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  • Reuben A Walter
    Feb 6, 2018

    This Writing is from our Publication, "The Disciples' Beacon", published via email monthly. Greetings in Jesus name! In our last edition, we explored the concept of sonship and how it must come before discipleship. We discussed how we become sons and daughters, and also how impossible it is to earn sonship. Being adopted into Sonship by the redemptive work of Jesus on Calvary is the foundation of our Christian life, everything we build upon that foundation will only be as sound or secure as this initial concept. That is why we emphasize it, prioritize it, and vigorously promote it. Sonship has been ignored, diminished, and misrepresented in much of the Anabaptist world in favor of a works based, doctrine oriented, and law centered cultural framework, and it has imperiled the entire Anabaptist superstructure. I can't emphasize enough how much generational damage can occur when the foundation is undermined in favor of the promotion of a heritage, rather than a life! Our Anabaptist heritage has incredible value, but IT IS NOT THE FOUNDATION! It is the superstructure and framework for building our lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ. This MUST be clearly understood and accepted, before it is of any value for the kingdom of God.  So, in this edition of Disciples' Beacon, we will once again dig deep into the foundation, but instead of assessing whether we are sons, servants or orphans, we will rather go another step back to determine if you are a born again, adopted child of God or just a religious person; pious, but still unsaved. As with the previous discussion, what we will write here may come across as abrasive, even offensive,  but we're not seeking to cause trouble, and we're not bashing the Anabaptists or Hutterites. We only seek to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and speak the truth in love. Being a Hutterite Anabaptist myself, I have a deep appreciation for our culture and heritage, but also a thorough understanding of our weaknesses and failures. To gloss over or hush up the pitfalls in our heritage is, in my opinion, dishonest. When we read the Bible, or even the Hutterite Chronicles, they make no attempt to hide the shortcomings and failures of even their best, even so must we do the same. It is more authentic, so please bear with me. I pray for understanding minds, because we can't  afford to remain quiet any longer on this issue. We must speak, but will do so with love and deep care for our people.   Your brother in Christ, Reuben A Walter _____________________________________________________________ Have You Been Saved, or are you Religious? Assessing our position as God's children. Greetings in the Name of Jesus, This months writing is based on the following passages from Scripture:  Mark 10:45; John 1:29; Acts 13:39; 1Cor 15:3; 2Cor. 5:21; Gal 1:4; Gal. 3:13; Titus 2:14; 1Pet. 2:24; 1John 2:2; 1John 3:5; One needs to read them to appreciate what the context of this writing is about. We began this publication and series with the assumption that those who will read them are born again Christians, but the Spirit has prompted me to not take this for granted. Even though our primary focus is discipleship; the development and growth of God's children, we must NOT skip over the most essential part. Some who read these messages may believe they are Christians, but in reality they have never known Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, or experienced new birth, adoption, and sonship. So instead of assessing the 3 kinds of children of God, we will instead focus on the Biblical new birth and how one becomes a child of God.  Having said that, God has been pressing upon my heart that we need to not only highlight the necessity of the biblical new birth, we need to establish TWO separate salvation plans, as far-out as this sounds. But after much meditation, I am now fully convinced --- for two very important reasons! The first is the new birth has been cheapened down to verbal consent to a belief by much (not all) of western Christianity; and the second is the new birth is sadly misrepresented in much (not all) of the conservative Anabaptist world. We basically have two kinds of people in the world (apart from true Christians); they are the Jews (religious), and the gentiles (non-religious). One kind lives without God and though they may even acknowledge Him, they basically run their lives apart from Him and His authority. These are the gentiles. The other kind are the people who acknowledge the God of the Bible, believe in eternal life and eternal punishment, and live by a system of beliefs, laws and religious ceremonies to try and please God, thus making them eligible for eternal life. These are the Jews. Their modern counterparts include the Anabaptists, Roman Catholics, and numerous others. The Primary reason we need TWO separate salvation plans is BECAUSE one group needs to be saved from their UNRIGHTEOUSNESS and wickedness, while the other group needs to be saved from their OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS and false security. This calls for two different approaches to the same universal problem! Man's sin and his total and complete inability to save himself. My own experience taught me that my faith in God and His redemption plan was misunderstood and taken for granted for many years of my Christian life, thus it affected my view of sonship for nearly 14 years.  In This Edition, We explain why the Jews (religious) are in the same desperate need of redemption as are the gentiles. Rom. 3:9-19 Growing up in Hutterite culture, it was automatically assumed that once a young person was "of age" they should change their lives and get baptized. Baptism was and still is in most Hutterite communities the initiation into the church and once someone was baptized and made a covenant, he or she was a Christian. There was and still is much emphasis on confession of sins to a minister, learning a catechism, memorizing a confession of faith, and making a commitment at baptism, and these were what made one a (Christian). There was and still is much emphasis on improving lives, changing, repenting, etc, which all sounds good and right on the surface, but is still a long ways from Biblical sonship and new birth. Many Anabaptist circles are full of people who went through the above steps, made a covenant with God and the church, but have no idea what it means to be born again, adopted, and given the gift of eternal life. (The evidence of this truth is overwhelming, but we will not elaborate)  Many believe they're a Christian because they repented of their sins, stopped drinking, stealing, swearing and other bad things? One can stop doing all these and still be hopelessly lost! Indeed, we must be sorry for and turn away from our sins, that's biblical and necessary! But it doesn't go far enough. We must turn AWAY from our sin, BUT THEN turn TO Jesus! John 6:37 & v.45 Not to the traditions and rules, not to baptism and church commitment, not to dress codes and memorized confessions, but to Faith in Jesus!   He is the ONE who shed His blood for us, He is the ONE who paid for our sins, He is the ONE who ransomed us from eternal damnation, He is the ONE who reconciles us to the Father and saves us, He is the ONE who laid down His life for us! He is the ONE who lived a sinless life to Qualify to BE the LAMB of GOD. Therefore, He alone is door to eternal life; John 10:9  He alone redeems us, justifies us, and translates us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, Col. 1:13 , and there is NO OTHER WAY to be rescued. This is the foundation upon which the rest of our Christian lives are built. It is this foundation that has been sadly misrepresented by thousands of my people, and the results have been tragic . How can the house endure if the foundation is undermined? How can one live a Christian life when they're NOT EVEN A CHRISTIAN? It doesn't make sense, and it can't work! It is like dressing up a pig with a sheepskin and calling it a sheep! The NATURE has not changed. This has resulted in so much condemnation, anxiety, depression, oppression, addictions, divisions, bitterness, fear and devastation in our Anabaptist circles. Many are sincerely trying to live Christian lives, but aren't born again, and are basically trying to reform the old man, the man of sin.  You and I have about as much chance of saving ourselves from hell-fire, judgment, or our sins as we would have floating in the middle of the Pacific ocean! It is IMPOSSIBLE to save or redeem ourselves. Living in a colony, keeping the rules and dress codes, thinking it saves us is a deception. Why? Because it gives people a false sense of security, where one feels justified by following a religious protocol rather than faith in Christ's redemptive work. It was completely pointless for Jesus to come to earth, live among us for 33 years, be mocked, tortured, crucified, and rise again on the third day, if anyone believes they are made right with God by rituals, rules, or religion! Satan uses the same tactic to keep millions of Roman Catholics trapped in a dead religion. He used the same strategy to keep most Jews from believing in Jesus. They didn't believe in or accept Him because they had their religion and laws down pat, and He was breaking their traditions. He was preaching that faith in Him was the only way to get saved! He was telling them man needs a new heart, a renewed mind, and a new beginning to be able to live the Christian life. He needs to be "born of the Spirit." Keeping rules and living under strict traditions may have value in keeping unsaved people in check, BUT will NEVER change a human heart! That needs a divine operation.  Jesus is still a Stumbling Block to Religion Israel had a remarkable zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Instead of submitting themselves to the righteousness of God, they went about to establish their own righteousness. Rom. 10:1-4  They observed the Mosaic law, were meticulous with what they ate, careful to walk only a certain amount of steps on the Sabbath, made a big ado about the clothes they wore, observed strict rules of conduct, practiced circumcision and Jewish customs; and they even did mission work, but were ENEMIES of Christ! They HATED Jesus because He brought a shift, a new path that clashed with their established ways. What He offered was so revolutionary, so obnoxious to the Jews, they sought for ways to destroy Him in his very first year of ministry. Brethren, it is still the same today. Like the Jews of Jesus' day, the good news gospel has no place in many conservative communities because it sets men free! John 8:32; Rom. 8:2  It has no place because it allows the individual to access our heavenly Father directly through Jesus. John 14:6 It has no place because it requires people to admit that all their "own righteousness" is basically filthy rags! Isa. 64:6 It requires them to believe their strict way of life has not saved them. 1Pet. 1:18-19  The good news has no place because it requires people to accept that the church/community is not their salvation. The good news has no place because the gospel of Jesus Christ interferes with tradition, the doctrines and commandments of men whereby thousands are ensnared and enslaved by peer pressure, fear, and intimidation! Mark 7:6-13    That is why Jesus Christ is such a stumbling block, such an offence to religion --- He sets men FREE! It's time to be honest and admit  "the emperor he has no clothes on."  There are ministers in the communities who are afraid to speak about Jesus! Many forbid their people to talk about Him or do personal Bible study to get to know Him! How can one get to know the Author of Salvation and eternal LIFE if he/she doesn't read and study the Bible? Thousands upon thousands falsely believe that if they stay in the church, (ark) obey the rules and dress right, they are secure and will go to heaven. They are held in bondage to a commitment they made at baptism, that if they leave the church, they are lost! This teaching is holding captive thousands, while deceiving thousands more. My people, it is time to be gripped by the gravity of this and turn to the Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord.  We must say the same about the false belief that one has to take his/her sins to the preacher in order to be prayed over and forgiven. NO, NO, NO! Confessing sins is a Biblical concept and necessary, but in no way does confession take away our sins, nor the intercession of a minister. The Bible says, there is ONE GOD, and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the MAN, CHRIST JESUS.  1Tim. 2:5 . Confessing sins may give a temporary relief, but does not take away the shame and guilt, nor does it reconcile us to God, only Jesus does that. For there is NO other name given among men by whom we must be saved! Acts 4:12 Jesus said, I come to set you FREE!  John 8:36 . Free from what? He sets us free from our guilt, our shame, our rebellion, our condemnation, our addictions, and the penalty of our sins. He erases them and washes them away by His own blood. Dear young person, have you been washed by the Blood of the Lamb? Dear Anabaptist elder, brother, sister, are you trapped by depression? Bitterness? Anger? Unforgiveness? Are you anxious and fearful of death? Are you broken inside and miserable? Is the load of your sins too heavy for you? Are you hurting and wounded from oppression and dead religion? COME to JESUS!  Mat. 11:28-30 He will never let you down. HE is the only one who can save us! HE is the ONLY one who shed His blood for us! Don't wait, don't delay!   The Solution According to the Scriptures Open the word of God! Call upon the name of the LORD!  Rom. 10:13   He will give you a new heart, a new mind. He will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Eze 36:35-37 ; He will make you into a new creation; 2Cor 5:17 . He will restore those wasted years; Joel 2:25 , and will cause you to walk in His ways. He will bring you peace and give you rest; Mat. 11:29,30 . He will heal your mind and deliver you from your addictions; Luke 4:18 He will set you free from the law of sin and death; Rom. 8:2 He will give you eternal life; John 10:28; John 17:2. He will forgive you and blot out all your sins; Acts 26:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14.  He will adopt you and receive you as His very own child; Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5-7 He will take away your guilt and condemnation; Rom. 8:1. He will give you hope and a future; He will give you the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and empower you; John 14:16-18 He will clear your conscience from dead works to help you serve the living God; Heb. 9:14. He will give you abundant life, John 10:10, and out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water; John 7:48;  All this and more is promised to all religious people who are bound under the law, and come to the saving grace and faith of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Gal. 4:5,   You will then be no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. Eph.2:19 When that happens, we are then able to start living for Jesus in a love relationship. We then choose to follow Him into discipleship knowing we are His adopted and begotten children. We then pursue the kingdom of God, baptism, church commitment, and fellowship with the saints of God..., because we have been given a new beginning, a new life, and an unfailing hope. If anyone finds this message offensive, we urge you to at least open the Bible, look up the references we highlighted, and ask God to open up His life giving word to you. You will see that what we write is true. It will be life changing. How would you feel if your doctor diagnosed you with cancer, then lied to you that everything was fine, just stop drinking and eat healthier? His job is to diagnose and tell you the truth of the diagnosis, then offer a solution. What we are offering here is THE solution to man's inherent problem, SIN! His name is JESUS! He IS the treatment for our cancer! He is the Surgeon who performs the heart surgery and restores us. Every adopted child of God who reads this writing will bear witness that this is so, amen.   Please share this message with your friends and loved ones, eternity is at stake.   Reuben A Walter. 
  • Reuben A Walter
    Feb 3, 2018

    Our Character remains undeveloped for year and years after becoming Christians. We are now at the final incentive for discipleship, and as before, some of our thoughts and points from previous editions may overlap in the discussion. But we have chosen to give character special attention, even though it’s discussed passively in previous editions. Character is who we are in the dark, when no one sees us. Character is how we respond to power, popularity, prosperity, poverty, pressure, pain, or persecution. Most of us can hide our true character in normal day to day living, but when placed in situations where our motives, our emotions and desires, or our reactions are brought to the surface, we truly learn how Christlike we are. When it comes to character, we’ve heard over and over, just be in love with Jesus and your character will be transformed into His! The more you will love Jesus, the more His character will shine through your life. While I wholly agree with this statement, it needs to be noted then that we need to be taught HOW to love Jesus with all our hearts. I have been a Christian for 25 years, loved Jesus with all my heart for well over half of those years, and still I’m reminded again and again how unlike Jesus my character still is. It seems to be the common saying today…, be like Jesus! It is easy enough to say with our mouths, even believe it in our hearts, but here is a good test. Think of someone who really dislikes you, and vice versa; what do they see in you? What is their perception of you? Can they say you are truly a child of God? And how do you perceive them? Do you wish them well? Do you rejoice when they succeed? Are you sad when they fail? Would you be willing to help them in a pinch, or make a sacrifice on their behalf? A positive yes here is easy if the someone is someone we love and cherish. What about someone we don't? Now I know we’ll never see eye to eye with all men; for various reasons, but the character of Jesus was highlighted by His response to the above questions. His enemies found no flaws in His character, and admitted He was a teacher sent from God who had no respect of persons, taught the way of God perfectly, and loved all men. He called the traitor Judas a 'friend', healed the ear of a soldier who arrested Him, and washed His disciples' feet.  Although we will never fully be like Jesus, His character is the benchmark, the standard He beckons us to attain, otherwise He wouldn’t have said, be ye perfect, even as Your Father in Heaven is perfect. Mat. 5:48 In His Sermon on the Mount,  Mat 5-7 , most of His teachings revolve around our character (check it out). He is concerned that our character complements the label we take upon ourselves when we chose to follow Him. Therefore, He addresses at least nine character traits in this sermon to highlight His concern for our inner man. He addresses anger, forgiveness, lust, pride, honesty, anxiety, fear, hypocrisy, and honor-seeking. We can take those nine qualities and place them into three distinct categories; they are our reactions, our motives, and our desires. Its in these 3 areas where our true character shines through. Of course, we fully understand there is the element of growth and training and time that goes into the equation here as we develop Christlike character; but one thing I’m convinced of is the mountain of opportunity and circumstance God has lined up to facilitate and foster growth into His character. Our problem arises from the fact that we don’t see most of life and life’s issues and challenges as God’s training ground and school of discipleship. We tend to view them more as obstacles and hindrances to our walk. We need to be exposed to the idea, we need to be taught HOW they work into His marvelous plan, and the role faith plays in our Character development. We also need to be taught that God provides opportunities almost every day to get trained in Christian character. In our marriages, with our children, on our jobsites, our use of money, time, people we work with, our employers and employees. Difficult authority figures, other Christians with whom we may not agree, health problems, business failures, accidents, financial fallouts, family feuds, and other relationship challenges all work together in the equation to develop Christlike character in us, and if we’re not taught or trained to see everything in that light, we completely miss what God is doing in our lives. How we react to criticism, ridicule, pain, loss, betrayal, insults, or someone infringing on our rights is our window into our character. Why we do or don’t do a certain thing, why we say something or go somewhere is our window into the motives of our heart, and how we deal with our desires, (lust, emotions, anger, love of money, reputation, power, or popularity) all tell the story of who we are. I know most of us can grit our teeth and most of the time put on the necessary show so as not to humiliate ourselves publicly when challenged or hurt, or taken advantage of. But what goes on in our hearts? I have spent a considerable amount of time the past few years reflecting on the issues that irritate me most and to my surprise they were not mine own character, or lack thereof. They were mostly concerning the lack of other people’s character! How convenient! Isn’t it easy to give ourselves a pass while being critical of others? Don’t we justify, even marginalize our own actions, motives, and thoughts, but in the very next breath seek to be the judges of other peoples’ character? Until we are exposed to this reality by the Holy Spirit's conviction, most Christians waste their lives away having developed very little in these crucial areas.  It’s a classic enemy tactic to take our eyes off ourselves or Jesus and away from the real issues facing us…, our undeveloped and often unchristlike character! In our committed brotherhood, where members are interconnected and interdependent, the potential friction points are more numerous than on a Massey Ferguson Combine! God designed for us to be in these types of fellowships…, specifically for this reason! To smooth out our roughness, break through bondages and high thoughts, be humbled and brought face to face with our own hearts, our unmortified ego, our religious self-righteousness, our pride, our anger, our self-pity, our worries and fears, our besetting sins that so easily cling to us, our critical spirits, and our fabricated holiness! All of this must be brought to the surface and dealt with and every one of these unchristlike character traits must be replaced with Christlike ones, so that we don’t live our lives as actors on a movie screen, being holy on the outside, but harboring all those unholy traits within. That is precisely why intentional discipleship should be the focus of every church body, and every church committed to the call of Jesus should be end product oriented. What the church produces tells a whole lot about it, and it’s time we realize how vital discipleship really is. The final, and probably most offensive thing about discipleship that we need to understand, is how connected and dependent discipleship and fellowship are upon each other. To attempt discipleship without being committed to other Christians in church fellowship is like living in a common-law relationship…, each lives their own lives with no real commitment, other than one of convenience. On the other hand, to have church fellowship without discipleship is like a marriage only for the intimacy; not the responsibility, the commitment, the inconvenience and the burden of family, children, and sacrifice. Forgive me for this blunt allegory, but if we honestly analyse it, the conclusion is evident. So again my prayer is that these incentives produce a holy discontent in us with things as they are, and press forward towards the mark of the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. Peter says, “ Through these many and precious promises, we are partakers of the divine nature!” 2Pet. 1:4 That’s amazing! And who of us wouldn’t want to be partakers of that…, to the praise of His Glory.  This edition wraps up our incentives for discipleship; stay with us for future issues where we begin to lay down the foundation, framework and sequence for Biblical discipleship that, if followed, will ensure the Christian of a life of victory, true freedom, peace, joy and rest in God that perpetually eludes so many. Blessings in Jesus, bro Reuben A Walter
  • Reuben A Walter
    Feb 3, 2018

    Incentive Number Four for Discipleship: Most Christians want a more victorious, fulfilling life, but don’t know how to get it. I have come to give life, and to give it more abundantly! John 10:10 ; These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:11 The primary fruits (results) of the Spirit are love, joy, and peace; giving us a glimpse into the Christian life few ever fully experience. To introduce this month’s incentive, I would like share a short illustration. In 2Tim. 2:6; Paul exhorts Timothy that the husbandman must first be a partaker of the fruit…, what fruit do we suppose he was talking about? I’m a practical sort of person, so to me its like the farmer bringing in the fruits of his labor from the field/garden. First, he enjoys (partakes) of the fruits, keeps his portion, feeds his family, then sells or gives what is over and above. Spiritually, the same principle applies. We can only authentically impart to others what is true in our own lives. This abundant life, this love, joy, peace are fruits that need to be evident in our lives, and we partake of them..., regularly in order to make the gospel appealing and beautiful! Otherwise, we’re just warehouses and salesmen selling other people’s produce! Here in America, the abundant life is associated with temporal blessings and prosperity. But scripture makes it clear that is not what Christ meant when He talked of abundant life! Rather, it was the life He had with His Father; a life free from bitterness, anger, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, resentment, pride, lust, critical attitudes, hypocrisy, fear, anxiety, depression, and all those other heart sins Christianity is plagued with. It was overcoming our desire to get even, to feel sorry for ourselves, to look down on other Christians; not being critical and judgmental of them, or harbor anger, bitterness, and envy. It was breaking free from the competitive spirit, the love of money, idolatry, and from divided loyalties. That is the true abundant life Jesus was talking of, not some experience in church on a Sunday morning, or a fat bank account and luxury. We all know we could have the finest banquet, most expensive houses and cars, and they will not bring lasting inner rest, peace and joy! In fact, the exact opposite is usually true. More material wealth, stuff only brings more fear, worry, and cares. That’s because God never intended for us to find peace, joy, and rest in these things, but that's a whole different topic we'll discuss in later issues.   Is it really possible for God’s people to live, love, speak, think, and act like Jesus from the heart? Those hard concepts highlighted in the Sermon on the mount…, does He really expect us to return good for evil, rejoice when persecuted, give and ask nothing in return, turn the other cheek, and pray for those who abuse us? and actually find joy in it? After all, the Bible says,  I delight to do they Will O God! Doesn’t it feel much better to wish evil on those who harm us? or repay them eye for an eye? To get more money, stuff, entertainment? Don’t we intentionally want to nurse grudges and resentment towards authority figures who seem to be out to get us? or people who double crossed us? Who in his right mind feels like giving and borrowing without asking anything in return? Or talk positive about other Christians, especially those we don’t agree with? Don’t we get more satisfaction out of highlighting their faults and failures and talking negative about them? Why does the gospel appear like God wants to strip us of any satisfaction of putting others in their place or getting even? Especially when we see they’re out of line according to our thinking?... I could go on and on here, but point is made. Fact of the matter is, we don’t know what brings us peace, rest, joy and blessings. We are so spiritually uneducated and illiterate, we’re like children gorging themselves on candy, pop, and bars, enjoying them because they taste good, but they’re harmful to our health and draining on our energy. In the same way, due to lack of Biblical discipleship, too regularly we follow our feelings in the above areas because we get some satisfaction out of it for the moment. However, we must always reap what we sow, so this principle must apply here as well, and the measure we meet is usually measured back to us in it’s full amount. Mat. 7:2 Maybe not from the same sources, but our infinite Father has no shortage of methods and vessels to accomplish His sovereign will. So He engineers people, circumstances, and events that cause us to reflect, learn, and be transformed in our thinking. Sadly, we hardly ever catch on, and so we make one trip around the mountain after another, we wander in the wilderness of anxiety, depression, emptiness, vanity, self-righteousness, critical attitudes, resentment, and self-pity year after year, thinking God is not honoring His promises. Our pride prevents us from self-reflection, and the positions we've taken block the Holy Spirit from breaking through our erected walls and veneers. However, God really does love us, and His Son really knows what will bring us the abundant life. Therefore, He gave us the instructions and often allows difficult circumstances into our lives to train us to put them into practice! He’s not trying to restrict us hurt us, or beat us up, God is trying to liberate us in order to impart the abundant life, but most of us waste half of our lives not getting it! True discipleship focuses on the inner man, training God’s people to surrender to His will, submit to His authority, trust Him completely, and learn to love, forgive, and restore…, just like Jesus did. It focuses on the human heart condition, giving Jesus His rightful place, doing His will from the heart, and leaving the results in His hands. Many times, the way God’s people act are simply symptoms of undealt with heart issues. One can become a hermit, or join the world in the hope of finding fulfillment, and it will all be in vain. Because the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. A fulfilling life is easier achieved than most of us believe, but to attain it, a very precise sequence must be followed, exactly like an engineer, contractor and car maker does to achieve a planned product and outcome. This sequence is what is missing in Christianity. There is almost no sequence, structure, or blueprint anywhere to help God’s people attain a life in Christ that is victorious, fulfilling, restful, and glorious! Indeed, I have read numerous great books on discipleship and learned a lot, but a book alone will never do it. Discipleship is very practical, hand-on, and can get rather unpleasant at times, and if we’re not committed to brethren who are committed to such a plan, rarely will it happen by itself. Somehow, we get the idea that it will all come together…, God owes us a good life, a life of rest, peace and joy. But God is more interested in our character than in giving us a bunch of blessings, and sadly, we often are disillusioned with God because we don’t feel He’s living up to His promises.  Every car maker, contractor knows precisely what steps need to be followed to produce an end product that is appealing, functional, and serves a purpose. So does a teacher, cook, and food producer. Everything is precisely ordered, planned, and executed through the process to bring forth a product! We find precious little sequence (aside from new birth, baptism, joining a church and submitting to some standards) in Christianity. This is  equivalent of a piece of steel entering a factory, have several cuts, bends and welds made, and holes drilled into it, then placed on shelf or in storage. Not even close to a finished product! Or to paint another scenario, much effort is spent on making an outward image, nice paint and body work, with attention to details on the surface, but almost no concern with the engine, power train and other innards that make the vehicle functional.  This is precisely why the Church of Jesus Christ is 3000 miles wide and 3” deep in the Western Hemisphere. We have one side that is all about cutting, bending, shaping, drilling, and just filling the factory with parts, while the other side are the consumer mindsets who are focused on what they can get out of God, rather than what God can make out of them. They believe the car should run as soon as one becomes a Christian and that God owes them a blessed life. Little effort is invested in the shaping, bending, drilling, and finishing, leaving us with a superficial product that appears complete on the outside with paint and other finishes, but is missing critical internal components that allows car to function. Just imagine Ford spending millions of dollars producing vehicles that looks beautiful, polished, and appealing to the eyes, but showed no interest in the inner workings of the vehicle, such as engine, power-train, or other key components…, what if they filled the car lots with such vehicles? What if they then sent out hundreds of salesmen convincing people this is the real deal? Unfortunately, that is what we find in the church…, much ado on beautiful services, buildings, literature, missions, programs, outward piety, appearance, but little substance once one goes beneath the surface. This brings very little glory to Jesus! Yes, we should adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ…, it should be beautiful and appealing in every way, including all the above…, but it must be functional! It must work! There must be results produced that should be evident to all men..., and the husbandmen need to be the first to partake of it! John 13:35; Mat. 5:16; Phil. 2:15 Tit. 2:10; Again, I understand how close to home this is, and I have been there myself. I have learned, slowly, how the Father is reaching and teaching me, and now that the wilderness journey is over, I want other Christians to embrace God’s plan. Making sense of it all took a long time, and I am convinced it doesn’t need to be this way if we understand God’s heart, and follow His sequence. The illustrations above are meant to drive home the urgency of this calling. If they don’t open our eyes, what will? But God will not wait around for us indefinitely, another generation is coming up, and God is able to raise up a people who will discover this truth and walk in it. My only hope is this generation can grasp the fundamentals and embrace them, laying the foundation and framework for those coming after us. Reuben A Walter