Gordon Macdonald, in His book Building Below the Waterline, vulnerably shares four flawed motivations for his entering ministry.
Need for Approval
Validation by Achievement
Longing for Intimacy
Power of Idealism
Motives are very rarely pure, when I first considered taking a year out of work to serve a Navigators ministry at the university. I asked my pastor at the time for wisdom. I admitted to him that my motives were quite muddy, either way. His response was that ‘motives are very rarely pure, even when they are they remain susceptible to twisting and distortion’.
This has been a principle for me in discipleship all these years later.
But if motives are so susceptible, what can we do about it?? 2 quotes from Macdonald which may help:
“Only the man or woman who baptises his or her motivations every dat will have any hope that things will not turn sour down the road”
“The moment you think of the Kingdom as a place to achieve, to become valuable, to connect, or to be a major player, you will quickly discover that this was never what Jesus had in mind when He said, ‘Follow me’.”
May we be a people who ‘baptise our motivations’ daily, and purge ourselves (with the Spirit’s help) of any and all fleshly residue!
Me and a group of guys have slowly (but surely) been working through a book on Discipleship over the last few months. Each week sharing our top three things from the particular chapter we were reading.
Coming to the end of the book, second to last chapter, we’ve hit on the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20)
For a very familiar passage, I wasn’t giving it my 100% receptive heart! But the under the sub-heading : Making Disciples by Baptizing, my highlighter got very busy.
Here are three thought provoking, challenging quotes:
1) Baptism is an act of initiation and conversion. It speaks powerfully of the time a person comes under the rule of Christ.
As someone who reads a lot I keep coming across the fashionable idea that people simply “drift” towards Christ. I can’t disagree, but we must be wary that this mentality drives us to complacency in our evangelism and discipleship. At some point people must choose to come under the lordship of Christ. This is baptism.
2) We need a surer understanding of the gospel, a deeper lovefor people, a strong commitment to intercession, a greater wisdom so we can share winsomely – at the right time and in the right way.. finally we need more courage.
I love a concrete list. These are definitely areas I want to pray into, and trust God to increase in me. Particularly commitment to intercession, courage and a deeper love.
3) we may need to repent of our lack of evangelistic passion, but we must not despair.
These words are much needed for the Church and for me. I tend towards despair when I consider the lack of evangelism in my own life and in the Church I see. But such despair is symptomatic of doubt in Gods power and conviction for His global mission. Great words!
To finish this post I want to leave you with a picture of some of my notes on a talk given by a friend. In it he shared 8 types of evangelism.
I missed last Sunday’s summary, so we’ve got two weeks worth of activities to update on! Let me see how much I can remember.
1) 2x Weddings (on the same day!)!!! Last Saturday we were invited to take part in two “social distancing” weddings!
The first was down in Portsmouth, about a 3 hour drive or. The weather was beautiful and so was the couple! Their approach was a service with only close family members in a Church, then head to the park for a picnic with all their friends. We watched a streamed version of the service on a phone screen in the car, on our way. And then joined them for a picnic!!! (A fantastic way to celebrate a wedding – in my opinion!)
The couple were friends we knew from a Christian camp we’d all been leaders at! The four of us had all at one point done the Chaplaincy there. Giving talks, leading worship, getting gunged(!) and being used by God to impact the lives of young people. I think it was at one of these camps that they first decided to date.
We’d met with them a few times over the last year, to talk about marriage, to laugh about our relationships and do fun personality tests!
The second wedding, was entirely “zoomed”! They’d got married the day before, and were having a zoom celebration with friends and family to share funny stories and anecdotes.
I met the guy when I led the Navigators student ministry at the University. I remember my first meeting with him, he’d come over to our house for a meet-and-greet brunch on freshers week. And I asked him to give me his story…it went something like this: “I became a Christian at Soul Survivor as a teenager, felt God calling me to Somalia, and so that’s where I’m heading!”. So much for small talk!
As soon as he finished University he was headed out to Africa and staying true to God’s calling on his life. Throughout my years getting to know him, we met most mornings before my work/his lectures, to study God’s word together, prayer-walk and hold each other accountable to God’s mandate for both of us.
A true friend. There’s not many people you can pray every weekday together for over a year and not feel deeply connected to!
Just before he went out to the Mission field, he asked us to baptise him…and so we did! Such an honour to have been part of your life mate!!!! Blessings on your marriage, and those impacted by it!!!
2) Learned a new game! I guess in comparison, everything else that happened these last two weeks is pretty dull. But it’s worth sharing for memories’ sake. I decided I wanted to learn how to play backgammon. It’s a game my Dad loves playing with some of his friends, but for some reason I never picked it up. I decided another quiet week in lockdown, with a bank holiday on its way, was the perfect time to learn. I’ve spent at least 4 hours now watching professional-tournament backgammon on youtube, and aside from feeling very much like a “waste-man”, I do find it really enjoyable. #it’snotallaboutthehustle!
3) Running and Weightlifting – These two weeks also marked a month of consistent running and weightlifting. I’m really consistent with my weight training, not so much with running. I started with a short 30min run followed by weight training one body part 6x a week. And have now got to a point where I’m about 45/60min runs 3x a week and 60 mins weights 3x a week. I’ve really enjoyed having both the cardio and the strength training aspects in my mornings!
4) Takeaways!!! If anyone says advertising doesn’t work, they haven’t met me. A month ago, I started seeing youtube ads for Nando’s chicken. It’s now become our Friday night treat!!! I’ve levelled up in spice capacity: medium to hot! (Don’t know how proud I actually am of a takeaway each week, but I certainly am chuffed to be able to handle ‘Hot’!)
5) Blog Update… I know it’s not a big deal, and all that. But I’ve now made my first $1 on the blog. It’s a pretty insignificant amount considering what it cost to get a domain name etc, (not to mention my stellar posting!). But it feels like an achievement. So thank you to everyone who has visited this website over the last two weeks! I’ve been very encouraged by your comments and ‘likes’. Thank you