Category Archives: Discipleship

From Disciple to Apostle – Their Shift is Our Shift

Jesus didn’t just teach his disciples. He also sent them out to teach what he taught (the kingdom) and do what he did (heal people). We see this in the sending of the 12 and the 72 in the gospels.

In Matthew 10:1-2 we get a very interesting shift in language,

” Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles…

Why the shift in just two verses, back to back, from disciple to apostle? Verse 5 tells us,

“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…”

The word for apostles in verse 2 and the word for sent in verse 5 are the noun and verb equivalents of basically the same root word. The noun is a “sent one” (we just say apostle which is a transliteration rather than a translation) and the verb is “to send.”

The word disciples means a “follower.” The disciples don’t stop being disciples once they are sent. They are both disciples and apostles until Jesus ascends into heaven. From that point on they aren’t following him, boots on the ground, they are sent by him via the Great commission and Acts 1:6-8 which makes them “sent ones” or apostles.

We need to embrace this shift as well. First, we need to more fully embrace being a disciple/follower. We need to learn from Jesus, sit at his feet in reading and studying the gospels to learn to do life his way. Then we need to be sent out with the message of the kingdom.

I believe many have been weak in this across the board – we don’t do discipleship well and we don’t send well (we have ministers and missionaries for that) so we don’t expect much from the congregation in terms of personal commitment to these biblical priorities. But we should expect much more.

We have to embrace discipleship before we can be equipped to be sent. We don’t get to the second because we never did the first. What is worse, we send people on mission (the second) without them understanding discipleship (the first). This is backwards. We have to understand and practice discipleship before the sending makes any sense because what are we to do when we get where we are going? Make disciples. We are sending people to do what they don’t know how to do because they never went through it themselves because the generations before them got caught up on engaging their time and resources in theological debate more than disciple making. We are now experiencing the fall out of that approach. Our sending is weak because our discipling is weak.

It is time to make disciples, starting in our own congregations. When we do that well the sending will happen on its own and it will involve far more than missionaries and ministers. It will involve all Christians.


Striking Parallels Between Jesus’ & His Disciples’ Ministry in Matthew

I am working through the Gospels in the Sunday morning sermons right now because I believe Jesus is to be our single, solitary focus and that everything else must find its place around him. We have been through his birth, his baptism and his temptation. At this point in the Gospels, Jesus launches into hisContinue Reading

“Hear O Israel” – The Importance of Passing on Faith, Faulty Ministry Models and a Bright Future

The generation that was taught the Shema by Moses in Deutereonomy 6 was the same generation whose parents died in the wilderness. They were the same generation whose great grand kids would fall from faith after the death of Joshua in Judges 2 where the Bible says Joshua died and a whole generation grew upContinue Reading

You Cannot Be a True Disciple and Be Unloving

Some who claim so stridently to be true disciples based on their obedience to every jot and tittle and even tittes that aren’t there have missed this…I don’t even have any other commentary on this point, just these words from Jesus, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,Continue Reading

Pura Vida

We learned in Costa Rica that the way they say something is cool is “pura vida”…the pure life. It is on license plates, bumper stickers, shirts…you name it. You hear it as a greeting and as a reaction to something great. Here is what wikipedia has to say about it, “Pura vida is a characteristicContinue Reading

The “Cost” of Integrity

There is a mountain in China called Mt. Hua Shan that hosts one of the most dangerous walking paths in the world. You climb all over a mountain side, holding onto a chain while walking across planks high above the mountainside. Have a look at how scary this climb looks here. Do you know whatContinue Reading

January 2014 Issue of Wineskins Has Begun – People Who Shaped Our Faith

The them for the January 2014 issue of Wineskins is “People Who Shaped Our Faith“. I encourage you to go there and read the articles as they appear during the month of January. I will keep you posted here about new articles as they go up but also make sure to subscribe to wineskins.org IContinue Reading

The Closest Thing I Have Ever Had to Intentional Discipleship

was when I was a doctoral student at the University of Florida. This thought never occurred to me until my friend Eric and I were talking about graduate education and he brought up the point that it really is a discipling process. They groom you to become like your professors. Often, they pair you withContinue Reading

Karate Kid, Discipleship, and Why Some Are Leaving Christianity

Mr. Miyagi knew discipleship. He knew what it took to train someone to be able to do the things he did. Miyagi trained Daniel this way, not because cars needed to be washed but because these were the moves Daniel had to repeat enough times that it became natural to him (think muscle memory). WhenContinue Reading

May Guest Post Series: Women of Faith

In the month of May we are going to highlight some of the ladies out there for their perspective on faith, following Jesus and more. I am really looking forward to this for a few reasons. First, I am really appreciative that they are willing to contribute to this and I look forward to readingContinue Reading

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