Archive - November, 2011

Discipleship & Billiards

Discipleship is like Billiards.  Both require thinking 2 & 3 steps ahead!

I grew up in a small town about an hour south of Birmingham, Alabama.  I turned 16 & finally found the freedom I had longed for throughout my adolescent years.  I even had my dad’s old 1982 Chevy S-10, stacked with a 2.8 liter V6 that topped out at a speedy 77 mph on a good down hill slope.  But there was a problem.  There was nothing to do & drag racing was not an option for obvious reasons.

So I took up a much slower sport & spent my Friday afternoons & some Saturday nights at a local Pool Hall.  My friends & I played 8 ball if we had extra money & if times were tight we would stick to the slower game of 9 ball.  One thing I learned during those long restless hours has served me well over the last 2o years of my life.

Yes, you had better find a straight pool stick or you will never shoot long straight shots.  Yes, you had better keep your stick chalked well or you will not have good follow-through when shooting the cue ball.  Yes, you can learn fancy jumps & even be effective by putting “english” on the ball to make it spin in different directions.  But most importantly.  If you want to be a GREAT pool player, the key comes in learning to thing 2 to 3 shots ahead!

The same is true for discipleship!  It’s not enough to merely lead someone to Christ.  Too many of our evangelism efforts have fallen short because we only think in terms of “converting people.”  This is only one step.  Although making disciples is hugely important, maturing disciples (discipleship) is equally important.

Jesus strategy was an ongoing strategy of multiplication.  Not just making a disciple.  But making disciples who then in turn make disciples!  It’s far easier than you might think if the Holy Spirit is involved.  We just have to have the right thought process.

One of my friends who has recently come to know Christ is always thinking 2 to 3 steps ahead.  He does this by thinking about what benefited him when God saved him.  He gives friends 3 things when they are turning toward God:

  • An ESV Study Bible.
  • A copy of Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life.”
  • A CD of Christian worship music.

The study Bible comes in handy for people who have lots of questions but may not always have someone knowledgeable sitting right beside them.  “The Purpose Drive Life,” simply because it does a good job of covering a broad perspective of Christian living without going too deep.  It’s also easy to read in bite size chunks for someone who may not be disciplined in study.

Finally the worship CD is the biggest surprise to me.  When someone who hasn’t been inoculated with cultural Christianity is saved, they are amazed to learn of a whole new world.  Seriously, one of his friends (who has come to know Christ in the last year) just discovered Lifeway and thinks she is walking into heaven every time she opens the door.

How are you “thinking ahead?”

One way you can do this is to begin praying imaginatively for the people you are currently investing in.  Dream about the people in your friends network of relationship who could be impacted by the Gospel if God saved them.  Dream about the people those people could impact.

Recently I got a phone call from my friend who gives out the Bible, book, & CD.  Within the last year I’ve seen God use him to save a professional skate boarder, a multi-millionaire, and to make major investments in several other lives.  I never would have believed that God could have used him in this way if I weren’t “thinking ahead.”

Who are you currently investing in?  Are you praying for them as if they are the lost children of God?  Are you dreaming about the people God will save through their lives?

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.  Jesus told his disciples in Luke 10 to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.  In that moment, Jesus was teaching them to “think ahead.”  There were no more laborers.  He was sending out all 72 followers!  The only opportunity for more laborers would come from outsiders being saved & then beginning to make disciples!

“Think ahead!”  Dream ahead!  Pray ahead!  The harvest is plentiful.

What’s your next step?