Thursday, July 20, 2017

Using 4Ls, Part 25 – Conclusion

Six months ago, I began this endeavor to record my thoughts related to the 4L Model of Discipleship. The series was in response to a question and as I began to develop the ideas for this series, it became apparent that I needed to approach this topic in a more complete manner than originally thought.  I had no idea at the time that I would be concluding this series 24 weeks later, but having done so I know that I have not only communicated the overall approach more comprehensively, but in doing so, I have learned more about myself and am more convicted about my overall understanding of my Vision, Mission, Strategy, and Steps. (A complete list of all posts in order – including a basis from Scripture are included at the bottom of this post.)

As I have stated (or hinted) throughout this series, the Vision is what you see (or will see) when you accomplished your objectives (reach your goal). One’s Vision may change, but seeing what is before you impacts what you do (or will do) which is my understanding of Mission. How the Mission is accomplished is directed by a Strategy which includes individual Steps (tasks, etc.) along the way. For me, the Steps are the 4Ls – Learn, Live, Love, and Lead.

As I now conclude this final post in this series, I have hopefully provided ideas not only on how each of the components fit together, but given proof that we can never perfectly accomplish our purpose on this side of eternity. Thus, as I finish the series, I begin to focus on what is next – not only for the blog, but in my life.

So, what is next? Well, for this blog, for now, I will return to (primarily) sharing personal reflections on my sermons or other lessons. However, before I do that, I have one major announcement to make. I have hinted at this announcement for a couple of months, but now a few necessary pieces are in place to make the announcement, which is truly about what is next for me in a professional sense.

But the announcement deserves a post (or two) of its own, so it must wait until next week. All I will say for now is that I am excited about the direction God is leading and it definitely fits within the scope of all I have written here over the past six months.

Until next week...

Prior Posts:
4L – Matthew 4.19 – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/4l-discipleship-matthew-419.html
4L – Matthew 28.19 – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/4l-discipleship-matthew-2819.html
4L – Spiral – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/using-4ls-part-1-spiral.html
4L – Vision – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-2-vision.html
4L – Mission – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-3-mission.html
4L – Strategy – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-4-strategy.html
4L – Steps – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-5-steps.html
4L – Learn – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-6-learn.html
4L – Live – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-7-live.html
4L – Love – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part8-love.html
4L – Lead – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part9-lead.html
4L – BackUptheSpiral – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-10-back-up-spiral.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Love) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-11-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Exercise) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-12-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Action) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-13-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Read) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-14-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Nurture) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-15-how-ls-help-me-to.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Summary) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-16-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-17-how-ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 1) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-18-how-ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 2) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-19-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 3) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-20-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 4) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-21-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – ParentheticalPost – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-22-parenthetical-post.html
4L – Becoming (Vision) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/07/using-4ls-part-23-becoming.html
4L – Like God (Vision) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/07/using-4ls-part-24-like-god.html

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Using 4Ls, Part 24 – Like God

In this penultimate post for this series, I come to the heart of this entire process. Everything I have written over the past six months related to the 4L Model of Discipleship has one goal in mind – to be more like God. My Vision states that in a practical way – focusing on what He wants from me. My Mission relates goals which I believe, based upon Scripture, move me towards that end. My Strategy are the means to reach those goals, and the Steps (the 4Ls) are the individual components which execute the pieces of my Strategy. Again, all of this is to make me more like God.

For the sake of clarity, let me begin by stating that although I am to become more like God, I have no misconceptions that I am to become (a) god. The intent of my statement is to capture what has been lost. Humans were made in the image of God (Genesis 1.26-27) and certainly still reflect characteristics of God. However, the perfect nature of God was lost for humanity in Eden. It was offered anew through the second Adam through Jesus’ work on the cross and resurrection from the tomb. But the offering of salvation must be received by us. When we receive the gift of God’s grace, we are in a moment made righteous through (and in) Christ, but we are not yet fully and completely perfect on this side of eternity (Philippians 1.6). It is through God’s continued offering of grace that we become more like Him as we wait for Jesus to return (Titus 2.11-13).

As I mentioned last week, becoming more like God has two important aspects. Only God knows what He is truly like and therefore He must guide our “becoming.” That is, as imperfect beings, we cannot become perfect on our own because we do not truly know what it means to be a perfect Being. Thus, God must lead us in our becoming more like Him. This is the crux of the imitation in Ephesians 5.1 where our imitating Him allows God to mold us as He wishes.

On the other hand, we must do our part in becoming like Him. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul uses the idea of walking several times. I claim Ephesians 4.1 as my reminder to walk as I have been called by God to walk. Claiming the reminder does not mean that I walk successfully all the time. Far from it. But the idea of walking means that when I trip and fall, I am to resume walking.

Thus, as I walk, and God molds, I begin to become more of the man He wants me to be – that is, more like God. The challenge, as maturing Christians will attest, the more time spent becoming like God, the less I feel that progress is being made in that direction. Again, I fully realize that I will not fully achieve my Vision in this life, but even as I know I am growing as a follower of Christ, I find myself succumbing in areas that I should have overcome. I believe that as I grow closer to God my sin is being further exposed, and ways that I hid my sin (from myself, not from God) is becoming more evident to me. If this is true then as more sin is exposed, it may bring discomfort (i.e. sorrow/grieving) in one sense, but joy in another as I realize God is continue to mold me to become more like Him - the very goal I seek, whether I realize progress is being made or not.

This series is now almost complete - even as I have much to learn and do towards becoming the man God desires. Next week, I will conclude this series before making an announcement about what God is leading me to do now. Then, in August, I will return to the traditional Bread Crumb posts – with personal reflections of on my weekly messages.


Prior Posts:
4L – Matthew 4.19 – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/4l-discipleship-matthew-419.html
4L – Matthew 28.19 – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/4l-discipleship-matthew-2819.html
4L – Spiral – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/using-4ls-part-1-spiral.html
4L – Vision – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-2-vision.html
4L – Mission – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-3-mission.html
4L – Strategy – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-4-strategy.html
4L – Steps – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-5-steps.html
4L – Learn – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-6-learn.html
4L – Live – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-7-live.html
4L – Love – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part8-love.html
4L – Lead – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part9-lead.html
4L – BackUptheSpiral – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-10-back-up-spiral.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Love) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-11-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Exercise) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-12-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Action) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-13-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Read) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-14-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Nurture) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-15-how-ls-help-me-to.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Summary) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-16-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-17-how-ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 1) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-18-how-ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 2) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-19-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 3) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-20-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 4) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-21-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – ParentheticalPost – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-22-parenthetical-post.html
4L – Becoming (Vision) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/07/using-4ls-part-23-becoming.html

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 23 – Becoming

After twenty long weeks, this series of posts returns to the the top of the spiral – my Vision statement. All of the posts between then and now have related to the support for the Vision – my Mission (objectives), my Strategy, and my Steps (the 4Ls). All of those pieces are what allow me to achieve the Vision. As a reminder, my Vision is:


To be the man God has called me to be. (Ephesians 4.1; Ephesians 5.1)

To be that man is a process – again, a process that includes Mission, Strategy, and Steps. But until that process is complete I am a work in progress. That is, the work has begun, but is not yet complete. As Paul wrote in Philippians 1.6, the process will not be completed until Jesus returns. I know that. I understand that. But that does not mean that I am to wait for that day and do nothing. Rather, sanctification is a process by which we partner with God. It is only a holy God that can make us holy, but as God has designed it, we must do our part too.

A State of Becoming

Thus, we are in a state of becoming. Again, “to be” the man He calls me to be is not my business. It is His. Only God truly knows what He wants from me. Only God knows what He has called me to be. And only God can make me into that person. Paul’s charge in the verses I have selected for my vision contain one verb that requires me to be active (walk, Ephesians 4.1) and one for God to do the work (be imitators, Ephesians 5.1).

The book of Ephesians can be split into two distinct parts. Chapters 1-3 are What to Believe and Chapters 4-6 are How to Live. Thus, after Paul shares principles about the truth of the gospel in the first half of his letter, he shifts his thinking to how to live by exhorting the believers to “walk” according to their beliefs. The word “walk” is translated from a Greek word which is in a verb tense that requires us to be active. That is, I am to do my part in walking according to what I believe or as the modern term suggests, to “walk the talk.”

On the other hand, in Ephesians 5.1, Paul instructs the reader to be an imitator of God. Here, the verb tense is one where the reader is passive. That is, as the reader imitates, God is the one who is really doing the work. The verb is about the reader (imitate God), but the action is done to the reader, not to God. Thus, the more we imitate God, the more He makes us more like Him.

When combining these two ideas, we see that the process of becoming the man God has called me to be requires me to act (walk as I should) and to be acted upon (as I imitate God). As I stated above, only God knows what He wants for me so it is only He who can truly shape me. But as I do my part (walk), I can trust He will do His part because it is He who called me.

Achieving the Vision
God already sees what the “completed” Andy will look like. I do not. But my Mission, Strategy, and Steps are all designed to help me “walk” as I should. Each of these aspects is built on Scripture which, as I apply to my life, should help me to better imitate God. I realize I will not fully achieve my Vision on this side of eternity, but I assure you what I “see” is already a vast improvement on who I was in the past. The process continues, and will continue as long as I am on this side of eternity. And while I will never achieve my vision, ultimately it is what I receive from God that matters. I will be completed as a gift from Him just as my salvation and calling were also received as part of His grace.

Conclusion
Next week, I will go a little further with this concept and focus on what I believe becoming that certain man means for me.

Prior Posts:
4L – Matthew 4.19 – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/4l-discipleship-matthew-419.html
4L – Matthew 28.19 – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/4l-discipleship-matthew-2819.html
4L – Spiral – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/01/using-4ls-part-1-spiral.html
4L – Vision – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-2-vision.html
4L – Mission – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-3-mission.html
4L – Strategy – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-4-strategy.html
4L – Steps – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/02/using-4ls-part-5-steps.html
4L – Learn – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-6-learn.html
4L – Live – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-7-live.html
4L – Love – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part8-love.html
4L – Lead – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part9-lead.html
4L – BackUptheSpiral – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/03/using-4ls-part-10-back-up-spiral.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Love) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-11-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Exercise) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-12-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Action) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-13-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Read) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/04/using-4ls-part-14-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Nurture) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-15-how-ls-help-me-to.html
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Summary) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-16-how-ls-help-me-learn.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-17-how-ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 1) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/05/using-4ls-part-18-how-ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 2) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-19-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 3) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-20-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – HelpFulfillMission (Item 4) – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-21-how-4ls-help-fulfill.html
4L – ParentheticalPost – http://fotonni.blogspot.com/2017/06/using-4ls-part-22-parenthetical-post.html