What Does Being a Disciple Mean Today?

By Matt Dawson

I’m a Christian. Cool… but who cares! What does that even mean?

To be honest, I’ve never been that impressed with people who identify themselves as a “Christian.” Why? Not 100% sure, other than the fact that most of them felt the need to identify themselves as such, and that alone made it weird.

The early church never worried about such titles. As a matter of fact, the label “Christian” is what people OUTSIDE the church (Antioch) gave to us, and it was actually not a positive label. The church, however, over time did embrace it as a positive identifier for a follower of Jesus.

I guess the primary issue that I have is that there is really NO definition for what “Christian” really means. It means many things to many people and reaches from full on legalistic religious practices to liberal prosperity gospel teaching. We’re all Christians!

The real definition of a follower according to Jesus was quite simple and targeted. The term was used to help identify who was and who was not a follower of Jesus in every sense of the word.

The definition was simple – Disciple.

Being a disciple meant one thing – you FULLY and WHOLE HEARTEDLY followed the teachings, will, and instructions of someone else. It was VERY specific to who you were a disciple of. It dictated your actions, your belief system, and your motives.

So what does being a DISCIPLE look like today?

Actually, it’s not that different than it was 2000 years ago. To be a student, and to follow in the footsteps of someone else? Sounds too simple.

My friend (let’s call him Bill) wrote this on his Facebook wall last week and I thought it was a great example of what it can look like today. (paraphrased from a longer post)

“When I was a kid and I’d get mad at someone I’d think to myself “f#$k y&o d-(k.” But now I’ve been enlightened to the wonder of Jesus Christ and I find myself in a pickle. I can’t tell if I’m being called to destroy the problem (person) in front of me or if I should pray for their salvation.

I won’t try to pretend to know the answer to when mercy should be withheld and/or grace bestowed. I’ll just say that I still want to destroy the human problem in front of me, yet now my spirit wants to extend the grace I’ve been given which I don’t deserve.”

Bill is a disciple. He’s struggling with what that means in his life today… to react the way he’s always reacted OR follow a path, plan, and grace given to him by his savior. The fact that there is a struggle at all is a reflection of Jesus at work in his heart!

Click to Tweet – The fact that there is a struggle at all is a reflection of Jesus at work in his heart!

One of my all-time favorite verses that I feel helps best define the life of a disciple is Hebrews 13:7-

7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

In this case, I replace “leaders” with Jesus (who speaks the truth of God to all of us). Consider the outcome of JESUS’ LIFE and imitate HIS FAITH. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus would tell the crowd of two different occasions when He did what the Father said to do and spoke what He heard the Father saying. Jesus was a MODEL of being the ultimate disciple for you and me.

The life of a disciple reflects 3 things.

  1. Sharing the Word of God with Others
  2. A Way of Life that Looks Different because of Jesus
  3. A Faith Worth Imitating

To be honest, I’ll spend the rest of my life working on those 3 things for my family and those that I contribute to leading spiritually.

Being a disciple is simple but it’s not easy!

CLICK TO TWEET – Being a disciple is simple but it’s not easy!

It’s the hardest thing you will ever do, and Jesus said you really can’t even do it in your power, which is why you will need the Holy Spirit to help you.

So – how do you identify yourself? Christian? Disciple? or both?

How would others around you identify you?

Message Follow Up | Fracture: Part 1 – Fractured Stories

Fracture – Finding Hope in the Pain: Part 1 – Fractured Stories from Journey Church on Vimeo.

By Matt Dawson

In the many stories that fill our lives, everyone experiences pain.  Everyone goes through moments when a FRACTURE happens and it’s painful at a soul-level.

A Fracture is a soul-depth crack or break in our story, caused by our individual decisions or compounded by our external circumstances.

Every Fracture has a Purpose… an opportunity for DESPAIR or HOPE. 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John‬ ‭10‬:‭10‬ NIV

Jesus comes to bring us Life to the Full.  The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy us.  To know this, doesn’t lessen the pain or make that fracture go away any faster.

We understand that in every fracture, there is either a purpose to take us out and flatline our story or an opportunity for God to bring HOPE to that pain. 

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Weekend Preview | Fracture: Part 1 – Fracture Stories

By Chris Denning


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Stories are absolutely everywhere.  Any movie you’ve seen, any book you’ve read, any show you’ve watched; they are all filled with stories.

Stories motivate us, they drive us to be more, they help us heal, and even teach us how to live our lives.  Jesus knew all this, which is why he used mini-stories, called Parables, to teach his disciples and those who could hear about His ideals for life.

While stories vary in quality or size, one fact remains true:

Everybody has a story.

Good.  Bad.  Big.  Small.  Funny.  Tragic.

We all have a story.

For some people, our story is one we try to remember often, considering fond memories and days gone by.

For others, their story is one they’d rather forget ever happened, because the damage is deep and wide in their hearts.

Our stories are dictated and molded by the choices we make and the circumstances in which we reside.  Some things we have control over, and others we do not, which is probably what makes it hard to come to grips with our stories sometimes.

In this series, Fracture: Finding Hope in the Pain, we’re going to directly address how to better understand our stories, in light of our choices, circumstances, and in the context of the greater story of God.

If you’re reading this and you know yours is one of those stories riddled with pain, I want to speak just to you for a minute:

I know its hard.  I know it hurts.  I know its dark.  And I know there seems to be no light ahead.

I’ve been there.  And the good news is that this is not your ending.  This is where you are on your way to what’s next.

You are worth the struggle.  You are worth the fight.  You are worth the hope that Jesus died on the cross to bring you.  

Over the next few weeks at Journey, we want to walk beside you as you begin to find that very hope.  We want to help, because we have already seen the absolute Hope you’re desperate for.  And it is good, and it is real.

Take a chance and come to Journey over the next few weeks, or watch these messages online.  Take this one small step.  I believe that God will meet you in your step of faith.

I’m praying for you right now.  I’m praying for your hurt, your pain, your depression, your sting, your guilt, your numbness, all of it.  I’m praying you gather the courage to take this step, and watch what God does with it.

We love you, God loves you, and I promise, you can find hope in your pain. 

Join us this weekend at 9 or 11am

(Click for Directions)

or Online at TheJourneyOnline.tv at 11am

Message Follow Up | Hope: Part 2 – Hope Is. . .

Hope. I Part 2 – Hope is… from Journey Church on Vimeo.

Hope Is . . . in MY Jesus.

Believe it or not – the word “my” above is not a positive one of personalization and appreciation.  When I say that my Hope is in MY Jesus, I’m referring to the Jesus I want him to be for me.  The one that I craft in my head; the one that looks more like a genie in a Bible than the Creator of the Universe.

We all have a tendency to write a new gospel in our hearts called “the gospel of Steve, or the gospel of Sarah”.  This is OUR ACCOUNT of who and what we think of Jesus, His mission on earth, and what we feel & think He should be doing for us in our lives.  At the end of the day – OUR HOPE IS IN (MY VERSION OF) JESUS.

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