Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spiritual Reproduction by John Maxwell

Spiritual Reproduction by John Maxwell

In the Great Commission, Jesus said that we were to make disciples, not converts. He didn't tell us to go out and just save people, but He said to make disciples, to reproduce ourselves.

As a pastor, I was constantly aware of two commitments: one, to have a congregation that understood discipleship; two, to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. These are the two things that I, as a leader, feel that I am accountable for. And churches that are growing have been able to successfully do both.

Spiritual Reproduction Is What Discipleship Is All About!

Discipleship is not:

1. Just a Christian education

It's not about implanting information for knowledge's sake.

In other words, it's not just going to Sunday school class. It's not just imparting information. It's not us just learning things mentally. That is part of discipleship, but that isn't the ultimate goal.

2. Cookies and punch

Fellowship is to take place in the church; discipleship takes place in the world.

We're good at coming together for food and fellowship, and we enjoy that, but discipleship is more than that. Fellowship takes place in the church, but discipleship is to take place in our church world to reach out to the people around us.

3. Scripture memorization

Intellectual exercise is not enough unless there is life change .

It's not just memorizing scripture so we can go around quoting what God's word says. Discipleship is more than knowing God's word. Discipleship is living God's word. It's applying the scriptural truths to our hearts.

Discipleship is not just imparting knowledge. What are we doing with what we teach on Sunday? What are we doing with the word of God? Do we take God's word and just read it and say, "Well, you know, I think that's good, people should follow it," or do we look at it and apply it to our own hearts and lives?

There's a passage of Scripture that just grabs me: John 7:17. Listen to these words. "If any man will do my will, then he will know whether my teaching is of God or not." Did you catch the sequence here? Did you notice that doing God's will comes before understanding God's will? The most popular messages I ever preached were on knowing God's will. People were always saying, "How do I know the will of God for my life?" Do you know how you know the will of God?

You know the will of God not just by thinking, not by just studying, not just by taking out your pen and writing notes, but God's will begins to unfold within us as we utilize it in our lives, as we walk in the light. We become disciples of Christ as we begin to take God's word and do something about it.

At the end of every message that I give, I usually scribble two words with a question mark: So what? I'm asking myself every time I speak to people, "So what?" "So what, John, you just gave a message. Was there something that needed to be applied? Was there something that needed to be shared? Was there something that needed to be exercised?"

I contend that we are educated as Christians way beyond our level of obedience. What would happen if, after I finished a Sunday morning sermon and gave an application, we didn't have church again until people did something about it? (Some people I wouldn't see until the next Easter!) Do we take God's word and really apply it?

Discipleship is...

My desire is to make disciples. That's the command that Jesus has given me, and in my view, discipleship is:

1. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:20)

It's a command, not a suggestion, to imitate what Jesus did with the twelve. He said, "Make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you."

2. Multiplication through reproduction (II Timothy 2:2)

We must "multiply" as Christians, because addition won't keep up with the population growth. Discipleship is us multiplying ourselves in the lives of others. "And the things that you have received from me in the presence of many witnesses, those entrust to the faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

3. Apprenticeship (I Thessalonians 2:7-8)

Jesus lived with His men and invested His life in them. Here's what Paul told the Christians. "We choose to be like children or like a mother nursing her baby. We cared so much for you that you became so dear to us that we were willing to give our lives to you when we gave you God's message."

I can’t help but be inspired by Jesus in these passages! In His time, there were two models of discipleship: the Greek model and the Hebrew model. The Greek model was teaching—we think of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Alexander the Great. It was an enlightenment, information that pleased the mind. But Jesus discipled according to the Hebrew model: on-the-job training. Jesus took his twelve disciples with him and they experienced things together.

Disciple-making involves a developmental relationship where a mature Christian invests and mentors a willing apprentice so that he or she not only matures as well, but also becomes a multiplying Christian.

Question: What do you possess, spiritually, that you can pass on?


Question: Do you know of any people who could benefit from your spiritual maturity?


Question: Although you are not perfect, would you commit to multiplying at least one spiritual discipline or quality in someone else?

Early in my preaching career, in my second church in Ohio , I decided that I wanted to be a disciple, and began to call the pastors of some of the great churches all over America . I wanted to learn something from men who had been very successful. I'd call them and say, "You don't know who I am, but my name is John Maxwell and I'm a pastor and you're a great man of God and you have a great church. I want to learn from the best."

For about the first five years of our married life, Margaret and I never could afford a vacation, but I’d speak at a revival somewhere near a city with one of those great churches. And when I called the pastors of these churches, because they didn't know who I was, I would say, "I'll give you a hundred dollars if you'll give me 30 minutes of your time." I was making $12,800 bucks a year, but I wanted so badly to be a disciple and to learn. I wanted so badly to sit at the feet of somebody who knew more than I knew.

I would go to these pastors for my appointment and walk in with my tape recorder so that I could record the answers. I had a legal pad with pages of questions, and I would ask my questions as fast as I could with that tape recorder on. When the 30 minutes were over, I would turn off the tape recorder, put my stuff back in my briefcase, stand up, reach in my pocket for the hundred dollar check already made out to that pastor and hand it to him.

Interestingly enough, in every single case, those pastors would look at that check and smile. They saw a kid who wanted desperately to build a great church for God. And they'd hand my hundred dollars back, and sometimes they'd ask me to go to lunch with them. I would accept, but usually I couldn’t eat. I would just ask more questions.

Often, I’d leave those lunches, get in my car, and bawl like a baby. For the last hour, I had spent some time with what I would call a great man of God; and a little bit of that spirit, a little bit of that man, a little bit of that sense of God that was in his life had begun to ooze into my life. Peter tells us that the elderly women should pour their lives into the younger women, that there ought to be a desire to enhance the body of Christ, where we become our brother's and our sister's keeper. And those who are more experienced in the word begin to help those who are younger in the word.

Younger Christians are so much fun! They don't have a clue, but they're fun! I had one come up to me and show me John 3:16. He said, "Look what I found." It's just so much fun to be around a new Christian because they're so happy; they're so joyful. Our problem, as older Christians, is that we get to a certain level where we've been there, done that, and we've kind of got our system worked out. All of a sudden we forget that our obligation doesn't stop with our own spiritual development, but our obligation is to begin to pour ourselves into someone else.

The Original Blueprint...

I desire for us as Christians to begin to pour our lives into one another. Jesus did such a good job of this. Jesus modeled for us a lifestyle of spiritual reproduction. It was "on the job training" in real-life contexts.

Early in my preaching career, in my second church in Ohio , I decided that I wanted to be a disciple, and began to call the pastors of some of the great churches all over America . I wanted to learn something from men who had been very successful. I'd call them and say, "You don't know who I am, but my name is John Maxwell and I'm a pastor and you're a great man of God and you have a great church. I want to learn from the best."

For about the first five years of our married life, Margaret and I never could afford a vacation, but I’d speak at a revival somewhere near a city with one of those great churches. And when I called the pastors of these churches, because they didn't know who I was, I would say, "I'll give you a hundred dollars if you'll give me 30 minutes of your time." I was making $12,800 bucks a year, but I wanted so badly to be a disciple and to learn. I wanted so badly to sit at the feet of somebody who knew more than I knew.

I would go to these pastors for my appointment and walk in with my tape recorder so that I could record the answers. I had a legal pad with pages of questions, and I would ask my questions as fast as I could with that tape recorder on. When the 30 minutes were over, I would turn off the tape recorder, put my stuff back in my briefcase, stand up, reach in my pocket for the hundred dollar check already made out to that pastor and hand it to him.

Interestingly enough, in every single case, those pastors would look at that check and smile. They saw a kid who wanted desperately to build a great church for God. And they'd hand my hundred dollars back, and sometimes they'd ask me to go to lunch with them. I would accept, but usually I couldn’t eat. I would just ask more questions.

Often, I’d leave those lunches, get in my car, and bawl like a baby. For the last hour, I had spent some time with what I would call a great man of God; and a little bit of that spirit, a little bit of that man, a little bit of that sense of God that was in his life had begun to ooze into my life. Peter tells us that the elderly women should pour their lives into the younger women, that there ought to be a desire to enhance the body of Christ, where we become our brother's and our sister's keeper. And those who are more experienced in the word begin to help those who are younger in the word.

Younger Christians are so much fun! They don't have a clue, but they're fun! I had one come up to me and show me John 3:16. He said, "Look what I found." It's just so much fun to be around a new Christian because they're so happy; they're so joyful. Our problem, as older Christians, is that we get to a certain level where we've been there, done that, and we've kind of got our system worked out. All of a sudden we forget that our obligation doesn't stop with our own spiritual development, but our obligation is to begin to pour ourselves into someone else.

The Original Blueprint...

I desire for us as Christians to begin to pour our lives into one another. Jesus did such a good job of this. Jesus modeled for us a lifestyle of spiritual reproduction. It was "on the job training" in real-life contexts. Note Jesus' IDEA of spiritual reproduction:


I Instruction in a real-life context.


D Demonstration in a real-life context. He not only taught them in parables, but He was also always showing them. He was visualizing. He was incarnating, fleshing out truth before them. Remember the time the disciples came up to Jesus and they said, "Lord, teach us to pray." Do you know why they asked that question? Because they had watched Him pray. They had seen Him go up to the mountain. And when He came back after prayer, incredible things happened in His ministry, and it began to make the disciples hungry and thirsty to know what that man knew. So as they watched him, they begin to want to know more about God.


E Exposure in a real-life context. It's where Jesus would take the disciples into these situations and they would try it.


A Accountability or assessment in a real-life context. After they tried it, and after they experimented, they came back and they talked about it.

If you understand church history, you know discipleship did really well for the first 300 years. The church grew by Christians reproducing Christians. But in A.D. 313, the Emperor Constantine made Christianity a state religion. Worst thing that ever happened was that the head honcho officially ordered everybody to do be Christians. When he said that, he forced people that weren't even believers to be in the Christian church. And all of a sudden, it went from a vibrant body of Jesus Christ, a community thriving with reproduction, to a sterile institution. And we dropped the ball in 313. Since then, the church has tried to come back to this issue of reproducing itself.

This strategy worked right to the 4th century. Then we dropped the ball. Why?

1. Human nature

We tend to drift into comfort zones - the path of least resistance.

There's a tendency for all of us to kind of coast, relax, rest, to lay back. That's the truth for every one of us.

2. Clergy vs. laity distinction

A wide gap grew between clergy and laity

This distinction basically says that there are professionals that should do all that, and we pay them – they’re the pastoral staff or leadership team. There's a tendency to say, "I sit in the pew and I let the leadership team do that. All we are is laity anyway." The word "laity," by the way, comes from the Latin root word "idiot." Clergy comes from the root word "church."

My desire for churches is to cut that clergy/laity stuff completely out. We don't need clergy and laity. Instead, aren't we all a part of the body of Christ? Don't we all have spiritual gifts? Shouldn't we all be using them for the glory of God? Don't you realize you're going to be accountable to God for your spiritual gifts? Just because I happen to be a "pastor" doesn't mean that I'm going to be anymore accountable for my spiritual gifts than you are for yours. You've got to go find out what it is and utilize it for Christ.

We must return to the original blueprint...

As we invest in people, we must be committed to three things:

1. A Person

2. A Process

3. A Purpose

Have you ever sat down with a more mature believer and been discipled one-on-one so that you can just grow in your Christian walk with God? If you've been discipled, have you received enough strength and to turn around and say, “I want to pour my life into someone else?”

Think for a moment, what would happen if every one of us reproduced ourselves even once? Staggering, isn't it? Let's decide to get involved in the kingdom.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Which Road Are You On?

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for each person here and that the Holy Spirit be our guide, speak to us and open our eyes, open our ears and open our hearts to the vision that you have purposed in our hearts, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I wanted to reinforce just a small part of the powerful Mindset training that Tim Darnell led a few weeks back. It hit me between the eyes.


Your Words Name and Choose the Road You are On – Your words name the road you are on and will travel - not the road you want to be on, think you’re on, or might be on. No, they name the road you are on. Proverbs 18:20 “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.”

Speak ONLY the Road You are Traveling. If someone asks you for directions to a place they want to be, would you begin naming all the roads that they shouldn’t turn on or be on? Never, ever speak what you don’t want. Don’t name a road you’re not intending to travel - for example:

“I’m so out of shape”

a. If “out of shape” is the road you are traveling, then you are correct in saying, “I’m so out of shape.” Your very words will keep you on that road (out of shape). Your body, muscle tone, immune system, posture, etc. will actively react in conformance with your words and the condition you have named. You will indeed stay out of shape.

b. Rather, say, “I’m getting in better shape every day My stamina is increasing daily. I feel better every day. I’m gaining better breath and endurance. I’m excited about the improvements that are occurring.”

Folks, don't beat yourself up. Don't beat yourself up about how out of shape you are when you're running. You're doing it and that is an improvement in itself. Your self talk should not be negative and self-defeating. Be thankful and fully expect to get into shape and that you will improve every day. Redirect your mindset on what you are accomplishing.

God Bless,

Albert
Advantage Conferences

Your Dream Alive!

Your Dream - do you cherish it? Have you nourished it? Are you excited and energized by it? Do you know exactly what your dream is?

Or, has your dream been allowed to suffocate over the years due to inattention and lack of belief? Have you once had a dream but today that precious dream is barely alive, just barely breathing on minimized life-support?

Your dream is one of the most precious gifts God has ever given you! It is from Him and meant to be brought to reality, not neglected or taken for granted. Your dream should not be approached with procrastination. When God gives you a dream, you are obligated to honor it. You need to care for it like the precious, highly valuable commodity it truly is.

A man or a woman without a dream is no different than the title of the movie that came out several years ago - "dead man walking". Without a dream, you are just taking space. If God gave you a dream, and He surely has, then it's time to reawaken that dream and go after it. You honor God when you honor the dream He's placed inside you.

My dream is to reawaken the hopes and dreams and standards of not just millions of people, but of nations - to let millions of people clearly see that they can flourish and, in turn, become great givers and servers to others! Do you share that same dream? Can you see that entire continents can experience prosperity where they once allowed lack and scarcity to be the accepted norm? That thinking is dead wrong. Scarcity is a satanic deception and poverty is not of God.

Jesus said He came that you might have life and have it abundantly - to the full. That is the Gospel truth. You honor God when you honor His word for your life.

I hope you will not continue to squelch your dream, but rather allow it to be revitalized. Dare to believe in your dream with all your heart! When you do this, your spirit will be born afresh, regardless of your age (young or old) or current financial situation (good or not so good). It's time to honor God by recognizing the dream he has given you. It's time to acknowledge and act on your dream.

The time for rejection has passed. The time for experiencing and living the empowering fulfillment of the life God has birthed in your heart and soul - is now.

Thank you Tim Darnell for these inspiring words.

In His Service,

Albert Surovik
www.TheLeadersView.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Guard Your Ears


"Be careful what you are hearing...." Mark 4:24

What are you listening to during the day in your business?

Gossip?

Negative talk?

Dirty Jokes?

Failure Language from the tongues of Life Survivors?

What you allow to go into your ears -- ends up in your heart and your business, if you are not careful.

Let me ask you a question: This is from a Doug Firebaugh training and was drafted by Jack Wienzierl.

Would you allow me to go to the landfill, get 4 bags of filthy garbage, come into your beautiful home and dump them on your beautiful carpet in your living room?

Of course NOT!!!!

How about your bedroom?

Of course NOT!!!!

How about the carpet in your car?

Of course NOT!!!!!

Then how come you allow people as well as yourself to dump filthy negative garbage and input in your ears and mind daily?

DO YOU VALUE YOUR CARPET IN YOUR CAR MORE THAN YOU DO YOUR MIND?

Your business success is based on Powerful thinking, not Powerless garbage! Your business success is based on Building Words, not Destroying. Success is based on the Word of God, not the Word of the World.

What are you listening to daily, and how is it impacting your AC Success?

You know what HEAR stands for in worldly Success ?

" Hardly Embracing Any Results " (amen!)

You know what HEAR stands for in Christian Success?

"His Eternal Actions Reign!"

If you want your actions and Success to Reign, start hearing what Christ has to say, not others who doubt you and create fear in you. Listen to what Christ has to whisper in your ear... ssshhhh... you can hear the Holy Spirit...

"Never Doubt Me. For I am the King of Kings. And you are royalty. Let My actions totally reign over yours. Let My thoughts reign over yours. Let My Success pour into yours, let my Power build up yours, and like my Blood which poured out at Calvary, so shall Success pour into your life and reign supremely in your business! For I am the Master of ALL Success, Who has mastered the World and all of it's evil Failure, Doubt, and Fear! And you need to hear what I say daily! For those who have ears... Listen!"

Holy Father,
I hear You. I hear loud and clear. I am not going to let people dump their garbage in Your House anymore, as You live in me. You must find some of the things I have heard lately disgusting! Fear! Doubt! Negative thoughts! Discouragement! Delay! Lack of faith! You have heard it all. And I am today cleaning house -- my business house! And my mind will not listen to what does not honor You, and let You do Your Success Work in my life! I will no longer let garbage reign in my mind, but You will reign! You actions will reign! Your thoughts will reign! And because of that, Success will reign in my life! Reign the King of Glory! For those who understand, live deep in His Glory! Praise the Lamb Who was chosen before the beginning of time! Hallelujah! Glory to the King! We praise You Jesus!

In Jesus' Name,

Amen.

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