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Archive for May, 2014

One of the cool things about this website is that it shows me the various countries where people live who visit the website.  So far, people from 32 nations on 6 continents have visited us at least once.  I am amazed and we thank God for each and every one of you.  There are many within the United States who regularly check it out, but some of the other nations represented have really overwhelmed me.

So, I just want to say, “Hello. Thank you, and, God bless!”, to our brothers and sisters in places like: India, Poland, Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, Kenya, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore, United Kingdom, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Australia, Denmark, Uganda, Italy, South Africa, Costa Rica and many more.  There are several others who have visited from nations in Africa and Asia that I will not mention because of security reasons for believers in those countries.  Please do not be offended if I did not mention your nation.  We praise God for you!

There are many blessings that come from being able to serve the Lord in various places.  One of those blessings, of course, is meeting brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.  What a reminder that the Family of God is so much bigger than our own little corner of the globe.

God has blessed us with many friends around the world.  We have gotten to know pastors, missionaries, their families, and others whom we love and pray for.  To those of you who pray for us and follow the ministry, we hope we get to meet you in person one day, but if not here, one day we will fellowship with you in Heaven!

Let me encourage you to love Jesus, walk with Jesus, live for Jesus, and serve Jesus all the days of your life.  Along with the Apostle Paul let me say, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen”  1 Cor. 16:23-24 (NKJV)  I am so glad that we’re a part of the Family of God!

In Christ,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Allen & Lisa

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If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are His disciple.  I want to encourage you and exhort you to continue to grow in the Lord.  Never be satisfied with where you are in your walk with the Lord.  Continue to desperately hunger and thirst for Him.  Walk with Him all the days of your life.  Behold Him daily, fix your eyes on Him. Spend time in fellowship with Him and in His Word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to continually transform you into the image of Jesus.  Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ all the days of your life.

As you walk with the Lord, be part of His Great Co-Mission, be part of His command to make disciples.  Share Christ everywhere you go.  Help others to grow in the Lord.  Help them to become 100% sold-out followers of Jesus Christ who, as they walk through this life, begin to look more and more like Jesus.  Encourage your pastor and other church staff to begin to disciple others, if they are not currently doing so.  Help to guard and protect their time so they can prioritize disciple-making over some of the other things that church members can keep their ministers busy with.

Jesus said, “GO, MAKE, BAPTIZE, TEACH.”  Let us, by the grace of God, joyfully fulfill this command.  Let us also remember His words:

-“I have all authority.”

-“I have commanded you.”

-“I am always with you.”

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all as you make disciples of Jesus,

Allen

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I want to ask the question again, “How are we doing when it comes to making disciples of Jesus Christ?”  As I stated before, it is much easier to plan activities and offer programs than it is to spend the time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to pour into people’s lives and make disciples.  Also, please let me remind you again, this is not a command that was given just for those who are in vocational ministry.  The Great Commission is a command to all believers.

My hope and prayer is that those of you who read these articles will be stirred by the Holy Spirit to action.  I pray that God will give you the burden and the vision to disciple others.  Even though the command to make disciples is for every believer, I pray that pastors and other ministers in particular will begin, if you have not already, to prayerfully recruit one, two, three, or more men and begin to disciple them.  I pray that you ladies who have grown in the Lord will follow the Scriptural command of Titus 2:3-5.

Discipleship can happen in so many ways.  Ask the Lord to direct you to the people He wants you to disciple and to give you ideas on how to fulfill His command.  He will.  Look at how Jesus did it.  He trained them, He took them with Him, then He turned them loose.  Take people through the Word of God.  Ground them in the basics of the faith.  We live in a wonderful day and time in which we have so many resources to help us with this.  Of course, when it comes down to it, all you need is the Word of God itself.  Then, take the ones you disciple with you to do ministry.  Model ministry, serving, loving, etc., for them.  Then when the Holy Spirit lets you know that the time is right, turn them loose to serve the Lord and to be witnesses themselves.

One reason why many of our churches are in conflict and decline is because we are not making disciples.  Our churches are filled with immature believers who have never been discipled.  If we want to see more people come to know Christ and if we want to see stronger, healthier churches that are making a difference in this world, we need to start making disciples!

Until next time–in Christ’s service,                                                                                                                                                                                 Allen

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When we look at the daily life of Jesus, we see that He loved, prayed(worshiped), taught, healed, evangelized, served, and fellowshipped.  Is this what our life looks like?  I cannot produce these things in my life.  It is the Holy Spirit of God who has to transform me daily more and more into the image of Christ, but do I even desire these things?  Ask God to give you the desire to hunger and thirst for Him.  Ask the Holy Spirit, daily, to make you more like Jesus.  Daily, count yourself as crucified with Christ and ask the Lord Jesus to live His Resurrection Life in you and through you.  Over time, Jesus will be seen more and more in you.

As Jesus lived His daily life and lived out the seven characteristics we have discussed, we see that He lived them out with authority and by faith.  Jesus said that ALL authority has been given to Him.  What does this mean for us?  It means that you and I can live our daily lives with confidence and assurance because of who we belong to.  We live and love and pray and share His Word, and are agents of healing and evangelize and serve and fellowship in His authority.  Now that should give us confidence for everyday life!  The book of Acts states that we live and move and have our being in Him, so He has all authority and He passes on that authority and power to us. (Acts 17:28; Act 1:8)

Even Jesus lived His life by faith.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  Jesus lived His daily life and served God by faith.  When He held up a handful of fish and bread before thousands of hungry people and asked the Father to bless it and multiply it, He was living by faith.  When He stood before the open tomb of Lazarus and asked the Father to hear Him, He was asking by faith.  What are you trusting God for today?  What are you believing Him for?  What are you asking Him to do in your life, for your family, your church, or even your nation?  How big is your vision of God?  A disciple of Jesus will live in His authority and will live by faith a life that brings honor and glory to God.

Until next time–In Christ’s love,                                                                                                                                                                                      Allen

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JESUS SERVED:

Jesus said that He came, not to be served, but to serve.  In the Upper Room, the disciples argued about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom and who would have the choice positions.  Meanwhile, Jesus quietly got up, took a towel and a basin of water, and began to wash His disciples’ dirty feet.  It’s true, many times actions do speak louder than words.  In this simple, humble gesture Jesus showed the disciples that greatness is not determined by how many people serve you, but by how many people you serve.

When you serve, you are giving of yourself.  Jesus gave Himself for us when He died on the cross for our sins.  As His disciples, you and I are called by Him to die daily to self, deny ourselves, and follow Him.  We are to give ourselves to Him and to others.  Our lives are not our own.  When we serve others, we are living like Jesus and giving evidence of being His disciples.

JESUS FELLOWSHIPPED:

This one may surprise you, but as you look at the daily life of Jesus, He loved spending time with others, especially around the table.  We see this over and over again in the Gospels.  Fellowship is much more than sharing a meal, but great times of fellowship have occurred over good food.  Also, think about how many of Jesus’ parables, especially the ones that speak of the Kingdom, have as the centerpiece an invitation to a banquet.

Fellowship is the sharing of the common-life we have in Jesus.  As followers of Jesus, we are not to live in isolation, but in fellowship with one another.  Believe it or not, we really do need each other in the Body of Christ and we are to live in right relationship with the Lord and with one another.  Go back and read 1 John 1 again and see what the Lord has to say about this. Jesus wants to spend time with you.  He wants to share His Life with you and He wants His disciples to live in fellowship with one another.

Until next time may the Lord Bless,                                                                                                                                                                                 Allen

 

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JESUS HEALED:

We know that healing was a great part of Jesus’ ministry.  As Jesus looked over the many crowds that would follow Him, the Bible states that He was moved with compassion.  We should also meditate upon the fact that even though Jesus saw the crowd, He also always saw the individual.  What a lesson for us today.

Jesus can still heal today.  I have seen God heal instantly in answer to prayer.  Some may have a problem with this, but regardless, it is true.  Ultimately, all healing comes from God.  As followers of Jesus, you and I are to be agents of healing.  This does not mean that God will use us for the physical healing of others, although He can still do that if He so chooses.  Healing can come in many different forms.  Our words, for example, can heal or hurt others.  Do our words, actions, and ministries bring healing to others?  It’s interesting to note that in the New Testament whenever anyone needed healing, help, or hope, you never see them go to the Pharisees.  They went to Jesus.  Do people know they can come to you for healing, help, and hope through Jesus?

JESUS EVANGELIZED:

Jesus continually called people to follow Him.  He called them to choose.  In His Great Commission, when He states, “Go therefore…”, it literally means, “as you go.”  The idea is, as you go throughout your daily life, be His witness, make disciples.  As you go to the store, to school, to work, to the game, wherever, as you go realize that you are always a witness for Christ, for better or worse.  You may not be a vocational evangelist, you may not have the spiritual gift of evangelism, but all disciples of Jesus are commanded to be His witnesses.

Ask God to give you opportunities to share Jesus with others, He will.  He will also give you the boldness, the confidence, and the clarity you need to be His witness.  Sometimes we make it harder than it has to be.  A witness is simply someone who shares what they have seen, heard, and experienced.  We “witness” to others about all kinds of things that happen in our lives and about things that are important to us.  When we lead others to Christ, this is part of what it means to bear fruit.  In John 15, Jesus said that when we bear fruit, the Father is glorified and we prove to be His disciples.

Until next time,                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Allen

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As Jesus lived His daily life He loved, taught, prayed, healed, evangelized, served, and fellowshipped with others.  Let’s take a brief look at each one of these areas.

JESUS LOVED:

Jesus loved people and they knew that He loved them.  You have heard the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  It’s an old saying because it’s so true.  I often tell young pastors, “If your people know that you really love them, and they can tell if you do or not, that’s about 90% of the ‘battle’.”  When people know that you truly love them they are much more willing to follow your leadership.  This is true in a church, a home, the workplace, and in other settings.

Let Jesus love others through you.  Jesus said that we are to love one another.  He said that others will know we are His disciples when they see our love for one another. (John 13:34-35)  Disciples of Jesus will love others.

JESUS TAUGHT:

Jesus taught others.  You may be thinking, “Well, I guess I can’t be a disciple of Jesus because I can’t teach.”  You may not be a teacher, but basically what I am saying is that Jesus continually shared the Word of God with others.  Jesus read, studied, meditated upon, memorized and shared God’s Word.  He immersed Himself in the Word of God and it naturally flowed out of His heart.  He wove God’s Word into everyday life situations.  You and I can do the same.  Are you spending time daily in the Word of God?  Jesus said that His disciples will abide in His Word. (John 8:31)  Ask the Lord to give you a hunger for His Word.

JESUS PRAYED:

Prayer was one of the great marks of Jesus’ life when He walked this earth.  It was His lifeline to His Father in Heaven.  It was a time of worship for Him.  Disciples of Jesus will be people of prayer and worship because apart from Jesus we can do nothing.(John 15:5)  If prayer was so important to Jesus, who do we think we are if we neglect what was so valued by Him?

The disciples were fascinated by the prayer life of Jesus.  They were so blessed and challenged by His praying that they asked Him to teach them to pray like Him.  I want to challenge you to study the prayer life of Jesus, especially in the Gospel of Luke.  Ask the Lord to make you a person of prayer and worship.  Ask the Lord to give you an ever-increasing love for Him and desire to spend time with Him.  Worship the Lord everyday.  May you worship Him throughout the day in your heart, out loud when you can, and in all you do, live a life that gives Him honor and glory.

Until next time,                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Allen

 

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How would you describe Jesus in only a few words?  It is virtually impossible.  There are so many things we can say about Him and the ways to describe Him are almost infinite.  In relation to our being like Him, the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ daily as we die to self, surrender fully to the Lordship of Christ, and as we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit who produces the character of Christ (the fruit of the Spirit, etc.) in us and makes us more like Jesus.

As we think about Jesus, we can say things like, “He was faithful, holy, kind, gentle, obedient to His Father’s will, etc.  All of these characteristics and so much more are to be part of who we are as we grow in Him.  But, as I asked in the last post, as you look at the daily life of Jesus and how He lived His life, what are just a few one-word descriptions that give us insight as to what it means to live as one of His disciples?  Let me offer just a few of these.

When you look at the Gospels and see how Jesus went through His everyday life, you see that on a daily basis He loved, He taught, He prayed, He healed, He evangelized, He served, and He fellowshipped.  Again, let me say, we are looking at Jesus’ daily life with a telescope, not a microscope.  Many of the other qualities you could use to describe Jesus can be placed under one of these seven areas.  I am certainly not suggesting that these are the only seven ways to describe how Jesus lived His daily life.  In the next post, I want to begin to share how this relates to us as His disciples, how these qualities can be lived out in our daily lives, and how this relates to Jesus’ command to make disciples.

In Christ’s service,                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Allen

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If a disciple of Jesus is someone who follows Jesus and looks more and more like Him as they walk through this life, then we must ask the question, “What did the life of Jesus look like?”  In other words, as Jesus lived out His daily life, what did that look like?  In my opinion, part of the answer lies in Galatians 5:22-23.  This is the passage that lists the fruit of the Spirit.  I believe that when you look at the fruit of the Spirit you are actually looking at the character and personality of Christ.  So we know that as we grow in Christ and are being filled with the Holy Spirit and transformed by the Spirit into the image of Christ, we will look more and more like Jesus.  The fruit of the Spirit will become more and more evident in our lives.

However, I want us to think more specifically about what the daily life of Jesus looked like.  I realize there could be many answers to this question and they would probably all be correct.  But, if you looked at the daily life of Jesus with, say, a telescope instead of a microscope, what would be the overall description of His daily life?  If you had to narrow it down to just a few things, what would they be?  If you were to offer a half dozen or so one-word descriptions of the daily life of Jesus, what would they be?

Think about it.  Next time, I would like to share my thoughts on what those characteristics would be.

In Christ’s service,                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Allen

 

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Making Disciples 4

Last night I taught the mid-week Bible study at SweetWater Baptist Church.  We were studying Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, and other related passages.  When we got to the part about evangelism, I asked two of the questions that I asked in yesterday’s post.  Those questions were, “Have you ever heard of grandparents being trained to share about their grandchildren?” and “Do you have to force a college football fan to talk about their favorite team?”  Their response?  They laughed!  Those wonderful folks got it!  They  understood exactly the point that I was making.

Again, let me say, I am thankful for all the training and evangelism tools that we have.  Training is important.  It helps to prepare us and can give us more confidence as we witness to others.  However, we probably have more trained church members than ever before while we are seeing fewer baptisms than we have in decades.  What’s missing?

I want you to focus on two phrases in Acts 1:8.  Acts 1:8 goes hand-in-hand with Matthew 28:18-20.  What are the two phrases?  “You shall RECEIVE” and “You shall BE.”  Every believer receives the Holy Spirit when we are born again.  However, there is a command in Ephesians 5:18 that we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

A lot of people make it out to be a lot of different things.  I believe the best understanding is right there in the verse.  In the first half of verse eighteen, Paul writes that we are not to be filled with wine.  When a person is filled with alcohol, it affects the way they think, the way they see things, the way they hear things, the way they walk, talk, act, and react.  We call it, “being under the influence.”  So, when you are filled with and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, it will affect the way you think, the way you see things, hear things, walk, talk, act, and react!  The Great Commission is a command, but so is Ephesians 5:18.

“You shall RECEIVE…You shall BE…”        When you read the first few chapters of the Book of Acts, you see that being filled with the Holy Spirit gave the believers a boldness to share Christ with others.  When Peter and John were dragged before the Council, they were severely threatened and commanded not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  What was their response?  In Acts 4:20 we read their reply, “…we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Where did this boldness come from?  The answer is found earlier in Acts 4:13.  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (NKJV) Friend, are you spending time daily with Jesus?  Are you daily filled with the Holy Spirit”  “You shall RECEIVE, You shall BE.”  When Christ is our first love and we are filled with Him, we cannot help but speak of Him everywhere we go.  Sharing Christ with others will be as natural as an artesian well overflowing from within our innermost being.

Last night, after the Bible study at SweetWater, one of the men shared a story with me.  He said that years ago he heard the story of a man in Brazil that was saved at an evangelistic crusade.  The man immediately wanted to serve the Lord and tell others what had happened to him.  However, some of the leaders cautioned him and said to him, “You cannot do that until you have been trained.”  But, the man said that he could not take the time for that just now.  Two years later, this man returned to the town where he had been saved.  The leaders of the church asked him where he had been and what had he been doing?  The man replied, “I have started several churches and we have seen hundreds come to Christ.”  The leaders said, “How could you do that?  You have not received training?”  The man said, “I just told them all about Jesus.”   YOU SHALL RECEIVE.  YOU SHALL BE.

Until next time–in Christ’s love,                                                                                                                                                                                     Allen

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