October 24, 2005

Redefining Disciple

Over the weekend I used a video from the Nooma collection during my Sunday morning sermon. The video, titled Dust, is a teaching video from pastor Rob Bell. But these are more than just talking head, teaching videos--these are artistic.

When we think of disciple we often think only of follower or student, but Rob expands that idea greatly. To be a disciple means that you not only follow and study, but also train to do what the Rabbi does. The disciples followed Jesus and learned from Him with full expectation that they would be able to do the things Jesus was doing.

How little we understand about our role. We sell ourselves so short of all that God desires for us. Jesus went through the towns proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God. He healed people, cared for people, loved people, and forgave them. We, too, can do the things Jesus did. I realized, while reading Power Healing by John Wimber, that we believe God can heal and that He talks to us, but we really don't believe it will happen. We wait until someone is practically on their death before we pray for them. No wonder we get very few answers to our prayers-we wait too long!

As a disciple I am able to do the things my teacher does. Jesus told the disciples they would do what He did and greater because He was going to be sitting next to the Father interceding for them. He does the same for us. Maybe it is time we stepped out, and prayed for something bold; for something radical. Maybe its time we believed God can still do the miracles we see Him do in the Bible.

We are more than just followers--we are doers. We are not called to sit on the sidelines and spectate. We are called to do the works of Jesus.

Now I am not one given to radically charismatic things, but I do believe God desires to work through us the same works done through Jesus. I believe God desires to heal people, forgive people, love people, challenge people, and, yes, even raise the dead. I don't know why some seem to see more of these things happen than others. Maybe it is because they simply expect them to happen. They anticipate God's presence and power, and offer it freely to others. We are not allowed to hoard God's power. It has been given freely to us, and we must give it freely to others.

Maybe that is why the Gospel lacks the power to transform--we are not really giving it away to others. We are looking to escape hell or make it into heaven or have our sins forgiven or released from our guilt. Maybe we need to give it all away. Maybe we need to be completely free with God's grace and forgiveness for others. Jesus certainly seemed to give it out free of charge.

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