Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Retreat Chronicles VII - What the Maker told us to Make

"His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them..." - Matthew, talking about Jesus when he first called his followers

"Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." - Matthew, talking about Jesus as he was training his first followers

"Go and make disciples." - Matthew, telling us what Jesus' intentions had always been for his followers

One of the things that we didn't have to do at our ministry retreat was discover what the over-arching purpose of Christ's church is. There is absolutely no room for the church to be fuzzy about it's mission. Jesus says it unequivocally, leaving it completely clear for anyone who reads the "red letters" of their Bible's and simply believes them. The church of Jesus exist to make disciples of Jesus. Every other command, every other teaching, every other practice that can be found in Christ's life, Christ's teaching, and the rest of the New Testament is a servant of this Commission. If we interpret the Bible in such a way that we come up with a religious practice or rule that does not help make human beings into disciples, then we interpreted that Scripture wrong.


And while many of my brothers and sisters in Christ would take issue with this "theology", the ministry team that God has assembled at the Southwest Church-that-wants-to-be-of Christ does not. There is deep unity around this thought, and it is a "conviction" of ours - in other words, something we will be accountable to God for pursuing.


But the commission to "make disciples", once someone (or group of someone's) takes it seriously, begs a further question...What is a disciple? What is it exactly that you are making when you are faithfully making a disciple?


Drawing on our knowledge of the Bible, our personal journeys toward discipleship, and our hope that God would speak, we set out to discover the qualities of a "discipled" person. We listened and worked and watched as God revealed to us that a person that is a follower of Christ is a person who is...


Peaceful, because of his absolute confidence in Christ.

Called, and as such, full of purpose and belief.

Joyful, because of how overwhelmingly good God keeps being to him.

Passionate, or said another way, willing to suffer to the point of death because of the intensity of the joy.

Relationally Surrendered, knowing that relationship with God and others are Christ's most important priorities and only means of impact.

Self-responsible, maintaining their own dignity by being dependent on God alone, blaming no-one and no-thing for his own limiting beliefs.

Penetratingly Compassionate, seeing so clearly to the common heart in mankind (including in ourselves) that he can't distinguish between friends and enemies.

Constantly Transforming, knowing deeply that he can't be more like Christ by staying where he is at.

Biblically Grounded, unabashedly using the Written Word (Bible) as a guide towards the Living Word (Jesus).

Spirit-Led, acknowledging the constant and real Presence of God and His determination to speak to and move us.

Deeply Human, or said another way, owning up completely to both his own inability to be perfect and his destiny to be perfect anyway.

Dying Daily, involving the constant setting aside of his ego in every single moment of his life, so that Jesus can live for him.


I think it's cool how these words that I feel God gave to us at the retreat reflect deep paradox. We are to be peaceful, but called (peacefully intense). We are to be joyful, but passionate (joyfully suffering). We are to be relationally surrendered, but self-responsible (inter-dependant). We are to be compassionate, but expecting transformation (compassionately challenging). We are to be Biblically grounded, but Spirit-led (diligently directed). We are to be deeply human, but dying daily (powerlessly powerful).


I tell you what...if my 3 kids end up looking like that, I believe they will end up looking like Jesus. I want them growing up in a "Christianity" that is unyielding in it's desire to make them into it.


If you are reading this, test it for me. What's missing from this list? What quality of Jesus have we left off? What quality have we put on this list that isn't a quality of a Jesus follower?




Megan said...

HEY Brian!!! Just wanted to say what up! And also I thought id copy you a tad and i got a blog spot thingy too..... its
if you ever wanna hear my "deep thoughts" lol.
I also have a xanga at - for my my more "goofy" thoughts.... haha. Well I miss you man and i hope things are going well with the Mashburn clan up in Amarillo

<3 ya - megan holland

Jody R said...

How about LOVE? Seems to me one must have the "agape" love for their fellow man first before the other things on your list are accomplished. With love everything you listed is so much easier to accomplish, at least in my view