My Disciples Lack Boundaries (and Jesus totally gets that)

Making disciples is a privilege and command given to every follower of Jesus. Right now I’m discipling a group of senior girls and a couple of young moms. Making a disciple isn’t simply meeting once a week for 30 mins, but sharing some meals together, doing ministry, and life together (so many graduation parties, grad breakfasts, etc- and I cried at every one).

I don’t mean to be partial, but I do have 2 favorite disciples...my daughter and son. Discipling them is messier in a lot of ways. The modern idea of healthy boundaries escapes them...ie I put my cell phone in another room at night, so when someone texts me at 1 am I don’t see it until 5:45 am. However, if my 2 year old’s feet get cold he has no problem crawling in my bed and putting them on my legs waking me up at 1 am. There’s that. Don’t worry it only happens like once a week.

It’s thrilling honestly for me to disciple my own kids. It’s exhausting in a good way! Like when you work at camp and you’re so tired at the end of the day and you lay down and smile knowing what you did made eternal impact. I was tired one day and was reminded of Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus got tired, so tired he even slept through a storm on a boat once. Jesus totally gets that I’m tired and my days are full of many different types of ministry all day.

Last week I started reading the Gospel of Mark and was so struck with a way that Jesus sympathizes with me that I started laughing. Mark 1:35-39 says, 

"And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons."

I read this passage and immediately went into the next room and told my husband, “My disciples are totally like Jesus’s. Any spare moment they ‘search for me.’ Whether I’m praying, cooking, paying a bill, they search for me and basically say ‘Everyone is looking for you.’” I’m seriously still kind of laughing at this realization.

I’m not writing to complain that a 2 and 4 year old think I’m amazing and want to be around me all the time. Seriously, they make me feel like I could do stand-up with ease. They make me feel important, because no one can read stories, pray with them when they’re scared or stare down a 4th grade bully at the park like me (it only happened once..).

I’m not complaining- I love my disciples, and being the primary disciplemaker there are some “me time” and “free time” things I die to. I heard recently that in Christianity we need to daily die to calendar and comfort. Reading that, knowing my daily life, and knowing Jesus totally gets and sympathizes with me gives me power, joy and peace.

I was convicted though. When they searched Jesus out when he was praying, He didn’t put them in time out, shame them for needing him non-stop, or feel like a victim because he didn’t get his full “me time/free time” He wanted. Nope. Jesus stood up and said, alright let’s go walk in the heat and preach all day! When I’m reading my Bible, and I’m interrupted is my natural response, “I’m glad you’re here, let’s go tell someone about God now!” Or, am I frustrated my calendar or comfort were interrupted?

My disciples are clingy, needy, lack boundaries, search for me, crack me up, are teachable, love God, and tell others about God and Jesus totally sympathizes with and gets that and I love it! - Amy

The Perch is Back!

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Hey Perch Community! Amy here!  We took a sabbatical of sorts this summer, but we're excited to be back! Let me give you some updates on where we all are and what we've been up to.

Becca started a new job at Mississippi College in as the Associate Director of Student Engagement this past January. She’s over events and discipleship for students on campus. As usual Bec fashion, she’s loving it and doing amazing. She will be sharing more on that this fall, as the Lord is using her in a new and exciting way to mentor college students and faculty. She's back in Mississippi and closer to family, which is awesome.

JJ is still a newlywed, has like 5 jobs, and started baking cakes. I don’t mean like a boxed cake...I mean cakes so beautiful she could start an instagram of said cakes and get a million followers. She continues to be amazing at any and all things that require creativity and hospitality. She laughs in the face of Pinterest.

My family has been traveling and doing lots of evangelism and discipleship training. PLUS, IT’S SUMMER! I’ve been at the pool and Bec and J have been at the beach A LOT.

The break was a blessing to help us re-focus. We have lots of ideas for this year and we are thrilled to start posting again! Thanks to so many of you who messaged and encouraged us by saying that you were missing our posts! And, thanks to the MANY people who continued to read every day. We are hoping many of the readers were repeat readers who were being mentored and equipping others to mentor!

A verse the Lord has been burning on our hearts this year is 2 Timothy 2:2- “

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

We're heading in a new direction and will not be mainly student ministry focused, but drilling down on discipleship. That's discipleship in the home, one on one, leading small groups, and living a life that looks like Christ.

We are praying that we would teach discipleship and mentoring principles and habits in such a way, that you can confidently and easily share them with others. AND, as faithful people who learn and teach, that the disciples you teach would receive and learn so clearly that they would be able to teach others also.

We call this discipleship to the 4th generation. If I disciple Sarah, and Sarah disciples Kai, and Kai disciples Ranjit, then we’ve been faithful to not just hear 2 Timothy 2:2, but obey it. We haven’t just been hearers who keep hearing this verse in our hearts, but we’ve been doers showing Jesus, ourselves and others that a disciple of Jesus is not a passive listener but an active follower whose actions and life changes.

We are beyond excited for this year and this community! Email us if we can pray for you, let us know if there's a topic you’d like us to write about, or if you have any suggestions for a potential Diskypleship post. We're thankful for you. Let's get to it! - Amy

Dear Recent High School Grad, don’t wait until August to find a Church. Start Now!

For all believers, it is vital to growth and obedience to Christ to be involved in a local body of believers--the church. No matter what stage of life you are in, regular fellowship with believers is not only good, but your soul craves it. College is no exception. Just as you are mapping out what courses you are going to take and the perfect dorm room decor, take the time to research and seek out the local body of believers you will grow alongside of.

Honestly the term “church shopping” makes me uncomfortable. Acts 2:46-47 tells us that the early church lived this way: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I have this in chalkboard in my dining room to remind me that part of my identity in Christ is to meet with other believers for the purpose of sharpening each other and remembering the good things God has done for us. The fruit of this are glad/generous hearts and others daily wanting to come into our fellowship as a body of believers. So, to reduce this to what church has the best music for 8 minutes a week in a service or does the pastor wear jeans or slacks...makes me bored...and makes me start praying for self control immediately. Ha

Here is the beautiful thing about the time you are living in now High School grad, you don’t ever have to church shop! The days of going to 5 churches and not committing to loving and serving 1 locally can die in your generation thanks to the interwebs (as Michael Scott calls it).

The summer before college spend time praying with your family and mentor about the local group of believers the Lord would have you join as you head off for college. Download this free printable, set-up a time with your family and mentor and answer these questions. If there are several churches, print several and look at their websites. Don’t fill it all out if you conflict with a major area of belief. Example: They do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God...on to the next!

Families, enjoy being a part of this process with your teen. Cook her favorite meal and tackle some of these questions together. Take a few days to break from the questions and process, then take her out for a late night treat to answer a few more (cheesecake at 9 pm is always a good idea). These can be some memorable times and part of you commissioning your daughter as she heads out.

Personally, I would even take it a step farther and when you find a fit (teaches truth from the Bible, active disciple-making plan, engages community with the Gospel) email one of the leaders and ask if your family can take them to lunch move in weekend. Y'all all go to church together there then get to know this staff person. This is not micro-managing.  Emailing the person you took to lunch weekly to check up on your kid is a bit much.  But, you modeling discernment through asking good questions and developing relationships is you actively taking part in helping your student know what things to look for in a healthy church.

My kiddos are teeny, but I’ve had the privilege of helping High School grads I’ve mentored connect with a church. Students who connect with other students and mentors quickly thrive in every way in college much more compared to students who do not. I’m mentoring a group of seniors right now and it is my JOY to sit down with them, process this, and pass it along to their families.

We've created this handy New Church Research Questionnaire to help you process the important questions and start preparing for the fall! Click the button below to download and print. Let us know how it goes! - Amy 

 

 

#handsfreefriday

This past weekend Becca came to visit me in Dallas. As we were sitting by the pool with our phones tucked away in our bags, we quickly slipped into a great conversation...uninterrupted, sharpening, and challenging as per usual. 

We started talking about how its very easy to be “with people” but never actually connect with them. Its easy for 2 people sharing a table in a coffee shop to spend the entire time looking at other people’s lives on Instagram instead of intentionally getting to know the person they are actually there to have coffee with. We all see this. If you haven’t, put your phone down and look around you. (wink).

Out of that conversation, we decided to start a new campaign, #Handsfreefridays. Check out this quick video! 

Romans 12:2 says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Conformed means to let something from the outside shape who YOU are on the inside. Let’s not conform to this trend. As Christians, let’s inspire those in our presence, not tune or zone out. Let’s not make others feel like they’re competing with someone else for our attention.

Before you eye roll that I’m way old, let me tell you about an interesting trend I’m seeing and hearing. Several Christian girls I know in high school and college have deleted social media from their phone for the summer. Why? One girl said, “I’m tired of going to dinner and not having anything to talk about. I ask someone how their day was, and they say ‘didn’t you see my Snapstory’ I smile and say no and they have to talk.” One girl said, “I was spending way more time looking at people’s lives instead of doing life with my friends.” Fascinating. Social media is not the worst, but Biblical community is life-giving while social media creeping just leads to jealousy and comparison.

For me, I put my phone in a different room for a few hours every day. When I share a meal or am a table with someone I put my phone in my purse or turn it upside down. I do this to communicate to my family, guests, and friends that I want to listen, laugh and not have 5  screens open in my head and not really want to listen to them. Because for me, even if I’m not talking on my phone if I pick it up continually I’m still processing a pic, email, and who is that super rando person that just followed me on twitter...probably spam.

Everyone is different, but with this challenge, we really want yall to join us in being present and having great conversations that inspire and encourage.

Maybe the most freeing habit you form this summer is learning how to survive without checking social media for a day?

 Maybe the most hospitable habit you form this summer is developing the discipline of giving your guests your full attention?

Maybe the most loving thing you can do for your family is allow the Lord to transform your heart in this area through hands free Fridays?

We would LOVE to hear what you’re doing to participate in this and what it is doing in your relationship with the Lord and others. Email us or connect with us and the perch community using #handsfreefridays - Amy