Tag Archives: discipleship

Intimacy Attracts Disciples

People who embrace intimacy with God are the most joyful people on the planet. The fruit of joy comes from the Holy Spirit and grows from the tree of love and intimacy. The fruit of the Spirit is our measuring stick for the right perspectives in Christ. Our life in Christ becomes clear and exciting when we are close to God. We become more driven by His purpose and quickly align ourselves with His will and plans.

Intimacy with the Father produces the fruit of His nature in us, and from our lives will pour forth the life of God into the world around us.

Intimacy attracts disciples

         Christians follow others for many reasons—personality, charisma, doctrine, integrity, social status, etc. Most people follow a Christian leader because of the relationship with God that is evident in their life. All great Christian leaders have one thing in common, a genuinely intimate relationship with God that is obvious to all.

          God sent Jesus to restore man to an intimate relationship with Himself. The Gospel’s message is redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of relationships. It is the removal of all barriers that stand between God and man. Jesus is our peacemaker. When Christians are not continually growing in this revelation and living out this truth, they cannot reach their full potential as leaders. 

Ephesians 2:14-18 (NKJV)For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Jesus tore down every barrier that separates us from our relationship with the Father. It is only through Jesus that we have access to the wonderful and mysterious relationship. Our intimacy with God will make others hungry for the same, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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Emotional Warfare – exposing Satan’s plan

Many times, Satan will bombard our minds with negative thoughts and sensual images to stir our emotions to the point of physical reaction. Emotional warfare is spiritual warfare. Thoughts and words are spiritual, so he pressures us with these ungodly thoughts in the hope of us reacting with our words and actions. It is our own words that defile us and allow Satan an entrance into our hearts. Our words tell him where we are weak, where to focus his attacks, and whom he may devour. Our words and actions reveal the chinks in our armor, the weaknesses of our faith. Jesus said this about our words,

Matthew 15:11 “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

The devil roars in our minds like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is looking for those that open their mouth in response to his temptations, showing him where he can most effectively plant his corrupt seed.

The first step in taking thoughts captive is to refuse to give them a voice or act upon them. Once he gets seed into our hearts, he waters that seed with more thoughts until it produces the fruit of more words and actions. It is a devious and highly effective plan that tricks us into embracing fleshly desires and abandoning our walk in the Spirit.

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This is Church.

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Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

          Our identity is not found in our gifting or calling but in our relationship with the Father. An apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher is not who we are. It is how we were created to serve. We find our identity in our loving relationship with the Father, not our gifting.

          Disciples are made when people willingly follow you and your living example. What kind of example are you setting? What are you reproducing if you make disciples apart from intimacy with the Father? Do we really need two or more like you?

Our priority should be a growing relationship with the Father. We should be cautious of having followers if there are any other priorities above that.

          A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace being alone with God and pursuing intimacy with the busyness of religious activity. Another pitfall is to allow our “quiet time” or “devotion time” with the Lord to become lifeless, where we go through the motions and never connect with God on an intimate level. We can read a daily chapter or two in our Bible, run through our laundry list of prayer requests, and never take time to be quiet and listen to the one we are talking to. I have been guilty of this myself. It is tragic to become religious in our devotion to God and call it a relationship.

            We can learn about God from reading and studying the Bible, but to honestly know Him, we must spend time with Him, commune with Him, and listen to Him.

          Jesus set a remarkable example. He only did what He saw the Father do. This mindset demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but it is necessary to be a disciple of Christ.

          If you read my biography, you can learn a lot about me, but you can’t honestly say that you know me. You may “feel like you know me,” but to honestly know me, you must spend time with me, ask me questions, listen to my responses, and spend time with me. It is the same with God.

          Reading the Bible takes on new dimensions when intimacy becomes a lifestyle. The word of God bears much more fruit in our lives. We begin to view His written word through the lens of His divine nature; we see it with an unveiled face and a heart of love that makes us more sensitive to His spoken word.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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God’s Promise to Change You

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          Have you ever heard this old saying?

“God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.”

  Praise God there is scripture to back up that statement!

1Thessallonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

          We tend to assume that since He was so gracious to save us we now have the responsibility to “tow the line, shape up, do what is right, separating ourselves from carnal tendencies and worldly lusts.” While this is certainly what needs to happen, God never intended us to shoulder all the responsibility of sanctification and transformation. The truth is, we are no more capable of doing this on our own than we were before Christ.

          “Salvation is not an event as much as it is a process.”

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

          Christianity is a glorious journey of salvation and transformation. Saving us from death and eternal damnation and transforming us more and more into His image. Paul exhorted Timothy to work this out in His own life with “fear and trembling.” Why? Because God is doing the heavy lifting here. HE is the Great Potter, and WE are the clay. Clay does not have the power to change itself, it can only be changed by another influence.

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So, what is our part?

          Lay our lives down on the Potter’s wheel, let the washing of water by God’s Word clean us and make us soft and pliable allowing the hand of God’s grace to shape us into His image.

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JC