Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our Call to Maturity and Laboring

One of our recurring events in our ministry is our Wednesday night dinner. We usually have some soldiers over for dinner where we either share the Gospel with them if they are non-believers or we challenge them on how they can take part in the labor that God wants us to be part of for the kingdom. I love to talk with soldiers or family members about how being a Believer in Christ means that I am also ‘drafted’ in to the labor for His kingdom in bringing people to Him or discipling young believers on how they can themselves become and grow into disciple-makers.
We just had 2 couples over for dinner last night and another single soldier and a young lady who has also been faithfully involved in the biblestudy and our ministry. I shared with them one of our driving thoughts from the Word with them about how we are called to pursue Christ and make disciples in accordance with Matthew 28:19-20.

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."

This is Christ’s last command to us and our job is to do this task of making disciples as well. This means me personally growing and maturing in my relationship with Christ. One of the things I shared was how Christ commanded the 12 disciples to teach others to obey ‘everything He has commanded them.’ Therefore, every subsequent generation of disciples or followers of Christ are supposed to learn and do everything that Christ had first commanded the original 12 disciples. Therefore- every believer of Christ after the disciples lives on with this ongoing command to make disciples- the command left to the original 12 disciples. As I shared this verse and this thought with our group last night- I related to them the idea of ‘Implied Tasks"- which is a military term. Implied tasks refers to the additional tasks that must also be accomplished in order to reach the first task. Our main task spiritually is to make disciples for Christ. Therefore- I, myself, must grow as a disciple. Therefore, some of the main tasks involved would be for me to invest time in doing biblestudy, personal time in the Word, personal time in prayer, and a real fellowship/discipleship relationship with someone who is objectively training me and helping as Christ did with His disciples.
Our concluding questions are:
  • How is your personal time in doing biblestudy? Are you involved in a biblestudy group where people are encouraging and challenging you in your time in the Word- your application of the Word and hiding God’s Word in your heart?
  • How is your time in prayer?
  • What is your fellowship time like? Is it just ‘hang out’ time after church? How much time are you investing in REAL fellowship relationships with others? Do you have anyone who asks you tough questions about how life is going? About how you are applying the Word? About how you are being obedient to God’s Word? About how you might be ‘dodging’ obedience to God’s Word?
  • Who is discipling you?

Obviously, these questions are not meant to pry or condemn - but simply a call to become what God wants us to become.... mature sons and daughters of the King.
And...... as Sons and Daughters of the King- the issue is for us to figure out how we are supposed to live as such....


  1. Hey Joe,
    this is good stuff and it makes me miss being at Campbell being trained daily to make an impact in other's lives as well as mine being impacted. I think I was ready for deployment in that I knew this was going to be tough. I dont think I was ready for how lonely it is ... Read Moresometimes here. There are Christians here, but they're sparse, and very tough to find. Work consumes me, I work 12 hours a day, so being able to invest in someone's life is next to impossible. Perhaps this is my issue, maybe I'm putting God in a box...when I really should be exalting at what he's got prepared for me. My dependance on God here is a much more real feeling. There is no avoidance of it. I'm constantly in need of him, and he's taking care of me. I am steadily reading, and I am praying. Discipleship is tough, i need to talk to JR more through emails. Anyway, thanks for all your love, support and prayers! Talk to you all soon!


  2. Ray,
    Great to hear from you dude. I have had similar discussions with guys about this same topic. The Great Commission is such a fundamental part of what it means to be a Christian- and yet many of us make it into something optional- as if Christ was saying in Matt 28:19-20 …. “if you have the time...” or …“if you have the chance”… or … “only if you are a pastor or preacher”… But the reality is that it IS what Christ has commanded us to do…
    In our particular circles, we DO train and disciple and help people progress in how they can take part in the Great Commission. So… many do have the same question you have “What do I do when I don’t have anyone to reach out to?” I ask soldiers that I’m discipling a similar but different type of question… “If you are in a position somewhere- where you can’t disciple someone- (say maybe at a guard post by yourself for months at time) does this mean you relationship with God goes downhill?” While the Great Commission is very outward focused- or others focused- I really believe that part of why Christ instituted the Great Commission was for OUR relationship with Him. People are on God’s heart and on Jesus’ heart as well. So, in order to truly know God and have an intimate relationship with Him- we must enter into what they are so passionate about- the business of people. Therefore- Christ says in John 15:13-17

    13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

    The kind of love that Christ wants us to DO for others is to give up our lives DOING the LOVE that Christ did for the disciples. That is to disciple others. And we see in this passage- Jesus is welcoming us into the “Family Business”… in this case the family business is not about making money- but working for ‘fruit that will last.' So… yes… Christ wants to bring us into this labor- but the issue is not only to bring the nations to Him- its also to bring US more and more closer to Him each day.
    The deal is that Christ wants you and me. Bringing us into the family business is another avenue that we might understand and relate more- just like an infantry soldier being able to relate to another infantry soldier of another unit- they may not be in the same unit- or even have been in the service at the same time- but since they are both infantrymen- they can relate and understand each other. The same falls true for us and Christ. For those who have embraced the Great Commission- we are able to relate with Christ on a far more intimate level that others who are not pursuing this command are simply unable to relate with. Not to say those who are not doing the Great Commission are not Christians or do not love Christ- but they will simply be unable to relate to Christ like those who are following the Great Commission. We can understand the frustration with Christ when He says “You don’t get it yet?” And we can truly understand Christ’s joy when He says “You believe at last!” Others may be able to understand this through an empathetic reading of the Gospels- but we will also have an experiential understanding of how Christ felt- because those who are involved in the Great Commission are attempting to do the same things Christ did in helping others come to deeper relationship with Him.
    But again- the issue is us and Christ. He wants us… so if you are in a position where you are unable to work with people- its alright. (again we’re talking if there’s no one around you to help- I’m talking if you are in a position where you don’t see people…) The issue is You and Christ. So continue in the Word- ask Christ some tough questions- sit alone as if you were having coffee with Him during your quiet time- this time is for you and Him.
    It is wisdom to see that maybe God is orchestrating this situation with you… so take it for what its worth and revel in it. God may eventually bring you someone or open your eyes to an opportunity that was formerly unavailable or unforeseen. Or even- God just wants to get some time with YOU.