Apples of Gold
Radio Script for November 26, 2008
“Disciples Are Made One Teaching at a Time”
Hello, I’m Doug Apple…with Apples of Gold.
Last night I was surrounded by a gang of young men.
We had a special Thanksgiving communion service at church, and the teenage twins living with us decided to invite their friends.
As the time approached for communion I thought, “Some of these boys might not know the first thing about communion – or Christ, for that matter.”
At that point I came to a fork in the road. I could just let the service roll on, and whatever happened happened. Or I could take advantage of this unique teaching opportunity.
I opted for action. So I got their attention and said, “Meet me over there by the door.”
I told them all to “take a knee.” It was like football practice as they huddled around the coach. And I taught them about communion, the last supper, the body and blood, sin and forgiveness.
Then when the time came we all went together, all 11 of us, a family. And everyone knew what it was all about, because someone took the time to tell them.
This, my friend, is how discipleship happens – one teaching at a time.
It reminds me of Isaiah 28:10 which says, “…precept upon precept, line upon line…here a little, there a little.”
Most of us know the “great commission” in Matthew 28. Jesus said, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
Sometimes we think that just means getting them the Gospel; you know, bring ‘em to the Lord and He’ll take it from there. But that is actually only a sliver of the great commission. Let me tell you, the heavy lifting is found at the end of that commission. Matthew 28:20 says, “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”
Turning to Christ takes a moment. Following Christ takes the rest of your life.
When I turned to Christ I took a discipleship class. It lasted a few weeks and then it was over. But actually, discipleship class is never over.
When we think of the great commission we tend to think of evangelism. But you know what I think of? I think of teaching; teaching people to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Yes, a lot of this happens within the formal church structure. But please don’t leave it at that.
I like what it says in Deuteronomy 11:19. It’s talking about training children, but I like it for all of us. It says, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
See, all of these times are discipleship opportunities. This is how discipleship happens, one teaching opportunity at a time.
I was working with a group of guys recently and they had the radio on. The host was talking about dating, and it was definitely not a Christian show. At one point one of the young men turned to me and said, “What do you think about that?”
See, that is how discipleship opportunities come along. They may not be at 10:30 Sunday morning. They might be at five o’clock Friday. Actually they come along constantly and we need to be ready for them.
Back in the Boy Scouts we were taught two powerful words, “Be prepared.” Paul said the same thing in Second Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
One day years ago I went out for an early morning jog. I ran past a bar, and right in front I had to skip over a pool of vomit. Sickening, I know – but what an illustration.
I ran back home and grabbed a couple of my kids. I took them to the bar and showed them the vomit. And I taught them about the dangers of alcohol and the virtues of sobriety.
One night my little boy woke up scared because high winds had kicked up. I grabbed my Bible and we went outside. We faced the eerie wind, and I read him the story about the scared disciples in the boat and Jesus walking to them on the water.
Yes, he can learn that story at church with a puffy-cheeked wind gust on a flannel graph. But that doesn’t compare to learning it while you are scared, in the middle of the night, standing outside in the dark with the wind whistling all around you.
Discipleship doesn’t have to be a lesson. It can simply be a “let’s talk about this.”
Now let me ask you, have you been in church a while? Have you been on the receiving end of a lot of teaching? If so, you may not realize just how much you have to offer. A lot of wisdom you take for granted is desperately needed by others.
So watch for teaching opportunities to come along. And I think God Himself will bring them along. Be prepared. Be ready to instruct and encourage with great patience.
After all, it’s the great commission, to go and make disciples.
And this is how disciples are made – one teaching at a time.
E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
© 2008 The Arrow’s Tip
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(Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”)
Why “The Arrow’s Tip”? Each morning, after diligently seeking the Lord, I write Apples of Gold. Then before I release it to the public I pray one final prayer, “Lord, send forth your arrows.” I envision Apples of Gold as arrows, tips dipped in the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), sailing toward the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.
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