Thursday, August 30, 2007

Discipleship and Indian Elephants

(3rd Post on the Zoo Thread)

When speaking of elephants the blind men of Hindustan always comes to mind. It is an old tale about 6 blind men who went to see an elephant.

One touched his legs and thought he was holding a tree. The second held his side and concluded it was a wall. The third grasped its tail and was sure it was a rope, another laid hands on his ears and was certain it was a fan. Still another grabbed his tusks and thought he had a spear and finally the last man surmised his trunk was a snake.

This is true about people and their understanding and knowledge of God. All to often their view of God is grossly limited. Like the blind men and the elephant they draw conclusions about God from the limited perspective they have. In a very real sense they are like the blind men of Hindustan – only their blindness is not physical but spiritual.

Herein lies the need for discipleship relationships. God is far bigger than an elephant and has facets that the Scriptures gradually unfolds as people learn of Him. Discipleship is not simply building relationships rather it is about building relationships with the expressed intent of teaching people the Scriptures so that they too may have a complete understanding of God.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16

God wants to lead the spiritually blind into ways they know nothing of, unfamiliar paths they are not accustomed to. He wants to turn their darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

And who will He use to reach and guide them? You and me, we must never tire of making disciples and bringing the blind into the light of God.

See Also: Prayer and Runner's High

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Discipleship and Lions

(2nd Post on Zoo Thread)

No zoo can rightfully be called one if it does not have lions, after all they are the “king the jungle”. Lions can be scary creatures, just watch these 2 videos: Just Missed and Man vs. Lion and you will know what I mean.

Early on in Genesis the Bible speaks of the lion. It was the picture that the Holy Spirit used to describe the tribe of Judah from where King David and Jesus Christ Himself were to emerge from.

You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness — who dares to rouse him? Genesis 49:9

Eventually the resurrected Christ was to be called the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

A lion is also a picture of the boldness and fearlessness that a righteous person enjoys.

The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Proverbs 30:30 says a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing;

These are the characteristics of those who have learned to walk in discipleship relationship with their God. You and I are lions raised by the creator of all things. Be bold be strong… go and make disciples.

See Also: Prayer and Weight Lifting

Monday, August 13, 2007

Discipleship and the Zoo

I just ended a thread on discipleship and things found at Walmart. In my next posts I am starting an all new thread on discipleship and the zoo.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
Isaiah 11:6

The verses above talk about animals living together. They seem to describe a picture of a zoo. Picture a lamb, leopard, goat, baby cow and a lion living together. Better yet with a child leading them.

The only way that picture will work is in a zoo where animals are caged. Such a picture is simply not possible in real life, the lamb, goat and yearling will immediately be devoured by the leopard and the lion. The child will cease to exist.

Yet this was the picture that the prophet Isaiah saw. As the verses continue Isaiah adds the cow, bear, cobra and others. Yet he closes with the verse that says they will not harm or destroy each other.

The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:7-9

The vision that Isaiah saw was a prophetic picture of the church. Imagine people of differing economic and social backgrounds, political affiliations and temperaments living together in harmony without bars and fences to separate them.

This is only possible as people are transformed into the image of the Lord Jesus. This happens when people learn to live in discipleship relationships. Relationships where Jesus Christ is center of all of life. What it takes to make discipls of men and women to be full of the knowledge of the Lord just as the waters cover the sea.

See also: Prayer and Aerobics

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Discipleship and Dole Pineapple

This is my last post on things you find at Walmart. Next week I start on an all new thread, Discipleship and the Zoo.

Dole Pineapple traces its roots in the year 1901 in Hawaii. It didn’t take long for Dole to capture the taste buds of the mainland, eventually the world. The secret lay in determining whether a pineapple was best suited to be canned as fruit or made into juice. Ripe fruit was canned and unripe fruit was made into juice.

The trick was to be able to tell which was ripe and unripe so that they can be canned as fruit or made into juice immediately after harvest. By putting the fruit in a vat of water they discovered which was which, ripe fruit float and unripe fruit don’t.

This is true of discipleship relationships. Too many Christians write people off just because they are not ready to receive the Lord at the time of their encounter. What they don’t realize is someday like a pineapple they too will ripen. The key is to stay connected in a relationship.

In time like ripened pineapples those who are ready to receive the Lord will float and become obvious. Instead of trying to convert people we need to simply keep the relationships and trust the Holy Spirit to show us who are ripe fruit and are ready to receive the Lord.

Fact is almost everyone will ripen someday and even if they don't you can enjoy the uniquness of each indivdual relationship God allows to cross your path. Keep sowing, be patient and harvest those relationships that have become ripe. In the meantime enjoy the juice of their friendship.

He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain-first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Mark 4:26-29

See also: Prayer and New Balance Shoes

Friday, August 3, 2007

Discipleship and Coca-Cola

This is my second to the last post on things found at WalMart. I will be starting a new thread in 2 weeks.

We have all heard the phrase “people don’t care how much you know until they see how much you care.” In building relationships with people one of the best and sure fire ways is to serve them. People are attracted with people who serve them.

All too often Christians start off by wanting to convert people to their beliefs and religious practices rather than finding ways to serve them. Serving people is still one of the fastest and best ways to establish relationships.

One story that brings home this point is about Coca-Cola and its long running relationship with its customers all over the world.

In the 1940’s Coke was just an Atlanta based American company with a few international beachheads. When World War II broke out its president Robert Woodruff commissioned its executives to devise a plan to provide the American soldier with a bottle of Coke right on the battlefield. His desire was the help the soldier overcome loneliness and being homesick. They made sure that Coke was delivered right down to the foxholes.

Mr. Woodruff was so committed to the plan that he had Coke executives traveling to the war theatres to supervise the establishment of portable bottling plants. By the time the war ended Coke had set-up bottling facilities in 63 countries and territories.

Grateful the American soldiers became the premier supporters and word of mouth advertisers of Coke in these territories. It wasn’t long before the word spread and Coke became popular in these countries. Overnight Coke found itself with people wanting to represent them in these nations with factories ready to repoduce the product.

Their simple act of serving the American soldier turned out to be one of their best advertising and distribution strategies.

This incident can help us learn something about discipleship from Coke. Don’t try to convert people, serve the ones who believe in you. This will translate in them a desire to serve others the way you served them.

When we serve people they see the power of this act and they in turn serve others. The more selfless our service is the more real and effective they become.

The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11

See also: Prayer and Exercise