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Scientists have spent a great deal of time trying to find the “missing link”. The desire to find the “missing link” stems from evolutionary theory which suggests that humans have evolved from apes or some other kind of monkey. If evolution were true, we would have the “missing link”, a part human, part monkey, somewhere in between the two creature’s skeleton or fossils. My interest here isn’t in talking about evolution, or the “missing link” monkey human thing that supposedly existed, but instead the theory of evolution as an idea of a process, of one creature changing, growing, evolving into a better creature. Let me make it clear I’m not suggesting this is a legitimate theory, but the theory itself can help illustrate something biblical in my opinion.

When it comes to making disciples, each person is going through a process. You started as an unbeliever….you hear and respond to the gospel….you begin to grow in your relationship with Christ….you begin to serve Christ….and then you multiply yourself in the lives of others. My greatest concern is what I perceive to be the “missing link” of discipleship. We all know we should make disciples, we talk about it, try to do it, plan programs and classes in an effort to do it. Unfortunately, many people have never truly been discipled and thus we have a “missing link”. We know what the end goal is, but because we never were discipled ourselves there is a disconnect and we end up stuck because we just don’t know what the “missing link” is.

I’ve had many men in my life that have had a profound impact on me and who I am today. I could tell you stories about each of them and how grateful I am for them but for the purposes of today, I want you to know about Chris. (If you know who this is, please refrain from tagging him on social media on the chance it could hinder his current ministry.) Chris knew what it was to disciple someone, he knew what the “missing link” was and set out to help me to grow as a disciple when I was in my later years of high school and then early college. Having sensed a call to serve the Lord in student ministry, I wanted to begin to learn and serve in that way. I was given the opportunity to serve in a middle school guys Sunday School class as a senior in high school. The class was led by Chris and another gentleman. Somewhere along the way, Chris began to meet with me about once a week. I can still remember the mornings where we met at Burger King or another restaurant; we talked about my walk with Christ, he held me accountable for my struggles, and taught me about serving the Lord. As a young guy, I got to sit and watch how Chris led the middle school guys, got to hear from him how to lead the middle school guys, got to start to minister to the middle school guys and get feedback and ultimately one day that became my class to lead years later.

While I’m thankful for how Chris helped me grow as an individual in my relationship with Christ, one of the most valuable things I learned was the “missing link” of making disciples. It’s really unfortunate that for many the end goal of discipleship is serving the Lord. The end goal of discipleship isn’t serving the Lord, it’s serving the Lord by leading others to do the same. For many of you, my hope is you discover the “missing link”. That you realize that while serving the Lord is important. God called you to do that so that you could show someone else how to do that. God led someone to share their faith with you so that you might lead someone else to share their faith with another. God’s plan, the Great Commission, doesn’t have an end goal of you serving the Lord….it’s making disciples…..followers. People who learn to do what you’re doing and follow in your footsteps. It’s real practical here; if you’re a teacher and you teach another how to teach…..2 classes have leaders instead of 1. The church should never have a shortage of servants.

While evolution is a bogus theory, it does illustrate the concept of a human in transition. Isn’t that what all of us are as Christians? Not physically speaking, but spiritually speaking? If we really, I mean really want to do what God wants….to grow in discipleship, we can’t neglect what has become the “missing link”. It’s time to take the next step as we aspire to transition…to become more like Christ. One of the things I’m most thankful for in our church is the number of people who willingly serve the Lord week in and week out. One of the things that I pray for the most is for Christians to realize serving isn’t the end, but just a step in the transition towards Christlikeness, and that we must take another step, the “missing link” step. The step where Chris was serving the Lord, then brought me alongside him as he served, taught me how to serve in the same way, and then turned me loose to serve. It’s a beautiful thing when you keep taking steps in making disciples....today Chris is serving God in another part of the world and I’m one of our pastors. Because Chris knew the “missing link” 2 people are serving God today instead of 1. Why don’t you eliminate the “missing link”, start multiplying yourself, your ministry….in the lives of those around you?

 

Posted by Jeremy Shirley with 0 Comments
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There is nothing more important than knowing your identity in Christ. For our Middle School Girls Retreat, we put our focus on what it means to be a “Daughter of the King”. Today, there are so many labels that the world is trying to identify us with. For our girls, it may be “the pretty one”, “the smart one”, or “the funny one”. Some of these labels can be good, some of them can hurt such as “ugly”, “dumb”, or “awkward”. The world is always trying to define us and that is why it is vital for our girls to strip off the labels of the world and experience freedom in their identity in Christ.

What does it mean to be a daughter of the King? Our Middle School girls looked at three things specifically:godly beauty, godly relationships, and purity.

Beauty is something that the world defines by our outer looks. But we know that 1 Samuel 16:7b says:

“… The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

The heart is where our true beauty lies. Our focus becomes what God says is important and what God is wanting us to be. Beauty is not in whatever we wear, what pant size we hope to be, or how beautiful our make-up is. Our message to our girls was simply this: God created you wonderfully (Psalm 139:14). He didn’t mess up. Take joy in knowing that the Father loves you as you are!

Relationships—we deal with them everyday. Our middle schoolers experience friendships, parent relationships, and for some of them (and maybe soon for others) romantic relationships. Relationships are things our girls see everyday in the world. It is vital that our girls know what to look for in relationships to help protect their hearts. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:26:

“ The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

Our girls need to look for friends that have godly qualities of being caring, being loyal, and being hones. The world says its okay to disrespect or lie to your parents. Our girls were taught the value of obedience, with honor, to their parents, and to our heavenly Father. Lastly, romantic relationships are being pushed so young, especially, a lot of times, when girls are not ready. Parents, talk with your daughters about what dating will look like for them. Define the qualities that a godly man should have. Set the example in your own marriage for your daughter.

The Bible defines what purity is in Philippians 4:8. It says:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Society is always pushing sex outside of marriage. Our girls need to know that God designed sex between one man and one woman who are married. If we are following God’s design for our life, this will save us from the pitfalls of sin that result in disappointment and unwanted baggage in the future. We had honest conversations about why we keep ourselves pure, whether it be in a relationship or even in what we watch on television or in movies. Parents, as uncomfortable as it may be, talk to your daughters about staying pure.

The Middle School Girls Retreat was a unique experience where mothers and daughters were able to break away from the world and its distractions. Parents, I encourage you to continue to talk about godly beauty, godly relationships, and purity. Grandparents, pray for your grandaughters that they would make the godly choices in friendships and relationships. All of us have the responsibility to always be praying for the safety of our girls and praying for the parents as they are raising up Daughter(s) of The King.

 

Posted by Emily Erhart with 0 Comments

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