On Being a Disciple

Okay, this has the potential to be a long, rambling bunny trail with numerous thorny patches, but pull up a chair and I’ll try and be as succinct as possible.

 

About five years ago, I went on my first mission trip and I fell in love with a whole bunch of people in the Dominican Republic. Many of them used social media and so, because I could maintain contact with them afterwards without cost to them or me, I joined Facebook. (Something I thought I would never do.)

 

As a result of being on Facebook, I “friended” a pastor I knew from Albert Lea, who was friends with a missionary from Australia now living in the Twin Cities, who also got added to my list of Facebook friends.

 

The Australian missionary was friends with a pastor in Uganda who posted a video of a worship service that the Holy Spirit absolutely poured out of. I distinctly remember watching that video of people singing in a language that might as well have been Martian and absolutely and positively not only hearing the Holy Spirit, but undeniably feeling His presence right there with me thousands of miles away. (It’s that same Holy Spirit you hear coming over the airwaves on Kinship Christian Radio.)

 

Of course, I extended an offer of friendship to pastor Dauson, and he accepted. 

 

I soon learned that Dauson, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were transforming Uganda.

 

In an area where farming was considered menial labor and not worthy of “normal” people, Dauson was growing bananas, catfish, corn, and numerous other crops –and people were being lifted out of poverty because of it. The food and the income made education of the children possible. It made clean water attainable. 

 

Within a few short years, the government of Uganda recognized Dauson’s work and others from all over the nation were coming to him to learn how they too could make people’s lives better.

 

Now, of course, I promised to give you the short version, so I left out the parts where things broke down and there was no money to fix them or the children’s teachers hadn’t been paid in some time but they kept teaching because they believed in what they were doing, or ….

 

Well, you get the idea.

 

So, when these things happened, Dauson would kindly use the private message feature of Facebook and tell me about them and we would pray together and, well… somehow, the LORD would always provide. 

 

A couple of days ago, Dauson told me the solar water pump broke down and they hadn’t had water at the farm in some time. A new pump had been ordered from the manufacturer and it was ready to be picked up, but they were just $200 short. So, I prayed with him and we talked, and then one day when the most pressing matter on my mind is the possibility of growing elderberries in my back yard, Dauson writes:

 

“Can you pray about coming to Uganda?”

 

“Coming to Uganda? Me?”

 

(pause)

 

“Dauson why do you ask this?”

 

“I am always praying to God to lead me to the right people who are ready to be used by God in Uganda.” 

 

“And God told you to ask me?” 

 

“Yes.”

 

Great.

 

See, when I got back from that first mission trip, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I absolutely knew I was supposed to be doing whatever it was God wanted me to do, so I told God, “Lord, I will go wherever you send me.”

 

And God said, “Giddy up.” (That’s a paraphrase.)

 

And, in that moment, I became a disciple.

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had just stepped smack-dab into one of the hot-button topics of modern Christianity. In this era of what appears to be waning Christianity in the Western world, church leaders have been looking for ways to create, grow, and foster disciples. There are scores of books and programs out there on the topic. I’m even involved in one right now.

 

But, to me, being a disciple is simple: I follow Jesus.

 

When I look at my Bible and see what a disciple was in Jesus day, it was just someone who followed Jesus wherever He went, listened to Him, and did what Jesus told him to do.

 

The Jesus recruitment process for disciples was amazingly uncomplicated:

“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.” Matthew 4:18-22 (NLT)

 

No resume, no interview, no questions about their education, no criminal background check. Just, “Follow me.”

 

Now, let’s not sell the original disciples short, here. They left homes and families and jobs and wandered around with this itinerant preacher with no visible means of support for three years while He talked about things like “the Kingdom of God,” insulted the highest religious leaders in the land, healed epileptics and paralytics and lepers, gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, cast out demons, and (let us not forget) raised the dead!

 

Being a modern disciple is slightly less dramatic, but I have seen miracles, folks. I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit and seen souls come to salvation. I have been filled to overflowing with love and joy and peace and poured out tears for the lost on the very stones of Israel. I have fed orphans and praised God from the heights where He humiliated false prophets.

 

And it has blessed me beyond measure or description.

 

I have been given this glorious, tremendous, amazing freedom because I don’t have to be in charge. I don’t have to be a big shot. I’m just a guy following the Lord of Everything! I’m just going where He sends me.

 

Sure, I plan and I work, and I do my best, but there is no performance anxiety because it’s not in my own strength or talent or ability.  I do not have to consider fellowship with God something to be grasped. I don’t have to strive because it’s not for my glory, it’s for His glory! 

 

I’m following the One for whom nothing is impossible!

 

So, when Dauson says God told him to ask me to come to Uganda, all I need to say –all I can say is– “Thy will be done.”

 

(And I’m allowed to smile when I say that.)

 

 

Today’s Praise

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (KJV)

Photo of Pastor Dauson Musasizi of Kingdom Life Church and Busoga Farmer’s Resource Centre, Busembatia, Uganda with children attending the school made possible by farming. (Used by permission.)

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