Can I Follow and Serve God Later?

I’m busy. Between being a wife and mother of two, school duties, full-time work and keeping friendships alive, it’s no wonder it took me 18 months to have my hair cut! They say having a young family is the busiest time of life.

 

Surely, people would understand if I decided to put serving in the church on hold, for when the kids are a bit older and things had settled down a bit? I could wait until the kids were independent, or even better, when my mortgage is paid off and I can work less, or not at all. That’s when I’d have time.

 

So, Can I Follow God Later?

 

When Jesus called his first disciples, imagine what would have been if they had said, “Sorry mate, can I follow you later? I’m just too busy right now!” Jesus would’ve picked another, and poor old Simon Peter and Andrew, would’ve missed out on their calling. Thankfully, we know that,

“Immediately they left their nets and followed him”. (Matthew 4:20)

 

The significance of these fishermen leaving their nets is that they left their livelihood and social status to follow Jesus. Many of us are fortunate in that we may not need to physically leave our homes to follow Jesus, but we do need to make the same decision in our hearts.

 

How Do I Follow God?

 

In Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus tells us that the choice to follow him comes at a cost –

 

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

 

However, it also comes with a greater promise –

 

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

Jesus reminds us that eternal life in his kingdom is worth far more than the fleeting treasures and pleasures that earth has to offer –

 

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Denying yourself means surrendering all of ourselves and our desires to God, and choosing His ways over ours. However, the beauty and extent of God’s grace for us is that even if we surrender everything, it does not even compare to the price He paid on the cross to redeem our souls.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

 

What a privilege then, to follow him!

 

Following God Means Becoming a Disciple of Christ

 

Jesus’ call to his first disciples, is the same call to you and I – that is, to become his disciple and a disciplemaker to others.

 

‘And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”’ (Matthew 4:19)

 

In a time and culture when life is so “busy”, the call to respond immediately, to deny yourself, and be a disciplemaker may seem to be in competition for your precious time.

 

But following God is not about the amount of time we give to ministry! It’s about how surrendered our hearts are to Him, about having less of the world in us and more of Christ.

 

And when we do come to this place – as a disciple and fellow disciplemaker with Christ, he promises not busyness, but;

 

“rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

 

So what are we waiting for? Let’s go make disciples!

 

IDMC Australia aims to address the critical need of spiritual depth and maturity in the local church by returning to the biblical truths on authentic discipleship and intentional disciplemaking.

 

IDMC Conference Sydney 2018: Starting Over will take place on 17-18 August, 2018 at Hillsong Convention Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW. To register or learn more about IDMC Conference or IDMC Australia, visit www.idmcconference.com.au.

 

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A Day in a Life of Intentionality

He trains six days a week, and rests one.

Six days a week, he wakes up at 4:45am.

He eats a carefully prepared breakfast.

Then trains for a few hours.

Second breakfast. University (he’s also studying sports science).

More training.

Dinner to replenish the body.

Rest.

Repeat.

His goal is to compete in the 2020 Olympics. I hope he does.

He is 21 year old Tyron Boorman, and whilst for many of us his schedule may seem insane, to him, he is “living the dream” (Changing Habits 2016).

Have you ever been so intentional about anything? Many of us haven’t.

“Disciplemaking is the process of bringing people into right relationship with God, and developing them to full maturity in Christ through intentional growth strategies, that they might multiply the process in others also.”

In an Intentional Disciple Making Church, the intentionality is what sets it apart as all churches will produce disciples, but what kind of disciples?

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

To produce godly disciples, we must first be one. We are called to be Christlike, a much harder goal than winning Olympic gold, in my mind.

To grow as a disciple of Christ, we must be intentional about our growth. John Maxwell’s (2012) ‘Law of Intentionality’ teaches us that growth doesn’t just happen unless we make it happen.

How do I live with intentionality?

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.(Ephesians 5:15-18)

From these verses, Rev Edmund Chan (2017, pers comm. 17 June) teaches us to:

Examine your life

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise..” (v17)

Are you careful and wise in how you walk? Or do we allow the world, instead of the Word to govern our lives? Be sure to carve out time to think and reflect on your life.

 

Redeem your time

“..making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (v16)

Are you making the best use of every opportunity? Don’t take the present for granted and think carefully about how you would spend the rest of your life.

 

Determine your purpose

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (v17)

Understand the will of the Lord. To do this, we have to be obedient to the principles of God’s Word.

 

Embrace your priority

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” (v18)

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit – continually. This is a life that is obedient and surrendered to the Word of God.

Living intentionality is part and parcel of IDMC living. We must first be the kind of disciple we want to produce.

If you are intentional about being a disciple and producing Christlike disciples, what should your day look like?

Rev Edmund Chan is the key speaker at the IDMC Sydney 2018 Conference and will be speaking on the theme, ‘Starting Over’.

IDMC Conference Sydney 2018: Starting Over will take place on 17-18 August, 2018 at Hillsong Convention Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW. To register or learn more about IDMC Conference or IDMC Australia, visit www.idmcconference.com.au.

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Intentional Disciple Making – the Last Church Movement

Let’s begin with this: Intentional Disciple Making is the last movement of the Christian church.

“Last as in final? Or last as in most recent?”, you say.

Both. Think about it as I explain the Intentional Disciple Making Church (IDMC) movement.

As you think about it, you start to sense that you already know what I might say – something you understand in your heart and know to be true. You know what it means to be intentional. You know Jesus made disciples.

Yes, Jesus was intentional about making his disciples. Before he left the world, Jesus’ final mandate to us, was, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

“I know”, you say. “So…?”

What is IDMC all about?

IDMC is not a program, ministry, or even a model for doing church. Not about the external activities we can do for Christ, but about our internal transformation to becoming more like Christ.

What distinguishes intentional discipleship is that Jesus showed us first who we need to be, in order to make disciples. Jesus modelled the standard as a man here on earth, and heavily invested into the lives of his twelve disciples. However, discipleship is a two-way street and to be a disciple, each of the twelve had to leave their former way of life (or lay down their lives) to follow Jesus.  

One of these disciples was Paul, who said,

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

Paul was indoctrinated to disciple others and passes on a strategy for Timothy to do the same. Disciplemaking was essentially the first church movement, and as a result, Timothy becomes a second generation disciple of Jesus. The “reliable men” become a third generation, and they teach “others” as the fourth. At the nth degree, you and I become a part of the equation.

The multiplication is powerful, but there’s more to it than that. The Greek word for “others” is heteros” which refers not to the numerical implication of “others”, but that being another of the same quality, or a certain kind. Therefore, our primary task as a church is not about how many numbers we can congregate, but to reproduce disciples of a certain kind. Not merely multiplication, but intentional replication.

However, we can only replicate who we are so, as the disciples were required to give up their former ways, we must allow Christ to continually work in us in order to become more like him.

Authentic Disciple, Intentional Disciplemaker

When a church embraces the primary task of developing its people over its programs, the result is a church of authentic disciples. Authentic disciples who grow to full maturity in Christ and become disciplemakers, who replicate a certain kind. So, you can begin with a faithful twelve and impact countless people, through the process of intentional disciple making.

Intentional disciplemaking is the process of bringing people into right relationship with God, and developing them to full maturity in Christ through intentional growth strategies, that they might multiply the entire process in others also.

We can break this down into four key aspects:

  1. Bringing people into right relationship with God –

We must have a passion for the lost and responsibly evangelise to them.

  1. Developing them to full maturity in Christ –

We must nurture spiritual maturity, and not merely entertain spiritual infancy (even if it hurts!).

  1. Through intentional growth strategies –

Spiritual growth from new converts to faithful Christians must be catered for with intentional growth strategies, using Bible-based core curriculum.

  1. That they might multiply the entire process in others also –

Disciplemaking is about reproducing effective disciples.

The fruit of an IDMC is a certain kind of disciple. The nth generation disciple, devoted to Jesus in the same way Paul was. Spiritually mature, continually growing in Christlikeness, and intentional about making disciples of others.

Imagine… what would church be like? What kind of impact would it have on the world?

Jesus left us with a task to do and gave us the formula to do it. It started the first and last movement of the Christian church.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s go make disciples!

IDMC Conference Sydney 2018: Starting Over will take place on 17-18 August, 2018 at Hillsong Convention Centre, Baulkham Hills, NSW. To register or learn more about IDMC Conference or IDMC Australia, visit www.idmcconference.com.au.

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