Crown-Heart-World Discipleship Framework

Discipleship Essentials Introduction

All authority everywhere is mine, so:

Apprentice everyone everywhere.!

1. Immerse them in the revealed Triune (Love God)

2. Teach them to do what I said (Love People)

3. Don’t worry, I’m with you!”

- Jesus’ Great Commission

Quality discipleship is the Holy Grail of Christian living. We all want it. Some of us feel like we have almost had it. Few of us feel like we have had it well enough to confidently provide it for others. I’d like to help change that.

Crown-Heart-World is not the ultimate discipleship program. In fact, it is designed with the awareness that there is no such thing as an ultimate discipleship program. What Crown-Heart-World offers is a way to understand the framework for any good discipleship that takes place.

God’s love is why there is something instead of nothing, God’s love expressed through his creation is the result.

God’s love, personally expressed in Jesus, shapes us in three essential ways. These three always interact with one another: our thinking, being, and doing.

We process experiences, ideas, values, priorities… everything this way. What we learn is that the way of love goes from death to life. We will explain this later, but the essential point is that sacrificial love is what matters more than anything in life.

We see him as the source of the love we receive and the source of the love we want to share. Our faith in him needs to be clear and simple, that he is our highest authority. We can express it in many ways, including proclaiming that “Jesus is Lord”. If that seems too foreign for people to understand we simplify it by saying we trust that Jesus is right about life.

That simple and clear allegiance to Jesus as the ultimate authority for wise living is rooted in the Biblical Story. Our convictions about him deepen like tree roots that support the trunk of the tree as we grow. No matter how deep and complex our understanding of Jesus gets, our identity stays simple:

Continuing the tree metaphor we look at how our identity branches out in our actions. Our rooted identity in Jesus extends to others as we follow his patterns for loving others with integrity.

Focusing on our DNA as people in Christ we treasure him, putting off our old ways in exchange for his ways. This ethical and relational growth takes time, but it is intentional. Our focus is on continually moving from now to next.

The seeds of love from God are fed by the stream of thought our rooted convictions draw up. This strengthens us to raise the trunk of our identity higher as we branch out progressively, season after season.

Love, cycled through our thinking, being, and doing, produces love that reproduces in others. That is the basic pattern for organic growth as a disciple of Jesus.

Crown-Hear-World Overview

Our apprenticeship (discipleship framework) will focus on these essential concepts listed below. They will be repeated often as we develop them in increasing detail.

God’s love shaping our Think/Be/Do cycles shows up in and through our lives to his glory.

Think Death to Life

The Bible is about facing death through sacrificial love and finding life.

Be Simple to Deep

Personal faith provides a simple identify while growing deep convictions.

Do Now to Next

Pursuing maturity involves branching out intentionally over time.

Crown-Heart-World uses a diagram inspired by Psalm 1 to keep the framework before us as disciples who make disciples. It helps us to pay attention to how growth only happens when God is working through each aspect of our lives.

Thinking about theology, doctrine, experiences and so on matters. It matters because God’s revealed truth is essential to establishing our identity in him. We will keep that in mind as we cycle through our understanding of God’s Story as we go. The details will expand the theme of sacrificial love and its implications, but the details will not overthrow that theme. By learning this theme early we can enhance our personal growth significantly.

Identifying with Jesus as the Lord who prioritized sacrificial love is the essence of our devotional life. Everything we learn is meant for us to take to heart personally first. Jesus warned about religious people who imitate Jesus on the outside but have not done so from an internal foundation. We never outgrow the need to deepen our personal convictions about Jesus’ authority over our own lives.

Doing everything Christ commanded is for us and those we disciple. The truth we take in should also be lived out. The goal is for us to be saved from futility and saved to usefulness. The most useful thing we will ever do in life is to love others well. Surprisingly most of the letters in the New Testament are actually designed to show us how to pursue this. Keeping the relationship of truth, identity, and actions in mind helps us to have a faith that works.


Love is the Alpha & Omega

-Think Death to Life

-Be Simple to Deep

-Do Now to Next


Think Death to Life

The Bible starts with a famously odd story about a couple in a garden who make a fatal mistake. The essence of the story is that their is an oughtness to human life and creation as a whole. Goodness is from God and humanity is supposed to be a connecting point of Heaven and Earth.

The Bible moves forward from this story of paradise lost to explore a relentless series of questions we all ask in one way or another:

Why do we sense an “oughtness” in life that too often is “not”?

Why does life lead to death?

What can we do about it?

Life to death is the problem.

Life as it ought to be is presented in the Bible as a proper ordering of God, humanity, and creation.

By disrupting the order God intends for us we experience anxiety. That anxiety is not unfounded.

The solutions to the problem of life to death range from delusional optimism to despairing pessimism.

Delusion avoids the problem. Childlike hope in avoiding negativity, or in finding a way to get back to paradise, is tempting. But it is costly. It requires stubbornly resisting evidence to the contrary.

Religious systems are often obviously delusional to outsiders. But the same can be said of many non-religious efforts at achieving paradise. “If we only do everything right…” only works so long.

Despair abandons the hope of a solution. Like a teenager shifting from childish simplicity, many of us have responded to the hardships of life, the suffering, the injustices, the incoherence… with cynicism.

Why shouldn’t we give up hope and just live for the here and now? We live, we suffer, we die. Many do give into despair, but even in despair we get prompted by signs of beauty and meaning to remember that sense of “oughtness”. We question our resignation to despair but we don’t want to become delusional again. If there is a God that makes sense of Life that keeps leading to Death, where is he?

Death to Life is the promise.

From Genesis 3:15 to John 3:16 God promises to do for humanity what we cannot do for ourselves. Abraham becomes a hero of faith that God will do what he promises. God affirms his faith and makes it clear what should be the outcome of Abraham’s faith: he is blessed to be a blessing, to all peoples.

God, at various times in various ways, spoke to the ancients in the past through the prophets, but in these ultimate days He has spoken to us in Son. Jesus is presented as the climax of God’s self-revelation. The peculiar history of Israel was always intended to be linked to the future of all mankind.

Jesus comes as the second Adam, the promise of a new humanity. Where the story of the first Adam moved from Life (a blessed paradise) to Death (a cursed wilderness), the story of the second Adam reverses everything.

Jesus overcame temptation and maintained the role humanity was intended to live, faithfully linking Heaven and Earth.

Progressively Jesus provoked a confrontation with the ruling system promising a solution to the problem of Life to Death; the Temple. The Temple conspired to arrest and kill Jesus, but ultimately had to turn to the power of the State. Jesus freely gives himself into their hands. Why?

Jesus deconstructs power narratives in his life, his trials, and his execution by crucifixion. He display sacrificial love for his disciples, but more shockingly, even for his enemies. Though he taught this relentlessly and lived it out to its grim conclusion, too many people still miss this point. Any system of control, even in Jesus’ name, is the opposite of what Jesus promised.

What Jesus did was show that God is already in charge. That is why he joined the call of John the Baptist:

Rising from the dead Jesus shows that his confidence in God, not in any system of human control, is the way to overcome the problem of Life to Death. Only then did Jesus’ disciples begin to understand what he was telling them about loving our enemies, even to the point of taking up our cross and following Jesus. The promise to overcome the problem comes through trusting God’s way of sacrificial love.

Death to Life, that is the promise.

How should we respond?

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