I continue with what I have written about discipleship in my book, Beginnings, soon to be released by P&R Publishing: In my opinion, the core problem with discipleship, as it is now understood in the Evangelical church, is not with methodology but with content.
I have had the opportunity to write about discipleship and I thought some excerpts from what I have written could help to reinforce our study for 2015 on discipleship. The following is taken from my book on spiritual birth, soon to be republished under the title Beginnings—Understanding How We Experience the New Birth. Here is what I wrote:
During Advent this year we are doing a study of four passages in which angels appear to announce the great events of the coming of Christ. In two of them—the appearance to Zechariah to announce the birth of John, and the announcement to Mary of the conception of Jesus—the angel is named. He is Gabriel, “who stands in the presence of God.” In the other two instances—the appearance to Joseph and then to the shepherds—the angel is not named, and we may presume it is also Gabriel, but it is not important that we know for certain. The angel who announces the birth of the Savior to the shepherds is joined by a “multitude of the heavenly host,” a great choir of angels singing glory to God in the heavens and peace to mankind on earth.
We read a recent prayer letter from Rose Marie Miller that started out, “Happy New Year!” She is right; September is the practical beginning of the new year even though the calendar doesn’t turn over for another four months. In the case of our church it also means that we are drawing close to the celebration of our 40th anniversary on October 26. In anticipation of that celebration we are going to start this new year with a look into the book of Ephesians where the Apostle Paul gives us the most exalted view of the church to be found in the New Testament.
This past Sunday (July 6) I introduced our summer sermon series, which is on the life of David. My first point, before we looked into the details of David’s life, was to reflect on David’s part in the “Big Story,” as I called it. The Big Story is the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption, told from Genesis through Revelation. For me it is a source of great joy and encouragement to be reminded that our Bible is a supernaturally given book that is totally true and trustworthy. If the Big Story is divinely given, then the details and the wisdom can be trusted as well. We may have problems understanding a book that was given in a way that it speaks into dozens of eras and cultures, but that is our problem and challenge, not a problem with the Bible itself.