The steps continue on and on, step by step we are taking ground the old song said, advance well here is another step which is very significant in any life that has a desire to keep faithful to the call of God on your life.
Step six THE POWER OF DISCIPLESHIP
I can recall that for many nights over a long period I was in the home of one gracious family constantly. In retrospect I see this was grossly selfish on my part being inconsiderate of thire needs of privacy and family life. It also caused me to miss out in other areas of life that should have been in my consideration, such as my relationship and responsibility to my family.
I was in needed at that time of moulding and forming to take up my responsibilities. I have seen over the years the requirement for all to be formed, taking the good of character and bringing it through, changing for the better the negative, some times the destructive elements of our lives. It was in my 20th year that I first met with someone who would involved themselves in my life for my good. It was at every level the transformation began in me through their words and love, not only inner character being affected, also the way I physically looked, my hair, I had some then, my body shape, I had too much, my handling of money and of course my handling of relationships and responsibilities. The experience was so necessary as I was being empowering for where I am now today. This continued for many years and I am eternally grateful for the grace of those people who took the time and responsibilities to affect my life. The Power of Discipleship had begun its process and I had to stay with the course. We experience discipleship though so many levels, friends “…faithful are the wounds of a friend…” the Proverb says, mentors “…we have many mentors or teachers…”, and fathers.
I learned the truth of being truly affected by a true spiritual father as a father took real interest in my life and family. At first I did not realize I was being fathered, it was natural, and fathering terms were not so popular then. As this spiritual father invested belief into me, he probably I would say most definitely believed in me more than I did initially in my self. Once a real spiritual father takes hold of you things look different and take on a different direction, be careful there are many around that promote themselves as fathers however I am not sure if when you are one you need not promote anything, just be a father it will be plain.
Once begin touched by a true father I think I can say like the Apostle Paul “…there are not many fathers…” but there are “…many mentors, teachers…”. My wife used to say of my relationship with Bryn Jones, who fathered me for many years, a true fathering gift to the people of God, that I was more married to Bryn than her, this was not from a hurt or disappointment but from a joy. Sandra was able to release me to that given-ness and service of a father, so we did it together.
I was discipled by someone who believed in me more that I did in myself, a real father, It was not only him but there were others. I recall Arthur Wallis a great man of God, taking me aside to mentor me on prayer. Discipling me not only in what to say but developing a conversation with the Father, making it intimate. The driver’s seat of my car or the back seat of another cars became my discipleship school and college. Along with being thrust into relationship by association with the fathers and thrust into rooms that I was amazed to be in while ask myself under my breath “…what on earth am I doing here?”, only now to realize it was discipleship in action, fathering at its best, I was happening for my future.
Through these relationships over decades I was blessed, encouraged and provoked. One of them, knowing I wanted to be carrying the word of God took me under his wing in what I consider a hard school for me, getting me to believe in the God in me and therefore myself. He taught me to stand without fear among the crowds. He would push me out of my comfort zone. I recall traveling to a major conference with 2/300 people in attendance, I was there to carry bags, handkerchiefs and water. When one morning he was due to speak when he announced he was not coming out that day asked I go and inform the conference host that an other speaker would take his place. When I protested and said, “…they are excepting you who else…”, he announced “…tell them its you…”, comfort zone departure or what. I knew how to carry water and bags but 2/3000 people!
More than anything I drew from what these men were. I liked their ruggedness and strengths, their openness and laughter. I liked the fact that they were ordinary and yet deeply spiritual. These men stand out as having had a hand in shaping my life. Theirs were the voices that helped crystallize my life values and concepts. They prayed and patiently worked on me using the Word, while Believing God would use me one day, they did much work into my life when I did not see it or realize it.
A number of these men have gone home to be with God, others are still living. But all have extended their days – without knowing it – within my life, legacy is discipleship.
You may recall Abraham commissioning Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac. Eliezer said to go the one that will feed in serving the camels at the well let her be the woman, sure enough along came Rebecca Gen. 24:15. Actually the camels she served became the mode of transport to her destiny. Serving others will in turn be those who carry you to your destiny. Serving is not servitude, serving someone is not being abused or being dominated it’s a process we all go through with being mentored or fathered. True mentors and especially fathers, I discovered actually serve you, in carrying you to destiny. So find a camel to serve, not a great picture may be but a good truth, giving yourself will lead you to your destiny, giving is a deep relational experience, it will mean great faithfulness and honour on your part.
The following are some of the areas of life for which I am indebted to them. I didn’t see all these aspects in anyone single individual, but rather this is a composite picture of spiritual values gleaned from them all.
1. Love God supremely – everything else in life orbits around Him. He is to be the centre of our affections as much as the source of our life.
2. Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first – it is not my selfish desires in life that count, but what promotes His Kingdom and expresses his righteousness that should be sought first.
3. Total commitment of life – to following Christ. To “deny ourselves and take up our cross” is simply that – a total denial of self interests, and full commitment to the pursuit of His interests
4. Backbone – being father by men meant for me to be a “man’s man”- To have backbone. To stand up in life and learn to cope with it. Not merely to hang on, but to triumph.
5. Prayer – nothing of significance happens without someone having prayed it through. I learned the “fervent” prayer life with a group of men, 90% of whom were in their 50-60s. We stormed the enemies’ strongholds with great shouts of praise and threw down his resistance with holy anger. Our meetings were very tearful, noisy and filled with the loud praises of God. We encountered the supernatural and school each other in that place, showed each other how to see God how to hear God how to sense God.
6. To yield to the Spirit – that all my actions and attitudes are to be ruled by the Spirit. To know His anointing (more later on this subject) meant obedience to the Spirit.
7. A Worldwide Revival – the only hope of the Church ever fully accomplishing the purpose of God in a single generation is twinned to the hope of the greatest spiritual visitation of all time coming upon such a generation.
8. Do everything with excellence – seeking to excel is seeking to be excellent. For too long Christianity has given shoddy, substandard presentations of It’s message. During the last 25-30 years men have rightly embarked on a new pursuit of excellence in order that the jewel of Christ be made more wonderfully obvious by its presentation.
9. Love His Church – to give oneself for it just as He gave Himself for it. This is not the mixtures church of corrupt religion, but the church of the Living God, the redeemed of the Lord. Giving ourselves for this church means our time, energy, money, thinking, and often the forfeiting of legitimate leisure pursuits.
10. God rules supreme – That there is an unchanging, unalterable purpose at work in the history of humankind, and that nothing lies outside his ability to change, maneuver or control situations, people or nations in pursuit of this – Gods purpose.
11. Bow to take criticism – and not “cave in”, so that others do not dominate your faith. This is achieved by Reconsidering “Him who endured” (Heb.12:3) and fixing ones hope in what lies ahead.
12. Love people despite – what they have done, said or schemed against us. The majority of them are not engaged in a malicious personal vendetta, but in their weakness have opened themselves to the control of the powers of darkness. Our ‘wrestling is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers’ (Eph . I 6:12)
13. To stand firm – when everything is pressing you to change. Never compromise the truth merely to curry favour or gain some temporary respite or advantage from those who mean no good to the gospel.
On the other hand, in nonessential areas to be always open to compromise in order to attain a higher good. Some things are negotiable others not – wisdom is in knowing the difference.
14. To be nonreligious – I do not mean unrighteous. I don’t mean opt out of the “true religion that is undefiled”, but rather to be free of the trappings of liturgy, ecclesiasticism, institutionalism, and instead enjoy the free, spontaneous life of God this is ‘life more abundant’.
15. Live and move in faith – to be able to say as Paul said, “I believe God”. Not in Him, but Him. This means that you are not leaning on man but dependent fully on the faithfulness of God for your existence and progress.
16. Give the Word of God place – We are instructed by His word in every area of living. It measures our attitudes, convictions, purpose and motive. It continues to feed, search, guide, correct and protect us in life.
17. Be a man of deep devotion to Him – learning to laugh and be natural, yet having a deep devotional walk with God.
18. Giving – that one is not miserly or skimpy, but generous in all things, realizing it is the secret of receiving so much.
19. Love people – it is a cold, impersonal, hurting world. Just loving people as they are, is step one to change in them. Our life is people, People matter more than things.
20. World Mission – that there is no way I can close my eyes to the vast under-evangelized areas of the world. The world is our parish. We are the seed of Abraham, and as the covenant people of promise destined to be a world blessing.
21. Embrace the disciplines of God – He can minister to me by command, counsel, or circumstances, using any or all as necessary to achieve His objective in my life.