class is ready to begin

I have been listening to my coworkers the past few weeks talking about going back to school. Two of them are heading off to college, the other two are looking forward to reuniting with all their friends from high school. I have always considered going back to school the most exciting time of the year. I still remember my first day of school at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Now I know what you are thinking……Divinity School? Yes, it was a seminary which would entail a lot of hard work, but I knew I was where God wanted me to be. I remember it as if it were yesterday. My family had moved to Illinois in August and so I decided I would get a jumpstart on my classes.  Trinity was still in their summer mode. There was only one course that was offered, and so I took it. I’m so glad I did!

to learn to disciple the way jesus discipled

The professor’s name was Dr. Robert E. Coleman. He was an older gentleman with a lot of energy, grace, and a huge amount of wisdom. The class was small, with about 8 students and we sat around a table for two hours every day. The time passed so quickly that for me it seemed more like 30 minutes. It was the first time I sat under the teaching of a man who was discipling me while he was also teaching me. Dr. Coleman had a way of asking us questions that caused us to want to know more about the topic he was teaching. It was such a privilege to sit under him and to learn to disciple the way Jesus discipled men.

the benefit of reaching just a handful

I learned later that the size of the class was not a fluke, it was intentional on Dr. Coleman’s part. He realized the benefit of reaching a handful of men who would later reach the multitudes. Dr. Coleman said “One must decide where he wants his ministry to count: in the momentary applause of popular recognition (program splash) or in the reproduction of his life in a few chosen ones who will carry on his work after he has gone. Really, it is a question of which generation we are living for.” (from The Master Plan of Evangelism)

he poured into us his wisdom and heart

Perhaps you’re thinking “Well, that’s not me, I’m not going to reach the multitudes.” But even if you don’t reach the multitudes, who are you going to reach? Do you have a friend you’d like to see walking closer to the Lord? How about family members? Are any of them in the desert of life, needing someone to offer them a cup of water?  As Dr. Coleman gathered the 8 of us around that table and poured into us his wisdom and his heart, his knowledge became secondary to what he had to offer to our group of 8.

You too can offer that to a friend or neighbor; to show the love of Christ through spending time with them, by sharing the scriptures, and even by praying with them. Jesus showed by example in Mark 3:13, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him.” Jesus knew who He wanted; which ones He was to disciple so they could prepare the generations to follow.

this is when class begins

The first day of school is always an exciting time, whether you’re going back to grade school, high school, college or even Seminary. For some of us it is simply a memory of past experiences when we entered a new grade or a new class. But the real question is: what do we remember from that encounter? I trust it is reuniting with some old friends and sharing all that happened over the short summer. Has Christ been filling your life so you have something to share? Are there any old friends which you haven’t seen for a time who could profit from someone coming alongside of them and discipling them? This would be the time to start, because this is when “class begins.”

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