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Discipleship: Please Join Us for Movie Night!

The West Angeles Department of Discipleship would like to invite you to our April MOVIE NIGHT!

Witness the transforming power of forgiveness in the movie, THE GRACE CARD, where a police officer and part-time Pastor work together in life-threatening situations, even when they don’t see eye to eye on anything else.

Everything can change in an instant…and take a lifetime to unravel. Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships by extending and receiving God’s grace. Offer The Grace Card, and never underestimate the power of God’s love.

West Angeles Discipleship movie Grace Card

Join us at the West Angeles North Campus on

Friday, April 21, in Room 8 at 7 p.m.

Address: 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Keep an Uplifted Spirit through Discipleship

I can’t think of a better way to keep an uplifted spirit than through discipleship. As Christians, it’s what is expected of us. But many of us may think that being a disciple is something out of reach; something reserved for pastors, church ladies, and elders. Or, we may think of the twelve disciples who went out into the world spreading Jesus’ Word, and were responsible for much of the New Testament (heady stuff to live up to!). But before we become concerned that others may be better equipped for the job than we are, let’s look at what discipleship really means.

For us as Christians, to be a disciple is to be a follower and student of Jesus. In John 8:31-32 (NIV), Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

It’s about first drawing closer to Him; committing to a personal relationship with Him. Then when we ‘walk as He walked,’ we inspire others to do the same. It’s not about being “holier than thou” or an “expert.” Even some of the “original twelve” didn’t get it right at first (in Matthew 8:23-27, the disciples questioned Jesus’ abilities; in Luke 22:54-60, Peter, fearing persecution, denied he even knew Jesus; and in John 20:24-25, Thomas doubted that Jesus had returned until he saw the scars in His hands).

To strengthen our faith, in order to become better disciples, it seems we have to first develop the discipline to do as Jesus did. We can begin to mirror His behavior by:

  1. Consecration. If the first thing we do in the morning is to turn to the (insert media or vice here), it’s time to break the cycle! (Matthew 6:33; Phillipians 4:8)
  2. Praying daily (Philippians 4:6-7).
  3. Reading and meditating on The Word daily: to be a student, you’ve got to open The Book! (Deuteronomy 17:19).
  4. Keeping God’s Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
  5. Being a “doer of The Word” (James 2:26; 1Corinthians 7:17-24).
  6. Fasting (Isaiah 58:6).
  7. Controlling what we say (James 1:26): even Jesus spoke in parables.
  8. Giving our testimony.  Our successes on the journey will inspire others (Psalm 19:7). 

Finally, I think my favorite passage, Romans 12:1-2, says it best: 

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Through His Will, and with Jesus as our teacher, yes, we become disciples – and our own lives can become a reason for others to believe.

Elders Corner: Elder Hammonds’ 4 Dynamic Relationships for Deeper Discipleship

Welcome to the latest addition to our Elders Corner series. In this edition, Elder Dr. Kenneth Hammonds examines what it means to be a disciple of God…and explains exactly how to determine how D.E.E.P. our love for God actually goes.

“Making converts is essential, but the job isn’t finished until those converts are discipled.” — Ed Stetzer

The Church of God in Christ’s denominational theme for 2015 from our Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake is a powerful call to a full commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is a clarion call to full Christian discipleship:

“Christ’s Extreme Sacrifice Calls for Our Extreme Commitment”

But who in our modern-day, Post-Christian Era, cares about or talks much about discipleship? Wasn’t that something those twelve apostles did when Jesus was on earth? And what does that have to do with me in this 21st century?

These questions represent views shared by many Christians today, but they don’t even touch the surface of the true, biblical concept of discipleship and its core word, disciple.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A DISCIPLE?

At first glance, the New Testament word for disciple, mathētēs (pronounced mah-thay-TACE), is quite simple with no depth. It means learner; apprentice. However, during the classical Greek period (c. 400 BC) a mathētēs moves deeper in meaning from a mere student or apprentice to a full-fledged follower; an enthusiastic adherent spreading the philosopher/teacher’s teachings. This word reaches its full purpose however, when a mathētēs also becomes a loyal teacher.

So, let’s clear the air of the simple for the deep, and immerse ourselves into the reality and power of the idea of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

DIVING INTO DISCIPLESHIP

I have developed an acrostic that I trust will be useful for our discussion of this central word of the Gospels and Acts. The Disciple Acrostic is:

D.E.E.P.

There are four dynamic, action-based relationships of the disciple of Jesus Christ to his or her Teacher and Lord. The disciples’ thinking, acting, and serving are ‘deep’-rooted and grounded within Him:

D – Devoted: A Disciple is a devoted believer in Jesus Christ.

The believer in the NT means, “one who is committed (fully devoted) to a person, belief or thing.” The disciple of Jesus has declared and must develop a full devotion to Him and serve Him. Jesus does not share Lordship’s first place. The preachers have said it and it is true, “Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.”

Personal Q: Is Christ Lord over every area of your life? (Colossians 3:24; Galatians 6:1-2; Proverbs 16:18)

E – Embraces: A Disciple embraces the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus Christ our Teacher and Lord.

Do you simply tolerate or even just blatantly ignore some of the demands and tough spiritual and personal challenges from the Word of God?

Personal Q: Have you fully embraced (eagerly, readily with opened arms) all that God has told you to do and be?

E – Enthusiastic: A Disciple is an enthusiastic and active adherent of Jesus Christ. The adherent of Jesus is “All into Him” and sticks to the Master even when the times are rough. He or she is no “fair-weather saint.”

Personal Q: Are you really enthusiastic about the Lord and having Him in your life? Enthusiastic worship, service, and living are the beginning of personal evangelism.

P – Promotes: A Christian Disciple assists in promoting and spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

The enthusiastic disciple is so excited about the Message and Man, Jesus Christ, that he or she spreads his Word and teachings and promotes his causes whenever and wherever possible. Ephesians 5:16 enjoins us to “make the most of every opportunity” for Christian service and our commitment to Him.

Personal Q: Do you like spreading the Word about Jesus to all groups of people? Or do you think it is the designated task of a few “chosen and gifted” ones?

If you don’t like “preaching,” just share with others the wonderful things your Savior has done for you and your life. Anyone who has a deep, devoted, enthusiastic love for Him can do this.

SUMMARY

So, there it is. As believers in Jesus the Christ (God’s Uniquely Anointed One), we are D.E.E.P. into Discipleship.

This short discussion in no way covers all the myriad of ways to look at discipleship. But, hopefully these few words will serve as a beginning for a new growing relationship with the Lord, and perhaps also serve as a useful tool as you train, teach, empower, and disciple others.

About Dr. Kenneth Hammonds
Kenneth Hammonds (M.Div., Ed.D.) has been in Christian Ministry for over 45 years and is Director of Discipleship at West Angeles Church and Sector Leader of the Adult Ministries Division (Seven Department Ministries). He is an experienced New Testament Greek Trainer and author of “An Introduction to New Testament Greek Grammar for Word Studies,” and is also author of a biblically-based wealth-building commentary for Christian entrepreneurs entitled, “God Wants You To Be Wealthy.”

Source material for mathētēs (disciple):
1. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, Kittel and Friedrich, Editors. Geoffrey Bromiley, Translator.
2. A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Walter Bauer./Translation by, Arndt and Gingrich.

 

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Discipleship

Discipleship

Discipleship – The spiritual process of transforming and perfecting believers into fully devoted, mature followers of Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who is a devoted believer; an active adherent who embraces and assists in spreading the lifestyle and teacher of his or her teacher.

discipleshipThe West Angeles Discipleship Ministry assists the believer in serving Christ more effectively, both in the Church and in the world, as God’s representatives on earth. Our ministry emphasizes a more holistic approach, called, “Perfecting Believers”, inspired by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:12.  

Directed by Dr. Kenneth Hammonds, the Perfecting Believers Discipleship Ministry assists the individual in becoming a better believer and student of Jesus Christ, and cultivates spiritual and life disciplines.  Along with classes, the ministry offers mentoring ,  small group fellowships, a monthly newsletter and outstanding fellowship events.

Classes, Programs and Events

The West Angeles Discipleship Ministry offers programs designed to assist you in becoming a more devoted follower of Jesus, and to help you grow in your walk with Christ.

CLASSES

We offer classes such as:

  • The Disciple’s Personality –  Learn how to overcome the temptations and distractions which keep you from experiencing God’s best; separate classes for women and for men.
  • Winning the War Against Worry – This class offers a life-altering plan for overcoming worry, fear, stress, anxiety, and any difficulty in life.
  • What On Earth Am I Here For?  Based on The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church, this class will take you on an adventure to help you better understand God’s purpose for your life and how your life can help fulfill God’s great purpose for all of creation. 
  • New Testament Greek Word Studies – Part of the West Angeles Bible College series; understand the Bible through the study of Greek word roots and meanings.
BIBLE STUDY

    • Biblical study and meditation is the process, practice, and habit of focusing on, pondering, personalizing, and applying God’s Word to our daily lives. The ultimate goal is to dwell on the Word until it becomes so much a part of us that it transforms our thinking and our behavior. It is a biblical principal that has great rewards. Two of the most well-known Scriptures regarding meditation are Joshua 1:8-9 and Psalm 1:1-3. Both promise prosperity and fruitfulness in our lives among other benefits.
  • Through The Bible Book-by-book –  Have you ever felt that you wanted to better understand the Bible? Deepen your understanding of the Bible with our Through The Bible class! Over 30 years running, Through The Bible is one of the oldest American continuing-study classes of the Bible which goes book by book.
  • Small Groups Ministry – Study the Bible in an intimate setting; discuss the principles of discipleship among your peers, and with Christians of all ages and levels of understanding.
EVENTS
  • Movie Night – Enjoy free popcorn at our Discipleship Movie Nights.  See first-run Christian films such as “The Shack” with Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, and “Laughing On Purpose,” with Christian Comedian, Michael Jr.
  • Book Club – The Discipleship ministry’s Renaissance Book Club meets on the 3rd Sunday of each month.  Join us for lively discussion on books which focus on Christian growth. Past titles include “Fatal Distractions”, by Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, and “gods at war”, by Kyle Idleman.
  • Fellowship Trips – The Discipleship Ministry participates in regular field trips which result in bonding and other opportunities to learn, grow and minister. Trips have included locations such as The Aquarium of the Pacific and local museums.

Find out more about the many classes and events we offer though the Perfecting Believers Discipleship Ministry. Become a better disciple of Christ: come and grow with our ministry!

Call the Discipleship Ministry of West Angeles Church of God in Christ today at 323.733.8300 ext. 2349, or please use the form below to contact us.

Discipleship

To receive more information on our events, classes and programs, please select an item below and complete the form.  We’ll get back to you shortly!

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT DISCIPLESHIP? Click on the links below to read posts on our blog by the Director of our Discipleship Ministry, Dr. Kenneth Hammonds:

Whom Christ we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus – Colossians 1:28 (KJV)