Blog & News

Monday, 16 April 2018 08:39

The DTI Vision Statement

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Our vision for the DTI ministry is to be useful to the Lord to effectively provide discipleship resources and encouragement to the multitude of individuals, churches and ministries worldwide, who desire to put discipleship principles (spiritual mentoring) into practice.

The Lord has made me aware of the need for all Christians to have the opportunity to grow to spiritual maturity, spiritual fruitfulness and to spiritually reproduce (Col. 1:28-29).

The Lord is also providing us with a growing understanding of how to clearly explain to others the process by which that goal can be achieved in greater measure for those believers who simply have a desire to serve Him as their Master.

Art Barkley

Thursday, 29 March 2018 06:24

A Good Friday Meditation

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Jesus is not a sad victim of a fallen world or a victim of a gruesome plot. Good Friday is not a tragedy but a triumph. The perfect plan that God set in motion in the Garden of Eden is now finally coming to fulfillment. God wanted us, his imagers, to bring the world back to the Garden of Eden, but we couldn’t. We tried. We kept creating false gods. We kept wanting to be independent from God, thinking we could do it without Him, but we can’t. Only He can bring peace and redemption.

 

Everything that happened to Jesus was leading up to Good Friday and was orchestrated by God. Think of Passion Week as a chess board. He was thinking outside the realm of two dimensions. God was playing in 3-D where Jesus' contemporaries were playing in 2-D.

3d chess picThe Pharisees thought they “had” him, that they were in control, manipulating the "pieces" (checkmate). But they lost the game before they started, primarily because they were playing based on their own understanding (reason and rules) and not trusting in the Lord, by faith (what they couldn't see). The Pharisees couldn't see the moves that God was making, had made (in the past) and would make (in the future).

Jesus managed every situation, every person, allowing events to happen to get Him where He needed to be – nailed to the cross – for my salvation.

 

How does this apply to me?

As I move forward and look into the future, Jesus is already there. He is already moving pieces around (or allowing them to be moved around) in different dimensions. My obedience to Him, my surrender and Lordship, and abiding with Him will bring me to the place He wants me to be and transform me into the person He always intended. Just like with Jesus, the point is to get me to where He wants me.

The dimensional aspect is that I may need to allow God to reconcile things in my past that I am holding onto, that I feel are dear to me or just wounds that prevent me from moving forward – to take advantage of whatever it is that Jesus is creating for me in my future. (Jesus tried to get the Pharisees to reconcile their past) God is viewing the totality of my life from His 3-D perfective, while I can only see 2-D. Why? Because God is outside of our time and space.

We can look at the future as “next week”, “next year”, and so forth, but as I contemplate Scripture, I can see that God was “playing 3-D chess” over thousands of years. For instance:

  • David penned Psalm 22 (about 900 BC) depicting what would happen on the cross.
    • Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 from the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Psalm 22 described other things that also happened on the cross.
  • Isaiah (about 700 BC) prophesied many things about Jesus (see Chapters 51- 53, especially)
  • Zechariah (about 500 BC) prophesied in 9:1 “Look, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Palm Sunday) 

This gives ME hope and courage that God is working in my life on a 3-D level – even when I can’t understand or comprehend what He is up to!

Passion Week

What can I take away from Passion Week, leading up to Friday? Here are a few examples of how God was "playing 3-D chess", far from the 2-dimensions of everyone else.

Tuesday – Jesus cursed the fig tree - Mark 11:12-14

The leaves were on the tree, looking good, but the tree would have no fruit. Jesus saw the hypocrisy of the tree. In Scripture fig trees usually represent Israel. The religious leaders were doing and saying the religious things, but in their hearts, they didn’t make Him Lord. People may appear to be super religious, but many aren’t “all-in” for Him. God looks at the heart – not at the outside. (I Samuel 16:7)

Contemplate: Have I made Him Lord of my life? Am I fully surrendered to Him and obediently following Him? Am I “all-in”? Have I given Him access to all areas of my life? (rooms of my house). 1

Jesus may be saying “move two steps forward and one to the right”. I obey by faith, because I may be able to see a step or two ahead, but I can’t see around the corner. As I pray in God’s will, He will answer – but not always like I expect. God is in 3-D, and I am not. What I think is God’s will for me may not be at all what He wants for me.

In other words, am I doing or saying religious things, but I don’t REALLY trust Him for everything? Do I really trust His character? Is He really sovereign? Loving? Good? Can only do what’s in my best interest? 2

Wednesday – Jesus is anointed with oil – Mark 14:3-9

When Jesus was eating a meal with his disciples, a woman anointed him with expensive fragrant oil of nard. It was an act of honor and devotion. She didn’t just pour it on his head, but also on his feet. She was giving him something that was precious. Her most valuable possession – about one year’s wages.

Contemplate: Do I have anything that is more precious to me than Jesus? Does He get the best of my time, energy, and possessions, or only the leftovers?

 Thursday night – the Passover meal - Jesus washed the disciples’ feet - John 13:1-17

Jesus says He came to serve, not to be served. There were no servants in the room, and the disciples didn’t want to serve. They were thinking in their 2-D realm that they had come to celebrate the Passover. They didn’t even think about serving each other. Jesus was a model for them – to think more 3-D – more like Him.

Jesus was, in essence, saying, “I will be gone in 24 hours, and you need to start thinking like me, because I am thinking like God by doing His will.”

Contemplate: What do my actions (behavior) say about my thoughts? Because what I think about is what I do.

Jesus recognized they weren’t thinking about being servants; they were thinking about being served. That was their worldview at the time. Jesus came to change their worldview to see life from God’s perspective3

I can identify with Peter when he basically said, “Jesus, you don’t know what you are doing.” Do I do the same thing -- telling Jesus what is best for me? After all, don’t I know what’s best for me and won’t I only do what’s in my best interest?

Thursday night –the Passover meal continued - Exodus 12:1-14

The very first Passover was a foretelling of Jesus, our Passover lamb. God was reminding the nation Israel that an innocent animal had to be sacrificed in order for them to be saved before moving forward into the Promised Land.

Jesus was fulfilling the same prophecy when John the Baptist declared, “Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) He took our sin away forever, for those of us who believe.

God commanded the Israelites to commemorate the Passover meal yearly by remembering how God spared them and delivered them from bondage. What’s the importance of remembering? As I remember who I used to be and compare that to who God is making me into now, I can be very thankful for His deliverance.

Contemplate: God had a two-step plan for the Israelites: 1) to deliver them FROM bondage in Egypt and 2) put them INTO the Promised Land in Canaan.

What about me? Am I like the Israelites who, a week later, were wandering in the desert when they didn’t have to be? When they left Egypt, they were only a couple of weeks away from walking into the Promised Land. It only took them a few days to lose faith and start wandering -- leaning on their own understanding. The result was it took them 40 years to get to their Promised Land.

I am thankful God brought me out of bondage, but am I wandering in my spiritual desert? Am I allowing God to take me into my spiritual Promised Land? That requires my Lordship decision (full surrender), trusting His character (Proverbs 3:5-6) and abiding daily. (Do I need to seek out a more spiritually mature believer to mentor me, walk with me through the DTI material?)

Thursday night – Garden of Gethsemane - Mark 14:36

Jesus went into the garden and prayed. (paraphrase) “Okay, God, I don’t know that I want to do this. I don’t know what I need to do. But I trust you. I trust your character. If this is going to be painful or unpleasant, please take it away from me. BUT, if it is your will, I know you will lead me, and I will do as you have asked.”

Contemplate: What is my garden moment? What if I ask him to take it away, and He says, “No, this is what I have prepared for you. It is a dimension you can’t see, a level you aren’t even on right now. But if you trust me, and keep moving forward, we will get there.”

Yes, I may go through trials, like Jesus did on Friday. I may have people deny me; I may have family and friends deride me, say bad things about me, even abandon me. All things Jesus went through on Friday. All this may happen to me, but if I consider myself a follower (disciple) of Jesus, why wouldn’t I have a similar “Friday” in my life?

Because…we know – just like Jesus knew then – that SUNDAY IS COMING!

Friday was the culmination of the week - hard, depressing. But Sunday is coming!!

Sunday’s promise is my spiritual Promised Land -- better than I can imagine!! I’ve never been there before, but he gave me the GPS – the Holy Spirit. Now all I have to do is sync with Him and follow Him as He leads me to live the abundant life He planned for me.

 

(1) DTI Lesson 1-7

(2) DTI lesson 1-5

(3) DTI lesson 1-2

Saturday, 20 January 2018 13:08

How To Sponsor a Cuban Pastor

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DTI is returning to Cuba for our 12th "Equipping The Saints" conference.

Please pray for finances and consider whether God is prompting you to partner with us.

You can donate via check or credit card.

To pay by credit card, click here which will take you to the secure Tithely website for processing.

Make checks payable to DTI and mail to:
Discipler Training International
2900 Gulf Blvd, #112
Belleair Beach, FL 33786

Cuban Pastors (including the Cuban Facilitators) have no financial means to attend the conference on their own, since most make less than $30/month.
DTI pays for the entire conference - lodging, meals, transportation, and conference materials. (DTI Manuals, which they highly value.)

The cost for the total 5 day conference is about $30 per attendee.

There is a total need of $8,000. (200 attendees X $30 = $6,000, plus about $1500 for transportation and expenses for the traveling team, and $500 for the pre-conference for the Facilitators.

We are excited about what God has been doing in Cuba and look forward to sharing with you His miracles in peoples' lives when we return.

cuba team

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 16:19

Year End Thank You from Art & Toni Barkley

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It was September 53 years ago that we stepped out in faith to serve Him full time. When we left Reno and headed to Wisconsin for the New Tribes Mission Missionary training we had two people who committed to support us. One gave us a one-time gift to put on our account to go towards our rent and the other was a $50.00 dollar a month gift. That remained the same during our three years of training. We never went without a meal. There were times we ate whatever the deacons brought us. To this day I can’t even think about asparagus soup without gagging! :(We had told the Lord if He wanted us to serve Him full time, it was up to Him to meet our financial needs as we didn’t want to ask for support and look to others to meet our needs. That remains our policy today. (Matt. 6:33)  Over the art-toni-barkleyyears God has laid us on the hearts of different “angels”. When we went to Bolivia we had two people commit to send us $10.00 a month. One never sent it. During our 20 years in Bolivia He continued to lay us on the hearts of those of His choice. When we came back to the States and ended up resigning, that support ended and God provided a pastoral position at Reno Christian Fellowship. When Art resigned from RCF in 1998 to devote himself full time to this discipleship ministry, once again we had two supporters. One made a one-time gift and the other committed to monthly support. Over the last 19 years He has continued to raise up those to stand with us in this incredible journey. Our support has varied over the years. Some have gone to be with the Lord (can’t blame them for that), some have retired and had to make changes, some have felt the Lord leading them to support another cause, and others have felt God leading them to support DTI. The bottom line, it is all Him.

There is hardly a day that goes by that we don’t thank God for you. As we focus this month on the Gift that He gave us through His Son, we realize that without the Gift of His Son, without the gift of salvation, without the gift of the Holy Spirit, without the gift of eternal life, this would all be in vain. So I hope you see we do not take your support of us lightly. It is a gift. We thank our loving God for it, but we also thank you for your faithful heart.

May this next year be fart toni 1illed with His love, peace and joy. May you experience His grace when things get tough and you lean on His sovereign will. May you see Him daily in your lives as He meets your every need be it big or small. We love you and are so thankful for you. May He be honored!

Much, much love, Toni and Art

If you would like to financially support Art and Toni please click the link below and donate either one-time or consider an on-going gift. DTI is a 501c3 and gifts are tax deductible.

Donate to Art & Toni

Monday, 18 December 2017 11:05

December 2017 Newsletter

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DTI - Cuba and elsewhere!

Our most recent Newsletter is available here. We pray you have a blessed 2018!

Highlights:

  • Ciego de Avila will be the location for our 11th DTI Conference in February 2018
    • In Cuba we see that lives are changing, addictions are being broken and marriages and relationships are growing stronger as people learn to consistently abide with the Lord.cuba map 2018

  • A testimony from one of our disciple-makers in Mississippi who first invited DTI to conduct workshops there. He has mentored many men over the years, and this is a story of perseverance...
  • Read and watch a live “Equipping the Saints” training class
  • News from Around the World
    • Myanmar
    • Philippines
    • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • An update from the Barkleys (the author of the DTI manual)
  • Lot's more...

We see miraculous ways God is working in Cuba, so please consider donating towards the upcoming February 2018 conference. You can donate here.

Monday, 18 December 2017 09:17

Where Am I As A Christian?

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Unfortunately the American church is not having much impact on the world because the emphasis in the American church is on evangelism and getting people saved. Therefore most believers know they're going to heaven but for the most part many are left on their own trying to figure out how to live the Christian Life.

Why?

Simply put, new believers are not being mentored. They're not being shown right at the beginning of their Christian life what the Christian life is all about. Many Christians spend months and years trying to figure it out. (They Ask) “What am I supposed to be doing?”

If God didn't have a purpose for your life after you became a Christian then you have to ask yourself, “Why doesn't He (God) just take me home? Why does He leave us here?”

We believe God has a purpose for every Christian. But the majority of Christians don't have a clue what they're supposed to be doing from the time they are saved to the time they die.

As a result when you ask many believers about their Christian life they will say something like “I used to be a drunk and this (was bad in my life) and now God has saved me and I have assurance of going to heaven.

It's going from salvation to heaven but nothing in between.

Unfortunately there are a lot of believers that fall into that mindset. If you ask them, “what are you supposed to be doing here on earth between the time you’re saved and the time you die?” many believers will just express that they are trying to do their best or they are trying to live “like Christians” or they are trying to be a witness.

But for most believers that is pretty much it. (sadly)

God has a greater purpose for us than just try our best. God wants to transform our lives and He wants us to be lights through which He can flow.

As spiritual mentors if you can help a new believer to get started on the right direction right from the beginning, it’s going to accelerate their growth. There will be an acceleration of their spiritual growth. This is what we want.

There is no reason why believers have to spend time in the spiritual desert. That is not what God intended. And yet this is where the majority of Christians are - out in the spiritual desert. Not because they make a choice but mainly because no one has ever laid out the options. (See Lesson 3-4 for more on the spiritual desert)

Use the “Where Am I as a Christian?” diagnostic tool to help believers evaluate themselves as to where they are in their spiritual journey. In the Spiritual Promised Land or the Spiritual Desert? The lesson is located in the Assessment section of the DTI manual.

Click here to watch a few short teaching videos describing the lesson.

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The section titled “Access” in lesson 1-7 (Lordship and Surrender) is intended to draw the contrast between the believer who gives God access to their entire life versus a believer who allows God access only to parts of their life.

You can see the lesson comparing the normal versus the abnormal Christian life by clicking here.

One believer allows God control over only a limited part of their life, represented by the progressive surrender diagram. Why would a Christian limit God’s access?

 

progressive surrender to God the abnormal Christian life

If you say, “God, I want you to manage my life,” this includes giving Him access to all areas. If you aren’t allowing Him access to all the nooks and crannies of your life, both large and small, then, you really DON’T want Him to manage your life.

For instance, what if you said to a money manager, “I want you to manage all my money,” but then you give that person a five dollar bill and you keep the rest of the money under your own control. They would ask, “I thought you wanted me to manage all your money?” And you respond, “Yes, I intend that someday you will manage all of it, but we will go at it by degrees, progressively for now.”

It's a contradiction, because God wants to manage our entire life. What this believer should say is, “God, I want to give you freedom to make changes in any area of my life because I know you love me.”

The point is, we’re to give God control and access to every area of our lives. The only reason that someone would deny God complete access is fear, fear of the unknown. It also demonstrates a distorted view of God's character, a lack of real understanding of who God is.

How do we communicate this message in the spiritual mentoring process? We use an analogy of visualizing our life as a house, with different rooms. Here is the list of rooms that one mentee used.

• Other people (my spouse, children, grandchildren
• My social media
• Exercising and eating / drinking habits
• My vocation or other work life
• Entertainment
• My devotion and prayer life
• Church attendance
• Mission work

(There are other examples listed in the lesson)

1 7 rooms new

Now many Christians look at their life and say “God is in my life and He can be in charge of my “spiritual room” where I read my Bible, pray, and go to church. The prevalent view is that God is obviously in charge of those spiritual areas, but when it comes to the other areas, God leaves it up to me to do the best I can. (The house on the left)

While God doesn't want us to be robots, He doesn't want us to have areas of independence from Him. He wants us to learn how to cooperate with Him and be like the other believer in the lesson who has given God access to all the areas of their life. (The house on the right)

They have an attitude that says “God, I may be comfortable with the way things are arranged in each one of these rooms, but I want to be willing to let you go into each room and make the changes that you want to make. Whatever you want to do, God, you know best.” Maybe He wants to just rearrange things or He may want to have a garage sale or maybe He wants to replace some items, or clean out a locked closet. You have to believe that God will only do what is in your best interest, because He loves you. Love can be defined as only doing for someone what is in their best interest. And that is what God does for us if we let Him.

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, He didn’t just say to Moses (at the burning bush encounter in Exodus Chapter 3) “I will take my people out of Egypt.” No, He said, “I will take them out and PUT THEM IN” their promised land. He wants to deliver all Christians from our bondage and put ALL Christians into the “Spiritual Promised Land” and not wander in a “spiritual desert”. However, for that to happen, He has to be the one who manages our lives.

The final piece of the lesson is a “house” with blank “rooms” to be completed by you (honestly). Name the rooms using the examples listed above and other labels that God reveals to you. Then prayerfully consider whether you have given God complete access and control to each of these areas of your life. If yes, great! That’s what He wants. If the answer is no, then prayerfully consider why not?

1 7 access page 3

Here are several questions to ask yourself if you are struggling with giving Him total control. Pray about these honestly.

• “What will He ask me to do that I can’t do, or don’t want to do?
• “What will He keep me from doing that I want to do?”
• “What will He take away that I hold dear?
• “Will God fail me if I entrust “this” to Him?”

When all is said and done, we can be sure that we will approve of the changes He has made. And, there is no logical reason for not embracing Him as Manager and Master of my life.

Saturday, 19 August 2017 10:43

Watch DTI Live - Tuesday's at 5:30 PM EST

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Frank and Jeannette Meitz just finished an “Equipping the Saints” class for Crosspointe Church in Largo, Florida (www.crosspointefl.com) to prepare and train the faithful men and women of this Free Methodist congregation to come alongside a new believer and mentor them using the DTI manual, A Tool for Personal Discipleship. Each of the one-hour fast-paced sessions was recorded live, allowing others to benefit from the teaching. You can watch the live archives here. Us this training before you disciple your mentee to remind you of nuances and give you confidence or when you're training others.

You'll find "outside the box" sharing, such as how to use a Sunday sermon message with your mentee, and a testimony from a woman sharing from her experience of being discipled and now discipling another and how the Lord gave her confidence and DTI gave her the tools not only to mentor someone else, but to put into practice the DTI concepts.

To watch archives of the teaching click here.

If you have any questions or comments about the “Equipping The Saints” format or content please click here and send us an email.

Blessings, The DTI Team

frank teaching 7

Monday, 26 June 2017 14:01

A Spiritual Father's Day Reading

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The USA celebrated Father's Day on June 18. The following was read at Crosspointe Church in Largo, Florida on Father's Day reminding us all that there is a true and great need in our world not only for physically present men, but also for spiritually present men. We thank Missy Truong for writing it with excerpts from the National Center for Fathering. Also noted in the essay are statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and a quote by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest.

In America, the US Census reports that over 24 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions ​more​ have dads who are physically present, but emotionally and spiritually absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic as worthy of attention as any national emergency. In fact, data proves fatherlessness is associated with almost every societal ill facing our country’s children.

There is a true and great need in our world not only for physically present men, but also for spiritually present men to fill the role of shepherd to a someone spiritually developing. These leaders are not men who applied for the position, or who are looking for a title or control. They may not even have biological children at all. These spiritual fathers are simply men who desire nothing but God, and who respond to His will.

Men, the task of a spiritual father is not to seek out wrongdoers and correct them, or to destroy their freedom, or even to suppress their personality. The task is to help someone see the truth for themselves and to enable them to discover their true self and grow to full maturity: to become who they really are. When a man leads someone in this quest, he becomes a spiritual father. You may be thinking this isn’t what you had in mind when you came to church today. This isn’t even something on your radar - to lead another person along their spiritual journey. It’s just not “you”. But the thing about spiritual fathers, is that they often aren’t revealed until they are needed by a spiritual child. There is a movement of the Spirit that leads your paths to cross and inspires a Divine appointment. And it is Christ’s own presence living within, that enables spiritual fathers to rise above the fear and weakness of feeling inadequate; and allows them to accept the challenge with gratitude and humility for the sake of God’s work.

Oswald Chambers put it this way: “...once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you ‘turn aside to the right hand or to the left’. We are not here to work for God because ​we​ have chosen to do so, but because​ God​ has ‘laid hold of’ us”.

Men, we are called to fatherhood today, to the children God has guided into our presence. Let us continue to abide in the Vine so that we may speak the truth in love to those He brings to us. May we lead by our own example in every area of life.

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This is Part 2 of our discussion on gauging the spirituality of Christian Congregations.

Now we will compare the “common” perspective to the “Biblical” perspective” of gauging spirituality.

How do you as a church leader gauge the spirituality of your congregation?

We would suggest that church attendance is too frequently the main criteria by which the spirituality of believers is gauged. If church attendance is the main criteria used to gauge spirituality, then a person can be incorrectly concluded to be spiritually healthy.

Unfortunately, most leaders don't have the time to delve into the spiritual condition of the typical individual in the church. (This is how DTI helps church leaders – training faithful men and women to spiritually mentor new(er) believers to help accelerate their growth.)

Certainly church attendance indicates some level of interest. It’s reasonable to think that if a person attends on a Sunday morning that they do have an interest. And if they have an interest, then they ought to benefit from what is spoken to them.

That is good; however there are other criteria that should be considered, in addition to church attendance.

The illustration of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea will help to make our point.

They both have input but only one body of water is healthy and the other is dead. The Dead Sea receives a fresh flow of input, but then it stays there and stagnates. On the other hand, (the healthy) Sea of Galilee also receives a fresh flow, but the water goes out. In the same way, there needs to be an inflow and an outflow in a believer’s life.

There needs to be a flow of His life through the believer.

Jesus said the believer is a branch. The purpose of a branch is to be a conduit through which the life of the tree flows and produces fruit.

The branch does not produce the fruit. The tree produces the fruit. The life of the tree flows through the branch and produces the fruit. We are branches. A healthy branch is a branch in which the life of the tree is able to flow, so that there will be fruit.

Jesus said that “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” It's the Holy Spirit’s spiritual fruit that glorifies God.

(When we talk about fruit - in our materials and discussions - we are always referring to whatever the Holy Spirit produces through your life.)

Now, let’s separate the typical church congregation into four categories, describing the believers from the perspective of observable outward human appearance. As we make a comparison of believers, we would like you to think about how you as a leader observe and gauge the spirituality of those in each category.

The first category is those we’ll call “Spiritual”. These Christians appear to have wholeheartedly acknowledged His Lordship over their lives, have a healthy growing relationship with the Lord, and seem to be bearing spiritual fruit. They have an observable passion for the Lord. We can all identify people that fit into that category; Healthy growing Christians.

The fourth category is the “Unsaved”. These individuals are usually recognized as being unsaved. It’s typically not too difficult to identify people that are unsaved, although we know that only God can really make that determination.

The second category is what we call “Acceptable”. These Christians don’t exhibit excessive negative outward behavior. They may regularly attend church services, give financially, and be involved in other Christian activities. They will quickly acknowledge God’s presence in their lives, but do not exhibit much passion for the Lord, or understanding of wholehearted surrender to His Lordship.

We are all aware of Christians that have attended church services for years and then all of a sudden some negative behavior will come out that amazes you. These people seem to be okay if you just look at their outward behavior.

In the common church environment in the United States a Christian can appear to be leading an appropriate spiritual life by attending church services, Bible studies, Small Groups, etc. However that doesn't make them spiritual. As we said, that is often the gauge for measuring spirituality.

So when we hear that a Christian couple has been attending church services for 20 years and now they're getting a divorce, you have to scratch your head and wonder what’s been going on (in their lives). Because the truth is, you don't just wake up one morning and say, “today looks like a good day to get a divorce!” Divorce is the end result of a process that has gone on for months and maybe years.

So Christians can be totally out of fellowship with God and attend church services and appear to be spiritual. We see this repeatedly. These people would generally fall into the “acceptable” category by many church leaders.

The third category is Christians that are usually considered to be “in need of counseling”. Their “self-dependent” (carnal) pattern of thinking is more evident, as they tend to exhibit questionable negative outward behavior, such as on-going marriage, relational or financial problems, addictions, etc. They may or may not regularly attend church services, or consistently give financially. They may be involved in some Christian activities. They will quickly acknowledge God’s presence in their lives. Counseling is often seen as the recommended recourse. Their salvation may be in doubt.

In reality, we believe the second and third categories from God's perspective are one category. But from our human perspective, the major difference between the two groups is that in the third group their sins are more outwardly visible, and in the second their sins are not as apparent.

There are Christians who have a hard time hiding their problems, but then there are other Christians that are very good at hiding their problems.

In reality does God see a difference between the two groups? No.

Do we see a difference? Yes.

So we have a group of Christians that don't have significant visible problems but in reality are dominated by problems. These Christians are not walking in the Spirit but they can appear reasonably healthy.

An unhealthy Christian that doesn't have outward manifestations of sin can look healthy compared to the Christian that is obviously having problems like marriage or relational issues or other problems.

But what we need to do is compare these two groups to the “Spiritual” group and now you have a completely different situation – We call this a distorted view of the spirituality of the Body of believers.

How can we recognize those that fall into the middle two categories?

In most Christian churches, many people that are considered healthy don't show any spiritual passion, have very little impact in their sphere of influence. They are not witnessing and (we) don't see God active in their life - but yet they attend church services weekly.

What can you say to these people? You can't say, “Hey, you're not spiritual.”

We need God’s discernment as we observe other Christian’s lives. We need to be aware so that we can help those Christians that want to grow. There are a lot of Christians that want to grow, but they need someone who is willing to come alongside of them to help them grow.

This is what DTI is all about. This whole discussion is to be able to better identify what is going on (in the churches) so that we can help those Christians that want to grow.

Category One is the “normal” Christian life, the other categories are “abnormal”. We should not gauge spirituality “on the curve”, and we should not be satisfied with anything less than God’s best.

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