Tuesday, March 3, 2020

3 Points on Disciplemaking




3 Points on the “Personal-Ness” of Disciple-making



Jesus accomplished many things with His ‘in the flesh’ visit to Earth so many years ago.  God wanted to ensure that The Father’s Message was put out clearly AND that it would continue.  He would not let His message be left to uncertainty- so… in order to make sure it got through AND that it continued- He sent His Son.  A VERY PERSONAL touch to this whole thing….



So… I wanted to share 3 points on Disciple-making that I’ve observed in the Life of Jesus.  These things we must continue and apply in order to ensure generations after us will continue walking with Christ and reaching the generations after them.



            First of all, Disciplemaking is about PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.  When Jesus first recruited the disciples- Jesus recruited them to BE WITH HIM- not to a program or to a class- but to enter into a personal relationship with Him. 



Matt 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

And again we see that similarly in

Mark 3:13-14 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve — designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach. 



The ‘MUST’ about having a personal relationship in a discipleship relationship is because information alone will NOT be the driving force that brings about change in a person’s life.  Consider this… Every box of cigarettes has a warning that warns people about the dangers of nicotine addiction and the potential for cancer and emphysema- yet so many are continuing to smoke.  Even more recently we had a craze (that luckily only lasted for several months) where people where eating Tide pods!  On every pouch and every box of Tide pods- there are warning signs about not allowing children to have them and that if ingested- you should call the poison control center immediately.  So, information alone, will not cause someone to change how they are living.



Jesus was calling us to change our lives- to change how we think- to change to become people who walk with Him.  Jesus said:



 Matt 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."



Repent used here is the greek word metanoeo . Which means to think differently or to reconsider.

Jesus wanted us to do this and NOT continue in our worldly ways.  The way this happens is if we open ourselves and are willing to make close relationships with disciplemakers who can and will speak into our lives and insert the Word so that we can ‘reconsider’ how we are living and how we are thinking and choose a different course- a course that is characterized by Jesus living in us. 



            But also, if we are making the choice to be in disciplemaking relationships with others- it gives us the opportunity to be impacted by the models that disciplemakers can imprint into our lives.



Acts 4:18-20 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."



Seeing Jesus’ boldness, seeing and experiencing Jesus teaching- for the disciples there was no escaping the power of His modeling to them. It is not a wonder, that although Jesus had left physically- they are continuing with the same work that Jesus had modeled in front of them.



This takes us to our Second Point- Disciplemaking is about Profound Impact.  The test of how much Jesus truly matters to us is not when we are making simple and superficial decisions- that is not what discipleship is about.  The Test to see if the roots of the Word are sinking in deeply into our lives because of Jesus’ influence on us through a disciplemaker- is seen through our Lordship decisions.  For the Believer- Jesus is the supreme rule and power and influence over our lives.  This doesn’t mean that we stop having our own emotions, thoughts, attitudes, dreams, etc.  But because the believer is submitting to the authority of Jesus- we ought to have a growing list of Lordship decisions in our lives where we are submitting our own thoughts, choices, and life decisions to the direction of our Lord.  Consider this…



Matt 4:21-22 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.



Ever thought to consider what Zebedee was thinking?  “Hey… where are you guys going?  There’s work to be done here!  Are you guys going to leave your old man here to handle all this work by himself?!”  Clearly, the bible DOESN’T show anything about this statement from Zebedee after James and John leave him to go along with Jesus.  But to not consider what is going on is to be na├»ve.  James and John were working in the family business with their father.  The probability of Zebedee’s expectation on them to continue with the family business after their father- probably pretty high.  But that is NOT what happened here.  They walked away from that.  And while in the Jewish culture- having the opportunity to study under the tutelage of a rabbi IS an opportunity that so many want- there is still the thought of leaving your family to pursue work with Jesus.  A tough decision that isn’t made lightly….  But for the Believer- there OUGHT TO BE demonstrated points where we are making these kind of decisions to meet God’s objectives and not our own.  If a person will build a track record in their life where they are CHOOSING to meet God’s objectives rather than their own- then God can use them mightily to affect everyone.  This brings us to our last point….



Disciplemaking is about Potential Impact for Generations.  Disciplemaking is not just a story about an individual- while it may start there- it ought to continue with the impact they have made on another person SO THAT this person would now impact another person for Christ.  Through this pattern of Discipling one person in such a way that they would then not only be able to disciple another- but that they would have the dedication to do it too- through this pattern of disciplemaking- we could reach the world for Christ.  This reminds me of a story told by John Crawford.  John Crawford was a WWII veteran and was reached by the Navigators.  He passed away several years ago- but before then he shared a story about Dawson Trotman- who started the Navigators ministry, had challenged him with making disciples.



 

Close…

Love that story…

John talks about how God can multiply our lives through Generation Discipleship- one person discipling another- and doing this in such a way- that this disciple not only has the know how- but now also has the commitment and dedication to Jesus Christ so that he now goes and disciples someone else too- That pattern continues today

Jesus started this pattern for us by discipling the 12 Disciples.  They in turn reached and discipled others…  and then during the next few more decades, the whole world had been reached for Christ.



What about us?  Wherever we are … whatever we may be doing… whatever circle we are in… God can use you to impact someone personally for Him… to Impact them profoundly to where they are making Life decisions that reflect a dedication to him… and to Impact generations of peoples who will impact other Generations as well. 



How do I start?

Start spending personal time in prayer and in the Word.

Find a mentor to disciple you…

Find someone you can begin to disciple…

The Quest begins…



Matt 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Choosing to be Entertained


Misunderstandings with God because we’re choosing to be Entertained

           

Going through The Gospel of John with our STS team and it is EXCITING!!  Also, I’m realizing more and more about how much I DON’T Know about God- How much I don’t really know Christ… therefore, I must keep pursuing Him and investigating or else, I will choose to follow ‘MY IDEA of GOD’ vs actually truly following Him.    

 
So… Just as a crime scene investigation team would look at the evidence, make observations, take pictures, samples, test samples, canvas the neighborhoods to ask questions etc…. they are trying to figure out what happened exactly.  Then… conclusion can be made that are MORE accurate- rather than just assuming what happened.


            I would say many of us that are Christians today DON’T do the same thing as far as pursuing Christ and following God.  We are perfectly comfortable going off of someone elses’ opinion on ‘what happened’ rather than taking the time and energy to investigate what really happened, what the Bible really says, what God has done, what Christ did, what Christ said….

            As I’m finishing up study in John 6 with our STS team at Ft. Campbell, I saw something interesting…

John 6:24- 33  Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[c]32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Observations:

·       The people searched after Jesus and wanted to see ‘Fireworks’- IE another miracle… (vs 30)

·       Jesus tells the people about God’s work- and then they immediately go to ‘We want to see a sign’-this response says… “I’m not interested in what you’re talking about- I want something else.”

·       If the people WERE interested in what Jesus was attempting to communicate, they would have asked further about God’s work and what our part is – but they did not…

·       Ultimately, the people were seeking to be entertained…

So… I wanted to share a thought with you from the rest of John 6…
Some conclusions as Jesus continues attempting to challenge and teach the people…
The People were seeking a ‘sign’, but really just looking to be entertained by miracles…
Jesus continues teaching and challenging, but the people entirely missed with Jesus was trying to teach and communicate because they were caught up with being entertained.  So… here are some of the points Jesus was trying to teach and challenge the people with…
·       Everyone who comes to Him, He will not drive away
·       He has come to do the Father’s will- not His own
·       The will of the Father is NOT to lose any that the Father has given Him
·       Everyone who looks to Christ will have eternal life
 Why am I making this point?  As I’m thinking through this whole thing, I’m trying to connect these dots.Here’s what I’m thinking…
IF I am only seeking to be ‘entertained’ by God- then I will entirely MISS and MISUNDERSTAND these points that Jesus was trying to communicate.  IF I am struggling through these points, have I been seeking God only to be ‘entertained’?  I don’t know…  I would love to hear your guys thoughts and would love to discuss these things with you guys…

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Leadership, Lordship, Laboring

We were blessed to have the opportunity to have Tom Yeakley join us as our keynote speaker this past April at the Cedarmore Retreat Center just outside of Louisville, KY.

Tom is one of 3 Sphere directors for the Navigators (vice-presidents) and has been very influential in the area of leadership development for the Navigators ministry- not only in the United States but also abroad.

One of the things that I walked away with continuing to think more about was on Tom’s 1st Message on the Privilege of Leadership.   The first part that generated MUCH healthy discussion was in the area of Leadership and ‘Followership’.  In our world today, leadership is looked upon in a very good way- but also ‘hyper-celebrated’.  This is done in such a way that the idea of ‘followership’ is really seems to have no value whatsoever.  But in God’s economy…. The follower AND the leader are BOTH valued highly.  Particularly in the military culture- this idea can be lost.  But as men and women who are pursuing God and helping others to pursue God while being immersed in a military culture- it is important to remember to keep God’s perspective on value.

Good teaching on leadership is a sought after issue for us- as many times it is a topic that just isn’t mentioned enough.  Therefore we were VERY grateful to have Tom and Dan Daetz come and join us for our conference and to talk about this topic.  Here are the 4 points Tom made in his first message.

4 Components of Good Leadership

1.     Set Direction

2.     Align Resources to Direction

3.     Inspire and Motivate

4.     Manage the Work of Others

I particularly enjoyed the 1st point on setting direction.  Setting Direction is the point that answers the ‘why’ we do what we do.  If we can’t help others to see the ‘WHY’ behind what we’re doing and what we’re trying to help others move toward- they won’t decide to do it.  They won’t put their own discretionary effort toward these goals.  But if we can help those we are discipling and leading in gaining clarity toward God’s objectives and goals- each young disciple can move forward with their own conviction, energy, and creativity in reaching the World for Christ.  Therefore, we must each continue to move forward in our own personal walk with God- so that we can continue to point people to Christ- the real, personal, God that we know.... not some distant God who is uninterested and uninvolved.  As we continue personally with Christ, we can connect those who God is allowing us to influence, to connect with Him personally as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Allowing The Word to Change Us/ Mature Us

‘Allowing’ God to Use The Word to Change Us/ Mature Us
            Had a great conversation just a few days ago with one of the guys involved with our ministry, Andrew Younkin.  Andrew is and active duty soldier and has been involved with us for almost 5 years.  He is getting set to PCS to Germany.
            As we got some talk time the other day, Andrew began to mention to me several things that he’s realizing about himself that he needs to grow, mature through, and get past.  One of them is the idea of leading through influence rather than attempting to control people.  We discussed that although soldiers have to follow the orders of those who are higher ranking than them- they HAVE to follow the orders of those who out rank them.  But, if leaders would not only use their rank and authority to direct soldiers- but also influence them toward goals and missions- then things would be accomplished not only in a more timely fashion- but also the subordinate soldiers would follow with greater involvement, engagement, and commitment.  This also applies in the spiritual realm as well. 
            We cannot control younger believers- even though we are discipling them.  We have to figure out how to influence them toward growing in the Walk with God. 
            The thing that was encouraging for me to see with Andrew was how he said, “I realize my tendency is to want to control people.  But I’m memorizing this verse to remind me how I’m not supposed to try to control people- but to try to influence them and set the example.”   This was the verse that Andrew was referencing:

1 Peter 5:2-3 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
Andrew began to mention a few more things that he saw that he was struggling with- but each time he pointed out a verse that he found in his Quiet time or a verse that Matthew Clark or Jeff Stone had shared with him.  And each time he said he was memorizing the verse in order to remind him about how God wants us to be a certain way- despite what his own tendency or personality might be.
This reminds me of another verse:

Psalm 119:9,11  How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your Word.  I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
The Psalmist said that he would ‘hide’ God’s Word in his heart/ memorize it so that it would help him to be obedient.  This word ‘hide’- actually means to ‘lurk’.  The word ‘lurk’ always makes me think of the the National Geographic Nature shows, where the lions would lurk in the tall grasses and attempt to pounce on some unsuspecting prey.  If we memorize God’s Word- the Word will ‘lurk’ in our hearts- waiting to pounce on temptation or situations where we are in trouble- and instead of pouncing on us in a bad way (like a lion killing its prey) the Word will pounce in on our hearts and minds- reminding us toward the way to obedience.
            In the end… just a great time talking with Andrew and watching how he is allowing the Word (and Allowing God)  and using the Word to shape and mold him toward spiritual maturity.  May we each continue forward in the same way that Andrew allowing God to grow him.  
 
 



















Andrew Younkin (bottom left) pictured with his roommates from the Guys house a few months ago.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Measuring Our Effectiveness

Measuring our Effectiveness


Wanted to take some time to have a friend of ours share a thought he shared with our STS team at Ft. Campbell a few weeks ago.  Matthew Clark is currently leading the Ft. Campbell Navigators ministry as I am coaching him as he is leading our ministry.  Matthew has done a great job of helping our ministry continue to progress in the depth and commitment level to in depth bible study.  He is also doing a great job of continuing to push the vision of discipleship that Jesus modeled for us.

Here are a few points that I asked Matthew to post on our blog to share with everyone...
Hope it stirs some good and challenging thoughts and applications as we move closer and closer toward the model that Christ left us.

 Recently I had a conversation with a fellow soldier and they were confessing to me the age old frustration. They were banging their heads against the wall in ministry but seeming to go nowhere. As we talked through the challenges of being a Christian in their unit and trying to be an example for Christ the inevitable phrase came out: “I am doing the best I can but no one in my unit seems to be interested in Christ.” As I drove the two and a half hours home that night this began to stir up a lot of thoughts in my head. I confess that I have often felt this way myself. As a young Specialist, newly arrived at Ft. Campbell, I was often frustrated that no one in my unit seemed to respond to me talking about Christ. I could easily throw my hands up and say that no one was interested. And I would wash my hands and say that I had done my best and move on.  But I have come across some verses that are worth consideration.

Matthew 9:37 – Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

John 17:20 - “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.

If God promises that the harvest is plentiful, and if He also promises that there will be those that believe through my word, then the question dramatically changes. No longer can I say that no one in my unit or sphere of influence is interested in Christ. Now I have to ask myself why am I am being effective in reaching out to them?
                Christianity is a very different culture from the World. And because of that we create a gaping chasm of a rift between the two worlds. Lots of things contribute to this gap; culture, values, purpose. In all reality we are living for very different things than the world is. And if we let it this can very easily alienate us and set the distance further and further away until we become irrelevant. Normally our approach is to invite people to church or to a bible study if they do not come then we throw our hands up and say, “Well I tried, they just weren’t interested.” But again if Jesus promises a harvest then either Christ is lying or we are using the wrong tactic. We expect those people to come out of their culture, their comfort zone, their family to take part in ours. What would persuade someone to want to cross this gaping chasm by themselves to take part in what is going on with us?
                In truth people will make this jump. But I argue that these are the people that are already desperate for Christ, people who are already relationally isolated, and people who are broken. Because these are the people that we are attracting to us it is no wonder that we spend massive amounts of energy bandaging them and taking care of them and very quickly lose an offensive and aggressive mindset. And although these people need Christ desperately I think we are losing the battle in long term influence by separating ourselves and only being attractive to the relationally isolated population.



                And first and foremost I do not think this is the model that Jesus left for us. Jesus did not remain on the fringes of society, drastically different, and expect everyone to come to Him. Jesus was attractive to them. Jesus went to them. And Jesus sent us to them.

Matthew 9:35 - And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.

Luke 10:1 - After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.

Jesus bridged this chasm leaving us an example of minimizing the distance people have to go. And He went to the world rather than expecting them to come to Him. Jesus’ example was to be close enough to the world to influence them but different and challenging enough to show them something different. But the most important thing is Jesus went to them.
Often times people are afraid to grab a beer with their fellow soldiers after work. They are afraid to go to a cook-out. Or they don’t know how to interact with the world because the divide is so far apart. But if we want to have a global impact and a lasting impact then these are fundamental skills we need to develop along with an understanding that we need to go to them, not the other way around. And it starts with me engaging one person in my unit, relating to him, and influencing him the way Jesus modeled.

God promises a harvest. So either God is a liar or we are becoming increasingly ineffective and irrelevant. Let’s look back at Jesus’ example and do what He did. Let’s go to the world instead of expecting them to come to us. And let’s influence one person and watch it grow exponentially.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NEW Creation... NEW Identity

Friends....

I'm excited to Introduce Caleb Tate- whom I asked to write up a few thoughts from something we discussed over IM the other day.  Caleb is prepping to deploy with the Army and although he is away from our fellowship, God is continuing to work out things in his life and help him grasp and understand truths that HE is trying to communicate with us.  I've asked him to be our guest blogger....  enjoy...

The following thoughts come from my recent experiences in dealing with my identity in Christ.  I believe God has revealed to me something profound.  While this may seem a small thing, my experience has been that when God drops a pebble in a still pond, the ripple can turn into a tsunami. 
 
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come".  I've had this passage memorized for several years.  The concept is pretty simple and easy to understand, but until recently, I haven't truly grasped onto this truth in order to apply it to my life.  Understanding that my identity comes from Christ is a big deal, and I've always known that, yet I never quite realized one small detail - that my identity is IN Christ.  This makes a couple of times now that God has chosen to reveal a profound truth to me in a verse of scripture that I've had memorized for quite some time (others include Ephesians 2:20 and Isaiah 53:6).  I knew that two things needed to happen: I needed to stop viewing myself as I always have, and I needed to begin to view myself as God does (through the blood of Jesus).  These two things were as easy for me as explaining string theory.  I didn't understand how to just switch perspectives simply by reading in the Word how God looks at His children. 
 
People can respond in many ways in conversations.  They either don't care about the other person in the slightest, they only talk to the other person because the circumstance happens to have both of them in the same place at the same time, or they are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say.   Very recently, as I lay down to sleep, I was having a bout of loneliness and I knew that I needed to pray on it. The idea that God wants me to talk with Him has always been foreign to me.  This fact was frustrating to me at that particular time as I lay there.  I knew that my upbringing wasn't the most conducive to me having an accurate understanding of who God is and how He views me.  I've known that for quite some time.  What I did not know was that I had not properly dealt with it.
 
I woke up early the next morning and did pray.  I can't remember exactly how the prayer went, but I thought about all the events that were burned in my head that helped to shape my current identity.  The gist of what God showed me is this: I don't need to hang on to those memories.  I'm not talking about God magically erasing those memories from my brain, I'm talking about asking God to heal the scars and the pain that the memories continue to cause.  Jesus healed all kinds of people when He was here in human form, and He continues to heal people today, but for whatever reason, I never thought to ask Jesus to heal me.  What does Jesus say to people? "Go in peace, your faith has made you well."  I guess I just thought that the emotional pain and scars were just a normal part of life.  That morning God showed me that it isn't.  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come."  Unfortunately, in my Bible the phrase, "the old has gone", is not bolded, italicised, and underlined, but that's what the Holy Spirit is there for at the proper time.  Matthew 7:16, "By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?"  In this passage Jesus is talking about the difference between a true prophet and a false one  but I believe this principle can be applied here.  Grapes do not grow on thornbushes.  If I want to have an accurate understanding of who I am in Christ (grapes), it can't come from my current way of thinking (thornbush).  The thornbush must be uprooted: the old has gone.  The roots are the memories.  The unfortunate scenes in my head that shape how I think and bring legitimate pain must be properly put to rest.  I've written down specific events and memories from my past to ask God to heal.  "Your faith has healed you, go in peace." 
 
This process is not like a substitution in a basketball game.  It is better compared to an actual thornbush being chopped down at the root.  A shovel is needed to pick out bits of root and rock from the dirt so the soil is fertile for the new seed to be planted.  Water, sunlight, and time bring about the new identity.  This process will not happen automatically; deliberation is key.  God knows this process isn't easy, but I think that may be why He invented the gift of hope. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Making God Centered Decisions

Making God-Centered Decisions
            Life is about making decisions … so how is a person who is trying to follow Christ, able to negotiate decisions in life that will definitely bring blessings or consequences?


I'm going to digress for a bit....

I’m thoroughly enjoying our STS/Character study about the Life of David.  David was an ordinary person- that reckoned that God would be with him.  As a result- he does marvelous things.  As a result of following God and being more concerned about what God thinks of him- he makes tough choices that reveal a character about him that God says how David is a “man after my own heart.”  (1 Sam 13:14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command."   NIV)
            One of the things that caught my attention this past week from my study that has really impacted me and is causing me to rethink how I think about decisions and talking to God about them….This is the  passage that has gotten me thinking…

1 Sam 26:1-12 The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, "Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?" 2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search there for David. 3 Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the desert. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, 4 he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived. 5 Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him. 6 David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, "Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?" "I'll go with you," said Abishai. 7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him. 8 Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won't strike him twice." 9 But David said to Abishai, "Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives," he said, "the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord's anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let's go." 12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul's head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep. NIV

(I’ll tell you in a little bit why I highlighted this last verse) 

So… David is being chased down by Saul.  God makes the entire Israelite camp fall asleep.  This gives David and Abishai a great opportunity to sneak down into the camp and finish off the man who is causing him so much trouble and heartache.  David and Abishai stand over king Saul and Abishai tells David this is the chance to finish off his enemy and God has given him the chance.  Abishai says he will run him through with his spear- “I won’t need to do it twice,” Abishai says.  But, David is convicted.  He cannot be part of such an act and decision.  David chooses the high road and instead chooses to take the king’s spear and water jug as a testament that he was there and had the opportunity to kill the king- but didn’t.
            This is my point….
            God made the entire Israelite camp fall into a deep sleep- EVERYONE.
            So God engineered this opportunity for David to kill the king.
            GOD MADE THIS OPPORTUNITY!!
            David entered the camp.  David saw the opportunity.  David ……..   did NOT kill the king.  David proves his character before God, before the men, before himself.
           
It wasn’t just enough to have an opportunity or an open door.  The issue for David was to have the kind of character that would CHOOSE the high road, the Godly decision (even though it meant prolonged trouble, discomfort, pain).  David saw the open door and was able to make a BETTER decision.
            
My conclusion and application:
·         Don’t pray for opportunities or open doors- pray for the character to know what decision to make

That is my hope and prayer for me, my family, my friends, and our ministry.
No doubt someone out there is feeling a little upset or insecure about the idea of not praying for opportunities or open doors-  I’m not intending in any way to attack or demean those who do (I have prayed for these opportunities and open doors too) 
My point is that I believe it takes a higher degree of commitment to Godlike character to pray for Christ like wisdom- so that I can make God centered decisions in the face of these decisions throughout my life.  Just like David, just because the door was open, doesn’t mean that I MUST take it.  David had the opportunity to take the open door (in this case, end the man who was hunting him down).  But, David doesn’t take the open door and instead, he proves his God like character.


Lord… May you bless me, my family, my friends, and those who’ve partnered with us in our ministry, that we can all display your wisdom and God like character in the face of life’s decisions…  Amen.