Transformation Through Disciple-Making

Transformation through Christ happens in many ways, but one of the most powerful ways is through accountable, Sprit-formed relationships. In this week’s podcast, we talk about the influence that the people you surround yourself with have on your life and faith.
Learn more about the characteristics of discipleship and explore the importance of your connections in this week’s Walking Our Talk!

Note: Below is a transcription of this Walking Our Talk podcast. Please excuse any grammatical or punctuation flaws, as the transcription is a written version of our fluid conversation.

Pauly [00:00:07] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller. Join our conversation as we discuss practical ways to apply spiritual principles to your everyday life and help you walk your talk one step at a time.

Alan [00:00:28] Francis Chan says making disciples is all about seeing people transformed by the power of God’s word. We often forget what an honor it is that God would offer a relationship. It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. This is Alan Heller and I’m here with Pauly.

Pauly [00:00:54] Hello.

Alan [00:00:54] And we’re talking about being a disciple-maker. One of the things that Francis Chan said there that’s helpful is to realize that you will become like who you hang out with. And Scripture says bad company corrupts good morals. And so the reason why we hang out with people at church is because hopefully those people are Christ-centered. They’re wanting to grow in their faith. They’re wanting to worship and honor God. And so that’s why we hang out with those people. And then even closer than that, if you’re spending hours of a time in your week with somebody, you want to make sure that somebody is bringing you up a level closer to God doing what God says. Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ.

Pauly [00:01:45] That’s so true. And we do become like the people that we emulate and we want to be more Christlike.

Alan [00:01:56] And so I ask yourself, who am I hanging out with right now? All right. Who are the closest people in my life? And if you don’t have any close people, you should have at least one or two. And if you do have close people, do they look like Christ? Are they walking their talk? That’s what the back home message of this podcast is about, is walking our talk.

Alan [00:02:22] So we’ve covered being intentional, being faithful, sacrificial, having a vision for your disciple. The fifth one is teaching the word and coaches how to apply it. And in the last podcast, you might want to listen to that. We talked a lot about the skills of prayer and Bible study. We didn’t talk about fasting but sharing your faith. There are skills of how to do it. I mean, we used to say when we were with this organization called Campus Crusade for Christ, which is now called CRU, we used to say, oh, I’ve not been trained or whatever, but I’m 67 years old. And I can still remember Bill Bright saying, Have you made the wonderful discovery of knowing Christ personally? You’d like to, wouldn’t you?

Pauly [00:03:07] Yep

Alan [00:03:08] And we had that stuff trained into us. I will never forget that sentence. Now, that is not the way I can do it. But Bill Bright would do it. And in an elevator, see a person come to know the Lord and write on the spot. And I’ve done that maybe once or twice in my 67 or not 67, but my years. Forty seven years.

Pauly [00:03:31] The thing about Bill Bright, I was never able to say. But what I do do is if I am in conversation, a stranger. Yeah. For any period of time, say on an airplane ride or, or sitting someplace.

Alan [00:03:50] Besides asking them do they knit, what do you ask?

Pauly [00:03:53] Well usually after the small talk, the small talk will lead to a more serious discussion. And in the course of a serious discussion.

Alan [00:04:01] What will you ask? What’s your question?

Pauly [00:04:04] My tendency is if I hear somebody giving me a really difficult problem that they’re dealing with, I’ll say, can I pray for you? And then I’ll pray with them right then and there.

Alan [00:04:19] Anybody say no?

Pauly [00:04:21] No, not usually, people will say yes. And in that prayer time, because I am entering into the presence of God and pulling them into that circle of God’s presence, they feel God’s presence. I don’t know that it’s so much about the words that I’m saying, but I think that people are touched by the power of the Holy Spirit when we pray.

Alan [00:04:45] So are you saying can I pray from for you? for me, it’s saying do you ever think about spiritual things? Or how did you grow up in.

Pauly [00:04:54] Right. Mm Hmm.

Pauly [00:04:55] In your spiritual faith? And usually, everyone’s willing to share those bad experiences usually.

Alan [00:05:04] And then we turn it around and just say, you know, that wasn’t my it was my experience when I was younger. But then and I get to just share the testimony of how I came to know the Lord.

Alan [00:05:16] So you coach people in how to do the skills of really what Jesus said to do. I mean, in sharing our faith in being a part of a local body. And having community in a small group and then hopefully teaching others also. So number six would be has a lot of grace. Second, Timothy, 2:1. You there for my son. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Another place, Paul says, I not only imparted to you the gospel I imparted to you my very life. And to me, that’s the ultimate in terms of what it means to be a disciple. Or you give your life to the Lord and you give your life for others. Just like Jesus said, I came to give my life a ransom for many. And a lot of those people, frankly, don’t deserve it. And I was one of them.

Pauly [00:06:17] I’ve had an experience with grace. As I mentioned to you before, we were all together as a family one time driving down the mountain back into Phenix after being up high up in the snow. And as we drove down the mountain through a snowstorm, the snow turned to rain. And as we drove closer down into the desert, the sun came out in the distance, but it was still raining. And we saw this beautiful rainbow and the rainbow appeared to be coming down on the road ahead of us, ended up driving our high move right through the rainbow. And it was the most incredible experience. We were surrounded by this pink rose-colored light for just a couple of seconds. But it was so magical. And I’m really a wonderful experience of what it’s like to be surrounded by God’s grace, now enveloped, completely enveloped, like our whole car outside and inside was glowing in this pink light. And I realized later that that’s the way the grace of God is. We don’t have, like, a little spot of grace here to cover this sin and a little spot of grace over here that covers that sin when we confess it. But until we confess it, that sin isn’t covered by God’s grace. We’re immersed in God’s grace. We are surrounded by it completely.

Alan [00:08:02] So be strong in grace. Number seven, Pray. A discipler prays. Luke. 6:12. The twelve Apostles. Jesus went out to the mountain to pray. So there’s the example of the leader praying, going out to the mountain and pray. He spent the night praying to God. When the morning came he called his disciples to him and chose 12 of them, who he also designated as apostles. So, I mean, this was a very important decision that Jesus was going to make. And so he prayed and fasted. And those are good examples for us. And we need to be a good example of that to those we’re disciples. And then one who serves sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve. And this is at the Last Supper.

Alan [00:08:54] If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and a servant of all. And of course, he washed the disciple’s feet. So what are the ways you can wash your disciple’s feet? What is the need that they have? Just asking them. When you have an appointment with them and you spend time with them and you ask them some questions about their family or problems they’re having the next time you get together. It should be an automatic thing. Hey, how’s your mom? You know, you told me she was in the hospital. That kind of care really affects and infects your disciple.

Pauly [00:09:32] Mm hmm. And it’s a form of humbling myself and serving the other.

Alan [00:09:40] Caring more about their needs than my needs. So, you know, that whole thing about I come into the room and I either say, here I am, God’s gift to you, I’m going to teach you stuff, or I say, there you are. How may I help you?

Pauly [00:09:53] Mm hmm. Well, that somebody is overwhelmed by something. Maybe they’ve just prepared a big meal in their kitchen. Is it just a big mess? And you’ve partaken of that meal to say, let me do these dishes for you. Can. How can I help you clean, clean this up? It’s not we don’t wash one another’s feet in our society. We all wear shoes and socks. Pretty much. It’s just. And it’s indoor plumbing is readily available to just go and wash your own feet. So we don’t have servants do that for us, but we can do tasks for one another that would otherwise be relegated to someone a little lower in the chain. You know, like, let me take out that garbage for you. Let me wipe off these countertops for you. I’ll be happy to help clean out your refrigerator.

Alan [00:10:50] And that’s what John 13:4 and following says. So Jesus, he got up from the meal. The Last Supper took off his outer clothing, wrapped a towel around his waist. And after that, he poured water into a base and began to wash his disciple’s feet, who were probably smelly and caked with mud, drying them with a towel that was wrapped around him. There are times to go out of my way to be somewhere or do something for someone I am working with.

Alan [00:11:21] I’ve gone to hospitals. I’ve in the middle of a situation where I had an appointment, but this person in front of me had a need and I said, Oh, I’m going right that way. I can go do that. And they went, Oh, OK, great. So you catch people off guard. I have gone to softball games. I have gone to football games of kids that are five years old that have no idea how to play football because not for the kid. I wanted to tell the dad, I care about you. I care about who you love as much as you do.

Alan [00:12:02] Then number nine is be willing to get close and let the disciples see your strength as well as your weaknesses. So be an observer of them, but also let them be an observer for you. A mentor of mine, Howard Hendricks, used to say that his students felt it was most helpful to see what he was, not what he became. So many times he was talking about something in the present and then he’d give a story about in the past when he blew it or something, and his students and seminary would just go like, gosh, Prof. We didn’t know what happened to you. We thought you were perfect.

Alan [00:12:46] So I remember driving some guys to men’s group and passing an exit to where we were going on a weekend together. And we were finding out about ourselves and each other. They were finding out that I got very absorbed in conversation and missed the exit and had to and I had to forgive me for that. And I had to try and not react defensively to them.

Alan [00:13:10] So number 10 is a discern or what are the person’s felt needs? And what’s the difference between felt need and really need? Many times I’ll start with what the person is saying, even though I disagree that this isn’t the strongest need that they have. I’ll say, OK, let’s talk about your brother and the fact that you’re in conflict and all that sort of thing when really I know they’re just they’re not really in other areas doing what they need to do to be the person they need to be to that brother. We need to be discerner. I may see someone’s marriage who’s hurting. And I’ll start with communication, but then go to something else.

Alan [00:13:55] Sometimes I’ll help somebody spend time with golf and give that that’ll be an opportunity to get into their marriage. In other words, it’s something they like to do. There are sort of off guard and then I might say, so how’s your wife? Cause he then slices the ball and tells me. Can we talk about golf and not my wife? But eventually, we get into it. So working with a guy who’s struggling with pornography, I sometimes, you know, don’t comment on it right away, but I start to build trust and then talk about what’s this issue that is controlling his life and about to ruin his marriage.

Pauly [00:14:36] Yeah, you do have to see what’s going on beneath the surface and ask questions about those things. And I think that that’s tricky. I think that that’s taking a risk because especially for somebody like me because I tend to be a people pleaser and I don’t want somebody to get upset with me. You, on the other hand, tend to charge right in and ask those hard questions. But I might see that somebody is uncomfortable with something that I’ve said but not want to remark on it. But I will hear a little prompting inside my head or the Holy Spirit is saying you need to ask about. This you need to ask them about this other thing that you’re sensing, which is not what they’re talking about, but you ask that hard question and that’s when it all opens up.

Alan [00:15:40] So we need to be a discerner and then we need to be eleven, a learner. Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and favor with God in favor with Man Luke 2:52. We need to grow intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, grow in our relationship with others. And that’s your job as a disciple or is to help this person grow in those areas.

Pauly [00:16:05] Well, I think it’s important to not neglect those other areas because sometimes people get really out of balance and they tend to move easily toward the things that come easily to them and neglect the areas that are difficult, that require more discipline or saying no to things that they want to do. So when you are disciples in them that you’re not just concerned about whether or not they’ve done their Bible study, whether or not they’ve memorized their version verses. Yeah, because it’s are a whole person. Yeah. You are a whole person. And maybe you’re watching them. Oh, you met with them, but you haven’t seen them for a while. And the next time you get together, you realize they’ve gained four or five pounds. And then you get together with them again and they’ve gained four or five more. And it’s like, what’s happening with your eating habits? Are you eating any fresh fruits and vegetables? Are you?

Alan [00:17:10] The things that are seen are easy. It’s a little harder when there are conflicts and inner turmoil. And, you know, they’re just in the news was a national pastor who just committed suicide and his home ministry was about that. And somewhere somebody maybe there’s nothing anybody could have done about it. But being willing to ask the hard questions is important, especially when it’s stuff that you can’t see, the weight, the eating, sleeping. You know, those things. But they’re still important.

Alan [00:17:46] How did Jesus teach? We talked about this, that hidden model it and then he’d do it with them. Then he would let them do it and give them input, and then he’d let them do it themselves.

[00:17:57] Twelve. The last one is we must walk our talk. We must try and do what we’re telling them to do. Don’t do this. Do as I say, not as I do. And I’ve noticed as leaders get more removed from people, they end up doing things that they wouldn’t do and they wouldn’t allow their people under them to do. But I think we could take a cue from Coach John Wooden, who is a great UCLA coach, probably one of the best coaches of all time. When he asked his players to stay, he would ask them to stay in the hotel when they were in town. He would do it, too. He would stay with them. He would model what it means to walk your talk. And he could’ve stayed at his house, but he stayed with his players just like they did.

Alan [00:18:50] Disciplers they’re not perfect people, but they’re progressing people. And are you ready to be one? This is Alan Heller and Pauly. And if you want more information, you can email me at: And we’d love to talk to you and answer any questions you have if you have never made a decision to ask Christ into your life and you don’t know what it’s like to experience the abundant life that he promised. I would encourage you right now to just ask him. Lord, come into my life. I ask you to forgive all the sins, the things that have separated me from you. And I ask you to come in right now. Make me the kind of person you want to be. You want me to be. So that I can love the way you love. And I can walk the way you walk. And I can talk the way you talk. We’ll see you next time.

Pauly [00:19:57] This has been walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, where we put into action those principles. We know from God’s word one step at a time. You can find more help at our Web site:


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