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Discipleship Getting Help Jesus's Communication Joy Kingdom of God Prayer

Weary? A Slightly Surprising Answer

Rest in Christ

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11&version=NRSV

When you are weary, rest and relief is available. It may be a little different than expected, though; Jesus is often surprising.

I’ll get right to it, no fooling around and being careful and slow. Here it is: he will give us rest. Especially as we add to ourselves some of his qualities. Such as being gentle and humble of heart.

When we are learning from Jesus and allowing him to take our (heavy) yoke, not only is he stronger than we, he is also being gentle and humble of heart.

Which means we are not being proud, when we ask him like this. Not being proud, when we are being gentle and humble of heart.

I don’t know about you, but when I am weary and find rest, by hindsight is is easy for me to be clear: while I was weary I had been being proud. Carrying a heavy burden and being proud about it.

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Conversation with God Discipleship Hearing God Holy Spirit Joy Learning Ministry Miracles

Rest and Dream

Rest and dream. Be inspired. Like Jesus.

Artwork by Greg Olson

Pause. Just rest and watch the sky.

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Discipleship Getting Help Leadership Learning Ministry Prayer

Discipling like Jesus

Jesus had a pattern for making disciples. We can see some of it in Scriptures, and we can make educated guesses to fill in some details. How he taught was common to Hebrew teachers, rabbi’s, in those days.

I’ve spoken with seasoned disciple makers and missionaries who’ve done this, and they helped me get an even better practical picture.

First, as with everything, get guidance. Then pray. Pray with clear prayer targets – such as successful disciple making of disciples who make yet more disciples.

The basic pattern is simple: show, tell, and do. Probably even explain, show, discuss. Repeat until they are ready to do.

When you care, being a disciple is easy. (Good Friday by Anita Brown.)

The pattern is not classroom instruction, reading about or learning about things. It’s being shown, discussion before and after. It’s learning to do what you do. With an explanation. It is not learning about things. Theory isn’t nearly enough.

It might have worked something along these lines:

  • First, discuss what you will do, what they will see, especially so they know what to look for, what is significant.
  • Demonstrate in front of them, so they can see.
  • Third, discuss how it went. How it was as you’d hoped and expected, things that were different. Issues and complications, if any; and especially how it went well.
  • Let them ask questions as part of this discussion. Answer.
  • Maybe show them several times. Is often a good idea, especially with something new.
  • Send them out to go do as you did.
  • Have them report back to you. Let them ask questions. Make comments so they learn even more. (If they rejoice that even demons do as they command, give them the perspective that yes, this is good, and that it is even more important that their names are written in heaven – for instance.)
  • Send them out again.
  • Repeat this cycle until all are satisfied that good learning has taken place.

Disciple making is demonstration with explanation. Then they demonstrate, and ask questions, and you give additional perspective as is useful.

Disciple making is not a classroom activity. It is not talking about things. It’s being shown and then doing as shown. With explanations as is useful.

Additional notes:

  • Train disciples in how to make disciples. They will demonstrate. Disciples multiply by themselves, making disciples.
  • Disciples normally go out and minister in pairs. Ministry is normally in pairs. Always minister in pairs when you can. The more senior is making a disciple of the less experienced person. The less senior person assists and helps the more senior. This gives them something useful to do and provides practical help.
  • When ministering, when one talks, the other prays for the one ministering. Results are much better this way.
  • Grab someone out of a crowd who is watching, if you have no one else. Let them assist you and pray for you while you minister. Help them learn and discuss what happened. Not just ministering, always teaching.
  • A prayer support group is even more helpful. Set one up. If nothing else, find local people who are sympathetic and ask for their prayer support.
  • Prayer support is primarily for the minister, so they are more inspired and do well. They will do better. The people praying will pay more attention as they are invested, and they will learn more. Prayer is not primarily for the person being ministered to, as tempting as this may be. It could be helpful, but not nearly as helpful as praying for the person ministering.

Go, and make disciples. Make mistakes. Admit them and discuss them, so everyone can learn from them: we learn a lot through mistakes. Share the learning, and do not hold back such a wonderful opportunity. And of course celebrate what goes well!

This is the pattern that Jesus used. Go, and do the same.

And, there is a next step….

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Church Life Conversation with God Discipleship Joy Learning

The Discovery Cycle

Why does joy come so easily in the morning? Because it’s a fresh day, a fresh start. New discoveries are waiting to be made.

In Christian gatherings, new discoveries are made from time to time. New to the people who are present. Then the discoveries are explored.

This is a time of increasing attendance, with more people eager to learn what’s next. To explore and practice what is being learned about.

The Jesus Movement, re-discovery of Holy Spirit, practicing Spiritual Gifts, growing in the use and application of Spiritual Gifts. Prophecy that encourages and edifies and speaks with the passion of a full heart holding back nothing. There have been many more, and thee will be yet more, I promise.

Each individual can go through such cycles. Entire groups can experience such cycles together.

After a while, what was new to you becomes taken for granted – in a healthy way, it’s becoming a part of your life, now.

You may even become a bit bored. Try not to get stuck or bitter because learning is going so well and freshness is waning.

Not to worry. God has you covered. New discoveries are coming again.

The cycle is always refreshing itself, the cycle of discovery and learning goes on…for eternity!

You get to know who God is more and better. You get to learn your own identity more deeply and in new ways. You get to exercise and learn new gifts, grow more familiar gifts into greater maturity and skill.

Learning and discovery cycles go on…they come, and the newness seems to go. Another one is coming soon. I wonder what this one will be like?

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Blessings Multiply Church Life Discipleship Ministry Prayer

After Disciplemaking – What?

So now they (disciples) have transformed your Christian life through your learning to and the practice of making of disciples. So much changes when we do this. It’s exhilarating, joyous, fun and very, very encouraging. You learn a lot! You grow tremendously. This is a major step on your Christian journey, and this changes your life for the better. You are more rich for the rest of your life when you are making disciples.

What’s next?

  • Continuing to grow in applying Spiritual Gifts?
  • Continuing to grow in faith and applying faith?
  • Continuing to learn to get to know our Lord more?
  • Continuing growth in learning who you are in him?

Yes! All these are not only good, they interact with each other. There is synergistic growth – growth that multiplies and often grows exponentially. These are not only all good, they each provide what can be a wonderful pathway for a lifetime of growth on earth and into eternity.

And yes, there are other steps after Proclaiming the Good News that Jesus Taught. There is following the progression of things that Jesus taught and showed us so often and so wonderfully well, such as healing the sick & freeing the bound, (cleansing lepers and raising the dead), and the making of disciples of all people groups – all kinds of people. (See The Great Commission at Matthew 28.)

He showed this next step with the 12 and the 70, and more…and Paul showed step this every time he planted a local church.

What is this next step? Community and the expansion of Community. Why? Because it roots all Christian Community into the Trinity Community of Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Or at least resonates with these Persons. And we all crave community and grow best in community – even us introverts!

Without this next step, churches stagnate and grow smaller. Too many are closing. The lack of this is the major reason evangelization is too often too hard these days, and yields so little fruit with too much work.

Ecclesias! Ecclesias enforce the standards and method of the Kingdom of God and results in the rapid and healthy spread of Christian Community.

Ecclesias made of disciples who encourage, support and edify one another. Who socialize, share Communion, and who serve one another.

Ecclesias are the major driving element that results in New Testament speeds of making new Christians and planting new local churches.

What’s their first gigantic step in serving each other and in serving others, resulting in so much marketplace ministry that the Ecclesias reach so many and transform the people they touch through Jesus and born again into the Kingdom of God?

Prayer. Massive amounts of loving and faith filled prayer. Prayer for one another. Prayer for others they know about. Prayer for community people they network with and can so easily touch. People who need help and have needs. Oh, yes! People with needs who are thus prayer and ministry targets.

What are prayer and ministry targets? Prayer for and ministry to people and situations where you can see the wanted results as the Kingdom of God spreads.

Massive prayer precedes and results in people being sent. Sent to share the Gospel, to minister, to make new Christians, disciples, form Ecclesias that result in the planting of local churches.

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Discipleship Getting Help Intercession Prayer

Prayer & Ministry Targets

joshua-earle-9idqIGrLuTE-unsplash

What are prayer and ministry targets? Prayer for and ministry to people and situations where you can see the wanted results as the Kingdom of God spreads.

Answers to prayer with targets that you can see for yourself. Fruit of ministry that can you can see and and appreciate.

Too few people know this. It’s a sort of secret. More people should know: most prayer gets results, and quickly. With wonderful speed. Most ministry yields good fruit – with very good and rapid results.

Why do not more people know? Why are we ourselves so slow to recognize and see this? Well, for me, it’s anxiousness for wanted results. We focus so much on results we want and do not see that we focus less on our Lord. We focus on so much we do not notice how rapid the results usually are, because we’ve moved on to the next thing we do not have or do not see. And we focus on and remember our pain and disappointments more than on our joy and successes.

It’s sort of amazing that we have enough faith to get so much done. But we look at results so little because we focus on the next thing we do not yet experience or have.

In your Prayer Journal or elsewhere (I used index cards) note what you pray for and what you minister for – and note the results and date each of these. You will be as astounded as I was to discover that most prayer yields excellent results and most ministry bears good fruit. And you will delight at the speed. And you will wonder why this sometimes doesn’t happen – you will investigate and learn.

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Discipleship Jesus's Communication Learning

We Miss What Jesus Didn’t Say

In our culture, we notice things thing spoken. This is especially true of the more left-brained among us, the more verbally oriented.

We too often miss things that Jesus shows us but does not put into words.

We need what he speaks about, and we need what he shows us: we need both!

He tells people, not infrequently, that it was their faith that made them whole (healed them). Yet it was their faith touching his Anointing that resulted in the miracle; that’s when miracles often happen.

He shows us exorcism, but does not tell us it’s the same underlying process used in healing!

He tells us to heal when preaching The Good News of the Kingdom. He shows, but does not tell us it’s the same underlying process.

He tells us to free the bound, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and make disciples of all people groups. He shows, but does not tell us it’s the same underlying process.

I believe if the dead were unwilling to be raised, they would not be: it needs agreement.

Miracles involving people being healed or freed seem to require some agreement; it takes some decision.

Miracles involving things such as calming a storm – he commands. Yet we hear not of water being turned into wine – was it implicit? (He told his mother what to do – was that enough? The rest implicit? I wonder….)

He commanded a storm, commands material things & demons – neither of which have their own authority and are under his authority. Now our authority, too. I do not recall him explaining such differences. He showed us differences.

I can’t claim to know every example and that I can even explain every example. What I can tell you is this: watch what Jesus shows us and listen to what he tells us with words. You may learn something new and even something wonderful.

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Anointing Conversation with God Discipleship Getting Help Healing Intercession Ministry Prayer

Experience Ministering with Jesus

So…by now I hope you are praying well – having conversations with Father, Jesus, &/or Holy Spirit: one God, three Persons. Getting answers quickly. Getting guidance and persisting. If you are having difficulty hearing God, doing one thing appears to be especially valuable.

I’ll focus on Jesus – which is easier for many of us and is a splendid fallback position when you are not doing as well or being as resourceful as you prefer. You can talk to one, two, or all of the Trinity – one at a time or together.

This is your genuine family. The root and basis of who you really are.

Remember how Jesus ministers: doing as Father shows him or tells him. You can do the same.

So…to minister with Jesus, or through Jesus when you need to depend on him even more and especially when you are not ready to be more active, here’s how to experience this.

Pray. Talk to Jesus. Listen, sense, watch – receive guidance and answers. Ask how to pray. In active ministry, it’s especially valuable to converse quickly and get helpful responses. Here’s how to get quick and reliable guidance from God about how to pray.

Tell Jesus what’s on your heart. Ask for guidance or how to pray, just as in the links above. Or, when you want to intercede and ask God to help – ask Jesus to take care of what is already on your heart. It’s a brilliant way to intercede. Intercession is asking God to do something for someone – so literally do this!

Minister with Jesus. Minister through Jesus. You can do this. And it’s as easy as having a conversation. Because that’s what prayer is – having a conversation where you share your heart and where you are attentive to and allow Jesus to share his heart with you.

He loves you that much. He wants to minister that much. He wants to minister with you and through you. And he loves it when you minister with him – and when you minister through him. He loves this much.

So minister with Jesus. Minister through Jesus. Love and serve, with and through our Lord and Savior. You can do this! He makes it easy.

Put your compassion to work. Add your faith – you only need a teeny, mustard seed size bit of faith. Or have someone pray with you and allow them to use their faith. This is one of many excellent reasons for having prayer partners. (More on Prayer Partners, soon.)

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Conversation with God Discipleship Getting Help Hearing God Holy Spirit Journal Key Article Ministry Prayer

Get Guidance & Persist

Ask for Guidance. Best is to be full of Holy Spirit, first. Easier to notice and receive.

When you receive Guidance, make note of it. Best is to write it in your Prayer Journal or Conversation with God Journal, or Guidance Journal – best is with your own handwriting, but a computer will do.

Pray for your Guidance to succeed. That you will be faithful and follow through to see whatever is about is finished and complete.

Getting Guidance isn’t enough. We need to follow through. To complete what the Guidance is about. So praying for that is also a “best practice”.

Journal about your guidance. It’s an excellent way of supporting yourself, so you remember better and follow through.

An outstanding idea is to get support from people who want to encourage and support you and help you do what is valuable and important to you. Just because it is important and valuable to you.

If you do not have such support, go get some! You can even ask for Guidance how to best do this.

And – follow through. <warm grin>

Persist in following the Guidance gives you. The Guidance you receive is God telling you not only how to do something, but if you think about it or ask God – it’s also God telling you what to do. You have heard God’s “Voice” for this. It empowers you to do what God said to do. To do otherwise is to fail to do what God has asked you to do. Oops!

Persist. Until the doing of what you have asked for Guidance about – is complete and done. Finished!

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Conversation with God Discipleship Getting Help Hearing God Holy Spirit

Hearing God Better – What’s Most Important?

What is most important in hearing God well, and in having good conversations (prayer) with God?

Is it buying more books or going to more conferences to learn how to hear God? These can help. And yet, there is one thing that will make hearing from God and being able to have good conversations with God much, much easier. And this thing is easy to do. And it’s not the usual advice – this may at first come as a bit of a surprise – but then be obvious by hindsight:

It’s being more full of Holy Spirit.

When you are more full of Holy Spirit, being able to converse with God is not hard, and is not a problem at all.

Some people teach that a person who has not been born again and who does not thus have Holy Spirit in them cannot hear God. I do not agree. After all, how else is faith enough to be born again come to come to someone except by hearing God?

So we can all hear God – if we are ready. Whether born again or not.

God prepared me for years so that when I heard a certain evangelist sharing how to be born again, I heard confirmation from whom I now know to be Holy Spirit. Who confirmed to me that what this man was telling me was what God was saying to me. And I knew this was God confirming; which gave me necessary faith. And I had been hearing from Holy Spirit for years, without being clear about who I was hearing. I was kept safe many times…. Being born again led to amazing love – but that’s a story for another time.

Here’s the thing. If you want to hear more from God and to converse more effectively, there is one thing you can do. Ask for more of Holy Spirit for this purpose. You will be equipped and given exactly what you need. Just ask, and by faith, receive.

There may be no drama as you receive more of Holy Spirit for healing and communicating with God better. You may not even notice you are having an attitude adjustment if needed – or you might notice, if God wants you to notice. Either way, Holy Spirit will help and guide you into better conversation with God.

When you need to learn something new, your Teacher will guide you. When you need help, your Helper will help you. When you need comfort, your Comforter will help. When you need help with devilish thoughts or accusations, your Advocate will help. When you need help with Gifts of the Spirit or with Fruit of the Spirit – Holy Spirit delivers generously. Intimacy with Father – Holy Spirit helps. Want to live more and better out of your New Self – Holy Spirit is key. Minister more lovingly and powerfully – Holy Spirit for a Purpose helps. Conversations with Jesus – Holy Spirit especially loves to help. With whatever is needed.

Just ask with and receive by faith; and it only takes a teeny amount of faith – like a mustard seed, as Jesus has told us. So worry not about this, just do it.

Ask for more of Holy Spirit so you can converse better with God. And God, who is generous, will be wonderfully glad to help you, and will give you good gifts.