Friday, June 8, 2012

I'm Not the Same as I Once Was, THANK GOD!

A year ago Tuesday our Church began Tuesday night discipleship Bible Study and because of this discipleship process I'm not the same person I once was. I thank God for that fact! I have grown in more ways than I can possibly count. Tuesday night was a celebration of that growth and Hod (or pastor) asked us to share testimonies. Mine was too long to share along with everyone else, so I thought I'd write about it here....

The men (my husband among those men) would meet and learn how to rightly handle God's word on a weekly, or even daily, basis. My husband was learning through Darren, who he worked with and is also a leader of the church, and there were opportunities where he would attend men's Bible studies. The women, however, were asking, "What about us?" and that's when Hod decided to start Tuesday night Bible study. He introduced the concept of discipleship and why it's important and it has taken off. Our church is growing in our journey with Christ and it's all because we believe in living out Jesus' final commandment in Matthew 28,

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Discipleship is a process. This is how it's working at Kimball E-Free:
  1. Every Tuesday we have a group Bible Study - there's even FOOD. =)
  2. Meet with someone who is more mature in their Bible Study, forming a one on one relationship. We do not encourage anything but men meeting with men and women learning from other women. Due to the fact that through this process you not only developing a relationship with the person you're learning from, but that you grow in your relationship with God through the study of His word. You become a more Godly woman or Godly man - who better to learn from than a woman if you're a woman or man if you're a man? What man would be able to teach us about being a woman?! HaHa.
  3. Disciple someone yourself.
The whole idea here is that once you don't need your teacher anymore, you go to where God is leading you, and pass on what you've been taught to the younger generation, who will pass it on, and pass it on, and pass it on... see my point? It's this amazing domino effect!

Jesus called us to make disciples because he wants people who can rightly handle His word and rightly teach it to others, thus growing with Him daily, and leading others to do the same. Jesus went through that process with His 12 disciples - calling them to come and see what He was doing and teaching, then calling them to follow Him and further teach them, and then finally leaving them (after He was crucified and went to heaven) so that they could continue teaching others what He had taught them. Jesus Christ was our example to follow in that teaching process. He was, after all, called "Rabbi" or Teacher. You can see evidence of discipleship all through the Bible, not only with Jesus and His 12 disciples but with John the Baptist and Paul who discipled Timothy. That process has been continued through thousands of years.

We're applying that same concept here.

When this process was started for the men, the green monster came out. I could see Kyle's excitement to open the Bible and study from it, learning and growing, while I felt I was at a standstill. He was teaching me what he learned, so in essence my husband was discipling me, and I was growing from that and so was our marriagem, but I wanted the type of relationship he had with the men in our church with another woman. So I began praying for someone like that to enter my life. Someone that I could confide in, that would hold me accountable according to God's word, someone who could teach me what it means to be a Godly woman - I told Kyle that was going to be a rather difficult concept for him to teach. I love him, but dang it, girls need girlfriends!

God answered my prayer and gave me Deb. I am absolutely amazed with how much I've changed through this process and how much Deb has come to mean to me. After opening up and sharing testimonies, we began studying the book of Hosea, and we read the book "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. We've also been reading and discussing the Kings and Chronicles because the history of the rise and fall of Israel helps in forming a deeper understanding of Hosea.

I've learned to observe the text differently than I ever did, interpret the text better than I EVER did, correlate the text (which I've never done), and finally apply the text to my own life (appropriately this time). I no longer pick random verses and try to apply it to my life because I'll miss the point completely. Now I think about the author, who he wrote it to (the audience), and I focus on finding the purpose - why he wrote it, to who he wrote it to.

I've learned much more, but we'd be here forever if I decided to tell you about all of it. I thought I'd end with the discipleship process outline. It's very simple to follow, giving you the step-by-step process we're going through. Basically, your ultimate goal is to become a servant like Christ. That's what Jesus came to earth to do - serve.

"... even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:28

It's not about making you bigger or better than everyone else, in fact it's the exact opposite. We are called to glorify HIM in all that we do.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." - John 3:30

So when you are ready - you teach, or serve, someone else. I'm currently meeting with a group of high schoolers every Sunday evening and we're studying the book of Esther together, I'm also meeting one on one with a high schooler studying the book 1st Peter. So not only am I being discipled, but I am discipling others and this has been such a joyous experience for me! To watch others grow as I have in God's word. To see lives changing - it's amazing. I can't wait to apply this same concept with my own daughter! I can't wait to watch her grow up learning about God's word, being engrossed in it, learning from the beginning how to rightly handle it, and hopefully - if it's God's will - glorifying Him in everything she does.

I believe in this process, not only because of what God's word says about it, but because I can see the transformation of others around me, not JUST ME. It's incredible. Kyle and I wondered - why a small town in Nebraska? - when we first came here. There seems to be nothing here, but if you sit down and talk to us and observe the change taken place in us because of Jesus Christ, you'd know why we're here. For this process! God's sovereignty continues to amaze us, He has plans for us we do not fully understand, but because we are able to answer the - Why a small town in Nebraska? - question we can trust in Him fully, knowing it's all about Him anyway! He is in control. We are doing our best to live our lives for Him! He brought us here so we could learn and grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, and pass that on so others can say the same thing, "I'm not the same as I once was, THANK GOD!"

This is the outline our Pastor has taught us, showing us through God's Word why discipleship is so important and the process of growth:

Journeying Together Through Discipleship
2 Timothy 2:2

3 Levels of Discipleship
  1. Come See
    1. John 1-2
    2. Foundational relationship (Saving Faith)
    3. Investigate the things of Christ
                                                              i.      John 1-4: 42
  1. Come Follow
    1. Matthew 4:18-22; Mark -20, Luke 5:8-11
    2. Luke 9: 23-27
                                                              i.      Self Denial, Cross Bearing, Follow Christ
    1. John 8:31
                                                              i.      Abide in His Word
1.      Study Rightly 2 Timothy 2:15
2.      Theology
3.      Evangelism (How to share your faith.)
4.      Prayer (Praying with the scriptures)
  1. Come Serve
    1. John 13:1-20
    2. Matthew 20:20-28
    3. Philippians 2:5-11

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