do more and more work under his supervision. Eventually, the apprentice learns enough to become a certified mechanic.
In Bible times, a prospective disciple would ask a rabbi permission to follow him. He surrendered himself to the teaching authority of the rabbi and followed his lead. Recall the parables that Jesus told. He gave examples, but he didn’t always spell things out. A rabbi’s goal was to teach his disciples how to think and not what to think. By doing so, a disciple would learn to think and discern as his rabbi would. And that’s the thing with Christianity: we become more like Jesus and think like he does by following him. Eventually, when the time was ready, Jesus told his disciples to also make disciples (which would make them rabbis).
Now how does that differ from believing? Well, let’s look at an example of believing – believing in Santa Claus. Kids who believe in Santa Claus know a lot about him. They alter their behavior to meet what they believe are Santa’s guidelines for being good because they want the reward (presents). Children generally don’t aspire to become like Santa Claus though. Santa is their benefactor, not a friend or role model. Even though kids may communicate a list of wishes to Santa and expect him to meet them, there is no actual relating to or with Santa. (I mean, I’ve never heard of a kid writing to Santa in the middle of July.)
That’s what Jesus is like for a lot of us. We know a lot about him from Bible stories, and we try to clean up our behavior to meet some standard that we believe he finds acceptable. We tell him all the things we want him to do for us, but we do so without relating or modeling after him.
Nobody ever really told me what it means to become more like Jesus; that just might be because they didn’t know either. But now I understand why Jesus didn’t say, “go to the synagogue on the Sabbath and be a good person.” Instead he told others to “follow me.” He invites us to come under his watch and teachings, to observe him, and to be directed and corrected by him until we are like him.
That’s what the School of Discipleship is about: modeling after and becoming more like Jesus by following the teaching and example of those who have done so (and are still doing so). Not that we could ever hope to be like Jesus by our own effort, but with the grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit in us, it is possible.
I am currently studying at the Master’s College for my Bible Certificate. Right now my class is New Testament Survey. Every week I have to write a blog post on the Scripture. So this time I thought I would share my thoughts with you all : )
Paul starts this section off by saying “Let love be genuine.” So I was going to write about the whole passage but seriously this verse alone is enough to write a whole book on. Like WOW!!!
I am sure it would be easier for each of us to let our love seem genuine, to walk around with the façade of love instead of the real thing. In my own life I am very good at being nice to people and listening to what they have to say, but at the end of the day can I really say that I love them? In many cases I would have to answer no. I am nice, however, not because I genuinely care or love people but because if I’m not, what would people think of me?!? (aka: the motive behind my actions is pride, not love.)
In John 13:34 Jesus gave His disciples a new command which was to love one another. Then in verse 35 He told them that by their love for one another the world would know they belonged to Him. Love was their identifying badge; the act that set them apart.
Real love cannot help but be noticed. It is practically like putting a giant billboard in the sky for all to see. It glorifies the Father and allows Him to show Himself to the world.
However if we masquerade as people who “love” each other, no one will really ever know because a fake seed cannot bear fruit.
As I get older and study the Bible more and more, I am finding love, genuine, all out love is neither easy nor comfortable. It is, however, vital! It requires that we remain humble, lay down our self, be vulnerable and honest. It may be received and equally given back or it may be rejected and thrown in our face. Either way it is not a suggestion that will help us change the world, it is a command that is guaranteed to change the world.
So while it is hard, it is not impossible. We have the perfect example in the Father and the Son, we have the Word and Spirit to lead and guide us and we have the joy of knowing it will glorify the Lord as it puts all the spotlight on Him, which is exactly what we were created to do. Plus, just think how our brothers and sisters will blossom and flourish if we give genuine love freely, how it will strengthen the body and allow us to grow in the process!
“… if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8
“… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” Ephesians 1:4
“Now to Him who is able to keep youfrom stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” Jude 24
How many more promises need to be made by a God who is incapable of lying before I will believe Him? My Friend has promised that He will always be with me, yet somehow, I would rather try to do things on my own. The work I’ve been called to do is not mine, but His. He will perfect everything that concerns me. He will do it because He is faithful.
So, what role do I play in this?
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:3
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15
“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.” – 1 John 2:24-25
Abba, convince us of Your goodness, please. Convince us that You are for us, that You love us, and that no matter what we do, Your heart towards us never changes. Convince us that Your grace is true, and that all You require of us is to be weak, and willing to receive You in our weakness. Convince us, Papa, that when we are weak, You are strong. It’s what You’ve promised.
Teach us to believe You, and teach us to receive Your love. Teach us that you are trustworthy.
Thank You for allowing us to come before You in complete confidence. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Hope, our Redemption, our Sanctification, our Righteousness, our LIFE.
Faithful Father, teach us how to love you. Through Jesus I ask this, amen.
On November 3, the church recognized International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. As I thought about and prayed for my brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus, I also thought about being a martyr. I hear testimonies of people who have laid down their lives for the sake of the Gospel – and I think, “And that is worth it.”
I know that it is worth it to live for Jesus, and to lay down my life for His sake.
But why do I somehow think that living for Jesus is not worth losing sleep over, or is not worth being inconvenienced by? That being Jesus’ disciple is not worth giving up my comfortable life for?
I do believe that following Christ is worth giving my life and my everything for. But very often, the choices I make and the way I live my life do not reflect that.
Something is wrong here. Following Jesus IS worth everything. So I need to start living like it.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25
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