Tag Archives: church

Counting the Cost of Discipleship

In September of 2009, I started an Immersion Discipleship Training (IDT) program. Now, a year later, I have much to reflect on.

This week, I started my second year of my IDT student internship at New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s safe to say that I’ve been effectively discipled in this last year. I am more proficient in the Word and Spirit. I walk in more power and authority. I also have a lot less free time on my hands.

Biblical discipleship is not that common of a thing. Few churches and Christian communities invest the time in the upcoming generations.

The current trend is quite opposite of what I’m experiencing at New Song. Most leaders today hoard their positions, grasping them with a greedy death grip. New Song’s leaders don’t do that.

Discipleship is expensive! But not necessarily in the monetary sense. Sure books and materials for Bible classes cost money. Yes, the cost of food to feed students is consequential. But the greatest cost of biblical discipleship is time.

Time, talent and treasure. God asks us to sow all of those things into His Kingdom. These triad T’s are being sown into me.

Time
Want to show somebody you love them and care about their future? Invest time in them. Give them the thing that cannot be repaid. Give them the ticking seconds on your life’s clock.

The staff at New Song Christian Fellowship believes in pouring into the next generation and they do it very well.

Talent
Each person is created by God with a unique set of gifts. These gifts are not meant to be exploited for personal gain. Rather, they are designed to be shared. We are created to bless and complement each other. We are meant to work together. We’re weak in some areas so others can be strong and help us with them. Too, we are strong in particular practices so we can practically provide for others. Daily I am strengthened in my weak areas because the staff at New Song share their talents with me and help me refine the talents God gave me.

Treasure
I admit it. Money is important. But money doesn’t make the world go ’round. The earth spins because Jesus holds all of the universe together. We can’t serve two masters, God and money. We have to instead master our money and use it for God’s Kingdom. Numerous people have sown financially into me. I live in a host home rent-free. I’ve received anonymous financial gifts. I’ve gotten gift cards to buy food. My high school mascot was a Pirate. As a Pirate, I really love treasure. ūüėÄ

My hope for every person reading this is that you have an opportunity to be discipled. Know Christ better. Grow in your knowledge of the Word. Know that the Bible is not this obscure, impossible to understand book. Realize Christ is alive. Life a life of dynamic power and movement.

If you’re not plugged into a dynamic community of believers, don’t despair. There’s hope for you.

The Lord has impressed it upon the hearts of the New Song leadership to create a resource called Disciple’s Handbook. This way anybody who wants to can be effectively discipled. The Great Commission is carried out through this resource. We’re currently in the process of writing the pilot edition of Disciple’s Handbook. It’s not perfect. There may be a typo or thirty. But we know that it’s God-inspired and Holy Spirit directed. The end result of Disciple’s Handbook will be three editions with 12 lessons. Right now we’re up to lesson seven in edition one. We’re working on writing lesson 11 right now. However, the rest of the book and editions haven’t even been written yet! That’s how fresh this is.

Go to New Song’s website to download the lessons for Disciple’s Handbook. Post a comment and let me know what you think of it!

Pastor Dale Evrist, Senior Pastor of New Song Nashville does a daily Old Testament podcast on iTunes. If you want to grow in understanding the Old Testament and how it applies to you today, listen to his free podcast. It’s full of great truth and life lessons. Download iTunes if you don’t already have it. Here’s a link to his Walking Through the Word Podcast on iTunes.

Consider yourself resourced!¬†I am going to warn you, though. Laying down your life in obedience to Christ is costly. But it’s absolutely worth the investment!

A Little Sabbatical

Long time no write!

In September, I joined a student internship through my church–New Song Christian Fellowship. Since then, there’s been a whirlwind of classes, meetings, learning, mentoring, working, sleeping, eating…

And during all of that activity, there has not been much time for me to sit at home on the computer on the internet.

But hey, that’s totally a wonderful thing! For awhile, I’ve been longing for an internet sabbatical. Well, I got one!

It’s been wonderful to be immersed in ministry to the point of not having time for the computer.

Here’s what’s happened since my last blog:

I needed a new job. I looked for one. I found one. Now I’m working seasonally at a home decor store. When the Christmas season is over, I think my temporary seasonal job will end too. So now I’m on the lookout for the next job.

I’ve taken and completed one term of Bible classes in my student internship at New Song. I took Pentateuch, Systematic Theology and Spiritual Leadership. I recently turned in my finals (Dec. 1) and now I’m waiting on my grades for those classes. I think I did well on the finals and I really enjoyed those classes. In January, I start my second term of classes.

Well, that’s pretty much it. I’m too busy for the internet and that’s a wonderful thing.

I’ll post again when I’ve got some free time. Have a Merry Christmas! Remember that Jesus is the important One here, not materialism.

Topical Depression

Nope. ¬†I’m not depressed. ¬†I’m just sad that I can’t come up with one topic to blog on so that’s where the name came from. ¬†I’m having a topical depression.¬†

1) I’m going to the Dominican Republic (a.k.a. the DR) in July on a mission trip. I think I’ve said that before. We had our first meeting for the trip last Friday. I’m happy to finally have more information about the trip. I need to send out support letters…like…yesterday.

2) I led worship for the first time yesterday at our Sunday service. It was really fun. It went well, too. I didn’t make any big mistakes. Well, I did start singing the wrong notes in rehearsal. But rehearsal doesn’t count, right? And I also–according to my roommate–make my hand singnals to0 big and for too long. I sort of agree with her. I’ll have to work on that for next time. The reason I make them for so long is because I’m afraid the other people on the worship team won’t see them. *shrug* Again, I said I’ll work on it.

3) I went to my first piano lesson last Tuesday. I have another one tomorrow. I purchased a keyboard. It’s a Kawai. Apparently it’s a quality brand. I’d never heard of it before, but I don’t really know what/who makes a good piano/keyboard. I read reviews online and people said good things. Besides, it was the only decent one I could get that offered financing. I can’t just drop $800+ dollars in one day. I neeeeeed financing! I enjoy my piano teacher. I think she’ll teach me a lot. I don’t, however, enjoy the parking situation at the school. It’s actually a house in Franklin, TN. We park behind the house and there’s just not much room back there. Six cars have to squish in there. It makes me uncomfortable. I am a bad car parking person. It’s my unfavorite thing to do. Probably because I once backed into a grain cart and also side swiped (at 1 mph) a column in a parking garage…twice. :O Martina, if you read this, I’m talking about the parking garage for Salem when the office was located on Woodmont.

4) I just had to scroll up to see which number I was on.

5) I’m going to a women’s conference in Atlanta this weekend. It’s the national Foursquare Women’s Gathering. I’m excited to see how the Foursquare denomination behaves at a national level. I have never experienced that before.

6) I purchased a handheld GPS. It’s a Delorme Earthmate PN-40. I like it a lot. It’s quite accurate and comes with great mapping software. I use it for geocaching. It’s a fun activity that my roommate and I (and other friends) do on occasion. Since the weather is warming up we will start to do it more often. I’m excited to use the Delorme more often too. ¬†I need to give it a name so I don’t have to keep calling it Delorme. My car GPS is called Maggie. My roommate’s car GPS is called Rico. Her handheld GPS is called Grim. Her car is called Ibe. My car is called Torrie. So…I just need a name for it. Maybe I’ll name it Dominic. Dominic Delorme. ¬†I like that!

7) My February CD reviews have been published for the online magazine that I write for. You can find them here:

VOTA

Julianna Zobrist

8) I think that’s it for now. Nothing all that profound written here today. I do have things to say that mean a lot to me and are quite important. Perhaps on another day I will write about them.

Sow What?

First off, I mean sow in the sense of reap and sow and not sow in the sense of a pig.  Not the sow that rhymes with cow.

I’ve been faithfully sowing into God’s Kingdom via tithes and offerings to¬†various things¬†at various times.¬† However, I am still struggling financially to even pay for my own things.¬† I firmly believe that I need to give 10% of my firstfruits to the church.¬† And I do that.¬† I do it gladly and with joy.

However, I am living in a world that does not live by God’s principles.¬† I am living in a country that is receiving the brunt of God’s judgment because this nation has been disobedient, prideful and idolatrous.

I am living by the Kingdom economy, but the world economy still has an effect on me. 

So this is my way of expressing myself¬†because America’s disobedience affects me personally.¬† I will still continue to sow into the Kingdom.¬† I know I am blessed and will be blessed for doing so.¬† I am faithfully waiting to reap the fruit of my sowing.

I’ve Become What I Aspire Not To Be

I’ve become what I aspire not to be: a lax blogger.

I love surfing around and reading peoples’ blogs.¬† It’s exciting to me to read about all the goings on in the lives of my friends.

Somewhere along the line, I got off track with updating my own blog.

I’ll be frank with you…I think it’s cheesy and cliche to not blog for a really long time and then come back and write a blog about how bad of a blogger you are.¬† And yet, here I am doing that very thing.

It’s amusing to me that people admit things like that.¬† People who read the blog are already aware that the person has not blogged in a long time.¬† So why talk about it?¬† Although, I also find it gratifying to read someone’s web apology for a lack of blogging.¬† *shrug*

Moving on.¬† What¬†have I learned lately?¬† Well, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that humility is a personal responsibility.¬† “What’s that mean,¬†Lindsay?”¬† It means that humility is something that always needs to be tended.¬† It always needs to be cultivated.¬† It always needs to be pursued.¬† It always needs to be monitored.¬† It always needs attention.

To me, responsibility means all those things I listed above.¬† Humility can’t be apathetic because apathetic humility leads to pride.¬† A lack of care for humility leads to an excess¬†growth of pride.

For¬†all of my life as a commited follower of Christ, I’ve struggled with humility.¬† I would either be totally lacking in confidence, thinking of myself as totally unworthy of anything.¬† Or, I’d be completely overconfident and haughty.¬† Instead of finding balance in the middle, I’d teeter and fall from one side to the other.

After I moved to TN, I started attending New Song Christian Fellowship.¬†¬†My pastor¬†teaches that “humility is confidence properly placed in Christ.”¬† So, with humility there can be confidence, but it needs to be placed in Christ.¬† Not in the flesh.

That makes it so simple.¬† It’s not about shoving down confidence.¬† It’s not about bolstering confidence.¬† It’s about placing it in the right place.¬† When I fully realize that God is the One who will never fail and He is the only thing worthy of total faith and devotion, that brings me low.¬† Not low in a bad way.¬† But just lower in comparison to His awesome glory and splendor.¬† It¬†elevates Him above me and puts me in my place.¬†¬†A place of humble submission to His direction and plan.¬† It also takes the pressure off me to¬†portray a flawless facade.

Back to personal¬†responsibility.¬† My perspective of that has changed.¬† I used to be focused on keeping up appearances or scrambling to make myself not feel worthless.¬† Now I realize it’s my responsibility to stay humbly¬†submitted under God’s hand.¬†

That pretty much sums it up.¬† I’ve learned other things, but that concept is resounding the loudest in my head.¬† Hopefully it will create a ping in your head, too.

It’s the most wonderful time to blog…

Although this blog has not been updated recently, many things have ocurred.¬† Perhaps that’s why the blog has been neglected.¬† Hmmm…maybe so.

Here’s a recap:

1. I got a job.¬† Albeit temporary.¬† It is still a job.¬† I work for a personnel service in their office.¬† I’m a Human Resources Assistant.¬† I do not know how long this job will last.¬† Could be a month.¬† Could be until December.¬† The wonderful thing is I can quit with a two day notice if another, more stable job comes up.

2. I am still pursuing work at the local college.¬† I just applied for another job the other day for the media department of the athletic program.¬† I am truly contending for that specific job in prayer.¬† It’s something I’m qualified for and something that excites me.

3. I bought a Trikke.¬† It’s a three-wheeled, human-powered, fun, fitness machine.¬† It’s comprable to a scooter/roller blades/bike/skiiing.¬† It’s rather hard to explain.¬† Here’s a link to a website where you can buy the Trikke if you are interested.¬† I am a Trikke affiliate.¬† If you order the¬†Trikke from this site, be sure to use the¬†Promotional Code 595.¬† It should already be loaded with that code, but if not, make sure it is.¬† Here’s the link: http://www.trikketampastore.com/595.html.¬† In the near future, I’ll post a video and/or pictures of me riding the Trikke on my YouTube¬†and this blog.¬† But before I document me on my new ride, I must become more skilled at riding the Trikke.¬† It’s relatively easy to learn how to ride, but it still takes time to perfect my technique.¬†

4. My church satellite congregation¬†is almost ready to launch into Sunday mornings.¬† Since April, we’ve been having church in the afternoon¬†in another church’s building¬†because we’re in the launching stage.¬† But, in October, we will be ready to start meeting on Sunday mornings.¬† It’s very exciting.¬† I’ve never taken part in a church plant before.¬† It’s thrilling, yet challenging stuff.¬†¬†In October,¬†we will¬†meet in a movie theater because it’s a feasible option for this time.¬† I’ve also never gone to church in a movie theater.

5. I’ve been singing background vocals on the worship team¬†since April.¬† Very soon, I’ll be trained in how to lead worship at Life Group (a small group Bible study).¬† After that, I’ll be trained further in leading worship on Sundays.¬† Exciting stuff in the realm of worship!

6. BarlowGirl’s brand new CD Home For Christmas comes out September 23rd. If/when you see it in stores, you should definitely buy it.¬† Why?¬† Because the CD is awesome and so is BarlowGirl.¬† But also because I am singing on the CD.¬† I am in the choir that sang on the CD.¬† So whenever you hear the choir, then you’re also hearing me.¬† It was such a pleasure and such a dream and desire come true to not only be able to sing on a CD but a BarlowGirl CD!¬† Woot!

7. I also sang on a live worship recording for my church.¬† It’s called The Alabaster Heart Project.¬† You can find information about ordering the CD at http://www.new-song.com.¬† I’m also in the choir on that CD.

I think that’s about it for now.¬† As I said, a lot has happened.¬† Hopefully I won’t be as delayed with my next posting.

Walk On Top Of The Walls, Not Through Them

Today my roommate Shay and I attended an event called “Crossing The Boro.” Basically, a few of the churches in town joined together to walk across our city in a display of unity and prayer for the schools that the children in our churches attend.

(That was a long sentence.) Anyway…

Although our church was not/currently is not officially affiliated with this event/ministry, Shay and I thought it would be a good expression of support and unity to join with those churches in this walk. Anyone who wanted to come was invited, so we accepted the invitation.

The church that I attend is very purposeful and progressive in its pursuit of citywide church unity. Our lead pastor is very vocal about God’s heart for unity so, not suprisingly, the satellite congregation that I attend values unity as well.

Sadly, many churches would rather drink dirty toilet water than partner with another church/other churches. Denominational ego, pride, attendance stats and territory become an issue.

So, when Shay told me about this event happening in town, I was ecstatic! I heart unity!

At the end of the walk, there was a rally in a local elementary school. The leaders of “Crossing The Boro” told the elementary students present to get together by school and pray for their teachers, faculty and classmates.

Since Shay and I are no longer in elementary school and don’t have children, we silently prayed in our seats.

As I was praying, I asked God to break down the walls between churches and schools. After I said that, I received a vision from Him.¬† Take note that I’m telling this story with just me in it, but when I say “I,” it also includes everyone in my church.¬† It was just easier to write this in first person. Here it is:

Standing before me was a very large wall that I could not get through. It was impenetrable. I was trying to kick through the wall and find a way to break it down. Instead, God picked me up and lifted me to the top of the wall. Upon arriving there, I realized that the wall was wide enough for me to walk on safely and comfortably. I began to walk on top of the wall. As I walked, I saw all of the divided segments of the city down below. Each had it’s own compartmentalized space, surrounded by walls. In some of the compartments, there were churches. Their influence only reached to the edge of their walls. In segments without churches, no one was able to get to them and show them Christ because of the walls. As I continued my wall trekking, I saw other churches being lifted up from their segmented areas below and beginning to walk the walls. I continued walking and I eventually encountered the other churches. We introduced ourselves and stopped together to pray for citywide church unity. After we finished praying, we walked together further along the wall. Eventually, we met more churches, stopped together to pray for unity and then kept walking together. This process was repeated until all of the churches had met and prayed. By this time, we came to a central, larger portion of the wall where we could all congregate together. We prayed prayers of thanksgiving, unity and praise to God one last time in our large group. When the final prayer was finished and we opened our eyes, we were surrounded by one fortified wall around the city instead of dividing walls inside the city.

That is an awesome vision, yeah? I think so! I love how God showed me a totally different perspective than what I asked Him for. He said, “Well, Lindsay, that’s a noble thing to pray for, but I have a better idea. C’mon, let’s go for a ride.”

Not only was it a prophetic picture, but it was also a keen reminder for me to be flexible and willing to do things God’s way. I could stand and try to kick down a wall by myself for years and have no success. But partnering with others in corporate community in humble submission to God’s command will bring exponential movement.

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Care Actor Trait

I confess that many of my blogs grow from a clever idea for a title. Take this one for example. I was thinking about character traits one day. My mind moved on to the verses in the Bible that talk about being not only hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. It moved on further to reminding that I need to (and we need to) act in kindness and compassion to one another. Those actions need to define our lives.

All of this is taken from James 1:21-24.

21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll break it down.

Care: Several verses in the Bible talk about Jesus being overcome with compassion. The Messiah of the world cared a lot about those around Him. Think about it. He had to. He endured the worst suffering of all humanity. To me, that means He cares more than this mortal, limited mind understands. And because Jesus cares, I care. Why? Because the Bible instructs me to be Christ-like.

Care.

Actor: This word puts the movement into this whole concept. The verses above basically mean that we can’t just listen to the Word. We can’t just soak in biblical instruction because we’ll forget what we learned if we don’t act on it. We can’t just go to church and sit there half interested, cuz if we do we’ll live half lives. We can’t go through the motions in life, because if we do, life will be motionless. We need to be doers and be active. We must take what we hear and put it into practice.

Care Actor.

Trait: A distinguishing quality. Distinguished is an important word here. Biblically, we’re told not to conform to the patterns of this world. It’s easy to just do what the majority does and to follow the path that most have trudged to get where they got. Conformity is not distinguished. Not in the least. Conformity is actually boring, messy, disappointing and uninteresting. But distinguishment…that’s sophisticated. That’s endearing. That’s special. That’s unique. That is a term of identity. In this case, an identity in Christ. Nothin’ more distinguished than that.

Care Actor Trait.

Weakly Wednesdays

I am often in a bad mood on Wednesdays. I may have blogged about this before. I can’t remember.

Every Wednesday evening I meet with a group of people from my church. We eat a meal together, talk about what was taught in church the Sunday before and then pray together. It’s Christian fellowship and hangout time. It’s fun. It’s encouraging. It’s nice to connect with people from my area.

However, every week I find myself in a foul mood on Wednesdays. I believe it’s because Satan’s trying to get me down and convince me not to go to the gathering. He wants me to stay home and be alone, sulking about my bad day, eating and watching TV.

Satan’s aim for me is to be a sedentary sulker.

God’s will for me is to be a connected Christian.

The greatest dream God has is that His people be unified. It makes perfect sense that Satan would do his best to prevent that from happening.

I’ve often heard it said that opposition from Satan is a good thing. It means I’m doing something right. With these weakly, weekly Wednesdays, I’m convinced that I’m doing God’s will by going to these gatherings. So I’ll persevere through the tiredness, irritability and laziness in pursuit of God’s purpose.

Come, unication

I hearby announce that I am making up another new word.  Yes, a new one.  Yes, a new word.

I make up new words all the time.¬† Take pudgulous for example.¬† I’ll use it in a sentence, “Wow, the runway looks pudgulous after the rain.”

Or how about this one: dragic.  Means tragic, dramatic and drastic.  Clever, eh?

*looks down*  *finds the point of this word party*

Ok, so unity has been on my heart lately.¬† As well as on my mind.¬† As well as stirring in my spirit.¬† As well as on the paper that I write on whilst I’m at church cuz my pastor’s teaching us about unity.

I used to think unity was hard.¬† It appears to be a difficult concept to activate into functionality.¬† But…appearances can be deceiving.¬† And, the appearance of unity is one of those deceiving guises.

Here’s the truth: You cannot make unity, you must maintain it.¬† As my pastor has said, “Find the 1% you agree on and agree on it 100%.”¬† There ya go.¬† It’s unity.

Christians get all bent up and pent up over areas of disunion.¬† It’s like this super evil ugly monster that stomps around and smashes little unity bubbles.¬† It’s very scary.¬†

If we would all agree to agree on something and then build from that, it would be stellar.¬† Forget agreeing to disagree.¬† Let’s agree to agree what we agree on.¬† That, my friends, is unity.

Back to my new word: unication.¬† I was being silly when trying to think of a title for this.¬† There’s the word, communiation.¬† But, in my wordish mind, I thought, “Ha…that’s like direct address and saying, ‘Come, unication.'”

And now here we are.¬† If you’re feelin disunified, just say, “Come, unication.”¬†

You wonder, “What’s it mean when I say that?”

I answer, “It means that you’re acknowledging that unity is alive and there for the taking.¬† So take it.”

Unication is unity plus community plus communication.  Talk to people about what you agree on and build on it.

Don’t cease communicating with somebody just cuz you think (or you actually will) fight with them.

Find something common.  Agree on it.  That is unication.

*nods*

Say it with me now, “Come, unication.”