Sunday, May 13, 2012

Discipleship Series: Choices of the Disciple

I hope you are enjoying this series, but more importantly understanding more about discipleship. In the last article, I pointed out the importance of taking notes and listening to the instructor. We become overwhelmed with too much information, that it is difficult to sort everything out. As we allow the Word of God to transform our thoughts we grow. Through His instruction we discover more hope and more strength to go through the difficult periods that will come.

I like to keep outlines from sermons in my Bible for months or even longer, especially if something really spoke to me, but taking notes is only the beginning. As a perpetual student, I find myself continually taking notes. Perhaps it's because of my perfectionist tendencies or because it's the way I learn. I've got a note pad or a scrap of paper near at all times to jot things down. If I don't review my notes of often, I will lose what inspired me in the first place. Unfortunately, many times, I just don't follow through.

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit before birth. He was chosen for a spectacular mission- to announce the King of Glory was coming to his people. Living in the wilderness without creature comforts, he continued to listen to the Master for instructions. Not many people would agree, his ministry was spectacular, but Jesus said of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John” (Luke 7:28) What an endorsement!

While in prison, John sent a few of his disciples to ask Jesus the most important question of his ministry. “Are you the one, or do we look for someone else?” He needed assurance that he had called it right. Keep in mind that John was the one who said “Look there is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John1:29). By that statement, John literally handed his ministry over to Jesus, which fulfilled his mission.

Although, John had a very successful ministry, when things weren’t going as he thought, he was troubled with confusion. Once John received conformation that Jesus was the One, he was content with his situation. He knew that Jesus must increase in influence, while he decreased. (John 3:29-30)

The following is an excerpt from “Footsteps of Jesus – Becoming a Disciple”

Chapter 6 Prepares for Tests

Jesus constantly engaged His disciples to use what they were learning. Scripture records He was perplexed by the disciple’s lack of response when they faced certain obstacles, such as feeding a huge group of people.
Instead of using what they had already saw Jesus doing, their response to the problem was to send the people away, but this was their mid-term exam.
Sending the crowd away was not the answer that Jesus was expecting. He told the disciples to feed the crowd. I am sure they stood there dumbfounded by His direction because they pondered the resources they physically had.
The conclusion was it was impossible They exclaimed,“it would take a small fortune to feed all these people”, but that wasn’t the issue. Jesus continued to refocus their attention on the resources they did have, who is the source.
I have found this same scenario in my life. The Lord will lead me to remember what resources I do have in order to do what He asks. He is not going to ask me to do something I am unequipped to do.
The Gospels didn’t mention their lack of faith in this instance, but Jesus did on other occasions. What do you think would have happened if they had recalled everything that they had experience with Jesus up to this point?
Where was outspoken Peter saying, “I’ve got it Lord?” I don't know, but perhaps fear, unbelief or intimidation of Jesus, held them back.
I believe if they had stepped out in faith and believed they could feed them, it would have been an amazing miracle and Jesus would have been very pleased.
Many more great miracles may have happened, but instead Jesus had to continually show them the power of God which was with them.
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Those are are very areas we all struggle with when things appear impossible. Fear comes when we think we're alone and thinking it's up to us to make great strides for the Kingdom. That is way too much pressure. We tend to focus on our limited ability and not the unlimited resources we have in Christ. We must review our notes and believe nothing is too hard for God.

Next in this Discipleship series Passing and Failing Tests

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Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

You are so right, Terrie. We forget that God's store houses and treasure chest is far greater than our imaginations. We do need to trust Him to give us what we need to fulfill our life mission. Great series.

Terrie Thorpe said...

Thank you so much Cecilia for your encouraging words- It's is my hope to bring a fresh prospective to discipleship.

From Carols Quill said...

I'm a perpetual student, too. Even though our church provides sermon "notes," I bring along my spiral notebook for the 4-5 pages of notes I take and of course scribble in the margins of my Bible as we move through it!