My son, Gabe, and I recently returned from a 15-day tour of Israel and Jordan. We jointly led a group consisting of 10 college students and recent graduates. They are taking a year off to participate in a one-year discipleship training program at T Bar M Camps, led by their program leader and my friend, Keith Myer. As of this writing, they are preparing to practice what they are learning about the disciple-making lifestyle in Peru, sharing the Gospel and building up the Body of Messiah.
It is a special joy that God provided a way for me to do this with my son. He loves the Lord. He loves His Word. At an early age, Gabe knows more about the Scriptures and their Jewish background than most people I know. I presented the information. Gabe provided a reasoned explanation.
Taking the Timothy Team to Israel is one of the highlights of my year. We start meeting in late September, preparing for our upcoming adventure. First, we establish the sequence of the Bible’s storyline to provide a foundation to build on as we travel the Promised Land from Dan to Beesheva. Second, the “teamers” are presented with the fact that the Bible is a Jewish book, written by Jewish people, addressing many distinctly Jewish issues. Along the road, we discuss at length the biblical model of making disciples who make disciples. Many are surprised to discover that the Bible’s model of disciple-making is very different than what passes for “discipleship” today.
The Times They Are A-Changin
This was the fourth year I have guided this group. After sending them home, I stayed for an additional 4 days to visit with old friends, meet some new ones, and to spend time alone with the Lord. During that time alone, I realized that assisting believers in coming to grips with the disconnect between what the Bible portrays as disciple-making, what currently exists, and what to do about it has become the passion of my life.
I left for Israel that knowing that a transition was around the immediate bend in the road. I am eternally grateful for the opportunities and exposure my tenure at Ariel Ministries provided. I plan to take what I have learned during this period of my life and leverage it for Kingdom purposes as we travel in a new route headed for the same destination. You will be hearing more from me in the days ahead on this blog. While God’s plans for us continue to unfold, Noemi and I covet your prayerful support.
The beginning of a new year is a good time to take stock of where we have been and where we are going. It seems like just a short while ago when this began. At first, all I had were observations about what I had read about in the New Testament concerning the practice of a disciple-making lifestyle. What I saw around me looked nothing like the picture the Bible painted of the earliest Church. The first blog posts were my attempts to give voice to those disconnected observations.
There were times when I felt personally disconnected as well. I know God was in the quiet. But sometimes we all need an actual voice, a pair of eyes to look into, and ears that will listen well before speaking. This is what we want to provide through the help of others like Jeff and Alyson. Steve, Connie, Rick, Diana, Keith, Alice, Tom, Belinda, Olivier, Ellen, Erez, Cissy, Seth, Eitan, Ivan, Svetlana, Firuz, Rakhim, Munira, Sergey, Victoria, Andriy, Nick, Boris, Sasha, Ira, Alysa, Katya, Jenechka, Anastasiya, the Carpenters, Timothy Teams and so many more. Others played significant roles in my spiritual development. Among them are those who discipled me. Russel Kelfer, Larry Heppes, Acie Johnson, Buzz Roman and Arnold Fruchtenbaum were the most influential. It is impossible to name everyone who God has introduced us to since February 2011. God has used all of you in ways you will never know on this side of glory. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Organizations can’t make reproductive disciples of Jesus. Disciples in a relationship with others make disciples.
For all of its brokenness, the world we live in is incredible. People started reading the E-Pistle, the blog of Disciple Daily. They started interacting via comments and using the resources found on this website. I explored mechanisms to help individual Jesus lovers to become reproductive disciple-makers.
God provided for our spiritual and material needs. Friends came alongside to encourage and lend a hand. They volunteered their time, talents, and treasure. We never wanted for anything. One of the first volunteers was Jeff Troup. Jeff and I only met face-to-face one time. But he was my brother-in-arms. We met when I first arrived at Ariel Ministries. He was their webmaster. Very quickly, I knew how important Jeff could be to the work of Ariel. In a matter of months, we built a brand new website and launched an online store. His work revolutionized Ariel Ministries. Jeff’s talents helped make Ariel Ministries what it is today.
Not long after I started Disciple Daily, Jeff volunteered to build our first website. It was very simple. It had to be because Jeff worked virtually full-time for Ariel. I had to be able to run it and not mess it up. A couple of years later, Jeff built our first WordPress site. It was a major step forward. Our visibility grew and invitations to teach reproductive disciple-making began to arrive via email and calls from here, near, and far away. Through Jeff, God started to make that happen.
Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass. – Job 14:5
A little over two years ago, Jeff received his reward for a life well lived. Unexpectedly, he was taken home to heaven. If he’s watching, and I like to believe he is, we have been blessed with a new helper in the domains he so artfully helped to manage in both my life and here on the Internet.
Out of the blue, God has given me a new Jeff! We met Alyson at the LCJE/NA conference in Denver, last March. My wife and I both knew immediately that she is fun, passionate, gifted, and blessed with a servant’s heart. Over the last four months, on her own time after work and on weekends, Alyson built this brand new website for Disciple Daily. It is everything I hoped and prayed it would be. If you are in need of someone to help create a web presence that honors God and accomplishes what only a truly effective and functional website can provide, this is your introduction to Alyson Dresner. She is skilled, knowledgeable, and a joy to work with.
Joy In The Journey
I know what the destination is. That has never been in doubt since December 21, 1971, when I was introduced to Jesus by Fred Baily at Jesus Chapel in El Paso, Texas. Along the way, there have been many course changes. Truth be known, I enjoy this. My wife, not so much. Next to Jesus, Noemi is the most important and influential person I have ever met. She is the love of my life and none of what has happened at Disciple Daily would have been possible without her unconditional love and unlimited support.
This is the thought I want to close with. On average, during the course of one year, most of us in the West have opportunities for significance in the lives of about 400 people. This is no accident. Created in the image of God, you were made for the benefit of others. You were created to step into the darkness of this world and proclaim with your life and your lips, “Let there be light!” That is why Disciple Daily exists. Our purpose is to train disciple-making disciples of Jesus one person at a time, one story at a time.
In the months ahead we will travel to Turkey and Ukraine. Training is being conducted here in San Antonio at Wayside Chapel, Grace House, and T-Bar-M Camps. In January, we will be in Israel for 16 days. We have many plans for the year ahead, but it is the Lord who establishes those plans.
Please explore our new facelift and let us know what you think. If we can be of any service, just reach out.