Author's details

Name: jm
Date registered: March 10, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Disciple Dojo - Exodus 3 – Ruth’s Chris Bible Study (video) — January 27, 2015
  2. Disciple Dojo - Thayer Thursday – Being part of the miracle — January 22, 2015
  3. Disciple Dojo - Exodus 2 – Ruth’s Chris Bible Study (video) — January 20, 2015
  4. Disciple Dojo - Thayer Thursday – loose strings and Bible reading — January 15, 2015
  5. Disciple Dojo - Exodus 1 – God IS King! (video) — January 13, 2015

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  4. Disciple Dojo - Christians and same-sex discussion – Round 2: My response (continued, 2) — 1 comment
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Author's posts listings

Jan 27 2015

Disciple Dojo - Exodus 3 – Ruth’s Chris Bible Study (video)

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Hi Dojo readers,

Today at our Tuesday Ruth’s Chris Lunchtime Bible Study we looked at Exodus 3 and the call of Moses.

After 40 years of shepherding in obscurity in Midian (what is today northwest Saudi Arabia), Moses has a face to face  encounter with the the God of his people. We’re introduced to the concept of “holiness” for the first time, officially, as well as the first of what will be many “Fire Theophanies” in Scripture.

Here’s the video for those who couldn’t be there in person. Enjoy, and be sure to click “subscribe” on the Youtube page (that really helps this ministry!). Also, if you are in the South Park area of Charlotte any Tuesday from 12-1pm, come join us for a free Ruth’s Chris lunch and our ongoing journey through the book of Exodus!

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Jan 22 2015

Disciple Dojo - Thayer Thursday – Being part of the miracle

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Chris Thayer is the Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC where he oversees adult life groups and Biblical education. On Thursdays I share his weekly “Thayer’s Thoughts” for small group leaders, which are based on the previous Sunday’s sermon. Click HERE to watch or listen to the accompanying sermon.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Luke 9:1-6


“Can you please help me?” This is a phrase heard frequently in our household by our four year old, Micaiah. It’s implied just as often by our 18 month old, Naomi. It’s shocking to see all we have to learn how to do. From getting dressed to eating—few things come naturally, most of them we learn.

As my wife and I raise our children, we are experiencing their dependence on us for all of these little things in life. We’ve also started to learn that one of our roles is to teach our children to be able do these tasks on their own. Our son needs to learn how to get dressed when I’m not around. Our daughter needs to learn how to take care of her hair when her Mommy isn’t there to pull it out of her face. We are equipping our children for life.

These lessons aren’t always easy, however. Sometimes it’s more comfortable for our son or daughter to rely on us to do something for them instead of relying on the knowledge and power that we’ve already given them by equipping them for the task. It’s easier for my son to ask me to put his coat on than it is for him to do it himself. As a parent, though, I know that my son needs more than just to put on his coat today—I need to equip him to know how to keep himself warm when I’m not there.

This is what today’s passage of scripture highlights. In Luke 9:1-6 Jesus sends the disciples out in His authority to do the same things that Jesus had been doing: driving out demons, curing diseases, and preaching the Kingdom of God. Jesus turns them from observers to participants. From passive to partner.

After they return from this trip and thousands flock to Jesus, He finds another opportunity to reinforce this lesson. It gets late and the crowd gets hungry. So the disciples decide the best thing to do is to have Jesus send them home so they can eat. However, Jesus continues to equip His disciples by telling them to give them something to eat—to perform a miracle—to do the same kind of thing He had already given them the authority and power to do just a few verses earlier. They missed the message, but Jesus didn’t miss the opportunity. Jesus thanked God for the bit of food they had and handed it to the Twelve who in turn handed it to the 5,000+ in attendance. They didn’t sit back and watch Jesus perform a miracle. Jesus made them an integral part in it. He made them His partners, His agents for delivering the food to the crowd.

As you find out when you continue to read through Luke, the rest of the Gospels, and Acts—there is a purpose for this: Jesus is going to leave, but He is going to give His authority and power to His followers to act in His name, to accomplish His mission. It is only through His power, but it is by the hands of His people.

This might stir up your view of God a little bit. It might shock you to hear that God doesn’t just want His followers to sit back while He does all the work but wants us to be active participants, partners even, in the work of His Kingdom. Where has God asked you to partner with Him? Where might you be asking Him to do something by Himself when He wants to partner with you in it?


Chris Thayer

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Jan 20 2015

Disciple Dojo - Exodus 2 – Ruth’s Chris Bible Study (video)

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Hi Dojo readers,

Today we continued our study through the book of Exodus at our weekly lunchtime Bible study at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse here in Charlotte.

This week we come to the birth story of Moses. Once again, it is the women who play a prominent role in God’s unfolding plan of salvation. We also get a glimpse into what kind of person Moses truly was (which is not how he is ever portrayed in various popular retellings of the story), as well as the difference between our timetables and God’s.

Enjoy the video and be sure to click “subscribe” over on Disciple Dojo’s Youtube channel so that this ministry can continue to grow!

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Jan 15 2015

Disciple Dojo - Thayer Thursday – loose strings and Bible reading

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Chris Thayer is the Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC where he oversees adult life groups and Biblical education. On Thursdays I share his weekly “Thayer’s Thoughts” for small group leaders, which are based on the previous Sunday’s sermon. Click HERE to watch or listen to the accompanying sermon.

I have a bad habit of pulling loose strings on my clothes. I pull them on my shirts, pants, and even shoes. Sometimes the result is benign and satisfying: I pull the thread, it breaks, and no longer bothers me. Other times the result is ripped clothing. Most recently I ruined a pair of shoes that had stitching in the front to hold the rubber on the toe. I pulled a dangling string and realized (too late) that the string ran throughout the toe of the shoe. If I had taken the time and caution to examine the string before I pulled it—I would have realized its importance and not wasted the shoes.

When we read the Bible, and the Gospels in particular– we tend to do what I do with strings on my clothes. We pull one section out, examine it, it satisfies us, and we move on. This isn’t how the Gospels (or other books of the Bible!) were intended to be read. Yet for the longest time I viewed the Gospels in particular as a collection of random threads that weren’t connected. Over the past several years I’ve grown to see the interconnectedness of the sometimes seemingly disparate stories told in the Gospels. The writers were much better at their craft than I gave them credit for. The Gospels aren’t simply stories of Jesus thrown onto paper with no connection. Instead, they tell stories of Jesus in such a way as to convey certain teachings and themes. When we look carefully and read broadly—we find a beautiful tapestry made up of these threads that run throughout the Gospels; one we won’t find if we read the stories apart from one another.

For instance, this week’s scripture (Mark 10:13-16) is part of a theme that (while found in other locations as well) runs from 9:33-10:52. After the transfiguration, Jesus’ disciples begin an argument about who among them is the greatest. Knowing they were arguing about this—Jesus corrected their assumptions about greatness and His Kingdom. As an object lesson He took a child and told them that those who welcome a child (somebody with no rights, power, or authority) – welcomes Him. The one who is last will be first and first will be last.

As we follow this thread, the attentive reader finds that Mark continues this theme by portraying multiple people who are pushed away from Jesus by others—the underprivileged and marginalized. First it is a divorced woman who is “sent away.” Then children who were being denied access to Jesus. Then (after highlighting the opposite—people who were powerful, privileged, had rights, yet didn’t understand the Kingdom of God) a blind man was “rebuked” for seeking audience with Jesus.

As Mark retells Jesus’ teaching—he uses these examples one after another to drive the point home: Jesus, and ultimately His Kingdom, is not one who pushes people away from Himself—but welcomes them. The unexpected guests are the ones allowed in: they’re the ones Jesus pursues.

Who might you be hindering from gaining access to Jesus? Yourself? The poor? The rich? Somebody of another ethnicity, age, or culture than your own? This is not the way of Jesus, nor should it be ours.


Chris Thayer

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Jan 13 2015

Disciple Dojo - Exodus 1 – God IS King! (video)

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Hi Dojo readers!

Today we started back up with our Tuesday lunchtime Bible study at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (the Fairview location near South Park Mall here in Charlotte, for those who are local!). It’s a new year and a new book–Exodus!

About 10 years ago I taught through the book of Exodus in a home small group Bible study I lead and it was one of my favorite ministry experiences. I had recently taken Intermediate Hebrew with Doug Stuart up at GCTS in South Hamilton the year before, which consisted of translating the book of Exodus and examining its syntax and grammar. It was by far one of the most demanding classes in all my years Gordon-Conwell. In fact, a classmate majoring in Biblical Languages who was also taking Hebrew at Harvard at the time said that we did more in that semester with Stuart than they did in two semesters of Hebrew at Harvard Divinity (needless to say, that made me feel not quite as dumb!). Teaching through Exodus after having studied it verse by verse under a top OT scholar was such a great experience.

That’s why I’m excited to be teaching it once again ten years later–because I’ve learned so much more about it in this past decade and seen even more how it fits into and shapes the larger Biblical canon (thanks to the works of people like Christopher Wright, Peter EnnsTerence Fretheim and my friend Tim Laniak…all of whose works I totally recommend, and which I just linked!).

I’m also looking forward to teaching Exodus in light of the recent Ridley Scott film that came out last month…and which was an absolutely dreadful and cringe-worthy adaptation of this epic story which forms the heart of the Hebrew Scriptures (if you’re curious as to why I say both of these things, you’ll have to follow along with this study to find out!).

So today was the first session and I was so happy to see a number of new faces joining us (as well as those of you who’ve been regulars over the past year and a half through our Genesis study!). I hope to see more and more new faces each week as we continue to bring greater Biblical literacy and spiritual equipping to the south Charlotte community–and to the world thanks to the magic of modern technology!

Speaking of reaching the world, Ruth’s Chris is very generous in donating the meal each week. So please consider thanking them by enjoying a nice meal sometime with someone special at their South Park or Uptown Charlotte locations! I do not get paid to do this study, but am able to provide it in part thanks to the generosity of those of you who have become monthly supporters of this ministry. If you would like to become a Dojo Donor and help ensure studies like this remain free and available online, PLEASE consider partnering on a monthly basis! It costs as little as $10 per month! To do so, or just to find out more of what’s involved, and what you can receive in return as a thank you, head over to

Okay, enough housekeeping and preliminaries. On to the study!

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Jan 12 2015

Disciple Dojo - Why you WANT to be ‘Left Behind’ (podcast)

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Hey Dojo readers,

At the end of 2014 I did a podcast with a minister friend who’s a missionary in Lima, Peru. Check out his site and our discussion about a number of things related to popular end-times teachings that many Christians have been misled into believing and promulgated far and wide over the past century. Some of what we discussed included:

  • Matthew 24 and whether a third temple needs to be built in order to fulfill Bible prophecy.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the different end times views?
  • Why you WANT to be “left behind”, because those “taken” in the Bible were never raptured or spared terror, but rather “taken” in God’s judgment!

Here’s the direct link: 


And if you still haven’t gotten your copy of my book “You WANT to be ‘Left Behind’!!”…what are you waiting for?? :) Here’s the summary and links to the digital and paperback versions:

you WANT to be ‘Left Behind’!!:
Essays on the Bible & Popular End-Times Teachings

$2.99 eBook

$12.99 Paperback (also at

“When Jesus comes to rapture the Church, you don’t want to be left behind, do you??”

The idea of believers disappearing from the earth in “the twinkle of an eye” in order to escape the “Great Tribulation” is one that has captivated the imaginations of many Christians over the past 150 years now. Multimillion dollar book, TV, video game and movie franchises have been constructed around this very concept.

But is it what the Bible actually teaches?

In this “Dojo Discussions” edition, JM Smith looks at various issues surrounding popular End Times teachings which many Christians take for granted to be solid, orthodox, Biblical teaching…with surprising results.

Could it be that when it comes to the return of Jesus, you actually WANT to be ‘left behind’??

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