Can We See the Signs?…

Read: Jeremiah 7-9
Marked: Jeremiah 8:7, “Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.”

Birds, and other animals, know when the seasons change and fly south for the winter, or begin to gather food to survive, or prepare to hibernate. Not so people. It seems we go merrily on our way as if nothing is happening and not seeing that God’s judgment on us comes ever nearer.

Jesus, in Matthew 16:2-3 said, to those who tested Him, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’, and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening’. Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”

Many things are happening around the world today that Scripture has foretold and warned us about, but we don’t see it or listen to it. No wonder Paul warned destruction would come like a thief in the night or labour pains upon a pregnant woman (1 Thessalonians 1-3).


Discipleship Matters – Growing Deeper as a Disciple

What is your present understanding about the promises of God? How have you experienced a promise of God?

In 1985 I attended a conference with Paul Drake. Paul was the Navigator leader and he was always talking about how God wants to bless us. He would quote from 2 Corinthians 1:20 which says: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ.” Wow! What a statement. I was floored when I thought about that. I have read promises in the Bible, but this verse says that in Christ they are “Yes.” We have a wonderful privilege that as we are in Christ we can reach out and claim these promises of God in our lives.

In 2 Peter 1:3-4 it says:

His Divine Power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires.

1. What does it mean that he has given us everything for life and godliness?
2. What does God’s only glory and excellence have to do with God’s promises?
3. What will these promises provide for us in the future?
4. What life situations are you experiencing that need God’s promises?

5. What is your understanding of how you can claim God’s promises?
6. What will be your steps in going about studying His Word and claiming His promises?
7. When will you work on these steps?

(If you want more resources in regard to God’s promises you can go to Design for Discipleship on NavPress and order Book 3 of the Design for Disciples to study more verses on the Promises of God.)

When I began to believe this, I thought I would claim some promises from God. As I read and studied the promises in the Bible they came alive to me and I began to make them “MY” promises. One such promise helped my wife and I to trust God for his provision in our work with the ministry of “THE NAVIGATORS” As we were fundraising, we decided with the Spirit’s help to claim Hebrews 13:5-6, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Which is a promise from Deuteronomy 31:6) and vs. 6 says “So we say with confidence, THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME?” (This promise comes from Psalm. 118:6, 7). It was this promise of provision that has sustained my wife, Mary Jane, and I for the last 45 years of ministry.

For further information check out:

The Price of Iniquity…

Read: Jeremiah 4-6
Marked: Jeremiah 5:25, Your iniquities have turned these [things] away, And your sins have withheld good from you.

In spite of God’s call to Israel and Judah to turn from their ways (C4:14), they did not listen and continued in their sin. So God brings His judgment on them (C4:27).

They have forsaken Him and sworn by false gods. They committed adultery and dealt treacherously with God (5:7, 11). And they believed God wouldn’t punish them for it (5:12).

And this is still how some view God believing they can do what they want and God either doesn’t exist or won’t hold them accountable. But Scripture says otherwise. God will judge us and it is our iniquities that cause us to think this, a trap we can fall into, until it is too late.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Discipleship Matters – Growing Deeper as a Disciple

What is your current vision for maturity? Where do you see yourself in that vision? What are the steps to get there?

Pastor Jones was trying to figure out how to provide a pathway of discipleship in his church. He was frustrated by all the activities, and yet he could not effectively discern where people were in their maturity journeys. The pastor was coached to try to clarify the intended future of his ministry. The coach knew that the pastor wanted “discipleship” but was unclear where the intended future was. The coach shared Matthew 9:36-38 and asked, “What does this passage indicate about the current reality in the work of the kingdom and what was needed? The pastor answered quickly, “The laborers are few.” “If this is the case,” asked the coach, “then what is the intended future?” The pastor replied, “We need more laborers.” The coach asked, “What would that look like?”

The pastor answered that they needed equipped laborers who were mature and knew how to do the work of the ministry of disciple making. The coach asked if the pastor knew how to develop a pathway of maturity in his church. He answered that he did not have that skill. The coach then offered to make a resource available called the “pipeline, pathway, or the funnel.” Let’s look at how to coach this Scripture pathway as the maturing disciple flows from one step to the next. These stages describe the overall movement of a disciple of Jesus toward maturity. There can be several words that describe this process. We will use this illustration as a jumping off point.
Let’s study this illustration and then I will ask some coaching questions.

“The harvest is plentiful. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into the harvest.”

Let’s look at this illustration and Scripture.

1. What is God’s goal for maturity? Colossians 1:28,29; Romans 8:29.
2. What Bible verses have you studied that speak to this maturity pathway?
3. From this illustration what are the stages of maturity? What verses stand out to you?
4. What Scriptures are in you ministry tool box to assist someone in the maturity journey?
5. How does this illustration help you?
6. What are the personal implications of your own maturity and where do you want to go

7. What other steps can you take to learn how to implement this pathway and then, with your team, develop this pathway?
8. What other books or tools can you read and study on this subject? (Ways of an Alongsider)
9. When would you like to get started on this project?
10. What can I do to aid you in understanding this process?

For further information check out:

Be Meek…

Read: Zephaniah 1-3
Marked: Zephaniah 2:3, Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger.

These chapters deal with the Day of the Lord, the end of all things. The meek are described as those who uphold justice, seek righteousness and humility.

In a number of places in Scripture we find the promise of God to hide His faithful ones from the wrath to come. But it shouldn’t be the promise of escape from wrath that spurs us to justice, righteousness, and humility, but the recognition that apart from Christ we are lost in our sins.

It seems some are more interested in the promise of a crown than they are in the cross. But Jesus didn’t say take up your crown, but take up your cross (Luke 9:23).

If we are to be hidden, let’s be hidden in Christ and His justice, righteousness and humility. It will be the meek who will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

Discipleship Matters – Growing Deeper as a Disciple

I STRUGGLE WITH OBEDIENCE: How have you struggled with obedience in the past? How has that hindered you? What is the specific area you are struggling with obedience?

I was born into a family that taught us that God wanted us to be obedient to our Mom and Dad. It was essential because of how God had established His law in the Bible.. This is the 5th of the 10 commandments given to Moses and the children of Israel. This was built into my life as we grew up. I wanted to obey my mom and dad. However, the time I damaged the Volkswagen I was dishonest and did not tell my dad that I had dented the car. I was ashamed and wanted to hide my error. I was afraid. My dad helped me to learn that I should always be honest with him. Being honest was a form of obedience. My grandpa would always say “Tell the truth even if the stars fall”. How do I refresh my heart to obey?

The disciples had just been invited to follow Jesus. He gathered them up and taught what is called the Sermon on the Mount. In the first 16 verses, he outlined 8 areas of thinking which relate to the foundations of obedience.

Matthew 5:1-11

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His
disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1. When you think of obedience, what comes to your mind?
2. What can we learn from Matthew 5:1-16 about the obedience to Jesus?
3. What part of Matthew 5:1-16 do you resonate with the most?
4. How does understanding the Kingdom of God relate to obedience?
5. What hinders you from loving obedience to Christ? Name an area that is hard for you?

6. What would be a vision for future obedience in that area?
7. What lies at the root of your motivation for obedience?
8. What kinds of foundational work do you see you need to grow in to strengthen your obedience?
9. Which one of these beatitudes will need some work?
10. What steps can you take to grow in these areas of life?

For further information check out:

Ignorance isn’t Bliss…

Read: 2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35
Marked: 2 Kings 22:20, “Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.” ’ ” So they brought back word to the king.

Like Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20, God reveals to Josiah that he will die before God brings calamity upon Judah (V15-17). Josiah will be spared from seeing it. Unlike Hezekiah, who was happy to not see what God was about to do, Josiah set to work to bring spiritual reforms to bring his people back to God (C23).

The judgment of God upon us is inevitable, but that shouldn’t stop us from proclaiming the grace and mercy of God to people so that they turn to God in repentance and receive salvation.

Knowledge and Trust…

Read: Nahum 1-3
Marked: Nahum 1:7, The LORD [is] good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. One hundred years prior God had sent the prophet Jonah to warn them of their destruction unless they repented. They did and God relented.

Now Nahum has a vision in which he sees Nineveh, which has returned to its evil ways, and once more coming under the judgment of God.

Our relationship with God is built on knowledge and trust. No one knows us as God knows us. He knows our fears, our joy, our deepest need and longing. There is nothing that God does not know. He knows our heart.

But do we know God? Have we searched for Him? Have we listened to Him? Have we received Him as He has revealed Himself?

Many claim to know God for a time, but then turn away showing they never really knew Him or trusted in Him. Knowledge and trust isn’t for a time. Trust builds as we gain knowledge and the more we know God the more we will trust Him.

Because we know God we abide in Him. Anyone who says they know God will abide in Him and in His Word for all eternity.

Discipleship Matters – Growing Deeper as a Disciple

What is currently the first, most important driving force in your life? How would your life change if Christ was first?

Peter lived in a beautiful home in Southern California. His children were in sports, and he was very busy in his work. His wife worked full time and loved her work. They were members of a church and found that with all the activity they could only get into church once a month. They loved doing family outings, and they saved lots of money so their kids could attend college in the future. They liked praying but found themselves caught up with entertainment, parties and many social activities. Often, he found himself worried about the future. They rarely had time to read the Bible. They found themselves living the “American dream.” In his coaching session, the coach asked about his relationship with Christ. His answer was, “I find myself so busy with all that life has to offer I can’t find time to spend meaningful time with God personally. I have pursued all these activities and relationships thinking this would be my fulfillment. The reality is that I am finding my life empty, and my heart is not filled up. What should I do?” The coach asked, “Would you be willing to look at a passage that speaks to this issue in your life?” He agreed.

Colossians 1:10-20 (NIV):

10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[a] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

1. When you read verses 10-14 from Chapter 1 what do you feel?
2. Describe your experience of being transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Son he loves.
3. What comes to your mind when you think of Kingdom? List the qualities you see about the Son in verses 15-20.
4. Which quality about Jesus stands out to you?
5. What are the implications of this perspective on Jesus?

6. How do we bring these qualities to reality in our own experiences?
7. Which one would you like to meditate on first?
8. What conclusions can you draw about who Jesus is and what part he should have in your life in the Kingdom of His Son?
9. What do you know about the American Dream?
10. How does it influence the place Christ plays in your life?
11. What practical step can you take to ensure that Christ has His rightful place in your life?
12. When can you put this step into action?
13. What can I do to help you achieve this goal?

For further information check out:

For Our Defence…

Read: 2 Chronicles 32-33
Marked: 2 Chronicles 32:5, And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised [it] up to the towers, and [built] another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo [in] the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance.

Preparation for battle. How many of us prepare before we encounter opposition? Hezekiah wisely prepared the defences of the city. He built up the broken walls and made weapons and shields in abundance. However, his trust wasn’t in these things or the strength of man, but in the Lord God (V8).

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God; truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, prayer, and especially the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

We must be prepared to use these weapons before opposition comes and build up our walls of defence.