Category — Discipleship

When Being Honest May Not Be Loving

There is a notion afoot that goes something like this, “I have to speak what’s on my mind or I wouldn’t be honest.” Of course it’s good to be honest. But often, someone makes that statement as an excuse to say something hurtful to others. We’ve probably all heard someone make a cruel remark under the guise of “being honest.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be honest or true to ourselves. We could well argue that such a value is commendable. But when we use “honesty” as a pretense for saying whatever is on our mind without regard for others, we have a major problem. Suddenly, our so-called honesty is clashing with a lack of love or concern for others.

Being honest with ourselves does not necessarily require voicing that honesty. Suppose our little child or grandchild participates in a recital and really messes up. Inside, we might be thinking, “Wow, she forgot her lines, didn’t stand where she was supposed to, and was fidgeting with her dress.”

For the sake of “being honest with ourselves,” do we blurt out what’s on our mind and clobber this little girl with harsh criticism? Or should we hold our tongue and look for ways to encourage her and help her improve without destroying her self-image?

Or let’s say your spouse wanted to surprise you by making dinner. But things didn’t turn out so well: the vegetables were overcooked, the gravy was burnt, and the meat was tough. We might hurl all those criticisms at our spouse with the excuse, “Well I’m just being honest!”

Meanwhile, we’ve hurt our spouse. We completely overlooked the fact that they made an honest attempt to demonstrate their love for us. And we’ve trampled on their efforts grinding them into the mud, under the guise of “being honest.”

Consider the following:

  • “The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.” (Proverbs 12:23 NIV)
  • “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)
  • “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” (Proverbs 14:3 NIV)
  • “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 NIV)
  • “Just like a spark can destroy an entire forest, so your words can kindle an inferno in your life and the lives of others. Such caustic words are evil, corrupting your whole being.” (James 3:5-6 paraphrase)

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re not being honest when you withhold a cruel remark. Instead, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

©2017 Rob Fischer

March 10, 2017   Comments Off on When Being Honest May Not Be Loving

Psalm 23: A Model for Living! (4)

In the previous three posts, I’ve introduced the idea that Psalm 23 serves as a Model for Living. We’re looking at four values from that Psalm by which David patterned his life. This post brings us to the third value.

David reminds us that as God’s children, we bear our heavenly Father’s name. He “guides us” or “leads us” in “paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” This value states that we glorify and represent the Lord well as we follow Him in paths of righteousness, or in right-living.

The apostle Paul reminds us, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10) We are to live in a manner consistent with our heritage—we are the Lord’s children. We bear His name. [Read more →]

October 5, 2012   Comments Off on Psalm 23: A Model for Living! (4)

Psalm 23: A Model for Living! (3)

A couple of posts ago, I introduced the idea of looking at Psalm 23 as a model for living and suggested that David reveals four values by which he conducted his life.

The second value that David gives us for living he expresses like this, “He leads me…” That is, “The Lord is the one who is leading me, which means that I follow Him!” Many of us go through life making and following our own feeble plans. We may long for God’s approval and presence with us in our plans, but we’re asking Him to join us—or follow us— as it were. “Lord, bless my plans!”

I know of no better way to ensure God’s presence with us than by following Him! It’s no coincidence that the Lord Jesus said in John 10, “I am the good Shepherd. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” And by the way, following Jesus is precisely what it means to be His disciple. So the value here is, “He leads I follow.”

© 2012 Rob Fischer

October 2, 2012   Comments Off on Psalm 23: A Model for Living! (3)

Psalm 23: A Model for Living!

Psalm 23 is no doubt the most well-known Psalm from the Bible. But I’m going to ask us to set aside our familiarity with it for a few minutes, and to consider it with a fresh perspective as a model for living.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23 NIV) [Read more →]

September 24, 2012   Comments Off on Psalm 23: A Model for Living!

26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 11-15)

11. Small groups exhibit Christ in the home to our children, neighbors and friends. Acts 2:47, they were “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Our singles small group used to meet on our back patio on warm summer evenings. We sang praises to God accompanied by a guitar. To be honest, I was a bit self-conscious, concerned that we might be disturbing the neighbors. On the contrary, our neighbors loved the fact that these young people were singing praises to God! Also, over many years of leading small groups, our children watched, participated and took it all in. Today they are leading, participating in and understand the importance of small groups because of what we modeled for them.

12. Small groups demonstrate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! Two Small groups raised over $10,000 to dig a well in Uganda and in the process impacted hundreds of people. Their efforts even made the evening news on television! [Read more →]

February 22, 2012   Comments Off on 26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 11-15)

26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 6-10)

6. Small groups help fulfill Christ’s design for us to be part of His family. We read about that in Ephesians 2:19-21. We can be a part of a large church, but we may not experience family unless we’re part of a small group.

7. Small groups follow Jesus’ example with His twelve disciples! Jesus chose twelve men…that they might be with Him…(Mark 3:14)Jesus spent time with many others too, but he focused on the twelve. There is a limit to the number of people we can impact deeply with our lives. Small groups provide a great environment in which to influence and impact a few deeply. [Read more →]

February 4, 2012   Comments Off on 26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 6-10)

Strategies for Discipleship

Strategies for Discipleship
List Price: $11.95  

Strategies for Discipleship

A Small Group Curriculum that Targets the Skills for Discipling Others

Authored by Rob Fischer
Authored with Dan Jarrell

Strategies for Discipleship is a small group curriculum. The Strategies for Discipleship are relational skills that equip followers of Jesus in propelling themselves and others forward in their relationship with God. The Strategies for Discipleship are biblical, relational, transferable disciple-making skills. We present these skills in a seven-week, small group format with both personal projects and small group discussion elements.

The goal of Strategies for Discipleship is a deeper relationship with God that results in life change-life change in you and in others whom you lead, interact with, and influence.

Discipleship is neither optional nor the deluxe tour for Christians! As disciples of Jesus Christ, we intentionally follow Jesus, growing in relationship with him and inviting him daily to transform us making us more like him.
How do we disciple others?
* We must model and coach discipleship. Discipleship is more caught than taught.
* Discipleship occurs in the context of the community of Christ and in spiritual partnership with other followers of Christ. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
* Attend to the skills of discipling others and not merely the content of our teaching.
* We can effectively disciple others One-on-one, in small groups and even in larger groups. We often assume that one-on-one discipleship is the best possible combination. But, one-on-one discipleship is not always the most effective means of discipling others. There are times in which discipling others can be much more effective in groups.
* Discipleship is a life-long process. Paul wrote to the Christ-followers in Philippi, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)

About the author:
Rob Fischer is pastor of small groups, discipleship and leadership development at Southside Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. Rob came to know Christ at a young age and God really took hold of his life at 19. Rob is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Spokane, Washington; Northwestern College, Roseville, Minnesota; Luther Rice Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia; and Amberton University, Garland, Texas. Rob served as pastor of two small churches in the US; helped establish two churches in Austria; managed the training and development functions for Burlington Northern Railroad and Kaiser Aluminum; and worked as pastor of adult ministries at ChangePoint, Anchorage, Alaska. Rob and his wife Linda have three children and seven grandchildren. Rob is passionate about leading people into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, resulting in life change.

Dan Jarrell serves as teaching pastor at ChangePoint church in Anchorage, Alaska, where he has been since 2000. He entered a relationship with Jesus Christ in 1977 while studying geology at Southern Oregon University. Dan holds a graduate degree from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, where he is currently finishing a doctoral program. He served on the faculty of Multnomah University, planted a church in Conway, Arkansas and served as teaching pastor with Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dan has also been a speaker for Family Life conferences for many years. Dan and his wife Kathie have five children. Dan loves the church! His passion is to lead the church as it becomes a community that enjoys God fully, is constantly transformed by God’s Spirit, and demonstrates the heart of Jesus to the world around it.

Publication Date:
Nov 02 2011
146646903X / 9781466469037
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Religion / Christian Church / Growth
To order go to: https://www.createspace.com/3709500

December 29, 2011   Comments Off on Strategies for Discipleship

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 10

We now come to our final request in the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” At first glance, the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation,” seems a bit strange or out of place. The reason for this is that God would never tempt us (James 1:13). Some have a distorted view of God and think that He’s waiting to trip us up or expose us to sin’s lures. But that is not God’s way with us. He may test us through hardship, but he does not tempt us with sin.

In the Lord’s Prayer we are asking Him for strength to resist temptation. The New Living Translation renders it, “And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Another way to put it might be, “Lord, please lead me out of and away from the things that tempt me!” Jesus warned His disciples on the night He was betrayed, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) As we’ve seen elsewhere in this prayer, we are dependent on our heavenly Father and in this case, we’re dependent on His strength to resist temptation. [Read more →]

November 21, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 10

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 9

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) By debts, Jesus is not referring to financial indebtedness, but our sins. The New Living Translation renders this verse, “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Just prior to modeling this prayer, Jesus reminded His listeners, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) If God knows what we need before we ask Him, then why ask? We ask God because it’s fitting to do so.

As we read or pray this prayer, it would be easy for us to see our “daily bread” or the “forgiveness of our debts” as the focal things, but they aren’t. The focal thing in this prayer is God and our relationship with Him. When we express our need to Him for bread and for forgiveness, we interact with Him in a way that cultivates our relationship with Him and acknowledges who He is. God is not merely the “bread-Giver” or “Forgiver,” He is our Father. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) [Read more →]

November 16, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 9

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 7

As the Lord’s Prayer continues, we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Very simply, we are declaring God’s kingship in our lives. We are praying, “You, Lord, are my God and my King. I invite Your reign in my life and long for Your reign in this world.”

Imagine God’s kingdom, a kingdom in which there is no sin, evil or anything wicked. Our world today is polluted and permeated with sin and evil. God will one day renew the earth and set up His eternal rule. The apostle John, seeing and hearing a preview of God’s coming kingdom, writes, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4) [Read more →]

November 7, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 7