Loving Like Jesus

Jesus said one mark of discipleship is loving others. He even called it a new commandment. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34 NLT). What made this commandment new was not the substance (love people) but the model. […]

The Gift of Fear

The Oldsmobile was an American automobile icon. First built in 1897, it sold more than 35 million automobiles over its 107-year history. During the 1980s Olds tried to recapture its declining market by reinventing itself. In 1988 it came out with the slogan, “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.” The company tried to reposition the elegant Olds […]

By Our Love

This article continues a series on what Jesus set as the hallmarks of discipleship. Servant love (John 13:34-35) is the one trait that gives evidence to the world that our apprenticeship is authentic. When Jesus met with His disciples for the Last Supper, He challenged them with a final measure of true discipleship: “So now I am […]

Trusting Our Trainer

Many of my generation were raised on TV westerns. We learned that a real cowboy could take a wild horse, put him in a corral, saddle him up, then get on. If the cowboy stayed on, eventually the horse would give up and submit to the authority and dominance of a new master. This was called […]

Faithful Obedience

What does it mean to be a disciple—to be an apprentice of Jesus? Jesus clearly stated five traits that characterize His followers. Let’s look at one of them: faithful obedience. In John 8:31-32, Jesus introduces this requirement for being His disciple and promises results to those who are faithful in it: “So Jesus was saying to those […]

Whose Flag Are You Flying?

As I have worked on a biblical definition of discipleship, I have discovered some distinctive marks of an apprentice of Christ. These traits are not optional. Neither are they a checklist to be completed—they are lifetime pursuits. We can recognize a true disciple of Jesus when these traits are present and increasingly evident. One of these traits […]

Our Keel of Faith

The keel—the flat blade sticking down into the water from a sailboat’s bottom—is an essential part of every sailboat. It has three functions: It creates forward motion, it prevents the boat from being blown sideways by the wind, and it holds the ballast (counterweight) that keeps the boat right-side up. Pretty simple, right? Also, very essential. […]

A Portrait of Discipleship

“Follow me.” Jesus’ invitation extends far beyond the original Twelve, through the ages and up to the present. What does it mean to be His disciple? A disciple of Jesus should be recognizable in every culture and era. Even the opposition identified the early disciples of Christ: “Now as [the religious leaders] observed the confidence […]

A Seed Bursts into Life

You never know when a seed you have planted will take root and grow. Just as planting literal seeds doesn’t produce instant results, it sometimes takes patience to see signs of spiritual life. That is true with my friend Barbara. Barbara had come to Pennsylvania from the Dominican Republic with her husband, an expert in […]

Discipleship’s GPS

One of the benefits of GPS technology is the elimination of bulky road maps that, once unfolded, could never be returned to their original state. A cross-country trip required several of these maps. Helpful as those maps were, they couldn’t tell you where you were on the map. Many marriages were threatened (including my own) […]