Let me introduce you to Janie Wise. She is no stranger to our FBC family. Janie is a student at the University of Kentucky and recently sensed God's call on her life to short-term missions through The World Race. She will be traveling to five different countries over nine (9) months! During her journey, she will be sharing the love of Christ through a wide variety of projects. The projects will range from construction, Bible camps, working with orphans, prayer walks, to hospital visits. While every day of the World Race may look different, Janie's goal is to share the love of Jesus every step of the way.
Janie will be living out of a backpack while traveling to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Nepal, and the Philippines. She will be challenged to abandon the comforts of her daily living in exchange for a greater understanding of Kingdom focused living among the "least of these." It's more than a "mission trip." It is a journey to see the world as Jesus sees the world.
What can you do? You can begin by praying for her right now. Pray for Janie as she prepares for this unique opportunity. Pray that God will prepare her mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Pray for her as she participates in a ten (10) day training experience in mid-July. Pray that she receives all of the financial support that she needs ($5000 by July 7th and another $5000 by August). Pray about your own financial support of Janie. You can read her blog and donate here: http://janiewise.theworldrace.org/.
God is using the young adults of FBC in an amazing way. We will be hearing from Andrew Ledford on Sunday, July 17th during worship as he shares about his missionary work in Montenegro. Janie will be sharing with us on Sunday, July 31st during worship as well.
Praying for you Janie!
Discipleship is Relational
Discipleship cannot occur in isolation from other believers. Followers of Christ must set aside time to be with other Christians for spiritual nourishment and encouragement. There are dozens of “one another” commands found in the New Testament. We cannot “love one another” or “teach one another” or “bear with one another” if we never spend time with “one another.” Therefore, Small Groups play a major role in the discipleship process. Love for God, love for our neighbors, and love for other disciples are a very important part of the value system of a healthy disciple. Ephesians 4:11-16 makes it clear that every part of the body is necessary, “being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body.”
Discipleship is Transformational
The healthy disciple understands the purpose of spiritual growth is directed toward becoming like Christ in character (e.g. words, thoughts, attitudes, and actions). As we spend time in both prayer and God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will speak to us as we live out our faith. Therefore, Spiritual HABITS play a major role in the discipleship process. Daily “Hang Time” with the Lord, “Accountability” in a Small Group, “Bible” memorization, “Involvement in ministry and mission, “Tithing” commitment, and “Sermon” notes are all tools the Holy Spirit uses to bring about life-change. The church must be intentional to develop people who genuinely love God, love the lost, and love believers. Discipleship is not a program it’s an intentional pursuit of life transformation.
Discipleship is Sacrificial
The greatest growth takes place when a disciple learns what is commanded in Scripture and then does what it says. The healthy disciple is willing to deny themselves and take up their cross daily to follow Christ. The healthy disciple understands that Christian sacrificial living is not just about self-denial, but sacrifice for the advancement of the Great Commission. Therefore, missional living plays a major role in the ongoing discipleship process. A healthy mark of maturity is taking off the bib and putting on the apron. One of the greatest ways to mature in our faith is helping others understand the Gospel.
I began to think this week of the depths of the heart of God. The Scriptures make clear that God rejoices over us. Zephaniah 3:17 declares, “The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Have you ever stopped to consider that the God of all creation rejoices over you in song? Consider this passage that reveals God’s broken heart over people who are not even Israelites, “I know his wrath,” says the LORD, “But it is not right; his lies have made nothing right. Therefore I will wail for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; I will moarn for the men of Kir Heres. … Therefore My heart shall wail for the men of Kir Heres. Therefore the riches they have acquired have perished” (Jer. 48:30-31, 36).
God’s heart rejoices when someone is saved. God’s heart is broken when people are not walking in fellowship with Him. How well do you know the heart of God? Does your heart beat in sync with the things that God desires? Does your heart break when you witness the injustices in the world? Does your heart rejoice over one sinner who repents? As a believer, you are invited to know the very heart of God.
The video below is a Hillsong worship song called “Hosanna.” It’s especially appropriate this week as we proclaim, “Hosanna, salvation has come!” Notice the lyrics of the bridge, “Heal my heart and make it clean; open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to live like You have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours; everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause; as I walk from nothing to eternity.”
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."