It Takes Planning

“So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.” – Nehemiah 2:11-15.

As Christians, should we plan for the future? If God is in control, then should we plan at all? The Bible talks a lot about the future and whether or not Christians ought to prepare for it. The Bible demonstrates that God is not only concerned for our earthly future, but also for our eternal future. So as Christians, we ought to prepare for the future. An example of that was Nehemiah. 

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of Persia. For him to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls was not a step he would take randomly. For four months Nehemiah prayed and fasted about his plan before he approached the king for permission and help. His prayers paved the way for him to receive the king’s favor. Nehemiah knew his project required the king’s resources, so he was prepared when the king asked him what he needed. Because of Nehemiah’s preparation, the king granted his requests.

Nehemiah needed to understand the circumstances of the project he was about to undertake. Initially, he was not physically in Jerusalem, so his early assessment was made from discussions he had with people who saw first-hand the destruction and were knowledgeable about the current state of the walls and gates. Once on-site, he spent three evenings personally examining the damage to the wall and the gates before rebuilding. For our plans to be effective and complete, we need to invest time upfront—thoroughly assessing the project we are about to undertake.

Nehemiah began seeking God’s vision for rebuilding the wall. For Nehemiah to rebuild the entire wall around Jerusalem in only 52 days, it took an effective strategy (overall, long-term plan), tactics (short-term, specific actions that support the strategy), and God’s favor. When we seek God’s favor towards our work, we need to first seek God’s vision. Be prepared that it may be different from our own.

There are many ways Nehemiah could have tackled this challenging project. However, a key strategy he used was to develop effective teams that could address the needed repairs. At the same time, Nehemiah developed a strategy to overcome their enemies. Nehemiah 4:18 says, “All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.”

Plans are meaningless if they’re never executed. Nehemiah was a man of action. He developed his plan, but he also knew when it was time to act. He formed his team, delegated responsibilities, and then called his team into action.

Planning is important, but we must be diligent to move the plan forward.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Read Nehemiah 2:17-20: How does Nehemiah describe the situation that the people have been used to for many decades? What are some troubling realities you have become accustomed to over the years?
  2. Think about the beautiful response of the people, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” and the words, “they began the good work.” What good work has God given you to do, and what was your response to it?

A Little Bit Of Planning Goes A Long Way

God is a God of systems and predictability and order, and God honors planning.” – Andy Stanley

As Christians, should we plan for the future? If God is in control, then should we plan at all?

The Bible talks a lot about the future and whether or not Christians ought to prepare for it. The Bible demonstrates that God is not only concerned for our earthly future, but also for our eternal future. So as Christians, we ought to prepare for the future. First, we should make sure we are prepared for our eternal future. This means getting our relationship with God correct and storing up treasures in heaven. Second, we can work to prepare for our earthly future while trusting it in God’s hands. James tells us, “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4: 13-15)

Preparation and planning are a part of taking responsibility and practicing good stewardship of what God has entrusted to us. In Nehemiah 2:4-10, we see the balance between these two principles – diligent planning and reliance upon God.  God gives wisdom, but we need to plan. God opens doors, but we must walk through them. Nehemiah asks the king for the resources necessary to rebuild the wall. We wouldn’t consider building a house, room, or anything without planning out our supplies. The work of ministry deserves no less. 

By the time Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, he already has two of the essential ingredients of a well-crafted plan. First, he’s got a goal: his objective is to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He’s also gone to Ace Hardware on the way to Jerusalem and compiled all of his building materials.

But there are still unanswered questions. Nehemiah needs to know what exactly needs to be done. So Nehemiah makes a thorough inspection of the wall. Now Nehemiah can then say, “Here’s where we are, here’s what we have to build it with, and here’s what we are going to build.”  All he needs is a labor force. Nehemiah gives an impassioned speech persuading the Jews to throw in with him.

While Nehemiah is a model of planning, Jesus is the ultimate model: If we never witnessed this same planning, strategy, and preparation in Jesus’ ministry it wouldn’t be a priority in our spiritual leadership. But we do. As you read through the gospels you clearly see where Jesus goes, when He goes, what He says and does, and to whom are anything but random happenstance or just “letting the cards fall as they may.” His ministry is brilliantly conceived and executed. 

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is it so important to not get ahead of the Lord, but to wait for His perfect timing? 
  2. What can we do this week to get a little better at planning? 

I Am A Self-Made Individual

“Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:3. 

“Self-made man” is a classic phrase coined on February 2, 1842 by Henry Clay in the United States Senate, to describe individuals whose success lay within the individuals themselves, not with outside conditions. But in reality, there is no such thing as a self-made individual. It’s a myth. The fact is we are all indebted to someone.

 Think about this for a few moments: if you were to be stripped of all modern convenience, could you single-handedly reinvent things like the light bulb?  Penicillin?  The internet?  Most of us can’t fully explain how this stuff works let alone be able to reinvent them.  No; our greatest creative achievements are built on the achievements of others and all are utterly dependent on the world that God alone created.

We ought to thank God daily in our prayers for our great grandparents, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, pastors, coaches, fellow believers, the Body of Christ, the Church, our nation’s forefathers, the soldiers of our nation and so on. Who among us is not the product of the contributions and influences of others? The fact is no one can really call himself or herself self-made.  

Any good thing in our lives is because of God’s goodness to us. We are more likely to make a mess of our lives. We caused most valleys in our lives. Every good thing was given to us by God. 

Paul said it best: “…What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 MSG) In his first letter to Timothy, Paul gives this young minister a warning to pass along to his congregation that is still relevant today. He says, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17)

Psalm 100:3 leaves no doubt about the order of life. God made us. We belong to God. He created us in the beginning. He shapes us all along. He will form us into His perfect image someday. 

 This is what the Lord said to Israel. But in an indirect and more general way, this applies to all mankind: “He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you the power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

It is God who has given us our minds and our hands to work with. So it is He who is ultimately deserving of all credit for our ability to work hard and prosper.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you tend to be overly responsible and self-reliant? Or do you think everything is up to God and throw up your hands and do nothing? 
  2. When we try to be a self-made individuals we tend to get stuck. Where are you stuck and what can we do this week to get unstuck.  

Living In Light Of Eternity

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14:

Paul was clearly looking ahead rather than dwelling on the past. But that doesn’t mean that Paul has suddenly developed amnesia. He clearly understood his past and had not forgotten the man he once was, but he did not let his past discourage him or defeat him. He was determined to press on and to keep running the race. Paul was focused on eternity and what awaited him at the end of his life.

We are accustomed to viewing our lives in the order of “past, present, future.” The Bible suggests we should view time as flowing from the future into the present and then into the past. The believer should be future-oriented, “forgetting the past.”

Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” Do we realize just how mired down in the here and now we have become? Sometimes it’s dark and scary and you’re fumbling around because you feel like you have lost control allowing all kinds of noise and potholes in your lives. Things like broken relationships, money problems, illnesses, and so on. None of those things will matter in eternity. What will matter is whether we lived lives that were pleasing to God.

Paul’s was completely focused on the future. He uses the image of a race to describe the Christian life. In verse 12 Paul says, “I press on.” In verse 14 he says, “I press on to reach the end of the race…” The idea of the word press is to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after. The goal is to reach a certain distance at a certain time, or if you are in a race, to overtake another runner. Basically, you are running, not just for the exercise, but with a specific goal and purpose in mind. A runner who keeps his or her “eyes on the prize” will stay on track.  

You may have started the race a few days or a few weeks ago. Or maybe you started the race a long time ago, but somewhere along the way, you stopped running. Perhaps you lost your joy or passion. Perhaps you stumbled and fell, or maybe you just got tired and decided to take a break. If you’re temporarily sitting on the sidelines, I encourage you to get back in the race. There’s a Savior to serve and a prize of an eternity with Him to be won.

Discussion questions:
1. How can we start thinking future, present, and past rather than the current order of past, present, and future?

2. In Philippians 3:13 Paul said “… forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, …” What do you think he meant, and how does it relate to our “pressing on toward the goal …”

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

 “A person would be insane to hear his physician diagnose his ailment as a rapidly growing tumor, and then think that just because he had talked with his doctor, the growth would suddenly disappear. No, he’s going to have to be operated on. Likewise, just being exposed to the truth won’t make us mature. Nor will it alone — without application — solve one problem.” –  Chuck Swindoll, Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back.  

Chuck Swindoll wrote a book titled, Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back. In Ezra 4 we see that idea in action. In Chapter 4, God has stirred up the heart of the pagan King Cyrus to issue a decree for the Jews to return to their land and rebuild His temple. One step forward. Thousands of Jews respond by giving up their lives in Babylon and making the long, dangerous trek back to the land. A second step forward. They rebuilt the altar, gathered in Jerusalem, and laid the foundation for the new temple. A third step forward. 

Then the enemy hit and the work on the temple stopped. One step back. The work ceased for approximately 18  years. Two steps back. They were still in the land (one step ahead), but there was no center for worship in Jerusalem. The people, intimidated by their enemies, settled into a routine of life that got along without temple worship until God stirred up the prophets to rebuild the temple.

Have you ever felt that way, that life seems like it’s one step forward and two steps back? We feel like things are really moving forward and then life happens and we find things are moving backward again.  That is both natural and frustrating. The apostle Paul had arrived in Ephesus in Acts 19. Paul starts doing what he always does, preaching in the synagogues, in the streets, and among the gentiles. Things were going so well for Paul that in verses 11-12 it says, “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.”  Can you imagine that kind of success in your life? Your marriage, work, school, or whatever is going so well that it is spilling over onto other people and the mere touch of something that has touched you is making others better. That is a tremendous step forward.  Paul ultimately had to leave Ephesus. He gathered the church encouraged them and said farewell.

But it doesn’t matter how many times we have fallen or how many steps backward we’ve taken. We need to remember that “…My grace is all you need….” (2 Corinthians 12.9)

What is often needed is a new beginning with God. New beginnings are exciting and filled with hope. By His grace, we can turn back to the Lord and start afresh. But no sooner have we started anew than we experience a setback. The spiritual high that we have enjoyed is followed by a deep spiritual low. Ask God for the grace you need and step forward … one step at a time. And when you fail … and we all do at times … we need to go back to the cross and remember that God’s grace and forgiveness are always available.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What will be your strategy to affirm your identity in Christ when you feel like you’re losing ground after making a decision to move forward?
  2. Why do you think it’s hard to let go of control and trust God for your future?

Planning For The Good Work

“So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.” – Nehemiah 2:11-15.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of Persia. For him to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls was not a step he would take randomly. For four months Nehemiah prayed and fasted about his plan before he approached the king for permission and help. His prayers paved the way for him to receive the king’s favor.

Nehemiah needed to fully understand all the circumstances of the project he was about to undertake. Initially, he was not physically in Jerusalem, so his early assessment was made from discussions he had with people who saw first-hand the destruction and were knowledgeable about the current state of the walls and gates. Once he arrived in the city, he spent three evenings personally examining the damage to the wall and the gates before rebuilding.

Can you almost picture Nehemiah secretly riding around the city three nights in a row? I imagine him and a couple of trusted men. They were quiet. He needed wisdom, and he needed to formulate a plan. None of which could be accomplished if he relied on other people to show him their version of the situation, or hearsay commentary from enemies inhabiting the city waiting for him to fail. He wanted to assess the situation, in the dark, without detection.

When he had gathered all of the information needed, he held a meeting with the officials and nobles. Nehemiah stated something these men already knew, they were in a bad situation. Desperate even. Jerusalem abandoned. The walls, crumbling and the gates burned. Yet, Nehemiah told leaders that God had been favorable to him. We don’t have his whole speech, but it must have been stirring because the response was . . . “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!”

Nehemiah taught us that vision is a divinely given picture of what could be and should be. Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down. Right away, Nehemiah saw what could be and should be – that the defenses of the city could be restored, and the walls rebuilt. A vision is always a picture of what could and should be from God’s perspective.

There’s nothing more exciting than following God’s leading in our lives. There’s nothing more exciting than sensing and obeying God’s promptings in your life.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What can we learn about the kind of person Nehemiah was by the way he sets out at night to personally inspect the entire wall?
  2. Read Nehemiah 2:17-20: How does Nehemiah describe the situation that the people have been used to for many decades? What are some troubling realities you have become accustomed to over the years?
  3. Think about the beautiful response of the people, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” and the words, “they began the good work.” What good work has God given you to do, and what was your response to it?

Nehemiah And The Wall

“But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.” – Nehemiah 2:17-18 

The city of Berlin will be forever famous for its infamous Wall. It was a wall that separated East from West Germany. The Berlin Wall has gained fame as a wall that divides, but the city of Jerusalem is also famous for its walls. In Nehemiah’s time, it was a wall that united the people together.

Nehemiah had a burden for his people and for the city of Jerusalem. He had a vision of what could be, but he didn’t immediately pack up and race off to Jerusalem and try to get things fixed. He didn’t start developing a strategy or plan. He didn’t communicate with the populace in an attempt to get them on board. Instead, he went to the Lord and prayed. Nehemiah understood that he needed God to be successful.

“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) He begins his prayer after days of fasting and mourning. He mourned how his people had turned their backs on God. He mourned how nothing was right. He mourned the lack of dignity God’s people had. He mourned his sins. All the while he was talking to God. He was pouring out his heart and soul to God. Nehemiah’s relationship with God teaches us we ought to walk and talk with God not just in the little things, but the big things too. God wants us to bring our worries, anxiety, dreams and hopes to Him. That is when God will direct us. That is when God will set us on our purpose. Prayer helps us to find strength for today and hope for our future.

Nehemiah needed to get the consent of the king to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall.  You can imagine him, standing there, rehearsing what he was going to say to the king. As a servant of the king, he was not supposed to serve the king and he was about to present a request to the king on behalf of God’s people. You can see him standing there silently praying to God for the right words, for strength or wisdom. It makes me see the importance of giving my anxieties over to God in the midst of adversity.  Saying, “God you got this, help me, Father”.  What an amazing gift we have that our Almighty God hears us when we talk to him.  He comforts us and strengthens us in times of need.

As we read on down through Nehemiah 2, we see that king Artaxerxes was pleased to send Nehemiah to Judah. He sent him along with the letters to grant him safe passage and letters to the managers in charge of the royal forest. These letters telling him to provide the materials needed to rebuild the walls. The goal of the wall was to make the city of Jerusalem defensible.

God uses all kinds of people in all kinds of places to change the culture, revive hearts, and build His Kingdom. God has placed you where you are for a purpose.  God wants us to remember: “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17).

Discussion Questions:

  1. If God were to answer all of our prayers from just last week, how would our lives and the lives of those around us look different? Would it make any difference?
  2. What steps can we take to become people who are marked by big, bold, and faith-filled prayers?

Is The Church Still Relevant?

“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” –  Dwight L. Moody

How do you feel about church? Some people think it is full of hypocrites? Others, view it as a self-righteous, religious club.  There is some truth to both those accusations. After all, churches are made up of people, and people are not perfect. Imperfect people make for imperfect churches. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints. It’s a place where people go to improve their spiritual health. It’s a place where people go for encouragement, and to get their spiritual batteries recharged. For newer Christians, it is a place where they learn what it means to follow Christ and how to have a relationship with God.  

There was a time in America when the church was the focal point of a community’s culture and calendar. Families would make it a priority to attend church services and functions almost every time the church’s “doors were open.” Sundays featured several hours of church programming. The day started with age-segregated Sunday school classes, followed by the church’s morning worship service. Sunday evening culminated in an evening service. Most churches also hosted mid-week services, like prayer meetings in the church auditorium where everybody got together to pray. 

Times have certainly changed, due to a variety of reasons. But what has not changed is the critical importance of going to church. Why? The most important reason for God’s people to attend church is that the church is God’s idea, “… upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18). 

The church is how God is accomplishing His work on earth today. The Bible is clear, from the narrative in Acts through the Epistles of Paul, Peter, James, and John, that God’s work in the world today is being completed through His church. One only has to review the words God uses to describe His church to get a glimpse of how important it is to Him: the bride of Christ, the body of Christ. 

In addition, God’s Word instructs us to be involved in the church. It’s clear from passages like Hebrews 10:25 that God wants His people to be actively involved in the church. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another,…” Reading the Bible makes it pretty obvious that church involvement is important. 

God’s Word teaches the importance of active participation in a local church. Believers must make church attendance a priority in their personal and family schedules and put going to church ahead of other seemingly beneficial activities.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Someone once said, “Church is something we are.” What does that mean to you? 
  2. How might your life look different if you lived as though church wasn’t a destination or an event, but something you are? 

The Difference Between Involvement And Commitment

  “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” –  Ephesians 5:10.

There is some confusion between involvement and commitment. To be involved typically means staying as long as you are happy.  Commitment is entirely different. Commitment is not a promise, it is the point when the promise is kept. Commitment requires planning, perseverance, and sacrifice.  

What would have happened if Noah had not been fully committed; if he had completed only ninety percent of what God asked him to do?  Imagine if he had left part of the hull unfinished, choosing instead to use the time for other things.  

God wasn’t asking for an imperfect being to create a perfect product out of imperfect material, but He was asking Noah to stay committed and complete His request.  Noah could not afford to be indifferent to God’s will, and neither can we.  Noah had to complete the Ark because it was God’s will.  His salvation, his family’s chance of surviving catastrophe, and the fulfillment of God’s will were all dependent upon his complete and total willingness to trust God.  The same is true for us.  We need to trust God completely.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Real commitment is certainly difficult, yet we are asked to do it every day.  We’re asked to commit to spouses, children, jobs, church, communities, and countless other things.  Many of these types of commitments require balance. Work-life balance means we have to balance the time and effort from one commitment to another.  While this is important, it doesn’t work with our commitment to follow Jesus.  God does not expect us to manage everything perfectly, but He does expect our first commitment to be to Him.  

Much of our spiritual life is a process of letting go of old habits and embracing our new life as a follower of Jesus.  We won’t always get it right and we will make mistakes, but we will keep moving forward if we remain steadfast in our commitment to God.  “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

A life serving Jesus requires total commitment.  Galatians  6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” God doesn’t leave us alone.  He gave us His Holy Spirit to walk and climb right next to us, giving us strength. God will remind us of how He guided us through difficult paths in the past so we can persevere now.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, where is your commitment to Jesus? Why did you pick the number you did?
  2. Who or what has the most influence on your day-to-day decisions? Where does Jesus fall in the order of influential voices in your life?
  3. What step do you need to take this week to make your relationship with Jesus your No. 1 priority?

Discipleship Matters

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16. 

Growing in Christ is the key to growing a church. This is all about being a good and effective witness of who Christ is and what He has called your church to be and do. Following up, teaching, and mentoring new as well as seasoned Christians are the keys to spiritual growth. In a word discipleship. 

While the “church” is called to organically develop and grow other members within the body of Christ,  making disciples doesn’t just happen. It’s an intentional process that takes a relational and spiritual commitment to provide the necessary elements that will both prosper the individual, as well as the body of Christ.

The goal of discipleship is to help people grow to become more like Jesus. Helping Christians live out their faith is the main purpose of discipleship. Successful discipleship should teach believers how to share the faith they are living by testifying to what God has done in their lives and through sharing the gospel. You may be the only Bible anyone ever reads.  

Discipleship is not mentoring. The two may look similar, but in reality, are different. As the disciples followed Jesus from place to place, they saw Him live out His faith and demonstrate the responsibilities and authority of His ministry. Jesus showed them how to do ministry. That is the picture of healthy discipleship.  

Paul puts it like this, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Thus, the missional goal of the church is disciple-making. Something our Savior masterfully demonstrated among the ministry to His disciples and left as an edict for His church to foster until He returns. 

God wants to reveal Himself to those around you by working mightily through you. He wants your family to see Christ in you each day. God wants to express His love through your life. Christ expects His disciples to follow Him — to learn from Him and to stay close to Him. That’s what He wanted from His followers during His earthly ministry and that is what He wants from His disciples today.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What defines us as disciples in your opinion? 
  2. What happens in the life of a disciple when they think of others instead of themselves? How does putting others first build character?