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am I becoming a better disciple?

Isabella turns two months old today. I was looking at her the other day (as I so often do...sorry for this flood of blog posts lately!) and I noticed her pants were getting a little shorter. Come to think of it, several of her onesies are getting tighter. A couple times I would pick her up after a 6 hour sleep time at night and swear she'd grown!

It's hard to see her growth when I'm with her every day. Pictures and visitors remind me she certainly is growing.

Some days I wish we had a discipleship chart. Something that showed how I was becoming more like Jesus. Something that measured how loving, patient and kind I was...or how poorly I was doing with self-control, gossip and pride.

I experience a kind of restlessness when I think of my growth as a disciple. Am I becoming a better disciple of Jesus Christ? Am I really helping to make new disciples? It's difficult to take a step back and see where I'm really growing. Maybe someone who knew me years ago could see a difference. I'd love to wake up in the morning, plug my heart into a machine and a chart would tell me the 2-3 things I could really use some work on that day. Maybe I'd see that I did a decent job loving strangers the day before but I could stand to show more patience to a friend.

Or maybe this is my all too human mind wanting to quantify, systematize and organize growth so I have something to show for my effort. And maybe, just maybe...I've missed the whole point of following Jesus.


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By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

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I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

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The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

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