Being a disciple of Jesus is a topic that is commonly spoken of, but the depth of its meaning is rarely understood. Discipleship is a concept that we, who have chosen to follow Jesus, have been continuously exhorted to live out, without almost ever, being told how to practically do it. I’d like to share 5 books with you that could shed light on different aspects of being a disciple of Jesus and will, no doubt, give you practical steps that you can apply to your life today, that will make your apprenticeship to Jesus more than a hot topic of conversation. These books will give you steps to a daily, lived out experience that will shape who you are becoming. I’ll include one or two quotes from each book just to whet your appetite.
- The Great Omission by Dallas Willard
Dallas Willard criticises the western church’s misguided efforts to fulfil the great commission of Matthew 28:18-20, stating that it has been more concerned with making converts than disciples. True disciple-making, in his view, has been the great omission of the western church. Dallas Willard provides incredible practical wisdom into the life that Jesus lived and the practices of Jesus that we are to imitate if we are to become like him. He demystifies these practices, whilst providing a rich understanding of their meaning and purpose. For further input from Dallas Willard on these practices see his book “The Spirit of the disciplines”.
We “put on” the new person by regular activities that are in our power, and we become what we could not be by direct effort.
Grace is opposed to earning, not to effort and it is well-directed, decisive, and sustained effort that is the key to the keys of the kingdom and to the life of restful power in ministry and life that those keys open to us.
2. Emotionally healthy spirituality by Peter Scazzero
This book will help you realize that discipleship has a whole lot to do with you becoming who God created you to be. Peter Scazzero helps us to understand that self-loathing is not a sign of humility and self-care is indeed, not a symbol of self-centred carnality. This book destroys the myth that God doesn’t really care for our emotions. It helps us to see that if we want to love others as Jesus does, we have to love ourselves as Jesus does. Scazzero highlights the spiritual practices that Jesus modelled and how they lead to our freedom and wholeness.
God intends our deeper, truer self, which he created, to blossom freely as we follow him. God has endowed each of us with certain essential qualities that reflect and express him in a unique way. Part of the sanctification process of the Holy Spirit is to strip away the false constructs we have accumulated and enable our true selves to emerge.
It is almost always true to some extent that we make our images of God.it is even truer that our image of God makes us. Eventually we become like the God we image…. Healing our image of God heals our image of ourselves.
3. The ruthless elimination of hurry by John Mark Comer
John Mark is a huge fan of both Willard and Scazzero. He has a good understanding of today’s culture, how it opposes God’s intention for our lives, and how we can navigate our way through this world by practicing the way of Jesus. As a student of Willard and Scazzero he, too, emphasizes the spiritual practices of Jesus and how if we are to follow him, then we are to engage in the same practices as he did. He uses Willard’s language of apprenticeship rather than discipleship, which I’m quite a fan of. John Mark has a more relaxed writing style which makes for easy reading. This book would be suitable for any teenager to read but its relevance is certainly not limited to that. I believe every aspiring apprentice of Jesus should read this book. I’d recommend starting with this one before getting to big Dal.
The whole point of apprenticeship is to model all of your life after Jesus. And in doing so to recover your soul. To have the warped part of you put back into shape. To experience healing in the deepest parts of your being. To experience what Jesus called “life..to the full” what the New Testament writers call “salvation.”
4. Scattered servants by Alan Scott
Alan Scott is a Vineyard Pastor who is passionate about seeing every believer living a life of ministry. This book is written for church leaders, urging them to release the people of God to influence society rather than keeping them busy behind the walls of the church. I believe that this book will inspire you to get a vision for kingdom influence through your life. It will help you to know that you are so much more than a congregant, but you are God’s solution for every place that your feet may tread. This is a fantastic book and I pray that it unlocks every ounce of latent kingdom potential lying dormant in every apprentice of Jesus.
‘The dream of God over your life is not that you become a believer and help out the local church. The dream of God over your life is that you come alive in His presence and bring life into every environment, spilling contagious hope into hurting humanity. God has entrusted believers with an assignment to lead the earth into life.’
‘A renewed mind doesn’t only give us a renewed world view, it overflows into a renewed world.’
‘As a church leader my authority exists to supply destiny.’
5. Kingdom calling by Amy Sherman
Amy Sherman writes about every believer’s mandate to influence their environments. Again, this book will help you to discover how you, as a follower of Jesus, can use everything you’ve accumulated in life, your ‘vocational power’, to represent the kingdom of God here and now. She highlights our need for a vision of the beautiful world that God will bring in the future, and living now in ways that correspond with that hope. If you want to represent heaven wherever you go, in whatever you do, then this book can help you.
Our King wants us to realize that the kingdom of God has begun to break into our time and space. His work was about offering foretastes of kingdom realities – and this is the life he calls us, his followers, into.
By vocational stewardship, I mean the intentional and strategic deployment of our vocational power – knowledge, platform, networks, position, influence, skills and reputation – to advance foretastes of God’s kingdom.
By Paul Edy