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Posted on February 1, 2017 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
It is no coincidence that the word “disciple” and the word “discipline” come from the same root word.  The Latin word carries the meaning of “pupil.”  The New Testament Greek word carries the idea further to include the idea of “becoming an apprentice” or “one who adheres to the teachings of a master teacher.”  As I study what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, I see at least 10 key commitments emerging from the Scripture.  These commitments are not intended to be a legalistic way to measure what it means to be a disciple, but rather a guide to help us keep moving in the right direction as followers of Jesus.
 
1. The commitment to meet regularly with God.  I put this first because I believe it to be the most important commitment.  This is how we abide with Christ and make Christ “feel at home” in our lives.  Meeting with Christ through time in the Word and in prayer makes it possible for Him to speak clearly into our lives as we grow to greater maturity.  This commitment brings us a greater sensitivity to His Spirit’s conviction and guidance in our lives.
 
2. The commitment to learn basic teachings about God and His Word.  Disciples should know the basics of the character and nature of God.  We also need to know the basic doctrines of the Bible lest we be tossed about by every wind of doctrine.  Disciples need to know the Bible!  As we grow deeper in our understanding and application of the Word, Christ is seen more clearly in our lives.
 
3. The commitment to discover who I am “in Christ” and allow that to change my thinking and my actions.  Knowing our new identity as Christ-followers is critical to our understanding of the Christian life.  In Christ, we are redeemed, reconciled, accepted, justified, etc. people, and that changes everything.  It changes our sense of worth and allows us to have real security in our walk with God.
 
4. The commitment to a biblical family life.  So many of the New Testament writers emphasized the need for a biblical family life.  So often, people come to marriage with the mind-set of getting their needs met rather than meeting the needs of others.  As children are added to the family, God’s plan is for parents to become disciple-makers for their children.  The love and harmony of a Christian home, enabled by the filling of God’s Spirit, is a powerful testimony to the world.
 
5. The commitment to a holy lifestyle.  The chief character trait of God is holiness.  God is love, but His love is holy love.  He is patient, but His is a holy patience.  When the seraphim fly around the throne of God, they cry out “Holy, holy, holy,” not “Grace, grace, grace.”  All God’s attributes are consistent with His holiness.  The disciple’s commitment is to be holy as He is holy, becoming separated from sinful thoughts, words, motives, attitudes and actions as we grow in Christ-likeness.  Many will say, “Nobody is perfect” and “We sin every day,” but a real disciple sees that as no excuse for avoiding the commitment to grow in personal holiness.
 
Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is not accidental, but intentional.  Spiritual growth, like any kind of growth, is not automatic.  It requires steady effort and reliance on Christ.  It requires discipline.  He is the only One to live the Christian life without fault, and it is Christ in us who will enable us to mature in our faith as we teach others to mature in their faith.
 
David Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh. 
Posted on January 15, 2017 8:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
In our first church, my wife was involved in the outreach ministry.  On occasion, she would send a hand-written letter on church stationary and a gospel tract to absentees and prospects.  One day, she got such a letter marked “return to sender.”  One of our sons went with her to the mailbox that day.  He wondered if there was any mail for him, so Terri gave him the return to sender letter.  He was old enough to read most of the words, so he sat down and started reading the Eternal Life tract.  My son then wanted to know more about becoming a Christian.  A few hours later, Isaiah called me to tell me he had received Jesus and accepted the gift of eternal life.  Today, Isaiah has a family of his own and he teaches Sunday School and plays piano in our church.
 
I for one, want my children and grandchildren to know Christ as Savior.  I do not try to coerce or manipulate them, but I have and I will share the gospel with them as God gives me the opportunity and I will teach them the Bible.  Our world is very deliberate about influencing our children at school and through the media.  Satan is very active in some of the ways our society impacts children.  Some public-school leaders desire to teach their version of sex education at younger and younger ages.  I remember when Heather has Two Mommies was released in 1989 and since then the market has been flooded with homo-sexual themed children’s literature.  In addition, many children’s books propagate a message of intolerance toward the idea that the world was created by Intelligent Design and belief in the Bible.  When a child begins to have a relationship with Christ, it becomes a shield against the anti-God, anti-Bible messages of our day. 
 
Throughout the Bible we read of people having a relationship with God early in life.  Samuel heard God speaking to him at a very young age.  Josiah became a strong spiritually-minded king at eight years old!  David and others were quite young when they encountered and served the Lord.  No doubt these children knew God and their relationship with God guided them throughout their lives.  Jesus Himself was very open towards children and accessible to them.  For us to ignore or minimize the spiritual lives of children would be foolish as well as unbiblical.
The Bible reminds us that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, judgement and righteousness.  When the Holy Spirit begins convicting the heart of a child in such a way, God wants that child to be saved.  Who are we to argue?  That is when parents and church leaders need to be able to step in and help the child come to faith in Christ.  In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  He reminded us that children do not need to become like adults in order to be saved, but adults do need to become like children to be saved.
 
I heard about a young couple who argued about getting their children involved in church.  The father wanted them to be exposed to the Bible and have the opportunity to trust Christ.  The mother wanted to wait until the kids were teenagers before they learned about God and “religion.”  She reasoned that they needed to be old enough to decide for themselves.  The dad dropped the subject and went next-door to borrow the neighbor’s roto-tiller.  He plowed up a 10 x 10 section of the back yard and came into the house.  The wife was thrilled that he was finally going to plant her flower garden.  She asked, “What are you going to plant?”  The husband replied, “Oh, I think I’ll just let the garden decide what it wants to grow.”  The point was made and the next Sunday the family began to attend church more faithfully.  No body wants spiritual weeds in their child’s life.
Posted on January 8, 2017 11:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Being a great Sunday School Teacher does not happen by accident.  Certainly, there are people who are especially skilled and gifted in teaching, but even those gifted individuals understand the need to be disciplined in their study habits and to sharpen their skills.  Yet, there is one disciple that seems to stand out above the rest.  Great teachers discipline themselves in many areas.  They know to start early in preparation.  They understand the need to find good tools and stories to illustrate their lessons.  But the one discipline that a Bible Teacher develops that is clearly the most important is the discipline to practice a daily quiet time with the Lord. 
 
As we start a New Year, many are considering resolutions to live by.  I would submit that a commitment to having your own personal daily quiet time with God is the most important discipline anyone, especially a Bible teacher, can develop.
 
Teaching the Bible is not exactly the same as teaching history or training a person to use the computer.  Teaching the Bible is a spiritual activity.  In fact, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit is our true Teacher of truth.  As Bible teachers, we need to be filled with God’s Word as well as God’s Spirit to be most effective.  We need to meet regularly with the Lord to be overflowing with the Spirit.  That is why we need the discipline of a daily quiet time, but how do we do it?
 
First, we must make a commitment to it!  A daily quiet time is like most things in life.  If I am not committed to it, it won’t happen.  We are generally committed to cleanliness.  That is why we take regular showers and bathe regularly.  We are generally committed to our work and we understand the need to be on time and faithful to the tasks we are given.  Just as good hygiene and a dependable work ethic require a certain level of dedication, staying close to the Lord and walking in His fellowship involves a degree of commitment.
 
In addition to commitment, there are some very practical things we can do to help us have a daily quiet time with God.  We can establish a certain time and place for our quiet time.  Make it a part of your daily routine.  We wouldn’t even think of leaving the house without brushing our teeth.  I know many Christians who feel the same way about their quiet time with God.  I’ve found that the place I have my quiet time is very important because I am so easily distracted.  I need a quiet place free of interruptions and distractions.  I have also learned to keep a pen a paper nearby so I can jot down things that come to my mind, so I can quickly put them aside and focus on the Lord. 
 
Many people find that having a plan for their daily quiet time is also very helpful.  My plan is simple, I journal at least a chapter a day in a note-taking Bible.  It takes about three years to complete, but in the end, I have grown in the Word and I have something special to give to someone in my family.  Your plan may be to simply read through the Bible.  I know one Sunday School Teacher who has read through the entire Bible 16 times by simply following a daily plan of Bible reading during her quiet time.  Some prefer to use a day-by-day devotional book or follow the plan in the Sunday School literature or The Daily Bread.  Whatever your plan is, the key is to aim for consistency.  I’d much rather see Christians have 10 minutes a day consistently than one-hour sessions occasionally. 
 
There will be those days that get out of hand before you can get to your quiet time.  You may forget or have an unexpected issue that alters your daily schedule.  Don’t be discouraged.  Get back on track as quickly as you can and realize that God is more concerned about the direction you are going than an occasional slip up. 
 
David Frasure serves as CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon.
Posted on January 3, 2017 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Imagine a church with 100 ministers, and only two of them have been to Bible college. Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho, is now a mega-church, but they started out as a church plant with 10 members. But every step of the way, they discipled their members so intentionally, that they have all the ministers that they need. 
 
Gene Jacobs is one such church member turned minister. He is a former Navy sailor who later built cell phone towers. After accepting Christ, he became a member of a small group, then a small group leader, then a community pastor, executive church staff, and is now a church planter.

My parents are involved in a church that lost their pastor not too long ago. Their church immediately put together a Pastor Search Team and started evaluating resumes. Now, I grew up in that church, so I poked some fun at Dad, “Have you not discipled a leader out of your church to step into the pastoral role?” Poking right back, Dad said, “Well, Mark, we’d have to totally change  everything we’re doing in  discipleship training for that to happen.” To which I said,  “And?”  He knew what I meant.
 
Willow Creek Church in Chicago  learned as reported in Reveal,  that they were doing a great job  winning people to faith in Christ,  growing them a bit, but keeping  them in classes in a constant  learning environment rather  than discipling their members  toward leadership. It was no  wonder the long-time church  members expressed being a bit  bored with Christianity – and church. 

Some churches keep their best members  practicing and practicing and never put them in the game. Willow Creek stifled their members into frustrated benchwarmers. Real Life Ministries found a feeder-system that worked for them and ignited growth among their members. What would work for your church? 
 
Curtis Sergeant, a missiologist, has said two powerful things:
  1. The resources are in the harvest. (It could be that your next pastor isn't even saved yet.)
  2. If you wait until you need leaders to train them, then it's too late.
 
If you count up all the available seats in every New Testament church in your county, I am sure that there would not be enough seats to bring in every lost person, even for two services every Sunday. And what a legacy for a pastor to grow their own replacement capable of rightly dividing the Word of Truth! Let’s use God’s Word to win the lost, nurture them in the admonition of the Lord, and grow your own leaders. Please look carefully at participating in the Associational and State training events. (See CABA's Calendar.) These are geared to be highly  reproducible to help you "grow your own" leaders to the glory of God.
 
Mark Snowden
CABA Director of Missional Leadership
Posted on January 2, 2017 2:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
What would our world look like if all the humans decided to never reproduce again?  I suppose at first, we wouldn’t notice much of a change, but in a few years, we would no longer see baby changing stations in restrooms and diapers would no longer come in infant sizes.  In six years, we would notice all the preschool buildings being vacant and car seat companies have gone out of business.  In 12 years, all the elementary schools would be closed.  We might even enjoy the savings in our property taxes.  We could remake little league parks into more practical things like walking tracks for out-of-shape adults or nice places to walk the dog.  In 20 years, all the high schools would be gone and the buildings could be used for important things like doctor’s offices and hospitals.  There would be no more school buses polluting the air.  No one would ever have to be bothered with children again.  How great would that be?
 
I think you would join me in saying that such a world would not be great at all.  We all know that in 80 years there would be no one to care for the diminishing elderly population.  Soon humans would be extinct.  We realize a world without children would be a terrible thing.  Instead of new life, all we would see is decay, disease and death and there would be no one able to change it.  Although children are messy and they take a lot of time and sacrifice, we all know that they are worth it.  We all know that without them, we would become an endangered species. 
Okay, let’s leave that “what if” scenario and focus on reality.  What happens to churches that stop reaching the next generation for Christ?  Ugh, let that sink in a minute.  Unfortunately, we have far too many real-life examples in our world.  Those churches become insignificant and eventually close the doors.  For a season, they may enjoy not having to deal with enlisting nursery volunteers, VBS week, wear and tear on the carpet and crayon marks on the walls.  At first, they may enjoy not having to shush teenagers on the back row and having the music style suit their generation’s preferences.  But without a deliberate effort to reach the next generation, those churches decay… and dwindle… and eventually die.  If enough churches have such an attitude about reaching children and teenagers, the church in general will become an endangered species and the world is hopelessly lost without the message of redemption.
 
Ministry to children and teenagers is messy at times.  They take time, energy and money.  But I think we all agree, they are worth it!  We all can recognize that the future of the church depends on this current generation sacrificing for and investing in the next generation.  But it’s okay, the future strength and success of the local church is worth it!  As kids are reached and lives are changed, the kingdom is increased.  Studies show and our own common sense confirms, that children are more open to spiritual truth and can become harder toward the things of God as they become adults.  Two-thirds of Christians trust Christ as Savior before they turn 19 years of age.  Reaching won’t be easy, but God’s kingdom is worth it!
 
My challenge today is that we would ask God to give us a vision for reaching the next generation for Christ.  That we would begin to pray regularly for the children and teenagers in our church to become strong disciples of Jesus Christ.  That we would begin to plan strategically to impact young lives and find fresh ways to reach children, teenagers and their parents for the sake of the gospel.  That we would be willing to make the investments today that will yield spiritual fruit in the days to come.  Will you accept such a challenge?
Posted on December 1, 2016 3:24 PM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
I turned 60 last week!  Recently a friend asked me if turning 60 bothered me.  I teared up a little and said, “It didn’t until you asked me!”  In my mind, I know that aging is an unchangeable of life like my time in history or the physical features I have been given.  And yet, this milestone does serve as an opportunity to evaluate my life thus far, while anticipating the future.  Terri and I have been blessed with five sons and a daughter whom we love and cherish.  Now we have seen our influence extend to daughters-in-law and a new generation of grandchildren.  We are truly blessed of God.  But it makes me ask, “What about our spiritual children and grandchildren?”  Are we leaving a spiritual legacy for the people we minister to outside our family?  Are the people I have led to Christ living for Him faithfully?  Are the people I serve growing and maturing and touching other lives for Christ?”
 
Of course, there is a limit to anyone’s influence.  People do, after all, have the ability to turn their backs on the Lord and they may choose a path totally opposite of what we have taught and modeled for them.  But how do we increase the chances of success for those who come behind us?  How do we help the people in our circle of influence to be disciples who make disciples?
 
The first key is to consistently live out our convictions and to be an example of the life choices we teach.  Clearly, if our lives are inconsistent with our teaching we will have little influence upon those who come behind us.  Hypocrisy will cancel out the best discipleship plan.  We often hear about famous sports figures, actors or even TV ministers who have fallen into sinful lifestyles.  These people will likely lose their jobs, their endorsements and the respect of millions of people.  Their influence is severely diminished due to poor moral decisions.  For those involved in discipleship ministry, the lesson is clear.  We cannot leave an effective legacy for Christ through our teaching alone.  Character does matter and our love for Jesus will have a direct impact on others.
 
Another key is genuine love for others.  As we study real love from 1 Corinthians 13, it is clear that biblical love is much more than a sentimental emotion.  Real love involves demonstrating kindness and courtesy to others.  Genuine love shows up in our generosity toward others and in the way we encourage the people around us.  Love is the opposite of the apathetic teacher who refuses to be involved in the lives of her students.  People are flawed, but love covers a multitude of sin.  People are insecure and need to be valued and affirmed, and love steps up to focus on the needs of others rather than self.  Love gets involved in the lives of those being discipled.  We mentor best in the context of relationships and good relationships have love at the core.
 
Biblical teaching and training also has a supernatural influence.  Contemporary self-help teachings based on humanistic ideas and pop-psychology seem to change every three or four years.  God’s Word is eternal.  When we teach biblical, life-changing principles to others, we are unleashing the living power of the very Word of God.  There is amazing potential in just one Bible lesson or sermon.  People have literally made life-altering decisions because of one Sunday School lesson that God used to speak powerfully into their lives and that changed them forever.  Many times, we teach in more informal ways through casual conversations or simply sharing an insight with a friend over a cup of coffee.  As we share biblical thoughts and insights, our influence grows and our life-message leaves a legacy of truth that can be passed on to others.
 
I turned 60—that’s fine.  Now I want to finish strong—not just finish well, but finish strong.  I know you want the same for your life regardless of your age.  Let’s be committed to loving God, loving others, loving His Word and making a difference for Christ.  Let’s leave a legacy that lasts for eternity!
 
David Frasure is CABA's Catalyst for Disciple-making. He also pastors FBC So. Lebanon.
Posted on November 21, 2016 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Think for a moment about a person who has influenced your life for Christ.  As you think about that person, what are the key qualities that you admire and want to see in your own life?  I have asked many Sunday School leaders this question and I have discovered that there are four basic things that make a Christian leader effective in touching the lives of others.  These four abilities can and should be developed in all our lives.  Let’s think on each trait briefly today.
 
The first skill is related to personal character.  The people who influence others for Christ are genuine.  They demonstrate traits such as honesty, integrity, generosity, conviction, gentleness and love.  They seek to be free of hypocrisy and as a result, others feel safe around them.  They live out their convictions in everyday ways in everyday life.  These influencers can be trusted with your deepest hurts and most shameful secrets.  The power of their personal character is persuasive and causes us to want to imitate those qualities in our own lives. I call this a skill, because personal character stems from the ability to lead ourselves.  A person of character has learned to say “no” to herself and those personal desires that could lead her down the wrong path.  She has learned to discipline herself in her spiritual life and as she stays close to God, Christ in her, comes in contact with those around her. 
 
The second skill is a love, understanding and commitment to the Word of God.  The Bible is a life-changing book.  As a Christian leader spends time learning and applying the Word of God to his own life, the change that it makes becomes evident to those around him.  There is a hunger in a Believer’s heart to know God’s Word.  As we learn and grow from the truth and as we share that truth in words and lifestyle, it can have a major impact upon those who listen and observe.
 
Thirdly, communication skills allow a Christian to influence others in positive ways.  This is a skill that may sound less spiritual in nature, yet often the way we communicate does have a spiritual side to it.  If you would do a serious study of the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13), you would find that many of the characteristics of love are also the characteristics of good communicators.  The Proverbs also speak of the wisdom involved in choosing our words carefully.  As we study the Master Communicator, we find that Jesus was highly skilled in the use of stories and He used simple words that others could easily understand.  If anyone could speak “over the heads” of His listeners, it was Jesus; yet, He chose to focus on the needs and level of understanding of His listeners.  He spoke with passion and conviction and many wanted to follow Him as a result.
 
The last skill is associated with how we relate to other people.  People skills do seem to come more naturally to some than they do for others, but we all can learn how to relate better to others if we would be more deliberate about it.  Most people with poor people skills do not think they have a problem in this area.  That is why it is important for us to keep growing and learning how to be better listeners and become more loving and sensitive to others.  Again, there is a spiritual side to this skill as well and many biblical teachings related to encouraging others.
 
If you are interested in growing in each of these skills, let me encourage you to check out the video teaching provided at www.missionohio.e-quip.net.  In the search box, type “David Frasure” and you can see five videos called “Basic Training for Sunday School Teachers.”  In the videos, I teach on the four skills every Sunday School Teacher needs to develop.
 
David Frasure serves CABA as Disciple-making Catalysts.
He also pastors FBC So. Lebaon.
Posted on November 9, 2016 11:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Recently I have been reading about some of the heroes of Appalachian history and came across the name, Jenny Wiley.  I knew there was a state park named after Jenny Wiley in Kentucky, but I was truly amazed to read about her story.  Jenny was one incredibly courageous and determined woman in the early history of our nation.
Jenny’s husband was away helping a neighbor one October day in 1789, when Jenny’s cabin was surrounded by American Indians.  The Indians were seeking revenge upon the Harmon family who had shot two of their men.  They had attacked the Wiley cabin by mistake.  Before Jenny could understand what was going on, three of her children were killed and her teenage brother was also killed trying to defend the family. 
 
When Jenny was finally able to explain that they were not connected to the Harmon family, the confused attackers decided to burn down the cabin and took Jenny, who was expecting the Wiley’s fifth child, and her toddler as captives.  The toddler and Jenny’s baby boy, both eventually suffered violent deaths.  Jenny was about to be burned to death when a Cherokee chief was so impressed with her bravery, he decided to spare her life and force her to serve as a slave to the women of his tribe.  During a heavy downpour, Jenny escaped and was later reunited with her husband, Tom, and they were blessed with five more children.
 
Mrs. Wiley’s story is one of amazing bravery, survival and resolve.  Others would have given up in despair and bitterness, never to return to the Appalachian wilderness to build another cabin and restart a family.  She could have returned to a life of relative ease in Virginia, but her pioneer spirit would not allow her to surrender her dream of living on the American frontier.
 
Dreams can be fragile things.  Hopes can be easily shattered.  It takes real determination to see them come to pass.  That is especially true in the work of God.  We dream of a church of mature disciples taking the gospel to a lost world.  We get excited about the opportunity to teach a classroom of children the truths of God.  We imagine the potential of discipling a group of teenagers or adults to impact the world for Christ.  And then we are attacked by Satan.  He gives us every reason to be discouraged.  The temptation is to give up, or maybe worse, become cynical about doing the work and begin spreading our pessimism to others. 
 
Well known author, John Maxwell once said, “The true nature of leadership is really sacrifice.”  Without a willingness to work through the setbacks and discouragements of ministry, most people give up before ever seeing even part of their vision become reality.  That’s why many in vocational ministry, change churches every three years.  That’s why we need to stay determined in our resolve to reach and disciple people for Christ.  Without determination, we are likely to become inactive in the work of God.  Our sacrificial, serving spirit will be challenged, but determination is key for us as we press on to the goal.
 
Our close walk with Christ will also be essential for facing spiritual setbacks that inevitably come our way.  He carries us through and moves us forward when nothing else can.  He is determined to finish what He has started in us and we thank Him for that!  I guess we need the determination to finish what we have started in the lives of others as well.  People are difficult and spiritually lazy at times, but they are also worth it.  Stay determined, my friends.
 
David Frasure
CABA Disciple-making Catalyst
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.
Posted on November 9, 2016 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
I have never heard a Christian say, “I love living a stagnated Christian life.”  No one says, “What I really want to do is stay right where I am spiritually.  I don’t want to get any closer to God than I am right now.”  We never say such things with our words, but we often say them with our actions.  The poet, Robert Browning, said, “Why stay we on earth, except to grow?”  2 Peter ends with a simple command to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  We all want to keep growing in the Lord.  Below are some thoughts that can help us.
 
First, spiritual growth is never by accident.  Spiritual growth comes from God, but it always requires effort on our part.  Growth is based on a decision we all are responsible to make.  God holds us accountable for our own spiritual growth and it requires daily actions to be accomplished.  Our real priorities show up in the routines of our lives and if growth is a priority, there will be evidence of that priority in our daily and weekly schedules.  I may say I want to learn the Bible, but if I do not set aside time to read the Bible regularly, I’m just fooling myself.
 
Secondly, spiritual growth comes to those who see themselves as life-long learners.  That means that we need a plan for spiritual growth.  Hope is not a strategy for maturity.  We can hope we are closer to Jesus 12 months from now, but without a plan, it is doubtful.  Some folks spend more time planning to grow their tomatoes than they do growing themselves.   
 
Third, spiritual growth is a by-product of good habits.  We must be willing to pay the price for Spiritual growth in the daily grind of life.  If you see someone who is consistently demonstrating Christian character, it is because they have developed certain habits.  If you know someone who really knows their Bible, it is because they have disciplined themselves to regularly read, study and memorize God’s Word.  We all have habits.  The real question is, are they good habits that lead to maturity? 
 
With that in mind, let me suggest a few habits we all can develop.
 
Habit #1. Prayer: If I could get Christians to do only one thing, it would be to spend time daily in the Word and in prayer.  This daily devotional or quiet time, is the most important discipline in the Christian life in my estimation.  God can challenge us and grow us if we are willing to spend time with Him each day in this way.  He can speak things into our lives that no preacher ever could.  Intimacy requires times of isolation.  It is true in marriage and parenting and it is true in our relationship with God.  When Jesus wanted to speak to His Father, He found a place of quiet solitude to spend time with Him—Mark 1:35.  If Jesus needed such a time, I know I do even more.
 
Habit #2: Serve: Another important habit for a growing Christian is to worship and serve with other believers.  We all know the command of Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake our assembly together with the people of God.  We can worship alone, but God chooses to bless the corporate worship of His people in special ways.  God has designed us to do life together with other believers.  In addition, we are given several “one another” commands in the Bible.  These “one another” commands are done best in the context of small groups working together in a local church setting. 
 
Habit #3: Witness: A third habit to develop is sharing your faith.  Not only does this give the opportunity for people to be saved, it gives you the opportunity to grow in the Lord.  The longer we are saved, the easier it is to surround ourselves with saved people.  That means we have to be more deliberate about staying in contact with lost people.  If we don’t plan to witness, we may never get around to it!
 
-- David Frasure
Disciple-making Catalyst
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon
Posted on October 30, 2016 10:00 AM by David Frasure
Categories: Disciple-making
Many people underestimate the incredible power of teaching.  When Communism was beginning to spread in the last century there would first be a great military take over.  To assure dominance, the communists would then remove all the teachers and replace them with their own teachers who would be committed to spread their destructive doctrines.  They understood the power of teaching.  Even in our own nation, when a group has a social agenda, they often seek to have influence in the public school system and on the college campus.  They understand the power of teaching to shape society.
 
The Lord Jesus Christ, when He walked here on earth, also understood the great power of teaching.  He often said, “You have heard it said…, but I tell you….”  He was reshaping the way people thought about God and about life.  Jesus understood the power of teaching.  The Apostles followed His example and also emphasized teaching.  They even went house to house teaching the Word of God.  They knew that teaching God’s Word had great life-changing potential.
 
Bible teachers are granted a sacred trust.  They are handling two things that are eternal and are of great value to God—people, and the Word of God.  Your local church has entrusted you with a ministry that has the potential to usher people into an eternal-life relationship with the One who created them.  You are entrusted with vital discipleship responsibilities that can impact the work of the church for generations.  Your ministry often determines whether people are still active members in the years ahead.  You are literally handling the things of God!
Handling such things requires that we stay prayed up.  We dare not enter such spiritual battle without prayerfully putting on the whole armor of God.  That is why each of us need to have some dedicated time each day for spending time in God’s special presence.  We need the Lord to guide our thoughts and words as we prepare and teach and minister to His people.  That is why the most important discipline for any teacher is to have a consistent quiet time with God.
 
Receiving this sacred trust also means we must stay filled up.  Jesus reminded us (John 15:1-5) that without Him we can do nothing of eternal significance.  Paul reminded us (Ephesians 5:18) that we need to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  As we yield ourselves to God’s control and enablement, we can be used in powerful ways.  Without the power of the Spirit working through us, our teaching falls flat and our words are hollow.
 
Ministering the Word of God also requires that we are studied up.  This is why we encourage teachers to begin their preparation early in the week.  No one is going to be excited about coming to a class where a teacher reads a lesson from a book without any preparation.  Begin by reading the text several times.  Then you can start writing down the bigger thoughts and principles you see in the text.  After you have your main ideas, go to your quarterly or commentaries or other resources.  After you have a good handle on the meaning of the text, find good ways to illustrate the big points with stories, illustrations and activities.  Always find ways to apply the text to life so your learners can understand how relevant God’s Word is to their lives.
 
Finally, stay “agaped” up.  That is, let God fill your heart full of His agape love for the people you are responsible to serve.  People can be difficult and immature, but the love of God in you can demonstrate patience and kindness and genuine compassion and care—just like Jesus!
 
David Frasure
CABA Disciple-making Catalyst
Pastor, FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.