All posts in “DISCIPLESHIP”




Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

 A pastor once told me that it’s never easy to take criticism. And you know what? He was right! My first reaction to criticism, even constructive criticism spoken out of love, was more often than not a little defensive. I usually have to let the criticism soak in and settle a little while before I open my big mouth. If I don’t, I always say something I regret later. Usually when I give myself the time to really think about what was said, I realize there’s actually a lot of truth to what was said. Nevertheless, criticism never feels good because it reminds us that we are not as great as we think we are. It sometimes even feels like a slap in the face when it comes from someone we love. But to not listen and act on the constructive criticism is to miss out on a wonderful opportunity to grow.

When iron sharpens iron, sparks are guaranteed to fly. Some of the old iron must be ground off so that it may once again shine and be effective for its purpose. When you confront someone or are confronted by someone over some issue or action, sparks are going to fly. To stay sharp in life we all need someone who is going to confront us on pride, selfishness, lust, greed and jealousy. The list can go on and on but at the end of the day we need to surround ourselves with people who will be willing to pour into us and help us grow into the best individuals we can be for Christ. So when criticism comes from someone that you know actually loves you, you need to know that it comes from a place that wants the best for you as an individual. Let constructive criticism give birth to magnificence in your life, let the sparks fly, be vulnerable and be prepared for God to use you in ways you’ve never imagined!

QUESTION 1. Do you have people you can trust in your life that have helped sharpen and mentor you? If so, how did they sharpen you and how did you respond?
QUESTION 2. What are some areas in which you could use some sharpening? Who do you know that could mentor you in these areas? (It may be different people for different things: friend, pastor, youth leader, parent, etc.).
CHALLENGE: Find people who are different from you who can help you grow and watch yourself blossom into a resplendent work of art within the mosaic of Christ’s kingdom.




Proverbs 12:15

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

I remember hearing the phrase “I told you so” so much as a kid. My parents would always tell me not to do something, so of course, I had to do it. I wanted to learn for myself what was safe and what was scary, what was fun and what didn’t feel so good, and what Barbie dolls looked like with short hair even when they said it wouldn’t grow back. I had to test out all of their theories. As a child, I wanted to figure everything about life out on my own.

I wish I could say that I have totally outgrown that curious, slightly rebellious, nature. However, there are so many times that I still try to test out the theories of others to see if they are true for me as well. Until I came across people who would speak the truth into my life with love and grace, I kept pushing the envelope to see if my own way could be better than others said it would be. I started to learn that learning everything the hard way actually really hurts. There are a lot of bumps and bruises that my heart endured because I chose not to listen to the wisdom of others.

Proverbs warns us against such behavior. I live foolishly when I ignore what others say and try to make my own path. We really do actually need each other. We can learn a lot from one another as we all walk through life together. This is what Jesus showed us through his life. He modeled discipling so well as He spoke the truth in love to others. Those who were wise followed His words and His teachings closely. However, those who were foolish did not care about His teachings and they chose their own path instead.

Surround yourself with people who are going to speak truth into your life with love and grace. As you are built up by others, you can strengthen others with truth and love. That is the beauty of a Body that is operating all together in wisdom and unity.

QUESTION 1. In what areas of your life are you ignoring the counsel of others and walking down your own path?
QUESTION 2. Who can you trust to speak the truth in love into your life?
CHALLENGE: Find one person that you can receive godly wisdom from this week and then talk to them.




John 6:29

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

When was the last time you spent quality, uninterrupted time with someone you care about? In our busy culture, quality time can be hard to come by. Schedules have to align just right, to-do lists have to be completed so we don’t have to worry about them, and distractions have to be ignored so we can focus on the person we are with. Sometimes quality time seems nearly impossible to come by. We are a “Go, go, go” culture that thrives on being busy.

We weren’t created for this kind of lifestyle – not when it keeps us from the deep, meaningful relationships we were created for. There is something so special about time spent with someone you love. It recharges you, encourages you, challenges you, and shapes you. This is what God created us for, what Jesus modeled for us, and what the Holy Spirit equips us for. We were not only created to know others and be known by others, but we were created to know and be known by God.

It is far too easy in our culture today to get caught up in doing the right things. We can go to church, youth group, Bible studies, small groups, retreats, camps, and mission trips that are all focused on God. However, if we are not spending time getting to know God personally, we are incomplete. We cannot be a Church that is stuck doing things for God and miss out on doing life with God

QUESTION 1. Look at your daily schedule. How are you inviting God to be a part of each activity on your calendar?
QUESTION 2. How have you been living your life for God instead of with Him? What do you think the difference is?
CHALLENGE: Take some time to be alone with God and his Word today so you can learn more about his character. Then invite Him into each activity throughout your day and pay attention to what He wants to teach you today!




Mark 1:16-18

As he was going along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

 Throughout the Gospels we hear the call to follow Jesus. But so many times we think that in order to do so we have to earn it, we have to be worthy enough. Maybe you feel like God is calling you to follow him onto the mission field but you think, “I can’t do that yet; I’m not a good enough Christian; my life isn’t in order.” Or maybe it’s to follow him and love people through a homeless ministry, but you think that you’re not capable yet to follow God there. You think you need just a little more Bible training or you need to be just a little more right with God.

Look at the verse above. Jesus asked Simon and Andrew to follow him and it says they immediately left their nets and followed. They didn’t tell Jesus they weren’t ready or worthy, they didn’t say wait a few weeks, they followed right then and there, no questions asked. So many times we feel like we have to earn our right to follow Jesus, but Jesus just wants us to be with him. It’s not about how much you know, what you do, where you go, who you serve, it’s about resting in God’s presence and seeking him. We are all broken and flawed and we will never be perfect, but it’s the flawed and broken people that Jesus wants. Drop your burdens and follow.

QUESTION 1. Do you feel unworthy to follow Jesus because of past or current sins or because you aren’t spiritually knowledgeable enough?
QUESTION 2. If Jesus showed up in your room right now and said, “Follow me,” what excuses would you make? Or would you say yes right here and now?
CHALLENGE: When you hear God saying, “Come follow me,” drop everything and follow. It’s as simple as that.




Isn’t it strange how our faith seems to shine brighter at certain points in our lives, more so than at others? The fact is, our faith seems to shine brightest when we are in close proximity and worshiping with other believers. The problem is that eventually we have to come back to reality, and back to the real world. And when we do, we tend to forget about all the great things that brought us so close to our Savior in the first place. It’s as if our light we once had starts to slowly burn out. If you want to keep your relationship with Christ strong, make sure you put into practice those things, which brought you close to him in the first place.

QUESTION 1. Describe some of the moments and times that you felt your faith was at its strongest. Why do you feel your faith was so strong in those moments and times?
QUESTION 2. What do you do on a daily basis to keep your faith alive and burning bright (e.g. prayer, reading your Bible, church, etc.)?
CHALLENGE: Make sure you do the things that change the light bulbs of your faith; things like prayer, going to church, getting involved in a Bible study or small group, and fellowshipping with other believers. These are all great ways for your faith to shine, but whatever you do, don’t wait. Enjoy the blessings that come from a strong relationship with Christ today!




Hebrews 13:17

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

It can be hard to submit to those in authority over you. Maybe you have a boss that doesn’t treat you well, or maybe you think a police officer wrongly pulled you over, or your parents don’t love you like they should, or maybe submitting to the authority of the government makes your palms sweaty. But even Jesus had to deal with authority. When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a question about giving money to Caesar, he replied, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17)

We may not always agree with our leaders and those in authority over us, but Jesus tells us to obey anyway. This doesn’t mean you should obey them if they tell you to do something morally wrong or against God. Just look at Daniel. He was thrown into the lion’s den because he wouldn’t bow down to the king. Leaders will answer someday for the decisions they made; it is not for us to decide. And if we can’t submit to authority here on earth how much harder will it be to submit to our king in heaven? If we call ourselves followers of Jesus then we must follow his example and submit to authority, and not do it begrudgingly but with joy, because we are doing the will of our heavenly Father.

QUESTION 1. How do you submit to those in authority or leadership over you?
QUESTION 2. How has your experience with poor leadership in the past shaped your present view of leadership? Is there pain that you should hand over to God?
CHALLENGE: Submit to those that God has put in leadership over you, and do so with joy knowing that you are serving Jesus who has set an example for you.
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