Everyone on the Dance Floor

pencil graphicThe responses to the previous three posts have been awesome.  Thanks, everyone!

There are some things that came up in the discussion that I would love your feedback on:

Obedience – our job is to be obedient to God.  Results are up to God.  Measuring obedience in some ways (do not commit murder) is easy to do.  But, what about in other ways (loving God, loving others)?  Is it possible to measure or evaluate?  I think we should try.  What do you think?

The Great Commission: Go make disciples, teaching and baptizing (my paraphrase).  How obedient are we to that commandment?  Have we made any disciples today, this week, this year? I know its not like making widgets and is potentially a long process.  So, I would love to hear how this commandment is playing out in your lives.  This isn’t to compare who is doing better.  I am interested in hearing how God is working in and through you to bring others close to Him.

So, how are you loving God, others and making disciples? I think we can should discuss this.  It sure is better than talking about church attendance, building projects or whether or not we put a projector screen in the church.  Shouldn’t this be the center of our lives, discussions and ministry?

OK, I’ll stop.  You start! Go.

(just clickety-click on the comments link – won’t hurt, promise!)

8 thoughts on “Everyone on the Dance Floor

  1. I’ll go a little. In studying God’s love, which we should accept and display toward others, I have come acrossed some interesting thoughts. “God’s love is unconditional; God’s love is conditional…God has loved us enough to give us our freedom…God has shown special love for some for the sake of all…God has loved us enough to care about how we treat one another.” (How Has God Loved Us from http://WWW.discoveryseries.org/catalogue) Thought provoking! When to display love to others and do it well requires more than me. I sure need the Spirit’s guidance. This little booklet has lead to weeks of Bible study and discussion and renewed minds, especially when we remember loving others, even the least, we are loving Jesus Christ. What do you think?

    • Dad, I just downloaded that booklet. I’ll start reading it.

      Loving all and loving some especially for the sake of all….That’s something that only makes sense in the context of the character of our God. Only He could do this. Only He could plan something this good and complex. It creates an environment of multiplication by sacrificial love. Needs get met, salvation is introduced to those who haven’t heard, the church becomes effective and alive. This sometimes seems like the inverse of how we live our lives in today’s world. Self-preservation has no room in the Kingdom yet has often become our/my focus.

      Makes me think of excuses that are used for not discipling/loving others:

      -no time (actually, we’ve filled our lives with things that matter less)
      – not my gift (commandment to love others was for everyone)
      – not mature enough in faith (a lie from the enemy that says we aren’t capable of loving others well)
      – don’t want to intrude (really? when you need help or to be cared for, do you ever object to help?)
      – don’t have a relationship with the one in need (care for them and you will have the relationship)
      – don’t want to be taken advantage of (following Jesus means to risk all for the sake of others. so, this is basically saying my needs come first. btw..I know all about this one.)

      In the end we will have to answer for our response to the opportunities to represent Jesus to others. How will our excuses hold up? Do we assume we will automatically hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” I don’t think God will lie and let us off the hook for disobedience.

      Thought provoking stuff, Dad!

  2. I am currently involved in a week long service project mentoring serving our community to children ages 3-19 in our church. (Over 200 children are participating). Our group consists of of 11 boys and girls in elementary school. While mentoring and training them in God’s word and taking them into the community to do landscaping for alzheimer’s patients, cleaning toilets, playing with toddlers, setting up for meals, painting with patients at nursing homes, I am priviledged to be used by God to train them into the body of Christ while touching the lives of so many neat and hurting people that are so precious in our city.
    I praise God for this opportunity. Most days I have to remember that my obedience to God rests in honoring my husband and training up our children. I am excited that God has continually placed your family on my heart for prayer. Be blessed and encouraged!

    • Staci, I think this is such a good thing. You know the role that God has given you in your family – one of which is to disciple your children. Part of discipling is to have the behavior of Christ. So, while you may teach them what the Word says, you demonstrate it by serving others. You aren’t just talking of sacrificing for the sake of others, you are actually letting you kids see and experience it. Because, when Mom is out serving in the community, this allows them to see that this too is part of following Jesus. They can give up a little time with you for the benefit of others. What a good lesson! And, I know your church and this service that it does each year. It is a major impact in your city. It meets needs while teaching the youth what serving looks like.

      I am very encouraged by your post!

  3. As Staci alluded to, and you reference in your response about time, I think it’s a continual challenge as parents (particularly parents with a bunch of kids) to balance the “My primary responsibility right now is to disciple my children” with the need to reach out to others and serve together. And prioritizing our time commitments to less important things is key in that regard, and doing it intentionally. You and Sarah are incredible examples of sacrificing together as a family to bring many into the kingdom, and not only with those other lives be impacted, but your children will forever be changed by your obedience, whether the results are measurable in this life or not. We’re working hard to find the right balance between “go go go in the fun things of life” and “serve others in need” and “take time to really pour deeply and personally into each child.” I think we’re likely to need to continue to re-tune it forever as life changes from year to year.

  4. Eric, I think you are right. Re-tuning is necessary. We struggle with this here, too. Yes, we moved away and left people and some things/comfort behind, it is still a balancing act. Family life has a way of creating necessity out of wants. In order to be good parents we must….(long list of wants here)… But, really our goal isn’t to create an environment that meets all our family’s wants/desires/needs. Our job is to disciple. To create an environment that allows our children to grow and learn but most importantly to become exceptional Christ followers capable of regular dying to themselves. This is the hard part to figure out. Where is the line between meeting needs versus wants? And, if we never met the wants, how resentful would that make our future grown-up children? So, examination is necessary.

    I have a tendency to overprotect my family in the guise of meeting needs. Their true need is to know more of the Father. Their true need is to learn how to love others well, all of the time – to love God, all of the time. They need to learn to rely on God for their true needs.

    My fear is that I overprotect to the point of eventually producing grown children who only have learned to sacrifice and love to the extent it doesn’t interfere with their own comfort. It reminds me of conversations I’ve had with several pastors. They have expressed fear that as church leadership in the last two decades or so, they have taught their flocks to live comfortable, non-sacrificial lives that appear Holy. But, in reality, they never sacrifice anything of their selves or families. They will go to church on Sunday, pray and sing but never actually do anything else. Now, this isn’t true for every church or church goer – as you, your family and Staci’s are demonstrating. But, I fear that it could be true to a greater extent that we understand. One pastor even said with tears in his eyes, “I’m afraid that on the day of judgement, I fear how many of my congregation will hear ‘Well done’ and how many would hear ‘I never knew you’.” This was hard to hear…but makes me reflect on how we do life in our family.

    Is there any measurement? Never sacrificing is clearly wrong. Once a week, month, year…..How do we measure obedience to the Holy Spirit’s urgings when we are good at tuning Him out? These are semi-rhetorical. Would you pray for our family to get this right? To be obedient and nurturing and loving and a place of refuge for one another and a sacrificial living laboratory?

    Thanks, Eric for your comments. These things are fairly intangible and need a good sounding board.

  5. Good questions, Dan!
    I’ve become more aware recently of how non-optional(as in, essential) command of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations”. Somehow, it seems we’ve come to view discipleship as an “option” that only extra-spiritual people choose. I don’t see anything optional about Jesus’ statement in Matt 28 or the statement he made with his life by living the example of helping twelve men become disciples of him.
    In my experience with disciple-ling, i’ve found the main thing i’ve struggled with is avoiding making more duplicates of myself. As God has been showing me by the humble nature of Jesus, we are to help people become more like Jesus through discipleship, not more like ourselves, even if our own faith is very strong. Perhaps this is an obvious thing for others who are in discipling relationships, but for me it has profoundly affected and changed how I give counsel to those I am walking through this process with.
    The rewards of this investment of pouring in to someone’s life to help them become more like Jesus? UNENDING. What a joy it is to be able to be close to people who are growing in their faith and walk through the trials with them, continually pointing them to the One who loves them like no other. God has truly given us a gift in allowing us to be disciples who disciple.

    • Jodi,

      I like this reflection. Realization of truth without change is fruitless, vapid. For this realization about discipleship to have changed you is a testament to the great work of the Spirit in you.

      This reminded me of Philemon – which I think is one of the most beautiful examples of discipleship – every word of it. Paul encourages and is joyful about his fellow “soldiers'” obedience. He expresses pure love for Philemon and Apphia. Then, he exemplifies the same love on behalf of his “son” who has now clearly become his fellow co-worker – a dear brother in the Lord. But, it isn’t just words. He offers to sacrifice on Onesimus’ behalf. So, he practices the act of decreasing out of love for both Philemon and Onesimus. So, that their relationship could be restored – but even better than restored – made perfect. That, to me, is the perfect example of discipleship. Sacrificing so that others may have their relationship with the Lord made pure, perfect, whole. May this be so!

      Thanks, again, Jodi. You and Darryl are pure joy to watch!!!

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