Sunday, August 24, 2008

Discipleship and Toyota

In my last thread I wrote on discipleship and small creatures. This is new thread is about cars. We’ll see how far it goes. For starters I am writing about Toyota -reputed to be one of the most popular and dependable car makers in the world.

The first time I heard about Toyota was in the late 1960’s. A family friend was showing my father his new Toyopet, an early edition of Toyota cars. In those days people were wary of Toyota. Cars brands then were Mercedes Benz, Ford, Chrysler and Volkswagen.

For some reason the Toyota name just did not sound right. In sounded like some kind of soy sauce. In fact Toyota struggled to get a foothold of the market. In time however, Toyotas became very popular and are some of the World’s most sought after cars. How did that happen, through proven performance and dependability.

By sheer word of mouth friends, relatives and neighbors tried, used and validated Toyota’s dependability. News about it spread and more and more people started to buy it, use it and talk about it. In time Toyotas became attractive and the rest is history.

Herein lies the discipleship relationship interface. It is not our brand name -“Christianity” that attracts others rather it is the example of our lives that people see day in and day out that makes them take stock of our Christianity.

It is when people see how our lives hold together in the midst of bumpy roads, bad weather and the usual wear and tear of life that they become interested in the brand and not the other way around.
Finally, just like the Toyota we can expect our lives to have a good run because of the one who made us.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Acts 17:28a

Monday, August 11, 2008

Discipleship and Lizards

This is the final post in the 5 part series on Discipleship and Small Creatures.

“Four things on earth are small,yet they are extremely wise: Proverbs 30:24

a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. Proverbs 30:28

Like the three other creatures featured in this series of posts on discipleship – trying to imagine why lizards are a source of wisdom can be challenging.

However, the verse above does explain why we can find wisdom in the ordinary lizard. That’s because they can find their way in king’s palaces.

True discipleship does not limit the area or the type of people who need to be reached with the Gospel and be made into disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even kings (present day CEO’s, political leaders, celebrities and the like) need to be reached, trained and deployed in the kingdom of God.

What I love about the business of making disciples is that it chooses no man. Everyone deserves to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. But the fact is reaching kings is not a simple matter. For one, they live in palaces that are secured by moats (layers of secretaries and assistants) and sentinels (bodyguards and cronies).

So how does one get to these great men and women of influence. The answer: do the lizard. What on earth does that mean?

One reason lizards can get into palaces is because they are small. Small is the key to getting the big. Secondly, they have a simple service they provide and that is to munch on bothersome insects in your house. In short they serve a purpose while at the same time since they are small they require little attention or overhead.

The church that I pastor has several celebrities. As such I often hear the comment “I guess you have a lot of stars that’s why they can reach each other stars.”

In some ways that statement is true but in many ways it is also incorrect. Off the top of my head I know many of these celebrities who were not reached by other stars but by friends, relatives and you will not believe it when I say many of them are reached by make-up artists, dentists and are you ready for this – hair dressers.

Like the lizard these individuals come across as small, feeble, harmless creatures that are there to simply serve their needs. And like the lizard they go undetected against the radar screens that are set to spring the security measures against intruders.

The verse above not only holds true to royalty “likes” but even to real royalties. Today even the children of wealthy kings and princes in various parts of the world are being reached through nannies and household servants who go unnoticed. If one is willing to serve and be small in the eyes of men - they position themselves to be great disciple makers of kings and princes.

So go and do as the lizard and make disciples!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Discipleship and Locusts

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Proverbs 30:24

Proverbs 30:27
locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks;

here is the 3rd installment of my 5 part series of things that are small but are extremely wise.

Locust is the Biblical word for the grasshopper, another creature that is not known for its wisdom. Grasshoppers belong to the family of insects and are not exactly known for being wise.

But the writer of Proverbs says we can learn from them. While they have no king or commander yet they advance together in ranks.

How you wish Christians could do what locusts can do. First of all they advance. They do not focus on the periphery and differences but rather consciously fix their eyes on devouring all that they see.

Discipleship means advancing and not getting stuck. Like the locust our job is to disciple everyone we meet and come into contact with. Needless to say there are times when the people we meet are not ready with the Gospel or even with moving forward as a disciple of Christ. It is in times like these that we need to advance forward to the next person without necessarily giving up on the other person that means we pray for them.

Secondly, locusts are wise because they not only advance but they do it together.

All too often Christians get entangled on differences. Some put too much emphasis on areas of theological differences. Most of the time these differences are more a question of focus rather than outright heresy or serious disagreement.

Like the wise locust we should instead look at the places of commonality and appreciate other Christians for their uniqueness. One common objective we should all have is what Jesus commanded all of us to do: “Go and make disciples…”

Finally, locusts are wise because though they don’t have a visible king they march in ranks making them very effective at what they do.

This is something we can learn from them. While our King Jesus is not visible we must align ourselves in local congregations that have godly leaders in order to be effective in the task of making disciples.

Working alone is not exactly the smartest thing to when it comes to disciple making. Marching together in ranks like locusts is far more effective.

see also: Prayer and Independence