Discipleship in an Instant?

Marshall McLuhan coined a pretty famous phrase that says, “the medium is the message.” This means that the medium does actually shift, alter and change the message. And, while I don’t want to spend 3,000 words unpacking that today, I want to draw our attention to something that is happening in our culture.
We now live in a world that is about speed, convenience, newness and simplicity.
Here is the tie in to McLuhan’s phrase… When everything is fast, easy, new and simple, we can then unconsciously adopt the posture that anything that is slow, difficult, older and complex is not only odd, but is also wrong.
When our TV shows, food, Amazon Prime shipping and our friendships with social media are almost instantaneous (clear, newly refreshed and right at our fingertips), it can be difficult to appreciate the reality that some things take time. Some things are incredibly hard. Some things ancient matter. Some things simply aren’t simple, but incredibly complex.
It doesn’t take a genius to notice that our current cultural expectations of speed, convenience, novelty and simplicity will have a disastrous effect on discipleship.

Because, here is the truth… Discipleship is not fast, it’s not convenient, it’s not new and it’s anything but simple. The honest truth is that following Jesus is a long journey, it requires you to give up a lot, it’s actually pretty ancient and it often places us in difficult situations in which complexities abound.
So, my point is, the current cultural trends do not fit well with the life of discipleship that Jesus calls us to follow. And, I’m not lamenting that fact actually, because this gives us a chance to truly stand out and be different than the culture around us.
Often, we want to be counter-culture morally (and we should be!), but what if we also became counter-cultural in a different way? What if we, as believers, praised and valued a long obedience in the same direction? What if we didn’t always try to be new, but focused on being faithful? What if we praised doing the next right hard thing over just the easy thing? What if we really sought to never reduce people or ideas to cultural clichés, but sought to enter fully into the complexity of life?
What I’m pondering, and even challenging us to do, is this… To counteract the instantaneous, easy, new and reductionist world around us by living like Jesus. To value slow and long-term change. To value doing the right hard things over the easy things. To value living faithfully over novelty. To value the complexity of our stories over reducing them.
In essence, I’m asking what it might look like for you and me to live differently than our culture. Because, that might just be the thing that actually changes our culture.

Go and Make Disciples…being #missional

This past Sunday I left the challenge to go and make disciples, as a way of life. You can hear the sermon here.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gathers his disciples together for one last time. What he doesn’t leave them with is a reminder to pray. He doesn’t remind them to be holy. He doesn’t really remind them about what he’s taught them. Instead what he leaves with them is an invitation. An invitation to adventure, mission, and to go out into the world and make disciples. And he leaves behind one promise: “I will be with you”. He doesn’t tell the disciples how to make more disciples. He doesn’t leave behind a 7-step process. What he gives to them is an invitation and a promise.

And isn’t that all we need? An invitation to partner with God in his mission, and promise that he will partner with us. We’re given an invitation and promise that Jesus will be with guiding us, shaping us, and leading us as we follow God on mission.

The question is: are you going to accept his invitation and promise?

For me and my family we’ve made the deiscion to accept both the promise and invitaiton this year to make disicples. We are going to make 2012 a year of making disciples, living out Jesus command and believing in his promise. What about you?

I’m excited to see how this year unfolds and what God does. So this year I’ll be sharing stories of how it’s going for me. And I’d love to hear yours as well!

Discussion Questions: Here are the discussion questions that came from Sunday in case you missed them:

  • Adult Questions
  • Are you ready and willing to follow Jesus in making disciples?
  • How might you start to make disciples?
  • What excites you about making disciples? What maybe makes you a bit nervous about making disciples?
  • Who might help you stay accountable in your decision?
  • Questions for Young Families
  • Talk with your kids and share about how God invites us to join him in helping people find and follow God. Ask them if they are willing to help people find and follow God. Ask them what friends you, as a family, can pray that they might become a disciple of Jesus? Spend some time praying as a family.