discipleship Archives - Big Dream Ministries
Big Dream Ministries exists to help people understand the Bible as God's amazing Word and help them apply Biblical truth to their daily lives. We do this by offering studies that drive people to the Scriptures for answers and equipping leaders with excellent resources to reinforce learning.
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discipleship Tag

Written by Pat Harley

The timing was all wrong for sure. There was something more exciting on the other side of the room and so I had lost my audience.

It was Christmas Morning and, as is our tradition, each one of my family including my husband and our then-young two young daughters, gathered early to give our gifts to Jesus. This always comes first before we dive into our own Christmas presents. Now this is not a complicated thing. Beloved had written a poem, Jenna had learned a violin piece and Cameron ( the youngest) had drawn and colored a picture  of the nativity scene. I had written a story entitled Meshed and the Messiah. (more…)

Libby came into class beyond excited! Now she could see! She could see what her husband was talking about. She could see what her friends were talking about. She grew up attending church and heard all the Sunday school stories about Jesus, but she could not see what the consuming passion for Him was about. In fact, Libby was pretty annoyed with Joseph’s new found love for Jesus. Joe had been challenged to read through the gospel of John with a co-worker who practically dared him to stick with it until the end. Libby didn’t hear her husband talk much about his time reading the Bible, but she definitely noticed some changes in him. He was a bit more patient with their boys; he was a bit more helpful around the house, and he was a bit less sarcastic – and she was not complaining! However, Libby was dumbfounded when Joe returned home early from work one day and announced that he was born again. She just couldn’t see what he was talking about.

At Joe’s urging Libby reluctantly joined the women’s Bible study at a local church. They were teaching The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ so she thought she would start there. Now, 9 weeks after she reluctantly started the Bible study, she could see Jesus for who He is and the sacrifice He made on her behalf. She was no longer confused; her eyes had been opened so that she could see the truth of Jesus.

 

Jesus’ Disciples Couldn’t See

Following Jesus’ resurrection, His followers couldn’t see the truth about Him either. Cleopas and his friend had been in Jerusalem for Passover when the city was reeling with the news about Jesus’ crucifixion. These men were His disciples; they had known His teaching and they believed and desired Him to be the long-awaited Messiah. The problem was that they only saw what they wanted to see about Jesus. He said He was coming back after three days, yet instead of anticipating His arrival and waiting in Jerusalem, these two disciples were heading home to Emmaus. When Jesus joined them on the road, they didn’t recognize Him (Luke 24:13-16).

Jesus, always a teacher, questioned the travelers about their conversation, drawing out all that they knew about Him and the events that had taken place. They relayed the facts accurately, even the women’s report of Jesus’ body being missing. Yet, the two still could not see Jesus right in front of their eyes (Luke 24:17-24). When they had finished their account of the events surrounding the weekend, Jesus spoke to them.

       “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to enter into His glory?”    ~Luke 24:25-26

Jesus Uses Scripture to Open Their Eyes

Then Jesus reviewed all the Scriptures written by Moses and the prophets – highlighting how they pointed forward to Him. What a Bible study!  Even with the detailed exposition of the Scriptures, Cleopas and his friend still could not see Jesus. It was not until later in the evening when Jesus broke bread with them, that they were able to receive not only the bread, but their spiritual sight – they could see Jesus and couldn’t wait to share the news. Once the men moved beyond knowing only the facts about Jesus, to receiving Him, they were able to see.

Bible study teachers have the privilege of walking students through the Scriptures, pointing to Christ along the way. The Bible is more than a historical narrative of what has occurred; it contains the very words we need to know about Jesus.  When we teach the Bible with the purpose of knowing the Lord better, every book, every chapter, and every word will point to Christ. As we see Christ portrayed, His heart is revealed over and over again – and the Holy Spirit will affect a person’s heart and open their eyes.

 

Bible Studies Are a Lens to See Jesus

Everyone attending Bible study needs to see Jesus in a fresh and comforting way. Students attend studies for different reasons. Some are committed to learning more about Christ. Others come to satisfy their need for companionship or curiosity. We have heard countless testimonies from people taking The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book or The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ that the truth of Scripture and Christ is revealed to them as never before.

Let us never to be so accustomed to Scripture that we only learn the facts, but rather approach each and every study with the prayer, “Open my eyes that I may see!”

 

A Testimony from Rachel Coward about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book
I spent most of my quiet time in the summer of 2015 asking God for real connections with other believers. We had found a church home at Gateway’s Southlake campus, but I still felt like a random face in a sea of faces. I had been saved for many years but after having my daughter, I started pursing God with a new passion. I wanted more than church on Sundays, and I wanted friendships that were centered around God. Week after week, I made my requests to God – Lord please send me friends who desire to know you more…who will be real…who will accept me.
Each week at church, I would hear the senior pastor say – get plugged in – find a small group… so in a big leap of faith and discomfort, I decided to flip the switch, turn off my pride, and go where I felt like God was leading me.
On a Tuesday morning in September 2015, I walked the sidewalk to a complete stranger’s door and pulled up a chair. I sat in a room full of people I didn’t know, and God happened. I knew instantly that while I might not “know” these ladies it was clear that I was in the right place. I can tell you with complete clarity that I didn’t see myself doing a full study of the Bible. In fact, once I found out it was a 3-year study, I quickly felt overwhelmed and a little out of my element. Some days I would show up and it felt like I knew nothing, but I kept reading and pressing in to God’s word. Each week I learned something about God, myself, and how I saw God.
During the first year of TAC, I wrote these words in my Bible – Return from Exile. As I studied more of God’s word, I knew he was speaking to me specifically about my mother and the pain and rejection I felt surrounding her illness and death. God was changing things in my heart and part of me wanted to run. Instead, I kept reading…
In the final year of the study, as we read 2 Timothy and Paul’s instructions on endurance these words from one of the daily lessons stood out to me: Both community and solitude are used by God in our lives to fashion us into the kind of people he wants us to be (Workbook 10 at page 61). And there it was…the thing that had caused me to separate and isolate myself from people was the thing that God used to heal me. Book by book, word by word, He put the pieces back together. Those 3 years played out differently for everyone, but many of the women from The Amazing Collection study have become close and dear friends – truly answered prayer.
It is hard to put in to words what reading the Bible and working through The Amazing Collection study has done for my life, my walk with God, and my desire to be n God’s word. It is a true study of the Bible, but it’s so much more. From the workbooks, to the personal testimonies shared on the videos each week, the curriculum leads you through God’s word in a way that connects the dots.
I am currently leading year one of The Amazing Collection, and I am excited about the Bible in a way I never dreamed possible. The Bible is so much more than an interesting collection of stories. It’s my prayer that more women can experience a revival in their love for God’s word. The Amazing Collection facilitated that for me and I am thankful that I can do the same for others.
For information about Gateway Church, visit their website at gatewaypeople.com

For information about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book visit our preview page at https://www.bigdreamministries.org/preview-materials/the-amazing-collection/

Written by Traci Martin

The need for discipleship

Jesus is amazing, but when I moved to the south, He was not on my mind. In fact, I don’t really think Jesus was on my mind even when I was in my childhood church. But that quickly changed when my husband and I transferred to Georgia. We were surrounded by Christians! They were everywhere, or at least it seemed so. As I observed them doing life, they seemed different to me. There was a positive outlook at the way they approached issues; they called it joy. There was an assurance that everything would work out for the best even when they were in crisis; they called it peace. And they talked about Jesus and to Jesus as if He was sitting right there with them. How they lived was attractive to me and I wanted what they had.

One night as I was home alone, I told Jesus that my life was His and it was a sweet time with the Holy Spirit. But then what? The only thing I knew to do was observe the other Christians in my life – and mimic their behavior. I fell right into the trap of legalism. Just tell me the rules and I will do or not do accordingly as a Christian. However, I did not need rules; I needed to be discipled.

Decades later, as I mentor young women who desire to grow spiritually, I recognize that discipling others is to teach them how to walk with the Lord.

But what does discipleship look like if it is not about adjusting behavior?

Jesus modeled how to disciple when He said to Simon Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). He was not inviting them to learn the “Christian rules” but to join Him in what He was doing. He started with the invitation to follow Him with the purpose of being redefined from “fishers of fish,” to “fishers of men.” Did they really understand what that meant? I don’t think so. We don’t read about Jesus implementing a rigorous training program; instead Jesus took them to a wedding where they witnessed His miraculous power of turning water into wine (John 2:1–11). They watched Jesus respond with godly authority when He cleared the Temple of money changers (John 2:13 – 25). And in amazement, the disciples observed Jesus offering hope to an outcast woman in an outcast city with the simple gesture of stopping at a well for a drink of water (John 4:126).  

Belonging

As Jesus was expressing His power, His authority, and His hope, he was giving the disciples a sense of belonging. They wanted to be with Him, but more impressively is that Jesus wanted them! These fishermen and tax collectors and other seemingly undesirable members of society were given an elevated status of belonging to this rising leader. As Jesus taught about the kingdom of God, they inferred that Jesus would be the one who would squelch the Roman occupation of Jerusalem; He would be the one to set them free. They did not understand the full picture of what Jesus was teaching until He explained the deeper meaning of the parables – only to His followers and disciples (Mark 4:10–12).

Believing

Jesus provided opportunities for His disciples to apply the lessons He had been teaching them. He healed the leper and then sent him to the priest to be declared clean (Matthew 8:1–4). He healed the centurion’s servant from afar with just a word (Matthew 8:5–13). And He healed Peter’s motherinlaw, and then she got up and served Him (Matthew 8:14–15). Think of the faith progression in these healings: the Hebrew disciples were not going to get close to a leper to examine his disease; they would leave that for the priests. They didn’t actually see the centurion’s servant, so they could not verify the healing for themselves. But Peter’s mother-in-law was a different story. She got up without any residual symptoms of the fever, and tended to Jesus’ needs. Even though Peter was an eyewitness to the healing power, he and the other disciples still had to grow in their own belief. When they thought they were perishing on a boat in a storm, Jesus rebuked them for their “little faith” (Matthew 8:23–27).

Fast-forward toward the end of Jesus’ discipleship training; the disciples are once again in a boat with choppy waters and high winds. This time Jesus was not in the boat with them.  Peter’s belief had grown tremendously as he climbed out of the boat to walk on the water towards Christ. While it was a short walk before Peter’s fear took over, it prompted the disciples’ declaration that Jesus was the Son of God (Matthew 14:22–33).

Behaving

Believing Jesus as the Son of God changes how we respond to the authority of the Bible and the teachings it contains. Jesus gave many sermons on how to live, how to interact with fellow mankind, and how to interact with God. He regularly chastised the Pharisees for their outward appearance of piety; in other words, their behavior was only religion (Matthew 23:27). But He offered grace and forgiveness for the sinner (John 8:1–11).

Believing in Jesus and knowing we belong to Him changes everything about us, including how we respond to people and situations in our lives. It is the difference between the Peter who denied Christ three times (Luke 22:54–62) and the Peter who was arrested for boldly preaching about Jesus (Acts 4:1– 20). Peter started as a Christ-follower and became a Christ-proclaimer; that is discipleship.  

Walk this Way

As we come alongside of new or emerging believers to disciple them, we are, in essence, teaching them to walk with Jesus. They may want a list of dos and don’ts to know “what would Jesus do,” like I did. Or perhaps the exact opposite is true and their life does not resemble anything godly. Our temptation is to try a “fix” their behaviors first.

Behavior is not the starting point for walking with Christ. Discipleship begins with understanding who Jesus is and who we are in Him. It must start with belonging – knowing they are loved unconditionally and there is nothing that can separate them from His love (Romans 8:35-39). For some, depending on their background, it could take a while for them to have assurance of this fact. However, once the love of Christ penetrates people’s belief systems, it changes them through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is then that the Bible becomes amazing for them and it is then that they want to obey the Word as an overflow of what has been done inside of them. Discipleship that works helps believers feel a sense of belonging, increases their belief, and thus, affects their behavior.

For more information about our engaging Bible Studies and teaching resources, visit us at www.BigDreamMinistries.org or email us at CustomerCare@TheAmazingCollection.com