We are often guilty of doing this with God. We write our own definition of his identity, his plan and his purposes. But we’re missing knowing him by his own definition.Read more Do our definitions matter?
Meet my crazy friend, Steve Waggoner. He’s the pastor of Crosswalk Fellowship in Delavan, IL. (Okay, we both might be crazy. Keep reading. You’ll see why.)
I knew Pastor Steve lived and multiplied a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life long before I actually met him. Why? Because I kept meeting people he’s discipled. So I knew it was a matter of God’s timing before our paths would cross.
Eventually, he showed up at one of Cadre’s disciplemaking training experiences (see above). Some time later, Pastor Steve and I connected over coffee. [It’s no accident that Bill’s personal blog is called cupojoewithbill.]
Then Pastor Steve asked if he could take the disciplemaking training he received from Cadre and pass it on others. I smiled and said, “No way. We can’t have people like you running amuck making disciples who make disciples” who make more disciples.” But I think he knew I was joking.
Pastor Steve asked if we could start with the various leaders of the church. So, we did the same Cadre disciplemaking training experience with the ministry leaders of the church.
After training the leaders of the church, Pastor Steve jumped off a cliff.
He did something I’ve never seen a pastor do. He took his entire church through the exact same disciplemaking training experience for the next three months DURING the Sunday morning services. You might want to re-read that previous sentence again. Pastor Steve didn’t do the disciplemaking training experience in Sunday school. He slow-dripped the biblical disciplemaking values of the training for three months as the Sunday morning worship/teaching time with the whole church. Instead of only preaching about disciplemaking, Pastor Steve gathered people around tables and trained and equipped them. For three months as the Sunday morning worship service.
And here’s the really amazing part: He kept his job as pastor (so far). And by the way, he stationed each of the leaders who were previously trained at different tables so they could facilitate the training and wrestling of Scripture for application with the rest of the church. The way they received disciplemaking is the way they gave it to others.
Cadre Blog Friends: We were super encouraged by this note from the impact of one of our Disciplemaking Learning Communities… this one just happens to be inside of a prison.
Dave & Rennie,
I wanted to take a couple of minutes to share with you one way you have impacted “K” inside of Muskegon Correctional.
When I was in the prison fellowship library yesterday . . . standing in the doorway getting ready to leave I had a brief conversation with K. and G. about a new, prospective volunteer. I was talking about a concern I had over a slight theological difference.
K. spoke of and said something like . . . “You don’t have to worry about that Chip. It’s like Dave & Rennie teach us, we just look to what it says in the Word”. He pointed to the library bookshelves and said “We have all these books with a lot of peoples views and opinions . . . but we need to look at God’s Word and what it says in the Bible.” That’s where we get our truth.
Something like that, you kind of had to be there but it was obvious that you guys have strengthened his commitment to the truth of God’s Word and the value of going to the Bible as the one and only authority.
The fact that you impact K. is HUGE as I believe he is the one most influential believer on our prison compound.
I love you guys and your willingness to be used of God inside of prison walls.
(Prison Fellowship and a Disciplemaking friend).
Who will you walk with as a Disciplemaking friend today?
I’m so glad that for Rennie and I that includes life with K., G., and Chip!
What’s the difference between being a first-live-er and a first-tell-er?
I’d start by outing the western view and lack of a Biblical practice of leadership. Why are western churches so obsessed with a structure where a few special people (talent, presence, temperament, inheritance) define leadership?
I am so grateful for the towel wearing leadership of John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul…
Rather than focus on special vision, special leaders, I am excited to wake up each day to walk with friends and let the Holy Spirit (kavanah style) lead me, lead us…
The greatest leadership vision, action, example of leadership is when you and I live Jesus’ GO MAKE DISCIPLES, together vision, starting with our family.
We’re not leaders when we gorge ourselves on leadership reading, more leadership workshops and more leadership copying…
We’re leaders when we help others lead. When we multiply at home and with friends. When we break out of our silo’s and walk alongside and not above… leaders don’t rise above, they crawl alongside.
The gift of leadership is mentioned in only one gift list and that was to refer to it as a LESSER gift… instead Paul elevated, hospitality, towel wrapped servanthood and friendship. Please learn to lead as a role and not a position.
I love how 1 thessalonians 5:11-14 calls each of us to be disciplemakers who live alongside (encourage, Thayer) in a mutual/reciprocal way (one other, Thayer) who mutually leave each other with more (build, Thayer).
Then Paul refers to ways we can honor those in the role of leadership for their example and hard-work (first-live-ers) who offer spiritual example and guidance through an accessible life… (1 th 1 to 5).
Next PAUL returns to invite each, all of us to lead in each other’s lives like positive, hard-working leaders have modeled…
From my understanding of Jesus: Inflow, overflow, multiply are a flat org chart we’re all called to live, share, own and release. We are disciplemaking friends not leaders… and it starts in our homes.
My vote:Let’s drop the leader, follower dialogue… let’s erase our leadership boxes and layers then instead… be kavanah living, disciplemaking first-live-ers who lead by helping others multiply.
E-mail is truly an amazing and funny thing. For example, somehow I “accidentally” received this e-mail memo from . . . HELL! It is from a high-ranking general in Satan’s evil army—a demonic warrior named Ichabod—and is written to the demons who have been strategically assigned to Christian students like YOU! I’m not sure how this message ended up on my computer—except for the fact that maybe one of God’s angels intercepted it and somehow sent it my way so I could share it with you in this Bible study booklet! I wouldn’t be surprised if I start getting these e-mail memos on a regular basis! If I do, you can count on the fact that I will inform you of the enemy’s tactics—so that you will not be ignorant of his plans to make you spiritually ineffective (II Corinthians 11:3). When you are finished reading, please share it with EVERY student and disciplemaker you know—so they, too, will be on guard against the attacks of the evil one (Ephesians 6:10).
Your partner in Christ for your generation, Bill Allison
Apathy: Try to Put Their Spiritual Fire Out Slowly!
To: All of my young demons of destruction!
From: Ichabod Ebenezer Beelzebub, General of Sector 666
RE: Our Greatest Threat: Christian Students
As your superior in evil, I must confess that nothing makes me tremble more than THOUSANDS of students praying! I HATE THAT! The thought of the damage done to our side as a result of this makes my scales crawl! It may be months before we recover the lost ground— but recover the lost ground we must!
So, instead of direct attacks on the Enemy from the outside (which has only hurt us and rallied them), I think it is time for a not-so-new, sneakier strategy. I propose a return to the strategy of making student ministries crumble from the inside out! Since each of you has been assigned to tempt, discourage, and frustrate Christian students in youth groups all over the world, I want to encourage you to influence them to do various “innocent” acts of destruction—with the hope that we can actually get Christian students to hurt the work of God for us! For the next several months, I will guide you with specific pieces of advice about how to help Christian students ruin their lives and youth groups.
Lesson #1: Apathy is a Demon’s Best Friend!
One of the most important and effective weapons we have in the battle with Christian students—especially those Christian students who have grown up in Christian homes—is apathy. That is, some Christian students don’t REALLY care about God or building His kingdom! As a lord of Satan himself, I rejoice in EVERY Christian student who is lukewarm! Anything that makes the Enemy vomit must be good for our side (see Revelation 3:16)! However, a growing number of Christian students are becoming radicals! They love God and are actively working to tell other students about God’s love. THIS MUST BE STOPPED! Somehow, we must work to take the edge off these radicals and lead them down the slippery slope of apathy!
This is why the Enemy has so many of His volunteer and full-time workers in what He calls “youth ministry.” He knows youth ministry is the most strategic mission field in America! This 85 percent is a frightening statistic indeed—and frankly, this is something the big boys in Hell have been working on for years—but with very little success! Furthermore, around 44 percent of all people who trust Christ as their Savior do so because of the witness of a close friend or relative! So, if Christian students ever get serious about impacting their non-Christian friends for Christ—we are most certainly doomed! Why? Because non-Christian students are receptive to the gospel—especially when it is presented by a trusted Christian friend! YIKES! This should have you more than a little concerned! At ALL costs, don’t let students catch a vision for reaching other students!
Apathy Generator: Busyness!
How can you stop the radical Christ-following students? Let me offer the following apathy-tactics that we are currently using with some success. Once students reach the junior high/middle school years, encourage them to get overly BUSY doing things that are good—but not necessarily what is BEST! The goal here is to get them busy doing anything except that which is eternally important! You know the old saying, “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy!” Remember: we work for the Devil—so let’s bury those students in busyness. (It’s working quite well with adults these days!) Get younger students focused on themselves, being popular and cool, and involved in the zillions of good activities that demand all of their time and attention. Good is the worst enemy of best—and if students get so caught up in good things—they will never have time to do that which is eternally best! For older students, focus their attention solely on buying cars, working at McDonalds, and making money for college—all “good” things that can be used to choke their spiritual fruitfulness (see Mark 4:19). Help Christian high school students forget the fact that they only have so many years to be in a youth ministry—lest they make the most of those years!
Note: Getting older students over-involved in work is only effective if they work on Wednesday nights and/or Sundays so they will have to miss Bible studies and youth group meetings! BIG CAUTION: IF students prioritize their involvement in youth ministry activities, the whole busyness approach could backfire on us! Think about it. Students stay connected to a strong, healthy youth ministry—never missing a Bible study. Then they start telling other students they know from all the activities they are involved in outside of the youth ministry about their “AWESOME” youth group. This makes me sick to think of the damage that could be done! So if you choose to lure Christian students into the busyness trap, make sure they get so busy that they cut themselves off from their church’s youth ministry!
When All Else Fails: Romantic Diversions
If busyness doesn’t make Christian students apathetic about God and their church youth ministries, pull out the big guns and hit them where it really hurts— romantic relationships! When trying to pull radical Christian students out of the life of a vibrant youth ministry, I have found only a few tactics more successful than sending non-Christian girlfriends or boyfriends into their lives! Get a spiritual dynamo guy interested in an open-minded non-Christian knockout of a babe! How many Christian guys can resist this? HA! I love this job! Get that missionary wanna-be of a young woman to date the beer-drinking star of the football team—even just one time! Sometimes it only takes one date—and you’ve got them! HA! I REALLY love this job! Pull them from the fire of other Christians SLOWLY so they cool off just a little bit. Don’t try to take them from hot to cold in one day! Just try to SLOWLY cool them down degree by degree and before they know it—they are spiritual popsicles! This starts by taking them out of the influence of youth ministry—and away from adult youth workers and other radical Christ-following students who really love them. Before long, they stop reading the Bible, praying, and sharing their faith. From there, it is a fast moving ski-ride down to spiritual Iceland.
I have so much more to teach you, my little demons of SLOW destruction, but these suggestions will get you started in the art of creating apathy in Christian students! Slowly and steadily take the spiritual fire of Christian students down—one little degree at a time. Remember: spiritual destruction via apathy is a slow steady leak—not a one time blow out!
Don’t Just Sit There—Do Something About It!
It is my hope that the articles in these lessons stimulate you to serious thinking and action! The best way to use this booklet is in a group discussion situation. So each chapter will be accompanied by thought provoking Bible study questions you can use for self or group studies.
1. It is important to note that we can’t blame the Devil for the bad choices we make! Think about someone you know who was once a radical Christ-follower but is now apathetic about spiritual things. Perhaps this person is YOU! What are some choices that Christian students make that SLOWLY take away their passion for Christ? How does the slippery slope away from Jesus get started?
2. What can Christian students do to keep their passion for Christ stoked hot and burning bright? Be specific.
3. What do the following verses teach us about how our enemy will try to keep us from living passionately for Jesus?
II Corinthians 11:3 Ephesians 6:10-18
4. What do the above verses teach us about how to fight our enemy?
5. Why might Christian students be more of a threat to Satan’s kingdom?
6. “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll try to make you busy.” Is this statement in any way true in your life? Be specific.
7. In YOUR life, how might GOOD be the worst enemy of BEST?
8. Read Mark 4:1-20. What is choking your spiritual fruitfulness?
9. What “big guns” does the enemy tempt you with? What temptations do you struggle with the most? What is the area of your greatest weakness? Who can you talk to about this?
10. If you were the enemy, how would you plan to attack YOU?
If you’re wanting to prevail against apathy we invite you to enjoy the dramatic audio and share this experience with friends, family time or in your small groups.
Of course, we’re talking about reading the Bible. But not just reading the Bible—as good as that can be. What we’re talking about is reading the Bible together. Why together? Because reading the Bible by yourself is great, but reading the Bible together is exponentially more transformative.
Have you ever wondered what a chronological New Testament would look like? Or how the Gospels describe the same event with different words and perspective? If so, this reading plan is for you. It’s impossible to state exactly in what order everything happened but this is an attempt and we hope it will bring new light to the eternal story of Jesus Christ.
We invite you to jump in with us as we utilize the YouVersion App and it’s reading plan feature. Simply activate the NT CHRONOLOGICAL plan. We also suggest that you activate the daily reminder feature . Since it’s a 6 month plan we’ll be able to read this plan twice during 2018.
During the first half of the year (182 days) we’ll read thru the New Testament to observe Kavanah priorities. For the second half of the year (182 days) we’ll go deeper as we re-read the New Testament digging into the link between following Jesus and prayerfulness. We’ll start the read in January, but we’ll be inviting new friends to jump in along the way.Wherever we are in the sequence we invite you to begin where we are and read with us.
Tens of millions of people are using the Bible App™ to make God’s Word a part of their daily lives. Download the free app and access your bookmarks, notes, and reading plans from anywhere. Enjoy hundreds of versions, including audio, all on your mobile device. We’ll be using the NLT text and audio personally, but we invite you to read in the version of your choice.
The YouVersion Bible app makes it possible to not only read the Bible online via your smart phone, iPad, or computer, but you also can read it in whatever translation you choose. Another bonus is that you can also listen to an audio of each day’s readings for FREE!
But Wait! There’s More!
As we read through the New Testament together this year, we’re going to be looking for Kavanah. What’s Kavanah? That’s a great question.
Kavanah is a Hebrew word that helps us understand how God empowers us to live as disciplemakers. In its simplest form, Kavanah means “to aim.” In disciplemaking, it describes the place where my disciplined actions meet God’s active presence in my life. If disciplemaking is about following Jesus together, every day, we need his power to do it. And Kavanah helps us see how.
We find the roots of Kavanah in the Babylonian Talmud. Berakoth 32b says, “Our Rabbis taught: Four things require to be done with Kavanah, namely, [study of] the Torah, good deeds [loving others and showing kindness], praying always, and one’s worldly occupation.”
Kavanah is how we hit the bullseye as a disciple. It enables us to be filled up by Jesus, anticipating what God is going to do in us, through us and around us. We practice these four priorities with others, depending on the help of the Holy Spirit to hit the Kavanah bullseye…
So as we read this year, I suggest every time you come across one of the four Kavanah priorities in your Bible reading, you make a note in your Bible like so…
W = study God’s Word to know and love God
P = prayerfulness
L = loved extravagantly by God to love others
C = a C323 (Colossians 3:23) life of worship
If you’re really into crazy and fun, consider using four different colored pencils/highlighters—one for each of the four Kavanah priorities. When you’re done, you’ll have a fun and simply way of seeing just how much Kavanah is in the New Testament.
As we study, pray, love and live together, we hit the bullseye as disciples—who makes disciples—who make more disciples.