I do not believe in discipleship

The concept of discipleship was ingrained in me early on:

Who is discipling you? and who are you discipling? were familiar questions.

It was normal to be in a discipleship group–a group that taught the ways of Jesus. The motive was (and is) pure and good.

However, over the years, I have discovered that neither the words ‘discipleship’ nor  ‘discipling’ are in the Bible. From all I can surmise, we made up those words over time to describe what we are doing.

Apparently we in Christendom, pure heartedly, have veered off course. Way off course. Let me explain my point of view.

At age 24, I went to seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. I had been working with teenagers since I was 19. I had quite a bit of favor with teenagers (youth) but no education in that area. The next seemingly apparent step was to earn my Masters in Religious Education.

Early on during my time at this fine institution of higher learning, I found a church that I liked.  What I really, really liked most about this church was my Sunday School teacher. His name was Dr. Stan Lee. He and his wife, Marlene, were real life missionaries in a foreign land. For some reason, though, they were temporarily at this church. While there, Dr. Lee taught Sunday School.

Each Sunday I, along with a few others, went early just so we could watch him as he prepped to teach. He would stand in front of two chalkboards for a bit and just stare at them.

And then, as if an unseen checkered flag dropped, he began to write—he wrote and wrote until both chalkboards were filled up. And the words he wrote were full of RAW LIFE. Then Dr. Lee took the next 45 minutes or so and spoke about all the words on the board. Again, LIFE. I was mesmerized, challenged, and hungry for more!

One Sunday I got up the nerve to wait after class to ask Dr. Lee one simple question, “will you disciple me?”

Side note: I was naïve about the obvious taboo male/female discipleship thing. However, I was very pure hearted and eager to get more of this life-filled teaching, which is what I believed discipleship was.

Awkwardness appeared. Dr. Lee looked angst. Yes, my query was definitely troubling him.

He looked away, looked back at me and looked away again. He opened his mouth, closed it, and after a few more seconds, he spoke slowly methodically and this is what he said: “Only One disciples. And his name is Jesus. I disciple no one.”

I smiled politely, curtsied and excused myself. (Okay, I didn’t curtsy, but I did hightail it out of there.)

I was so embarrassed. What the heck did he mean?? I had asked a very common Christian-type question and he, figuratively, slammed me.

Yet, I really heard what he said. I thought about it a lot. And over the days, weeks, months, and years to come, it resounded. It resonated.

And it altered my life’s trajectory. 

That very day, Dr. Lee contributed to making me a disciple as well as giving me a much greater understanding to actually what making a disciple meant and means.

“Go and make disciples…” was the very thing that Jesus told all of us to do in, what we call, the Great Commission.  Disciple means a devoted follower. Dr. Lee didn’t mind teaching me; he simply did not want me to follow him.

Jesus did NOT tell me (or any of us) to disciple anyone.

If someone is discipling me, I am following them.

If I disciple someone, then they are following me.

If I am making disciples (devoted followers), then I am pushing them (or compelling them) to follow the One and only person that God wants us to follow, that is Jesus.

Over time, I have learned the simplicity of what it means to go straight to Jesus. I am still learning how to walk with him and talk with him and most of all, listen to and follow him.  

I have learned that he is life and gives his life freely. I have learned that his yoke (teachings) are easy (oh, so easy) and the burden (expectations) he places on me is oh. So. Light.

I am his disciple. And the way I make disciples is to push others (believers and unbelievers alike) to him. Again, I am here to push people to him, not to bring them to me.

Yes, I teach. (And listen to other’s teachings.)

Yes, I equip. (This is what I think most people are actually doing when they are discipling others. I do think the semantics are important.)

Yes, I mentor. (And have a few mentors that I can call on.)

Yes, I make disciples. (That is now normal, and very easy.)

But, no, I do not disciple, because that is not what he asks me to do.

Thank you, Dr. Lee, for not discipling me, but instead for doing what all of us are called to do: for (contributing to) making me a disciple.

So many squash so little time

8a075e50-ec1c-430f-9116-983ed0dd1edaI love summer and all the fresh foods that it brings: tomatoes, zucchini, ocra, corn, herbs, and SQUASH! Lots and lots and lots of squash.

I love to cook-it-down in bacon grease in an iron skillet or slice it, toss in corn meal and fried it along side onion rings in hot grease.  I’m drooling as I type!

However, sometimes there is just SO MUCH SQUASH with only a limited number of ways that my family will not only EAT but ENJOY!

A few years ago I found a great recipe that my whole family loves and, admittedly have tweaked it a little. It is easy and, strangely enough for our clan, HEALTHY–of course, anything is healthier  than all my bacon grease and canola oil…

Go ahead, print this one out now.  I tried to make it the right size to fold and put in your recipe box but who knows what the In-ternets will do to it!
Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.08.49 AM

IMG_1141FullSizeRender-1I also love growing and cooking with herbs.  So, I was able to jump off my porch and harvest (fancy word for pinch off) some basil and thyme.  And yes, I washed it first.

Most of the other ingredients came from the local grocery store, but our squash, zucchini and tomato plants are growing as fast as they can so it won’t be long before I have fresh ingredients for my kitchen.

I also took the above photo of the veggies on a cutting board that my son made with his own two hands. So proud!

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Oh, well. That’s it!  Please let me know if you make this recipe–or even if you print it out.  Heck, let me know if you even read this.  What joy it would bring to my beatin’ heart!

Hugs! Summertime, summertime, I do so love summertime!

 

 

 

 

I didn’t wanna do it

IMG_8850IMG_8854Nothing inside of me wanted to do it.  Nothing.  The only reason I discreetly slipped into my bathing suit was so I could later ease into the water and eventually brag, “I swam in a volcano crater lake.” (Good plan.)

And then Tom happened.

But first the back story!  During 2015 my husband and I have been coaching the World Race Fusion Squad.  This is a squad of 23 Racers who embarked on an 11 month/11 country mission trip back in January. Every few months we jet to wherever the heck they are for their debrief.

A debrief is where we spend 4-5 days simply encouraging each of the Racers via hanging out, drinking coffee, hugging, laughing, listening, crying, talking–you get the idea.  It’s a great job.

At the end of August we flew to Nicaragua.  This time, though, we went early to help the Racers host a five-day visit from their parents (the Parent Vision Trip).  Now their parents hadn’t seen their Racers for eight months, so we were really inconsequential for those few days.  All we did was tag along for the scheduled activities and chatted it up with parents.

On the day before the parents departure, we went to the Laguna De Apoyo, a deep crater lake–or, rather, an imploded volcano that filled with water!  It really is pretty amazing.

Now on this particular day several of us were seated at a laguna-side table with a fantastic view.  One of the racers, Kylene, slid next to me and whispered, “I am panicking.”

“Why?” I asked.

She quickly responded: “My dad wants to jump in the lagoon.

I quickly responded with glee:  “I think that’s great!!”

“NO! It’s not!!” she responded, not very gleefully.

“Why not?” She rolled her eyes at what seemed to be a ludicrous question. You see, her dad is Tom. Tom is legally blind. So she gave the obvious answer: “He might get hurt.” IMG_8823

I hesitated and then said, “Yes, he might.  But he wants to do it.” I turned to my seated comrades, “Hey ya’ll, Tom wants to jump in the water.  Let’s vote! If you think he should, raise your hand.” (All hands went up.)  “Then it’s decided.  Tom goes in.”

One of my lunch companions, Daniel, offered to jump in first to determine how far out he needed to jump.  Another one, Nathan, who happened to be a lifeguard in a former life,
offered to jump in with him.

I turned back to Kylene, Tom’s daughter and smiled, “then it’s all settled!  Your dad’s going swimming!

That news was not settling at all to her.IMG_8825

There were two platforms to jump from.  The tallest about 20 feet off the water, the other about 14 feet.  Tom opted for the latter. Daniel did the test ‘run and jump’ and then, with minor instructions, Tom and Nathan began to run.  The leap was picture perfect, the cheers were boisterous, and Tom’s grin was indescribable.IMG_8826

Kylene’s fears for her dad were valid.  She had seen her dad fall several times.  The former bank president began going blind only a few years prior and hated his red-tipped walking stick.  Therefore, he had walked full-face into more than one immovable structure and had been told by more than one stranger that he had blood on his forehead or running down his cheek.  She had not wanted it to happen one more time.  But today she wasIMG_8847 relieved. And proud–very proud.

And, unbeknownst to Tom, he was causing a ripple effect--no pun intended! First it was Joann.  Joann was fidgeting after Tom jumped in and then suddenly blurted out: “If he can do it, then I have no excuse!”  With that, she ripped off her hearing aid, grabbed her daughter’s hand and took off running!  More cheering!  IMG_8834

Then came a knowing glance as another couple, Rick and Carmen, stood up from their lounge chairs, took a deep breath and a few strides and then leapt.

Then, the first Racer called to me, “Hey, Mama K! When are you jumping in??”

I called back, “Uh, well, uh. I’m not a good swimmer.  I mean, I can hold my own, it’s just that I don’t like people to touch me in the water and I really don’t like drop offs and I have to hold my nose and…..”

I continued to ramble as the Racers ignored my weak reasoning.

Okay, the truth was that I was scared.  No really, I was scared.  I wasn’t scared of getting hurt necessarily.  I was scared of slipping before I even leapt and looking stupider than I felt.  And I was scared of looking dorky while I held my nose.  And I was scared of–well dang, nothing big.

And then there was Tom. Ugh.

“Okay.”

Kylene saying goodbye to her parents, Tom and Kelly.

I agreed to the lower 14′ platform that was increasing in elevation with every passing second.  My sweet husband agreed to jump with me (but not to touch me in the water).

I stood ready to run, but I was frozen. (Tom wasn’t frozen.) My husband said, “don’t think about it, JUST GO!”

I did.  I took the first step and the rest was easy.  Admittedly, it was actually fun.

Fear has made me miss too much.  But something in me shifted that day.

Thank you Tom, for helping me to see that I have unwittingly invented my own “red-tip stick” which I have been using as an excuse for resisting many adventures.  Thank you for helping me see.  

Really, thank you.