Archive - October, 2008

The Forgotten Element of Disciple Making

Graduates of an Ivy League school were asked about the necessary resources for “photosynthesis” to take place in plants.  They listed the obvious elements of soil, sun, water, & light.  But the majority of people completely forgot one of the most important elements, “carbon dioxide!”

Most of us today would list obvious elements needed for discipleship – discipler, disciplee, curriculum, Holy Spirit.  But we would most likely miss one of the less obvious, yet highly important resources…TIME.  

I recently talked to small group leaders at New Hope Christian Church in Memphis, TN about this very element.  I told stories from my past experience as the Small Groups Pastor at High Point Church.  Many of these stories took nearly 5 years to play out.  That’s a long TIME!  One of the things I realized in giving this talk is that the majority of spiritual leaders never see the fruit of discipleship because they don’t stay in the process long enough.  

Growth takes TIME!  There’s just no other way around it.  You can grow a chicken in 4 to 6 weeks but I don’t want to eat it!  Jesus took nearly 42 months to walk with his disciples.  That’s a long TIME…and He was Jesus!  It may take us a little longer.

In my last post I was trying to simply list all the things my mom and dad did with me over a long period of TIME.  I don’t think any single one of them dramatically changed my life.  But when you put them all together and consider the faithfulness they showed over the long haul, it really made a difference in my life!

Life change & growth happen through the components of GRACE, TRUTH, & TIME.  I’ll come back in later posts and share some of the things I’m actively trying to do with my boys in this area of TIME.  For now I want to encourage any parents who are out there reading to make it a priority to spend your TIME praying for your kids.  I’m convinced that there’s no greater blessing we can give our kids than the precious use of our time as we regularly lift their needs up to the Father.  

My mom and dad have fairly meager incomes.  My mom held a Masters degree but discontinued working so she could invest in my brother and me at home.  Instead of living on a two household income we sacrificed a little and my dad, who didn’t go to college, worked at the local Post Office.  I’m sure there were days where they would have loved to have more money.  I know things must have been much tighter than I remember.  But I’ll never be able to thank them enough for the way that they looked into the future, saw the resources God had blessed them with, and chose to use their TIME in order to build into the Kingdom of God by raising sons who would love Jesus!

I still go to them regularly with prayer requests.  There is rarely a Sunday that goes by that they don’t call and ask, “How did your message go today?”  They’ve moved on from active discipleship to more of a coaching role.  I remember telling them one time that they had done a good job in raising my brother and me.  My mom had an interesting comment.  She said, “that’s yet to be determined, it depends on how you raise your kids!”  And she’s right…disciples are made to reproduce.  If we aren’t making leaders then we aren’t really making disciples.  Who are you spending TIME with???

Family Discipleship…

Sunday night at our very first membership class Mike & I shared our stories.  I happened to mention how my Mom & Dad discipled me as a young kid.

I received the following question in an email from Tony, a new friend who was attending the meeting and decided to post on this subject over the next few weeks.  Here’s Tony’s question:

“You mentioned that your folks did a good job of bringing you up in the Word. Can you share some of the techniques they used or maybe some you use with your boys? I am constantly struggling to figure out good ways to share the Bible and pray with the kids in a way that is meaningful and lasting to them.”

I’m just going to start by listing everything I remember experiencing as a child growing up.  I’ll come back in later posts and give some reflections.  I’ll also share a few things we are beginning to do as a family.  

I’m going to limit my reflections just to what I remember from my immediate family.  Church experiences played a huge role in my life as well but I want to reflect more on family discipleship at this time.

Formational childhood experiences: 

  • My dad has a cassette tape recording of me quoting the 23 Psalm (approximate age: under 3 yrs. old)
  • I remember reading Bible stories with mom & dad at night.  Especially creative type books.  I have no idea what these were, but “Maxie & Muffin” were characters in one set of books that we read that had Biblical principles.  I also remember mom & dad reading from children’s Bible story books.
  • I can remember mom & dad turning on cassette tapes while we were going to sleep.  One set of tapes I distinctly remember was the retelling of stories from the book of Judges.  Stories like Gideon, and my favorite as a kid, the story of Ehud (Judges 3).  Probably a little PG-13 but I thought it was hugely exciting!  If you don’t know the story of the “left handed Judge” you’ve got to check it out!
  • I remember mom teaching me & my older brother Bible verses during the summer when we would come in from playing.  We would work on them right after lunch before heading back out to play. 
  • Learned all the books in O.T. & N.T. probably around the age of 6 – 8 (can’t remember exactly).
  • Bible Drill – Okay this was a Southern Baptist thing where elementary age students learned around 30 Bible Verses and then were tested by competing in a drill with one another.  Sort of weird thinking back on it but I really got familiar with my Bible.  We had to find any book in the Bible within 10 seconds and be able to name the book before and after.  We also looked up specific Bible passages.  This was a church program which I’m not really writing about – but the majority of work, memorizing, and practice had to be done at home).
  • I remember interacting a lot, especially on Sunday’s, about what we had learned in a Bible study class at church or in the message.  We talked about questions and discussed what happened on Sunday.


  • We always ate at least two meals a day together at home!  During the summer I even had a chance to eat lunch with my dad many days who would make the 7 minute commute home from his job at the local Post Office on his hour lunch break.
  • Finally I remember regularly shooting basketball in the front driveway and waiting for my dad to arrive home from work (usually around 5:10pm or 5:15pm).  We would shoot around for just 15 or 20 minutes before heading inside for dinner.  These are some of my favorite memories.
  • Finally, I remember lots of projects on the weekends.  We always had a garden during the summer and something to paint or cut or fix or look at may weekends.  We also had a pond and about 300 acres of land 25 minutes away that provided tons of great weekend experiences tromping through the woods and enjoying nature and family time together.

All right, this has gotten really long.  I’ll come back in a later post this week and reflect on some thoughts about all of this and then give some ideas of my own.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

[Sorry, it’s in the KJV – I do everything in NIV now but this is one of those verses I memorized way back when in the KJV and just can’t seem to shake the old english]

A Good Day for Racin’

Murfreesboro held their 2nd annual 1/2 Marathon today.  A buddy of mine, Justin, ran it with me last year.  He had an injury this year and wasn’t able to make the entire race.  But he was able to sneak back to mile 9 and run about the last 4 miles with me.  

I needed the inspiration!  I started out around 8 minute miles but by mile 9 i was up to about a 8 min 50 sec mile.  Justin set his pace setter on his watch and helped me finish the race with my best time so far.  1 hour, 51 minutes, 59 seconds.  

Katie, the boys, and my mother-in-law who is in town for the weekend came down to cheer me on.  I’m a little sore at the moment but I’m sure some heavy lifting setting up for church in the morning will take care of working some of those pains out:-)

Here are some pics from the day!



a good sunday afternoon

last sunday after church we grabbed some fast food and headed over to ellington agricultural center near our home.  i had the great idea that we could eat lunch near the creek, do some walking, and enjoy God’s wonderful creation!  

i didn’t count on meeting up with some of His not so wonderful creation.  two snakes was two too many!  

this one I almost stepped on as we walked through the creek.  fortunately, i think it was just a “banded water snake” (not poisonous).  despite the snakes we managed to have a little fun! 

cole filling pockets…said he had found some interesting rocks…it was gravel:-)


bogotá benefit – aftermath

okay, so it’s obviously been a couple of weeks since i’ve posted…i think that might just have something to do with the craziness of the benefit & several projects, messages, and work going on throughout the end of the summer.  overall we met our goals with the project of engaging 100 people at the benefit & raising over $1000 for the nabaima project!