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Topic: Discipleship (02/23/04)
TITLE: DISCIPLING IN THE HERE AND NOW
By Anthony David
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Anthony David Swaroop Kumar.M
“Above all powers,
Above all kings,
Above all wisdom and all created things,
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth,
There’s no way to measure what you’re worth…”
The words of the songs reverberated in the small hall. The melodious notes of the keyboard mingled in harmony with the rhythmic strumming of the guitar. A studious young man Ravi* led in worship. The group was lost in awe and adoration of the Lord. All of them could feel the presence of the Lord amidst them.
Martha, even younger than Ravi but just as confident was leading the group as an emcee. As she gave the time to Sara, requests for praise and prayer flowed freely. Sara involved a few in the ministry of prayer and praise.
Deepak then led the group in an interactive Bible study on a small passage in Philippians. He had a tough time to control the discussion and finish the study on time. “If this passage meant that to Paul and the Philippians then, what does it mean to us in the here and now?” They asked themselves and shared answers.
Watching from the wings as it were, sat two persons, Sheba and Samuel. They were lost in thought and smiled at each other as they recalled the past five years in the history of this group.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Both Samuel and Sheba were on the faculty of a Government Medical school in a developing country. They thought, “Why can’t we get the few believing students in this school together and do Bible Studies in order to disciple them? After all, at the end of their time in this school, they will be leaving to different places?” They spent time on their knees pleading with the Lord. The school had a majority of people from other faiths. It was run by a government, which was rightist and did not tolerate evangelism. Yet, when they prayed, they began to see, with their own eyes, in the here and now, that all things are possible with God. (Luke 1:37)
In the beginning, things were not all that rosy. They had difficulty to start and persevere. They began prayer cells in the hostels separately for the boys and girls. It was difficult for Samuel as the boys were not at all interested in the Bible. “It is past time, Daniel”, he would ask waiting patiently in the hostel, “where are all the boys?” They would slowly come, persuaded by one or two of the leaders, who themselves were being discipled. But by prayer, persistence and patience, they continued the work, faithfully.
Even singing together in praise of God was difficult in those days. Almost every week, either Sheba or Samuel would have to share the Word and lead the group.
But then they began to disciple and mentor the students, one on one. This helped the fellowship to grow as youngsters began to take on leadership under the guidance of the elders. The fellowship began to blossom and bear fruit as the laborers increased due to prayerful discipling. It did cost a lot especially to the leaders in terms of time and energy, but they didn’t mind, for His sake.
Three years later Sheba had to leave the place to take up an assignment overseas. Samuel persisted to work faith fully. Sheba upheld the group in her prayers, from thousands of miles away.
One by one now, the students are graduating and leaving the school. Some are going abroad, some to remote corners of the country. But all of them are going, equipped not only professionally, but also as discipling believers. They are going out to start new groups. They are going out to evangelize, disciple and mentor others in their new situations. Meanwhile the new generations of students are being discipled and mentored continually through the group.
Sheba had come back on a furlough two years later. She spent time with the group exchanging notes. As the leaders reminisced and thanked the Lord, tears welled up in their eyes. Tears of joy and gratitude for the faithfulness of God.
This is a true story.
A tiny example of discipling in the here and now!
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* The names of all the people are changed.
© 2004 M A David S Kumar