I met Iwona a few years ago thanks to Beata our common friend. Beata wanted her friends to read and get to know the Word of God. She asked me to lead a Bible study group for her friends from her fellowship and not only.
Iwona started to attend. She is a teacher of biology in one of the primary schools. God is important for her and she tries to teach God’s truths during her classes. Iwona had heard the Gospel from her cousin Ola who died from cancer about ten years ago.
Iwona is that kind of person that asks a lot of questions and thanks to that I decided to spend one meeting of our group to explain what is the Gospel. To be more precise, I talked about the benefits of the gospel in the lives of believers. During that meeting I could see the sparkle in her eyes – something had happened. She finally understood. That was the aha effect for her. From that moment she likes to answer others the question: OK, so if somebody would accept Jesus what changes does that decision bring?
Iwona tries to use her time at school to talk on spiritual issues to other teachers and students.
This spring she started to ask about our fall weekend retreat. I have organized such an event for women for a few years and this year I was a little tired. But she insisted. And other Bible study group participants insisted so I decided to do it also this fall – well that is the power of tradition 😊
Our weekend was spent in a friendly atmosphere, there were 20 of us and 2 new ladies that Iwona invited. Our topic was: I dream, I want,I desire. We talked a lot about our women desires from the God’s perspective. We studied the person of Anna from 1 Samuel. We also watched the movie “Case of Christ”.
On Sunday morning I talked on – What does God want? During that I shared the Gospel and I invited those who did not know Jesus to accept him and I went through the prayer of accepting Jesus. Two friends of Iwona: Agnieszka and Małgosia prayed to receive Jesus.
As the application from that event they decided to organize meetings at their place to study Bible together and also to invite there some other people.
Iwona was very excited and happy. They all decided on the date of the first meeting.
I became a spiritual grandma.
During that weekend retreat Dorota led us through the story of Anna from Old Testament. Dorota shared Christ with me when I was in the University, I attended her Bible study group. She assisted me on my first steps of faith, reading and applying God’s Word. Her enthusiasm and devotion for the lost influenced me also. I am sure that God used her in putting the foundation for my Christian life, what I believe and do today.
There was also Jagoda at the weekend retreat. She is the person who shared Christ with Dorota – she is my spiritual grandma.
That was an amazing moment when we realized that there at the same place we had 5 generations of Christ disciples even though Agnieszka and Małgosia have just started that adventure.
For me the devotion of Iwona to her spiritual daughters is very encouraging. To see her willingness to help and readiness to assist them in their growth brings delight.
I pray that she would
be able to see her own grandchildren!
What about you? Have you tasted the joy of becoming a spiritual mother or grandmother? Where is God working in your ministry that may move you toward the multiplication journey?
We are talking much about the idea of multiplication and we hear much from all over. There is no doubt that it is important; needed and that was the strategy of Jesus. Many times and on different ways, we teach others what is the difference between adding and multiplying. We draw maps; we kind of try to calculate how many people shall hear the gospel in the next generation. I love that part of training especially because I am a mathematician, I love numbers and elegant neat charts.
None of us needs to be convicted to multiplication, so why the reality around us does not look like what we can see at these beautiful charts? Now, I can hear voices of those reading my statement. Everybody will easily find plenty reasons why that does not work. I would like to add one more reason to that long list. That is the thinking I can see around me lately and what is on my heart. When I read the book “T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution” (Steve Smith and Ying Kai) one thing draw my attention. There in the chapter 4 are described two models of discipleship, one is Jesus model, and the other one is of Paul. Authors write that many contemporary models of discipleship are based on Jesus’ model, which is based on physical presence among disciples. Paul’s model is leading from distance, preparation of disciples and leaders to do the task when he has to go to another place. That does not mean that Paul is not in touch with them once he is gone. He writes letters sends coworkers and prays for them. But we need to see that they grow and develop without his presence.
The difference between these models punched me, but are they really so different? Jesus said to their disciples: “…it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you…” (John 16:7 NIV).
Were disciples of Jesus left alone after Jesus went to heaven? No. Holy Spirit came, Spirit of Jesus, God in third Person.
Did Paul, when he left a town in which the ecclesia (community of believers) was established, leave them alone? No, they were left with somebody without whom they cannot do anything: the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Jesus. He was with them. Paul taught them to depend on and become addicted not on him, Paul but on Jesus.
And it is here, where we find that element of risk. Jesus “took risk” choosing such and not different disciples and leaving in their hands that enormous task, matter of death and life: the gospel, as it is the power of God that brings salvation. We know that after the Pentecost disciples started very well, but we do not know everything, we do not know all their struggles, successes and failures. Only a few of them wrote letters, which give us today some light on their lives. We do not know if always and everywhere they did the same. Probably not as every of them were different. The similar thing is with the ecclesias started by Paul. We know that they struggled with many obstacles. They were not perfect. But the gospel was spread all over the ancient world and had huge impact. There is no doubt about that.
I think that one of the key elements of multiplication is teaching people to depend on Jesus, not on us as mature leaders and allowing them for autonomy and maybe even for failure (?!).
Somebody one day trusted me that I would be able to share Christ with others and lead them in a group. Of course I was not perfect in that as was my leader. I made a lot of mistakes and I still do. I am not a perfect leader.
Of course, not all of our leaders will be doing everything as good as we might do.
Of course, there is a risk of mistake. Jesus also knew that. The very history of the church is full of councils solving what is right and what is not. They also struggled with heresies. Gnosis was present there in the first century.
But the gospel was carried to our times with its unique DNA.
As we have entered a new year, and many of us like to reflect and come up with resolutions, I wish you courage in leaving the gospel in the hands of the people you are discipling, and trusting that Jesus is surely with them always, to the very end of the age and will enable them to overcome.
Emotions are inseparable part of our lives. We are emotional beings. Dr. Bill Bright devoted one page to that topic in his booklet “Have you heard of the four spiritual laws?” “Do not depend on feelings”. In the last days I looked at these words from completely new perspective.
About two weeks ago we decided to do something, that we did not do till now: we went to the streets to share Christ. We had an earlier experience of sharing Christ with people whom we did not know in dorms or beaches, but this time we wanted to see how it would look like to talk to the strangers in the streets. We have never did it in the town where we live, because it felt against the culture. We managed to encourage our disciples to be part of this different approach. It seemed to us that the time before Christmas is good to do it, the atmosphere and the Christmas market in the middle of the town seemed to support that idea.
So on Saturday, on a sunny day of December, we divided our group into pairs and went into the town. Of course from all our group of 12 only my husband and I had an experience in such sharing. The rest of the team were more or less scared and did it for the first time in their lives.
After an hour we met again to share with the group how it went. And during that sharing time something hit me. It was the way people shared about their evangelistic experience. The most important thing in the sharing was emotions. Of course it was very natural, that was very strong experience for them. Even to come there on Saturday they needed to overcome their fears, to do something against their personality. But when we gathered, I looked forward to hear that it was not so terrible, that the conversations were more important from the fear that accompanied them.
The thing that hit me was a sentence repeated by many as a refrain, that “that way of sharing is not my gift”, that is not what “I want to do”,” not my style”, “I FEEL BAD WITH IT”. Only two from the whole group said that they FELT good because of their extroverted personality, they did not have problems in general to start the conversation with strangers no matter where they meet them.
To be honest with you I need to admit that after that hour of trying to start conversations with strangers and trying to share Christ to them, I FELT AWFUL.
The question I asked myself was: “Does it how I feel with something testify if that something is good or bad?”
Or putting it in other words: If I feel bad with something, is that thing bad?
I have noticed that and I am sorry to say that for the most of the participants of our Saturday outreach, the matter of HOW they felt about sharing Christ with strangers on the street, became more important than them being OBEDIENT to the will of God to go and share the Gospel. HOW did they feel unfortunately influenced their decision to not share Christ in this way anymore.
One can say that may be that is not a tragedy, they still can find other different ways. They will talk to their friends, family, and colleagues. Sharing Christ in the streets is difficult and inefficient and so on.
I think that this situation uncovered a problem: my emotions versus obedience to God. Am I going to be obedient to God only when I feel good with it and when I do not feel good I will find thousands of rational reasons why I shall not do it?
Somebody told me that everybody needs to try to share Christ in the streets, to see if he FEELS good with it. She (that person) tried it and she knows that she does not want to do it because she FELT bad with it.
Why that hit me so strong:
First, Jesus said “go and make disciples “ Mt 28:18, so if I am a disciple of Jesus I am obedient no matter what emotions I have.
Sharing the Gospel is not an easy task, emotions will always accompany it. My personal experience is that I very rarely felt good when I went sharing (I have never felt good). I felt good only knowing that I did something that God is pleased with.
After that Saturday I realized that I know too many Christians who are hidden in their comfort zones and do only things they feel good doing. And that filled me with sorrow.
I was thinking of how I personally follow Jesus. Do I choose to be obedient to Him only when I feel good about it and when it is too demanding or too difficult I am withdrawing?
When Jesus came to the earth and was born in a stable, growing up in a poor family and died on the cross, He did it because he felt good with it or because He was obedient to the Father?
In this Christmas time I wish to all of us that: “The promise (and commandments) of God’s Word, the Bible – not our feelings – is (shall be) our authority.”