Question: If not me, who?

If not me, who?

I remember some of the sermons growing up and one of the significant ones was from Isaiah 6.  My pastor, Pastor Johnson, gave a message from Isaiah 6:1-8.  It reads,

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
 5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”   (Is. 6:1-8)

It is interesting that only one attribute of God is ever mentioned three times in a row and that is God’s holiness.  It is mentioned here in Isaiah 6:3 and also Revelation 4:8.  God is holy!  And therefore He is worthy for my response to please Him in any and every way.  However, I didn’t learn that until only recently.

            When I heard the sermon on this passage, maybe 42 years ago, it was the last verse that caught my attention and the Holy Spirit used that verse and message to persuade me commit my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I asked myself the question, “Would I be willing to say, ‘Here I am! Send me!’” to the Lord?   I had no idea what that might mean, yet I knew I really had no choice.  He is God. 

            Then I had to ask myself, “If not me, who?”  Furthermore, I needed to ask the question, “At what point would I be willing to go?”  Or, “If not now, when?”

            What about you?  Are you willing to say, “If not me, who?” and “If not now, when?”  We Christians don’t mind connectingwith other people in a home group or church service.  We don’t mind serving the Lord in a variety of ways.  We don’t mind being equipped for service and helping out either at church or another Christian brother or sister in need.  We don’t mind learning more Scripture or practical application in service.  That is all relatively easy. Here is the real question, “Where is your fruit of multiplication?” 

            These three words compose the vision statement I developed for our church last year: Connect, Equip, Multiply:

  • Connecting together to worship God                                              1 Cor. 12:19-25
  • Equipping together in grace to be more like Christ                       Eph. 4:11-14
  • Multiplying together with the gospel to reach the world               Matt 28:18-20

Here is the question you need to ask yourself, “Who is following you so that you are investing in them?”  Your investment in them will multiply and influence future generations for the kingdom.  What is your fruit? Jesus said,I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Is there multiplying fruit in your life?  Jesus also said,

19 “Go therefore1 and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:19-20)

Are you living a safe life of connecting and being equipped?  I praise the Lord that you are connecting and being equipped! The real Christian life is in multiplying yourself!  Multiplication is essential, so that many others will transition into future generations just like a maple tree sends out thousands of seeds to plant hundreds of trees.  Seek to become equipped to disciple others to multiply your influence in the future generations.

            Ask yourself, “If not me, who?”  And “If not now, when?”

Book Review: Real-life Discipleship by Jim Putman

In “Real-life Discipleship”, Jim Putman records the strategy by which churches can build themselves through making disciples.  The emphasis is placed on what God does through ordinary people available and faithful to God’s calling to make disciples.  The challenge exists, but the process is simple enough for any person feeling “inadequate, fearful” or like a “failure” in life.

Discipleship does not just happen.  It won’t happen by accident, except in a few cases like the apostle Paul and Billy Graham.  Churches must become intentional about building up disciples.  When the Biblical foundation is secure in a relational environment, then the reproductive process can grow people spiritually. 

Putman outlines well the spiritual growth process through five stages of living.  The first is the spiritually dead and then four stages of the Christian: infant, child, young adult and spiritual parent.  He makes the case well, because several of the chapters include “the phrase from the stage” that identifies how far along the spiritual growth level a Christian has grown.  A Christian may have been converted for 60 years, but if he is still saying things like “Why do those new people have to come into our small group?” it’s obvious that he is still in the spiritual child stage.  This assessment is essential to help people understand where they are in the Christian life, so they can grow up and consider how to become spiritual parents and reproduce growing disciples.

This book could have been outlined more clearly.  At times it could have been more succinct, but the content is so refreshing and focused on a missing ingredient of multiplication.  Jim has a laser focus on what his church is supposed to do and every Christian ought to consider two questions.  First, “What is my goal?”  And secondly, “What am I producing?” 

Book Review: Church Is a Team Sport by Jim Putman

In “Church Is a Team Sport”, Jim Putman takes his wrestling background and shows how important the “team” concept is in church ministry.  As a Preacher’s Kid, Jim took off on his own tangent walking away from God, but God brought him back to Himself through Jim’s own pastoring father.  After finishing his schooling, he began in youth ministry and developed a great youth group, because he spent time with them, loved them and took a keen interest in them individually and as a group.  After eight years in a couple youth ministries that were growing, but the adult ministry was not, two couples from northern Idaho asked him to plant a church.  He had no desire to plant a church, but through many obvious events, he returned to where he had roots from his college days.

His plan was simple.  Focus on small groups that had a consistent system for growth.  Coach the people to see they are the players, not the spectators.  Help people see they can lead others and reproduce themselves through small groups.  With coaches overseeing the small group leaders, those coaches provided weekly support and encouragement to the small group leaders.  Those small group leaders looked to reproduce themselves in the people that were growing.  As leaders grew, they were encouraged to serve and look to become disciple-making people themselves.

Jim’s sports background permeates the entire book. The reality is we are made to function on the Lord’s team in His body working together in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Whether Jim discusses from the “locker room” to the “board room” or working with the same “playbook” he draws the reader into seeing how God can transform lives immediately, because it’s not based on religion, but authentic relationships in a safe environment of a small group.  He certainly inspires you to want to become a champion disciple-maker.

If you want to continue only attending church and going about your business, I would suggest you not read the book.  The principles are infectious and motivating for any background or ability to rise up and say, “I can do that [discipleship] (in His power).”