How to Be a Discipler (According to Paul)

How do we make a disciple? In I Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul gives us one of the clearest road maps to becoming an effective discipler of others. As I read it today, several things jumped off the page that I wanted and needed to capture in writing. This chapter is  packed with instructions to us to  reach people and build lives.

The Initial Action of a Discipler

 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

Start and end with the Good News of Jesus. A Christlike life and ethic follows the Gospel not vice versa.

The Confidence of a Discipler

For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.

  • If you fear your own ability to disciple someone, don’t fret. You’ve been entrusted to be a disciple maker by God Himself. Even if you are merely a few steps ahead of someone in your Christ following journey, you can turn to them and say, pothole here, I hit it (or almost hit it), be aware. That act of self-disclosure is an act of disciple making
  • You and I aren’t in this process to gain worldly accolades as “greatest disciple maker of the year award.” It’s a long and steady process.

The Disposition of a Discipler

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

These two verses are packed with wisdom.

  • All discipleship starts with truly caring about the person you are discipling. Paul states his deep affection for those whom God has entrusted to him. People must be dear to us before we can disciple them. They are not widgets. It will get messy. If you want to see neat and tidy, go to a morgue–death. The birthing room at the hospital is messy–life.
  • We have to be willing to not just block off discipleship to convenient teaching sessions. Paul says it is an imparting of life by living life on life. I remember an acquaintance of mine who only had two weeks to disciple a new believer before he left the country. He said to the new believer, “You are going to come live with me and we are going to do life together 24/7 for two weeks. You are going to see my in work clothes all the way until I am in my underwear for bed.” Underwear discipleship, good concept.

The Content of a Discipler

For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 

Paul, and our, central point of what we are imparting is the Gospel of Jesus. He kept the main thing the main thing and so should we, as disciplers. Doing apologetics has a role, but when we get down to questions like, “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” we have to steer back to the main thing.

The Behavior of a Discipler

10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

We serve God and the disciple. It’s not the other way around. We don’t ask selfish things to seek self-gain from the disciple or our motives may be questioned. We are NOT TV evangelist (give to me and you’ll get blessed) but servants (I am blessing you because I’ve already been blessed by God).

The Activity of a Discipler

11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

Our primary activity is to:

  • exhort-means to come alongside and remind them of what Jesus said and to clarify its application. The Greek word for exhort is paraklesis, which is very similar to the word Jesus uses of the role of the Holy Spirit in John 14. The Holy Spirit clarifies and reminds of what Jesus said in that passage (Thanks Pastor Jed Walker for a great teaching on this). We are to do the same.


  • encourage-doesn’t simply mean to compliment. In literally means “to put courage into someone.” This is key, for every disciple will face challenges and even failure. They must have a hope beyond themselves. This is exactly the message of the Gospel.
  • implore–to call to action, not merely knowledge
  • We do this in the same way we were shepherd our own children.

The Hope of a Discipler

13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

At the end of the day, the empowering of the disciple comes from God, not us. We are merely to be faithful. The Holy Spirit enacts the results. This is our hope.

The Proof to a Discipler

14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

  • Paul says he knew he had made a disciple when they too became disciplers. This is the meaning of imitator.
  • Another key sign of that a disciple had been made was that they were able to stand up under challenge and opposition, even persecution. Disciples aren’t sailboats blown by the wind. Rather they are propeller driven ships who can push through a storm.

The Desire of a Discipler

17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us.

We should love those we disciple to the degree that we eagerly desire to spend time with them.

The Crowning Glory of a Discipler

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

At the end of the day (and of our lives), our joy is in those who have responded to the Gospel and become fully developed followers of Jesus Christ. We get to be a part of this process. Everything else will pale in comparison to this when we stand before the Father.


How To Recover a Word Document on a Mac OSX

So it happened. I had an important client Word document on which  I was working. (Note how I didn’t dangle that preposition…ha!)

I hit save and Microsoft Word crashed. Never fear, I re-opened Word and like I expected the document sat there all pretty and Autorecovered. So I did the logical thing and hit save. BOOM! MS Word crashes again as the save is supposed to be occurring. Oh noooooooooooooooooooooo!

I looked in the Autorecovery file on my Mac and IT WASN’T there. An Autorecovered document that isn’t saved apparently disappears into thin air.

I thought I’d have to try to rewrite the perfect blog (at least in my own mind) from scratch.  I started to tear up a bit. But then I discovered you can do this.

If you find your document isn’t in “Office 2008/09/11 AutoRecovery”, you can still pray that  it is being stored in your computer’s Temporary or “-Tmp-” folder.

The “-Tmp-” folder can be difficult to find, even if you have made hidden folders visible. Here is an easy way to get there. In Finder go to “Applications” then click “Utilities” then click “Terminal”

Once you are in the terminal copy this phrase: “open $TMPDIR” and press ENTER. That will open your Temporary files folder where you will see another folder named “Temporaryitems” Click that.

Open up the “Temporaryitems” folder and you will find a list of complex looking file titles.
An example name of your lost document will be “WordWorkfile D-57268.tmp” I knew mine crashed yesterday, so I highlighted all the temp files from yesterday and opened them with the TextEdit app. Open up the document with “TextEdit” because a .tmp file will not work with Word.

The text I needed WAS there, not formatted correctly… but there nevertheless. Hallelujah.

I simply cut and pasted the needed copy into a Word document and quickly reformatted it.

I hopes this helps someone to not cry or throw their laptop through a window. Thanks.

Falling Down and Laughing

Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram…. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Have you ever experienced awe and doubt at the same moment? Good news…

God is big enough to take our awe-filled worship and doubt simultaneously.

Abram fell before the awesomeness of God, yet in the midst of this experience his full humanity is seen. He didn’t fall down laughing. He fell on his face in worhips, yet laughs in doubt at God’s plan. He actually chuckles when God says to him. “You will have a son.”“No, God, you see Sara and I are too old.”

In fact, Abram goes on to present a Plan B to God. “Well, God you know Sara and I thought we’d speed up your plan by me having relations with Sara’s much younger handmaiden Hagar. And that produced us a son. Let’s use him, God”

God doesn’t blast him for this doubt, but merely restates clearly His divine plan. “You’ll have a son from Sara.” This exchange gives you and me incredible hope. God can handle me simultaneously loving, trusting, and worshiping Him EVEN WHILE I have remaining doubts about Him, His nearness to me, and His plan for me. He is growing us. Even as we say, “No, God, I am (that is) too _________________.”

We don’t have to have it all figured out or fake it. Be transparent and honest before God about both your awe and your doubt. We see this again and again. Even in a man’s encounter with Jesus who was asking Jesus to heal his son:

“And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”


Fueling for a 12 Hour Time Trial

Here is the nutrition for the 12 Hour Time Trial cycling race. I should burn between 7,000-8,000 calories. I also need to be putting in approximately 75 grams of carbs per hour.

I divide everything into 25 grams of carbohydrates units. Then simple eat three units per hour.

So what is the fuel of choice…

Ultra cycling fueling

1. Hammer Gels

Cinnamon Apple and Vanilla to alternate. I will probably be putting two of these down every 1.5 hours for 50 Carbs. The MAIN fuel I use.

2.  Cliff Bars

Mixed flavors. 1/2 a bar is a unit of 25 carbs.

3. Bean Burritos

After a while, sugary foods lose their appeal and I need a taste break and protein. Slap some refried beans and cheese between a flour tortilla. I eat these during the 5 or 10 minute breaks I take.

4. Coke

Mini-cans of Coca Cola for towards the end of the race for sugar push and/or if I get stomach issues during race I can slow and shift to this.

5. Hammer Endurolytes

Electrolytes and salts to prevent cramping. I take two per hour.  Good stuff that I swear by.

6. Advil

I take two before the race. Two more at 3, 6, and 9 hours.

7. Jet Caffeine Pills

Caffeine is a proven supplement for endurance performance. These come in 100mg variety (rather than traditional 200) so I can take them more often for an even burn.

8. Gatorade

I’ve tried all the fancier sports drinks and I keep coming back to the ol’ skool standard. Alternate orange and citrus. Occasionally, I mix some Hammer Perpeteum in but I have to keep the mix low or I get stomach distress.

9. Water

Good old fashioned bottled water. Whatever brand is cheapest on the day I buy it. A bottle per hour with ice in my insulated cycling bottles.

10. Peanut Butter and Jelly on White Bread

Normally I don’t eat white bread but in the race it burns quicker, which is what I need.

11. Cashews

Some salt, and non-sweet fats and proteins. BOOM!

12. Salty Snacks

Pretzels and sweet potato chips. Again, for relief from the sweet gels that are the main staple.

It’s easier for me to eat if it’s cooler. Above 80ºF, and I have to start really focusing on making myself eat. If it’s under 70ºF, consequently I have to increase my focus on drinking.

Days Until the 12 Hour Time Trial

Time to get REALLY busy. This clock is a reminder that the Bessie’s Creek Challenge 12-hour bike race is coming and every bit of training must be purposeful.I have some internal mileage goals. My publicly stated goal is to still be on the bike and pedaling at the end of 12 Hours for my first Ultra.

Note to self: Make the training hard so the race doesn’t seem so bad. Remember what Mike Tyson said: Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.

Affordable Bike Setup for a 12 Hour Time Trial

So I am crazy. I am planning on doing my first (and maybe last, but I know myself it won’t be) 12 hour time trial in April. “Why?,” asked one friend. Because it exists to be conquered.

My bike is a bit of a Frankenstein as 1) I don’t have a multi-million dollar sponsor and 2) my personal theory that “function is beauty” and always comes before aesthetics.

Not saying the steed looks bad, just going for affordable speed.

ultra cycling bike

And an aero road bike set-up properly can be almost as fast as a truly optimized TT bike. Here is the data.

So What is the Ultra Bike Set-Up and Why Did I Pick It?

Getting geared up and ready. I have a Cannondale SuperSix that I love. I bought it used from a friend. He bought a new bike and then I think regretted the sale. Too late!

It is slowly getting tweaked out for time trialing. Here are the tweaks that have happened over several years.

Stages Power Meter.

Bought used on Ebay for $399.

SRAM Rival Stages Power Meter

A power meter uses tension to measure how much force I am putting against the pedals. Unlike a heart rate monitor, its measure is absolute (and unforgiving).

On a day I am riding with a tailwind and pumping out “incredible speeds” (for me) with a low heart rate, it keeps me honest. It tells me, “You are only pushing out 197 watts, Jordan, don’t get cocky.”  It does help me pace myself and not blow up.

Redshift Aero Kit.

Bought new for $399. Birthday money.

Your number one enemy in cycling time trials is air. Pesky little, invisible air. But when you are riding into a headwind of 5 mph at 20 mph you now are riding against a 25 mph wind. Getting low and out of the wind is vital.

I could have bought an all new time trial bike, but Dave Ramsey and the fam might have had something to say about that (I have teenagers car insurance premiums to pay). Also, in case I get really crazy and start doing 24 hour TT or 500 miles rides, or yes RAAM, I want to be able to change positions between aero and road occasionally.

The Redshift system provides me the ability to ride in an aero-tuck into headwinds and slides the seat forward in this position to ensure all my leg angles are correct to generate the right amount of power. But when I get tired in a tailwind, need to climb a hill, etc. I can simply grab the seat and quickly lock it back into a traditional road position on the fly (while riding, even though they have to legally warn you not to do this, everyone does.)

Cobb Randee Saddle.

Bought $189. During Craig Fulk fitting.

cobb randee saddle for ultra

My number one issue on super long rides is butt pain (there is honesty for you). I have a traditional nice Fizik road racing saddle but it isn’t cutting it for longer and longer rides. I kept getting sharp pain around my right sit bone.

I bought the Adamo Prologue (see below), but after multiple rides, it was slightly too wide for me at the front. I also did a high-end full fit with Craig Fulk at Dynamic Bike Fit. He has the Gebio systems where he pust this skin thin cover on your saddle and it actually measures pressure and center of gravity as you spin and spits it out like a weather radar. Red is bad. Blue is good. It offers a dynamic view.

The Adamo had a consistent red spot on right sitz bone that never unloaded. My center of gravity was also not ideal. Front left. We tried about five other saddles. The Cobb Randee won. No hotspots and much better center of gravity. Still adjusting but loving it so far.

IMS Adamo Prologue Saddle.

Bought Used $20. Consignment sale.

Adamo Prologue Saddle for Ultra cycling

My number one issue on long rides is butt pain (there is honesty for you). I have a traditional nice Fizik road racing saddle but it isn’t cutting it for longer and longer rides. I kept getting sharp pain around my right sit bone.

I picked up an Adamo Prologue saddle for $20 (normally $189) at a consignment sell-off of an LBS that went bankrupt.

Boom! Butt heaven. On a recent 8 hour training ride, I got sore but no shooting pains and no saddle sores. My rear should break into the seat more before the race, as well. This seat is very non-traditional looking but works fabulously.

Wheel Selection for the Ultra

Wheel Weight and the Ultra Course

My first ultra is on a pancake flat course near Katy, TX.

In fact. to determine course difficulty I have invented a system to measure entire courses or 10 mile sections of a course as Jvals (Jordan values, cute eh?). I take the gross feet of vertical climb over the course and divide it by miles of course (I can do this section by section, too). I don’t count vertical descent feet anywhere in the equation. (Example 1700 ft rise divided by 50 miles = 34 Jval.)

This gives me a Jval number. The best (aka “worst”) climb I’ve ever done is a Category 2 up to McDonald Observatory in Alpine, TX. This had a Jval of 215. Most rolling hill rides around Fort Worth are in the Jval 40-50 range.

The Bessie’s Creek Challenge has a Jval of 9. Yes N-I-N-E. Flat and fast! I thought the Hotter Than Hell 100 was flat and it was Jval of 17.

I am a big guy at 6’4″ so this course fits my style of Jan Ulrich riding (slightly lower cadence at 87rpm when self-selected, slightly bigger gears). Since there is minimal climbing on most TT/ultra courses, aero is more important than weight.

I need fast wheels so here is what I have settled on after experimentation.

Rear Wheel Setup

$275 Total. $180 Used Ksyrium Wheel on Ebay/$90 New Aerojacket Disk Cover.

ksyrium elite with wheelbuilder aerojacket

I bought a used Mavic Kyrsium Elite rear wheel for dirt cheap on Ebay $175. I am putting aerodisk jackets made by on the wheel to give me a complete disk rear setup for $275 instead of the $1000+ for a full disk set-up. Their data is solid.

aerojacket wheelbuilder ultra cycling 12 hour tt

Running a Continental 4000s tire (tyre for you Brits). Going with a 25 width on rear to soften the ride a bit (and this width has less rolling resistance than a 21 or 23.)

This rear wheel set will give the low drag of wheel costing 5x as much at a less than my current training wheel weight as the Ksyrium’s are lightweight. (Not that is training wheel, not the things sticking out the side of little kids’ bikes, though I may need them late in the race.)

Font Wheel Setup

$424 Total. Flo60. 

Flo Cycling 60 front for ultra

For the front, I spent Christmas money and purchased a FLO60 deep dish. These wheels get great reviews and are affordable. The Flo guys are just cool with some of the best customer support in the biking biz.

Note: Rule of thumb is never run a deeper wheel on the front than the back or your front wheel can turn into a sail in crosswinds and you’ll “exit stage…ditch.” The 60 should allow me to take some heavier crosswinds and not give up much speed.

Catlike AeroShell Helmet

$40. Australian Ebay

aeroshell for catlike mixino

I have a Catlike Mixino helmet which I bought several years ago. I live in Texas and summer rides are frequently at 100ºF+. Turns out Catlike makes an aeroshell  to turn this ventilated monster into a more aero-helmet for CHEAP. Since my head position will change during an ultra there is no need for the “tail of death” type aero helmet. This will work fine.


$40 Ebay.

skin suit for ultra cycling

I am still debating this one.

“Loose kits sink ships.”

Perhaps the cheapest way to get free speed is a super tight fitting kit. My bibs of choice are the Pearl Izumi Elite or Pro level because the pad (aka chamois) works for me for extended times in the saddle. I have tried other brands and the cut isn’t right.

So the dilemma is to:

  1. buy a $150+ Pearl Izumi skinsuit (last resort and I have to ride in BMC team labels, weird for me).
  2. try this Garneau Skinsuit I found used for $37 I found on Ebay
  3. to wear bibs I know work the tightest jersey i have.

Going to try #2 on long training ride then #3. If I keep at it, someday I’ll reward myself with #1.

So total Road Steed to Time Trial Steed Costs

(and I can shift it back to full road bike in <5 minutes).

  • $399 Stages Powermeter
  • $319 Redshift Aero System
  • $675 Wheel Combinations
  • $40 Aero Helmet
  • $20 Adamo Prologue Saddle
  • $40 Skinsuit
  • +$1200 Used Cannondale Supersix I already have.

New Time Trial Bike with these additional features?

  •  $3,499 Cannondale Slice RS
  • $800 Stages Power Meter
  •  $1,000 Full Carbon Disk Rear Wheel
  •  $575 Zipp Front Wheel Carbon 60
  •  $150 Pearl Izumi Skinsuit
  •  $189 Adamo Prologue Saddle
  •  $209 Catlike Cronos Aero Helmet
  • = $6,422 TOTAL NEW AERO RIDE

In Conclusion

So I am getting very close to the same aerodynamic drag coefficients for a built out Time Trial bike for 40% of the cost. If you consider I already owned the SuperSix, that goes up to a dramatic spend of only 23% of the cost of a new ride.

And I can go back to a traditional road bike setting for group rides in <5 minutes. All I have to do is:

  • Switch out wheels.
  • Pop off quick release aerobars
  • Make sure the Redshift seat stem is in back position
  • Heck, if I really want to revert, I can drop the standard carbon saddle post with Fizik saddle back in whose height is marked with a paint pen.

You can get a fast yet affordable bike setup for ultras if you are willing to do the savings work, shop Ebay, looks for deals and be patient.

Stay tuned to find out how this all turns out. I’m sure they’ll be some semi-humorous accounts coming soon.





On Suicide and Depression, A Christian Perspective

A lot of people are weighing in on Robin Williams. Here are my thoughts:

The challenge regarding depression is that the Christian mind is also conditioned by the human brain. When I break my arm, I can easily make the choice to say, “This will get better. There is hope. I can press through this. It will heal.” In mental illness, the equipment itself with which you process rational thought becomes damaged, and decisions–though yes, decisions–become much more murky.

It takes both a renewing of the mind and working on the organ chemically at times to restore hope. Many Christians poo-poo psychiatry and say, “if you merely had faith and trusted God, this wouldn’t be happening.” Yet some with depression are desperately exhibiting MORE faith because they are flying only by the instruments through the dark skies as they see no horizon and are trying not to descend into the metaphorical hell that comes with severe anxiety-depression. Others would say, “Find the right pill and all things will be back to normal.” That doesn’t work either.

Is it a choice to not end it all? Yes! But that choice, when your choosing mechanism is damaged, requires the Body of Christ around you to help you think straight when everything within you is skewed to exit stage left. We need one another to speak hope, life, truth, comfort, God’s love and our new identity in Christ to help the depressed to avoid making the ultimate bad decision. Let us be about bringing HOPE!