Nick Poindexter

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Tag: Disciples (page 1 of 2)

The Great Omission

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
-Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

As Jesus is about to depart from Earth at the end of Matthew, his last words to his disciples are recorded, commonly known as the Great Commission. The statement Jesus gives contains three key commands: they are to 1) make disciples, 2) baptize disciples, and 3) teach disciples. No ifs, ands or buts about it… Those are three distinct actions that Jesus requires of his followers.

Unfortunately, many people like to cherry pick Jesus’ words here and just adhere to the instructions they want. When applied to their life, if often sounds something like the following: “I’m a Christian? Check. Been baptized? Check. OK, I’m good. See ya in heaven!”

There’s more involved with being a Christian however than just “get saved, get baptized.” Disciples must also be taught. Why? Because current disciples still need to grow. Then they are ready to evangelize and make more disciples, and the cycle continues.

That’s why Sunday morning worship services are important. That’s why mid-week youth group meetings are important. That’s why daily personal Bible study time is important. They aren’t just things we do… They are commands from Jesus himself about how his followers should learn and develop.

And this isn’t a “You have to go to church to be a Christian” rant. You don’t have to go to church. But you are commanded to be to taught. So if are a follower of Jesus but you are missing out on opportunities to be taught what he said, you might need to rearrange your priorities a little.

Make disciples. Baptize disciples. Teach disciples. All three are equal, and all three are vital to the process of reaching the world that Jesus put into action thousands of years ago.

Anything less isn’t the Great Commission. It’s the Great Omission.

Naked And Free

A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
-Mark 14:51-52 (NIV)

Mark 14 records the story of Jesus with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is praying, the disciples are sleeping, and in walks Judas with his gang. A skirmish breaks out, an ear gets cut off, and Jesus is arrested and lead away.

Mark’s version of the story however contains an extra part not included in the other gospels. Seemingly out of nowhere, he adds that another guy was there watching it all go down. This man was almost apprehended, but narrowly escaped by slipping out of his clothes and running away naked.

Most assume the young man was Mark himself, and this inclusion was simply his way of saying, “I was there.” Out of modesty and embarrassment, I think it’s easy to understand why he would want to remain anonymous.

Now, I know I’m looking far too into it than is necessary. But truth is truth.

The young man had two choices. He could stay clothed and be captured. Or, he could be naked and be free.

And the choice is really the same for us. God wants us to find our value and security in him and him alone. But we don’t do that, do we? Instead we turn to everything but our Father to make us feel worthwhile. Whether it’s your career, significant other, pride, social status, friends or money you cover yourself with, none will lead to freedom. Instead, like the young man, trying to stay covered up will ultimately lead to your downfall.

You see, the young man was said to be “following Jesus.” If you want to be a follower of Christ, then hiding isn’t an option. If you want to truly live, then you better be prepared to be exposed.

Be naked and be free.

Who Do You Say I Am?

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
-Mark 8:27-29 (NIV)

Jesus is walking with his disciples around Caesarea Philippi, a pagan city known for its worship of many gods. Fittingly, he asks them, “Who do people say I am?” They reply back with the big names — John the Baptist, Elijah, a prophet. All of which are very flattering comparisons.

Then, when the question is directed at Peter, he answers more specifically — You are the Christ.

It’s really not much different than the thoughts of people today. Ask the question of “Who is Jesus?” and you’ll get a plethora of answers… Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God, a wise teacher, revolutionary leader, a unique prophet, a ground-breaking rabbi, a good role model, a myth, a legend.

Unfortunately, simply believing in Jesus isn’t enough. We must also believe Jesus. The former is head knowledge; the latter is heart knowledge. Jesus came to thoroughly change our lives, not just our brains.

At lot of people admire Jesus, but don’t believe him. A lot of people are inquisitive toward Jesus, but don’t follow him. A lot of people like the idea of Jesus, but don’t trust him.

Was Jesus a teacher, leader, prophet, rabbi and role model? Yes. But those titles don’t do him justice. Jesus is also so much more. He is the Christ. The Messiah. The King of all kings. The Lord of all lords. The Savior of you and I.

So the question remains just as crucial and heart-piercing as it was 2,000 years ago… Who do you say that Jesus is?

Act Like A Child

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
-Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)

Ever been told you were “acting like a child”? I have. The phrase implies that a person is not seeing or responding to the world through the viewpoint of a mature adult. Generally, it’s considered an insult.

In this story, we find the disciples trying to prevent kids from “bothering” Jesus. They apparently think he’s too busy, too important for people of such lower stature. This upsets Jesus, and he quickly turns the situation into a teaching opportunity. His point: anyone who wants to be part of God’s kingdom must be more childlike.

But why would Jesus tell his disciples that they need to act like a child? That’s a bad thing, right?

When it comes down to it, children are the epitome of humility. Why? Because it’s never been all about them. All they’ve ever known is a life of desperate dependency on someone greater than themselves for provision. It’s clear to them that they can’t do it all on their own. Someone else has to intervene on their behalf, and they’ve accepted that. They have no choice.

So when it comes to our relationship with our Father, Jesus says that we must approach him with the same attitude of trust, humility, and dependency that a little child would have for their parent.

Sometimes, we need to act like a child. It isn’t always a bad thing.

How You Should Pray

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
-Matthew 6:9 (NIV)

Here we find Jesus teaching the disciples about prayer. He concludes the talk with a prayer template, if you will, which starts off with the phrase, “Our Father”. The original Aramaic word here is “Abba”, which means “Daddy” in today’s language. So Jesus says first and foremost, prayer should be a simple conversation with your Daddy, not thoughtless babbling with an impersonal god.

But do we really treat it that way?

I know that I often find myself using words during prayers (especially those given out loud) that I would never use when speaking to a friend, let alone my daddy. It’s like I have some magic formula that I have to follow, repeating specific lingo and phrases a specific amount of times for it to be a “good” prayer. I mean, “hallowed”, really? What does that even mean?

It’s kind of ironic that a verse about prayer not being mindless repetition is arguably one of the most repeated verses in the Bible.

As a youth minister, I am constantly asking teenagers to pray out loud. Whether its during prayer requests or to close out a Bible study, more often than not I get silence and stares at the ground.

But some of the time I do find a youth that will pray, and it’s almost always sloppy, candid, and uneloquent. And I absolutely love it.

Prayer isn’t about being poetic. Prayer isn’t about impressing others. Prayer isn’t about getting people to say, “Hmmm” or “Amen”.

Prayer is about warm, intimate, face-to-face conversation with your Daddy. And that’s almost always sloppy, candid, and uneloquent.

As Jesus said, that’s how you should pray.

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