I never understood exactly what this sense of destiny and the drive behind it was for, but by the end of my school years, I knew it had something to do with God. I felt it more in my gut than in my head. It was on my first ship the USS New Orleans where I began to come up into the plan that God had laid out for me – before I had ever been born. There were two different vessels aboard this ship that at some level, of their own free will had made themselves available for God’s use. They would soon be pouring into me as others had poured into them. Andy was one of those guys who was a lover, where others would be fighters. He was so full of love. I was a fighter. Andy was from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and wasn’t but a few years older than I was. I think he was in his early twenties, and he was a Machinist. I was an Electrician, which was just a necessary delay on the way to becoming a Navy Diver. As you had to learn a trade enabling you to do something else aboard ship when you weren’t diving.
Lieutenant Commander Jay Snell was the ships Chaplain, and by his own admission hadn’t become a true Christian until after seminary when he met some real Believers aboard what I remember to be his first ship, many years earlier. Upon meeting these men who were walking in the power of God, he realized he was not even a believer. He had simply thought he was because of his religious training and background. It was from these two men that the first penetrating seeds of God’s Word and seeds of His Love would be sown into a cold and damaged heart, at just the time the Lord knew I would receive the precious gift without destroying it. It was here, aboard a ship of war that I would begin the long journey of discovery. That the battle was not won by those who were strongest, and that the warfare was never between men and machines as it appeared. But had always and only been fought and won in the Spirit. The process by which this godly young man and this older and wiser man of God established the framework for forming Christ in me is called discipleship.
Which is nothing more than Christian apprenticeship, is intended for everybody, and is the way ordained by God to the deeper things and the higher life He has always had for those who would have It. One loved me like a brother, the other like a wise master builder took me under his wing and taught me, instructed me, in the things of God. Neither of them had everything, but only some things. They both had their parts to play in this sometimes bewildering drama of my life, and I still have those parts with me today. Like those who came before me, I am pouring into others, who are pouring into others, who are pouring into others. Some of the disciples of my disciples have disciples. I am in fact over a nationwide discipleship network. It’s not very big, but it is on both coasts and in several states – and only exists at all because it is God’s thing, not mine. I’m just doing what He told me, which is actually what He’s told everybody. What I’m doing shouldn’t be the exception – it should be the norm.
The christianity of most who believe themselves to be Christian is not working for them because they haven’t been discipled. It is a getting up under someone who has what you don’t – so that you can get it from them. If they were a vessel full of liquid, and you the empty vessel needing to be filled, then the pipeline, the conduit, the funnel connecting the 2 of you would be obedience. Not obedience in some random arbitrary manner – but obedience to God’s Word. Discipleship is all about accountability. The accountability of keeping your word, which was given in the form of a promise, when you made that promise to change. Which is all that Repentance is – a promise to change. You cannot do it on your own, it is quite impossible. You need help, a lot of help, and a large part of the help God has sent is Discipleship.
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to change – and be made into the image of Christ. If you have not at least begun the process of salvation, which is the name of this being changed – you won’t make it to Heaven. It is not accomplished with a prayer anymore than your 1st year on the job ended by filling out the paperwork to get hired. No, that was all done beforehand. If you are a member of the clergy, no use quoting sola fide – Faith is an act not a thought. And yes it very much is Faith in Christ and His completed work on the Cross, but you have a part in response to that. Most who call themselves christians have very intentionally not done their part. Some are just ignorant due to a gross shortage of Teachers in the Body of Christ. Not because they haven’t been Called – few have answered the Call. From Genesis to Revelation, God ties all of your Love for Him and all of your Belief in Him to one thing . . . Obedience.
Now in doing our part, God has given all of us the ability to become hungry, willing or obedient – so we can be discipled. We in fact call these the 3 doorways to discipleship, and teach the disciples to look for one of these doorways being open as a confirmation of who they are to disciple. I am not an Evangelist so I don’t take my guys out to the street corner and look for followers, and I tell them not to do that because that is not the Call, or the anointing that backs up that Call – on my life. And in ministering the real Biblical Christianity you want to do only what you are anointed to do. Which means what God has given you power to do, because He has called you to do it. The thing so many won’t take the time to do – is to find out what God has called them to do. They are too busy doing what they’ve called themselves to do, or what someone else thought was a good idea – but they never asked God.
There are many good books and many good movies, but most of the books that have ever been written – should not have been. It’s the same with movies, songs, restaurants, even ministry. I’d say on average probably the top ten per cent in any field are doing something God put in their heart, whether they knew it or not. Which means in every area of human endeavor most of the people in the earth, including most of the people in the church, are not doing anything God told them to do. Which is where The Blessing is at – and the only place His Blessing is at. Remember blessing means empowered to prosper, not claiming your own success. The power comes from Him, not positive confession. If you are not empowered by Him, you are not Blessed. It is not competition that makes room for anyone, it is your gift that makes room for you.
Instead of living in His Blessing people are just doing something, anything, to keep themselves busy, so they don’t go crazy. Busy making a living so they can feed themselves and pay their bills while waiting for death to finally catch up with them. Well, that’s not what God calls life. Jesus came to deliver us from all that mundane dreary unrewarding unfulfilling frustrating existence that makes up our life in our town. God has something much better for everyone on the planet. He said if we will follow Him; we’ll eat, live, drive the very best of the land. All the time, everyday. In fact, the greek word for His kind of life is zoe. The God kind of Life, the uncreated life. It is one of the main things Christ came to do; to change us from created to begotten, from creatures to sons. It would be like a man changing a painting or statue (something he created) into another man (something he did not create but could only beget). As C.S. Lewis explains in Mere Christianity, you can only beget something of your own kind. To beget is to give birth to something of the same kind as yourself.
Let me break down the difference between these 3 doorways so they can be more clearly seen, for those who actually intend to do something about this book – and make some disciples (of the Lord Jesus Christ, not of you). About 3 years ago I was discipling about 6 or 7 guys over the same period of time, but not all together, and not at the same hour or day, but always at least once a week. As I typically get together with one at a time for at least 2 hours, sometimes 3 or 4 hours, as the Lord directs. But we set a time and a day and stick to it because one of the first things the Enemy attempts to attack is the stability of the meeting, and the keeping of your word. Our entire society and culture are against these things as well, but then everything about the one true God opposes the mainstream of fallen man and his way of doing things.
So one of the first things I inevitably have to teach those whom God sends me to minister His Word to – is to simply keep their word. And I’m talking about guys ranging from their late teens to mid forties, from military to millionaire, across the socio-economic divide. But before I go off on the importance of keeping your word (which could take up a book), let me get back to these doorways as it related to four men in three regular meetings. The first man was a realtor who had his own office, the second man had a few million from successful investing that he had earned from the company he worked for. Both of these men were married with children and in their 40’s. The other two gentlemen were friends and roommates of each other. One was in his late twenties, the other in his early 30’s. I discipled these two together. I will start with these last two in just a minute. To give some idea socially they were your basic blue collar working class guys. But first let me say this.
This is not about any specific individual[s] and what they did or did not do. It is about discipleship. Nothing said is defamatory or demeaning in any way. So I am quite intentionally avoiding many specifics, including their names. Both out of respect and for the sake of focus and staying on mission. Which is to get you as much of the help being offered here, so that you can in turn help others. But I do want you to see enough to make their humanity visible, and therefore the application of what’s being said as practical. By showing a partial picture of four men not so different from you and me, who probably entered this process with what they would consider the best intentions, but did not go as far as they should have. Showing you why they did not, as it relates to these doorways. Which in one sense, are nothing more than heart postures.
All of these men failed discipleship in that they all quit the process and did not allow the Lord to bring to completion the very thing He does with discipleship. Which is to get Christ formed in you (more than He is now) and establish His Kingdom in the earth. By establishing it in the lives of men, who then must help establish it in the lives of others. Until a disciple is birthed into his gift call or ministry and becomes part of a body of disciples as Scripture commands, he did not finish the process.
It is my hope that you will get what they would not, and perhaps at some level could not [yet], and go further than they. The hope of every good father. And though I am not a father after the flesh, the Lord has made me one in the Spirit – to many. To the ones who stayed the course. It has taken Him years to bring me around to accepting that fact. He needs more spiritual fathers, and He will make some of you into a father, if you let Him. And many will be drawn to your Light, but it’s not about that. It is about those who want His Light. Which is where all of your light comes from.
These are all good men, as are all the men I have the honor to disciple. Most of them still go to church as far as I know. All of them got some of the help God sends through ministry (mine in this case) to come up higher, all of them. Then again the point of true ministry is not to get them accept Jesus but to get them up under His Authority. God did not send His Son to back up your plan. He sent Him to get you up on His Plan. People as a whole just don’t like that, so very few end up really getting ahold of it. Some of the many I’ve discipled got enough to help one or two others come up higher. But only a few stayed the course, got filled up with the spiritual seed of God’s Word enough to change their lives, and are now changing the lives of others by pouring into them. They are my core disciples. Which means they stuck with it until what God had for them through the Office I stand in was formed in them. Being brought to maturity, until they in turn had actual disciples themselves.
Neither myself nor these core disciples are in any way special, but only people who were available for God to use. You can be too. Which in itself took many years as a part time minister for me to come up into. It was my own limited availability that no doubt was directly responsible for the lack of impact I was having for so long, as I was busy living my own life (selfishly) trying to get laid instead of following the One who had laid down His own life so that I could have it. Many are called, few are chosen. The chosen are just those who stick to it no matter what, and who’s commitment to fulfill the Call of God on their life – is non negotiable.
So these first two were Obedient. Which is to say, they showed up to the meetings on time (which was twice a week for them), and did everything I told them while they were present with me. But they weren’t Willing in the sense of agreeing in their heart posture. They did it all out of a sense of duty and discipline, believing it would help them, that there was something good in it. Much like the military or any other form of public service. They also lacked hunger, in that the books and tapes (and cd’s) which were the homework and easily half the grade (as a teacher would say) were listened to and read much slower and with less frequency than required for them to make it to the next ones, of which there were many. Remember this whole thing works by seed-time-and harvest, which is the chief principle by which the Kingdom of God operates. The first step is sowing seed. Lots of seed.
The guy with a little money had a lot of pride and a strong spirit of control that could not suffer him to sit under my authority for two hours, and study the Bible and the things of God together. He really could not do anything unless he was in charge, or at least in the limelight. He knew this himself, and as it was exposed through the course of our relationship – he was pretty upfront about it. So he was neither Willing or Obedient, but he was very Hungry. I fed the hunger. He went through more books and tapes (all good) than anyone I’ve ever poured into. I mean he frequently went through a book a week, along with an entire set of teaching tapes (all from different Anointed Ministers) which I required listening to multiple times – so that within 6 months, he had absorbed all I had at the time. He was so hungry, thank God! But he was not Willing or Obedient, nor did he become so. He did the homework very well but he would not attend the class, which was required.
The last guy, the realtor, was the one I discipled the longest (of these 4) and has since come up into a level of ministry himself – as he now heads the prison ministry at his church, along with another disciple of mine who had come up into the 5 fold ministry as a Teacher, while being discipled. This realtor brother was very Willing, in that he was just open to do what ever it took to get Christ formed in him. To bear the required fruit of the Holy Spirit as commanded in the Bible to be a true Christian. But he was neither Hungry or Obedient. He was chronically late, which affected his word in other areas – as it is all connected, and put into practice very little of what he was given through our fellowship, twice a week. He was also getting through very little of the homework in the year and a half we were together.
Now none of the doorways are enough by themselves to truly become a disciple of Christ, anymore than the doorway to your house is the house itself. They are simply entry points, and in fact, if you possess any one of these – you are supposed to let the one you have help take you to the others, because you will need some level of all three of them to make it. To become what God wants to make of you. We are all to become what we behold. The Bible tells us that we are the house God has come to live in. So hunger eats. It relates to desire, to what you want – and you have to want this to get it. When of course the truth is, most of us don’t want it. I didn’t. I had to ask God to give me the desire for Him and His way of doing things, and He did. He gave it to me, and is still giving it to me.
That is what the Kingdom of God is: God and His way of doing things. Your desire follows your attention, remember. Whatever you pay attention to, that is what you will desire. We are born with a nature that opposes God and finds worship difficult. I mean the worship of God. We all worship something, and do it easily. We do it naturally. Beauty, strength, knowledge, innocence, power, independence, money, drugs (for some), being worshipped (for others). All of these things have been turned into gods. As long as it’s a god, it can be worshipped. You are not supposed to and you do not have the right to worship anything or anyone other than God. We were made to worship Him, and worship was made only for Him. You do not have the right to do whatever you want, nobody does. You only have the right to do what is right. What we all have is the free will to do wrong, but we do not have the right to do wrong. God Himself has given us the choice, and the more you understand what worship is and what it says, the more clearly you will see that all true worship belongs only to God.
A god is what ever you turn to in your hour of need, whatever you draw your strength and your substance from – that is your god. God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, the God of the Bible, is our Heavenly Father and wants us to turn to Him for all our needs – but you have to let Him be God. You were made for Him, but you have to decide of your own free will to get up under that. That’s what Idolatry is, creating and worshipping false gods. God didn’t make these things gods, we made them gods. We did it out of our rebellious fallen nature, to worship anything but Him. That is not okay – it’s a Sin. In fact, it’s one of the Ten Commandments. Which are actually just ten of the hundreds, a summary of them if you will. Just as the two greatest commandments are a summary of the ten and all the rest. They’re hierarchical. His Kingdom is one of rank, structure and authority. You can go just as high as you are willing to obey – and you have got to be hungry enough to obey on that level.
Willingness speaks of an openness of the Heart, a yielding. It’s not the part that does a thing (that’s Obedience), it’s the part that wants to do it. You may think that these are just different ways of saying the same thing, but they are not. They are completely different parts that are related to one another, just like every organ and member of your body, every person in your family, every citizen of a nation, every animal in the earth, and every planet in the solar system. Such diversity of design and purpose, with such specific function both within itself and as part of a whole, is to be found only in creation and nowhere at all in evolution. Which was a lie the day it was told.
Science does not even attempt to explain the why and the who. It cannot, being only a part of the creation itself. It tries only to do away with them, but finds it cannot do that either. Just a bunch of made up, juvenile rantings in the simile of a very bad cartoon. Where none of the characters can even stand on their own, and are impossible to fit together. Johnny Quest and Bugs Bunny were much better, and much smarter. It is God that the academia and the mind of man are against, and always have been. The Bible says having a form of godliness they deny the power thereof. They are living in every way off of a single drop of His juice, yet continually deny that He gave it to them. Just as continually and quite intentionally, they forget that their collective life hangs precariously on the strength of a single breath. Take that single breath away then it is over. All of their arguments come to nothing. It was never that the Savior would not have them, He came to save them. It is that man in his rebellion refuses to come in. If he stays there he cannot be redeemed. All are invited, but so few respond. Even fewer respond properly.
Obedience of course involves doing something whether we feel like it or not. The problem is this current generation (roughly meaning those born after 1960) whose culture and society were formed after the breakdown and upheaval of the 60’s – are the most addicted, distracted, self absorbed and emotionally ruptured people in the history of the world as a Society; and thereby are made weak, incredibly weak – on both an individual and national level. On top of that they are ruled by their feelings, and led by their emotions. All of it is a set up for who’s coming, the son of Perdition, the man of Sin. They’ll be easy pickings for this Antichrist, who is just about to be revealed.
Never have so many done so little for so few with such vast resources, and I’m not just talking about America. What you spend on yourself you cannot spend on others, and even those of us who have given should have given more – and not just to the poor. It is the U.S., Britain, France and Germany combined that make up the West in wealth and influence as the modern Inheritors of what God began in Greece and later Rome more than 20 centuries ago. Only the Good parts were from Him, what all men have done with what was given them will be Judged, very soon. Of these four, France will lose the most people to this coming deceiver, as they are the most deceived, being already the most God less.
It is in the tires of your Obedience where the rubber meets the road, but it is the engine of your Willingness that moves the tires. Hunger would be the gasoline that fuels the engine, or hydrogen if you prefer something cleaner. In their mechanical nature they are limited to the laws of physics and must all work together to perform the thing they were made for. In other words, they cannot contradict each other, hypocrisy is not a possibility. Not so with the Human machine, we are full of contradictions and hypocrisy. We constantly say things we don’t mean, and mean something completely other than what we just said. You may think that people just get their words wrong, but that is not so. Wrong words come out of a wrong heart, and the Bible says so.
Every mouth problem is a heart problem, and all of us have both. It’s one of the main things discipleship deals with, as it is one of the most pronounced characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven – No Lying. Not even little ones. In fact everything is so Right in Heaven on levels much higher than those we live on here, that up there – the thought is the action. You think it and it is being done. I am of course describing method, not potential. You can see how one lie would shipwreck the whole thing. God will not come down to our level of deception. He insists that we come up to His level of Truth. But only for those who want it here and now.
We must always remember that God’s Way of doing things is just the opposite of the world’s way of doing things. In the world’s way we have adopted seeing is believing as such a normative stance, but in God’s Way just the inverse is true: only unbelief is moved by what it sees. Faith is moved by what is not seen. Faith is all about what you cannot see, if you can see it, it is not faith. It is by faith that we must all enter into discipleship despite the failings and inadequacy of men. Our faith is not in them, it is in God. Jesus ordered the making of disciples from all tribes in all the world. Yet He did not say this to all the world, He said it those who had been discipled already. His disciples could only make disciples because they had been discipled themselves. Just as I could only make disciples because I have been discipled. There is not some other way.
Full Grown Ministry