Do you remember a time when you thought about or asked yourself the question, “What should I do?” It’s actually a pretty common question to ponder and ask, and many of us likely do this quite often without even realizing it. It’s a good question to think about.
Today, I want to encourage you. You may even be in a situation today where you are asking yourself this very question. Let’s look at this a bit further today.
Where we Start
I think the best place to start here is adjusting the question because it can ultimately change the outcome of whatever situation. We are all human beings with emotions, triggers, etc. so the question we must ask is, “What would Jesus do?”
Jesus is our perfect example when it comes to anything we go through. It can be something personal, relational, emotional, etc. God has given us the ultimate example of Jesus so that we can become all He has called us to. But we need to do our part.
At our house, we have a 5.5 year old who loves to repeat things that are said. It can sometimes be funny or not so funny, depending on what is said. Go ahead and laugh out loud if you want. We are not there yet.
Kids do that a lot. They copy, they imitate.
“But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:5-6
We need to live as Jesus did and a huge part of that is looking to the example of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit. It is so important to do this because it will empower us to make the right decisions in our lives.
Let’s look at 3 reasons today, why this is so important:
In this chapter, Paul is talking about imitating Christ’s humility and how we should look to the interests of others. When dealing with others, we need to remember this. There are many examples in the Bible of Jesus dealing with others and there was always a focus on the need(s) of the other person. If you are dealing with a relational matter today and wondering what to do, look to Jesus and how He related with other people. When we look to Jesus, it can shift our own attitude and mindset
2. When we look to Jesus, we surrender.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Jesus always had an attitude of care towards others and you are no exception. Jesus cares for you. By focusing on Jesus and looking to Him, we surrender to Him. The situation is no longer ours to carry alone. This brings such hope and peace that surpasses our understanding of circumstances. When we feel overwhelmed, we have to let go. We have to surrender it to God. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
3. When we look to Jesus, we trust Him with the outcome.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
What should I do? What would Jesus do? Whatever the situation today, trust in Him. He knows the plans He has for you and they are to prosper you and not to harm you. They are plans to give you hope and a future.
I remember when we got some news that wasn’t easy to hear and at first, all I could do was cry. The human part of me felt heartbroken. We had learned that our child had a special need and that it would require therapy and intervention. Initially, I had to feel heartbroken because it led me to shifting my attitude and mindset, surrendering it to God, and trusting God with the outcome. Today, our child is doing very well and she is one of the most amazing children out there. She loves Jesus with all her heart and that is the most important thing.
Be encouraged today. God loves you, He is for you, and He is with you on your journey. Remember to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” It will greatly impact your decisions and you will see outcomes that you never imagined.
At OMS Canada, we have some wonderful missionaries whose hearts are to live for Christ and to share and encourage others to do the same. Please prayerfully consider supporting one of these servants today. May God bless you as you live for Him.
(The following is adapted from the Appendix of the Revised First Edition of the new book, More Disciples, available today on Amazon or Kindle. *) One of the hardest parts about launching a disciple-making life is getting from “Hello” to a spiritual conversation or group. Statements like these (below) can help you steer the subject toward spiritual things and even “filter” to see if your friend or listener is open to hearing spiritual things. Some call these “Shema” statements. (Shema is the Aramaic word for “Listen.” It’s the opening word in Deuteronomy 4, “Hear oh Israel…”)
In addition, statements like these can help others realize that you are a genuinely a person of faith. As a result, if/when they have a problem or feel troubled someday, they might remember that you are a Godly person and come to you seeking spiritual help. If they have a dream with some kind of deeper meaning (maybe a spiritual meaning?), for example, or if they feel at the end of their rope, they might ask for guidance. Of course, these statements only work if you’re truly authentic from the inside out in your love and speech. On top of all that, they help us establish more courage in bringing up God in our everyday conversations. Try setting a goal to use one Shema statement per day.
Here are a bunch of samples to get you started. You’ll soon be thinking of others on the spot.
“I read something in the Bible today that seems hard for me to obey”.
“I wonder how (a religious behavior) connects to __ (a heart issue)?”
Verbally long for the day when ugly things will be swept away when Jesus returns.
“God speaks to me in prayer or through his Word.”
“I was having a hard time with _ (an issue), so I _ (a spiritual solution).”
“I asked God for help and He…”
Ask questions like, “How do you show love to God?” or “What was the last thing you heard from God?”
“I read a wonderful story today. May I tell you?”
“God taught me something today.”
“I read something really interesting about God today.”
“God is light, and he shines into the dark places of my heart.”
“Do you think God could stop all of the bloodshed in…?”
“Did you ever have a dream from God?”
Use a Proverb to apply to a current situation.
“How should a person of God act here?”
Thank God for something difficult.
“Do you think God cares about….?”
“God wants to walk with me so I walk with Him.”
“I believe only with God there is hope for….”
When telling your children’s names, or your own name, share the meaning.
Mention something that you prayed for and how it was answered.
Response to a social issue.
“Jesus dealt with and said some interesting things about it.” “As I was praying for you today I sensed God…” “I feel encouraged about something that I learned about God.” If you are by the sand or looking at stars in the sky, reminisce about God’s blessing to Abraham. “God healed my friend.” “I feel sad when I see trash, because God created the earth.” “I was reading today and God reminded me…” “I am thankful for ________. What are you thankful for?”
“God hates injustice and he has a lot to say about it.”
“Do you know on which day God created…?”
Context = complaining about their country… “It doesn’t matter which country you are in but to be where God wants you to be.” “I know this is a place of great conflict and God wants you to experience peace.”
“Can I tell you a story?”
“I don’t need _____ to protect me. I pray for God to protect me.”
Children: “Blessing and hard work make me rely more on God.”
Spouse: “God will give me a wife in just the right time.”
In response to not having children… “Marriage is a picture of Jesus and His church.”
“Yes, I miss home, but God meets me in my loneliness. God will never leave me nor forsake me.
“What is most important to you?”
“What do you think are the most important values you can give to your children?”
“When did you feel most safe or secure?”
“Can we pray for this meal?”
“Can we please bless your home or your family?”
Sometimes the most challenging part of discipleship is getting the conversation to spiritual things. These statements go a long way in helping to make that happen.
Have you other suggestions? Let us know what works for you.
Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you have not read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned how the Three Thirds meeting format is a method of meeting that helps followers of Jesus help one another follow Jesus more faithfully.
In this post, we’ll learn a Training Cycle that helps disciples go from one to many and turns a mission into a movement.
Have you ever learned how to ride a bicycle? Have you ever helped someone else learn? If so, chances are you already know THE TRAINING CYCLE.
It’s as easy as MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE.
Think back - before you ever rode a bicycle, you probably saw someone else ride one first.
That’s MODELING. MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE.
Modeling is simply showing someone else an example of how it’s done. When a child first sees someone else riding a bike, they get the idea right away. Modeling is like that -- it doesn’t have to be done often, and usually it only needs to be done once.
Think back to that first bike ride. Did you want to just watch? Or were you excited to get on and give it a try? What if nobody ever gave you the chance?
Too much modeling can actually hurt the training process. MODELING is about showing someone just a little - and then giving them a try. So what happened on that first ride? Did they just give you the bicycle and walk away? Probably not.
When most people learn how to ride a bike, someone is right there for the first few pedals. Walking along side and keeping you on track.
That’s ASSISTING. MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE.
Assisting is allowing a learner to practice a skill but making sure the falls aren’t too hard. Assisting takes longer than Modeling. But not too long. It requires some hand-holding, some direction and some coaching, but it’s all about passing on the basics. It’s not about getting someone to perfect. It’s about getting them to pedal.
Can you imagine someone running alongside you as you started to pedal fast and gain some speed? They wouldn’t last long, and you’d never learn to keep your balance.
ASSISTING is about getting someone going and allowing them to steer a little on their own. And when they start to move, they’re actually modeling for next learner on the way. Even when no one else’s hands are on the bike, it doesn’t mean you’re all alone. Usually there’s someone keeping an eye out - but from a distance.
That’s WATCHING. MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE.
Watching is influencing a learner until they’re competent in their skill, all without having to step in and take control. In bike riding, someone can get up and going fairly quickly, but that doesn’t mean they know all the rules of the road.
Watching is about making sure someone’s going to be safe - even when no one’s around. Watching is about making sure not just that someone knows what to do, but also that they’ll do it - even when no one’s looking.
In this phase of the Training Cycle, the learner will grow and teach others how to grow... so they teach others how to grow... so they teach others how to grow.
Disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. All the way down to the third and fourth generation.
WATCHING is about making sure a learner matures and is not just willing but also able to help others.
Watching takes awhile. It may be ten times as long as Modeling and Assisting, combined. It may be longer.
But the wait is always worth it. Eventually -- the rider just rides the bike.
That’s what LEAVING is all about. MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE.
Leaving is like a graduation. A student becomes a teacher. A worker becomes a co-worker. A disciple becomes a friend. In bike riding, the one who teaches you to ride doesn’t go along for every ride you take. At times they may ride with you. At times you ride separately, or with others, or alone.
LEAVING is about giving one last gift to someone you love - the gift of freedom. Leaving is about equipping someone to go where you’ve already gone but also encouraging them to go where you haven’t gotten to yet.
MODEL, ASSIST, WATCH and LEAVE.
THE TRAINING CYCLE. From one to many. From a mission to a movement.
Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you have not read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned about that Faithfulness is a much better measure of spiritual maturity than Knowledge and Teaching.
In this session, we’ll learn how the 3/3 (NOTE: PRONOUNCE AS “Three-Thirds”) meeting format is a method of meeting that helps followers of Jesus help one another follow Jesus more closely.
Jesus said -- “where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” That’s a powerful promise, and one that every follower of Jesus should take advantage of. But when you come together as a group, how should you spend your time?
A 3/3 (NOTE: PRONOUNCE AS “Three-Thirds”) Group is one that divides their time together into 3 parts, so that they can practice obeying some of the most important things that Jesus commands. This is how it works:
Look Back (VISUAL - 1/3) The first third of the group’s time is spent looking back at what’s happened since we’ve been together.
Look Up (VISUAL - 2/3) The middle third of the group’s time is spent Looking Up for God’s wisdom and direction through scripture, discussion and prayer.
Look Forward (VISUAL - 3/3) The final third of the group’s time is spent Looking Forward to how we can each apply and obey what we’ve learned.
Remember the blog post on spiritual breathing? Breathe in, hear from God. Breathe out, obey what you hear and share it with others. That’s what a 3/3rds group is all about.
A 3/3 Group is one that divides their time together into 3 parts, so that they can practice hearing from God and obeying and sharing some of the most important things that Jesus commands. Remember a 3/3 Group is not the same as a Bible Study - that's on purpose! We are not looking for knowledge or teaching but faithfulness.
LOOKING BACK - We spend the first third of our time looking back by caring for each other through giving thanks, sharing our struggles and praying for other members of our group. We’ll also check in to see if each person in the group has had the opportunity to obey and share what they learned the last time we were together.
Step One - “Giving Thanks.” Take some time to have each person share something they are thankful for.
Step Two - “Sharing your Struggles” and “Praying for One Another.” Each person in your group will briefly share something they are struggling with. Have someone else pray for them about what they share.
Step Three - “Focusing the Group.” Every time you meet, you’ll want to take time and remember why you’re together - to love God, to love others, to share Jesus, and help others share Him too. This is most effectively done by having someone read a passage like Matthew 22:37-38 out loud to the group.
Step Four - “Checking In.” This is the part that some groups want to skip, because it means asking questions that can sometimes be hard. Please don’t skip. Jesus loved His followers enough to ask hard questions. If we want to be like Jesus, we should love one another enough to do that, too. In this step, you’ll have each person in the group report on whether they obeyed what they heard God ask them to do the last time you were together. Each person needs answer the following questions honestly: How have you obeyed what you’ve learned so far? Who have you trained in what you’ve learned? Who have you shared your story or God’s story with since we’ve been together as a group.
LOOKING UP During the middle third of your time together, you will invite God’s Holy Spirit to lead your group to better understand God’s Word. The group will read a passage from the Bible out loud and then ask and answer some simple questions as a group to help explore and understand better God’s purposes and plans.
Step One - Take a moment to pray. Talk with God simply and briefly. Ask His Holy Spirit to teach you from the passage you are about to read.
Step Two - Have someone in the group read from the Bible. When you’ve finished reading, the group should answer these two questions: What did you like about this passage? What did you find challenging or hard to understand? If there are oral learners - people who don’t read well or prefer to learn by hearing - in your group, make sure you read through the passage at least twice. Now, have the group answer these two questions: What can we learn about people from this passage? What can we learn about God from this passage? Remember stick to the passage and keep it simple! Quick Tip: When you’re studying God’s Word, focus on His words instead of other books, teachers, or opinions. Instead of asking, “What do you think this means?” ask “What does this passage say?” If someone in your group likes to teach, gently remind them that God’s Holy Spirit and perfect Word can teach the group. We’re all here to learn, together. And don’t be afraid of silence or a pause in the discussion. God is working even when it’s quiet. Stay focused on His Word, stick to the passage, and trust God to do the rest.
LOOKING FORWARD In the last third of our time, we’ll focus on looking forward to discover how we can obey and train others by what we’ve learned from God’s word. Each member of the group asks God a few simple questions and then waits for His answer in prayer. Then each will share and practice their commitments and pray to end the time, together.
Step One - Have each person in your group pray silently and ask God these questions: God, how can I obey and apply what You’re teaching me? Who can I train from this passage so they can learn to obey and love You more? Who would you have me share my testimony or Your Good News of Jesus with? Ask God’s Holy Spirit to give you specific answers, specific names, and specific steps that you can take in the time between now and when your group meets again.
Step Two - Ask each person in your group to share what they heard from the Lord for each question. Someone may not have heard anything from the Lord on one, two, or even all three questions. They can simply report that they didn’t hear. But remember, the group should hear from the Lord. Jesus said - “My sheep hear My voice.” And the more specific your obedience steps are, the easier it will be to obey them before you meet again.
Step Three - Before you end your time together, have your 3/3 Group break into smaller groups of two or three and practice what you’ve heard the Lord ask you to do. Remember - practice isn’t obeying, training or sharing, but it does get you ready to do those things better. Have each smaller group end its practice time together in prayer. Pray specifically for those people and plans God has put on your hearts. Anyone who doesn’t have specific commitments should practice sharing their testimony story or God’s Story.
Around the world, 3/3rds groups often share the Lord’s Supper, or a meal and more casual conversations as part of their time together. God gave us this kind of fellowship -- intentional learning and growth and intentional living and relationship to help strengthen, encourage, and build us up to be more like His Son, Jesus.
And that's the 3/3 Meeting Format -- Looking Back to check in on what we've accomplished since the last time we met, Looking Up to understand what God has for us to learn in this time together, and Looking Forward to put into action what God has put on our hearts while we're apart.
3/3 Groups - a simple and practical way to meet that helps us become more like Jesus by building accountability for faithfulness right in.
Are you interested in trying this format? We would be happy to run a sample 3/3 Group with you via Zoom. Send us an email or call the office.
Welcome back to the Discipleship blog series. If you have not read the previous posts, you can find them here.
Last time we learned about the BLESS prayer pattern which gives a framework of five things about which to pray for a person.
This week we will learn that faithfulness is a much better measure of spiritual maturity than knowledge and teaching. There are two ideas that have caused a number of problems in the church today.
The first is that a person’s spiritual maturity is connected to how much they know about God’s Word. They act as if RIGHT BELIEF – or orthodoxy – is a good measure of someone’s faith.
The second is the idea that a person’s ability to lead requires a “full training” before they begin in ministry. They act as if COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE is a good measure of someone’s ability to lead.
The problem with the first idea – relying on orthodoxy – or right belief is that Satan himself knows more Scripture than any human. God’s Word says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (James 2:19).
A better measure of someone’s spiritual maturity is ORTHOPRAXY – “right practice”.
We ought to be more concerned with FAITHFULNESS in OBEYING and SHARING than measuring maturity based only on what we know.
The problem with the second idea – that a person must be fully trained before they lead is that no one is ever really fully trained.
Jesus modelled sending out young leaders who still had many things to learn to do some of the most important work in the Kingdom.
God’s Word says, “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick.
These men were sent before Peter stated his belief that Jesus was Saviour – something we would consider a first step of faith. And even after being sent Jesus had to rebuke Peter multiple times for mistakes and Peter would still later deny Jesus completely. Other followers argued over who was the greatest and what role each would play in God’s future Kingdom.
They all still had a lot to learn but Jesus put them to work sharing what they already knew. Faithfulness – more than knowledge – is something that can start as soon as someone begins to follow Jesus.
Faithfulness – more than training – is something that can be measured by what we do with what we have been given. (Matthew 25:14-30)
If we OBEY and SHARE what we hear and learn with others, we are faithful.
If we hear but REFUSE to obey and share, we are unfaithful.
As we multiply disciples, let’s make sure we’re measuring the right things.