Friday, June 17, 2016

The Sharpening of the Brothers

I'm going to speak allegorically for a while because I believe y'all can handle it. My job in the Kingdom requires that I carry a sword, a shining sword that reflects the sunlight like a mirror. It is a large and heavy sword, it's difficult to wield, and it's a real pain to carry. But when I heft it properly it's an incredibly dangerous weapon in the Kingdom. I think of it as a Scottish Claymore, large, heavy, people shake their heads and wonder how the hell I can carry that thing around.

Quite frankly, at my position at the head of legion, my job is sometimes simply to carry the sword high above my head so everyone can see the Sonlight reflecting off of it like a blazing light. Sometimes simply the sight of the sword, the fact that someone has the guts to carry it, inspires other men to rumble up and roll out to the fight.

Because I'm at the head of an army, and I'm carrying such a large sword, the enemy sees it as a threat. They reckon if they can take me down, If I stumble and fall, others will mock me, mock my calling, mock my King . So the stones and arrows come fast and thick. I have at Shield of Faith and I'm able to hide behind it a lot. But not all the time. When time comes to wield the sword, I must put down the shield, and that's when the attacks come thickest. I rely on my armor, and the men around me with their Shields, to make it through these difficult times.

When I swing the shining, sharp sword it has a incredible effectiveness. Heads roll, and enemies run, the foes of the Kingdom fall out of the way. Sometimes I swing my sword against the enemy's battering rams, and it becomes dented, dull, ineffective, black with blood, and shines no more. At these times, sometimes I sit down, depressed, overwhelmed, unable to continue swinging an ineffective weapon. Or at least it feels ineffective. At these moments there's only one answer, time to sharpen the sword!

Sharpening the sword is a process. When it's dented it can't be sharpened until the King comes to heat it and hammer it true. And hammer he does. It's incredibly painful to hold the hot sword over the fire while the blood burns off and the King is hammering on it. The shocks and reverberations go through my hands and forearms, already weary of holding the sword and swinging it, now being hammered by the King.

The king cannot allow me to fight with a dented sword. He cannot allow others to see that his servant is ineffective, and broken. He hammers the metal and heats it, he beats on it and treats it, for only when it's brought back into true line can it be sharpened.

The Kings plan is that the sharpening is left to my brothers. They come in and point out the dull edge of the sword, and how the mirror finish that reflects the Sonlight is blackened by the fire I've been in. They talk, criticise and comment, and it's painful, but true.

They begin to work their sharpening stones against it. Each one has a different stone for a different purpose, some coarse to remove scars and chunks, some fine grit to bring out the razor edge. Sometimes sparks fly. Sometimes I don't want to be sharpened, I'm so weary of battle, weary of getting hammered on by the King , but without my brothers, who carry the sharpening stones, my sword is ineffective.

At times I shout for them to leave me alone, to let me lay ineffective, weary exhausted and depressed, and forget that I even have a sword. What would be life be like if I went back to being a peasant in the Kingdom, wouldn't it be simpler not to be a warrior?

But my brother's never let up. Sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, sometimes they weary of sharpening my sword and walk away, leaving the army to fend for itself. But slowly in the firelight, the black steel is buffed into its shining self. Slowly it begins to reflect the flames like mirrors, slowly it becomes the great Claymore, ready to be raised as a standard, worthy of being held up before the army, and leading into battle. Without the painful hammering of the King, the painful sharpening of the brothers, this sword would be useless, as would I.

In this process, sometimes we are tempted to push the brothers away, and say that our sword is plenty effective, it can still be used to injure the enemies, it can still be used to batter and break, if not slice and shape. In fact, this is why our army is so ineffective. We field a legion of men who nurse their swords as though they were babies, refusing them to allow the King to hammer on them and bring them true, refusing to allow the brothers to sharpen them. When one Fell Swoop should slice off the enemy's head, it only bruises him, a dented dull weapon no better than a club.

My personality is such that I hate the sharpening of the brothers, I recoil from it, you dare to question me? And yet The Secret Of The Shining sword, with the reflection like a mirror, is the sharpening of the brothers. For there is no mighty warrior who walks alone, in this Kingdom.

So here is to the brothers who sharpen my sword. Who watch the King hammer on me, who stand beside me in flame and furor, who hold their shields close to me. Without you, there is no sword.

James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club

Monday, June 6, 2016

Wait, Fasting is Secret! Why are You Talking About It?

When I teach on fasting and the changes its brought in my life, invariably someone points out Matt 6:1 "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven", and suggests that fasting must never be mentioned.

But I imagine when the Israelites in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament called large public fasts, they also taught on why the public fast was necessary. When we teach others about good things, it's not to look super spiritual, it's in hopes that they too can have the wonderful light of Christ in their life!

Matthew 6 talks in terms of fasting being something Jesus expects us to do. Check it out:  16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

I believe it's good to discuss fasting with our spiritual circle of believers, to "spur each other on to acts of love and good deeds" Heb 10:24. Of course we don't wear an "I'M FASTING"  t-shirt, or announce it as we walk through Walmart, but there is nothing wrong with sharing the experience with our Sunday school class or close friends.

Fasting is personal crucifixion of the flesh, guided by the Holy Spirits prompting. And sometimes that prompting comes from His servants!

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club

Saturday, June 4, 2016

We weren't born God's gift to the world, but we're darn well called to be!

"How will we ever grow if James keeps running men off?" A guy now long gone, asked Retrow six years ago, when there were only three of us. And it hasn't changed today. He had it wrong though. I don't run men off, I'm just UNCOMPROMISING in who I allow to run in my circle. And the leaders I've raised up are also uncompromising. And you're here today because you see how deep the men are that we've attracted, molded, and retained.

It wasn't by chance, it was a choice to weild the pickaxe, pound the hammer, dig and beat the junk out of the coal to expose the diamonds. We don't just accept anyone, anyhow they choose to act. Mold, train, teach, push, polish and chop, it's not easy being in the Disciple spotlight. Why? Because we want the real deal.

We will leave the sweeper clubs to come along and vacuum up our waste. If you're not ready to be accountable, transparent, moldable, then you're not ready for real ministry. And yup, each of Jesus disciples had to go through the same thing, go through a process to get where they needed to be.

We weren't born God's gift to the world. But we darn well are called to be. And on the road to pushing men to their destinies, we are destined to be pushed to ours.

So here's to the pushers who pushed me. Here's to the uncompromising God who never let's me get away with anything. Here's to the faithful men who make it through the fire, and allow the Potter to mold them. Here's to the men who realize, it wasn't by mistake we became this amazing organization. It was grit, hard work, digging deep and being willing to let God, and His servants, make a difference in our lives, so we can make a difference in others lives!

James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"I had never fasted before... "

"I had never fasted before...."
Thats how a lot of amazing stories I hear from people start. I teach on fasting a lot, because of how powerful it's been in my life. In fact I can't think of any other biblical way to crucify the flesh than fasting. Quite literally.
So what is the biblical definition of fasting? Skipping food we enjoy out of respect for God. This includes the total fast eating and drinking absolutely nothing, or the water only fast where drinking water is allowed, or the meats and sweets fast listed in the Book of Daniel where he only ate vegetables and bland foods. This last one is particularly good for diabetics or folks who may have issues with not eating at all. Consult your doctor. In these cases not eating, combined with a nutritional drink may be appropriate.

They fasted in the Old Testament, and the New Testament. They fasted privately, and corporately together in a group. You can find corporate fasts in the Book of Esther, or the book of Acts, where they would publicly call a fast. Jesus fasted, Paul fasted, Paul wrote that husbands and wives should separate themselves sexually for a time of fasting and prayer. From the beginning of the Book to the end of the Book fasting was a major portion of a relationship with God.

Why did they fast? Out of repentance sometimes, out of wanting God to act in their circumstances sometimes, out of asking for directions before laying on of hands for leadership, there were certainly many different reasons people did fasting in the Bible. And each time God would react, and provide what his people needed.

Daniel chapter 10 and Isaiah 58 provide fascinating studies on fasting. Daniel 10 reveals how the spirit world reacts to fasting, angels and demons at War because Daniel was fasting. Isaiah 58 says that God will cause light to arise in the darkness, that He'll guide you continually, these are the kinds of things I'm expecting when I'm fasting.

While fasting maybe corporate together as a body of Believers, it's not something we brag about, or complain about. Matthew 6:16 warns against doing it to be seen by people. You're doing it to be seen by God. However it's wonderful to share stories about what happens to you when you're fasting, among the body of Believers you're fasting with. Sometimes it's these stories, combined with the scriptural truth, that causes others around you to begin to participate in the discipline of fasting.

There are many other things you can fast from as well. Facebook, social media, TV, tobacco, drugs, I've gone on all these kinds of fasts in my life as well. But the only scriptural and biblical meaning of fasting is abstaining from food.

I encourage you to apply the Bible to your life in this area, and to share your story with me after it happens. I've never known someone to involve themselves in the discipline of fasting without having an awesome story of what happened as a result. Want to hear more from the Father? Shut down the flesh and you will!

James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club