“The Value of Life”

During World War II, German Nazis imprisoned about 7 to 8 million people, mostly European Jews, in 22 concentration camps. By 1945 they had murdered about 6 million of the inmates. Some were killed by firing squads, others died of starvation or as a result of experiments performed on them by German doctors and scientists, and most died in poison gas chambers.

When Allied forces liberated the camps in 1945, they found them littered with thousands of unburied dead, and the majority of the survivors were suffering from disease or starvation.

Major camps included Dachau, Buchenwald, Flossenbürg, Mauthausen, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Natzweiler, Gross-Rosen, Stutthof, Lublin, Hinzert, Bergen-Belsen and, for women, Ravensbrück,

German law at the time legally considered Jews as “not fully human.” They were classified as a “sub-human” species. Legally speaking, they were “non-persons.”

If I went hunting and I saw a bald eagle and shot it, would I be guilty of killing a protected species? Yes. Would the law punish me if I were caught? Yes.

Who decides that I killed a protected species? The government. What makes a bald eagle a protected species? The law. Who makes the laws? Other men. How do we determine that a life has value? Who makes that decision?

The German opinion in 1933 said that Jews were not human. The German government was stronger than the Jews and their opinion prevailed for many years. But it was not right.

Article I of the Constitution of the United States of America stated that African-American’s counted as only three-fifths of a person. This was not repealed until the 14th Amendment in 1865. So, before 1865, could I say that African-American’s were not fully human? Would it be right? No.

Here is the truth: There is only one opinion that matters in relation to you having value…God’s. People who do not believe in God can’t offer any objective reason for saying that they have value as a human being. Everything is subjective – one person’s opinion against another person’s opinion – and the strongest person’s opinion wins. Subjective means I believe something because I “feel” that it is right. It is my own opinion.

However objective means that we are not dealing in opinions or feelings. We are dealing in facts, pure and simple. No-one objects when an animal kills another animal. When a wolf kills a deer, it’s no problem. Without God, we are no different than animals.

The Bible says…

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

God created man and breathed the breath of life into him. Man is God’s creation.

Isaiah 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

God saw fit to create man in his own image and likeness. God made us. We did not make God. God is not a human idea! He is a universal truth.

A man once said that God made man in His image, and man has been trying to return the favor ever since! I believe that our biggest mistake is to try to make God like us, instead of us trying to be more like God. There are groups of people who build whole doctrines on the belief that God is like them. God is black or God is white or God is yellow. All for the purpose of making God so like them, and so unlike someone else.

May I tell you that I do not care what color God is? If the Lord God Almighty is black, then PRAISE THE LORD!!! He is my God!!! If the Lord God Almighty is yellow, then PRAISE THE LORD!!! He is my God!!! If the Lord God Almighty is purple, then PRAISE THE LORD!!! He is my God!!! And if the Lord God Almighty is white, it doesn’t matter to me. I am no more like Him than if He was black, or yellow, or purple. PRAISE THE LORD!!! He is my God!!!

I do not serve a white God. I do not serve a purple God. I serve a LIVING GOD!!! I will serve the Lord with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my mind. My eyes cannot even conceive of His beauty. I cannot imagine. I will not dare to compare myself to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! I am content to be called His servant, and blessed to be called one of His sons. That is enough for me.

I believe that man has value to God, because he saw fit to create us. He did not have to, but it pleased Him.

Genesis 1:27-31 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God said that everything He had made was “very good.”

Revelation 4:10-11 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We were created for His pleasure and to bring glory to Him. There was no second class of people in this creation. He made man and he made woman and he instructed them to multiply. Every man, woman, and child on the earth came from these two people. Every black man, every white man, every red man, every yellow man. The same bloodline. God gave life to us all.

Acts says He “made of one blood all nations.”

Act 17:22-26 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Make no mistake; you are special to God. God did not make any mistakes. Because you have sinned, does not make you any less important to God. He sent His Son to redeem you. His Son died for each of you. If there is anything in your heart that judges another man’s worth, put it out! Do not think any less of your fellow man than God does.

Jesus gave two commandments…

Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

I can’t truly say, “I love you” if I look down on you or think you are less than a man. Followers of Christ, love each other, care for each other, think well of each other. Do not separate yourselves for any reason. Each of you is precious to God. He has loved you since before you were born. And since we are precious to God, we should treat each other that way.

We are one people. One bloodline. One family. One body of Christ. Show the world the love of God through the love you have for each other.

Testimony: “Afterlife Without End”

My life began to spiral out of control as a young child, Major depression and schizophrenia afflicted me at a young age, and by the age of 16 I was put in a mental institution. This would be the first of many trips. By the time I was 17 years old I was hooked on drugs. There did not seem to be any hope in my life. I was caught up in demonology and witchcraft; using drugs and alcohol; and hearing angry voices because of my disease. I struggled with suicide almost daily. Prison or death did not seem far off. Luckily for me, death was not my sentence. At 17 I was involved in a murder and was sent to ‘prison with Life without parole. The prosecutors had asked for the death penalty, but the jury voted for Life. For my first few years in prison I was a searcher, looking for some kind of meaning. I studied Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and several other obscure religions looking for something meaningful, but I could not find it Finally, I found the Truth. Jesus Christ came into my life and saved me and I became a Christian. Peace and joy flooded my life. For the first time in my adult life I did not want to die. For the first time in my adult life I was truly happy, even in prison, I embraced Christ, got a job working in the Chapel, and started to enjoy the true Serenity that comes for being a child of God. I’ve been working in the Chapel for over a decade now, and I still have that same peace that I had when I first I started. I still have Life Without Parole, but I also have Afterlife Without End, and that’s what’s most important. My prayer is that everyone may eventually find what I have found ….. the love of Jesus Christ.

This is a testimony of an incarcerated brother inside the facility that I serve in.

Darkness vs. Light

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:11-14
We currently live in a world that is engulfed in darkness. We can look around us daily and see all the unfruitful works that are being done. But we over time have become callused to this darkness and may not even think about the negative effect it can have on our lives and our families lives. In fact we might often find ourselves without thought partaking in this darkness! So what is the darkness of this world? Darkness in the Bible represents sin and death! Paul in Ephesians 5 tells us to not take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but to rather expose it! Have we as Christians adapted to the darkness around us or are we exposing it?

Many of us Christians take either one of two choices when encountered by the darkness of this world and I believe that our Bible speaks directly against both of these choices. The first choice many make when pressured by the worlds darkness is to engage in it, so that we aren’t seen as being odd or different. Christians we are to be different from the world, our lives are to be the light of this world! Ephesians 5:8 says that at one time we were darkness (part of this world), but now we are light in the Lord and since we are now light we are to walk as children of light. We are not to fit in with the darkness around us! Is the peer-pressure of this world making you blend in with its darkness?

The second choice Christians often make when encountered by darkness is to shrink back and hide from it, I believe Paul continues to address this in Ephesians 5:11-14. He says we are to expose darkness rather than shrink back and hide from it. Paul in this passage makes it plain that living apart from the darkness does not mean withdrawing completely from the world. Instead, walking as children of the light means not engaging in the sins of the unbelieving culture but to engage into the lives of those in the world around us. When it comes to interacting with the world, we are not forbidden from making friends with those who are in darkness; rather, we are forbidden from acting in ways that displease God.

Interestingly, Paul explains that we are not to take merely a defensive stance against dark deeds and stay away from them. Our approach must be offensive — we are to “expose” unfruitful works of darkness. That which is hidden in the darkness can be revealed only when light shines on it, and by walking in Christ we shine the light of holiness on the dark recesses of this world. Our efforts to live sanctified lives stand in stark contrast to the evil of our fallen culture, thereby exposing the world and its darkness. Our preaching of the gospel goes hand in hand with such living so that those whose deeds are exposed might know that they will escape the darkness if they come to Jesus. Don’t be afraid to stand up for Jesus! Don’t shrink back when the world comes to your doorstep, expose it!

Only two responses can follow such exposure. Many will hate the light and those whose lives provide the illumination, and they will try to stamp out the light and silence the church. Others will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and see the darkness of this world and its deeds. The light of God that shines through us both illumines and transforms, exposes and cleanses. Christians, instead of falling for either of the choices listed above, let us continue to become ever brighter lights as we, through confession and repentance, expose our sin to God and flee from it.

“GOD’S GOT THAT”

If God Brings You “TO” It, He Will Bring You “THROUGH” It

I don’t know about you, but that term “going through” something has a very encouraging implication. When I think about “through” I think about going in, but the assurance that I will come out on the other side! I think about a car wash: you drive in the entrance, your car is carried through the washing process, and it comes out on the other side – clean. Truth is, whether you are a Christian or not, you are going to go through some things. Adversity is a part of life. If there were no problems, then there would be no need for problem solving skills. I believe that a person who is blind has no concept of the color green; or the person who is deaf cannot understand the singing of the birds. Just in the same way, a person cannot truly relish victory unless they have experienced defeat at some point. We all have troubles, we all have problems and we all have hard times. The difference is, the person who is in relationship with God does not have to go through those things alone.

Isaiah 43:1-7 says, But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

This passage starts off But now – This expression shows that this chapter is connected with the preceding. The sense is, “Though God has punished the nation, and showed them his displeasure in Isaiah 42:24-25, yet now he will have mercy, and will deliver them.”

That created thee – The word ‘thee’ is used here evidently in a collective sense as denoting the Jewish people. It is used because the names ‘Jacob’ and ‘Israel’ in the singular number are applied to the people.

Now you may be thinking, “I’m not a Jew, nor of the tribe of Jacob, so this doesn’t apply to me.” I want to look at who Jacob was: He was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. God made some promises to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3: Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

And maybe you think that’s all good for Abraham, but let’s take a look at Galatians 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So, I want to point out that the promises God made to Abraham applied to Jacob, this promise to Jacob is proof of God fulfilling that promise, and this passage in Galatians shows that promise even now being fulfilled toward us: IF you are in Christ, if you are a born again believer!

True enough, we are not Jews, WE ARE THE CHURCH! Not only do we have the promises that God made to Abraham, we have a far better covenant that is sealed with the blood of God’s own Son.

GOD PUNCTUATES HIS WORD Part 2

GOD PLEDGED HIS LOVE TO US (and God cannot lie!):

Isaiah 43:4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. PERIOD

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. PERIOD

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. PERIOD

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
PERIOD

Yet, we think we are unlovable; we act as though something is wrong with us and our deformity disqualifies us from love. We think the things we’ve done puts us off limits. BUT GOD LOVES US SO MUCH. HE WASN’T CAUGHT OFF GUARD BY OUR SINS AND BAD DECISIONS; HE’S ALREADY MADE PROVISION.

If you can just get a revelation of God’s love for us it will change your life forever!

GOD PLEADS WITH, AND EMPOWERS US TO LIFE FOR HIM:

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. PERIOD

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. PERIOD

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. PERIOD

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
PERIOD

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. PERIOD

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. PERIOD

All things are new; this includes our ability to walk upright before the Lord! Yet, we’ll claim, “I’m only human, it’s my nature to sin and do wrong

GOD PROMISED US AND PROVIDED THE VICTORY:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. PERIOD

Wait a minute, this scripture says, “WE KNOW” all things work together for the good…

WE KNOW – when you lose a job even though you’ve worked hard.

WE KNOW – when you make a bad decision and the consequences of it haunt you for years to come.

Notice the scripture doesn’t say everything will work out just like we want it to. But all things work together for the good.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him that loved us. PERIOD

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which GIVETH US THE VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ. PERIOD

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always CAUSETH US TO TRIUMPH in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. PERIOD

Philippians 4:13 I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me. PERIOD

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, than he that is in the world. PERIOD

GOD SAID IT, THAT SETTLES IT! Yet, some still allow fear and uncertainty (UNBELIEF) to take them captive. They allow circumstances to cause them to doubt God’s Word and they live a defeated life, even though they don’t have to.

If you are in a place right now and don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then your end Punctuation Mark is still a Question Mark.

Jesus said, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but by me.” PERIOD

If you don’t know Him, there are only two (2) promises in the Bible for you:

1. If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED. PERIOD

IF YOU ACT ON THIS PROMISE, THEN EVERY OTHER PROMISE IS YOURS ALSO. However, if your refuse Jesus, the second promise is:
2. When you die, you will end up in a devil’s hell that was never intended for you.

THE BIBLE IS CLEAR:

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

GOD SAID IT. You will do this one day, one way or another; it’s up to you which side of eternity you do it on.

If you would like to read part 1 click on “God Punctuates His Word.”

GOD PUNCTUATES HIS WORD Part 1

I have been thinking recently about God’s Punctuation. I’m sure we all remember something about Punctuation from when we were in school. We remember:

QUOTATION MARKS (“ ”) – mark the beginning and ending of an exact quote; what exactly was said.

COMMAS ( , ) – are used to show separation of words, or groups of words; also signify a “pause”.

EXCLAMATION POINTS ( ! ) – are used to show forceful utterance or strong emotion.

QUESTION MARKS ( ? ) – used at the end of a sentence to indicate a direct question.

PERIODS ( . ) – are used to mark the end of a declarative statement.

So what does this have to do with the Bible? I would like to make my point that even before there was an English language, God used Punctuation to clarify and make His Word distinct. When God promised He wouldn’t destroy the world again by water, He punctuated that promise with the RAINBOW. When He promised Abram that he would be the “father of many nations”, He punctuated that promise by changing Abram’s name to Abraham; and by allowing Abraham’s barren wife to become pregnant in her old age. When God promised the Israelites that He would lead them out of Egypt and would be with them, He punctuated it by going before them in a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. God punctuated that Jesus was indeed His Son by speaking directly from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” When Jesus declared that His work was finished and gave up the Ghost, God the Father punctuated it by the veil of the temple tearing from TOP To BOTTOM, and an earthquake. God punctuated the arrival of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, by a mighty rushing wind, and cloven tongues of fire.

God’s punctuation is FINAL and BINDING! As a matter of fact, all through the Bible, God has made promises, declarative statements, and punctuated them with a period. Let’s look at some of them.

Psalms 7:10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. PERIOD

Psalms 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. PERIOD

Psalms 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. PERIOD

Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. PERIOD

Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. PERIOD

Psalms 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. PERIOD

Psalms 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. PERIOD

Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. PERIOD

Psalms 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. PERIOD

Psalms 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. PERIOD

Psalms 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. PERIOD

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. PERIOD

Proverbs 11:25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. PERIOD

Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. PERIOD

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. PERIOD

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. PERIOD

Proverbs 18:16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. PERIOD

Proverbs 18:20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. PERIOD

Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. PERIOD

Proverbs 21:21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. PERIOD

Proverbs 22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend. PERIOD

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. PERIOD

Isaiah 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. PERIOD

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. PERIOD

Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. PERIOD

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. PERIOD

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. PERIOD

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. PERIOD

GOD PUNCTUATES HIS WORD. IT’S TIME FOR US TO QUIT PUTTING OUR QUESTION MARKS BEHIND GOD’S PERIODS!!! GOD SAID IT, AND THAT
SETTLES IT!!! HE SAYS WHAT HE MEANS AND HE MEANS WHAT HE SAYS!

Disciple-Making Is Ordinary Christianity

The following is an article I recently read written by Erik Raymond. As you read this keep in mind you can not be a disciple-maker without first being a disciple. When I think of the so called Christianity today, I am often reminded by the question Author Kyle Idelman poses in his book “Not A Fan.” Are we a fan or a follower of Christ? If we are a follower (disciple) of Christ than disciple-making should be ordinary Christianity.

What is your job as a Christian? If God gave you a job description for the Christian life, what would he put on it?

At the core of the Christian’s job is the task of discipleship. We read this clearly in our Lord’s preascension words:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:18–20)

What does it mean to make disciples? A disciple is a learner and a follower of Jesus. When we make disciples we are working to see people who do not follow Jesus come to follow him (conversion) and then teaching them to faithfully follow Jesus in every area of their lives (maturity).

Many Christians hear this and file it away in a cabinet of idealism. Sure, I’d like to disciple people but I really can’t. They feel like discipleship is above their pay grade. Is this true? Is discipleship something that only pastors, elders and the “mature” do? Or is it for everyone?

Here is my main point: disciple-making is ordinary Christianity. It is fundamental to it. Like learning to count and say your alphabet in the natural realm, there is scarcely any part of the Christian life where discipleship does not touch. In so far as Christianity is a community faith, it is a disciple-making faith.

There may be a dozen different paradigms flying around when you hear discipleship. Some people insist on reading a book, meeting for coffee, eating a meal, working out, etc. All of these may aid the work of discipleship but they are not a prerequisite for or the necessary substance of it. Jesus never gave us a program for discipleship but he gave us his example and a broad, far-reaching command to do it. As a result, we have great freedom and a great burden for discipleship.

What does it look like? When Jesus commands us to make disciples he intends for us to live our lives in obedience to him in the presence of other people (believers and unbelievers). This intentional living seeks to show others the worth and the power of Christ. In short, we let people in to see how we live out the Christian faith.

Let me give you some examples:

Discipleship happens when a guy wants to be married but doesn’t have a game-plan for how to go about it. He asks another brother for guidance and help. This brother takes him out for lunch and talks through some biblical and practical principles. He then commits to pray for him, to be available for questions, and to meet occasionally to talk about his progress.

Discipleship happens when a mom with two toddlers drops something off that she borrowed from another sister at church. During the exchange they get to talking and the young mom expresses her feelings of fatigue and failure to measure up to her perceived standards of motherhood. The other woman listens to her, reminds her of Scripture, prays with her, and then continues to come alongside of her for encouragement in the gospel.

Discipleship happens when a dad points out a scantily dressed lady and tells his teenage sons that what they see is not beauty. He explains to them what beauty is as it relates to God’s character and will. He continues to tell, show, and emphasize the true beauty that God delights in (1 Pt. 3:3–4).

Discipleship happens when a brother notices another brother is running hard after his job and neglecting his family and ministry. He comes alongside of his brother to remind him of the true and lasting treasure, and the proper perspective on work.

Discipleship happens when a mom is at the park with her children. At one point the kids become unruly and she patiently, graciously but faithfully, disciplines her children. There are many watching eyes around her. Both the believing and unbelieving women are intrigued. Conversations begin and soon the fruit of the Spirit points to the matchless worth of Christ.

Discipleship happens when a home-school mom breaks away with free time only to go to the same coffee house hoping to make new friends and open doors for sharing the gospel.

Discipleship happens when a single woman senses another single woman’s discontentment in being single. She makes it a point to come alongside of her for encouragement in the goodness of the gospel.

These are just everyday, ordinary occurrences. In fact, I picked them from the ordinary lives of people in our church family. It is this ordinary work that pushes the church ahead toward maturity while protecting her from spiritual shipwreck.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Heb. 3:13–14)

Discipleship is the ordinary practice of believers. You could say that Christianity is more than discipleship, but it is not less. We are our brother’s keeper. It’s in the job description.

Virus Protection

I recently woke up one morning to my computer blocked by a virus that crept past my firewall. I was clearly upset as I spent $100 and 5 hours getting my computer back to where I was able to use it. Later as I thought about that incident I wondered how many virus’s we as Christians have left through our spiritual firewalls. The Truth today is often watered down to the point that many don’t know what the truth really is. We are quick to repeat phrases heard spoken by men we respect and often never check it with the Word of God. The messages that come across our pulpits range from “Accept Christ and prosper on this earth” to “Surrender your life to Christ and serve Him as Lord.” Repentance is a thing of the past, humility has become a sign of weakness, and holiness is now no more than a word.

Because of our lack of truth we have embraced a cross-less message, professing Christ without the desire to be like Him. Christian marketing experts have discovered that more people are drawn to a message that emphasizes the love of God and de-emphasizes His judgment. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 says “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.”

What has happened, are we allowing a virus in our churches? What many churches in America are offering is a new religion that guarantees no hell and requires no holiness. I pray that we as Christians rise up and take up the armor of God and stand firm against this pollution. The one who is behind this virus is the devil and he offers a gospel that makes no demands, expects no sacrifice, and yields no eternal rewards—except eternal separation from God!

What happened to gut-wrenching examination of their hearts and lives? Where is the acknowledgment of sin and rebellion? Where is “the sorrow that is according to the will of God [which] produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…”? Where is the true repentance that dethrones self as the master of the person’s life and bows in submission to the lordship of Christ? This is the message of Bible.

James 1:27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless
and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Christianity is giving
ones self without expecting anything in return. Christ did not come to this earth to live, but to bring life,
to give His life. Christianity is not about us but about God, our purpose on this earth is not to prosper
ourselves but to serve. If we are to put an end to this virus, we need to surrender our lives to Christ,
pick up our Bibles (Virus Protection), serve our Lord in the purpose of Discipleship, and block this
virus from taking over our churches. I pray we as Christians would sell out our lives to the service of
our Lord.