Making Disciples

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Pass It On

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Ken Keller
Bible Study Leader

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  -2 Timothy 2:1-2

As a freshman in high school, I learned an invaluable lesson that would not fully impact me until much later in my life. Living in a small farming community in rural North Dakota, classes were small and everyone knew everyone else. There were only twelve boys in my class and ten were on the track team. I was not a good runner, but I joined the team anyway because I wanted to be with my friends. Since I was never fast enough to individually win a race, the coach talked me into running in the 440-yard relay race.

I was too naïve to understand his logic. He had three other good sprinters, so he reasoned we could still win even with me starting the race. I told him I could not run my 110-yard leg fast enough to win. He looked at me and smiled. “You don’t have to win the race. Since you will start the relay, what I expect from you is just two things. “You run your leg as hard and fast as you can. Then you pass the baton on to the next guy. Winning the race is not your responsibility.”

As a church dedicated to the process of discipleship, the wisdom of this remarkable lesson should resonate with all of us. Each of us is individually gifted (Eph. 4:11-12) and also is a part of the collective Highlands church body (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27). We have also received God’s gift of faith in Jesus Christ (Jude 3) and we know that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1Timothy 2:4). So, it should be clear that Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) applies to all of us, collectively and individually.

For me it is really good news that God does not expect me to win the “discipleship race” by converting others or making new Christians. We know that to be the job of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7) We don’t have to win the race; the Holy Spirit is the one that ultimately triumphs. Our job is to share the Gospel with others and in so doing, facilitate transformation in their lives (Romans 12:2), that they in turn, will want to share with others.

How do we do that? We understand that God has already equipped us with enough strength to begin the discipleship race. (Judges 6:14) We exemplify Christ-like behavior in our own lives, witness to others, share our testimony and teach the Word of God. We model an example that others would want to imitate because they see something in us that they want for themselves. When we find these faithful men and women, they will reach for the baton and then we will be able to “Pass It On.”

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, to you be all glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for your written Word that guides us daily in our walk with you and also for your living Word, your son Jesus, who provides the means by which we can live with you forever in eternity. Almighty God, sovereign King of the Universe, may we follow your will to witness to others about Jesus and to share the Gospel with those you place before us. Holy Spirit, give us wisdom to discern these divine appointments as opportunities to further the kingdom of God. As always Father, we ask in the name of your son Jesus, according to your will.

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It’s Not About What YOU Can Do…

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Brooke Brown
Small Group Leader

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. - Acts 20:24

As a woman with a physical disability that involves a significant speech impairment, I often struggle with feeling like I have to work three times as hard as my nondisabled peers to prove my worth in all facets of life, despite knowing in my soul that my true worth comes from being an image bearer of God. It’s easy to forget when my intelligence and abilities get consistently underestimated because my speech and body mechanics are vastly different than most other women. Many men shy away from pursuing a relationship with me for the same reason. It’s extremely frustrating and makes me want to set out to disprove every point. I know I have gifts and talents of value that people should appreciate despite my limitations… or so I would’ve said until 2016.

The years since then have been a harsh barrage of physical suffering and emotional trials, but Jesus has sat with me through it all, helping me find light, blessing, and freedom in every dark corner. With each challenge I come up against, He points me back to the same basic lesson.  It’s not about what I (or you) can do in spite of my weaknesses, but instead what He can do WITH them.

We should not seek approval or value from others, but rather be confident in the value of the purposes for which God created us (Ephesians 2:10, 13). Also, remember that just like Luke is explaining in today’s verse, The Lord has given every single one of us a gift and ministry area in which to serve others. No exceptions, ever (1Peter 4:10-11). 

The next time you feel weak or inadequate, I encourage you to meditate on these passages: 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 5:1-17, 1 Corinthians 1:4-7, and Psalm 139:14-16. Take to heart what God says about who you are, and the Plans He has for you. When you feel secure in His Word, keep moving forward by His Spirit.

Do you know what your gift/ministry is?

What blessings have you received from trusting God to use your suffering and weakness?

How do they affect your ministry?

Prayer: Dear Lord, Please help me never lose sight of who You say I am and what You created me for. Thank you that Yours is the only approval I need and I don’t have to seek the ever-changing approval of other people. Show me how you want my weaknesses to be seen for Your Glory. I love you, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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