Back to the Beginning

Insourcing by Randy Pope

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all men.” John 1:4

Discipleship in recent Christian practice has taken an intellectual bent, focused as it is largely on communicating head-knowledge. This is valuable but rarely results in transformation when not paired with an equal measure of heart-knowledge. When the two disciplines are aligned the exercise becomes the pouring of one life into another. In a secular context, the apprenticeship enables an experienced craftsman to share the process and philosophy of one’s craft with another, coaching and guiding the apprentice to attain to the same level of arts. Jesus modeled the same thing throughout His ministry, pouring His life into a group of men who would one day lead His Church.

Pastor Randy Pope has given us a volume of encouragement entitled INsourcing. Less a manual than it is a memoir, INsourcing details the philosophy underlying the practice of Perimeter Church called Life On Life Missional Discipleship. Pope and his leadership team designed and implemented a way of living the Christian life together that engages both the head and heart to produce disciples prepared to engage the Mission of Christ’s Church.

Pastor Pope doesn’t advocate for his program as though it is the only model to be emulated. Rather, he encourages the reader to examine their own context and to develop a methodical process which fits them best. Emphasizing the tortoise-like pace of true discipleship, Pope’s most valuable contribution is the permission it gives the leader reading the book to take the long view in gaining a vision for what could be.

Readers looking for a plan or a new model should look elsewhere. Leaders seeking an apprenticeship will find INsourcing valuable as God places a vision for their particular context before them. While the vignettes of the small groups are a bit idealized, they provide a powerful parallel to the abstract ideas presented through the surrounding chapters. Closing the book you will be convinced that LOLMD will produce something that no program can do, real disciples of Jesus Christ.

I’m grateful to Zondervan who provided this copy for review.

Follow.Me

One.Life by Scot McKnight

imageThe time has come.

The kingdom of God has come near.

Repent and believe the good news!

Christians are well known for substituting legalism and activity for biblical discipleship of the kind that demands an investment of nothing less than your entire life. McKnight brings his always practical insight to bear on the question of what it should actually look like to walk in the Kingdom of Heaven that Christ announced.

At the core of One.Life is the notion of being all in. That is, life in Christ’s kingdom demands the full commitment of your one life. It was never intended to be a part-time or compartmentalized pursuit. To fully experience the full depth and breadth of the Spirit-enabled kingdom you must go beyond sampling it and make it your complete reality.

Scot touches on a wide variety of beliefs, thoughts and behaviors that generally form the contours of the Christian life, examining each in a kingdom light. In some ways, the book is The Jesus Creed part two. Where that volume helped us to flesh out what it meant to love God above all and love our neighbors as ourselves, One.Life challenges every area of life that we might be tempted to separate as outside of the kingdom.

One.Life is eminently practical on nearly every page. Professor McKnight has a lifetime of experience from which to share examples and the reader will find a variety of lives that mirror their own experiences from which lessons can be extracted. “…the Kingdom.Life only happens when you give yourself (your One.Life) to Jesus, and that means also to His kingdom dream and to those who are in that kingdom dream already.”

One.Life at Zondervan

I’m grateful to Zondervan who provided this copy for review.

Day 22 in the School of Prayer : Listen!

WithChristInPrayer

To borrow and paraphrase from St. James, Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak… . This commends the lesson our Lord taught concerning prayer with these words:

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (John 15:7)

Herein lies the greatest reason for ‘unanswered’ prayer. Our weakness in receiving answer to our prayer is the result of our weakness in discipleship. We fail to feed on God’s word and to hide it in our hearts. Yes, God himself dwells within in the form of the Spirit but it is His Word that bring his voice to life. If we are building up a steady reserve of Scripture within ourselves, day after day, God’s will is no mystery and the answer to our prayers is crystal clear.

On the other hand, if our dialog with God sounds much like our own voice and will, we will find ourselves at a loss to understand the riches that He wants us to receive. It is impossible to pray correctly when we do not know the teachings of our Lord because it is also impossible to believe the right things. Meaningful prayer is preceded by deep discipleship. Feed daily on the Scriptures and God’s voice will ring out when you approach Him. Circumstances that had at one time seemed contrary to your prayers will make perfect sense as a deeper understanding of His will comes into your possession.