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Singing in the Rain

Lessons to Help You Share the Greatest News Ever

Do you remember the song, Singing in the Rain? Since I grew up in a desert, I have seen
people dancing joyfully when the rain comes. But even in a desert, my children can be
disappointed when rain comes because they cant play outside. I guess thats why children chant,
Rain, rain go away, come again some other day. The picture of people singing in the rain
brings a smile to our faces because singing brings joy and sunshine in the midst of dark and
gloomy weather.
Disciple-making can be like singing in the rain. In the midst of a world full of brokenness
and heartache, Gods people bring great news! Indeed we have something to sing about. But
disciple-making isnt as easy as singing a song. God told us to count the costs of being a disciple.
In John 16:33 Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this
world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Investing in the lives of others is costly. It takes time, energy, resources, and commitment.
We can be encouraged when we remember the costs dont even compare to the benefits of being
a disciple, participating with Jesus in His growing Kingdom. But there are costs we have to
count. We cant rely on our own strength, but instead we trust in the strength God provides. It is
by the power of His Spirit that we can move ahead in faithfulness and boldness.
Following are lessons I learned that I hope will encourage you as you step out to make
disciples.

Define success as faithfulness


I dont know about you, but Ive always thought it must be an awesome feeling to be used
like Billy Graham whom God worked through to bring millions to Christ. When I look at the
relatively few people I have discipled, its easy for me to feel unsuccessful. It helps to revise my
definition of success in terms of what God requires of me: faithfulness to Him.
Zuni, New Mexico where I worked for 11 years, was a difficult place to spread the Gospel.
The Zuni religion was a powerful influence in the lives of the people. At times, mission
supporters would say, The mission has been here for over 90 years. Shouldnt there be more
Christians by now? It was a stinging question that I wasnt sure how to answer until one of my
co-workers reminded me that God only required faithfulness. Its Gods business to produce the
fruit and make the seeds of faith grow. Its our business to plant and water the seeds.
I evaluate my success in disciple-making in terms of my obedience. I ask myself, Am I
being faithful to Gods call? If yes, then I am successful. My success depends on Gods work in

and through me as I strive to be obedient before Him. If a disciple-making relationship doesnt


go the way you thought it should go, dont give up! Remain faithful to the call God gives you!

Face your fears in Christs strength


Fear is one of Satans tools to keep us from disciple-making. It keeps us from being bold and
courageous and from stepping out in faith. We can counteract fear in our lives by spending time
in prayer, in Gods Word, and fellowshipping with Christs body, the church. As we spend time at
Jesus feet and with other believers, we understand and experience the power of His love. In 1
John 4:18, it says perfect love casts out fear. When we abide in Christs love and spend time
concentrating on His greatness and goodness, we know He is going to give us strength. This
whole process of disciple-making is about God. Its not about us. When we focus on disciplemaking as Gods work, it takes the pressure off of us.

Fear of rejection
Before I started discipling people, I was afraid people would say no when I asked them to
meet with me. I didnt think they would be interested in learning about God and growing in a
relationship with Him. Its easy to feel timid and afraid of others response. We need to
remember that what were offering is a gift to people. We have nothing to lose and they have
everything to gain! If they say no it may just mean they are not ready at this time. I have had
people say no, but most have said, Yes, I would like that. Remember, if someone you approach
says no, he or she is not rejecting you. When we approach someone about disciple-making, we
plant a seed and some day in the future, he or she may be interested in meeting together. God
will work that out in His timing.

Fear of speakingMoses Syndrome


Remember when Moses tried to get out of going to Pharaohto help the Hebrew slavesby
telling God he wasnt a good speaker? I call that Moses Syndrome. Were afraid we wont
know what to say or that our tongue will get stuck. God didnt let Moses get out of it, nor did he
send him off alone. He sent his brother Aaron with him.
You arent in this alone either. Its important that you have a support person you can turn to
when you feel stuck. Find a prayer partner who you can talk and pray with as you disciple. Also,
pray and listen to God about the situation. The Holy Spirit will guide you and lead you. It will be
an adventure of stepping out in faith, trusting that God is going to use youeven through your
mistakes.
Realize everything is not going to go perfectly. You will be learning from your mistakes
along the way so you will be better at discipling in the future. God has a plan to prosper you and
not to harm you, to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He tells us not to be afraid or
discouraged because He is going to go with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9).
We have so many promises from our loving God. They encourage us to keep going, to do
what is right, and to walk by faith. So often we only test those promises when we face troubles,

but God wants us to test those promises as we press on to win the race which He has given us.
May God bless you in your endeavors to be bold and courageous. Fear not, for God IS with you.

Fear of being the example


Some people would have a hard time making disciples because they dont want to say to
others, Come follow me. When Jesus called His disciples, He said, Come follow me and I
will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). Fortunately, we arent asking people to follow us,
but were calling them to follow our example as we follow Christ. In Philippians 4:9, Paul told
the Christians to start practicing what they saw in his life. And then in 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul
says, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Not one of us lives a life we would want copied 100%, maybe not even 75%. We are telling
our disciple they should examine and follow the way we act and live as Christ lives His life
through us. The problem is that we know and God knows and our disciple knows that we fail.
God uses our failures as an opportunity to teach us and our disciples that He is loving, gracious
and forgiving. Our disciples will see our shortcomings as they get to know us, and thats
important because our walk with God models real life struggles and victories of the Christian
life.
Asking people to follow us as we follow Christ is not an arrogant thing. It has nothing to do
with being better than anyone. Its about being real, wanting to grow in your walk with Jesus and
wanting to help others grow in their walk with Jesus.

Be committed
The main word to remember is PERSEVERE! Stick it out! Thats one of the things God
wants us to learn in our walk with Him. Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us to not give up on
meeting together. Because of fear, awkwardness, and time constraints, its easy to stop meeting
together.
I have found in my discipling relationships, its usually not me who keeps us from meeting,
but sometimes the people I am discipling just dont show up. They dont see how God will
impact their lives and they may not be disciplined in setting priorities for spiritual growth.
Its easy to become discouraged. Teaching about commitment through our words and lives is
vital. We might be tempted to say, If she really wants to grow, shes going to be here. Our
disciples may not be committed to the same degree that we are. Our flexibility and diligence as
we reschedule will help our disciples realize its really important that we meet. If you set up
some timelines when you get started, you will find its easier for people to be committed. For
example, you could say, Lets meet for six weeks on Mondays during lunch break and then reevaluate.
When I first started discipling young people, I became discouraged at times because they just
wouldnt show up. It was easy to take it personally, but I had to remind myself that this was not
my mission, this was Gods mission and I was committed to Him and to those students. The next
time I saw the students, I told them I missed them and then asked when they could meet again. If
I didnt follow through with setting another appointment, then we would have stopped meeting.

There were times, however, when I felt it was appropriate to ask them if they wanted to keep
meeting together. This gave us the chance to evaluate if our meeting was helping them grow and
almost always the students wanted to keep meeting.

Dont let awkwardness stop you


When you start a disciple-making relationship, it will come with awkwardness. You and your
disciple are different people with different perceptions. You wont know what the other person is
thinking, or you will see that theyre uncomfortable, or things may not always make sense.
When I was in college, I was confused about what to do when I graduated. This really
bothered me. My older and wiser sister told me, Just experience this difficult time, dont resist
it. Experience what God has for you in the midst of confusion. That has been valuable advice
for me. I dont have to try to escape uncomfortable situations. I experience what God has for me
in them and through them.
Does it really matter if were uncomfortable or inconvenienced for Jesus? Its good for us to
get out of comfort zones so we can do things that are healthy for our growth. What really matters
is that we are building Gods Kingdom. Keep growing together. God will take our awkwardness
and turn it into something for His pleasure and our blessing.

Remember, this is Gods work


The outcomes of sharing with others are in Gods hands. It is easy to feel that you are partly
at fault if your friend makes bad decisions. One couple I met with for quite some time lived in
self-serving and self-destructive ways. However, 15 years after meeting with me, they made a
recommitment to Jesus. God, by His Spirit through other people, brought this couple back to
Him. So we might, or might not see the impact we make in peoples lives. Gods timing is what
counts. The picture is much bigger than us and God uses a variety of people to impact anothers
spiritual growth.

Shout about the great things God is doing


Have you noticed it can be difficult to talk about spiritual things throughout our everyday
conversations? Even after a great sermon, many conversations center on the activities of our
week, what were planning to do next week, or about our vehicles, the weather, etc. The topics of
our discussions are often superficial and rarely about spiritual things. Even in our homes, we
might talk about the sermon, but do we ask each other how were growing spiritually? Or, What

has Jesus been doing in your life? And if we do get asked those questions, we may be caught by
surprise and unprepared to respond.
Isaiah 12:4-6 encourages us to shout aloud and sing for joy about the great things God has
done. Verse 5 says, Sing to the Lord for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all
the world. If we arent willing to talk about the glorious things He has done in our lives, its
hard to let them be known through the entire world. People will not see what He has done just by
the way we live. Lets help spread the Gospel by sharing Gods amazing deeds with our lips.
How do we express what God has done? First of all, when you get together with people who
want to grow in their relationship with God, youll find they want to hear what God is doing.
When they hear your stories, then theyll begin to share what God is doing in their lives. Youll
be amazed as your times together become times of praisenot just talking about needs, but
sharing what God is doing.
You might wonder what big things God has done in your life that you can share. God doesnt
just work in the big things. He works through the little thingsthe things that bring us joy and
answered prayer. My father-in-law has been a good example for me in recognizing Gods work
in our daily lives. Numerous times, he shared with the family that God gave him an idea in the
middle of the night about how to fix something around the house, or if he was working on a
project and something worked out well, hed say, Thank you, Jesus. This helped me realize
Jesus is really behind all of my ideas and successes.
Some people are scared to death to share with others. Does this mean they shouldnt do it?
No, absolutely not. We are blessed and others are blessed when we share. Its something God
wants to use in our lives to help us know Him better and bring glory to Him. We have the
greatest news ever. How can we help but shout about it? Lets do a lot more shouting in our lives
not shouting at others, but shouting about the good things of God!
When we share about God, according to Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy, there are
at least three different things we can share about.
1. We can share about Gods greatness in creation. When our eyes are open to the world
around us, we see the beauty God has created. There are so many opportunities to point
out Gods creative power to our children and others around us. We have all kinds of
opportunities to give God credit. Instead of just saying, Look at the beautiful sunset, we
can say, Look at that sunset! Isnt God amazing!
2. We can share about Gods greatness in His historical acts. We can tell people about
what God did for the Israelites in Egypthow He set them free; how He dealt with the
sick, or with sinners like the adulteress. We can tell people about what He did on the
cross. Bible stories are not just for little children and Sunday school classes.
3. We can tell about Gods greatness in our personal experiences. We can tell how God
comforted us during a difficult time, how God encouraged us when we were down, or
how God answered a prayer or guided us in our daily walk with Him.
Let talking about God with your spouse, your neighbor or co-worker become a natural habit.

Think About It:

1. Which lessons discussed in this chapter do you think are the most difficult for you to
learn/follow and why?
2. Review the common pitfalls and discuss how to avoid them.