What I’ve learned in 2009 – Part 2

-Finding myself in God’s story is the only way my life will have meaning, make sense, and be lived with a purpose. We all live our lives within the context of a story. The story of our nation, culture, and family shape who we are. Our past experiences, circumstances, relationships, failures, and successes influence who we are. In addition, all of our future dreams and goals shape what we do. What we aspire to achieve will dictate the ways we go about attempting to achieve them. So we are not only shaped by our past, but our future as well. We’re living between “back then” and “until then”.

When we search for purpose within our own stories we can be blinded to God’s ultimate story. We understand our purpose–our mission– when we understand that our past is rooted in the cross and our future destination is eternity with Jesus. The gospel is that Jesus died for our sins and we are accepted into his Kingdom. Knowing our final destination forms the way we go about getting there. Finding ourselves as part of God’s story helps us find his mission for our lives.

The beauty of the gospel is that God doesn’t need me, but he chooses to love me. The beauty if God’s story is that he doesn’t need me, but still chooses to use me.

Ps 139; Col 1: 15-24; Rev 7, 21

-Discipleship is a non-negotiable method of ministry. I’m sitting at a local coffee shop right now. Across the cafe is a dear friend of mine who is a leader in another church in Tempe. He’s a gifted musician, creative thinker, and theologically knowledgeable. Right now he’s sitting down with a guy in his missional community and talking about the gospel and mission. What he is doing in the moment is more effective than any song he could sing or idea he could dream up. He’s discipling. He is teaching and showing this guy how to love Jesus and life within his story.

It is vital that a church is committed to 3 main things: 1) the declaration of the gospel, 2) the demonstration of the gospel, and 3) making disciples who make disciples. Discipleship has been the process in which the Church has grown over history. It is a never-ending process that doesn’t end with me. It is done within the context of ordinary life, community, and at the point of relationship… not conversion.

I’ve experienced that the only truly successful method of ministry is one built on discipleship. The calling of Jesus is to be his disciples and in turn go out and make disciples. At the pinnacle of history Jesus came to earth, made disciples, and then sent them out to make disciples. This is our calling. This is our part in God’s story.

“If you are not reproducing disciples then you are not doing the work of the church.” -Jeff Vanderstelt

Matthew 4:18-22; 28:18-20.

To be continued….

Nick

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