Friday, July 27, 2007

Discipleship and Spam

Spam has in the past been referred to as “the wonder meat that won the War”, World War II that is.

During the war soldiers would go for days with very little food if any. The army needed something they could air drop that would not need refrigeration or cooking. The answer came in the form of a meatloaf known as spiced ham. These 2 words combined form to make the word Spam.

Spam was air dropped to the allies giving them much needed food to survive and gain strength and energy. After the war Spam became a staple in many of the countries and territories where it was originally dropped. Which is why today Spam remains a staple in places like Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines and even Russia.

Here is where Discipleship and Spam interface.

Sometimes we think that our outreach is not as ideal as we would have wanted them to be. It felt more like “spamming” people. Often we tend to compare ourselves to professional ministers which makes us feel like we’re offering Spam versus gourmet food.

While that may be true feeding people with Spam is much better than leaving people to die of hunger because gourmet food is not accessible for the moment. Keep in mind the great war was won with Spam – keep outreaching and feeding people where they are with what you've got!

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. John 21:17

See also my other post:
Prayer & Melatonin

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Discipleship and Aspirin

Still on Walmart stuff.

In 1899 German company Bayer invented Aspirin. The new medication was dubbed a wonder drug as it brought relief to those who suffered from certain types of physical pain.

By 1915 Bayer introduced the first Aspirin tablets. Stored in glass bottles they were more convenient to take, ship and handle. It was an instant success.

However when they were shipped the tablets tended to break as they shook inside the bottles. To solve this problem Bayer placed cotton balls inside the bottles so that the tablets would not move and break.

As Aspirin grew in popularity many companies followed the practice of putting cotton balls inside their bottles without really knowing the reason why Bayer did it.

Later on however, Bayer developed a coating that prevented the tablets from breaking. In time Bayer removed the cotton balls and shipped the bottles just as efficiently.

To this day you will find products that contain cotton balls in their bottles. When asked why manufacturers have them, their response is usually vague. Fact is they never really knew why they had it there in the first place.

Here is where discipleship interfaces with Aspirin. It is true that discipleship is about relationships and modeling the Christian life for others to see. However, we need to teach people to read and obey the Bible. This is the only way for them to know why we behave and live life the way we do. Without it all we're doing is producing mimics who imitate but don't know the reason why they are do what they do.

Discipleship is more than just transferring our programs, models and religious practices to others. It involves teaching others to know why they should live a certain way.

This we accomplish by teaching people to read, study, love and obey the Bible.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Timothy 3:16-17

See Also: Prayer and Calcium

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Discipleship and Marlboro Cigarettes

Still on stuff found at Walmart.

For over 20 years I have been involved with making disciples through relationships. In that time I have encountered men who were ardent smokers.

Three men come to mind as I write this post. The first was an old friend whom I grew up with. The second was a business associate and the third was a man whom I met in church when he received the Lord. Each one was a smoker.

As I spent time with these men I would see them smoke their favorite brand (Marlboro) with no inhibitions. I made sure that while we shared about the things of God I did not focus on their smoking habit.

Whenever they asked me if there was anything wrong with smoking, my usual response was – the Bible does not say anything about it. What the Bible does say is that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and as such we should be good stewards of our bodies.

In other words if you know for certain that smoking was going to be harmful to your body you would do well to stay away from them. That means overeating unhealthy food is just as sinful as smoking.

While I presented this truth I never made a big deal about it. The reason why is simple: I was not after their external behavior. I was concerned with their hearts being drawn to God. I was convinced that if they loved God with all their hearts and obeyed His word they will one day get a revelation about their bodies being temples of the Holy Spirit.

Discipleship is never about external behavior but is achieved by first having a relationship with others and then introducing them into a personal, active, vibrant and daily relationship with God and with other believers. As they grow in those relationships they will willingly drop their sinful habits.

Today all 3 of these men are serving God and have hearts that are drawn to Him. My friend is now a lay pastor in the city of Cebu and is deeply involved in rescue and relief missions. My business associate has since become a full time pastor and is on his way to become a cross cultural missionary. And the man at church is a successful businessman who loves God and is a disciple maker himself. Non of them smoke cigarettes anymore.

Often I wonder what could have happened if I focused on getting these men to stop smoking rather teaching them to love God with all their hearts and love their neighbors as themselves?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Discipleship and Scotch Tape

More on stuff from Walmart.

Almost every household stashes a spool of Scotch Tape at home. Invented in 1930's by the 3M Company, this utilitarian adhesive tape has become indispensable. From gift-wrapping to school projects, sealing envelopes to attaching notes (this was before Post Its), binding things together to restoring torn paper – the applications are endless.

The secret of the Scotch Tape is two fold: First, it uses a transparent cellophane material and secondly a specially blended adhesive is applied to the cellophane to give it its adhesion.

It is from these two characteristics where we can learn discipleship relationship principles from Scotch Tape.

Relationships need transparency in order to last. I have dealt with the same point on transparency in an earlier post: Discipleship and Listerine, which is why I will focus on adhesion on this one.

One reason why discipleship relationships don’t last is because people have not learned the value and importance of sticking together no matter what adversities, differences, offenses, situations and setbacks occur.

The reality is relationships will have its challenges whether it is an existing one or a new one. This includes our relationship with God which will always be tested. By sticking with our relationships we overcome a present adversity and can move on the next level of relating with one another.

Like Scotch Tape we have been designed to stick with God and one another. You will notice that every time you remove a piece of tape it loses some of its ability to stick. This is true of our relationships.

So the next time you are tempted to peel off from God or a godly relationship think again, you just might be losing a good relationship and some of your ability to stick in the future.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

See Also: Prayer and Vitamin A