What Robinson Crusoe says about Discipleship

I’m reading “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe. What can we learn about discipleship from this small excerpt as Crusoe disciples a native he rescued from cannibals? Great Lessons!!!

“I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge in all the methods I took for this poor creature’s instruction, and must acknowledge, what I believe all that act upon the same principle will find, that in laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many things that either I did not know or had not fully considered before, but which occurred naturally to my mind upon searching into them, for the information of this poor savage; and I had more affection in my inquiry after things upon this occasion than ever I felt before: so that, whether this poor wild wretch was better for me or no, I had great reason to be thankful that ever he came to me; my grief sat lighter, upon me; my habitation grew comfortable to me beyond measure: and when I reflected that in this solitary life which I have been confined to, I had not only been moved to look up to heaven myself, and to seek the Hand that had brought me here, but was now to be made an instrument, under Providence, to save the life, and, for aught I knew, the soul of a poor savage, and bring him to the true knowledge of religion and of the Christian doctrine, that he might know Christ Jesus, in whom is life eternal; I say, when I reflected upon all these things, a secret joy ran through every part of My soul, and I frequently rejoiced that ever I was brought to this place, which I had so often thought the most dreadful of all afflictions that could possibly have befallen me. I continued in this thankful frame all the remainder of my time; and the conversation which employed the hours between Friday and me was such as made the three years which we lived there together perfectly and completely happy, if any such thing as complete happiness can be formed in a sublunary state. This savage was now a good Christian, a much better than I; though I have reason to hope, and bless God for it, that we were equally penitent, and comforted, restored penitents. We had here the Word of God to read, and no farther off from His Spirit to instruct than if we had been in England. I always applied myself, in reading the Scripture, to let him know, as well as I could, the meaning of what I read; and he again, by his serious inquiries and questionings, made me, as I said before, a much better scholar in the Scripture knowledge than I should ever have been by my own mere private reading. Another thing I cannot refrain from observing here also, from experience in this retired part of my life, viz. how infinite and inexpressible a blessing it is that the knowledge of God, and of the doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus, is so plainly laid down in the Word of God, so easy to be received and understood, that, as the bare reading the Scripture made me capable of understanding enough of my duty to carry me directly on to the great work of sincere repentance for my sins, and laying hold of a Saviour for life and salvation, to a stated reformation in practice, and obedience to all God’s commands, and this without any teacher or instructor, I mean human; so the same plain instruction sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage creature, and bringing him to be such a Christian as I have known few equal to him in my life.”

Lessons Learned

“I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge in all the methods…” 
One of the keys in discipleship is to get started, even though you don’t feel like you know enough. (Jn 14.21, 17.7) We will never know enough. Share what you know. And in the sharing, more will come.

” …that in laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many things…”
I have found this to be true, the disciple-maker is usually the greater recipient of knowledge and joy than the disciple. (Act 20.35, 3Jn 1.4) Pour yourself into others and you will reap the harvest.

 “…I had more affection in my inquiry after things upon this occasion than ever I felt before…”
The joy of learning to serve others by researching the Word of God on their behalf. If only people knew how exhilarating and self-satisfying it is to be motivated to learn in order to make disciples. (Phil 1.21-26, Mk 10.45)

“…but was now to be made an instrument, under Providence, to save the life…and bring him to the true knowledge of religion and of the Christian doctrine,…” 
The wonders of being included in the greatest enterprise know to man, the advancement of the kingdom of God. And why wouldn’t God use angels or some other means; because He made us in His image and He wants us to become like Him as the lovers of men’s souls (Gal 5.1-2)

More coming soon…

Vision Casting 101 – Be a Maker (Part 4)

“I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4.19

I like to make stuff. When I was a kid, it was model airplanes and tanks. Later as an adult, I did my fair share of home improvement. Now I making a digital world on my computer. But most importantly, Deb and I have made a lot of disciples, building into their lives greater love for Jesus and a desire to be just like Him. Isn’t that a part of our DNA? Just like Jesus; turning fish into fishermen, fruit into farmers, sheep into shepherds, and people into priests (Matthew 4.19, Luke 10.2, John 21.15-17, 1 Peter 2.9). We are “makers” by design and Jesus taps into our blueprint with His vision casting. Make disciples.

Call to Action: Write down three things you want to build into disciples this year.

Staying a Healthy Church

NPL’s goal is not house church, building church, simple church, legacy church, or organic church. It’s healthy church. I really love what Brett and Abigail have done the last two years with the church they lead. They take the church circles illustration and start over again by asking this question; “What functions of the church are we healthy in and what are not?” Healthy functions stay in the circle. Functions that need improvement are put on the outside and goals are set to improve in these areas. The discussion was filled with honesty, humility, and compassion. The Church Circles is not a “one and done” exercise. I like a church that is willing to walk in the light and beg Jesus to draw them closer individually and corporately.

Call to Action: Read Acts 2.36-47 and use the Church Circles Template to assess your church’s health. Click Here

Top 10 for 2019

In the past, I’ve challenged disciples to study the Gospels and line up their top ten priorities and use them as a guide for personal growth and discipling others. Over the years my top 10 have morphed but here’s my focus for 2019.

Chuck’s Top 10

  1. Abide deeply in the Lord Jesus Christ and imitate Him
  2. Be filled with His Holy Spirit
  3. Be saturated with the Word of God & Prayer
  4. Share the gospel abundantly
  5. Grow in reproducing Christ-like discipleship
  6. Gather as a healthy reproducing church
  7. Multiply generational leaders
  8. Implement a strategic model of ministry
  9. Cast a strong vision to reach the world for Christ
  10. Persevere in all circumstances

Call to Action: Write down your top 10 and review them at least once a month.

Vision Casting 101 – Be, Know, Do (Part 3)

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4.19

As a young sergeant, I was taught that there are three parts in leadership development; Character, Intellect, and Skill. We summed it up in BE, KNOW, DO. People try to prioritize and separate the three but the truth is you can’t. Part of who you are is what you do and part of what you do is what you know, and so on. I was a paratrooper who knew how to jump out of airplanes and did. Take any one of those away and I would not be a paratrooper. Jesus’s disciples are followers and fishers. Their identity is wrapped up in Who they know and what they do. There is no separation.

Call to Action: Find three verses for Be, Know, Do and talk about them with your Timothys

Vision Casting 101 – Following and Fishing (Part 2)

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4.19

Sergeant First Class Mike Ramsey. He was the one leader in the Army that I respected so much, I wanted to be just like him. Have you ever met someone like this? Put the shoe on the other foot. Have you ever met a leader with the expectation that you become just like them? That’s exactly what Jesus had in mind; to help His disciples become just like Him. And He begins His agenda with one simple vision cast; “Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men.” Following was not the act of walking behind Him. It was an invitation to become, to be conformed, into the kind of man He was.

Call to Action: Do you believe Jesus wants you to become like Him? Why or why not?