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A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. Matthew 10:24-25

Previously, we suggested there are two simple questions any Christian can use to assess their obedience to Christ and the effectiveness of their ministry:

  1. Who is discipling you?
  2. Who are you discipling?

The article seemed particularly challenging (I am only the pen); and more so for the shepherds of God’s people – pastors, preachers, teachers, etc. Being a member of this group, I was reminded: These two questions should be answerable by every Christian in every sphere of influence we have been given responsibility for as leaders.

A dear friend – and the man God has assigned to disciple me for the last 12-15 years – shared a perspective that may prove to be even more challenging. You may not like what you read. It may even offend some of you.

Generally, it’s best not to say such things at the beginning of an article. We are swimming against the current here simply because we do not want you surprised and distracted. This way, we can simply say it without a bunch of dancing around. I trust you will consider the truthfulness of it, and apply all that is worthwhile.

“Disciple Making Works”

That’s what my friend said, “Disciple making works.” He didn’t mean what I thought he meant. He went on to explain (this is the way I heard it), “Every leader is discipling everyone they lead into some understanding; and into the life that understanding prescribes. They are doing this whether they intend to, or not.

“We are either making disciples into some understanding about Christ and His Church, OR, we are making disciples to Jesus Christ Himself that He might make them as He is Himself. And it always works.” Read the rest of this entry »

There are two simple questions any Christian can use to assess their obedience to Christ and the effectiveness of their ministry:

  1. Who is discipling you?
  2. Who are you discipling?

If you cannot answer the first question, you are likely not being discipled. Unless you are in their inner circle, this is not your pastor nor your Sunday School teacher. Making disciples requires relationship.

It is impossible to underestimate the impact a disciple maker can have on a person’s life (mentor is the secular term). Much of God’s grace flows down the channels of authority He has assigned for every Christian. This is not limited to teaching, counseling, etc. The life of Christ is miraculously transmitted through the disciple making relationship (e.g., faith, courage, and peace).

The Great Commission is God’s prescription for our participation in the advancement of His kingdom. Finding those that He has designated for our spiritual apprenticeship is vital to our inclusion in His story. Furthermore, it is impossible to make disciples without first being made.

Regrettably, making disciples has fallen out of favor in the church that resides here in America. Consequently, you may have to ask someone to disciple you. Before you do, ask God to identify that person. He loves talking with His children about such things.

Failure regarding our second question is a strong sign of spiritual disobedience. This is a hard judgment. It is also fair, grounded in truth, and offered in love. Read the rest of this entry »

The church once owned the concept of servant leadership. When I say owned, I mean the church defined and demonstrated what it meant to be a servant leader. Throughout its history, the church transformed societies by leading as servants. We are now witnessing a reversal of this trend.

For its part, the world has done what the world does. As it has with so many Christian concepts, it has pirated and twisted the meaning and application of servant leadership. Make no mistake about it, the world’s definition and demonstration differ greatly from that of the Bible.

The purpose of this article is not to prove that point, but I will offer one example. In the kingdom of God, the ultimate leader genuinely humbled Himself unto death (Philippians 2:8). He subsequently commanded His followers to do the same (John 20:21). In the world, all things are ultimately motivated and constrained by the potential for greater profit.

The contrast between the world’s ways and those of God’s kingdom should not surprise us. Jesus came to establish a kingdom contrary to the world in every way. He is building His church as a counter-culture (i.e., not sub-culture) to the kingdoms of this world. Jesus Christ’s church is His catalyst for transformation.

So, what has happened to us?

Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking “outside the box” is a popular notion in the workplace. Consultants are paid good money to free company executives from the constraints of their day-to-day mindsets.

Most “outside the box” thinking focuses on strategic planning, product development, and operational efficiency. As important as these are, there is another area that promises even greater return: Thinking “outside the box” about relationships. In fact, failing to consider relationships will inhibit – perhaps doom – all other “out of the box” efforts.

So, let’s take a moment and think about it.

Our mind does not willingly explore what we know about someone, beyond the minimal requirements of our relationship with them. There exists a subconscious boundary, based on an unchallenged desire for comfort. We don’t want to discover things we might be responsible for addressing – things that might steal from the time we spend thinking about ourselves.

This is a tragedy, for people are more than we might imagine – even the people we think we know well. Haven’t we been warned not to accept things (or people) on their face value? Does that only apply to things (and people) we are unfamiliar with? Doesn’t that kind of thinking limit our intelligence and response?

Where is human curiosity when you need it? Read the rest of this entry »

It seems we have embarked on a series of articles about the way humans think, and what they think about. If that is the case, then this is the third article in the series. The first two are 3 Realities of Workplace Leadership and Did Jesus die, sacrifice and suffer so we wouldn’t have to?

Here is the premise of the series:

The church in America desperately needs a reformation. Where do reformations begin? Romans 12:2 encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Perhaps, in this Age of Reason, we need a reformation in the way we think.

We have gotten lazy with our thinking. We trust our thinking way too much. Those of us that preach and teach trust the thinking of others more than we should.

The way we think, and what we think about, is commonly called our mindset, worldview or paradigm. Everyone has one, though many do not recognize that they receive and respond to external stimuli through a mental filter that has been developed throughout their lifetime.

We are born with a mindset that has certain predetermined settings. Other come through learning. A baby crying when its hungry is not a learned behavior. Learning to manipulate with emotion is learned and developed. Both predetermined and learned behavior can be unlearned. Our minds can be renewed. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes we use the word “reality” to mean the truth about something. I am trying to work from a bigger context here, so bear with me.

For a reason I trust is good, God has led me into an exploration of metaphysics. I have become increasingly interested in why we think the way we think, what we are really thinking about, and how that thinking occurs. From a spiritual perspective this relates to a favorite Bible passage.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Conformity and transformation are matters of the mind. To “repent” is to change one’s mind (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Therefore, repentance is a change of mind that leads to the repurposing of our heart and the resultant change in our behavior. Repentance begins in the mind.

God has determined that renewing our minds is key to our being made in the image of His Son’s glory.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

So, here I am… encouraging you to consider your mind.

BEWARE!! Your mind will resist the exercise. The carnal mind has been operating unnoticed (i.e., subconsciously) for years. It does not want to be exposed. Do not underestimate its persuasiveness!

In order to avoid a total freak-out rejection, I am offering an introductory low-threat and practical application. I trust God will introduce you to other considerations in the near future. In the meantime, don’t forget: The carnal mind must be overcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you ever noticed how capable humans are at ignoring the things that we don’t want to deal with?  We construct blind spots simply because we do not want to face the reality of our situation.

This also happens in groups.  Here is a case in point.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10

In my humble opinion, this is the most power-filled verse in the entire Bible. Three of God’s “power” words are included:

  1. Be strong (endynamoō): The root is dynamis – the explosive power of God.
  2. Power (kratos): The dominion of God – the power of His authority to reign.
  3. Might (ischys): The ability and force of God – to accomplish what He intends.

This is what Paul is talking about when he goes on to encourage us to put on the whole armor of God. This is what it takes to stand against the wiles of the devil. Get your head around that!

As leaders in the Workplace – that includes all segments (business, religion, education, government, etc.) – we are responsible for leading others into this kind of radical life. Note carefully: This is the normal Christian life!

But how can we lead them into something that we have not experienced ourselves? Are you as frustrated as I am? Where is the power? What are we doing wrong?

Read the rest of this entry »

You are not making disciples if the disciples you think you are making are not, themselves, making disciples.

I have been communicating this word of encouragement for years now. Someone finally challenged me on it – his conviction being that making disciples is reserved for a select group of Christians, that have been given a select group of gifts.

As I understand it, his concern is that I am encouraging disciple makers to expect others to pursue areas of giftedness that God does not have for them. I highly respect this man’s opinion and concern; and recognize that others may share it.

Our conversation has caused me to reexamine my position. I hope you will consider the following.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

The Great Commission means a lot of different things to different people. Some haven’t thought much about it. Others have assumed that their teachers and preachers were experts in its meaning.

I don’t expect you will make that mistake with me. In fact, I strongly encourage you to consider the meaning for yourself. Does our Lord’s commission – given with all authority in heaven and on earth – apply to you (and to everyone you are discipling)? Read the rest of this entry »

Reach OutI recently heard a successful business owner share his heart for his employees, and what he was doing to better understand who they were as people. One thing stood out to me: This owner’s heart was for their success – and not just success in their vocation.

This owner wanted to know how they defined success in the whole of their life – vocation, family, and personal/spiritual health. He also wanted to know what he could do to help them.

His comments got me wondering what our businesses (and church organizations) might look like if they were truly mission fields – and not just to the “customers”, but to the employees, as well.

Think about that for a minute.

Don’t be frightened by the prospect until you have considered it before God. Is He not your CEO? Does He not have access to cattle on a thousand hills? Is He not looking to and fro to show Himself strong on behalf of those that will be loyal to Him?

It will help to acknowledge that He is infinitely wise with His resources. If He truly owns “your” company, He will see to its success.

How does God measure the success of His company in regards to employee relations, if not by the way we love those He has brought under our leadership?

In his book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John C. Maxwell encourages us: “… the best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.” Servant Leaders lead in service toward others.

Workplace Ministry Tip: Every godly leader has the desire in their heart to serve others in their spheres of influence. Surrender to that desire and the Lord will give it to you (Psalm 37:4). In the process you will become the best leader you can possibly be.

Ask God to reveal the desire He has placed in your heart for your employees. Remember, He is a process-oriented problem solver, who will direct your steps in this adventure. Start with those that report directly to you.

Once you show them you care about their success – in their whole life – bring them into the adventure. Encourage and enable them to serve those under their leadership. Contact me (rob@inlightconsulting.com) if I can help you become one of the best leaders.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Multi-ethnic pile of handsEvery organization has a structure. That structure tends to be hierarchical and based on worldly principles. Its primary purpose is to support organizational governance. We are all very familiar with these structures. I want you to ignore them for a moment.

Instead, I am encouraging you to consider a different structure – a structure that also exists in the place where you work. I am encouraging you to consider the spiritual structure that God intends to establish in your workplace.

Depending on the workplace, spiritual structures can be very hard to see; but, make no mistake about it: They are real. Spiritual structures do not readily align with hierarchical structures; primarily because they are organic in nature (think vine and branches). Spiritual structures do have an authority component, but the manifestation of that authority seldom looks like a worldly hierarchy (e.g., the greatest must be servant of all).

Point: Jesus is building His church outside the boundaries of meeting time and place. In fact, there is growing proof that He has turned His attention to the place where most of His followers spend most of their waking hours – in the workplace.

Point: Jesus gave gifts to the church; that we might grow up into the vision of the church He is building (Ephesians 4:11-16). Whether these gifts are real people or people that have these gifts, Jesus is working through designated individuals in the workplace.

Point: God is a careful orchestrator. There are no coincidences for His children. He has positioned leaders in the workplace to help assemble and supply a platoon there.

Question: What is your role in this movement of God? How has God defined and described your role? Are you an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher? Are you an elder; or a deacon? Is your role something more supportive; like watchman, or prayer warrior? Read the rest of this entry »

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