Thursday, February 19, 2015

What’s Your New Name? {Discipleship, Part 1}

I’m stuck this morning in my thoughts between my response to the beginning of Lent, all the awkward conversations going on in my house these days and how badly my floor needs sweeping right now.  Here I sit, needing to warm my coffee again, thinking I can’t go into the blushing dialogues bouncing off my walls and cleaning floors is beyond boring.  And, really, who wants to read about Lent?  I mean, I am one of the strange ones—and I’ll most likely have some things to say as I go through the season, but it’s day one {day two now that I am just posting} and all I’ll do is encourage you to ask Him if He’s calling you to participate.  Just a quiet invitation.

Traditionally, Lent is a season of sober, realistic reflection on our own lives and our need for a Savior. It is a time for turning away from anything that has kept us from God and for turning or returning to him. It is a time to pray that God renew our love for him and our dependence on him.  {I think this is from Noel Piper.}

So there you go.  Consider yourself invited.

My kids love pictures.  They remember things— or think they remember things— because they’ve seen the pictures so many times.  Times with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, family friends, recitals, vacations, “firsts”, camps, holidays and silliness around the house.  I know some of these snapshots will define their childhood one day- that only a few of these screens and screens of photos will stick with them and this is how they will remember growing up. Just certain snapshots.  It might be a good picture and it might not.

This is the “straighten up or I’ll point my finger at you again” finger.  Works every time. {I got that tactic from Sarah.}
Of course, we want any snapshot someone sees of our life to be a “good one”, yes?  And I think about raising my kids, watching them make choices, knowing that some snapshots are going to be…….less than I have prayed for.  I have a few of those from my own adolescent years.  Times I wish could be erased from friend’s memories or parent’s memories.  For my own kids’ sakes, I have to remember, I was “on my way” to becoming an adult.  I was “on my way” to learning to make good choices.  I was “on my way” to figuring out what it meant to be a disciple of Christ.  In SO many ways, I still am.  However, my kids are just beginning and I continue to pray for others to come along side me and disciple them in ways that will change the course of their lives.  Discipleship can make such a difference.  Allowing yourself to be challenged in and held accountable to the teachings of Jesus is life altering.

So thankful for Alyssa, Emily and Remey {below} who regularly invest love, time and sweet words into BOTH of our kids.

“Miss” Barbara from the Montessori preschool my kids attended-- an amazing lady who taught my kids volumes
I’ve always enjoyed reading about the disciple, Peter.  He was a man’s man, not afraid to speak his mind, fiercely defensive and as impulsive as they come.  The beautiful thing is that we get snapshots from Scripture of Peter “on the way” to becoming a devoted disciple of Christ. And from a few snapshots from the gospel of Mark, I see three main areas that are paramount in the discipling process— for anyone-especially me, but for now, my kids.  I’ll share just one this time.

Being discipled in the ways of Jesus can define define our kids’ purpose.

The first snapshot of Peter we see in Mark 8 is when we hear his confession of who he believes Jesus to be.  Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter simply states, “You are the Christ,” and in Matthew 16 he adds, “Son of the Living God”.  This is a big deal and a great moment for Peter.  You could say these words became a turning point in the history of salvation because Peter has declared that Jesus was NOT a forerunner of something else— but THE FULFILLMENT of all of God’s promises given throughout Israel’s roller coaster history.  He wasn’t a prophet— HE WAS THE PROPHESIED ONE.  Christ, Messiah.  He was finally here!

I think it’s worth getting a little more information here—and we get a little more detail from Matthew’s account and how Jesus affirms His unpredictable disciple, so right after his confession, Jesus says,“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

First thing I love here is that He acknowledges who Peter USED to be— BEFORE he became a disciple of Christ.  Don’t miss that Jesus called him to be one of His own before Peter was even “on the way”.  And then in verse 18, - second thing I love- Jesus confirms who He sees Peter becoming— a rock {petros}— and, at this point, Peter was anything but a rock.  Peter was impulsive and unstable.  Simon, son of Jonah to Peter- a rock.  Jesus had a purpose for calling Peter to be one of the 12 and He uses this opportunity to remind him.  He saw Peter becoming a strong, persevering leader.  Just by calling Peter by his new name, reminding him in this moment, He is defining Peter’s purpose of playing a significant role in the founding of the early church— the vehicle through which the gospel was spread all over the world.

I think, as parents, we can all see the value of kids knowing their purpose— even if it’s just for temporal tasks.  They are more focused.  They show more devotion to the task.  They are more satisfied when it’s completed.  As discipling parents, we get to be catalysts in helping them discover the eternal purposes God has for them- in every season, preparing them for their eventual life calling.  Following Jesus defines our purpose.  He defines our kids’ purpose.  We don’t.  He chooses what new name to call them.  We don’t.

This woman, Christy, who prays regularly for my two.
This one- Denise-- discipled and is still discipling me and now loves my daughter in eternal ways.

How did following Jesus change Peter?  How did Jesus define Peter’s purpose?  In Acts 2, after Jesus ascends to heaven, Peter is the first one recorded to speak to the followers of Christ who were all gathered together. Then in Acts 10, he proclaims the gospel of Jesus so clearly and so passionately, it makes you want to jump up and down because HE GOT IT!!  For us to read in the gospels where he was and then read how Jesus changed him, we get to see Peter leading the early church,  fulfilling his purpose — as defined by Jesus.

From Simon, son of Jonah to Peter— a rock.  The confession on which Christ would build his church.

Many of you know, for several years, my name was Barren and now it’s Momma.  One of his purposes for me was to raise two kids from two other girls’ wombs.  But we had to choose His way and not ours.  He defined my purpose.  Not me.

I also have an old name of Rule Keeper that I have to keep erasing off the top of my paper.  My new name is Grace Receiver.  Early on in marriage, He defined my purpose to live out grace giving and receiving in the context of family relationships and community.

So what about you? Or your kids? What did He used to call you and what do you hear Him calling you now?  Your kids?  Has he revealed that to you?  If you are a disciple of Christ, what new name is God calling you that helps define your purpose?  What does He call you now that He sees you becoming?  Do you sense what new name He may be speaking over your kids?

As we understand MORE of who Christ is, the MORE we understand what He requires of us.  As we follow Him, He defines our purpose.  Whether He gives us big picture or just marching orders for the day, He defines our purpose for living.

Let Him define your purpose-- and your kids’ purpose.  Listen for your new name.  And theirs.

And grandparents can never know the security that comes to children through being loved no matter what.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

It's a joy to love on J & B! And I'm right there with you on the growing into a Grace Receiver instead of a Rule Follower.