This is a topic that really struck home for me. You need to hear the story of Dr. T.E. Koshy and we all need to find our roots, it is urgent, time is short, and I feel the Lord still has much for us to do.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Great Commission
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.”
Must hear pod cast of an interview with Joel on the topic.
A EULOGY FOR DR. T.E. KOSHY, THE MAN WHO INVESTED IN ME AND IN SO MANY OTHERS: Countering the epic failure of the American church, the failure to “make disciples”
Posted: September 4, 2012
UPDATED: (Syracuse, New York ) — Every Christian needs to be able to answer two simple questions: 1) Who is investing in you? and 2) Who are you investing in? In the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to go and “make disciples of all nations,” beginning with our own. Sadly, the American Church is experiencing an epic failure of discipleship. Most older believers are not spiritually investing in the lives of younger believers. We are failing to model and transmit Biblical truth and Christ-like character and a passion for evangelism and discipleship to the next generations. Thus the American Church is weak and failing and in desperate need of revival. Thus our nation is increasingly at risk not simply of decline but outright collapse, as I write about in Implosion.
This weekend, my family and I and several young people we have discipled had the joy of attending the memorial service and burial of Dr. T. E. Koshy. Dr. Koshy is the man who discipled me — the man who invested in me spiritually — at Syracuse University when I studied there as an undergraduate, and in the years since. Dr. Koshy got it. He understand the power and purpose of Biblical discipleship. Koshy understood that making healthy, devout, faithful disciples is the only way the Church grows and matures over the long haul. It is not enough just to make Christians. We must make true followers of Christ who are fully committed to obeying all that Christ taught His original disciples. Koshy understood the importance of spiritually investing in others, because a great man of God once invested heavily into him. It changed him. It marked him. It made him committed not just to eternal life (John 3:16), and the abundant life (John 10:10), but also to the invested life (Matthew 25:14-30).
Here is the link to the webcast of the memorial service, which was held at North Syracuse Baptist Church. There were many wonderful, moving tributes to this dear man of God, this great friend and disciple-maker. You’ll learn so much listening to them all. I was honored to deliver the eulogy towards the end of the service. My remarks run about 40 minutes or so and begin at 1:57:54 into the program. I shared some personal memories of the man who was more like the Apostle Paul than any person I have ever known, including the amusing story of how we first met, how he invested in me, as well as some anecdotes from the preaching tours we did through Israel, India, and Iraq.
In addition, I shared about the final project that we worked on together, a book that has just been released called, The Invested Life: Making Disciples Of All Nations One Person At A Time. What is this book about? Why did we write it? Why is discipleship so important? What made Dr. Koshy so remarkably qualified to speak to this topic? I share the answers to these questions during this message and why the concept of spiritual investing became so special and personal and urgent for me. I do hope you’ll take some time to watch and listen, and to read this new book and share it with others.
Sadly, much of the American Church seems to have forgotten Christ’s “Great Commission.” Most American believers don’t really know what a disciple is, or how to make one, nor have they ever made one. Yet our Lord Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all nations” — it was one of His most important commandments to His followers just before He returned to the Father. We desperately need to rediscover the lost art of making disciples. Dr. Koshy understood this deeply. He taught my wife and me, and now, through this message and this new book, we are seeking to pass along what we have learned over the years. In many ways, this book is a corollary or a companion to Implosion. Or, to put it another way, Implosion describes the sickness. The Invested Life describes the cure.
Who is investing in you? Who are you investing in? Do you have answers to these vital questions? May the Lord bless you richly as you considered these eternal truths and how to apply them in your own life and ministry. And may the Church in America and around the world urgently rediscover the centrality of discipleship before we must stand before our Lord Jesus and be held to account.
- Previous post: Saying Goodbye To Dr. Koshy, A Great Disciple-Maker And Friend
- To purchase The Invested Life on Amazon, please click here
- To purchase The Invested Life from Barnes & Noble, please click here
ARE WE SEEING A NEW FOCUS ON MAKING DISCIPLES? New books by Rosenberg, Chan, Platt & Shahin are calling Church to discipleship
Posted: September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
I sense a new focus is emerging — especially among some younger American pastors and ministry leaders — on the importance of making disciples. Sadly, the American Church has experienced an epic failure of discipleship in recent decades. But I have this sense that as the Lord Jesus prepares to return for His Church, He is going to call His people back to the centrality of obeying the Great Commission. Indeed, several interesting new books are out or are coming out that focus on the importance of discipleship.
- This week, the new book that I wrote with Dr. T.E. Koshy — The Invested Life: Making Disciples of All Nations One Person At A Time — was released nationwide.
- Last November, Pastor Hanna Shahin (a Palestinian Arab Christian who used to run TransWorld Radio’s Arab language division) released a wonderful book entitled The Master Disciple-Maker for which I was honored to write an endorsement.
- On November 1st, Pastor Francis Chan is releasing a book he wrote with Mark Beuving entitled Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples.
- On February 5th of next year, Pastor David Platt is releasing a book entitled Follow Me: A Call To Die. A Call To Live.
I’m encouraged by these books coming out now and in the next few months. And I’m intrigued by the fact God has put this message on hearts of younger authors. Francis, David and I are relatively young. Francis and I are in our mid-forties. David is in his mid-thirties. Perhaps this is a signal of a generational shift in emphasis from mass evangelism (which is still important) to more balance between evangelism and personal, one-on-one and small group disciple-making. For most of my life, I’ve heard pastors and ministry leaders talk about the importance of evangelism and world missions. Amen. But I haven’t seen much of an emphasis on understanding what a disciple is or how to make one. I think this is starting to change. I certainly hope so. Of Hanna Shahin’s book I wrote, “Making disciples is the heart of the Great Commission. Yet today, so few Christians really know what it means to make a disciple, much less have any fruit to show for it. How sad is this! What are people going to say when they get to heaven and have never made a single disciple? God bless Hanna Shahin, therefore, for writing this book! His love for God’s Word and for teaching people how to obey it shines through on every page. There is no formula for making disciples, but the principles Hanna lays out from the Scriptures and his own practical experience- — especially in North Africa and the Middle East — will help anyone seeking to obey the Great Commission in this generation.” I’m looking forward to Francis’ and David’s books, as well.
In this context, I would love to see each of you get involved in this emerging national conversation. Please blog and Facebook and email and tweet about the importance of discipleship. Let’s share with each other our answers to these questions: 1) Who is investing in you? 2) Who are you investing in? 3) Are you living the invested life? 4) How are you living in the invested life? 5) What works and what doesn’t? I’d encourage you to post your reviews of these books (and similar ones) on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble site and other book sites. I’d encourage you to publish reviews (good ones and critical ones) of these and similar books and your views on the topic in Christian newsletters, websites, magazines and other publications. Consider inviting your small group Bible study, and home fellowship group, and Sunday School class, etc to do an in-depth study on the who/what/when/where/why/and how of discipleship. Pastors, consider preaching a series on what the Great Commission is, why is matters, and how to obey it. Now is the time to stoke a national conversation — and a global one — about discipleship. This, I believe, is the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I think He will be pleased as we reexamine and rediscover the Great Commission that He gave us.
- You can find The Invested Life: Making Disciples of All Nations One Person At A Time onAmazon’s Kindle.
- You can also find The Invested Life on Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
- You can also find The Invested Life in many other Christian and general market bookstores.
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If you’re not certain you’re saved, here is what you should do, right now:
Acknowledge that you have sinned against a holy God and ask for forgiveness (even if you don’t feel you deserve it) (Rom. 3:23). Genuinely feel the pain of your sin and be willing to turn from it (repent) (Acts 3:19).
Believe in your heart and mind that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross for you (John 3:1-18) in your place, and was raised back to life. There is no one else you can turn to (John 14:6): “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Confess that you are trusting Jesus as your personal Savior. Since Jesus is alive, you can talk to him. This is called prayer. So talk to him right now, in your own words, accept his invitation to know him.
It’s simple faith through grace, the kind of faith a little child would have.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)