Thursday, October 08, 2015

Ministry at the Cost of Discipleship

Great article by Tim Catchim over at V3.
As I talk with various church leaders, I am discovering a common misunderstanding about the difference between ministry and disciple making.
Describing the difference between disciple making and ministry is kind of like describing the difference between a square and a rectangle. A square can be a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square. They both have four right angles and four sides. Which is why they are often lumped into one another. However, only the square has four sides of equal length.
Applying this to ministry and discipleship, you can do ministry without making disciples, but you can’t make disciples without doing ministry, or at least not the way Jesus made disciples.

Ministry wasn’t enough for Jesus

Think about it like this: Jesus could have taught every parable, healed the sick, raised the dead, embarrassed the Pharisees, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and ascended back to the Father, all by himself. However, if it weren’t for the 12 disciples, we probably would have never heard anything about it!
The truth of that matter is this: Jesus wanted to build more than a dynamic ministry, he wanted to build a movement. In order to build a movement that outlives the founder, a transfer has to be made from the founder to the followers. In other words, you have to make disciples. Ministry is not enough.


Some churches have dynamic ministry going on, which is great! God will move when we obediently serve people. But without disciple making, it will never be become a movement. In fact, without disciple making the scope and impact of your ministry will be limited. After all, who is going to lead those ministries? Who is going to lead the people that those ministries reach? Without making disciples, you will not be able to develop leaders, and without leaders, ministry can only go so far.

Ministry or Disciple-Making?

So how do you know if you are making disciples instead of just doing ministry? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  1. Who in your church is making disciples? What are their names? If you can’t name the people who are making disciples, it’s probably not happening.
  2. Do those you have named as disciple makers know that they are making disciples? If they don’t know they are making disciples, it’s probably not happening.
  3. What are the names of the people who are being discipled by those disciple makers? If the disciple makers can’t name the people they are discipling, then discipleship is probably not happening.
  4. Do the people who are being discipled by those disciple makers know they are being discipled by them? If not, then discipleship is probably not happening. The 12 disciples knew they were being discipled by Jesus.
  5. How do you know when the one who is making disciples has actually made a disciple? If you don’t know how to answer this question, then discipleship is likely not happening. Jesus said in John 17 that he had finished the work the Father had given him to do. He knew when his work with the 12 was completed.
If you don’t know how to answer these questions, then you are likely not making disciples the way that Jesus made disciples.
After all Jesus, was the best disciple maker…ever. It’s hard to improve on what he did.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

When Your Spouse Lets You Down

This great article comes from Family Life - Canada.
Seven steps to letting go of hurt and disappointment.
by Dr. Dave Currie with Glen Hoos
"Forgive and forget." It's a well-worn cliché—one that is easier to say than to practice.
If you're married, you've been there. Your spouse has said or done something that has wounded you. It may be something small, or it may be a major betrayal. Either way, your pride screams at you to take revenge. If you don't strike back immediately, you at least want to keep this "guilt card" in your pocket, to be pulled out at a later date: "Oh yeah, well what about the time when you ..."
When we've been offended, the last thing we want to do is to let it go. And yet, if our desire is to have a healthy, lasting marriage, that is exactly what we've got to do. Here are seven suggestions to keep in mind when your spouse lets you down:
1. Agree on a time to talk. If you need to talk to your spouse about something, don't just corner him or her and launch in unexpectedly. That is a recipe for hostility. Instead, agree together on a time to discuss the issue. That gives each of you a chance to think about it in advance, which will result in a more productive discussion.
2. Handle negative emotions responsibly. When we react emotionally, we often say and do things that we later regret. In many cases, it is best to delay the discussion until you've settled down, gained a proper perspective, and prayed about your attitude. This will allow you to go into it looking for a solution, rather than just being consumed with your own hurt.
As partners, you need to respect each other's need to "take five." If your spouse needs to wait a few minutes, or even a day or two, to cool down, don't press the issue. This should not be used as an excuse to avoid the discussion entirely, but it is better to take some time to clear your head than to allow your emotions to take you somewhere that you don't want to go.
3. Deal with one issue at a time. Remember that "guilt card" we mentioned earlier? Once you're into the discussion, you will be tempted to pull it out. Soon, your conversation has deteriorated into a long list of offenses, as you try to outdo one another with everything that the other person has ever done wrong. This only intensifies the conflict and deepens the divide between you. It can also be overwhelming to be presented with a massive list of things that need to change. Instead of being motivating, it's discouraging.
Instead, be content to solve one problem at a time. It is much better to make serious headway in one area of your relationship than to simply rehearse everything that needs fixing.
4. Be clear about your perspective. Give each other some uninterrupted time to share your concerns. If you are just trading barbs back and forth, neither of you will really be hearing the other—you'll be too busy thinking about your next comeback.
When it is your time to talk, try to help your mate understand your hurt or frustration. Help them to see why their actions and words had the impact that they did. Likewise, the offending spouse should have the opportunity to explain their words or behavior. It could be that you have misinterpreted their motives, and when this is cleared up it goes a long way toward solving the problem.
5. Hold your relationship more dear than this issue. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our feelings or our "rights" that we lose sight of the bigger picture. People joke about marriages breaking up over toothpaste and toilet paper disputes, but it really happens! Remember that your relationship is the primary concern. You may have some issues to sort out, but you still love one another—and loving one another often means letting the other person be right.
6. Walk in an attitude of forgiveness. If you are going to live with this person for the next 20 ... 30 ... 50 years, you are going to have to forgive one another many times. You cannot afford not to forgive. Unforgiveness not only hurts your spouse, it also hurts you! As Corrie ten Boom said, "Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, only to find out that the prisoner was me."
This brings us back to the issue of forgiving and forgetting. In truth, there are some hurts that you will never be able to forget. What is more important is that we choose to let it go. Proverbs 17:9 says, "He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends." Forgiveness entails giving up your right to punish your spouse—whether through direct retaliation or just letting bitterness fester.
Over the past year, I have discovered the value of "advance forgiveness." I make a conscious decision that, the next time my wife, Donalyn, offends me, I am going to forgive her. Then, when it happens, I remember that I have already decided to forgive her, so there is no point in making a big deal out of it now. This really helps to take my critical edge off.
7. Forgive as Christ forgave you. Colossians 3:13 says, "[Bear] one another, and [forgive] each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."
And just how does the Lord forgive us? Fully. Unconditionally. Willingly. Time and time again.
This kind of forgiveness is supernatural; it is more than we can do on our own. Particularly if your spouse has betrayed you in a major way, you may need to ask God for the ability to let go of the hurt and forgive them from your heart. But as you trust God to give you His strength and love, He will help you to forgive ... even when your spouse has really let you down.
If you have never experienced God's complete, unconditional forgiveness, know this: God loves you deeply. There is no sin that is so great that He is unwilling to forgive you, if you would just come to Him. If this is the desire of your heart, pray this prayer:
Dear God, I need You in my marriage, and in my life. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life, and that I cannot go on any further without Your help and guidance—and above all, Your forgiveness. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay for my sins. I now accept that sacrifice and invite Jesus to take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and empower me to live the life You have called me to. Thank You for forgiving me. Amen.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The subject of discipleship has been coming up frequently in my church and in my life recently, so I'm capturing these thoughts here from Robby Gallaty.

5 Components of a Discipling Relationship
We could say that discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ. When people become disciples, they learn what Jesus said and live out what Jesus did (Matthew 28:19).

Did you catch the five components of a discipling relationship?

A disciple is:
1. Intentional about equipping others for the work of ministry
2. Studying/obeying the Word of God
3. Accountable to other believers
4. Empowered by the Holy Spirit
5. Reproducing what he was taught with others.

One last word on this subject: It’s important to contextualize the process. A “one-size fits all” approach will not work. Discipleship in Chattanooga is very different than discipleship in San Francisco or even the Dominican Republic.

After preaching an evangelistic crusade, D.L. Moody was met after the service by a man who disapproved of his evangelistic strategy. Moody responded, “It’s evident that you don’t agree with my evangelism method. What’s your evangelistic model for winning the lost?” The man replied, “I don’t have a particular method.” Moody said, “I think I’ll stick with mine.” Regardless of which model, material, or manner you affirm, decide on a plan and stick with it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oven Fried Chicken Wings

Some techniques from Cook's Country below that help get crisper oven wings.

To get crispy chicken wings without frying, baking powder is the secret weapon; it helps break down the proteins within the skin, and aids in browning. After tossing the wings with baking powder and salt, start them in a low oven on a wire rack for air circulation.  This is todry the skin and begin rendering the fat. Then turn up the oven to finish roasting the wings and crisping the skin. A coating of your favorite sauce and the wings are ready to be served.


  • 4pounds chicken wings, halved at joints, wingtips discarded
  • 2tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4teaspoon salt
  • (and whatever wing sauce you choose to finish)


  1. 1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 250 degrees. Set wire rack in aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet. Pat wings dry with paper towels and transfer to 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Combine baking powder and salt, add to wings, seal bag, and toss to evenly coat.
    2. Arrange wings, skin side up, in single layer on prepared wire rack. Bake wings on lower-middle oven rack for 30 minutes. Move wings to upper-middle rack, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees, and roast until wings are golden brown and crispy, 40 to 50 minutes longer, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Remove sheet from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer wings to bowl with wing sauce of your choice, toss to coat, and serve.

  2. Classic Buffalo sauce is made with Frank’s RedHot Sauce.


  • 1/2cup hot sauce
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4tablespoon molasses

Friday, June 26, 2015

Preach repentance: It takes courage and kindness

I read this today:
Jesus told us we would have hard times. He never promised us a prosperity gospel. He said we would face opposition, but he said he would be with us. If we are going to be faithful to his gospel, we must preach repentance—even when that repentance is culturally unwelcome. And we must preach that any sinner can be forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. That means courage, and that means kindness.