Archive for the Discipleship Category

When God Whispers

Posted in Discipleship on July 7, 2010 by mikekeaton

I was reading this morning in 1 Samuel about his leadership as a prophet and judge of the Israelite’ s.  One of the details that jumped out to me, was found in 1 Sam 9:17-

“When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.”

The phrase, “the Lord said”, had some significance.  according to the study notes in my reading bible, this phrase literally meant something along the lines of “God whispered in his ear”.  In the Hebrew it has the idea of pulling back ones hair so they could hear you speak into their ear.

This really jumped out to me, because I am currently on a prayer retreat with some of the leaders from the Crossroads Church Planting Network and our Sponsoring Church, Crossroads Newnan and when I go on these retreats I really desire to “hear” the Lord.  I mean one of the reasons I go on these prayer retreats is to get away from the noise of life and ministry and get to some solitude so I can hear Him speak into my ear.

Actually, I have been away like this for about 2 weeks now, last week at another location and now this week here.  I really want God to speak.  a theme verse I have been praying and claiming is Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will show you great and mighty things, things you do not know”.

God has been revealing a lot to me.  Things about my own personal relationship with Him, holiness, growth, leadership, especially leadership!!

I love it when God whispers in my ear!  I know He does all the time, I just am often not quiet enough to hear Him.  I would like to be like Samuel in a lot of ways…he was tuned into God and in the process of his day a man crosses his path and he was atuned enough to hear, “this is the one”.

There is a need for all of us to “be still and know that I am God”, b/c if we will slow life down enough, daily, to be still, we just might be a part of what God wants to do on a much grander scale, as the rest of Psalm 46:10 says, “I will be exalted among the nations”.

Find some time today and everyday to connect to God.  Be still.  Then God will be exalted in your life and mine, and among the nations!!!  When God whispers…shhhhh

mk

The Fear of the Lord!!

Posted in Discipleship, Learnings on July 5, 2010 by mikekeaton

I believe something that is missing in the church today is a healthy fear of the Lord!!  It seems many can just co-habitate with sin and it not even bother them. (at least not enough to change)  This is a troubling thing but really shouldnt surprise any of us.  Jesus and many other writers wrote in the Bible about how the last days would be characterized by such heart attitudes.

this past sunday I preached about how necessary “Godly sorrow” was for true repentance.  However, if we take it back one step further then the key to experiencing Godly sorrow is found in our relationship with Jesus which is directly related/connected to our “fear of the Lord”

Defining Terms –Anxious Dread vs. Reverential Awe

when I was a kid I often heard my mom say, “you just wait until your father gets home” (it was b/c I was a little angel you know!! :), anyway, the rest of the day was a wash needless to say.  All I could do was “dread” the time my dad was to arrive!  That is a description of Anxious Dread and that is not the fear of the Lord!  Even though we ought to respect the mighty power of God and His Sovereign choice to exercise that power, we should never be “afraid” of our heavenly Father- i don’t think He desires that kind of connection with us.  Reverential Awe on the other hand is what we would feel when we are in love with Him to the point that we wouldn’t want to sin against Him or go contrary to His will.

How do we grow a Healthy Fear of the Lord?

A healthy Fear of the Lord is key to our love relationship with Him.  Here is how it works…the only way I can grow a healthy fear of the Lord is to know Him more, the more I know Him, the more I grow in my fear of Him (reverential awe), which is also based in my love for Him…so, the more I know Him, the more I love Him, the more I love Him, the more my “reverential awe” (fear) grows, and results in more obedience and holiness.  the best way to grow in “fear of the Lord” is to study God!!  Get to know Him!! Intimately!

Study for yourself!

Here is a bible study mostly through Proverbs on the topic…(go from one passage to the next noting the connections between the fear of the Lord  with “understanding”, and “knowing”, and write down all the Scripture has to say on the fear of the Lord and its results: enjoy!

Prov. 1:7

Prov. 9:10

Prov. 15:33

Prov. 2:1-5

Ps. 111:10

Deut. 6:2

Deut. 10:12-13

Eccl. 12:13

Prov. 30:3

Job 28:12-20

Prov. 3:7, 6:6

Experts for nothing!!

Posted in Discipleship on June 7, 2010 by mikekeaton

But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism. -Luke 7:30-NLT

This verse really jumped out to me in a quiet time recently.  I don’t think it is a secret that the Pharisees (really pious and legalistic self-righteous religious types) of the New Testament, were thought very highly of by Jesus.  They were as the verse says “experts in religious law”, actually the Mosaic Law.  In other words they “knew” a lot about the Scriptures.

But isn’t it ironic that they “knew” a lot, but it didn’t do them any good?  I’m thinking they didn’t “know” as much as they thought they did!!

Unfortunately, many times, we, you, me, are guilty of the same thing!  I heard someone say once, “we are educated beyond our obedience”.  It’s true.  Most of us “know” more than we apply!  Here’s an example:  would you say you should exercise more and eat less?  Well, do you?  The majority of us would have to admit that we don’t exercise like we should and that we eat way too much!! (hopefully that is not true of you-right now I am thankful I exercised this morning and have eaten pretty good today – whew!), anyway, the point is, what good is that knowledge doing you?

I asked someone once, “what difference is Jesus making in your life today?”  I was a little surprised to see the individual struggle with an answer…in fact the answer that was given was…”well, I’m thankful He saved me”.  Now, don’t get me wrong b/c the doctrine of Salvation is awesome!!  and incredibly important to our whole life and each day!!  But I asked, “Did you get saved recently?”  They replied, “oh no, I have been a Christian ever since 6 years of age”.  Again, don’t get me wrong…the fact that this person was still glad and thankful for salvation is huuuuggggeee!

Unfortunately, many of us “know” of salvation, or forgiveness, or our identity in Christ, or that the Bible is God’s word, or that God’s wants us to give financially, or that doing life with others is essential for a Christ follower, or that the Gospel is to be shared, or that porn will ruin relationships, or…or….or….!!!!  But, we, like the Pharisees, “reject God’s purposes for us” b/c we don’t follow-through with application.

Makes us wonder what we actually believe-huh?  sometimes, I think we, myself included, are like practical atheists or agnostics!!

Do you know Jesus?  what difference is He making in your life today?  You have to have both, knowledge and the working out of that knowledge, which is what the Bible calls–WISDOM!!

Lord make us wise!!

-MK

Multiply…Make Disciples or get out of the way!

Posted in Discipleship on March 28, 2010 by mikekeaton

It’s no secret that I am a pretty driven person.  I pretty much have an innate mantra of  “go strong, or go home” and it will probably be the thing that takes me out.  I ‘m even this way when I drive, (not always, but most of the time), I just cannot seem to be ok with driving behind someone.  I have to be in the front, maybe I should of been a NASCAR driver – Ha!

Jesus gave us one of the greatest missions of all time…Make Disciples!!  This command, known as the “Great Commission” in church world, is ‘THE’ mission of the church, not a good idea, not another program, not an issue of convenience, but “THE” mission of each and every person saved by the blood of Jesus.   I am amazed at how many people just-don’t-get-it!!

So many people have the wrong idea.  They just “go to church” sit and soak, week after week and never lift a finger or roll their sleeves up to serve and actually help an assembly of Christ Followers fulfill their mission.  They don’t give of the money Jesus gave them.  They don’t pour their life into someone else.  They don’t let people beyond the veneer of their so-called faith, they don’t…they don’t… they don’t.

To those individuals….I say….you are not helping the movement of multiplication called making disciples.   So, Multiply…make disciples, or get out of the way!!

There is a movement of disciple making  in Walton County called Crossroads Church.  Don’t stand in the way of the movement, remember, I (we) go strong, I (we) are driven, if you stand in the way…you just might get run over.  Better yet, here’s a suggestion, join us!!

I desperately, desperately, desperately want the church to “be” the church.  I want the church, you and me, to fulfill our destiny…to make disciples of every resident of Walton County or die tryin!!  Multiply or die!!  It’s our mission!!

Disciplemaking-hazardous to your health!!

Posted in Discipleship on November 19, 2009 by mikekeaton

I recently told my wife that “disciple-making is painful, I can understand why some pastors just don’t get too close to people”.

Our church, Crossroads Church, is a disciple-making church.  We are very intentional about helping people in their walk with God.  obviously, this intentionality involves getting up close and personal with people.  (To be honest, I do not know any other way to do it)  But this “close-ness” has a price, one that I did not realize how costly it would be.

You see, the Lord used us and 15 others to start Crossroads about 5 years ago.  During that time, we have had the privilege to get involved with many people’s lives.  Some have come and gone, but for the most part, most have stuck around and are still here!  PTL, because I have heard that, such a thing,  is unique.  Well, that is where the pain comes in.  When you are close to people and involved with them, when they hurt, you hurt and their burdens become yours, and over a period of time, you develop history with them.

So, the devil and his demons hate disciple-making.  He is evil and tries to destroy good people’s lives.  When he deceives one of Jesus’ disciples, he can be very powerful and those who once were following close to Christ and working diligently to stay connected to God, sometimes find themselves far and distant, and rebellious, disobedient and leaving the church and ditching God.  their lives become a mess and even more pain develops from the consequences of their sinful choices.

Pain!  worry!  sadness!  Hazards to your health.  Disciple-making can be painful and should come with a warning….”warning: disciple-making can be hazardous to your health”.  you know, I think Jesus did say that..”if any man would come after me….he better, take up his cross, hate his mother, father, brother, sister, family, lose his life to find his life….etc.

Well, even with its challenges and pain, its still the best mission on the planet to give your life to, and the only mission that has the promise that Jesus will be with us every step of the way, to the very end of this age!!  even though disciple making can be painful, its still the best thing going…