Mentoring Minutes

Disciples…not Zealots?

(Matthew 28:19-20) – seems like everyone loves passion…ZEAL, but that’s not what Christ told us to develop and make…zealots!  He said “disciples!”

Folks, we live in a fallen world and are fallen, sinful people apart from Christ! For that reason we constantly return to the tree of Genesis 3 and are tempted (and often justify our giving in) to exercise the free will that God gave us so that we could know, give and receive love.  That same free will causes us to fall into sin as we claim our own “godship/lordship.” 

Passion in the flesh is easy to follow but it leads to ruin.  Discipleship requires discipline of our body, mind, soul and spirit in His Word and Spirit and leads to no condemnation (Romans 8:1-8)!  Passions rightly ordered!

For this reason Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17 that the things of the flesh desires, lusts or wars against the things The Holy Spirit desires. It’s a battle that actually begins full-scale when we come to know Christ as Savior and receive the gift of His Holy Spirit! Until we receive Christ as Savior and Lord we only know it by “the law” and what our parents, other authorities and our own conscience tell us is right and wrong.  Once we submit to and receive Christ as Savior we have no more excuses but that doesn’t stop the enemy, world and our own flesh from wanting what we want and rejecting what Christ’s Spirit desires.  This takes time and discipline for us to grow in Christ, His Word and His Holy Spirit.

In this fallen world, with free will and because of sin, we need discipline… spiritual disciplines (go back to previous articles ( in August and early September to see these disciplines that we must live out to mature in our spiritual walk and in Christ). That’s why it’s called discipleship and, for our own sake, why Christ calls us to wholehearted devotion with Him above all things, and that we must die to or deny our self (the flesh) by faith through His empowering Grace!

Discipleship is not being in God’s Word 24 hours a day…it is Christ through God’s Word and Spirit dwelling in you 24 hours a day! The only way we can do this is by His grace in Christ, receiving His Spirit and choosing daily to spend time in His Word, prayer and listening to Him. That’s how disciples i.e., disciplined ones, in Christ are filled with His Word and Spirit (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:18)! As we do so, we grow every day to become perfect (Greek word is complete, mature and whole) in Christ just as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Discipleship is being perfect in the eyes of God through what Christ has already done for us (the Covenant last week). Then as we live out His Word and character, maturing in His Spirit in our own lives toward His fullness and completeness in us.

This doesn’t happen naturally in our flesh. If it did, think about it, we wouldn’t need a Savior. It only happens as we discipline ourselves in His power, freely available to all who believe in Him, to daily choose His Spirit over our flesh until, and as, we mature and He becomes our nature and we die to the natural fleshly person.

Oswald Chambers states it plainly…

The Example Our Lord gives us is not that of a good man, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect” — show to the other men what God has shown to you; and God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. To be a disciple means that we deliberately identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people. “That ye love one another; as I have loved you…”

The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but Godlikeness: If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God.

You can find the full devotional here…

Who or what is ruling in your life? Who’s your Lord or lord and whose disciple are you? This is not about claiming in your head that Christ has saved you. This is a knowing in your heart, and a living it out in every part of your life, that He has saved you and that He is your Lord.  And it shows up everywhere, all the time!  At least it should.

Continuing with this concept of Biblical discipleship I want to share a story that I believe highlights the reality that we’re not making disciples and the great need for it in our lives and churches…

After presenting at a weekend conference years ago I had a pastor who asked me to go to lunch later that week. At lunch he stated that he knew that the message was right on target and that the church he pastored was not (and he said he also knew that many others were not). He wanted to know the name of the model that I had shared?

I never considered that and told him I had no name for it and in that moment I believe The Holy Spirit laid this response on my heart, “I don’t have any name for it but I think it would best be described as “The Jesus Model.”

What is “The Jesus Model” found in God’s Word and as outlined for the most part in our book, The Authority of Love, Second Edition?

I think it is summed up in this statement…Discipleship is not one teaching a hundred, thousand, ten thousand or more (that has it’s place in evangelism, teaching and preaching as we have come to know and practice these…but it is not discipleship as we are all commanded to do).  Discipleship is tens, hundreds, thousands and more, who are each teaching and mentoring one, two, three or more as The Lord has intersected each of us in our sphere(s) of influence.  This is what we need in our homes, churches and world! (Matthew 10:16-39)

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Imagine what it would be like if each person who claimed Christ as Savior really grasped the call on their life to walk as His disciple and with Him as Lord, and be diligent and faithful to make disciples of others for His Kingdom and Glory? Let’s work to find out!

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  2. What do you need to do to make sure that Christ is not just your Savior but also your Lord?  What will you do about it?
  3. Find ways in your personal life to exhibit Christ’s nature rather than that of your own flesh.  This won’t be easy and will require the disciplines over time as His disciple, of being in His Word and prayer and listening to Him.
  4. Look for ways in your relationships with others to intentionally express God’s Love to them as you mature to fullness as Christ’s disciple.

God’s Covenant – Christ In Us

(Hebrews 8 & 9)

There is a young man that I’ve had the privilege to disciple over the last 6 months or so ask the following question about God’s Covenant with Abraham and what He told him in Genesis 17:1-2…”to live in God’s presence (or walk before Me) and be blameless.” What did God mean when He told Abraham to “live in God’s presence and be blameless?” Isn’t that a great question?

My response from God’s Word is the core of this newsletter…

It means exactly what it says…no hidden meanings! This is why the Old Testament (OT), rooted in the Creation (Adamic); Noahic; Abrahamic, Mosaic (Moses) and Davidic Covenants are written in the Law…the greatest “self” help book ever written. God gave us the opportunity to live perfectly by the perfect Law.

However because sin entered in from the beginning it was impossible. So the Law simply pointed to God’s perfection and holiness and our absolute lack of both…and to the great need for a Perfect Savior (and Lord) to live this out (Hebrews 9:11-14).

Under the OT Covenant(s) (summed up ultimately in the Law) multiple sacrifices were made over and over again to roll back the sins of the people…man’s inability to stay in God’s Presence and be blameless – command to Abraham. Again every sacrifice pointed to the Perfect and Spotless Lamb and sacrifice…Jesus! The sacrifices covered everyone’s sins who would be obedient in making the sacrifices to God until the Perfect Sacrifice came, died and rose again!  PTL!

What an incredible story! Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of every one of these covenants and their sacrifices in The New Covenant in His shed blood and finished work on the Cross and the Tomb!  This allows all who believe in Him and His finished work to walk blameless before God!

Check out Galatians and Hebrews to get a more complete picture of The Law and Old Covenant(s) and how they point to Christ and the New Covenant that we now live under. This will help as Grace is what makes all of this now possible.

Not just grace to save us (thank you, Jesus, for that) but ongoing grace to live it out every moment of every day (thank You, Jesus, for this as well)!  This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ and to walk blameless before God…

So under the New Testament (Covenant) sealed and finished in Christ, here’s what we must know and how we can and are to live blameless…

Do you know Jesus as Savior and Lord…the only Way to The Father (John 14:6)?

Will you receive His free gift of salvation by His grace through faith, not by any of your works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 11:1, 6)?

Will you believe?  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Three simple but profound concepts deal with knowing Christ as Savior by receiving God’s free gift of grace in salvation. His work on our behalf is finished and perfect!  Have you received the free gift?  He makes us blameless before God!

Now we look at living out that salvation (evidence that you have received His free gift) as a fully devoted disciple of Christ…

Do you know who you are recreated to be in Christ, doing what God has prepared long ago for you to do (Ephesians 2:10)?

Are you living out His salvation, i.e., sanctification (setting you apart for His specific holy purposes in your life for His Glory) with fear and trembling so He can have His way in and through you (Philippians 2:12-13)?

Oswald Chambers, in Still Higher for His Highest, asks it this way, building on the faith that we just pointed to…

Faith Claims the Whole Man

“Without faith it is impossible God to please, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

“Faith is not a faculty; faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the Spirit of Jesus. We are apt to apply faith to certain domains of our lives only; e.g., we have faith in God when we ask Him to save us, or ask Him for The Holy Spirit, but we trust something other than God in the actual details of our lives. ‘Faith claims the whole man and all that God’s grace can make him,’ just as it claimed the whole of our Lord’s life. Our Lord represents the normal man, not the average man, but the man according to God’s norm; His life was not cut up into compartments, one part sacred and another secular; it was not in any way a mutilated life. Jesus Christ was concentrated on one line, viz., the will of His Father, in every detail of His life.”

This is the Shalom (whole) blameless life of His Lordship and our discipleship with every part of our life lived as His, according to His Truth.

Having received this free gift and understanding what it means to be in a relationship with God means salvation and this new life can’t just be a mental assent and spoken word…it must come from a surrendered heart and sacrificed self resulting in a life transformed (James 2:26; Romans 12:1-2)!

Our works could never save us but they are evidence of a life submitted, surrendered and day-by-day transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9-10)!

Is your faith bringing about a changed life?

Once again, Oswald Chambers, in “My Utmost for His Highest” states it like this, “After surrender — what? The whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God.”

So what did Christ Himself say about what it means to be His disciple?

Jesus Himself said the following is what it looks like to be His disciple, i.e., to be in the relationship with Him that He died to freely give us. Luke 14:25-35 clearly outlines what it means to be in relationship with Christ with Him as Lord and us as His disciples:

1) He must take priority over every other relationship and issue in our lives (v. 26);

2) It must be a wholehearted devotion to Christ as halfhearted “commitment” only brings ridicule and makes our faith a mockery (vv. 28-32);

3) We must deny ourselves (selfish desires and lusts), take up our cross (His purpose for our life) and follow Him (vv. 27, 33).

This is a far cry from the meager expectations of today’s churches that often consider “discipleship” as 1) attending regularly; 2) giving a tithe or offering faithfully, and; 3) signing up to serve others from time to time as made available by the church. These are all good things but they can be totally done in the flesh. We have lost our saltiness (witness and influence) as evidenced by our education, media and government systems all rejecting His Truth at almost every turn and laughing at the churches and their meager calls, if any, to repentance (vv. 34-35).

Only when we follow through on Christ’s call to discipleship will these truly be done as His disciples rather than to satisfy our flesh and others and will our saltiness be restored…walking blameless before God!

You tell me…where are we when it comes to being sold-out, fully devoted, dying-to-self disciples of Christ? If we will choose this relationship with Him He will restore the saltiness of our witness and more will know Him (vv. 34-35)!

Again, Oswald Chambers states this unwaveringly in “My Utmost for His Highest”…

We’ve shared this before but this is how Christ described the fulfillment of all The Law and the Prophets in the two greatest commands and how we can live the wholehearted devotion required to be His disciple…

1) Mark 12:29-30 – We must learn to worship God alone and mature in loving Him with all our being. Find someone more mature than you to help you spend time in His Word, prayer, quiet time and listening so you are fulfilling the first and greatest command – He didn’t mince words as “first” and “greatest” mean just that and we should seek and disciple others to grow in this first.

2) Mark 12:31 – As we begin to grow in our wholly devoted love for God, He begins to teach, reveal and mature us in who we are recreated to be in Christ (Ephesians 2:10) and how to love our self so that we can then love others as we love ourselves and as He has loved us (John 13:34).

Don’t miss this as far too often in our modern day churches we are trying to fulfill the second command without having been obedient to the FIRST! God has a reason for every word and first means first so let’s be disciples and disciple others in His order and design! Our giving and serving must be an overflow of His Love in and through us, and our love for Him and others, in which we are daily growing!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Are you walking in the spiritual disciplines that help mature you in your love for God, self and others according to His Covenant Order and Word? How many of us as church members are trying to attend, give and serve but are not taking the time to fulfill the First & Greatest Command…so we’re serving and giving out of self or emptiness?  Because of Christ we can walk blameless before God!

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  2. How does your life reflect the gratitude for Christ having fulfilled in the New Covenant what you could never fulfill in the Old Covenant?
  3. How does your life reflect a faith that claims your whole being?
  4. Begin with the First/Greatest Command by spending time every day in God’s Word, in prayer and listening to Him, and walk blameless before God…in Christ!

3 Indicators of Christ as Lord

(1 Peter 3:15)

There is no Christ as Savior only! He has saved us from sin, death and hell…but He has also saved us and placed us by His grace in a relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! We could have this relationship in no other way and He must be Lord! Is He Lord of your life and relationship or are you deceiving yourself by claiming Him as Savior but not as Lord?

Here is the first of three things that will help you to walk with Him as Lord…

1) His Lordship (Authority) is rooted in His loving servant-leadership – John 13:1-5, 12-17. He loves us completely (v.1) humbly (v.3) and with a servant’s heart (vv. 4-5). Then He points out that He is The Authority and what He has just done is what Love and Authority looks like in His Kingdom.  And we will be blessed if we do the same…this is how we are supposed to live as His disciples (vv. 12-17).

What does this look like in your life and relationships? Are you growing in your love for Him first (an obedient relationship with Him)?  Are you receiving His love and sharing it with others? Or are you claiming Him as Savior and then struggling to do it your way (as Peter did in vv. 6-11)?

Love is Authority in Christ’s Kingdom as He clearly taught and modeled. How are you loving and leading? Does it reflect Christ as Lord in your life?

Walking in The Lord includes living, leading and loving in humility and with a servant’s heart. How has He called us to walk with Him?

2) His yoke (teaching under His Lordship) is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30)…as we submit to His Lordship and teaching we find that all that He calls us to He will equip and lead us to do by His wisdom and strength.

I must ask again…are you claiming Him as Lord but then doing things your way? Do you find your work for Him burdensome…or are you resting in His teaching and Lordship and letting Him work through you?

As we wrap up these three practical applications of walking as a disciple of Christ here’s some food for thought…these are only practical by faith in The Spirit. They are completely illogical and impractical in the flesh.

The third thing we are called to do as we walk in Christ is to know that…

3) He is The Vine and we are the branches (John 15:1-17)…as we abide (literally means to endure) in Him and allow The Father to prune and cleanse us then He prepares us for Christ and His Holy Spirit to produce His Kingdom fruit in and through us.  For a great place to start regarding Kingdom fruit, or fruit of the Spirit, check out Galatians 5:22-24.

There is a big difference (and it is usually found in the level of maturation) between telling The Lord what you’re going to do for Him (immature Christian) and simply saying as a mature Christ follower, “Here am I, Lord. Do through me as you please and desire.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

Loving Christ is obeying Him and walking as His friend and disciple, which is what He has made us for and called us to. In doing so we are then to love others as He has loved us. We can only do this as we abide in Him. (John 15:4-5)

Are you trying to produce fruit for Him (love Him and others in your own flesh and strength) or submitting to His Lordship and allowing Him to produce His Kingdom and Spirit fruit in and through you for His Glory?

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Whichever nature (flesh or Spirit) you are feeding is the one that will mature and become prevalent in your life.  We are born in the flesh so it is the natural default.  Only when we discipline ourselves in Christ…in His Word and Spirit…does His life become the natural default in and through us.  Which are you feeding?

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  2. How can you determine which nature are you feeding…flesh or Spirit?
  3. How can you ensure that you are denying your fleshly nature and feeding the nature of Christ’s Spirit in you?
  4. Think about someone you can approach to help hold you accountable for walking in Christ and His Holy Spirit?  Who might you help hold accountable?