3 Ways to Be a Better Disciple

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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19–20

Jesus’ command often falls on deaf ears. Even in evangelical churches, the command to make disciples can sometimes become second rate to curriculum and ministry programs, which means churches are bringing in new people, but failing to make disciples. This can also negatively affect the congregation, because the congregates lose personal responsibility to spread the gospel, and once personal responsibility is lost, the church can become sick or stagnant. The body of Christ becomes weak and insists that the paid staff (pastors, teachers, preachers, and elders) do the grunt work of making disciples, while the majority of the church sits idling by.

“Jesus gave his followers a command: ‘Follow Me.’ And a promise: ‘I will equip you to find others to follow me.’” —Francis Chan

It’s time to make a change and start living out real discipleship. Here are three ways to be a better disciple of Christ:

1. Stop just believing—begin following

Francis Chan’s book, Multiply, is designed to eliminate a fruitless ministry by replacing it with a ministry focused on true discipleship. But what is a real disciple? The majority of the church believes the word means to follow Christ, as if it’s simply believing he lived, died, and rose from the dead. This is true, but it also excludes the most important concept of being a disciple: disciples are students of God. Chan pushes disciples to imitate Christ, carry on his ministry, and become more like him in the process. The results of becoming a disciple of Christ—in taking on the full meaning of the word—change the way you think, the way you live, and how you love.

2. Build stronger relationships

If being a disciple means we imitate Christ, it means we must be intensely relational—just like Jesus. Building relationships is actually one of the subjects Jesus talked about most often. Specifically, he spoke about two relationships: one is found in the greatest commandment between us and God, and the second is found between us and our neighbors. So instead of skipping your small group or ignoring your daily devotions, you need to build a real relationship with Christ, and grow closer to the friends, family, and strangers around you.

3. Make more disciples

Chan puts it brilliantly, “Making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. A disciple is a disciple maker.” This is the most difficult part for me. I can believe in Christ and all that he was, is, and will be. I can study the Bible, love others, and love God, but ask me to lead others to Christ and it’s like pulling teeth. If you’re like me and the majority of Christians, you’ll understand when I say it’s uncomfortable (to say the least).  Nevertheless, Jesus commands that we make more disciples and spread the gospel. This is your calling, and this is why you were made—to become a disciple who makes disciples.

Want to learn more about following Jesus’ command in your life? I highly recommend Francis Chan’s Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples. And I’m not the only one—this book was one of Vyrso’s best-selling books of 2013. Download it today! 

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Rising Shadows: Exciting Summer Fantasy

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What do you do when you’re a young homeschooler and you run out of entertainment at the public library? If you’re Ashley Townsend, you start writing your own stories.

Born in Southern California and raised in Colorado Springs, Ashley began writing as a way to create stories that she would want to read. Now a twenty-year-old college student, Ashley is committed to writing stories that will captivate and delight her readers—and propel them into a deeper relationship with God. You can now download her first Kirkdale Press novel, Rising Shadows, from Vyrso!

Rising Shadows tells the story of Sarah Matthews, a young woman looking for a little summertime adventure. To her surprise, she finds herself trapped in the twelfth century, fighting for the life of her closest companion—and her ticket home—who’s been arrested on charges of witchcraft. But who is she going to rely on to help her: the Shadow, mysterious and heroic or Will, the handsome blacksmith with troubles of his own?

Check out this excerpt from Rising Shadows:

“We have to hide,” the girl whispered urgently, her wide green eyes darting about the foliage.
“What? Why?” Sarah asked, her own eyes roaming the thickness surrounding them. Her stomach began to churn at the thought that these riders might pose some kind of threat—at least enough to cause the girl fear.
“There’s no time,” the girl hissed between her clenched teeth. “Quick! Over here.” She ducked down and dashed to the edge of the clearing opposite the approaching horses, looking like a strange, long-necked bird with her awkward gait. She listened for a moment to the men’s shouts, then frantically motioned for them to follow.
What other choice was there?
With only a brief hesitation, Sarah turned around and grabbed Lilly, who was still frozen in disbelief and confusion, and dashed toward the tree line. She practically had to drag her sibling through the dirt and fallen leaves that littered the ground.
Even in her panic, Sarah couldn’t help feeling amazed. A few minutes ago, she’d been ready to throw Lilly out of her room for seeking company during a thunderstorm, and now her only thought was to get her younger sister to safety. She could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins as she dove toward the bush the girl had disappeared behind. Lilly remained in the open, dumbstruck. Sarah snatched her hand and yanked her down beside them just as six large horses appeared in the clearing.

Download Rising Shadows from Vyrso for only $5.24 and enjoy the whole exciting story!

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Review: Heaven Is for Real

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“A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.” —Ron Hall, coauthor of Same Kind of Different as Me

With more than one million copies in print and a #1 spot on the New York Times nonfiction bestsellers list, Heaven Is for Real  doesn’t seem to be dwindling in popularity.

The book tells the story of four-year-old Colton who, during a life-saving procedure, leaves his body and visits heaven. His parents realize something dramatic has happened when Colton casually mentions that, while he was in the hospital, angels were singing to him. Colton goes on to tell his parents exactly where they were and what they were doing during his surgery. From that point on, they listen intently while he describes images, colors, and people he saw in heaven in great detail. Colton even mentions meeting two people that no one ever told him about: his miscarried sister and his great-grandfather.

Colton’s father, pastor Todd Burpo, brings all these stories together in Heaven Is for Real. Weaving Colton’s stories together with Scripture references, the book paints a beautiful picture of heaven.

As I read Heaven Is for Real, I experienced several emotions: empathy with the family’s challenges, amusement at Colton’s matter-of-fact recollections, joy in reading the descriptions of heavenly images, and most of all, hope. I felt a renewed sense of hope at the idea of a pain-free and perfect heaven.

Pick up this uplifting and encouraging story from Vyrso for just $10.19. And if you’re looking for a resource that will help you dig a little deeper into what the Scripture says about heaven, check out the Heaven Is for Real Conversation Guide for just $5.99. It includes discussion and reflection questions great for personal, small-group, or family use.

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Vintage Jesus: Answering Your Tough Questions

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Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears combine profound understanding of modern culture with weighty Christian doctrine that is faithful to the Bible, and it’s written in such an interesting style that it’s hard to put down. I strongly recommend it!”—Wayne Grudem, author, Systematic Theology

Vintage Jesus is a book of collaborative theology written by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. Driscoll was named one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years by Preaching Magazine, and his audio sermon podcasts are regularly #1 on iTunes’ Religion and Spirituality chart. Breshears has been professor of theology at Western Seminary since 1980. He also teaches and lectures at a number of colleges and seminaries around the world. Mark and Gerry have co-written several books, such as Vintage Church, Death by Love, and Doctrine: What the Church Should Believe.

What is the truth about Jesus Christ? That’s the question that the authors answer throughout Vintage Jesus. The book is broken into sections like:

  • Why did Jesus come to earth?
  • Why did Jesus’ mom need to be a virgin?
  • What makes Jesus superior to other saviors?
  • Where is Jesus today?
  • and many others.

People looking to explore the topic of Jesus will find solid biblical answers to their toughest questions.

Vintage Jesus is on sale for just $2.99 during the month of April—that’s 70% off the retail price! So pick up Vintage Jesus today and take your understanding of Jesus to a deeper level.

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Holy Subversion: On Sale This March

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Sub·ver·sion: the act or an instance of subverting or overthrowing a legally instituted government, institution, etc*

Christianity, by its very nature, is subversive. It overthrows the accepted personal and social status quo and, in its place, elevates the kingdom and rule of God. That is, unless Christianity is submersing itself in the content and character of the world.

In Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, Trevin Wax takes us back to the first century when following Christ meant turning one’s back against Caesar worship. Wax warns us against worshiping our modern day “Caesars”: self, success, money, leisure, sex, power. He invites all of us Christ-followers to rethink our allegiances and subvert the kingdoms which fight for our attention and loyalty.

You can pick up Holy Subversion this March for only $2.24 as part of Vyrso’s Bring Back Spring sale. Don’t forget to check out the other freebies and deals available through March!

*Collins English Dictionary, 10th ed., “subversion”

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Quaker Summer: Part of Our Huge Fiction Sale!

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“[Lisa Samson is] a talented novelist who isn’t afraid to take risks.”Publishers Weekly

Lisa Samson is the Christy-Award winning author of 19 books including the Women of Faith Novel of the Year Quaker Summer. She has been hailed as one of the most powerful voices in Christian fiction by Publishers Weekly. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and three kids, and spends every ounce of free time writing.

In Quaker SummerHeather Curridge is a woman in crisis. Outwardly, her life seems serene: she has a remarkably successful husband, an adorable child, and the most beautiful home she could imagine. Inwardly, however, she is falling apart, overcome by the idea that her comfortable life is keeping her from God’s will. With the help of the church, her patient family, and her two best friends, Heather comes to some painful conclusions about her past and future. Heather can’t solve all of her problems, but she paints a wonderful portrait of a soul beckoned by God.

Download Quaker Summer today for only $3.99, and be sure to check out the rest of our enormous fiction sale!

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Review: Thr3e by Ted Dekker

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“Well, well, well, guess what I’ve found? A fiction writer with a rare knack for a compelling story, an expansive reservoir of clever ideas, and a unique wit that makes me laugh.” —Frank Peretti, Best-selling author of The Oath and Monster.

Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is known for his suspense thrillers with major twists and extraordinary characters. Dekker’s novels have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies—with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and their two daughters.

Thr3e is the story of Kevin Parsins. Like all people, Kevin has his secrets. Little does he know that someone desperately wants them revealed. Kevin is driving home late after graduate school one evening when, suddenly, his cell phone rings. A man who identifies himself as Slater speaks in a deep, whispering voice: “You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse and the car you’re driving will blow sky high.”

Kevin finds himself in a complete state of panic. Who would make such a call? What sin? This starts a tormenting sequence of events. After barely escaping his exploding car, Kevin continues to receive phone calls from Slater, each with another puzzle, another consequence, and another three minutes to confess his sin.

This gripping thriller will surprise you with every twist and turn. It is intense, fast-paced, and exciting. The plot is unpredictable, and the ending is unexpected.

All of Ted Dekker’s ebooks are currently on sale from Vyrso for $3.99! Download Thr3e now, and be sure to check out some of Dekker’s other enthralling stories such as House, Chaos, and Chosen

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Review: Rise and Shine by Liz Curtis Higgs

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“Might I have just two of those precious minutes each morning? Two minutes to whisper a gentle word of encouragement, to brush a feather across your funny bone, to prove how beautiful and valuable you are to God.”
Liz Curtis Higgs, from Rise and Shine

In Rise and Shine, Liz Curtis Higgs offers daily devotional readings with quick words of encouragement to start off your day, no matter how busy, with an uplifting message.

Each of the 80 devotions is written so that they only take about two minutes to read and meditate on. Every devotion starts with a verse, followed by a few comments with real-life examples, and closes with a written prayer. Rise and Shine also incorporates excerpts from Higgs’ other books, including Help! I’m Laughing and I Can’t Get Up.

Filled with quick inspiration, remarks on struggles women deal with, and fun stories from Higgs’ life, this devotional is perfect for someone with a busy lifestyle.

Higgs is an award-winning author and speaker who has written over 20 books. She has traveled the world to speak and get inspiration for her non-fiction, fiction, and children’s books.

If you’re looking for an uplifting devotional that fits your busy days, then Rise and Shine is perfect for you. This Vyrso edition of Rise and Shine contains one-touch Bible references wherever Higgs refers to a Scripture verse, making it easy for you to follow along. Get Rise and Shine on Vyrso today!

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Review: Healthy Meals for Less

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“Shopping is only part of the way to save grocery money. The other part is to modify the menu. Both things need to be done in order to accomplish a maximum reduction in grocery spending. We need recipes that call for simple ingredients but still provide an appealing and healthy meal to the family.”—Jonni McCoy

Jonni is one of the leading experts on shopping and frugal living. A versatile author, shopping guru, media spokesperson, and public speaker, Jonni has been helping increase the shopping power of people for over twenty years. She has reached best-seller status several times, and been featured in print media such as Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Family Circle. She also regularly appears on Christian radio program, Focus on the Family.

Healthy Meals for Less is not just your run-of-the-mill cookbook. It provides delicious and wholesome recipes for meals like tandoori chicken, salmon pasta delight, and popover pizza, as well as commonly used mixes and sauces such as pesto sauce, Italian seasoning, and salsa. “Kitchen Tips” are scattered throughout the cookbook, as well as “Blue Ribbon Awards” which are given to the most nutritionally sound recipes in each chapter.

So fire up your oven and purchase Healthy Meals for Less on Vyrso today!

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Review: Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck

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“After shocking them with the I-own-the-Café-and-gave-up-Barcelona story, I revived them with CPR and asked if they’d like to help me move into the carriage house Monday evening.” —Excerpt from Sweet Caroline

Rachel Hauck, author of Sweet Caroline, began writing when she was just ten years old. Her first book was about a girl and her pony, and was handwritten in a spiral notebook. She grew up knowing she was born to write. When Rachel graduated with her degree in journalism she began travelling countries such as Australia, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Ireland, and Canada. Her stories are largely based on journals of her experiences across the world. Since then she has become an award winning, bestselling author of twelve novels with more to come.

About Sweet Caroline:

Caroline Sweeny was always known for being the responsible one in the family. She never took risks, and always did what seemed most practical. However, when her dear friend challenges her to accept the chance of a lifetime and take a new job in Barcelona, Spain, she says “yes” to destiny. This new adventure comes to a grinding halt when she finds out that she has inherited the Lowcountry Café, a small, rundown diner at which she waitresses. She can’t bear the thought of putting all of her fellow employees out of jobs, so she decides to stay and run the diner.

While she is figuring out the future of the Lowcountry Café, dashing Deputy Sherriff J.D. steals Caroline’s heart. Soon after this her very first love, Mitch O’Neal, comes back to town. Mitch causes her to second-guess both her ownership of the café and her love for the Sherriff.  Caroline must make some difficult choices about where she wants to be in life and who she wants to spend it with.

Purchase Sweet Caroline on Vyrso today and find out what Caroline does with the tough choices she faces.

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