Dann, why did you decide to write Walking As Jesus Walked?
For years I’ve taught the Life of Christ and when people ask me what it means to walk as Jesus walked, my answer is always the same. There are six attributes I consistently see in Jesus that are captured with the HS POWER acronym: Holy Spirit dependence, Prayerful guidance, Obedience to a Kingdom agenda, Word centered, Exalting His Father, and Relationships of love and integrity. This look at Jesus’ character and priorities has become foundational in helping so many… so I wanted to put it all together in a study for others to learn.
In the opening paragraph you wrote, “Walking As Jesus Walked is a resource for small groups or individuals who want to study the Life of Christ.” How did a study of the Life of Christ change you?
Early in ministry, I was challenged to study how Jesus made disciples. What did He do the first year, second year, third and fourth year? That started for me a detailed study of Christ’s life chronologically that continues to this day. As I’ve analyzed Jesus’ life, this study captures the core truths of what we see in Jesus… that best answers the command of I John 2:6 which says we are to “walk as Jesus walked”.
The book is laid out as a 10-week study; how would a believer use this it?
Many complete this study in 10-12 weeks, devoting a week per chapter, but others have used the study for up to 10 months to allow plenty of time for discussion and digestion. The Leader’s guide and free online videos at www.WalkingAsJesus.com can help in this journey.
You cite the message and methods of Jesus as central to the transformation of a believer. What made you decide to segment the life of Jesus into these two categories?
To me, there are at least three levels to understanding the Life of Christ. It seems to me that about 90 percent of books focus on the Message of Jesus, but a much smaller portion focus on the Methods of Jesus… looking at His prayer patterns, His meeting of needs, His investment in a few. The methods of Jesus help us comprehend the message of Jesus. But in this study, I’ve chosen to focus on the Model of Christ’s life as seen in His humanity. Without understanding the full humanity of Jesus, we will never fully understand what it means to “walk as Jesus walked”. It’s this aspect of Christ’s life that has caused thousands to describe this study as a game changer in their Christian life..
What’s the difference between making disciples and making disciples that make disciples? You mention it throughout the book.
At Southeast Christian, a mega-church where I’m training the staff in the Life of Christ, we have defined our mission as making disciples who make disciples. The reason is simple, making disciples who make disciples demands multiplication. We constantly emphasize that you haven’t made a disciple until they reproduce. Disciple-making Jesus style demands reproduction. So often it’s easy to assume when I teach deeper content on discipling I’ve made a disciple. I don’t believe we’ve fully made a disciple until reproduction happens. This is the pattern of Jesus.
In week two you wrote, “Many people struggle with walking as Jesus walked because they have concluded that since Jesus is God and we are not, we can’t do what Jesus did.” How does this idea impact the Christian faith?
In 35 years of training church leaders, it’s been my experience that many have concluded we cannot do what Jesus did… because He was God and we are not. While it is true that Jesus was fully God, it is also true that Jesus was fully human. And to assume that Jesus did what He did by just using His God card is what the Council of Chalcedon called heresy. To think of Jesus as being a super human type of person who looks like Clark Kent… but then goes into a phone booth and comes out with Kryptonite powers is heresy. Jesus was not super human; He was fully human, and there’s a major difference! Over 40 times Jesus said “Do what I have done,” and “walk as I have walked”. The truth is, we can do what Jesus did if we walk AS Jesus walked. This is the core truth of Hebrews chatpers 2 and 5…because without Jesus being “fully human”our atonement could not be fully complete. He was man as God intended man to be. Or as Pastor Charles Ryrie said, “Never less than God, He chose to live His life never more than man”. This is critical in understanding what it means to walk as Jesus walked.
Week nine is centered on Investing in a Few. How does the book help believers invest in others?
Seventeen times you find Jesus with the crowds, but forty six times you find Him investing in a few. To walk as Jesus walked demands the imparting of our lives to others.
Everyone I take through this study agrees up front to take someone else through it when we’re done, even if it’s their spouse or child. The reason for this is simple… as you share with others what you have learned, you deepen your convictions.
I know one man who’s personally take more than 16 people through this study with an understanding that when he’s done… they will repeat the process with others. His disciples in turn have guided more than 500 others through this study. This man has created his own movement of followers who are passionate about walking as Jesus walked.
This book focuses on the Life of Jesus in order to create a multiplying movement. Can you explain what you hope this book does for Christianity globally?
I lead a movement called Global Youth Initiative which has now grown to 111 different countries. The principles of this study, taken from the Life of Christ, is what we have taught for years and now this workbook is helping multitudes to share the Life of Christ with others. Our vision is to have 100,000 multiplying disciples by 2020 in 100 different countries.
Is this book a starting point, a reminder or a revitalizing resource for one looking to walk as Jesus walked? Or is it all three? Why?
Discipling is taking a person where they are and then moving them to the next phase of development and growth (see my book 4 Chair Discipling, Moody Press 2015). So in that sense, it’s all three depending on where people are in their own journey to be like Christ.
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