Happy Father’s Day to disciplemaking dads

Book, videos, curriculum, and the Internet are all fine and dandy. But when it comes to learning and disciplemaking, the best way is always with a real person—preferably in an informal way.
 
Sounds like slow, hard work, doesn’t it?
 
If you’ve found a “more efficient way” to make disciplemakers than Jesus’ disciplemaking friendships approach—please don’t take this personally, but I’m sticking with Jesus.
 
Beware of trading the hard work of disciplemaking friendships for short term efficiency. While I like efficiency as much as anyone else living in the 21st Century, I’m more than a little suspicious of it.
 
Many times shortcuts aren’t very short.
 
No, I think I’ll stick with Jesus’ crockpot approach over our current culture’s microwave approach. It’s not very flashy, but, wow, it has a 2,000 year record of transforming people… and the world.

Happy Father’s Day to every father—but especially to all fathers who aspire to be disciplemaking dads.

The Disciplemaking Learning Community right under your nose

After years of being single—and only after a few years of being married, Martin Luther said, “Marriage is a far better school of character than any monastery.” (Can I get an “amen” from the married people?)

And if marriage isn’t challenging enough, try parenting. Before we were married, my wife and I had seven keys to raising kids. Now we have seven kids—and no keys.

Your Disciplemaking Learning Community (DLC) at Home

But make no mistake about it: Your first DLC is your home. Let’s call marriage, parenting, and grandparenting what they really are—disciplemaking. And while we’re keeping things real, let’s also admit that our homes are often the last place that feels like a DLC. God wants this to change.

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The good news is that you need not be a perfect spouse, parent, or grandparent to make your home feel like a DLC. The moment you begin to try to live Deuteronomy 6:5-9, your home begins to look and feel like a DLC:

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all    your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

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For our family right now, trying to apply Deuteronomy 6:5-9 means reading the Scriptures together and praying with our high school kids before they go off to school.

  • It means taking time around our dinner table to engage a short passage of Scripture and to pray together (less than 10 minutes usually).
  • It means confessing and repenting of our sins against each other when one of us loses our temper or is less than loving.
  • It means having enough humility to laugh at our own idiosyncrasies—and not mind if others laugh along with us.
  • It means driving to church together and trying to not being out of fellowship with God and each other by the time we arrive.
  • It means learning to sincerely say, “I love you,” “Will you forgive me?” and “I forgive you.”
  • It means sitting on the deck at night enjoying a sunset and together as a family literally applauding God for his handiwork.
  • It means inviting our teenagers to consider God and his Word when they ask us to go see a movie that we’re not quite sure about.

What does a Disciplemaking Learning Community mean for YOUR family?

Eyes of a Child…

Ok we know that kids say the “darnedest things” as the saying goes… but toss in a disciplemaking journey (we call ours Bible Breakfast and it happens at Old Macdonalds three mornings a week) and the sayings change… Here are a few moments with five year old Bryce over the course of the past week…

Hey Papa, listen to the rap song I wrote…

Mouth noises start then… the singing begins…

Everything is awesome… Everything is good… yet it’s all falling apart at the seams. But it’s cool to be part of a team.

Ok… do you want to break that down or should I? Can you identify a mix of Bible truths that would flavor his insights.

Then while our oldest puppy (yorkie) Snickers was dying of a stroke… Bryce walked the family room and prayed: God, Snickers is really, weally weally sick. Can you heal him like you have healed others? He needs to be able to walk again so he can go outside and poop. Ok God he weally needs your help. weally. In Jesus Name Amen

Then two days after Snickers went to heaven… DEAR JESUS, you brought Lazarus and some guys daughter in the Bible back from the dead. You rose again. Can you help Snickers and bring him back from the dead? If you want that’d be great. In not can you Bring us a new Snickers by Christmas. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

So what are you praying today? How does who God is and what he has done fuel how you’re willing to pray? The more we are in God’s Word together with Bryce, the more we can pray!

Thanks for your eyes, BRYCE!

 

Being a disciplemaking friend to your spouse

Men and women are wired to influence each other. Sometimes we impact our spouses for the better…and other times, for worse.

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When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” —Genesis 3:8-13

Being a friend to your spouse

Thankfully, God gives us a much better picture of how we can influence one another for better:

1“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2and you and your children and grandchildren must fear thelord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
 
4“Listen, O Israel! The lord is our God, the lord alone. 5And you must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. —Deuteronomy 6:1-9
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Which kind of spouse are you? Do you drag your partner down with you into bad choices, or are you a wholehearted, disciplemaking friend? 

If you have a spouse, study & share Deuteronomy 6:1-9 together and ask: What does this passage show us about God’s design for disciplemaking? What does it look like for our family to make disciples together?

Do our definitions matter?

A few years ago I was having fun with disciplemaking friends and family by playing Draw Something. It’s pictionary on steroids. You have a set of letters to choose from and a set of blanks to fill in the word that describes the picture. Each picture has only one right answer: just one definition.

Let’s try it together. What five-letter word matches this picture?

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Having a little trouble with this one? It turns out that my grandson Tyler (then in kindergarten) had hijacked his dad’s iPad and played his turn of Draw Something. He chose a five-letter word, BLIMP,  but drew whatever he wanted…a Koala bear in a tree, a dog with a stick, a monkey on a branch…What do you see? He drew his own definition of blimp…one that had nothing to do with the actual picture.

Have you experienced a BLIMP moment lately?

We are often guilty of doing the same thing 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.

When it comes to understanding disciplemaking, does it matter how we define things? Is your definition of what God intends for you, your family and your friends as disciplemakers close to the one we find in Scripture?

One of my favorite passages for drawing a well-defined picture of disciplemaking is Deuteronomy 6. I invite you to study & share this chapter together with a friend or family member. Based on this passage, how do you define disciplemaking? How might you be drawing your picture differently than the one you discover here?