This is part of The False Promise of Discipleship blog series from The Bonhoeffer Project. Read the blog that came right before this one by clicking here.
It takes practice to follow Jesus, and it takes practice and a whole lot of divine help and revelation to grow in grace. But once we accept that we have been adopted in, an amazing thing happens. We realize that “getting close to Jesus” is not the point of discipleship, and we shouldn’t teach that it is! Jesus had a different end point in mind for His followers.
Once we accept the bankruptcy of The Human Paradigm and the reality that we will never arrive, we can only abide and start asking new questions. The obvious one: “How can You (God) be this good?!” In the glory of God’s goodness and generosity to us, our obsession with “How am I doing?” can melt away like wax.
And now we are prepared, simply by learning to receive what Jesus has done for us and others, to focus on the discipleship that Jesus taught. The end point of discipleship is not “getting close to Jesus.” We are already close to Him! Rather, the end point of discipleship is “loving others like we love our own self.” And, ironically, almost like a cosmic joke, if we will focus on loving others, the spiritual needs and transformation of our self will takecare of itself.
Bill Hull and Brandon Cook, authors of this blog and eBook, will be teaching at this year’s Forum. Meet them and get more content like this in person at the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum.
This is one of the largest gatherings of disciple makers in North America with 65+ workshops, 15+ speakers, and 10+ tracks. Join us to learn practical ways to make disciples of Jesus this November 9-10 (Thursday-Friday). Register for the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum here.
Without this focus on reorienting our life and energy around others, we don’t experience true discipleship, the discipleship Jesus has for us. Once we start living in the question “How can You be this good, God?” it naturally follows that we ask the question, “How am I doing with loving others?” Love begets love. Receiving God’s love begins to transform us into the sort of people who don’t try to love our neighbors, but just naturally do.
Discipleship movements must be built on these two questions: “How can You be this good?!” and “How am I doing with loving others?”
These two questions form the basis of the whole point of the Law and Prophets— that is, God’s work through human history, and they are the questions Jesus would have us live into.
*Stay tuned by coming back to our blog for the next blog in this series, which will be coming soon!
This is an excerpt from the free eBook written Bill Hull and Brandon Cook of The Bonhoeffer Project. You can download the full eBook on their homepage here.
Bill Hull is a Co-Founder of The Bonhoeffer Project. Bill’s passion is to help the church return to its disciple making roots and he considers himself a discipleship evangelist. This God-given desire has manifested itself in 20 of pastoring and the authorship of many books. Two of his more important books, Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, and The Disciple Making Pastor, have both celebrated 20 years in print. Add his third in the popular trilogy, The Disciple Making Church, and you have a new paradigm for disciple making.
Brandon Cook is the lead pastor at Long Beach Christian Fellowship and a co-founder of The Bonhoeffer Project. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he studied at Wheaton College (IL), Jerusalem University College, Brandeis University, and The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. He worked as a professional storyteller before joining a transformational training organization and moving to SoCal in 2006, becoming a pastor three years later. Over the course of five years of pastoring, he became convinced that his work—and the work of the church—is to become fully committed to discipleship and making disciple-makers. The Bonhoeffer Project is for him a quest to live into the question “How are people transformed to live and love like Jesus?”