Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The 21st Century Disciple

In order to understand the meaning of a disciple, we need to understand the concept in a Jewish context. Within every Jewish home, the father’s responsibility to the family was to rear and train his children in the Torah. As the children grew up and attended local Jewish schools, the ideal of every Jewish child was to memorize and master large sections of the Old Testament. Formal schooling for children continued until the child reached the age of 13. After this age, the child was encouraged to become an apprentice to learn some trade or occupation. Or the child could decide to become a student or pupil of a rabbi for further scholarly learning commonly referred to as a disciple.

Every Jewish student understood that the Scriptures were the sole authority over his life. In order to understand the teaching of God in the Scriptures, the rabbi would his students the proper way to live and behave according to God’s word. The disciple understood that his role was to submit to the authority of the rabbi who would teach him the meaning of life’s questions through the Scriptures.

In return, the disciple would willingly and freely submit his entire life to learning and studying at the feet of the rabbi. The discipleship program entailed a lifelong process where the student would wrestle with many of life’s challenging questions, learn how to behave properly, imitate the rabbi’s life, and demonstrate excellence in his Jewish studies.

Once one understands the meaning of discipleship in the first century Jewish world, how quickly we realize that we have misconstrued the meaning of disciple. The process is much more involved than what our modern day tends to think of as a disciple. When Jesus issued the Great Commandment, He told them to make disciples. When this process is carried out , we should be all be in the process of studying the Scriptures, living out Biblical values, and emulating the Great Rabbi.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Up and Running…Finally!

I have been out of pocket these last few weeks. As many of you know, I accepted a position here at North Hills Baptist. The church is located in Marietta, Ohio and the building sits up on a large hill overlooking the Appalachian foothills. Some of the best moments for me are when the sun peeks over the trees early in the morning and settles at dusk. God has a way of revealing Himself through those beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

North Hills Baptist is the only Southern Baptist church in the city of Marietta. It is a quaint little church built in March of 1968 though the church was established in 1964. Three phases of a building program were designed during that time. The first phase is the larger section of the church where the sanctuary is located. Below the sanctuary is the fellowship hall which has been recently renovated. The second building phase is the educational wing attached to the west side of the main building.

Though it has been a smooth transition, it has taken me a while to get my feet under me. We have been unpacking boxes at our apartment and the office trying to get things organized. We have been truly blessed to have many of our church family assist us. Without even asking, people have been volunteering to watch Claire and taking care of so many of our needs. When we arrived at our apartment, we were greeted with a welcome sign and many of the church members to help us unload. The apartment was furnished with all of our necessities until we had a chance to get to the local grocery store.