The following is a guest blog post by D.A. Horton, Lead Pastor of Reach Fellowship, a church plant in North Long Beach, CA. D.A. is one of our 50+ speakers at the Exponential Regionals this fall:
Disciple making is messy. However, in my experience, the messier the more mature a disciple becomes. I’ve found a holistic discipleship process that corrects our speech, calls out our selfishness, and combats our sinfulness helps surface messiness in the younger believer’s life, in order to see the Lord produce the spiritual transformation He desires. Ephesians 4:25-32 is a solid text to draw the three aspects of a messy yet holistic discipleship relationship.
Correcting our Speech (Ephesians 4:25 & 29)
Paul opens by saying “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” Holistic discipleship confronts the falsehood in our speech. Falsehood is saying things that are untrue, omitting and/or overexaggerating details to withhold truth, and making false promises a person has not intention to keep. Paul tells us to put these types of practices away. It takes grace and patience to help an immature believer unlearn the ways of lying. Lying is natural but truth telling is supernatural thus, incorporating God’s word, which is absolutely true is imperative in the discipleship relationship. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us God’s living word exposes our hearts motives and Romans 12:1-2 follows up with how God the Holy Spirit transforms our exposed and surrendered heart. Paul also says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” The idea is that foul (stank) speech should not come out of the believer’s mouth. The content of our speech should build up the people we talk to as well as those who are in an earshot of our conversation.
Calling out our Selfishness (Ephesians 4:26-28)
Messy discipleship also deals head on with prolonged anger. Paul says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Paul doesn’t say it’s a sin to be angry rather, we shouldn’t sin while we’re angry. Holistic discipleship guards the heart of the offended/wounded against holding on to offenses and extending forgiveness to the person who offended them. This prevents their heart from becoming a place the evil one can have access to. Holding on to anger is selfish because it places the focus on the wounded and prevents them from healing. Another manifestation of selfishness Paul addresses is stealing. Paul says, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need”. Holistic discipleship calls out the sin of stealing and challenges the disciple to do the opposite, share with those who are in need. Acts 2:45 shows how a culture of generosity can change society. James 1:26-27 calls believers to need the needs of widows and orphans while they’re in distress. These expressions put maturity on display.
Combating our Sinfulness (Ephesians 4:30-32)
The believer is dependent on the ministry of the Holy Spirit and when we sin we grieve him. Paul says to stop grieving the Holy Spirit who sealed every believer until our day of redemption. In addition, God the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 8:9-13 gives every believer the power to put to death the misdeeds of our flesh. Holistic discipleship calls out all of the sinful acts our flesh desires because in our former life before Christ, we were addicted to such behaviors. Paul calls believers to put away; all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. In addition to this, he calls us to, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving others, as God in Christ has forgiven us. Holistic discipleship calls the immature believer to put the love of God they received in action!
Christians who have been holistically discipled will be better equipped to serve in their local church by adding to a solid foundation of multiplying disciple-makers. As the numbers of holistic disciples multiply, an entire culture of disciple-making has been created, and a lasting impact on the local community can result, giving God ultimate glory!
Special Invitation from D.A.
Getting to Know D.A.
Exponential asked our speakers to answer a few questions to help get to know them better. Check out some of D.A.’s answers to the questions below:
If you were not doing what you are now doing vocationally, and you could pursue any other career, what would it be?
Something to do with Major League Baseball
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Karate Kid (the Original with Ralph Macchio) (That’s a good one!)
What’s your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time?
Play Lego’s with my wife and kids or go to Dodgers games with them. (Just be sure not to step on the Lego’s!)
Other than the Bible, what’s the most impactful book you’ve ever read?
Humility: True Greatness by CJ Mahaney
Have you written any books?
GOSPEL, DNA: Foundations of the Faith, Bound tin and Free, Authentic Love, Enter the Ring
D.A. Horton is one of over 50 speakers at the Exponential Regional conferences this fall. Join D.A. and others at the Southern California regional conference!
Hero Maker Conferences
Hero Maker is the theme for Exponential 2018. The theme focuses on the shift from being the hero to coming alongside others for them to become the heroes in our church’s unfolding story. At each conference, we will unpack the 5 essential practices for leaders to multiply leaders: multiplication thinking, permission giving, disciple multiplying, gift activating, and kingdom building.
|5 Main Sessions||10+ Speakers||FREE Equipping Labs|
Regional Conference Locations
- Washington, DC: September 10-11
- Southern California: October 2-4
- Bay Area: October 22-23
- Houston: October 24-25
- Chicago: November 6-7
- New York City: December 5-6
To learn more and to register for any of the 2018 Hero Maker conferences, click here.