In HOPE 10.13

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David Timms


Your Summer Plan

The summer has arrived here in the United States. Kids soon will be out of school, if not already. What plans do you have to keep pursuing Christ during this season? Holidays are often the poorest period for our spiritual health. Disrupted schedules and changed routines can derail our best intentions for spiritual growth. Perhaps a specific plan would help. Got one?

Prayer for Today

Father, guard me from the tendency to see everything bigger than it is, more complicated than it needs to be, and more difficult than You intended. Guide me today to grow a little more with Christ, like Christ, and for Christ. Amen.




“Make disciples of all the nations."
– Matthew 28:19

Too Complicated

We’ve made it so complicated and convoluted that we can’t define it or do it. While churches abound across the American landscape, they suffer from an acute deficiency—lack of clarity on what it basically means to follow Jesus.

The problem lies not in our hearts, as though we secretly resist Him. Not at all. Nor does the difficulty arise from lack of effort, I’m sure. But it’s hard, if not impossible, to build a house without a clear plan or by wielding baseball bats and hockey sticks. In short, we’ve lacked a simple blueprint and the appropriate tools to build disciples.

Jim Putman notes in an upcoming book (Real-Life Discipleship, Navpress, 2010) that of the hundreds of churches that have visited his ministry in Post Falls, Idaho over the past six years, only two churches had teams of leaders who could articulate a clear and commonly held definition of a disciple.

We usually stumble around it. We’ll mention what disciples do—read their Bibles, pray, attend church, give, serve, worship, and a dozen other categories of thought that come to mind. But without a clear, precise, and concise definition how shall we fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples? If we can’t identify the end-product, how shall we lay out a game-plan?

We have ceased to be strategic about discipleship because we can’t define it simply and straightforwardly. The result is a church afflicted with spiritual inertia and immaturity, Worse, because we can’t wrap our own hands around it, we ourselves are left groping and without focus. Growth takes far longer than it should (if it happens at all) and we find ourselves increasingly incapacitated in the process of disciple-making.

Disciple-making is not just a mission to get folk saved. It is the essence of the faith, moving ourselves and guiding others towards a deeper faith, trust, and walk with Christ. So how might we define it?

Converts agree with historical Christian claims, but disciples are marked in three very different ways. They are people with Christ, becoming like Christ, and living for Christ.

If you’re battling spiritual dryness, it’s likely because of a vital deficiency in one or more of these three simple areas.

Are you practicing His Presence (aware of what He is doing in and around and through you)? Are you humbly surrendered to His transforming work within you, changing who you are at heart? Are you actively engaged in His mission – to draw others into this life-giving with Christ, like Christ, and for Christ experience?

Perhaps the Journey is simpler than we thought.





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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2010) at .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.