Tainted Water – The Solution Is Discipleship

Tainted WaterOnce while driving in Ghana – we passed by a water well that had been drilled for a local community and saw some children fetching water. They were pulling together on their rope to get their bucket out – and then came shock – horror! They were fetching the water in a turpentine can! Because we lived here among this particular people group, we KNOW that no one washed the container out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water – they just rinsed it in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use. We love these people and our hearts went out to them.  We immediately planned a healthy drinking water training for them.  A training that would help them to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water. They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

Not only is clean water important — but understanding what can contaminate water is important.   

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part. But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth. They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for an entire congregation. What is the solution to this issue?

The solution is to teach the complete gospel.

That means that we go beyond salvation. We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God. But what if they can’t read?  We’ve encountered this many times where we work.  Then the solution is discipleship.  We have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them to read or to provide an audio bible. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life! When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word. When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts. When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But this takes TIME!! And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another?? I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship, that it is a 24 hour a day commitment. The women that I disciple call whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go! And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple any believer in only 8 weeks!

Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!! It means loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples. He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved! We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives.  In fact – we ought to be modeling the life of Christ in view of people even before they know who He is!!  What a change in the world we could make!

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8

The Same … United … One Purpose

unity-in-ChristDivision in the world is front page news nowadays almost every day.  It is sad to see, but the news focuses on the world. not the Body of Christ, so it is not surprising.  The heartbreaking thing is to see the division within those who call themselves followers of Christ.  One of the things that gave me the most delight when we were living in Ghana was the privilege of bringing women together across denominations and people groups to be in fellowship; to study the Word of God; to practice the life of Christ; and to do ministry together.

Now that my role has been based in the USA – I’ve gotten approached by a couple of ladies who would like me to walk with them.  One asked me what joy I get from discipling someone.   I told her that one of my greatest joys is to see those who I walk with unified in love.

As I venture to disciple Christ followers it is my duty to see that the young ladies that I’m walking with know what it means to be unified and why.

  • First, I must teach that Christ has encouraged and admonished us to be one.
  • Second, they must know that my love for them is a gift from God – not anything earned by one of them more than another.  I love them all equally – showing no respect of persons.
  • Third, I must walk in the Spirit – exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit – modeling before them a life that displays an understanding of  God’s presence and a filling of the Holy Spirit.
  • Lastly, I must teach a message of grace, because that is what God’s affection towards us looks like.

As I do these things – I have seen time and time again that they are able to embrace their common purpose to glorify God and are better equipped to walk in UNITY.

My prayer is that the Father will show me how to walk according to His word ALWAYS! That my life will be an accurate model to those who are watching me; showing them the way to godly love compassion and unity.  That the world will see His grace through my life and unity through my own family.  May my life, my words, my actions lead others to become one in Him!

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose

Philippians 2:1-2

Pay Attention!

pay attentionRecently I was faced with a bit of a challenge.   I thought I had handled the situation well until I found out that I caused someone that I love dearly much angst in the process.  I wrestled with it – disturbed in my inner man.   I knew that what I was perceiving from the Lord was right – it had been confirmed on many fronts.  But I missed something in dealing with it.  What did I miss?  How did I commit such a grievous act against someone dear to my heart?  Many of you reading have already jumped ahead of me and know what I’m about to say — I fell for the enemy’s trick and let my heart guide my actions!  My own deceitfully wicked heart!!!

Understand me well, it was the Lord who was giving me insight and discernment into the problem but because the issue was something that was a personal one — my words took on the tenor of that trickster, our accuser, satan.  Even without knowing it, I was sprinkling every conversation with words that pained the heart of someone I love.  I wasn’t paying attention!  The danger here was that in missing the signals,  – I may have impeded the ability of someone to hear what the Lord was saying to them.  You see – it was never about me!  But I made it ALL about me!   (Think Abraham and Sarah; God said baby – but he didn’t say ANYTHING about the maid servant!)

I learned a valuable lesson:  Just as my discernments are not based on the perfunctory impressions of this world – neither must my actions be.  I have a strong gift of discernment, and it is strengthened by my deliberate authentic intimacy and close relationship with God.  You see:  this matter was close to my heart and though I had been praying to see clearly — I neglected to pray that He would guide my actions in bringing resolve to this.  1 Thess 5:17 comes to mind!  Pay Attention!

Having the gift of discernment means nothing at all if my actions or words ruin the message.  My prayer today is that I will grow in grace so that not only my mind can perceive but so that my words and actions will always be seasoned with grace.  I pray that I will learn AGAIN to wait on the Holy Spirit’s promptings in all things and at all times so that I can have the privilege of watching Him work in miraculous ways in me, through me, all around me, and especially apart from me!  May I never again be deceived into following this wicked and deceitful heart of mine (Jeremiah 17:9) – but lean in and listen to what He says even beyond what he reveals to me as His will.  Praying that I will pay attention and take care with my words.

I apologized to my loved one a million times and in a million ways – and I do hope the relationship was not damaged beyond repair. My prayer for each of you is that you will never become a gospel vigilante — as the Lord reveals His will to you; remember to wait and only speak what He would have you to speak – and only do what He would have you to do.  Avoid the sin of thinking more highly of yourself than you ought (Romans 12).  Pay Attention!

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear” Isaiah 11:2-3

Don’t Know Much … But Here’s What I Know

money1Lots of talk lately about these Preachers of LA – lots of people hate the show, lots of others think its great they these preachers have so much, lots of others think all preachers are the same, and many are not sure who are what these guys represent.  Most of the talk revolves around what they have – materially.  And, unfortunately, I don’t know much so I can’t give a really strong opinion; but I can tell you what I know.  Giving your life completely to the service of God and to the work of the Kingdom will not, necessarily, bring material riches – but your needs WILL be supplied.  Now – that’s truth!

When we made the commitment to missions the first thing God required of us was to give up our possessions and our positions.  That means we sold EVERY material possessions and resigned our secular jobs – nice cushy jobs. The next thing He required of us was to give up our control.  That meant se had to go on support –depending upon people of God who are faithful to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to faithfully give to our work each month in order that we are able to accomplish what God has called us to do.  The next thing He required was to have no consideration for what we should eat or drink.  In other words we were not to consider the fact that we would no longer be a two income family – and barely a one income family –

Now – again I don’t know much – but here’s what I know.  We sold our house but we have never been without a place to live.  We sold the cars – but we have always had a car to drive. Savings .. what savings?! – but one boy is through college and has started grad school and the other is in college. We have access to decent medical/dental care – seems that someone who loves the Lord always gets our case in their hands.  Our bank accounts are anemic – but there are groceries in the fridge AND the freezer.

It kind of tickles me – because here’s what I know.  If God gave us mansions, cars, clothes, etc – I would have no choice but to share them with the body, and in effect give them back to the service of the King. I can’t speak for the Preachers of LA – but as for me and my house – we’ve been called into dedicated service and desperate dependence to the King, and our payment DAILY is that He will/and does meet our need!  It’s not a bad thing to have THINGS – but it is a bad thing when things become the WHY of our love and dedication to the Lord!

He Is Enough! He Satisfies Completely! What We Have In Him Is More Than ENOUGH!

Discipleship is Teaching the TRUTH of the gospel

learn_the_truthA person who does not believe the truth of the gospel – will necessarily rail against it.

As believers, our motive should always be that people come to know and understand the truth of the gospel.  Not that they can be saved from Hell – but that their lives can be redeemed for the sake of the Kingdom of God that will never end.  When people call themselves believers but they rise up against the truths that are in the Bible because it does not suit them, I am forced to ask myself if they are true believers.  Paul mentions his former ways and clearly tells us that he did these things out of ignorance – because he did not know that the gospel was truth.  But once he knew – his life and his behavior was transformed.  His life became about exposing people to their redeemer, Christ, and teaching them how to live for Him so that their lives would matter in eternity.  Are we doing that?  Leading people to Christ AND helping them to live for Him?

Father,  May it never be enough for my heart to see a person come to salvation, but may I always desire that they know you personally as Father and are able to give their lives to you so that they will be made fruitful.  Thank you for using me as a vessel of honor.  I bless your name! Amen

1 Timothy 1:12 – 14

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus”