Want 4th Soil People? Go after the hands! (Application)

One of my young leaders came to me in complete exasperation. He asked, “Chuck, my living room is full of 20-30 people that just love to hear my teaching but won’t do anything with it!” My advice to him was, “Be like Jesus and make the application the focus. Make “application” of the teaching the price of admission for more teaching.” Two years later the same young leader came to me with almost the exact same question, “Chuck, my Sunday School Class is full of 100-150 people that just love to hear my teaching but won’t do anything with it!” Do you know what my advice was? “Be like Jesus and make the application the focus. Make “application” of the teaching the price of admission for more teaching.” Listen to Jesus;

“He who has My commandments and KEEPS THEM is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose myself to him.” (Jn 14.21) .

“If anyone is WILLING TO DO HIS WILL, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” (Jn 7.17)

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and ACTS ON THEM, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and DOES NOT ACT ON THEM, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Mt 7.24-27)

Want to find 4th soil people? Look for people that actually put the teaching into action and don’t fill your boat with those that don’t. That young leader finally got it and now has people that are actually applying what he teaches. He’s found 4th Soil.

Do you teach with the application as the end-state? Do you ask if people made application of the knowledge taught in the last lesson before moving on to the next? Are you training others to “go after the hands?”

What We Multiply Matters (Doing the Math – Part 3)

What We Multiply Matters (Doing the Math – Part 3)

Adam and Eve went crazy! When God told them to be fruitful and multiply, they did! Well, sort of. They did start reproducing but it wasn’t exactly what God intended. When we look at the original scenario we see that God wants them to multiply His image. 

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1.27-28)

But right about chapter three in Genesis the serpent added a little something called sin to the mix that basically messed up the whole “image” thing. Not beyond repair or the love of God mind you, but just enough to impact the whole human race…in a bad way. Now instead of multiplying the pure image of God, the “little something” was like an ugly smudge on the photocopy glass and shows up on the first copy. And instead of cleaning the glass, we just made a copy of the copy and things got worse until it was time to start over with a flood;

“Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6.11-13)

Oh, we had been fruitful and multiplied, alright. We had filled the whole earth with our violence. We multiplied but it wasn’t what God wanted us to multiply. And this is the warning; Just because we are increasing in number doesn’t mean we are multiplying the “Image of God” as He intended. I mean, Mormons and JWs are multiplying. Islam is multiplying. And secular Christianity is multiplying at an alarming rate as people buy into a discipleshipless form of a spiritual counterfeit. 

Jesus gives His stern warning to the Pharisees;

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23.15)

Yikes! Is it possible that committed mission-minded people could actually multiply “hellish sons?” Quite frankly, this verse scares my pants off!

This is why “discipleship” is so important. If we define discipleship the same way Jesus defines it, we will see it as the process of becoming like Him, the perfect image of God (Matthew 10.24-25, Luke 6.40). Discipleship is not tools, or a program, or a higher level of Special Forces in the Christian life. No, discipleship is the process whereby we become everything we were meant to be, the image of God. And Jesus Christ is the perfect model we look to for our transformation.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8.28-29)

So as we commit ourselves to be “fruitful and multiplying” let’s have a clear picture of what we are to be multiplying. Let us master the Master. Studying His ways and His words to become conformed to Him. Let’s fix our eyes squarely on the Author and Perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12.2), the Lord Jesus Christ, and multiply Him over all the face of the earth (Matthew 28.18-20). To Him be the glory, and honor, and praise, forever and ever. AMEN

Are we mastering the Master? Are we reading the gospels daily to look intently on the perfect Man and conforming to His image? Is this our definition of discipleship and are we training others to do the same?

Want 4th Soil People? Go after the heart!

I read a great book call “Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. The authors use an illustration of a rider, an elephant, and a path. The rider represents the intellect. He’s the little guy riding on the neck of the elephant with a stick. The elephant represents the emotions. This huge animal will obey the little man with the stick most of the time under normal circumstances. And the path represents the direction the rider wants to go. But what happens when a tiger jumps in the middle of the path? I’m sorry, no matter how much the little guy pokes that elephant with that stick, that terrified pachyderm is going where ever he wants! So good luck with that. The same goes for emotions. If emotions are significantly aroused, it will be heart over the head every time. Many times disciple-makers are aiming at the head, the intellect. That’s good. Disciples need knowledge. But if you go after both the heart (emotions) and the head, you’ll see greater commitment. Jesus went after the head and the heart. He demonstrates this in many ways. “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks…Unless you hate your mother and father…Unless you forgive from the heart…”, etc…. Even the crucifixion speaks more to the heart than to the head. Jesus died for me! More head or heart? Heart hands down! This is why when I’m leading biblical discussions I use the Head, Heart, and Hands format. I am amazed at how often disciples (and I) get significant motivation and application when we ask the question; “How does this make you feel?” I rarely find a 4th Soil person who isn’t significantly invested emotionally and as they are intellectual. 4th Soil has their head and their heart is in the game as well.

Are you aiming for the heart, the emotions? How are you hitting the heart of the people you are discipling?

Simple Multiplication or a Miracle? (Doing the Math – Part 2)

Movements are as easy as punching the numbers in a calculator, right? No way! Some of you have fallen out of your chairs with laughter because you know where I’m coming from. And yet people still approach this holy work of God as though it were a numbers game. We think if I just do such and such and pray a little bit, presto! And out comes a movement. Nope, and we have Scripture to prove it. Movements (multiplication) are nothing short of a miracle from God. We are living in a microwave, easy-bake, 5G society and we want it now and I mean right now. Even if we do the right things in the right way with the right people, there is no guarantee that we will see multiplication. (We are, however, pretty much guaranteed not to see multiplication if we don’t.) But make no mistake about it, the blessing of multiplication is just that, “a blessing.” It comes as a gift from the Almighty. He is the Great Multiplier.

The LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham.” (Gen 26:24

May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. (Gen 28:3 NASB)

Even Jesus saw His men as a gift from the Father;

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. (John 17.6)

So let’s be clear, although we are commanded to multiply, it is nothing short of a miracle when it actually happens. So at the end of the day, even when we are being the right kind of person, know the right answers, and do the right kind of things, it is still God’s prerogative and gift to multiply. The key is that we posture ourselves in such a way as to acknowledge it. We trust, we pray, and we get our reps in (do the right things), and then we wait with perseverance. 

Have we postured ourselves before God as the One who gives the gift of multiplication? Are we praying in such a way that we are declaring our utter dependence on Him for multiplication? Are we training others to have the same kind of attitude? When we do see multiplication are we giving the credit to the Great Gift Giver?

You got to gig ‘em – Frog Gigging (Lesson 2)

So now as I shined my flashlight in the water I could see the four bumps, that was a frog. I had identified my target. But as I would thrust my gig at the frog, it would jump away so fast the only thing I was hitting was water and a bruised ego. My friend came over once again and asked what was wrong. I told him, “These frogs are smart, they jump out of the way every time.” “Oh,” he said “You’ve got to aim the gig right in front of them. If you lead them, they will jump right into the gig and you’ll stick ‘em every time.” So I took the advice of my expert frog gigging disciple-maker and wah-lah, I got my first frog! And then another one and another one. I was pulling frogs out of the water like no body’s business. The same goes for the disciple-maker that can accurately identify the 4th soil person but then you have to gig ‘em. Well, that sounds a little violent so let’s say, you have to “win ‘em” That’s what you are trying to do, win their hearts. Let’s go back to Jesus. He demonstrated a keen sense of the Father’s will, He was supernaturally astute, He displayed supernatural abilities, loved people extravagantly, He was a master of the Word of God and a man of prayer, and these are just a few of His qualities. In other words, Jesus was a 4th Soil man and attracted 4 Soil people. Now that’s a pretty high bar but we can start by looking at Jesus and trying to become like Him. As we mature, people notice. If you want to win the hearts of the 4th Soil person you must be 4th Soil yourself (or at least one step ahead of the prospective disciple you wish to train). When 4th Soil people see a person walking with Jesus consistently and effectively, they are naturally drawn to you because they want what you got. Are you getting it, Jesus I mean?

Why Multiply? (Doing the Math – Part 1)

Is this a fad? Everyone is talking about multiplication. Multiplying disciples, multiplying churches, and multiplying movements is kind of a buzz among missional Christians nowadays. I’m super excited about that but I’ve found if we don’t have a reason “why” we are doing something, it’s usually a fad we pass through on our way to the next good idea. So what the big deal? Why should we be multiplying? What does the Bible say about multiplication? And if you’re like me and hate math and still don’t even have your times’ table memorized, just stick with me to the end. (And please don’t rat me out with my grandkids)

It all begins with the beginning. One of the purposes God created the living creatures and man himself was to multiply and fill the earth. (Gen 1.22,28) It’s literally a command. “Be fruitful and multiply.” In the Hebrew, the word means; “be or become great, be or become many, be or become much, be or become numerous.” (Strong’s H7235) So the word “multiply” in Hebrew doesn’t necessarily mean multiply in a purely mathematical sense of the word. But one thing is for sure, that “mathematical multiplication” is certainly the fastest way to accomplish the growth God commanded. The Father wants His creation to grow and cover the whole earth. 

Here’s a classic story of multiplication. The servant who invented the game of chess brought the new game to his king. The ruler was so impressed he offered to grant any reward the servant desired. The servant is very wise and asked that one grain of wheat be placed on the first square on the chessboard and then two on the next square. He requested that the grains be doubled for each of the squares on the board. If you know the story you know the power of multiplication. By the time the wheat would be placed on the last square, the whole of India would be covered in wheat over 50 ft. deep.

See the video: https://youtu.be/t3d0Y-JpRRg

Now before we run off and start “multiplying” let me give you a warning. Efficiency is not the main reason we approach ministry with a multiplying method. No, the main reason we approach ministry with a multiplication mindset is that God commanded us to multiply. And here’s why this is so important to get a handle on. You’re all hot to trot and you get your first person who wants to make disciples and you’re started. Now one becomes two and two become four and four become eight and etc… Then you notice some of the people you started with aren’t so excited about following Jesus anymore and they drop off. Oh no! That just completely messed up my beautiful pyramid scheme! Yes, this is the cold hard reality of multiplication in the kingdom. It’s messy math, not clean math. So there will be huge holes in our “progress chart” but you know what? The kingdom grows and multiplies despite the mess. So I’m not applying a multiplication method because it works. I’m not primarily aiming at the results. And now instead of deep disillusionment in ministry, because I’m not seeing the numbers I expected, I continue to march because this is what my King commanded me to do. I’m primarily doing this because I’m doing the right thing. I’m obeying God. 

I love the end of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower; 

 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)

Now there’s some messy math for you! We are all slinging seed (sharing the gospel) but the sowers may experience different results. Thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. I’m am so glad Jesus put that part in His story! I think He knew we all like to play the comparison game and look over the fence at our brother or sister’s fruit. I may start to feel a little down on myself because my brother has sixtyfold and I only have thirty (or maybe three!) and I say to myself, “What a loser I am because I didn’t produce more.” Oh, stop that! You’re not a loser! You’re an obedient servant of the Most High God! Or, on the other hand, maybe someone is saying, “Well I have a hundredfold and my poor pitiful brother only has sixty. What a loser!” Oh, stop that! Because you know what’s coming next, right?

 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. (1 Peter 5.5-6)

So be careful with your math. It’s going to be messy math for you and everyone else. The key is that we are doing it! We are making disciples in such a way that the kingdom of God is increasing. We are not getting in the way of His plan by doing anything in any way that would be a bottleneck to growth. We are obeying the King and He is using us to grow His kingdom. 

Have you started multiplying by sharing the gospel? Have you taught someone else to share the gospel? Are you making disciples that primarily want to obey God not just see results? Are you playing the comparison game? Are you multiplying in the Biblical sense of the word (doing messy math)? 

If you would like to join me in my study of multiplication, click on the link below;

Multiplication Bible Study

4th Soil – Know What You’re Looking For – Frog Gigging (Lesson 1)

When I was a boy a neighbor friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go “frog gigging.” I know, right? Sounds strange but hey, I’m a boy and anything having to do with frogs sounds fun to me. His dad drove us to the lake that night and I was handed a flashlight and a long pole with a trident on the end of it. My friend told me to shine the light on the frogs and stick as many as I could. These were to be de-legged later and then eaten. Yummy!? (I’ve haven’t eaten frog legs since) So I went beside the water looking for frogs and for the life of me I could not see them. My friend came over after a while and noticed I hadn’t gigged one frog. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I can’t even see a frog, let alone gig ’em,” I said. He laughed, “Oh, you look for four bumps sticking out of the water. The two small ones up front is the frog’s snout and the two larger ones behind are his eyes.” He showed me with his flashlight shining on the edge of the water and low and behold, I could see them! I now knew what I was looking for. Many disciple-makers don’t have 4th Soil people because they don’t know what they’re looking for. The disciple-maker needs a trained eye. Jesus actually shows us what 4th soil looks like. He describes their attributes in the Parable of the Sower. In Luke’s rendition, Jesus says, 4th Soil people “are ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. (Luke 8:15) Write those qualities down and continue to study the closest disciples to Jesus and you’ll get an even clearer picture of 4th Soil. This is what you are looking for.