In all actuality the entire chapter is on discipline. Pastor Dave Earley gives a synopsis of the things that he put in place to get himself disciplined for growth. And he says:
"Over the next few years of being aggressive with my growth plan, I had slowly made big strides in all the key areas of my life. I had read hundreds of books. I had listened to hundreds of hours of Bible teachings or leadership training. I had written 12 books. I had read through the Bible several times. I saw answer to prayer almost every day.
When I got intentional about my personal growth, every part of my life became better, including my ministry. My church doubled in attendance. God multiplied my small group numerous times. I enjoyed life more than ever.
The secret of growth and long-term effectiveness is found in your daily habits and weekly plans. Effective ministry leader build necessary disciplines in their lives and live those disciplines daily. Personal, spiritual, and professional fitness are like physical fitness. They come from learning the right exercises and doing them regularly until they become habits."1
This passage of the chapter really did it for me. I am often stressed and tired because of the many things that do on a daily basis. Today, is the first day of whipping my spiritual , physical and emotional life into shape. It's imperative that I do. As I continue this fast, the call on my life intensifies and the only thing I can focus on is the Church (on a universal level). The Great Commission, is all that is ever on my mind. Throughout this fast I am asking for clarity of my calling, "What am I teaching and to who?" Matthew 28: 18-20 is repeatedly coming up. I of course am thinking back and forth about how much of a mess my time management is at home, and feeling a little overwhelmed that God is calling me to make Disciples. I am such a mess all by myself, let alone trying to lead anyone else to live a life of servitude for God. However, as I pray more every day, study more everyday, I am comforted that God makes no mistakes about any person He calls into a life of ministry. Who am I to tell God "Why me? am I adequate enough? I'm not disciplined enough, nor am I faithful enough." The fact of the matter is that God chose me well before I even could think on anything spiritual. Thus the reason for the One Word Journey.
So in short, there is no time to waste in getting disciplined in every area of my life. It behooves me to do so, so that I can lead a more relax and happier life. On the other hand, I can't lead people to want to follow Christ effectively if I don't have the time to teach them what they need to know. Our call into ministry isn't a hobby but a mandate. I do realize that upon acceptance (as if I had a choice), I have made a vow to God to put aside my ambitions, my personal goals, to deny myself for His Glory. As athletes train before their seasons begins, I am also training for yet the greatest position I could ever take.
The Great Commission
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Whether I hear God's call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude. If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we will hear what Isaiah heard-"the voice of the Lord.' In perfect freedom we too will say, "Here I am! Send me." ~ Oswald Chambers 2
We are not workers for God by our own choice.... Never choose to be a worker, but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. God will do with you what He never did with you before the call came.... Let Him have His way ~ Oswald Chambers 3
1. D. Earley & B. Gutierrez, Ministry Is... How to Serve Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B& H Publishing, 2010)
2. O. Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Burns, TN: Discovery House Publishers, 1963), January 4 entry 4.
3. O.Chambers, Approved unto God (Grand rapids, Mi: Discovery House, 1946), 9.