Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SOAP Study - 7/15/08 (1 Thess 3:1-5)


1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

"Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain."

Verse that stood out to me was verse 5 "For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain."



"As a result of all I have written so far when we got to Athens we could not bear not knowing how you were doing. So we stayed in Athens and sent Timothy, our brother and coworker in spreading the good news about Jesus, to you. He has been sent to help and encourage you in your faith because we know that it will be tempting for you to react negatively to the troubles we are facing and possibly lose faith. We need to remind you that when we were there with you we told you this day would come. It should come as no surprise that we are suffering right now. I couldn't bear the thought of your hearing about our troubles and not knowing how you were reacting. I was afraid that you might have given into Satan who uses every advantage he can to tempt you. My fear was that you might have given in making all of our hard work among you useless."

What is God saying?

What is an evangelist? I think we have misinterpreted what an evangelist is because Paul's missionary life is summed up in just a few chapters of a book. We get the impression that as he was traveling he would just stop at a town for a few days and go on. The truth of the matter is, he would stop at a town and spend years helping the Christians there. This has led to a false view of evangelism. The evangelist is someone who comes to your church for a period of time that most likely will not extend beyond a month or so and then they leave to never be heard of from again. How sad.

Paul invested himself into people. He spent as much time as possible with them. I am sure that if he hadn't suffered persecution that he would have spent his life amongst one group of people because that is the type of love he had for them. God is telling us that evangelism and discipleship are really one and the same and it doesn't take place over a period of days but it takes place over a period of years in the context of relationships.

Our culture is such a mobile culture that it has become very easy to make friends and be friends as long as you are living in the same area together and then turn around, move and forget all about them. Many ministries are the same way. We introduce someone to Christ. We get them coming to church. If it is a good church it will encourage us to disciple this person. We use some short termed "discipleship material," and when it's done we think discipleship is over with and our "disciple" is now ready to go out on his own. Can I slap a huge WRONG on this concept!!!!

Jesus said "Go and make disciples." A more accurate translation of the Greek would render this sentence "AS YOU GO make disciples." What does this mean? It means as we live our lives we make disciples and discipleship is a long-term commitment.

What is God saying to me?

I am guilty of marginalizing discipleship. I think back to all the teens I have had contact with in my 10 plus years of ministry. I have to ask myself, "How many of these teens do I still have contact with?", and if I am truthful "How much do I really care about this?" I have succumbed to the false ideal that our Christian culture has developed.

What is God saying to me? Brian, you have got to have that passion that Paul had. Paul ministered in many cities coming in contact with many people. Yes I believe that amongst those people were a few who really stood out because Paul took the time to personally disciple them, but he still had a concern for the whole of them.

We have some students in college right now and I haven't been very good at keeping in touch with them. I see them when they come to church and once in awhile one might call me or I will see them online, but for the most part I don't make the initial contact with them. It is almost like once they are out of the youth group they don't matter and that is definitely not the truth.


I need to remain in contact with as many of the teens as possible especially those who I have invested myself in. Whether it be through email, phone call or snail mail. Not only do I need to do this, but our church needs to do this. Someone approached me last year with the idea of sending boxes of goodies to our college students periodically to let them know we love them and are proud of what they are doing. I think we need to do this. If there is anyone reading this blog who goes to KCC and wants to be a part of doing something like this please let me know. Let's get something started. In the mean time, I want to make personal contact with all our college students by the end of this week. PLEASE HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE!!!!


Father, I confess to you that my heart is far from being like yours. The more I read this letter that Paul wrote the more I begin to understand his passion for you and others. I want to be like Paul who in turn strived to be like you. I have said in just about every prayer I have written during my SOAP time and I want to say it again. I AM IN DESPERATE NEED OF YOU!!! Only you can make me into the person both you and I desire me to be. Help me. Thank you for hearing my prayer.

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