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Choosing the right words to say can be a challenge. I often find myself attempting to communicate beyond the words that are readily available in my mind. Failure to “find” the right word makes me feel ignorant, dumb, even foolish. Choosing the wrong word can be confusing to the listener, and frustrating to the speaker. This is one reason I prefer writing over public speaking.

Listening and reading are also more complicated exercises that we might think. Much of our comprehension occurs at the subconscious level; there is more going on in our minds that we consciously recognize. With familiar words, we assume we know the meaning. Even words with multiple meanings are sorted out by the context of their use. The mind truly is a remarkably powerful instrument.

But what if the word doesn’t mean what our subconscious determines it to mean? What if the writer intended something entirely different? What if the word we assume to understand was translated from a language that gave richer meaning to the original? Could we misunderstand the author’s meaning and not know we have committed the error?

Let’s consider one example.

…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. Amen. Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)

…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

As you can see, the New International Version (NIV) uses the word “obey” whereas the New King James Version (NKJV) translates to “observe”. According to Merriam-Webster, to obey is to follow the directions or commands of another. To observe can mean much the same thing (with less intensity), or it can mean to inspect or take note of (again, a less intense meaning).

What are we to do with these differences in meaning? Well, our subconscious picks one.

Should we trust our subconscious to make the appropriate determination? Perhaps, but keep in mind that our subconscious is the operations base and playground of our carnal mind.

How about consciously considering which meaning is closer to God’s intention? After all, He created the Greek language to communicate the richer meaning and mysteries of His kingdom. Perhaps there is a mystery here.

What might we discover with a little searching? It is the glory of God to hide a matter, and the glory of kings to search them out (Proverbs 25:2). What might God be hiding for His glory and ours? Read the rest of this entry »

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:19

The birth of inLight Consulting came when God asked me, “What is the desire of your heart?” I looked into my heart to find that He was stirring the desire “to help Christian leaders find joyful, Spirit-filled ministry” (and yes, that is a quote).

Through many subsequent conversations with Him, and His careful orchestration of events, I discovered that His mission for us is to “encourage, edify and equip workplace leaders to become disciple makers and transformation agents in their spheres of influence.” One product of our mission has been the capture and communication of a disciple-making and transformation process, in a book entitled The Map Maker. Note: I was just the pen.

Several years ago, God began stirring a new and related desire: To be His instrument in building houses that will stand in a storm (from Matthew 7:24-27). When storms come into the lives of individuals and groups in our spheres of influence, many will experience the destruction of their house. In that season of chaos, they will turn to God or to the world for help. My hope is there will be a strong house standing nearby – a Christian leader that can show them the way to restoration; and to walk with them into a strong relationship with the LORD.

The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men, bold men… They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation (A. W. Tozer; Of God and Men, pp. 11-13).

Tozer wrote Of God and Men in the middle of the 20th Century. “The right kind of men, bold men” are needed now more than ever before. For some reason only known to Him, God has determined to use me to help Christian leaders become bold and courageous. If you want that kind of help, here is your invitation.

The Invitation

An individual I have been discipling for some time recently asked me to teach The Map Maker to a group of workplace leaders in his church. This has been a triple blessing: Coming along-side a disciple to help him make disciples is what inLight is all about. Being used by God to teach the foundations and mysteries of the Kingdom is my passion. Developing new approaches to teaching The Map Maker will enable us to reach similar groups.

I believe God would have me continue teaching The Map Maker to small groups – either in person or online. This can be done in as little as eight weeks. As always, He would have me do it at no charge. It is His investment of me for the advancement of His kingdom. That is blessing enough.

This offer is my part. I will wait to hear from those that desire to be encouraged, edified and equipped. Please share this with Christian leaders that God puts on your heart.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

There once was a steward. We’ll call him Stewart. Stewart the steward – catchy name.

Stewart was given responsibility for a vineyard. It wasn’t a big vineyard, but it had potential. The Master of the vineyard, after encouraging Stewart to invest himself wisely, left for a faraway land.

For a time, Stewart enjoyed watching over the vineyard that had been left to his keeping. He cherished and nurtured each vine. He did his best to help every vine produce the best tasting fruit possible. Stewart felt that he was accomplishing something important for the Master.

As He had promised, the Master periodically looked in on Stewart. He always had an encouraging word – a “well done, faithful steward.”

Stewart the steward had done well. Each year, the fruit produced by the Master’s vineyard tasted sweeter than the year before. The fame of the vineyard began to spread, first in the town and then across the country side.

One day, Stewart decided to ask the Master to give him a larger vineyard to manage. The Master, pleased by Stewart’s request, asked His Father. The Master’s Father, without an explanation we are aware of, said, “No”. Forever obedient, the Master passed along His Father’s decision.

Regrettably (and predictably), Stewart the steward was not happy. He knew he could do more for the Master’s kingdom. He knew he could make his vineyard (oops!) the biggest and sweetest in the whole region; maybe even in the whole land.

Looking out over his vineyard, Steward decided to take matters into his own hands. He would grow his vineyard with or without the Master blessing. And that is what he set out to do.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 teach trust the thinking of others more than we should.

I grew up in church hearing about “Jesus’ substitutionary death”.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For the longest time, I assumed this meant that He died so I wouldn’t have to. Fortunately, God encouraged me to ask someone to disciple me. He introduced me to Romans 6:8:

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him…

And Luke 9:23.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

And Mark 8:35:

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Obviously, there is something more to His death than I – and many like me – were taught. Many have no clue that to live abundantly in Christ requires our own death. Tragically, there is no one discipling them. Read the rest of this entry »

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:5-6

One of the tricks our mind tries to play on us is the interpretation of Scripture to meet its preferences, and prejudices. This is perfectly normal… for the carnal mind.

But, we have the mind of Christ. We are empowered and responsible to think differently.

Consider Psalm 37:5-6. My carnal mind would prefer “commit your way to the LORD” to mean, “Here is my plan God, please bless it.” My carnal mind will pursue this line of thinking, hidden away in my subconscious. To avoid this deception, I must be diligent in my suspicion of the way my mind is thinking.

Jesus came to help us with that. His expression of Psalm 37:5-6 is “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” It is important to note that Jesus made them disciple makers. That’s a lesson for another time. The point here is that God’s planning process is a following and making process.

Let me be clear: Failing to follow Jesus will result in the failure of God’s plan for you. Refusing to be made is a refusal of His plan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Much of the church has taken on the world’s way for training leaders; even promoting the teaching of unbelievers, as if the world has some wisdom that the sons and daughters of God need. Perhaps, we think God will sanctify it, and make us better at leadership (in the world’s ways).

The truth is, God will have none of it. He has a way for everything; and, in His kingdom, it is either His way, or the highway.

God has one way for developing leaders. It is called making disciples. He could not have been more clear about this.

At the beginning of His ministry, God’s Son called His disciples:  “Follow me and I will make you…”.

Upon His departure, He commissioned them: “Go and make disciples…”

In between, He walked in the Father’s way for a disciple that makes disciples – so they would know what to do when He left them:  “As the Father sent me, so also I send you.”

Jesus spent 3+ years showing us how to develop people that would lead His church. There is no excuse for the leadership vacuum that exists in most fellowships. Why do we call the Bible our guidebook for life and then ignore the clear instruction it gives for leadership development? Why are we looking to the world for the answer?

The sobering truth is this:  As God does with individuals, He is allowing us to continue in the way of our choosing until we recognize the foolishness of it. In the meantime, the lack of leaders that are true disciple makers only aggravates and accelerates the decline. If this goes on much longer, the whole system will have to be scrapped – for something He will bless.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Warning: This article took a bit of a weird twist. It begins with a realization about teaching: That sharing isolated truth can be confusing – even injurious – to the body of Christ. Here are a few examples:

 

  1. Teaching the importance of good works without first establishing its relationship to the hearing of faith and the appropriation of grace for good works (by that faith), creates an environment where the probability for religious and soulish work is extremely high. The same is true when we fail to first develop the congregant’s relationship with the One “working in us to will and do to His good pleasure”.
  2. Teaching that God desires to show Himself strong on our behalf, without first establishing what it means to be loyal to Him, results in an attitude of passivity and entitlement.
  3. Inviting someone to enter the kingdom of God, without first instructing them about the costs of that commitment, the necessary striving to enter and the diligence required to make their election sure, will leave many falsely secure (and later wondering why He never knew them).

Then there’s the twist: Many will read this and think the problem here is about truth, and how effectively we share it. Yes, it is important that we share the whole truth (and nothing but the truth, so help us God). However, this article is going somewhere else – to a deeper issue.

My fear is that the leader reading this will be moved to try harder; to be more excellent; to hire more and/or new staff; and keep doing what they are doing. Please hear this: Better, smarter and more inspired people will not solve this problem. It is not a people problem. It is a process problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires that one obey His command to make disciples. It is the commission He gave to everyone that would follow Him. If you do not currently understand, believe and commit yourself to obey this command, you should stop here and go search out this matter for yourself.

Those that have committed themselves to the Great Commission must realize that Jesus intends to use us as vessels and instruments, to make disciples to Himself. They are not our disciples. They may be “following us”, but that must only be true because we are following Him. When they look at us, it must be to behold Him as in a mirror.

Furthermore – and this is critical – we are not making disciples unless those we are discipling are also making disciples. This is a place we often get stuck; and a matter to which we should be giving more thought. For example, how do we know that they are making disciples if we only talk at them once a week?

You may need to stop here and consider the meaning of this for your ministry. That’s okay; you can come back later.

Now, to answer the question: Why is disciple making so hard? Or, put another way: What can we do to get our people involved again in the Great Commission? Read the rest of this entry »

todd-whiteI recently viewed an encouraging movie put out by Todd White, called Lifestyle Christianity. This is not a plug for the movie (though I do recommend it); nor an endorsement of Todd White, per se.

This article is an observation – perhaps a revelation – from the life of Todd White, as portrayed in the movie.

TW is known for his evangelistic healing ministry. At least that is how I know of him. However, TW is not so much about healing people as he is about doing what God will do with someone that is radically obedient, and continually responsive, to God.

TW is simply going where he is sent, to do what he has been given to do. The difference in his life and mine (or yours?) is not His evangelistic approach, or the opportunities he has to heal people – as cool as that may be.

The thing that impressed me most is TW’s simple passionate desire to connect people with God. In the process, he lets his light shine before men in ways that glorify his Father in heaven.

Here is the revelation: We must be careful not to box God into a particular manifestation and method.  Connecting people with God can happen, supernaturally, in an unlimited number of ways and places. Read the rest of this entry »

Mountain Climbers_1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

The Western church is in desperate need of saints that will run with endurance. A cloud of witnesses is looking on; waiting with anticipation for the end of the race. Will they see us finish well?

Here on earth, people need more than instruction in running. They need more than stories about those that are running well. They need to see those in positions of influence running with endurance, as the followers of Jesus Christ. So:

“Let us lay aside every weight”. God’s people are to be hastening the coming of the day of God (2Peter 3:12)! What is slowing you down? What is slowing down those in your spheres of influence? I confess that for me it is the world’s entertainment. However harmless it seems, the world’s entertainment distracts us from things above (Colossians 3:2).

“… and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” Did you know that there is a narrow gate through which we must strive to enter the kingdom of heaven (Luke 13:24)? Jesus spoke of this as a matter of our salvation. What is preventing you from entering through the narrow gate? Ask the Sovereign Judge to search you (Psalms 139:23-24); then, exercise 1John 1:9 for your deliverance. Read the rest of this entry »

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