Tag Archives: Disciple

The Purpose Of Practice

What is the purpose of practice?   Practice means you haven’t mastered something yet, but are working on it.  Here’s a simple definition from the dictionary,

Practice-  repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency. 

It’s the work we do so it doesn’t look like it took any effort at all to do it.  It’s mastery of a skill.  Archers shoot hundreds of arrows at a target until they are able to hit the center with precision.  Gymnasts practice hours each day to make impossible feats of gymnastics seem effortless.

Practice makes a hack at the piano a master musician who draws thousands to hear him play.  When we say, “I wish I could do that.”  He would reply, “You can if you practice eight hours a day for about 20 years.”  Practice.  It’s the disciple we use to master something and become proficient at it.

My wife recently had surgery.  She didn’t look for a doctor who was new to this type of surgery. She looked for someone who had done thousands of them.  Why?  His practice had made him a master at this difficult procedure.

You get the idea, don’t you, but I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with all this.  I’m setting the stage for these amazing and often overlooked words from Jesus,

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”  -Jesus, Matthew 6

What he didn’t say is “don’t practice…”  He said be careful how and where you practice.  Then, for the rest of the chapter he deals with the things he wants any disciple to master by practice- prayer, giving, fasting, etc. What we often miss in the words of Jesus is this- you will be practicing these things to master them, just be careful where and how you do it.

Today some are revisiting the very idea of practice and it has many confused.  What this whole discussion is about is simply this- sanctification.  All of these things Jesus talks about in Matthew 6 are simply the disciplines of sanctification.  They are things we do to grow into Christlikeness.  And, clearly Jesus knew we needed practice so he gives us guidance to perfect our practice.

What’s the goal?  Hebrews 10:14-  “He has made perfect forever those who are becoming holy.”  The goal of practice is to become like the one who has saved us.  It’s the practice of perfecting godliness (2 Cor. 7:1)  and doing it intentionally that produces Christlikeness.*  Then, one day, after all your practice, you will hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

*A comment that will arise is this- “But what about the Holy Spirit’s work in us. You left that out.”  Yes, I left it out for brevity. I am very aware that godliness and Christlikeness must happen as the Holy Spirit works in us and with us, but for brevity and focus on the topic I left this portion of sanctification for another day.

Share Your Faith App

– Ever find it hard to share your faith?

– Felt tongue-tied and unsure of what to say next?

There’s an app for that!

And maybe this app is for you.

Check out this website, How To Share Your Faith, and download the app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android.

As Christ followers we are called to go and disciple those for His kingdom.

Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Modeling Christ

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” -Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:

Paul did something I have not seen others do.  He offered himself as the model of what a Christ follower should look like.  As I read these words this morning they once more stopped me to think about what that would look like in my life and yours.

Paul was so confident that he understood the Christ life and was living it that he invited others to follow him and imitate his life.  “Boys, just watch me and do it like I do it” would be Paul’s words to a young disciple.

It demands two important things in a life, 1. that you know what a life lived as an imitator of Christ looks like, and 2. that you are actually living that way.  It demands a clear map of the route and a confidence you are on the path as a disciple yourself…that you are in fact imitating Christ.

But this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing in our lives, isn’t it?  Dads, are you telling your sons and daughters, “just watch me live the Christian life and you will be ok”?  Pastors, are you inviting others to follow you around and imitate your life, your words?  You should!

Paul has given us the foundational principle of discipleship- modeling.  “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” are heady words to say to someone.  It means you must know where you are going, what it looks like, and actually be going the right way. It means you know that others are watching you, following you, imitating you.

If someone is imitating your life will they get it right? Will they be a follower of Christ or a deformed version of one?  Have you invited someone to imitate you as a Christ follower?  If not, what do you need to change? Where are you going that you wouldn’t want another to follow?  Are you modeling Christ for others to follow?

This is our greatest need in the church today…men and women following Christ and inviting others to imitate them in the way.  What do you need to change to make that offer to another?  Could it be that most of us don’t know where we are going in the first place?  If you have never offered this invitation to another what must you change to invite another to follow you?

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”  What an amazing invitation from the pen of Paul.  I’ve never been invited to follow another in this way, nor have I made the invitation.  I wonder what would change if we did…….

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Are You A Fan Or A Follower?

Not too long ago, we watched an amazing dvd series, now a movie, Not A Fan, produced by City On A Hill Studio. This movie takes you into the life, or rather death, of a man who finds himself confronting what was his life as a nominal Christian.

When Jesus said to ‘Follow Me‘, he was looking for completely committed followers, not just fans. He wants us to be all in, not just with our toes in the water at the edge of the pool. Meditate on these awesome verses and join in following the King of Kings!

  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 4:19
  • But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”  Matthew 8:22
  • As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.  Matthew 9:9
  • Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.   Matthew 10:38
  • Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
  • Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Matthew 19:21
  • Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.   Matthew 19:28
  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  Matthew 1:17
  • As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.  Mark 2:14
  • Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Mark 10:21
  • After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him,  Luke 5:27
  • Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23
  • He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Luke 9:59
  • Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”  Luke 9:61
  • And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:27
  • When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Luke 18:22
  • The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”  John 1:43
  • When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever followme will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12
  • My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27
  • Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.  John 12:26
  • Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”  John 21:19
  • Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  John 21:22

Watch this interview with Kyle Idleman, Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church, talk about what it means to go from being an enthusiastic admirer of Jesus to a completely and utterly, committed follower.

 

 

Visit their website for more testimonies at not a fan.

 

Interested in reading more what this means? Check out the book on Amazon…