Friday, June 22, 2012

Life Verse

I remember the first time I heard someone speak about a 'life verse' that gave shape to a call to ministry and provided an internal motivation for specific types of service.  Since that time I have noted with great care when someone mentions a life verse.  It is a very personal thing that becomes a part of your spiritual being.  It is a message from God that draws a focus on the way the Lord desires to use an individual.

Years ago, I was blessed to serve as a 20 hour a week volunteer with a remarkable youth ministry.  At the head was a young man named Duffy Robbins.  His real name is David but Duffy was always Duffy.  In fact, he still is.

Duffy had been discipled by a Christian leader who developed a traveling musical group like Up With People but with a flair for Jesus.  Duffy traveled with the group, played the drums in the band, and became one of the key leaders of the group.  They lived together, prayed together, ate together, and worshiped together.  Today, we would call it an incubator for discipleship.  Better  yet, you could say it was a neo-monastic community on wheels.

Duffy loves to teach.  He is a remarkably captivating speaker and has a deep commitment to the process of shaping young Christians.  I remember Duffy teaching about the 'bookends of evangelism and discipleship' as the ebb and flow of the spiritual journey.  I also remember his teaching about developing a philosophy of ministry.  Apparently, ministry was not intended to be random but ordered around a sequence of principles and systems that were put into action in unique ways.  It was all connected to the way God shaped the individual Christian through experience, growing faith, and spiritual gifts.

One day, (it must have been the winter of 1983) Duffy asked me about my live verse.  I stumbled for a moment.  I had only been a believer for a short time and my confidence was a little shaky.  He looked right past my anxiety and asked me again.  This time with that classic Duffy half smile that said I care about you and this will be OK.

I remember speaking slowly as I said, "I think Ephesians 4:11-13 might be my life verse."  "You think?!  It MIGHT be!  What's up with that?"  OK, OK, it definitely is Ephesians 4:11-13!  Then he asked the key question, "Why?"

For almost 30 years, I have been answering that question for others and for myself.  Each time, it gets deeper.  Every explanation make it more significant.  And each time I read it, recite it, or preach on it...the whole reality explodes once again.

Let's talk more about that explosive passage.  It is powerful enough to shape a life, deepen your discipleship, or build a bridge to a positive future!  Alfred Nobel would be amazed!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 

Do you see what I mean?  Let's think about it together!  We are always better together!

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