About Pieter Steyn

Painting with a wide brush on a broad canvas...

Building on sand, building on rock!

Dear Kingfisher family,

Kingfisher redirects the body of Christ towards a disciple-making lifestyle in all spheres of life. These words come from our vision statement or dream that you can find on our web site.

We use various tools to mobilise the body of Christ towards a disciple-making lifestyle – first of all, a workshop to introduce the Gospel of Mathew in following Jesus as disciples in order eventually to become disciples. The workshop “Making disciples like Jesus” had been presented in Africa, South East Asia and Eastern Europe.

The feedback up to now was overwhelmingly positive:KingfisherWorkshop

  • The workshop uses the Scripture itself as the source and empowers believers to follow Jesus reading their Bibles within context.
  • The support material is designed to help small groups of disciples to discover what it means to follow Jesus.
  • The desired outcome is that a disciple of Jesus who followed Jesus through the gospel of Mathew will be able to disciple another in exactly the same way when he reaches Mathew 28 with the instruction to make disciples exactly in the way Jesus did.

Those who actually began to read the gospel of Mathew together, following Jesus step by step and inviting others to join along the way, were actually discipled by our Lord himself. Those who were in love with the fresh approach and practical implementation but did not implement what they read, were disappointed.

The workshop itself is just an introduction. The real spiritual journey is not attending a workshop but following Jesus step by step. Jesus said:  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” Mathew 7:24 &26.

When introducing the workshop our biggest fear is that these words will not be put into practice and our greatest joy is to see a house built on rock!

Regards,

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Bridging the gap between Sunday service and real life

Dear Kingfisher family,

After Sunday morning service Roger Perkins from Higher Ground Foundation posted on FaceBook a few paragraphs that express my experience as well as that of many others.

19 May 2019

 It occurred to me during our excellent church service this morning that the purpose of our services is to provide Inspiration and an Invitation to go deeper in the journey towards character growth and stewardship. Continue reading

Mobilising faith communities and believers towards Kingdom Transformation

Within the Kingfisher family we look at the whole of our ministry through Kingdom coloured glasses. We are activists discipling the body of Christ towards a practical Kingdom lifestyle that will transform not only their own lives, but that of their communities and the rest of the world as well. In short, we guide and equip towards a Kingdom vision that will become a practical reality as Kingdom transformation starts to happen wherever Kingdom people are present.

The question is of course how to do it.

We do it by helping people to follow Jesus authentically, by hearing what He said and seeing what He did as we read the gospels, by being exposed by His way of thinking and doing until He himself impacts the follower with His presence and fullness of life. It is not our good material, our well designed strategies or planning that brings real transformation, but the presence of Christ himself through His Spirit that does the work.

When Jesus becomes real to you as you follow Him, you will begin to think like He did about life, about the community you live in, and the world around you. And when you see with your very own eyes how he opens up lives so that the Kingdom can break through in a practical way, it is impossible not to begin to do the same. Not only because He is a great example, but because in following Jesus you will be transformed towards His likeness as you become a blessing to others..

So mobilising for real change and transformation of a broken life, community and world starts with following Jesus, being impacted by Him and then living the Kingdom life in obedience and fulfilment of His expectations and goals.

To make it very clear and practical:

  • Kingdom missions begins with following Jesus
  • Kingdom aid and disaster relief begin with following Jesus
  • Kingdom development, care and education begin with following Jesus
  • Kingdom life in business and the workplace begins with following Jesus
  • Kingdom relationships begin with following Jesus
  • Kingdom communities begin with following Jesus

We do not do any of these things just because it is worth doing. We do it because we began to think like Jesus and started doing like Him as we are following Him.

 

 

Free downloads

We have been requested to gather the blogs from the Following Jesus through Matthew series in a booklet. You may download the workbook for free as well as a guide giving advice how to use the material in a small group setting. Just click on the icon to download a pdf version.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus workbook - Pieter Steyn    Reading Matthew with others - Pieter Steyn

 

Discipling mobilisers

Kingfisher logo2A decade and a half ago Kingfisher was established to mobilise the body of Christ towards action in a broken world. Our vision developed to be instruments in establishing God’s kingdom through disciple making, resulting in real transformational change in individuals and their communities.
We discovered that disciple-making is the engine for true Kingdom transformation and that despite a myriad of discipling material available, none addressed the vision of Kingdom Transformation in a practical grass roots manner better than working through the gospel of Matthew, following Jesus step by step.Therefore we decided to  follow Jesus on the same journey that we invite everyone of you reading this post. Therefore we provide this free tool, first of all to establish the foundation of a grassroots mobilising movement and secondly to contribute to the depth when those who live in the world the way Jesus did start to impact their communities in a tangible way.
Even more, this is a call for action, to follow Jesus in a practical everyday way. To be change agents in establishing His Kingdom according to His principles.
Let Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.
 Then a request: If you are a Kingfisher mobiliser, please help us by giving your response below. You may also respond by sending us a comment if you need more than a click to speak your mind.

24. Does it work?

LAST SUPPER SCULPTURE

LAST SUPPER SCULPTURE

The questions we very often get are: “Does it work? Does disciple making like Jesus did actually bring results?”  And the answer is: Yes it works! Slowly but surely people start to follow Jesus and eventually begin to disciple others.

Johann Theron reports from Bulgaria:

Pastor Nasko and his small church of 35 believers in  Bulgaria, glorify God by implementing disciple making principles. For the past two years they rediscovered the value of Jesus’ strategy.

The Spirit laid two young Gypsies on his heart. In Bulgaria the Gypsies still stay in informal communities outside the towns and villages. The default of the Bulgarian population is to disconnect themselves from them – “they will only steal from you”. Nasko, however, decides to reconnect with these “untouchables”. He spends the bulk of his ministry time with them. He takes them to all ministry opportunities possible; teach them at all possible occasions. He opens up the privacy of his two bedroom apartment to them; take them on fishing expeditions. Personally, I very seldom saw Nasko without Galien and Lupcho 1-2 steps behind him.

In April this year I visited them again. Surprised to see that Nasko’s church has grown with 10 new members – 30 percent! A youth group of 8 new believers formed the worship team – all of them disciples of Galien and Lupcho! Nasko’s spiritual grandchildren.

In the same church they have a cell group of elderly women – they started reaching out to their neighbours – several other unbeliever babushkas (grandmothers) now join this small group on a weekly basis – they don’t feel free to join the church due to many wrong perceptions about the church and also because of what churches did to people in the past. This however, presents no problem for Nasko. He has grown into a Kingdom pastor – not thinking about an attractional church in the first instance. Being part of the cell group makes them church as well – Nasko can easily accommodate different models within his own sphere of influence.

Nasko’s wife, Mariana, discovered that her workplace is her ministry – the place where she is sent to by God – her calling by God – her disciple making space. She accepted her class as her spiritual responsibility – showing and teaching them evangelical values, purposefully building relationships with them inside and outside the school – simply loving them. Mariana is one of 4 such teachers  that lectures the same grade. In the Bulgarian system parents can choose the teacher of their children. She says that wherever she meets parents in the streets, they all approach her and ask if their children can please be in her class – there is something different about her and her class.

Disciple making is the engine of transformation. ”

 

23. Back to a beginning!

We have come full circle. Jesus called his disciples with the words: “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  Then he did exactly that and taught them, influenced, them shaped and sometimes scolded them. He made them his disciples in every possible way and eventually turned them into fishers of men with the words:  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Read Matthew 28:16-20

  1. If you followed Jesus up to this point, you just now received clear instructions what to do next. What are his instructions? How are you going to do it?
  2. If you are getting nervous and afraid of carrying out the instructions, there is a promise from Jesus himself that will help on the way. What is that promise?
  3. This was just the beginning. You are going to learn even more about how to think like Jesus and how to be like him. Much of what you learn will be as you go along obeying what he said. You will make disciples just as he did, exactly as he disciples you. How? Write it down. What are the next step and if you can see further, the next two or three steps that you going to take in faith?

22. The fifth checkpoint

The fifth checkpoint is to identify so much with Jesus that you are willing to follow him up to the cross, into death and eventually would rise with him in his resurrection.  According to available evidence the young men all deserted him, with the possible exception of the young boy John, who followed him with some of the women at a distance to the cross.

Read Matthew 26:26-46

  1. How much do you identify with Jesus? Will it be up to the point of death? This is what the young disciples faced, without knowing as much as we know about a coming resurrection. So this was another checkpoint and first one of them and then all deserted Him.
  2. How do we follow him then up to the cross and beyond even if his closest disciples failed Him? Paul shows us that in a real way baptism is about dying with Christ and being resurrected with him. The mystery is that when I symbolically die in baptism, spiritually the symbol becomes reality.
  3. Are you ready to die?  Even though we know that Jesus died in our place and that this identification with Him will mean that we will get death and resurrection without going through the physical experience as He did, it is still death of the old man and resurrection into the new life.
  4. How will you take the next step following Jesus? What will be waiting for you then, death or life?

PS: Of course you now realise that at least for you this could be the ultimate moment in identifying with Jesus whichever way your life turns out from now on. This is the point Matthew’s whole story had been aiming at. This is the climax.

We do not know when the individual disciples experienced this revelation. Was it at when Jesus first called them? Was it at one of the checkpoints on the way or was it during a quite ordinary day? Was it during the days and weeks after Jesus died and was resurrected? We simply do not know. What we know is that what happened was so tremendous that the whole world would be changed by their message.

21. Kingdom transformation for spiritual leaders

As time was running out and the cross started to loom ahead, Jesus’ prophetic approach became stronger and stronger.

He deliberately started to confront the spiritual leaders of is time, the Pharisees with whom he had much in common in theory and the Sadducees that ran the temple for personal gain.

He took his disciples into the synagogues and eventually the temple itself, exposing them to the intense debates and sharp words.

At this point the disciples did not understand yet.

Within a few weeks they would have to be able to stand against the religious officials who wanted to kill off the subverting Jesus movement by force.

Read at least Matthew 23:1-39 and if you want to get a bigger picture, at least up to the end of chapter 25.

  1. Which standards did Jesus use to measure the spiritual leaders of his times against? Make a list.
  2. What do you think wanted Jesus the outcomes to be by exposing the disciples to his interaction with the spiritual leaders.
  3. What on earth should we do in our own context?

 

 

20. Like Jesus: Love as a verb

compassion-1Every Jew in Jesus time recited the Shema, (named  so after the first word of the text in Hebrew) often more than once a day as we find it in Deuteronomy :” Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”. This was the creed, prayer and focus of their faith. When Jesus was asked about the core of his beliefs and lifestyle he quoted this verse. And added to it another verse from Leviticus. (Deut 6:1-6 and Lev 19:18)

Read Matthew 22:34-40

  1. Recite Jesus’s direct words out loud. Do it with passion! This is the essence of what Jesus believed, taught and lived. Repeat until you will be able to remember it well.
  2. Think about the faith journey up to now, about what you experienced and how the Lord led you to follow him. Remind each other how all of this fits into these few words. You can become like Jesus by loving as he did. There is no choice to be made between loving God and loving other people that crosses your path. Minister to each other with God’s love.

In the end, it is only love that remains.

19. Passion instead of ambition?

Upside down again?

Jesus did not have any ambition to become the king of Israel, although many of his followers thought that he would be the perfect candidate to call the nation to arms, chase the Romans into the sea and take up David’s throne in Jerusalem.  What Jesus did have was absolute passion to do the father’s will even if that meant that He would lay down his life. While Jesus spoke about his coming humiliation and death just before, his disciples had to learn the lesson again. Because most of them were teenagers, Mrs  Zebedee, the mother of two of them, had to learn the lesson as well!

Read Matthew 17:20-28

  1. To follow Jesus, means that everything in my life have to submit under Jesus and the will of the Father. Is there something in your life that will prevent you from following Jesus with consuming passion, even unto death if need be?
  2. Becoming like Jesus implies that I have to serve others as a slave of old would. What does that mean within our cultural context today?

Comment: In the early church there were times when it was not unusual at all that believers were expected to die for their beliefs if need be and there are many stories from history testifying to their commitment. Many were willing to die rather than denying Jesus even when they had the opportunity to go free. Today the same is happening in many countries where there is no tolerance for followers of Jesus at all.

Tell me where your passion is and I will tell you where your heart is.

 

 

18. Kingdom culture

maxresdefault (1)You will remember that the issue of relationships was the very first on the agenda when Jesus started to disciple his group: the brother, the irritating person, the marriage partner and even the enemy. In this passage Jesus took his disciples again through the same issues, but now he went much deeper. It was necessary, because a Kingdom lifestyle has a much stronger impact on outsiders than mere words.

A disciple’s life tells about his rabbi and is a witness for good or bad without any chance of hiding it.

 Read Matthew 18:1-20:16

  1. Make a list of all the categories that Jesus mentioned in this passage.
  2. Write down one sentence next to each item in the list that will help us to live a Kingdom lifestyle.
  3. Which of these addresses you personally? Be specific and tell the group. Take responsibility as a group to help each other to live like Jesus did.

This section touches many aspects of the life and conduct of a disciple. Spend time thinking and meditating on this set of passages – it may take you a few weeks before you are ready to continue. Many of these issues will only come to light if you discuss it with others. Therefore a small group o disciples travelling together through life is indispensable, just as with Jesus and his group. Even more, He himself will be present as He promised.

On a personal level: What does your lifestyle tell about who Jesus is?

17. Fourth checkpoint

At the fourth checkpoint the focus shifted to Jesus ‘identity as the son of the Father in heaven. Peter already had some insight in his rabbi’s identity in Matthew 16:13-20. Jesus announced his coming death and resurrection and just after the third checkpoint three of the disciples experience the Lord in visible glory meeting with Moses and Elijah on a mountaintop somewhere in the vicinity. At the start of the journey Jesus may have been seen by the disciples as nothing more than an exceptionally gifted Rabbi and wisdom teacher. With the cross looming ahead this picture had to shift.

Read Matthew 16:13-17:13

  1. Who do you think Jesus was? In which ways did your understanding of Jesus as a person shift since the beginning of the journey?
  2. For us who cannot follow Jesus physically as the disciples could, it is very important to think long and hard about what it means to follow Jesus by faith. What does it mean? How do we follow him without seeing him? Speak out to one another.

 

 

16. Impact

How do you make a positive contribution in the community where you live or work?

Background: You will have to use your imagination again. Parables work much more than a picture that is painted than a mathematical formula that can be solved. So use your imagination, trust the Holy Spirit to make the story alive and look for the picture.

  • Jesus exaggerated in order to emphasise some important principle when he spoke about the mustard seed. Mustard plant only grow knee-high, but this one in the story is different..
  • The people of the Old Testament as well as from Jesus ‘time had the picture in the mind that the nations will come to Jerusalem to the glory of god like birds coming to roost in a tree.

Read Matthew 13:31-33

  1. What is similar in the two examples that Jesus uses?
  2. How are the two examples different from each other?
  3. What have these mind pictures to do with the Kingdom of God breaking through in the world?
  4. How do these pictures help you to think about the impact you can have in your community? How does it help to formulate a strategy that may work for you? Do not be satisfied until you have at least two strategies on the table.

This is how a whole community can be transformed. Do you see the upside down theology at work?

 

 

 

15. Tradition!

Jesus stated repeatedly that he did not come to destroy the Torah, but to live it to its fullest. In this section of the journey, as the level of intensity rises, Jesus comes into confrontation with hypocrites who want to hide behind religious traditions. These confrontations rip off the masks from the disciples faces too!

Background: Many of the examples in these passages has to do with interpretation of Old Testament books like Exodus and Leviticus about laws and regulations that were very much part of everyday life. Jesus do not attack the essence of the tradition, but the superficial way in which it was interpreted by many who do not understand the heart of the matter.

On the other hand, Jesus takes his disciples on an eighty kilometre Journey by foot so that he could highlight a Canaanite woman as an example of faith. . Now that was controversial! Many would say against the laws and traditions. Not so, shows Jesus!

Read Matthew 15:1-33

  1. Look inwards. What comes to your mind when reading this passage? How does this confront you with your relationship with the Lord and with others? Be open for the Lord to show you where you are hiding behind religious and cultural traditions – even those that look just fine at first sight
  2. Share this with the group It is in opening up your heart to others that the Lord may use them to help you to remove the plank or beam from your own eye.
  3. Where do you see people in your own community that nobody would think could become part of the Kingdom?

The picture above comes from the very well know Fiddler on the Roof where cultural and religious tradition plays a very important role. 

14. Hear and understand

How does anyone grow towards bearing fruit? It has much to do with how you listen and what happens afterwards. Jesus told a parable that illustrates this.

Read Matthew 13:1-23

  1. Read verse 1 to 9 carefully and slowly. Use your imagination and see the story playing in front of your eyes. What is amazing is how reckless the farmer is scattering the seed everywhere. No farmer in his right mind would normally do that. And then that harvest is many many times more than anyone can expect in his wildest dreams. The crowds must have been shocked! That just not makes sense, except if you have ears and can hear. Upside down again!
  2. How you listen and what the result is fits in somewhere in what you are seeing. Where do you fit in/? Which picture tells your story? Share with the group.
  3. Read Jesus’ explanation in verse 18 to 23. Does it help you to understand? Do you still think the same about how you listen?
  4. Do you think that Jesus had ears to hear? Why do you think so? Give some examples. If you want to be like Jesus in listening, what should happen now?

13.   Lifestyle

How does a disciple making lifestyle look like? There should be fruit! This is what you should expect happening in your own walk following Jesus by now. As you follow him, you are becoming like him in many ways and you even started doing some of the things he did.

 Read Matthew 12: 33-37

  1. Page through the gospel of Matthew from where we started at the beginning up to this passage. What was the fruit of Jesus life and ministry?
  2. Page through your notes of the past weeks. Do you see some fruit in your life?
  3. In which way is the fruit in your life tied to other people experiencing something of the Kingdom breaking through in their lives?
  4. After the test run and the third checkpoint is becomes very important that you should be useful in the Kingdom of God. If you had to draw a picture on paper of a life useful in the Kingdom, how would that look like? Yes, with a pencil or crayon maybe!

12. The third checkpoint

Jesus did not invite his disciples to come and follow him only once. With every new phase of the journey they had another opportunity to count the cost and decide whether they still would like to follow him.

Now that they are beginning to do what Jesus did, the journey would become much more intense, the price to pay become more, the implications more vital.

In thinking back to my own journey following Jesus, I had exactly that experience.

Background: If you would see someone walking past with  the crossbeam of a cross on his shoulders, he would be on his way to be executed. A rabbi’s joke was the essence of his teaching – what he expected from his disciples not only to know, but to live. The question from the Pharisees in Matthew 22:34-40 about the greatest commandment was actually a question about Jesus’ yoke.

Read Matthew 10:34-11:1 and 11:25-30

  1. What is the content of this new invitation?
  2. In which way is the commitment more intense??
  3. What is the Lord asking you now in terms of a deeper commitment?

To follow Jesus is as easy as following a good guide step by step up a mountain. Without realising you are progressing to the goal step by step and when you reach a resting place on the way you may be surprised at the view. You may be much higher than you thought you would be.

Enjoy the view. That is what makes the steep journey worthwhile!.

Or what do you think?

A disciple is not above his teacher. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher. Math 10:24

11.The test run

staff_member_walking_with_asian_manJesus concluded the first phase with his disciples with a test run. For the very first time he called them “apostles”, sent ones, emissaries. They are not only followers anymore; they are now themselves going out to minister. And Jesus would not be with them physically present. What they saw and heard they would have to imitate.

Courage! Risk!

So here, we have a few questions to kick off the conversation. Remember that through his Spirit, Jesus could take you much further than these questions.

Read Matthew 10:1-10:33. Read again Matthew 4: 23-25

  1. What authority did the disciples receive to minister?
  2. What strategy for ministry did they receive? What are the implications?
  3. What is the connection between what Jesus came to do and the instructions they received?
  4. Take the above in consideration. Jesus sends you as a small group on a test run. Plan and do! Next time you will have to report back.

 

10. Do as Jesus did

UntitledHow do you learn to do as Jesus did? How do you learn how to do it within your own context, culture and even neighbourhood? There is only one way: Read what Jesus did with open ears and open eyes and start to do what he did. Yes, I know that what He did perfectly we will often mess up, but if what we believe does not become visible to some extent in our lives it means nothing at all.

You will need imagination to be able to do that – imagination to “see” what he did and imagination to “see” how it would look like in your own context.

Read Matthew 8:1-9:38

  1. What kind of healing did Jesus bring? Think wide and deep.
  2. What was Jesus’ motive in bringing healing?
  3. What were the outcomes that Jesus wanted to come from healing?
  4. How did Jesus challenge the disciples after they saw what he demonstrated?

Do you realise that virtually every time that Jesus ministered to someone in these passages, He touched them and that most of the time it was a person considered unclean or unacceptable in society? Every time breaking a social taboo and by implication every singe time himself becoming unclean in the eyes of the onlookers. 

9. Become like Jesus

Can we become like Jesus?

This is a very uncomfortable question, because the standard is set very high.

Except for the effect of sin, when it comes to Jesus’ relationship to his Father, his way of thinking and acting in his relationship with others, we can indeed become like him. Our approach to life can be like him, having the mind of Christ, because he gave his Spirit to live in and among us living the life of the resurrected Christ through us.

It is for all practical purposes impossible to live this life of Christ on your own, but as faith community we help each other to become more and more like Jesus.

How do you become like Jesus? By reading what He said in Scripture with open spiritual ears and by applying it in your everyday lifestyle.As you hear His voice in these passages, His very presence will impact the way you think about others and yourself. You will become in a way like Him, and others will begin to notice just that.

Read Matthew 7:1-28

  1. Jesus explains in these conversations principles that we can apply and integrate in our own lives. Read through and make a list of these principles.
  2. Write next to each item in the list an example of how Jesus demonstrated it in his own life.
  3. How going to make it part of your lifestyle?

Did the penny drop right now? This was another checkpoint, another opportunity to commit to Jesus in following him. If you want to follow Jesus, you will have to practise what you preach!

Are you willing to continue? Yes!

8. Money?

south_africa_money_ssk_ioThe right attitude towards money is very important in the Kingdom of God.  Matthew groups three short parables together to unpack the money issue so that disciples can follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

People are very often uncomfortable with the idea that money is important in following Jesus. Unscrupulous characters who became rich off proclaiming the gospel easily comes to mind or even the sometimes unbiblical fundraising efforts of some local churches can be an emotional obstacle in rethinking money within the context of the Kingdom.

Read Matthew 6:19-24 and Matthew 6:1-4

The parables of the treasures in heaven and the one on Mammon is well known and need no explaining, but the story about the bad and good eyes needs some background information. In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ times having a good eye was an idiomatic expression indicating that the person was generous when it came to money matters. Someone with a bad eye, on the other hand, was stingy and did not fit into the picture of the Kingdom of God at all. Very often the middle of three examples was the most important, providing a key to understand the rest. So in this passage it is first and all about stinginess and generosity that sets the tone.

What is the place of money in your life?

  1. How can you invest in the Kingdom of God. Be creative and think outside the box please.
  2. How can you take responsibility to give with generosity?
  3. Do you only give to those who are worthy to receive? What about those who do not deserve to be blessed?
  4. Your lifestyle is a showcase for your understanding of how money should be used. What is the testimony you are living before the community?

7. When you pray

o-african-american-praying-570As long as you do not think about it, prayer can be uncomplicated. It is easy to pray if you are in trouble. It is easy to talk to God in your thoughts. It is even possible to sit somewhere in a quiet spot somewhere in nature and experience on a deeper level some form of unity with the creator of all. But when we begin to think seriously about prayer it often becomes complicated and difficult. Jesus taught his disciples what they should pray about. Let us follow Jesus with them. Let us take the next step

Read Matthew 6:5-15 and Matthew 7: 7-12

  1. What were the main items on Jesus’ list of priorities when it came to prayer? Make that list again!
  2. With the list at hand, start praying for those same issues. Do it right now!
  3. Is there a connection between the Kingdom of God and the people you are spending the bulk of your time every day? What is that link?
  4. Does it make a difference in the way you view yourself if you start to pray like Jesus did?

6. Making disciples like Jesus: Difficult people

difficult-people-1024x731The very first subject that Jesus covered with his disciples was about relationships. He did not start with high theology or basic doctrine. That would come much later. He started with relationships like:

  • A brother – someone close to you, a friend, family member. A brother that irritates to death.
  • Someone of the other gender, even the person you are married to!
  • A malicious person who has his knife in for you.
  • The enemy who actively wants to see your demise.

Read Matthew 5:21-48

  1. Do honest introspection. Who comes to mind as the brother, the malicious person, the enemy with whom you have to deal at work or at home? Write down their names. It can even be someone as close as your husband, wife, father or mother.
  2. How does Jesus teach us to respond to those people? How did he demonstrate in his own life how to deal with people like that?
  3. How are you going to life out the upside down life of the Kingdom in your relationship with others?
  4. Difficult people can make your life hell and it is most often very difficult to work through toxic relationships and bad experiences with people close to us. But if you want to follow Jesus step by step just like the twelve, then this is the first hurdle you will have to get over. If you find it difficult, remember that the same theme will be repeated quite a few times in our journey through the gospel of Matthew.   Jesus’ disciples found it difficult to handle relationships too and he had to revisit the same issues time and time again, helping them step by step to begin to think and act like him ..

Relationships often cut to the heart. Do not think it is enough to touch these issues quickly by running through one short session as quick as can. It is possible that you could park on this spot for a week or to, carefully thinking through the relationship issues, helping each other to begin to think like Jesus. This is where the combined wisdom and accountability of a group can help to persevere until there is a practical application in your life.  If you are doing this on your own, you may have to find a trusted friend to talk these matters through.

5. Making disciples like Jesus: Upside down!

Read Matt: 5:1-16

This passage is well known as the beatitudes, the one portion of Jesus’ teaching that people from different backgrounds and even religions regard as more than exceptional, brilliant and an example that every human being should follow.

If we want to get to understand the mind of Christ, how Jesus thought, this is where we should start. Why at this passage? Not because just about everybody thinks it is profound and great, but because this is where Jesus himself started.

That may very well be Jesus’ own summary of his attitude to life, people and his Father in heaven, but isn’t it much too difficult to grasp and to obey?

Except….

Except if you turn it upside down and read it from the perspective of someone who lives 23953-afghanchildstandingagainstwallafp-1409925695-424-640x480
in poverty, is persecuted, and is rejected by everybody. Some would say that the only way to understand the beatitudes is to turn it on its head and read it from the viewpoint of a street child in one of the big mega cities like Delhi, Lagos or Johannesburg.  Then you will know intuitively what the message is: It is not the powerful, the important people, the manipulators and those who have it all and know how to stand on their rights, those the look from above that will understand the Kingdom, but those who look from below upwards, who will truly understand what it is to receive God’s blessing.  This is an upside down theology and an upside down spirituality, but if you learn how to look from the bottom upwards, then the gospel becomes good news and the Kingdom a practical reality.  Later on Paul would call this grace.

To be a disciple of Jesus and to show something of his character you will have to begin looking upside down at others and yourself. This is the first step in following Jesus.

Now let’s do it:

  1. How would your life look like if you turn it upside down? How would your life look like from the position of helplessness, devastation, being a loser, someone who gave up hope for life itself? If you find this exercise difficult, use your imagination and try again.
  2. What does this passage say about the way you have to look at life if you want to see God’s blessing? You should just about be able to make a list highlighting a key word in every verse.
  3. Open the ears of your heart. What does the Lord say about your life, your dreams and your plans?
  4. Do you get the message of the Kingdom as good news from this upside down position yet?
  5. upside03

4. Making disicples like Jesus: What is a disciple?

Follow-me

A disciple is someone who follows a rabbi, becomes like his rabbi and begins to do what his rabbi is doing. A rabbi taught through example, through exposing his disciples to real life situations by the way he interacted with other people and by the way he interpreted Scripture.

Following a rabbi was something so special that nobody in his right mind would want to miss.

Read Matthew 4: 18-22

  1. What were the implications of Jesus’ invitation to the young men on the beach?
  2. What were the outcomes that Jesus had in mind?
  3. What do you think went through the minds of the young men when they heard the invitation to follow Jesus?

This was a first invitation, the first checkpoint on the journey. There would be more invitations, more checkpoints on the way. Each invitation would be a little different. We will be on the lookout for more of the same.

From a practical viewpoint it was relative uncomplicated to follow Jesus by Just walking in his footsteps as he went off. We will try to do the same by following the gospel of Matthew’s version of events. We will listen carefully to what Jesus had to say and will be on the lookout for what he did. Then we will respond by trying to keep up with him.

3. Making disciples like Jesus: The big picture

-In the footsteps of Jesus according to Matthew-

Picture a bookshelf.

Imagine that the theme of the Kingdom of God covers a whole shelf. The gospel of Matthew is one of the books on this shelf and fits into this theme of the Kingdom.

We shall start off where Jesus himself introduces this concept.

Read Matthew 4:12-17 and 23-25

Background:  The geographical area mentioned in verse 15 was known for a group of intensely patriotic Jews with a burning passion to be obedient to God in everything – so much so that they often went overboard in their zeal in the eyes of Jews living in Judea and elsewhere. They experienced the violence, oppression and pagan idolatry of the occupying Roman army and officials as a blasphemous affront and longed for the day of the Lord when God himself would act by establishing his Kingdom, chasing the roman enemy into the sea where it came from.

  1. In Matthew 4: 17 Jesus announced what his ministry is all about. In which way is his ministry like light breaking through in darkness?
  2. How does it look like in real life when the Kingdom breaks through? Verses 23 to 25 will be a great start. Make a list and don’t be too spiritual in your answers.
  3. How will your community change if God’s reign would break through likewise? Use your imagination and dream a bit. What if things would start to happen the way God wants it? How will it look like? Make a list again.

2. Making disciples like Jesus: Intro

-In the footsteps of Jesus according to Matthew-Picture1

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?  How do you become a disciple? Are all believers disciples? Are there still disciples today?

These were the question that three of us, all in active ministry, were thinking about.

So we decided to read through the gospel of Matthew with the Bible in the one hand and all material about disciple making in the Time of Jesus that we could lay our hands on in the other.

We wanted to take Scripture seriously, but also the context against which Matthew paints the picture of Jesus and his disciples.

We did not only receive answers to the questions above, but we experienced in a practical way what it meant to follow Jesus, and eventually how to became disciple maker.

With this guide, we invite you to follow Jesus through the gospel of Matthew by reading the text and obeying Jesus in what he taught and demonstrated.

But right now, we invite you to follow the way…

 Instructions

This is a guide that may help you to be discipled by Jesus himself. We included just enough background information for you to start thinking. And there are now right or wrong answers – the questions will help you to take the next step following Jesus.

Some guidelines that may help:

  • This is a spiritual journey that works best if others are walking the trail with you. Being a disciple of Jesus should be as part of a small group of some kind. This is how Jesus disciple the twelve and it is still the best way to follow him.
  • Be accountable to each other. If the Lord shoed you something, do not keep it for yourself, but share it in the group. Help each other to hear what the Lord is saying but also to do what he says.
  • Do not continue to the next topic before you received something meaningful from the present one.
  • Keep a journal of what happened on this journey, writing down what you received, what your response was as well as question that the group may help to answer. Write about success as well as failure – both are equally valuable!
  • The questions for discussion are intended only to begin a conversation. Do not be satisfied with quick and ready answers. Think deeper.
  • Take the gospel of Matthew serious as it presents itself. Although we have more information from other gospels as well as Acts and the letters, the author of this gospel intended his work to be able to speak for itself.
  • Take time to read through the whole of the gospel of Matthew on your own, including the passages that we did not select.  A Gospel is more like a novel that you read from start to finish than a dictionary or recipe book where you can dip into the contents any place.Enjoy!

….next up: The big Picture: Matthew 4.

1. Making disciples like Jesus

Oh, if we could only make disciples like Jesus! Then we would have a Kingdom impact on our communities.  But wait a moment… we should be able to do that. Jesus commanded us in Matthew 28 to make disciples just as He did and the easiest way to learn how to do that is to walk in His footsteps through the very same gospel, hearing what He says and seeing what He did. Then we do exactly the same.

Kingfisher would like to invite you to do exactly that. Walk with us in the footsteps of Jesus, learning from Him. from now on we will put regular contributions on the page that you may work through on your own or in a small group.

For a limited number of people we may even be available to guide you on this journey by Skype, hangout or Facebook video chat. For the video option you would need enough bandwidth and a strong commitment to meet electronically on a regular weekly pattern. You may contact me at piet@kfmc.co.za and one of the team will be assigned to you.

The first contribution will appear in a few days.days. Watch this space.

More than a movement…

Disciples are never lone rangers – they are part of a discipling community. After an
operation last week I experienced how the risen Lord activated this community over at least three continents (thanks to electronic communication) to pray for me, encourage me and to minister the Father’s love to me. Actually it was Christ doing all of this through his body on earth.

A friend reminded me of the school experiment where a layer of iron filings on a smagfield3heet of cardboard suddenly comes alive when a magnet comes close enough, orientating themselves towards the invisible magnetic field.

This is exactly how a discipling community functions when Christ as head of the body ministers through the members, equipping and nurturing the community and reaching out to the world through them in transforming a broken world to the image of the Kingdom of heaven. Nobody needed to hold a meeting, do a planning session or devise a strategy, nobody needed to even send out a call of action when I needed ministry – Christ did it all and his body responded!

If all of this is true for the widest set of relationships stretching over almost the whole earth, how much more could we not experience Christ actively ministering through a group of say six, eight or twelve?

The implication for disciple makers then is that I am not making disciples on my own, but that Christ is doing it through us, intentionally, actively and with deliberate focus.

The implication for a disciple making movement is that even though our strategies and campaigns will have some benefit, being open to Christ to direct the body through his Spirit is the greatest advantage of all.

If Christ can mobilise more than a hundred members of his body to encourage just one person, how much more would be possible if He mobilises his whole body to make the Kingdom a practical reality.

And that is exactly what He is doing and you have been called for nothing less!

 

 

Preconditions for disciple-making?

Are there any preconditions to disciple-making, certain events or conditions that should be in place before a disciple-making movement will start?

Historically speaking there were of course some preconditions for the movement that Jesus started –

  • Revelation since before the time of Moses as foundation
  • The development of a culture that understood disciple-making and its relationship to the acts of God within human lives
  • The mobilising ministry of John the baptiser in preparing the way for Lord to come.
  • A time of intense socio-political upheaval that opened peoples eyes to eschatology being realised in front of their very eyes,

From a spiritual viewpoint a few points could be listed as well –

  • A broken people reaching out to God, their only hope and salvation
  • A willingness to heed the call of repentance that went out wide and far
  • The life shattering experience of a messiah being publicly killed on a cross, followed by the resurrection and the explosion of hope that changed all perspective
  • God the Father drawing people towards Jesus
  • The risen Christ actively reaching out to the world through his very visible body within the community wherever his followers are

Paul writes about planting, watering and then waiting on the harvest that will come in its own good time as God works. He even describes how the interlocking roles of apostle, evangelist, prophet, teacher and shepherd as expression of the presence of Jesus within his body on earth, creates the dynamics for movement.

Questions?

  • What would be the preconditions for a disciple-making movement in your culture and context right now?
  • Which preconditions for a disciple-making movement are in place already?
  • Which role from Ephesians 4 do you think would the Spirit use to put into place the next step towards a disciple-making Kingdom movement?

The church, the war in eastern Ukraine and reconciliation.

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While living in Ukraine just a few hours by car from a devastating war that touches everybody, I have been thinking about the role the church should have in reconciliation. Of course in South Africa we went through the same process in the past and often it seems as if we have just began.

So I was delighted to come across this article from Christianity Today. Click on the picture below to enter and read.

 

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We call ourselves mobilisers

We call ourselves mobilisers. Very often the term falls strangely on the ear and we have to explain to others that we have the calling to get the body of Christ to move so that God’s purposes will actually come to pass in the real life we live every day. Before we rate ourselves too high, we should remember that it is not us, but Christ who does the work through the church, his body. So our task is to move the church towards obedience in fulfilling her calling as God’s instrument of choice to transform the world.

Kingdom mobilisers are people who see the grand scheme of God’s design, his ultimate purpose and the way to get there. Biblically speaking they are the followers of Jesus with an apostolic or prophetic view on church.  They want to see the foundations laid straight, the body of Christ fulfilling the task, the church function with every believer functioning optimally according to his or her gifting and calling.

So we pray for the breaking through of the Kingdom. We are pushing effective disciple making so that every believer will live like Jesus wherever they are Sunday to Monday and we actively put pressure on every faith community to do all of this in real life so that tangible results will culminate in the transformation of the world according to God’s purpose.

The Lord gave people like us as gifts to the body, together with the other gifts of evangelist, shepherd and teacher. You should find us everywhere where the body gathers, from the smallest house community to the biggest mega church, very often within missionary organisations and networks of those who work on the very edge where church and world meets daily.

Within Kingfisher we are constantly on the lookout for people in all walks of life with a similar calling. Although our training will help any believer or faith community to be more effective in their calling, we would like to identify those given as mobilisers, as apostolic and prophetic gifts to the body.

So our strategy is simple:

strategy

The most visible part of our work is done casting the net wide as we train local leaders in just about 20 countries on a regular basis. The equipping and guiding of the next generation of mobilisers and the link with others in the body of Christ happens often in private conversations, joint strategic discussions and informal interaction.

Taken together, these three elements are the seed from which  our modest part of God’s  great movement must grow.

Mobilising as an intervention in the life of a faith community.

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A faith community has a history before a Kingdom mobilizer gets involved, and long after we are forgotten they may still be effective and obedient in doing what the Lord called them for. Therefore it is important to determine the present position and exactly what input is needed for them to get momentum again.

If you have to explain to a foreigner the way from Cape Town to Johannesburg with the help of a map and a highlighter, you will ignore all the many lines and names and roads and dots on the map and only highlight the most direct road to the destination. Although all the points and roads indicated on the map are legitimate and useful,  only those intersecting the shortest road from my point of departure to the destination are relevant. In the same way a mobilizer will focus on the route to be traveled with a specific faith community and ignore all the rest, although it may be of great help to another, but different faith community. Continue reading

Teamwork for everyone

Eph 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” …. It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. NIV

 In The outcomes of disciple-making I wrote that Christ’s ministry to the world flows through his body on earth, implying that the outcomes of disciplemaking are transformed lives and transformed communities. Paul even teaches that this transformation is not only personal, but has cosmic proportions precisely because it is the work of the exalted Christ.

Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim describe in “The permanent revolution” how the DNA of the church is found within the ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers. By restoring the first three in the list to the team the church again can fulfil its purpose as God intended. In a church where any one of the five dominates the others, the ministry of Christ towards the world is stunted and the results are seen in painful disunity and dysfunction of the church. Continue reading

The outcomes of disciple-making

Mat 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” NIV

Even on a first read of this very familiar text, it seems obvious what the intended outcomes of disciple making should be: disciples should make disciples. That would include Jesus’s “yoke” (his teaching) as well as emulating his lifestyle. Jesus himself guarantees the journey of disciple-making with his personal presence and authority. Continue reading