The apostle Paul was an affectionate, enthusiastic, optimistic cheerleader for his disciples. He understood that every son and daughter has been created by God for an eternal purpose. As a discipler I seek to join the Holy Spirit to find and fulfill that purpose for my disciple. No matter how dire the circumstances in a person’s life, I must never lose confidence in the hope that God is at work in that individual and that Jesus will carry it on to completion.
- Learn to say “I love you” to your disciple.
- Paul openly and enthusiastically expressed his pleasure for others. “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8) I have spent many hours being trained on how to share the gospel with others, but never was I taught how to share my life and love with others.
- In the discipling relationship it is important to tell your disciple that you love him. I remember a disciple telling me years later that I was the first adult who had ever told him that I loved him and how it served as a reference point for the rest of his life.
- Paul gave value to people. One would walk away from Paul’s presence with a sense of purpose and significance. Paul unashamedly expresses his joy and gratitude for the disciples at Thessalonica: “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
- I have never had any Christian leader express to me that I was their “glory or joy.” Nor has anyone come to me and expressed their gratitude to God for me as Paul did to his disciples: “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” (1 Thessalonians 3:9)
After reading this passage I could not get on the phone fast enough to express my love and gratitude to those people I had discipled over the years. Paul gave me permission to be extravagant in my love for my disciples.
Lewie, the cousins, (betty & bonnie) claim I Thess. 3:9 as our verse of what we feel for you..I have said so often You are our Paul, I know not just for us, but for soooo mannny, and we all thank Our Father for allowing you to come into our lives, what joy we now have.
The blog, reminds me of Paul’s letters, you keep helping us learn more about Christ, even from a distance…Thanks
So many times growing up I heard my father say “I love you” yet it was hard for me to believe. But when you told me “I love you” I believed it.
Why? Why it meant so much to me when you said it was because of your willingness to suffer through the rough stuff with me. However, you never focused on it trying to “fix” the situations. You mostly focused on two things – my relationships in life from childhood to adulthood (that shaped my perception of my relationship with God) and my purpose (most often my dreams, small or big) which shaped my future and ultimately uncovered God’s plan for me.
Because of these simple actions of love and belief in me, I now understand what my relationship of my heavenly father is to be – and even more – how I can share that same relationship with others so they too can know the heavenly father the way I do.
I truly believe the only reason my wife and children have a chance is because of the sacrifices (of love) you made for me to show me Jesus’ love for me. I would not be a leader if you hadn’t shown me how to serve.
We love you!
This is Sean from Tucson. Hey, I wanted to connect with you. Had a great time meeting you and hangin out in Effingham. Drop me an email when you get a chance.