(Editor's note: this is the third and final installment of a series on what we do to make disciples of Jesus.)
VITAL BEHAVIOR #3: ENGAGE IN OBEDIENCE TRAINING
In a couple of previous updates, we shared two vital behaviors we want to engage in as we follow Jesus. To review, here they are again.
#1: Initiate Spiritual Conversations. We want to help Christians feel confident that they can initiate a spiritual conversation with anyone, anywhere. To review that update, it was titled "How do you catch fish?"
#2: Be "Story Ready." Also, we want to help believers to have four types of stories ready to share at any time. If you missed that discussion, check out the update titled "Make a Life-Giving Connection Today."
Now, for this third habit we may need to brace you a bit. This one will require the most discipline and the most help from others. We believe it is crucial to anyone, no matter their spiritual level of maturity, to engage in if they want to be a disciple of Jesus.
#3: Engage in Obedience Training.
When I think of obedience training, I picture a well-trained dog or horse. The more obedient and responsive they are to their master, the more they do things they never dreamed possible.
In a similar way, God wants to train us so that we can do things we never would have imagined.
In the Bible, in what has been called "the great commission," Jesus charges his disciples with these challenging words.
"Go and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." Matthew 28:19-20
In the North American church, I believe we have done some of what Jesus asked us to do in the great commission. But with regard to our methodology, it's like we left out one word--obey. We "teach them everything Jesus commanded." But we don't "teach them to OBEY everything Jesus commanded." Sunday after Sunday we hear good sermons. In Bible study after Bible study, we learn all kinds of good stuff. But we have been educated way beyond our obedience!
WHAT BULL ARE YOU GONNA RIDE?
For that reason, in our Play. Story. Eat. groups, when we learn a scripture or a teaching from the Lord, we want to take a few minutes to ask "what am I going to do about it? What do I need to do to obey God?" In the language of our Christian Rancher groups, we ask, "What bull am I gonna ride as a result of what we just talked about today?"
I'll never forget what David, a cowboy from Poncaya, Honduras said after hearing the Bible story of the prodigal son. "What bull are you gonna ride because of this story?" I asked. David answered quickly.
“Well, my bull is real clear for me. I'm not gonna kill anybody this week!" When we chuckled, David stopped us, almost pleading with us. “No, you guys! I'm serious. You can ask my wife. Things have gotten so bad with one of our neighbors that this morning I told my wife, 'either I'm going to kill this person or we are going to have to move.' But after hearing this story, I am certain that God does not want me to do that, and I believe He wants me to go talk to them. I don't know what I'm going to say. But that's the bull I have to ride this week."
Last week I spoke with Esteban Hernandez, a friend who has been meeting with that group, and asked about David. "Has he killed anybody?" I asked.
"No!" Esteban said, laughing. "He hasn't killed anyone. He cleared that problem up with the neighbor, and he and that group are still meeting, and they are continuing to ride their bulls of obedience."
10:02 PRAYER (LUKE 10:2)
Pray for David's group in Poncaya, Honduras, to continue in bold acts of obedience to God. And pray the same for the more than 100 other groups in our network of friends. Ask God to help us make more inroads in the United States with people longing to live more obediently to Jesus' teaching as well.
Your continued giving means so much. Thanks for your partnership. We couldn't do this without you.
Are you engaged in obedience training? If not, we can help. Contact us at PSE, and let's see if we could help you and your friends get some momentum in your walk with Jesus.
By the way, I still have a few bags of coffee left. Just let me know.
Talk to you soon!