I’ve been hearing a lot lately about “disciple making”.  It’s the latest “theme” that seems to occupy the attention of pastors, writers, Christian thinkers, and leaders.  The themes used to last 5-10 years but the cycle of life is speeding up lately.  As a result, key “themes” seem to last 12-30 months now.  I suspect in 2015 we’ll be seeing a different theme.  It’s not that we won’t be into making disciples but trust me, it will be a different “theme” emphasized.  I haven’t a clue as to what it will be but I am an early adapter and I think I’ll recognize it.

Before this theme slips away, let me offer some thoughts on “discipleship”.  It’s a good theme.   Three stories–

For those that don’t recognize the above photo–It’s Tom Landry, long time coach of the Dallas Cowboys.  He taught me an important lesson about discipleship.  He’s the one that coined the phrase that “discipline is critical to being a disciple”.  He was speaking to a seminary audience at the time but was talking about his football team.  He preached “discipline” to his players.

A second story.  My dad was a second world war vet.  He was never captured as a prisoner of war.  But he knew men that did.  One story in particular stood out.  A British Naval Officer was held captive with dozens of his men in Hong Kong.  They spent several years there before their release.  Each morning the officer required his men to muster up and join him in 20 minutes of calisthentics.  His comment was “discipline is critical to our survival”.

I have a third story.  I have a friend who is uber-smart.  I mean off the charts intelligent.  But he struggles in a lot of areas …in relationships, financially, career-wise, life-wise.  I wondered why he flounders.  It hit me recently.  He is undisciplined.  He’s not overweight–he’s a scrawny guy.  In fact he never eats and when he does it’s junk food.   But he has tons of ideas and never follows any through.  Next month has new ideas.  I don’t know if he is ADD/ADHD.  50 years ago when we were kids we didn’t have such measuring sticks.  We had IQ tests and he was off the chart.

But one of the key life skills is “discipline”.  Not just saying “no” to bad things but saying “yes” to good things…or at least finishing up on the things we start out on.

So, as a follower of Jesus–think with me, what have you started into?  What have you agreed to leave behind?  What are you heading towards?  Have you ever made a to-do list…and followed  it through?  Good on you.   How about a year-end to do list?  How about a 2013 to-do list?  How about a “bucket list” for the rest of your life?

If you are not a follower of Jesus, this post is for you too.  Discipline is critical to survival and success in life.  Fire a response on this to let me know how you think that might be true.