The coronavirus has spread throughout the globe and impacted not only the health of millions of people but also daily routines and everyday tasks. But thanks to the unsung heroes who have put themselves in the path of the virus to keep our world operating as normal as possible (in far-from-normal times), we can still get groceries, receive mail, and be treated at the hospital. (more…)
Because of coronavirus, many churches have fast figured out how to live stream their church services and create online small groups to disciple members. But now they are facing a new challenge: How do you love people well who have COVID-19 when you can’t visit them in the hospital or in their home? [Read more…]
Sundown tonight marks the beginning of Passover, a weeklong feast instituted by God in Leviticus 23:4–8. For thousands of years, Jewish families around the world have gathered on this night to recount God’s command to mark their homes with the blood an unblemished lamb, and how those who obeyed were spared from the final plague: death of the firstborn. They remember how God then miraculously brought them out of slavery in Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (Deut 5:6, 15). [Read more…]
March 17 is the day set aside to remember St. Patrick, but there’s more to his story than legends of driving snakes into the sea or using shamrocks to teach about the Trinity.
Here are 7 historical facts about St. Patrick and how his life impacted the spread of Christianity in Ireland. [Read more…]
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, it’s not only impacting church gatherings across the nation (many are scrambling to get their churches online fast), but some states are shutting down everything except groceries, pharmacies, and take-out restaurants. Many people across the nation are observing social distancing, meaning they’re staying home and avoiding crowds. And yesterday, the CDC recommended banning gatherings over 50 people for 8 weeks. [Read more…]
It’s women’s history month—and Sunday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. To celebrate, we’re highlighting 11 Christian women in Church history who served God in both extraordinary and ordinary ways. [Read more…]
The Bible establishes specific qualifications for pastors (see 1 Pet 5:3, 1 Tim 3:2–7, Titus 1:8, Eph 6:4). But above all, they are to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12)—a tall responsibility.
Today is Pastor Appreciation Day, and to honor the work pastors do for the sake of the gospel, we’re sharing about four pastors who lived out 1 Timothy 4:12 and loved God’s people well. [Read more…]
When Jesus told his disciples to “make disciples,” it wasn’t a suggestion. He didn’t say, “I really think you should make disciples.” He didn’t say, “Boy, I really wish someone would disciple the nations.” He used the imperative voice—he made a command.
But thankfully, he didn’t just tell us to make disciples, he also told us how. And he did it through three participles: “go,” “baptize,” and “teach.” Discipleship is different from sharing the gospel with people we come across here and there. It’s a focused intent to move someone from new believer to mature believer who is prepared to disciple others.
Jesus chose 12 men to disciple during his three years of earthly ministry. They traveled together, shared meals, and learned from Jesus daily. He would speak to crowds and heal people, but Jesus taught the disciples privately. He explained his lordship, the parables he used when preaching, and encouraged the disciples in their faith.
What we can learn from this example is that disciplining someone is an intensely personal experience. You’re showing a person how to devote their lives entirely to Christ and his will. You get to help them learn to live out what they believe.
Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of the person(s) whom he wants you to disciple. Don’t worry about being a perfect example—that’s Jesus’ role. You can, however, emulate simple things Jesus did with the 12 disciples like sharing meals, studying Scripture, and sharing the gospel.
Jesus tells us to go to all nations. The command to “go” doesn’t mean you have to be a missionary to follow Jesus’ will. However, it may mean you have to step out of your comfort zone. God may be calling you to disciple someone you know but don’t have much in common with. That’s okay! God will give you the wisdom to connect and befriend them.
Jesus specifically chose the 12 men, but he interacted with each of them differently.
He was especially close to three of them: Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1). John, however, was the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). John was present for very intimate moments of Jesus’ life. He witnessed the transfiguration, was entrusted with caring for Jesus’ mother, and was given special revelation to write the book of Revelation.
Isn’t it interesting how Jesus had different levels of connection with the 12 disciples? It’s not necessary to be best friends with someone to help them understand their faith. God wants us to take the first step of reaching out, and he will guide us the rest of the way.
Baptism is a sign and seal of our salvation, of our being made dead to sin and alive in God through Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12).
Although there is some debate about how and when to baptize people (sprinkle with water? Fully immerse? Baptize as infants, or after a period of testing to ensure sincere faith?), there is no doubt about the command to be baptized.
Not only does it publicly mark us as Christians, it is a declaration from God himself that we belong to him.
There’s nothing that matters more than someone knowing Jesus as Savior. It changes their life on earth and eternity. What’s incredible is that God chose people to share the good news of salvation through Jesus.
You may feel unqualified to teach others about Jesus, but he equips those he calls. Consider this: Paul wrote most of the New Testament. Before his conversion, Paul persecuted the Church, and many Christians were understandably frightened of him after his salvation.
The church at Antioch commissioned Barnabas to accompany Paul on his first missionary journey. Barnabas was a faithful believer whose name means “son of encouragement.” Paul would face unbelievable challenges and persecution. But God provided him a friend and encourager in Barnabas. He was never alone and had a someone to lean on throughout his trials.
You don’t have to memorize loads of Scripture to teach about the love of Christ. Start with your salvation experience. God has given you a unique story that only you can tell. Remember, you’re never alone on your journey. You have a “Barnabas” in the Holy Spirit. He is your encourager, and you can depend on the him to provide the right words at the right time.
Acts 1:8 ends with a promise from Christ: “I will be with you always.” In this context, “always” means the whole of every day. In other words, Jesus never leaves us alone as we reach out to disciple people. The Holy Spirit will give you wisdom and direction as you lead someone closer to Jesus. It’s a promise he gives that will never end.
Now that you’ve learned more about discipleship, what’s the next step you need to take? Maybe it’s calling someone to schedule coffee so you can get to know them more. It could be starting a Bible study so you can lead others to a better understanding of the Bible. Take some time to pray and ask God how you can obey his call to make disciples.
Make sure to download your free guide, How to Lead a Women’s Bible Study.
Part of the beauty of Christianity is in its enduring relevance for all people in every age.
Charles Octavius Boothe (1845–1924), an African-American man born into slavery and later freed, became a pastor to help average or uneducated people understand the gospel message.
In this excerpt adapted from Plain Theology for Plain People, Boothe explains how Christ’s resurrection relates to a firm, unshakeable faith.
It will be seen that from the resurrection of Christ there followed several exceedingly important results.
It established his perfect truthfulness. He had foretold that he would rise again within a specified time, and also within a very brief time. As he went out to the Mount of Olives, he had made a distinct promise to his disciples that, after rising again, he would go before them into Galilee. Some of them seem to have been very slow of understanding. For as Peter, James, and John came down with the Lord from the mount of transfiguration:
He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. (Mark 9:9, 10).
But after the promise made on the way to the Mount of Olives, they probably had more correct views. All that he had said to them would probably be remembered, and the fulfillment of his promise was a convincing proof of his truthfulness. They would naturally say of every other gracious word that he had spoken: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance.” A failure to fulfill one promise would have opened the way in their minds to doubts as to all his promises and all of his teaching.
A failure to fulfill one promise would have opened the way in their minds to doubts as to all his promises and all of his teaching.
Again, Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God, with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” It was God’s testimony to his Sonship, and to his own full satisfaction with what Jesus had done as the substitute of sinners in bearing their sin in his own body on the cross.
The way thus was prepared for calling on men to believe on the Lord Jesus, with a faith firm, strong, and that cannot be shaken—a faith that honors God our Savior and gives rest to the troubled soul.1
Pick up your copy of Plain Theology for Plain People on Faithlife Ebooks, and check out other books geared toward spiritual growth.