From Jessup

Hey guys, my name is Jessup Pyun. My wife Christine and I live in Torrance with our two kids Noah and Harper, where we struggle with disciple-making.

Being a private person, disciple-making has never come easily to me. After a few early attempts to disciple my friends when I first became a believer, I stopped actively looking for those opportunities, having grown disillusioned and impatient with God's timeline of progress for them. In the meantime, my own walk with the Lord has had its own set of challenges.

When I think of my walk with God many words come to mind but "flourishing" is not one of them. It has often felt like a hard slog through the mud where God has used my failings to magnify His grace. And yet through it all He has used Kyu Ho's stubborn persistence to remind me of His faithfulness and to embody Jesus's vision for Peter as "the rock" when he was anything but. I often accused Kyu Ho of confirmation bias whenever he saw me as being better than I was but I recognize now that it was as much aspirational as it was actual, the way friends see each other. In short, I have been the direct beneficiary of a discipleship relationship, the kind of lifetime friendship that I was too short-sighted to see that God had in store. Because of this I am compelled to consider disciple-making. It is evangelism on a time-scale that is closest to God's: infinity.

Nevertheless, even now, I know that this is not enough to make me love the lost. A private, grumpy, unloving person who has benefited from others will remain a private, grumpy, unloving person without something else. In recent years, therefore, I have found myself in a dilemma. I recognize the need and the good that results from disciple-making but I still do not have the compulsion to make them. Knowing the Law has never been enough for me.

So what can compel me? For a private person, an outpouring of his life must be exactly that: an almost involuntarily overflowing of joy and love. To focus on the lost, therefore, I have had to focus on my relationship with God, to focus on joy. I asked myself how often I felt joy and tellingly I had to answer that it was not very often. While I was happy in my marriage and ached with love for my family, the joy of becoming a christian, of experiencing God in stillness and wonder was something that I had not felt, let alone thought about, for years. This was clearly a problem and an unnatural state of affairs since God created us for joy.

As I have wrestled with God and engaged with Kyu Ho about this work of disciple-making, I have renewed my focus on joy. I have found that even just thinking about it makes you inclined to feel it. It also reorients you to think about everything else that God has in store for you: obedience, love, hope, and all the other fruits of being in a relationship with the Alpha and the Omega. Feeling joy has made even someone like me think about others, about sharing my joy the way a new father passes out cigars, even to strangers. It has been fruitful for me and I hope that it is fruitful for you.