God’s Will: Can It be Found and Followed?

What if knowing God’s will for your life was not as complicated as it seems?

Compass

pic courtesy pdpics.com

I have a friend who has struggled for a very long time to understand what God’s plan is for him. Like all of us, he longs to know that he’s in “the center of God’s will.” He’s wants to find that sweet spot where his work, relationships, family, and church jive perfectly and if feels like he’s enjoying God’s very best. Some of you know what that feels like. Some of you – like my friend – have no clue what that is like, but you wish (and pray) that you did!

I’ve been in your boat—a lot.  But there is good news for all of us who ask, “Can God’s will for my life be found and followed?”  It can. It absolutely can. And it’s not as difficult to figure out as we tend to think. Continue reading

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Not Opposed to Effort: Solutions for Better Discipleship (solution #2)

(This post is the 5th and final blog in a series about the nature of discipleship in our churches today.)

 

Making disciples is what the Church was made by God to do. In this series I explain why we aren’t doinRock Climbing The Southwest, USAg it well (Read it here)  and two things that stand in our way (read about them here—Roadblock #1: the Christian message that is too easy to be good, and Roadblock #2: we have traded acts for facts).

But there is hope! Blog #4 reminds us that the first solution is that  we must tell the full story!

Last but not least, here is Solution #2 for helping the Church do a better job of making true disciples of Jesus…

Solution #2 Reintroduce Rigor

If we want to be a church that effectively makes disciples of Jesus—people who actually value doing what God asks disciples to do and who actually live lives that impact the world around them—we must (must!) reintroduce and value rigor. Good old fashioned rigor.

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Not Opposed to Effort: Solutions for Better Discipleship (solution #1)

(This post is the 4th blog in a series about the nature of discipleship in our churches today.)

 

In the first post of this series (Read it here) I argued that the American church’s misunderstanding of the phrase “grace is enough” causes us to miss out on what it truly means to be disciples of Jesus.

To right the ship, we need to understand two roadblocks that prevent us, and others, from following Jesus into the life of discipleship we were created for.

  • Roadblock #1: The church presents a Christian message that is too easy to be good. You can read about it here.
  • Roadblock #2: True discipleship is obstructed because we believe facts are the same as acts. Read more here.

Two Ways Forward counting

I once had a friend who quipped, “No solution, no problem!” It was his funny way of dismissing critics who had a knack for opining about what was wrong but never offered  ways to make things right. I’m always thankful for those who are bold enough to articulate the problem and propose creative solutions. I hope to do the same here. After all, what good is it to point out two major problems with the church’s view of discipleship if I will not wade into the murky waters of solutions?

Continue reading

Not Opposed to Effort: The Second Roadblock to Discipleship

(This post is the 3rd blog in a series about the nature of discipleship in our churches today.)

 In the first post of this series (Read it here) I argued that the American church’s misunderstanding of the phrase “grace is enough” causes us to misrepresent the Christian life and miss out on what it truly means to be disciples of Jesus.

To right the ship, we need to understand two roadblocks that prevent us, and others, from following Jesus into the life of discipleship we were created for. The first roadblock is this: we present a Christian message that is too easy to be good. You can read about it here.smartphone user

The second roadblock that obstructs authentic discipleship to Jesus is that we believe facts are the same as acts. Here is what I mean… 

Roadblock #2: We believe Facts are the Same as Acts

In a culture where the breadth of human knowledge is accessible with only a few key strokes, we often substitute learning for mastery. We have substituted facts for acts.

Continue reading

Not Opposed to Effort: Two Roadblocks to Discipleship

sheep in the road

(This post is the 2nd in a series about the nature of discipleship in our churches today. Click here to read the first post.) 

In last week’s post (Read it here) I argued that our misunderstanding of the oft-used phrase “grace is enough” causes us to misrepresent the Christian life and miss out on what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus.

We have a shallow view of grace and an incomplete definition of discipleship. In our addiction to “the easy life” we have eliminated the rigor of discipleship and simultaneously cheapened the grace God has given.

Dallas Willard’s phrase, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning,”[1] is good news. Though a life devoted to God in Christ is more difficult than we have often heard, it is also much better than we have often experienced.

To right the ship, we need to understand two roadblocks that prevent us, and others, from following Jesus into the life of discipleship we were created for. 

Roadblock #1: It’s Too Easy to Be Good

The “accept Jesus into your heart and you won’t go to hell when you die” approach to making disciples is too easy to be good. Let me explain.

Continue reading

Not Opposed to Effort: The Work of Discipleship

steel worker

Grace is not enough.

That sentence alone will send the reformed crowd into orbit, and it just might make the rest of you scramble for Bible verses that refute works-based righteousness.

But when I was recently asked to comment on Christian discipleship today, I could not help but think that grace is not enough.

Obviously the truth of that statement relies on one’s definitions of “grace” and “enough.” Continue reading