Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Discipleship and Gardening

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. Genesis 2:8

After God created the first man He placed him in the garden. Isn't it interesting that God made the first man a gardener. I am convinced that God has an important reason why. That’s because much of life is like gardening.

God’s intent was man would learn how to live life as he tended the garden. It was His way of teaching man – the very first “discipleship program”, if you may.

Like gardening the idea of discipleship relationships involves many different factors and is not quite as simple as transferring information. It requires checking the condition of the soil (heart). Some soils are just not ready and require a period of waiting. Others need to be prepared, plowed and fertilized.

The there’s the matter of the right seed planted in the right season, the changing weather conditions, the nurturing and care of young plants, the removing of weeds, bugs and a host of other considerations. The considerations are too many that even after you’ve done everything you can, you still need God.

Similarly discipleship relationships require patience, certain skills, training and the right attitude and timing. After all the Bible does say that people are like plants, more accurate like trees. In the end the task of disciple making is very much like gardening.

We prepare the soil, we sow the seed, water it, watch, nurture and care, but in the end God is the only one who can make it grow. In the next few weeks I will be posting insights on discipleship and gardening. It is my prayer and hope that these writings will inspire you to go to be a disciple who goes and makes disciples.

How to Overcome Distractions When Praying

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Discipleship and Jaguar

This is the last in a series of 7 posts on discipleship and cars.

I can still recall the day I opened the front door of our home and found a man standing beside a Jaguar XJ. There in the midday sun this classic racing green colored car glistened, it was no ordinary Jag, it was in mint condition, the kind collector’s drool over.

Then the man said something like: “My boss sent me here to give you this car.” You can just imagine how baffled I was about the whole thing. How often does someone send a car to your home, let alone a Jaguar?

As we talked I realized that a generous church member was donating it for our church building project. I called my wife, got in the car, prayed and thanked God for His provision through this man and his family.

Here’s the discipleship relationship interface in this story. The man who gave the car was a disciple. He was someone who was deeply involved in the life of the church.

How did that happen? He was in a discipleship relationship with several men who helped him with his walk with God. Eventually he gave his life to the Lord. Today his wife and 3 children are all disciples of Jesus.

But the story does not end there. His wife leads small groups that reach out to women (young and old) while he reaches out to business associates and friends. His children do the same and one of his sons has become a pastor.

Like cars disciples come in different shapes, sizes, models and colors. And like cars they have a purpose and a function. Disciples are there to go and make disciples.

They do that by reaching out to others with the love of God and by serving in various church ministries. I have also found that disciples who know what the Church is all about are some of the most generous people you will find.

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. Matthew 21:6

Prayer and Sailing