Does God want us to adore our personal worship of Him? Of course! But worship was designed for so much more than individual enjoyment. God wants us to draw others to Him by living lives of intentional discipleship. Today AMBrewster explains how we can disciple our communities during Creation Week.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a family resource from Truth.Love.Parent., a ministry dedicated to rooting families in God and maturing families for God so they can harvest blessings from God.
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The Celebration of God was originally created as a discipleship resource for Christian parents.
I’m the president of Truth.Love.Parent., and I am extremely passionate about equipping dads and moms to the the disciple-making parents God called and created them to be.
If you are a Christian parent, I want to invite you to check out TruthLoveParent.com for Gospel-centered parenting resources, and subscribe to our podcast so you can be biblically challenged in your parenting.
But the reality is that every Christian needs to be involved in discipleship regardless of whether or not they have children.
That’s why this podcast was started.
We desperately want to equip all believers to be the disciple-makers God called and created them to be.
I’m proud of you for joining us today, and I hope you’re looking forward to utilizing these unique experiences to teach and train the people in your community.
As always, we have free episode notes and transcripts available at CelebrationOfGod.com.
I can imagine how some of you are feeling.
In fact, I don’t have to imagine it because I’ve experienced the feelings myself.
At this point I’m feeling very much like Paul was in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
I have this conflicting tension between my excitement . . . and my dread.
On the excitement side, as I interact with The Celebration of God I’m looking forward to learning more about God, loving Him more, and serving Him better. I’m excited about how this experience can make me a better follower of Christ.
However, on the other hand, I’m dreading the work it’s going to take. It’s one thing to enjoy Christmas for my pleasure.
It’s an infinitely different thing to enjoy Christmas for God’s glory!
And then on top of that I need to make a Celebration Wall? I need to prepare and plan for how I’m going to make God the center of the celebration?
And then . . . on top of all of those counter-intuitive layers, I need to intentionally go out of my way to invite other people into that experience? I have to plan how I’m going to help them know and love and serve God better?
You see, our sinful flesh doesn’t want to enthrone God. It wants us to be the rhyme and reason for the season. So, yeah, it’s going to take work, and it’s going to be hard work to learn to see our holidays and our every days for what they are . . . opportunities to worship God and help others do the same.
But that is the glorious calling to which all believers have been equipped.
So, no matter how uncomfortable or challenging it may be, I want to encourage you that we’re all in this together, and we don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be progressing. This first Creation Week will likely not be our best. But Lord willing we’ll get better at it every year.
So, let’s talk about how we can disciple the people in our lives during Creation Week
1. Make your plan.
I frequently remind dad and moms on Truth.Love.Parent. that we will never accidentally glorify God. Brainless, instinctual, purposeless choices never give God glory . . . they always end up being for our own pleasure.
Habakuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 all say the same thing . . . “the righteous shall live by faith.”
Faith isn’t a feeling or empty notion. Faith is trust in something or someone. But since our hearts are naturally tuned to trust in our own ways and lean on our own understanding, it takes a conscious effort of will to redirect that trust onto God and His will.
Mindless faith is self-faith.
To truly believe in and trust God requires an intentional choice.
In the same way we won’t accidentally glorify God, we’re not going to accidentally disciple anyone for God.
So, I want you to consider four questions. When you have an answer to these four questions, you’ll be halfway there.
1. Who are you going to disciple?
This really isn’t a difficult choice. God has called you to evangelize all unbelievers He brings into your life, and He’s equally called you to be part of the discipleship of every believer He’s brought into your life.
For husbands and wives, your first calling is to disciple your spouse. If you have kids, they’re an easy answer as well.
From there, just ask yourself what other born again followers of Christ are in your life, and then choose one.
However, there is an additional consideration that will help you narrow down your options. We recommend you ask one additional question. Who are the Christians in my life God already has me spending more time with?
Jesus invested in the multitudes, in the hundreds, in the twelve, in the three, and in the ones. Those closest to Him received the most intensive discipleship experience.
Often times the people with whom you feel “stuck” are the people God has purposefully placed into your life because He wants you to be part of their discipleship.
So, just choose. Choose one. Choose two. I recommend you start small if you’re not already in the habit of discipling anyone.
2. When will you disciple them?
So, I work from home, and my kids are homeschooled, and yet I still miss multiple opportunities every day to invest in their lives because I haven’t simply decided that I’m going to intentionally take this day, hour, or momentary opportunity to purposefully invest.
But when I actually scheduled our Daddy-Daughter Dates and Father-Son-Outings, I found how easy it was to spend some quality hours with my kids on a one-on-one basis.
So, you need to be able to actually pick days and times the two of you can plan to get together.
3. Where will you disciple them?
Just like you need a plan for whom and when, you need to decided where you’ll engage in purposeful discipleship. And, listen, it doesn’t need to be fancy.
Honestly, I don’t care if it’s your wife, your kids, or your pastor, students, or co-workers, I believe the single best place to engage in life-on-life discipleship is in your or their home.
If you’re taking the lead on the discipleship, I would say that your home is the best.
We don’t have the time to discuss it here, but — simply put — the parent/child relationship is the closest modern picture we have to the discipleship relationship presented in the Bible — men and women and children intentionally doing life together to the glory of God, day in and day out, all day, every day.
4. What will you use to disciple them?
This last one is the easiest because this whole program is about us using the daily Celebration of God to disciple those God has put into our lives.
Is this the only way to disciple? Definitely not! But it’s a fantastically biblical way as well as a low impact way to begin.
The Celebration of God discipleship experience uses days and activities most people already acknowledge to one degree or another and emphasizes how that day is to be lived for the honor and glory of God.
So, that’s your plan. Do you have someone in mind? Can you imagine a day and time and place you can regularly connect with them?
Great! Now . . .
2. Work your plan.
Here’s how to start.
Unless you already have a community that speaks often of discipleship, I would actually encourage you to not use the word.
Whether good or bad, people don’t like to be viewed as “projects,” and unfortunately too many people don’t understand what discipleship is. They may wrongly view it as less than it is.
So, I imagine there are two good ways to start.
A. Just start. Invite them over. Get the conversation going. Start or continue the friendship.
Our world is delusional when it comes to what it takes to start a relationship. All it takes is for us to choose to love someone as Christ does. When we do that, we’ll be the best friend they could have. How they respond is up to them, but — please keep this in mind — relationships are not inherently reciprocal.
God loves us when we hated Him. We can be someone’s best friend even when they think we’re their enemy.
The point is, just invite them over. Introduce them to your family. Have them over for a meal.
But there’s another way.
B. Introduce them to this show. Send them a link, tell them about it, encourage them to listen to it along with you, ask them what they thought about specific episodes. As they interact with the material they’ll come to better understand what discipleship is and how God would have us interact.
If they truly are born again believers who want to love and serve God more and — hopefully — help you do the same, they’ll eventually be excited about the opportunity. Of course, they’ll likely feel just like you and I do — tentative and unsure, but we’re all in this together. We can take baby steps and slowly become the people God created us to be.
Either way, you need to make the first move. Get the ball rolling.
And you may find that the first person you ask doesn’t bite. That’s okay. Seek out someone else. It may surprise you who finally takes the bait and starts doing life with you.
Now, when it comes to your kids and spouse, I recommend a more direct approach. Tell them about the awesomeness of God and explain to them His goals in discipleship. Brightly invite them to participate with you.
The nice things about family is that they really have no choice. As long as you spend any time together, you should be discipling them anyway.
And along with connecting with your disciplee, working out their where and when will be part of that.
But I imagine that the fourth part of the plan is your greatest concern today. How do we actually use Creation Week during the Season of Mercy to disciple each other?
So, let’s talk about what you can do.
1. Start now.
Don’t wait for Creation Week to get here. Tell your kids about it. Invite that friend over for dinner, show them the Celebration Wall, tell them about Creation Week, and invite them back over for dinner sometime that week.
If you lead a small group, have the people in your group read the meditation passages for the Season of Mercy and for Creation Week. Engage with them on the reading and call them to think on the truths they learned.
Read the Meditation Passages as a family.
Whatever you do, don’t wait.
2. Make opportunities to talk about Mercy and God’s awesomeness in Creation.
Notice that I didn’t say, “find opportunities.” If we’re going to be intentional, we’re going to need to proactively make opportunities.
Ask your mom friend to come over that week for play dates where both of you and the children can do Creation Week themed activities.
Watch the videos and talk about the impact they made.
Read the verses and discuss them.
When school is over, ask your kids how God showed them mercy today.
Text some Creation-themed thoughts each day of Creation Week. Have them line up with the different days of Creation.
Write a blog post. Publish a social media video encouraging your community with the truths of God’s Mercy and the power and grandeur of His creating the world.
Listen, if nothing else, I want you all to understand that this doesn’t have to be a big deal. There’s no special curriculum — at least not yet — there’s no method or plan you absolutely must follow.
All you have to do is purposefully engage with at least one other person where you actively engage in God’s Truth. And though it doesn’t have to revolve around mercy or the Creation, we’re encouraging it because it will provide a foundation for growth in your discipleship relationship throughout the year.
Now, before we end, I want to give a caution.
One of the biggest — and most accurate — condemnations of small groups is that it’s rarely about God. People get together, they may be reading the Bible together, but it’s amazing how quickly the conversation turns from God to self.
There’s the sacred-sounding-self-talk that mentions a verse and follows it with “Well, I think this verse means . . . .” Often those kinds of answers were actually elicited by the group facilitator when they asked “What does this verse mean to you?”
But that really shouldn’t be our concern. We need to be asking, what does God intend this verse to mean? What does He want for all of us to know? How does He want all of us to change?
But the other kind of self-talk is the one that slowly (or sometimes amazingly quickly) drifts from talk of God and the Bible to discussing sports and weekends and school and life with no direct tie-in to God.
And that critique of small groups is valid.
That happens because the people in the small group would rather talk about what interests them than talk about God because . . . if they were being honest . . . God doesn’t interest them that much.
Travel to foreign countries where people don’t have their own Bible and where Christianity is outlawed and you’ll find people who would sit huddled in a hidden room for hours just to talk about and hear someone else talk about God and His Word.
But too many professing Christians have no real desire to listen to God speak through His Word for longer than 30 minutes . . . and then we need to get home for lunch.
Now, please understand that I’m not suggesting that every moment you spend with your disciplees must be invested in nothing more nor less than talking to and about God.
No, life on life discipleship is going to involve interacting in every arena of life.
But if you find that you and your disciplees spend only 5 minutes a week talking about God and the rest of the time playing and chatting and eating and hanging out with no thought given to how we can do these things to the glory of God . . . then I’m going to suggest you’re not really discipling anyone for Christ. You’re teaching them that as long as you dedicate a few moments to God every week you can live your life how you want.
And though that may be discipleship . . . it’s discipleship for the very worst god . . . the god of self.
How do you use Creation Week to disciple?
First, already be celebrating God during Creation Week.
Second, invite people into that celebration. Read the passages, watch the videos, play the games, but definitely talk about Who God is and what He’s done and how amazing His love for us is and how we desperately need Him every moment of every day.
Remember, one great way to start a discipleship relationship with someone is simply share this show with them. You can share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, or you could even text or email it to someone.
Are you celebrating God, and are you ready to invite others into that celebration? Wonderful, that’s half the battle right there. Now all you have to do is get someone else involved!
Please join us next time as we consider how we can prepare, celebrate, and disciple during Grandparent’s Day.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.