Discipleship Needs MORE Bible, Not Less
I’ve just completed the Intro and first chapter of a new book called Deep Discipleship, and, just like the title implies, the book is advocating for MORE Bible in our churches, not less. We’ll see if the other chapters are worth reading, but so far, so good.
The author says that we’ve lowered the bar to make it easier to attract disciples, but Jesus always raises the bar and asks more of his followers. Never less.
Sure, we’re to bring our burdens to him and share our yoke with him… but that has never meant this “Jesus, take the wheel!” freedom from personal accountability.
In short… discipleship is BIBLE work.
But not just work in the Bible as if that’s the end. I’m afraid we can all-too-easily fall into THAT trap, too, as if our discipleship graduates are somehow now… disciples.
If you’ve received a certificate, but you missed Jesus Christ, you’ve missed discipleship! The work of Scriptures is to highlight Jesus, to help us worship God in spirit and in truth, and to teach us the way of righteousness. Not for a Pharisaical knowledge—all that does is puffs you up—but a humble knowledge that leads to loving God deeper. That’s what a disciple is—an adherent to the ways, teachings, and spirit of Jesus.
SELF-CENTERED discipleship asks, “What can I get out of Jesus?” But that’s the wrong question. It’s never been about me. It’s always been about God.
SPIRITUALLY APATHETIC discipleship doesn’t ask anything. It’s just the run-of-the-mill same ol’, same ol’ Christianity that is never thrilled with God. It’s never moved by “And Can It Be,” and bowing for worship is more of a chore than a joy.
Both of these weaknesses can cripple a church, but when God’s people band together and take seriously their personal responsibility to follow God through His Word, that’s when we find deep discipleship in the local church.
I don’t believe you HAVE to go to Bible college to be a deep disciple, although I’m happy for the intense discipleship I received while I went through my schooling. But what about those who can’t go to Bible college? How do you go deeper?
Well, church attendance is a good start, but tools like the new bulletin, our Sunday school, and our worship time are meaningful ways to encourage each member to go deeper.
- Sundays at 11:00 are a good start, but the 10:00 Sunday school is about smaller fellowships and a different style of teaching.
- The hymns are good to sing, but reading about the hymns will make them come alive in a deeper way.
- The special music is good to hear, but following the lyrics will help the truth move you even more than the music itself.
- Worship on your knees is good, but a weekly paragraph about God gives your prayers a freshness when talking to the Father.
- The sermons are full of rich food to consume, but continuing the study at home with the additional Scriptures is when you start to make it mean something.
We also encourage personal Bible study at home on your own, and with a few interpretive principles to help you, I believe you can chart a great course toward deeper discipleship, starting tomorrow. Seriously.
PRINCIPLES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION
Once again, tonight’s notes are from the book One Year Discipleship Course, by David Cloud. Memory verse: 2 Tim. 2:15
CONTEXT is all-important in defining words and interpreting passages:
- 2 Tim. 2:16. Profane and vain babblings. See vv. 15, 16, 17, 18.
- 2 Tim. 3:17. Perfect.
- Titus 3:9. Foolish questions. V9–10.
- 2 Pet. 1:20. Private interpretation. V21.
- Faith and works. Romans and James.
SCRIPTURE must be compared with Scripture. 2 Cor. 2:13
CLEAR passages must interpret the less clear.
The LITERAL sense of the Scripture must rule.
- God is not hiding His Word. Deut. 29:29
- Jesus used it. (Luke 10:25–26)
- If not, it’s open to ANY kind of imagination.
- Prophecies are fulfilled literally. E.g. Psalm 22
To protect members’ information, we are not posting all requests online.
- Pending church purchases. After our deacons meeting on Sunday, we wanted to bring our needs to the Lord. Although we plan for maintenance in the annual budget, sometimes multiple needs of an aging facility show up in one year, and the bills exceed the pre-planned amounts. So… let’s pray!
- Outstanding $30k refund. Please pray that this funding for our solar battery backup is returned since the backup system cannot be installed. Update: $1,500 promised today. A step in the right direction!
- Carpet repair or replace. The sanctuary carpet ripples are a tripping hazard, and we’re actively working on a solution (waiting on a couple more quotes.) Full replacement would cost about $20k.
- Elevator replace. Our wheelchair lift is no longer serviceable and needs to be removed and replaced with a new one. We are gathering quotes in order to stay compliant with the state, but I’m estimating about $60k.
- Sound board replace. The tool we use weekly is our sound board, and it is fine for now, but two main outputs (out of four) have failed within the past 6 months, and we’re asking a LOT of our analog board in today’s digital world (especially since beginning livestreaming.) A good system will easily cost $20k. Although cheaper options exist, to do it right, we’d like to install this system only once and use it for the next decade.
I’m hesitant to bring up financial needs for three reasons:
- I don’t want it to sound desperate. This is God’s church, and HE will provide the needs. That’s why we pray. Let’s see what God wants to do!
- I don’t want it to sound as if God’s people are not giving. You are, and we are, and God is providing for our needs.
- I don’t want it to sound as if the regular giving is being mismanaged. The annual budget includes special projects, but this level of need ($100k) is higher than anticipated and beyond the “Specials projects” budget.
I’m so excited every time I come to work! It’s so fun to meet with the men and women, boys and girls, and teens who serve here, I WISH I could share everything that happens in a week, but it’s impossible! So many people serve weekly on so many things, I can’t highlight them all.
But after another week or two of work, it’s a joy to see progress! We’re on the move, folks!
Aside from the three staff guys (Bro. Christian, Bro. Evan, and Bro. Zack) chasing a squirrel out of our sanctuary this morning, we’ve had some productive times recently!
- Office renovation coming along. My dad taped and textured the sheetrock, and we’re ready for a second coat of mud!
- The men installed can lights in both new offices.
- Courtyard Café a success! Thank you to all the teens and Mrs. N. R. for overseeing this great fellowship last Sunday!
- Weekly yard work. It doesn’t sound glamorous, but T. H. comes out every week, often two days per week, and fills our dumpsters with weeds, leftover yard sale stuff, and other church trash. This summer, I. E.has been serving also, and last week he weeded the flower beds along the cul-de-sac.
- Weekly parking lot cleaning. Sunday morning… BBBBBRRRR… P & J are out there blowing off the parking lot. It looks clean enough to eat off of. Magnificent. 🤌🤌
- Notice the brighter lights down one wing in the sanctuary? Bro. E. has been helping us transition to LED lighting!
- Rats! Ew. But they take up their cross, and die daily. So that’s good.
- Bus alternator. Thank you to B & A for replacing the bus alternator today! The bus part ended up being a much bigger hassle than originally anticipated, but they made it happen in the heat!
- Pressure washing. Little things are always being cleaned, like the evil GUM off the front porch, and the CANDY WRAPPERS all over the flower beds. Attention, KIDS: my Awana director, Mr. J., used to ask us this question EVERY week: “What happens if I find candy wrappers?” And we’d answer, “No candy for three weeks!” Yikes! Let’s keep God’s house clean and free from trash.
- Lawn improvements. The dying patches and dry spots are being worked on weekly. We’ve repaired water lines and sprinkler timers and sprayed for fungus and killed rabbits and tried almost everything to have lush gardens, but it’s a constant work in progress.
- New freezer. Volunteers hauled and installed a new residential-style freezer in the kitchen. The big, expensive commercial one failed, so we thought we’d try this option instead.
- L. H. is now coming on Wednesdays to prepare the sanctuary for services (cleanup, restock, etc.), and she’s labeling all the bulk mailing postcards and envelopes that we send.
This is not even mentioning the weekly discipleship, the weekly Sunday school classes, the daily texts of encouragement, the personal walk with God, the devoted Scripture memorization, the numerous Gospel conversations, the baptisms, the hospital visits, or ALL the other things that go on regularly around here.
There’s ALWAYS something to do when you’re looking to serve, but if you’re good with projects, it seems like there’s especially always something to do. We keep lists. 😉
MISSIONARY PRAYER REQUESTS
Please pray for a US Military ministry in Japan, and a missionary on deputation to a closed country in Southeast Asia.