Friday, June 27, 2008

What do you do in Brazil?

I am frequently asked what I do in Brazil. I have had to work on my answer over the past three years since what I do in Brazil is so different from what I have been doing for most of my life as the lead pastor of local churches. Answering the question has been a good exercise and has been helpful to keep me focused.

So, here goes.....

What do you do in Brazil? I help leaders clearly define what it means to disciple the people they lead. Through preaching, seminars, retreats, literature and mentoring I attempt to create an ongoing dialog with leaders about discipleship which is the most important thing that Christian leaders do after a person accepts Jesus as their Saviour.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is not as simple as it seems. The work is not complicated. The problem is the word discipleship. Discipleship has become a word that is so common it has become almost impossible to use with precision, accuracy and simplicity. That is dangerous and tragic.

Jesus commanded his first disciples to go into the world and "make disciples". He knew exactly what he meant and so did His first disciples. As hard as it may be to recapture a clear picture of what it means to make disciples, we must not lose His true meaning of this word. Confusion about discipleship is tragic to all involved.

I have been led to use John 15 to frame this ongoing dialog about discipleship. Using Jesus' last words I have found that any Christian can accurately and simply describe discipleship. When a Christian can clearly describe discipleship using the Vineyard metaphor of John 15 amazing transformation takes place. It did in my life and I have seen it happen time and time again. Define what it means to abide in the Vine and bear fruit and discipleship is clear and simple again.

The passion I have for this task is surprising even to me! I have never been more motivated in my life. To see people understand how beautiful and simple Jesus' plan has been truly worth the effort. I feel like the person who has discovered the lost cure for the common cold. Seeing people lose the symptoms of weakened relationship with Jesus is truly rewarding.

Consider a few of the statements I often use to describe discipleship and I hope you will be motivated to keep your ideas of discipleship clear and simple.

To be a disciple is to be like Jesus moment by moment. Jesus delivered God's love 24/7 and moment by moment without stopping. We can, too, as we abide moment by moment in Him.

To be a disciple is to deliver God's love as Jesus delivers God's love to us moment by moment.

To be a disciple is to enjoy a barrier-free relationship with the perfect presence of Jesus in us and deliver the fruit of that relationship to others moment by moment.

To be a disciple is to Receive, Rejoice in and Release the perfect life of Jesus moment by moment like a branch receives, rejoices in and releases the fruit of the Vine.

To be a disciple is to enjoy the perfect satisfaction Jesus provides moment by moment and release that satisfaction to those God puts in our path for His purposes and glory.

To be a disciple is to be 100% satisfied in God moment by moment just like Jesus was.

What do I do in Brazil? I watch Christians learn to enjoy God moment by moment like Jesus did. It is awesome!

If you want to follow up on these ideas, you can always e-mail me with comments or questions at or get a copy of my new book The Satisfying Life by e-mailing from the site www.satisfyinglife com.

Enjoy the Christian Life that is in you right now. Remember, Jesus is the Christian life so you lack nothing to live the Christian life at this very moment.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is Abiding a command?

Last night I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with my two sons Ken and Kevin together with Raphael who is like an adopted son. Raphael, his wife Rachel and their three beautiful children live in Orlando. "Rapha" goes way back with the McCord clan--all the way back to Brazil and to living for over a year in our home as a high school exchange student. Seeing "Rapha" is always great. His passion for Jesus is infectious. There are no better people than "Rapha".

As is usual with the McCord clan the subject ended up in John 15 and Raphael asked this question "Is Abiding a command?" The question started a really great time of discussion.

I believe Abiding is a command. For me, a command from God through Jesus is a statement of what is obvious and non-negotiable in the Kingdom. A command from Jesus is not a "Do this or else". A command from Jesus is "Do this because there is nothing else better and more joyful to do than this." A command from Jesus is a command from God who is love. A command is Jesus saying, "This is how true, joyful life works." It is Jesus saying, " Do this because this is non-negotiable and obviously good for you and everyone else."

Jesus said that we would be His friends if we do what He commands. To modern ears that may sound like a strange way to create a friendship. The reality is that people connect as friends when what they both see and do the same thing joyfully.

Friendship is forged in a mutually shared pleasures and joy. When there is a "What? You enjoy this, too!" moment between two people a potential friendship is born. "What? You like to fish, too!?" "What? You are a Tolkein fan, too!" "What? You want to bear fruit and glorify God, too!"

When Jesus told His followers to abide, he was telling them that there is no other way to enjoy life, glorify God and bear the fruit God wants to release into the world. Abiding is a non-negotiable. It is a command for joyful living.

During the discussion I made the statement "My true discipleship began in 1995 when I committed 100% to abiding." I was serious. Ken, Kevin and Raphael seemed shocked that I would make such a firm statement about my spiritual formation since they have known me to be passionate for Jesus for so much longer than the past 13 years.

In 1995 I finally accepted abiding as an obvious, moment by moment non-negotiable command from Jesus for God's glory and my good. Doing this, my personal discipleship moved into an entirely different reality. Discipleship became moment by moment. As of 1995 I knew if I wanted to sustain love and truly be a disciple of Jesus I had to abide moment by moment. Abiding made my Christian life began to simplify and have moment by moment satisfaction.
Jesus' command to abide didn't complicate. It simplified and brought friendly joy.

It was in in 1995 that I finally gave into the words "Without Me you can do nothing." When Jesus' words become obvious and non-negotiable (commands) a deeper kind of friendship is born with Jesus. Deeper kinds of friendship with others are born, too.

To sit at the table with Ken, Kevin and Raphael was to sit with true, abiding friends who find abiding in Jesus obvious and non-negotiable. It was a wonderful night. "What? You are committed to finding satisfaction in Jesus moment by moment? Me, too!" I am sure Jesus was enjoying last night with us moment by moment. He, too, is our abiding Friend.

Abiding is non-negotiable for all who truly want to experience a barrier-free friendship with Jesus and glorify God. Enjoy this command like you would the command to rest after a long, long day of hard work given by someone who loves you very much.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Satisfying Life

The book The Satisfying LIfe is finally a reality! The International Bible Baptist Church in Miami hosted a book signing last night.
it was a great time to friends and share the story of how God has made this moment possible.

The book has also been on sale at Oasis Church in Pembroke Pines, Florida where the church is having the Satisfying Life campaign.

For more information go to Our online store is not ready yet, but we can take e-mail orders.

Thanks for all who have supported this project!

Bud and Pam McCord