We’re living in desperate times. Spiritual opposition rages all around us. God’s agenda in these difficult times is to motivate and empower Christians to act like Christians, and that involves bold, full-throttle disciple-making! God has ignited a fire in me, an urgency to do everything in my power in the time I have left to pursue this biblical mandate to grow disciples through multiplication. God is on the move—He always uses times like these in history to do his greatest work!
Your gift this month will be used to disciple believers in the US and around the globe.
Have you ever noticed how God uses tests and trials to get our attention, to motivate us to return to Himself and His purposes in our lives? I am convinced that God is calling us to return to the basics, to the very core commands of the Lord Jesus—to come to Him, follow Him, abide in Him, and to make disciples of every nation. We need to be Christians who live like Christians—disciples who make disciples!
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
PSALM 37:23-24 (NLT)
Did you notice that the passage above indicates, “when” they stumble, not “if”? We’re human, we are fallen, and even the most devout and committed followers of Jesus will stumble. We find ourselves with misplaced priorities at times and have had to look back with regret. In honest moments, we recognize that despite all our best intentions, we blew it. We missed what was most important or didn’t obey what God commanded for our lives.
And what’s true of us as individuals is also true of us corporately. We stumble as a local church, the Church at large, and as Christian organizations. Decades can pass with well-intended programs and strategies to grow the Church and the Kingdom of God, only to discover that our intentions, strategies, programs, and best efforts did not produce what God commanded us to do: to make disciples.
The biblical narrative is filled with cycle after cycle of God’s blessings upon His people who over time lose their way, get distracted or deceived, and find themselves involved in religious activity but not fulfilling God’s purpose for them personally or corporately. In those times, God in His mercy brings or allows TESTS and TRIALS to get our attention, to motivate us to return to Himself and to His purposes for our lives.
I am convinced the pandemic was a TRIAL from the enemy and a TEST from the Lord.
The TEST revealed that His Church has grown numerically and financially in the past half century, but unfortunately not in spiritual maturity. The acid test of discipleship is the quality of our love for God and for our neighbor.
With the best of intentions, we’ve measured success by the size of our buildings, the number of people attending weekend services, and the financial gains of churches and ministries here and around the world. Unfortunately our bickering and fighting about politics, masks, vaccines, and racial reconciliation have revealed a “me-first,” “my-tribe” (i.e., denomination, political party, race, mask/anti-mask, vaccines/anti vaccines, Fox versus CNN) mentality that has put these important but secondary issues above our lordship and loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m so grateful that the Lord is patient, that He understands when we stumble, and that we will not fall because He holds us by His hand. Over and over, we see in Scripture that God’s people gradually drift away from His Person and His Purposes. He brings a TEST to help us discover that we’re going down the wrong path, that we need to take the next exit, and turn around and go the opposite direction.
The BIG question for the Church and for us today is: What is that new direction?
I believe it’s returning to the basics—to the very core commands of the Lord Jesus—to come to Him, follow Him, abide in Him, and to make disciples of every nation.
It means that first and foremost we need to be Luke 6:40 Christians: A disciple, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. Our goal, by the grace of God, the power of His Word, and the Holy Spirit, is to be Christians who live like Christians.
But that’s only half the story. We need to be Christians who live like Christians who are committed to helping others follow Jesus in the same way. To say it another way, it’s disciples who make disciples. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, NASB 1995).
Is it flashy? No. Is it fast? No. Does it scale and impress the world? No. Disciple making is the slow, progressive, and intentional investment into another’s life through the ups and downs of their journey to see the life of Christ formed in them. That’s more than listening to a podcast, attending a church service, or even popping into a small group from time to time.
And that’s why Living on the Edge is doubling down on our commitment to not only help Christians live like Christians, but to help those Christians become Disciple Makers.
Our Action Plan:
- This fall, I’m bringing together leaders from all across the country and from 20 nations for our first ever Ripple Summit. We will be learning from one another and re-examining the role of the Church, how to train pastors, and what it means to be Disciple Makers. We are sponsoring this invitation-only event to underscore our commitment to go beyond growing ministries, programs, and churches to Making Disciples.
- I’ll be teaching a new sermon series based on the book of 2 Timothy at the Billy Graham Center this fall. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he vividly explains how to pass on the faith while remaining faithful to the Lord, even in the midst of extreme opposition (much like we’re seeing today).
- A new tool called The Real You is coming later this fall. This tool will help ordinary believers discover their spiritual gifts and leadership styles. They’ll learn where they fit on the team and how to engage in meaningful Kingdom work. We’re committed to helping millions of Christians discover their individual calling and mission, and we’re partnering with churches, leaders, and ministries to activate Christ followers into their God-given destiny and calling.
The challenges are steep, the needs are great, and the time is now! We launched a digital mentoring process called Daily Discipleship during the pandemic that has been met with an unparalleled response. We are currently training pastors in Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, and India, and have requests from the Philippines, multiple countries in Africa, and Central and South America.
These two projects (Daily Discipleship and pastor training) go to the heart of what’s been lacking: personal instruction and coaching on how to walk with God, and equipping pastors to grow disciples, not simply attendance. We need your prayers and financial support for the additional staff and resources to continue to move forward.
Both of these projects will be critical assets in reaching the next generation. The confusion within the Church about truth, gender, family, life, marriage, and identity must be addressed biblically, winsomely, truthfully and lovingly. We must own our failures within the church, our families, and our relationships before the light of Christ can shine through us to our broken world.
The vision has never been clearer, the challenges have never been greater, and the opportunities have never been more abundant than right now in this moment in history.
If you resonate with what I’ve shared, please pray fervently for me, the team at Living on the Edge, and the vision that God has given us. Second, please give as God leads you financially. We’re stepping out in faith, but we can’t do it alone.
And finally, thank you! Back in November of 1995, we started our broadcast ministry on one station once a week. I never could have dreamed that 25 years later, God would call us to be a catalyst for teaching and discipleship in a world that needs it now more than ever. So many of you have been faithful through the years and I cannot tell you how deeply grateful I am.
Now let’s get on with pressing ahead…there’s no time to waste!
In this TOGETHER,
CEO and Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Every month, we’ll share with you the top three prayer requests and praises from our team at Living on the Edge. This update is one of our favorite, as it’s so clear the many ways that God is at work in our ministry. Chip and our entire team encourage you to celebrate and pray alongside us.
We Thank God For…
- Providing Chip with a fruitful time of study last month as he prepared several new messages he is excited to teach this fall.
- Blessing the pastor trainings in Mexico and India over the last two months. Thousands of pastors and church leaders were trained in The A.R.T. of Survival content by our global team. We are grateful for those pastors who have re-committed to the Lord’s calling on their pastoral ministry as a result of this training.
- Chip’s new book, Your Divine Design, launching this month.
We ask God to…
- Empower Chip to encourage and challenge the pastors attending the Pastor’s Conference at The Cove (September 14-16).
- Inspire and engage attendees to commit to becoming disciple makers at The Ripple Summit at The Cove (September 16-18).
- Bless, protect, and empower our global team as they hold The A.R.T. of Survival pastor trainings in four additional countries.
Living on the Edge helps Christians bring their faith to life by living before God, in community and on mission.