In one of our first discipleship lessons, Greg Ogden, the author of Discipleship Essentials wrote, “the manner in which the Lord works is incarnational: life rubs up against life. We pass on Christlikeness through intimate modeling.”
As I personally processed these words, I thought about all of the people that God used during my formative years to rub up against me in order to teach me how to live like Christ. One of the first people to come to mind was Danny Hassell.
Danny was an adult volunteer with my high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ huddle. It all started when a few of my high school friends and fellow FCA officers invited this person from their church to help us organize the new FCA ministry. They simply asked if he would help and Danny said yes.
Soon, Danny began to have the FCA officers over to his home on Saturday mornings to hear our FCA plans (or lack thereof), and then graciously made suggestions while gently steering us towards a realistic plan. Not only did he help us plan our calendar, but he also coached us on our Bible devotionals, taught us how to share the gospel with our lost friends, counseled us on our life issues, and challenged us to live for Christ on a daily basis. Our group soon grew to seven guys, all being spiritually mentored by Danny.
Looking back, it is amazing how much time and energy this man poured into seven high school students. He was not a coach or a school employee, rather he was a volunteer who loved Jesus and who loved us. Not only did Danny come to every FCA meeting, but he also came to all of our football games. He helped us raise money for FCA summer camp and even drove us to Black Mountain, North Carolina, for one of these camps. And believe it or not, Danny served faithfully in this role for all four of my high school years.
At one point, Danny had us buy some books on discipleship and he challenged us to work through them under his leadership. We felt like we were in seminary. And, truth be told, we were bad students. Nevertheless, something happened during those years of rubbing up against Danny Hassell. Something happened that was very personally transformative. Looking back, it was not so much the studies or FCA ministry that we shared. These were great and important, but the impact came from something else. The impact came from the relationship. It came from being around someone who knew God and who walked with God and who loved God.
The truth is, when someone full of the Holy Spirit rubs up against you, you encounter God through him or her. And, when you encounter God through this person, you are forever changed. God begins to transform you. So, Greg Ogden is right, “the manner in which the Lord works is incarnational: life rubs up against life. We pass on Christlikeness through intimate modeling.”
I thank God for Danny Hassell and I thank God for those at Calvary who, like Danny, are willing and ready to make disciples the incarnational way.
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