Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Which Disciple Are You?

I was so blessed and encouraged by last Sunday's message titled, "You Qualify", by Pastor Fidel Gomez of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.  Here's the overview from Calvary's website:

Do you have what some people call "personality defects"? Do your children?* So did Jesus’ disciples. In this topical message from Pastor Fidel Gomez, we learn that we're the exact kind of person Jesus loves to use. We're approved. We qualify.  And so are our kids.  They qualify, too!*

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. - Luke 6:12-16, NKJV

Pastor Fidel reminded us that we didn't choose Jesus.  Just like he chose his disciples, he chose us, even though he knew the good, the bad and the ugly about each one of us.  Mamas, he also chose our children, and he knew the good, the bad and the ugly about them, too.  We qualify and so do they. 

Pastor Fidel continued to describe the characteristics, for better and worse, of Jesus' disciples.  I share my notes below because I think it provides an awesome forum for discussion with your children. Of course they have to be old enough to understand the concept, but I think it can be tailored to different age groups. 

Challenge:  Ask your child which disciple they most identify with and why.  Be prepared to share your answer!  If your children are too young to identify themselves, which disciple do you think they most closely resemble based on what you have seen in them?  How can you encouraged them to use their strengths to better serve God?

1)  Peter, "the fluctuating" follower - Always mentioned first.  Spokesperson for the group.  Corrected by Jesus more than any other disciple.  Even corrected by God himself at the transfiguration. Up & Down. 3 steps forward, 1 step back.  In Matthew 14, he had faith enough to step out of the boat and walk on the water until  he shifted his eyes from Jesus to the waves and started to sink,  yet Jesus was there to help him up. In Matthew 16, Peter answered correctly that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and Jesus calls him blessed.  Yet, just a few verses later, Jesus calls Peter Satan for rebuking Jesus himself when he tried to explain that he would suffer and be killed.  Peter was expressive, sometimes saying the right thing, yet he would also say things that would lead people to ask, "Are you serious?".  He was a bit of a roller coaster.  And yet, after being anointed with the Holy Spirit, Peter preached the gospel and 3,000 people were saved. 

2)  Andrew, "the faithful" follower - Always bringing someone to Jesus, including Simon Peter, Philip, the little boy with the fish and loaves that fed the 5,000.

3)  James and John - the "fiery" followers- Jesus called them "sons of thunder".  They were loud, impatient, struggled with anger wanting to burn up a city because their message wasn't received, hopelessly human, unremarkably average, emotional, edgy and insensitive.  In Mark 10:33, they asked for a place of prestige in Jesus's kingdom, to be seated at his right and left.  Yet John went on to write the book of John, including John 3:16 and became, "the disciple that Jesus loved."

4)  Philip - the "figuring" follower- Analytical, figurative personality. Legal counsel.  The one Jesus asked, "how are we going to feed all these people?" Told Jesus he thought the disciples would have an easier time believing if they could just see the Father.  To which Jesus responded, "Don't you know if you've seen me you've seen the father..." This person struggles with faith, hoping and needing to "figure it out first."

5)  Matthew - the "fearless" follower - Not concerned with what people thought of him.  Kept his eye on Jesus.  Knew he was accountable to Jesus only and confident in who he was in him.  Bold.

6)  Thomas - the "faint" hearted follower -   Doubting. 

7)  Simon - the "zealot" follower - This disciple was actually involved in ambush and assassination methods to overthrow the government before following Jesus.  Fanatical.  Extremist.  Militant.  Rebel. 

I realize the above descriptions focus more on these faithful men of God's struggles than their successes.  But, these men all went on to do amazing things for Jesus, despite their struggles with sin!  You may not be the most qualified.  Your child may not be the most qualified.  You may still struggle with your emotions and have things about you that are not appealing to others.  The same is true of your child.  But, we have a message of hope that's not about us, and its important that our children really grasp this from a young age.  Help your child identify with a disciple and their struggles above.  Then show them the amazing things he did for God!

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of  him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, that is, our righteous ness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord." - 1 COR 1:26, NIV

*Italicized inserts are mine. The majority of this blog is a paraphrase from Pastor Fidel's message, taken from my notes and adapted with relevance for children.  You can view Pastor Fidel's entire message via this link: 

Pastor Fidel begins speaking 18 minutes and 45 seconds into the video recording. 

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