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Discipleship Tools

In our desire to build up believers as disciples of Jesus Christ, we will periodically add materials to this page.  These posts will have practical instructions for how we can be actively engaged in making disciples by teaching obedience to everything Jesus commanded in self, family, congregation, and neighborhood.  

Theology Studies

posted Jun 6, 2013, 10:34 AM by Charlie Olson

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the primary doctrines that we believe?  Theology proper is the study of God, but we also use that term to mean the study of the things of God.  Pastor Gary Gilley, an IFCA pastor in Springfield, Illinois, has developed these study guides on basic theology that you can use for personal study or to help disciple someone else.  Visit Southern View Chapel at and begin your discovery of what you believe and why you believe it.
In addition to theology lessons, you can find many other interesting articles and resources if you explore the website a little bit.  

Quotes on Prayer

posted May 9, 2013, 11:24 AM by Charlie Olson

“If Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling, they would soon have nothing to grumble about.” - Anonymous
“Never make the blunder of trying to forecast the way God is going to answer your prayer.” –Oswald Chambers, English devotional writer.
D. L. Moody (19th Century Evangelist) said, “Sometimes when your child talks, your friends cannot understand what he says; but the mother understands very well. So if our prayer comes from the heart, God understands our language.”
All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. - Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865, Sixteenth President of the USA

Ten Biblical Tools

posted Feb 18, 2013, 5:08 PM by Charlie Olson

1.  Love - It should be clear to every believer that love reigns supreme as a disciple-making tool.  Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
2.  Prayer - We faithfully pray for the work of teaching obedience: to ourselves, our families, our congregations, and our neighbors.  Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray as a vital part of His ministry.
3.  Truth - We share biblical truth with ourselves, our families, our congregations, and our neighbors.  Jesus explained, "If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
4.  Righteousness - We must identify both the blatant and the subtle sins in our lives and know that, while God loves us, He hates the sin barrier that blocks a bonding of righteousness between us.  However, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  Righteousness through confession and repentance increases our disciple-making effectiveness.
5.  Faith - "According to your faith it will be done," Jesus promised.  Faith in the truth always calls for the work of putting its principles into practice.
6.  Obedience - "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.'"  To disciple our nation, we begin with teaching obedience in ourselves, and spread it to those around us.
7.  Wisdom - The biblical definition of wisdom is knowing and doing what is right.  Knowledge by itself is a dusty, lifeless book on a mindless shelf.  Doing by itself is loose cannon energy expended without direction or effective result.  The active expression of wisdom is knowing and doing what is right.
8.  Work - In prayer, Jesus said to His heavenly Father, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do."  (Jn 17:4)  The work Jesus had just completed was that of making 12 disciples.  Lovingly and patiently He had invested three years in the task of teaching His disciples to obey all His commandments.
9.  Commitment - I am only one, but I am one - I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  What I can do, I ought to do.  What I ought to do by the grace of God - I shall do!
10.  Accountability - "By their fruit you shall know them." (Mt 7:20)  Our Heavenly Father is holding each believer accountable for making disciples of himself, his family, his congregation, and his neighborhood.  A disciple is an obedient follower of Jesus Christ who is actively engaged in teaching others how to obey Jesus Christ.

These ten tools are from 

Alone With God

posted Jan 11, 2012, 10:55 AM by Charlie Olson

Alone With God - The Power and Passion of Prayer by John MacArthur
Victor Books
This is a wonderful study on prayer, which gives both a theological and a practical understanding of what prayer is.  John MacArthur's classic style of teaching comes through clearly as he leads the reader in a personal journey to more effective and appreciated times of talking with God.  Quotes from Puritan fathers and contemporary teachers help you understand the struggles and the needs which are common to man, along with ways to find victory in them.  Using the Lord's Prayer as a model, the attitudes and concepts that are dear to God's heart are examined and put into language that everyone can follow.  A study guide for individual or group use is included at the back of the book.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs

posted Mar 21, 2011, 9:55 AM by Charlie Olson   [ updated Mar 21, 2011, 10:37 AM ]

This classic book tells the tragic but triumphant stories of men and women who faced brutal torture and death rather than deny their faith in Jesus Christ.  It has been said that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church," and this book tells why the church has grown and triumphed for nearly 2000 years.  John Foxe was born in 1516, and was a close friend of Hugh Latimer and William Tyndale.  During the reign of Queen Mary, Protestants in England were the subject of persecution, and Foxe, along with many others, left England for Europe.  In Frankfurt he met the Scottish reformer, John Knox, and published his first draft of the persecution of religious reformers.  Throughout his life, Foxe worked for the freedom of religious expression in England, and each subsequent revision of his book was widely distributed to the churches in England.  Foxe's Book of Martyrs, though written in old-fashioned style, brings to life the heroes of the faith that Christians today should know about.  It will challenge you to re-examine your own commitment to Christ, and give you a fresh appreciation for those who paved the way for us today. 

If God Is Good

posted Feb 26, 2011, 11:46 AM by Charlie Olson

Randy Alcorn, best-selling author and the director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries, takes on the age-old question of suffering in this well-written book.  The fly-leaf summary puts it this way: "How can we reconcile a good and all-powerful God with the terrible evil and suffering we see in this world?  This is the single greatest dilemma in human existence.  And it, in turn, raises other significant questions every believer must wrestle with."  Many authors have attempted to answer this question, but few have managed to develop a thoroughly biblical, logically arranged, yet intensely personal story of God's plan in human suffering.

Few people consciously develop a theology of suffering, and the result is often a damaged faith when suffering comes.  Without realizing it, many assume that the reason for a relationship with God is to escape the pain and suffering in this world.  One of the women he writes about used to think, "I want to stay close to God so nothing bad happens."  When six of her children died in a tragic accident, she discovered that she needed to be close to God in order to survive.  This book uses personal stories like hers to set the stage, then takes the reader to the Word of God to help interpret those stories rightly.

The author writes, "while traveling this long road, I found something surprising: the journey was not only rewarding, but fascinating, enlightening, and at times downright enjoyable.  I know it sounds counterintuitive--shouldn't it depress someone to meditate on evil and suffering?  In fact, I'd already seen enough evil and suffering to feel deeply troubled.  What I needed was perspective.  Instead of being disheartened, I'm encouraged."  He delivers exactly what we all need--a new perspective on the role of suffering in God's plans.  One of the jewels of wisdom he reveals is that God's people will be better off eternally because they suffer temporarily.  None of us enjoys suffering, but if we can understand that God never wastes our pain, and always has a good purpose in mind, it will help us to trust Him in the midst of our pain. 

Ultimately, he acknowledges that we will not always be able to answer the question of "why," because we are finite beings, and God's purposes are infinite.  Even if God explained all of His reasons, we would be incapable of understanding them, just as a child cannot understand why his parents make some decisions.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says "the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."  Those things we are unable to understand, God expects us to accept by faith, trusting that He knows and has everything under control.  This is why we are commanded to walk by faith, and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).  God has given us just enough explanation in His Word for us to catch glimpses of His purposes, and to be encouraged to carry on.

In many ways, this book is an entire library in one volume.  It's sheer size (500+ pages) may be intimidating to some readers, but it is broken into sections, each of which could easily stand as independent books.  For readers who are interested in a theological treatise, this book will not disappoint, and includes a detailed scripture index.  For readers who are more interested in specific questions about suffering, a topical index is included, and the various chapter titles clearly address the most commonly asked questions.  A study guide is available, as well as an introductory book that would be suitable as a gift to someone struggling with a loss.

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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