JESUS WAS MISSING
My first exposure to Jesus was through my Mother. I was a slacking college student by day and a partying nightclub musician by night. To get her off of my back more than anything else, I consented to what must have been her umpteenth invitation to a church service. I prayed to “receive” Christ that night and then returned to my usual lifestyle, feeling good about having said a “sinner’s prayer” to hedge my future and please my Mother. Nothing about me changed except that I sporadically attended a church service. This was in the early 70’s and although the historic “Jesus Movement” was peaking in our country, I knew Jesus was missing from my heart.
THE WONDER OF ONE TO ONE
Several months later, a minister working my University campus named Eddie Asato gave me a different sort of invitation, one that had nothing to do with attending an event but everything to do with connecting through him to God’s Word on a regular basis.
We met weekly for three months and it changed my life as I came to fully understand the gospel while being loved, cared for and prayed for. It was my entry into discipleship and it began with a one to one relationship where I could ask questions and be real without reprisal. Had it not been for Eddie, I would have stayed truly lost in the midst of the truly found.
Before we were done, I went from being religious to having a real relationship as Jesus became my Lord. I was water baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, commissioned to disciple someone else and encouraged to participate in small group community.
Eddie encouraged me to consider leading a group and said that I “sounded like a minister.” Phew! Well, I became a small group leader a few months later, have been in full-time Christian service for nearly 38 years now and planted a church that today is over 20 years old. Talk about a loaded statement. How powerful those three months have proven to be.
Here are my reflections looking back over nearly four decades:
- Discipleship is relationship and relationship flows through love. We can teach people from afar but can only love them from up close. God is love, and love is at the core of scripture’s two greatest commandments.
- Invite people into your life before you invite them to a program, event or group. People need to be “walked” personally into new experiences and environments with someone they know.
- Truth is caught not just taught. One to ones become intimately safe moments where truth and life can be discussed and processed together through the lens of scripture.
- The goal is transformation and not the transfer of information. Laying foundations well takes time, so take your time in discipling your “one.” I have taken several months to a year on people I’ve won and discipled. The fruit does last.
- Always take time to pray for each other. Humble mutuality opens windows for God to move supernaturally. He especially loves to answer the prayers of new believers. God becomes more real than ever.
WHO’S ON GOD’S HEART FOR YOU?
Jesus came to “seek and to save what was lost.” Included in that is “who.” His last words were to “Go make disciples…” That means he’s prepared someone lost to be found. Keep asking, seeking, knocking and looking. He’s already gone ahead of you.