Intentional to REMEMBER

Chad Merrell - Lead Pastor | North Rock Hill Church - Rock Hill, SC

We can’t lead if we don’t know where we are going.  We also can’t lead if we forget from where we have come.

Intentionality is key in discipleship.  Once we begin to understand who we are in Christ (identity), we then begin to grow in understanding that God not only changes WHO we are, but also HOW we are and WHAT we do (purpose).  Our new identity as His People gives us new purpose to live His mission! 

But, there is often a problem: as we grow, we can forget what it was like to be lost and searching.  We start out with keen awareness that God moved miraculously in our life, but we sometimes are prone to move from awe of God to pride in self.  We can easily take on a critical nature toward others, growing impatient with lost people or new believers.  This is not a new problem.  The world changes, but people don’t really change all that much. 

Way back in the Old Testament, in the first few books of the Bible, we see God move to multiply a people for Himself. He delivers them, miraculously, from slavery in Egypt.  These people carried God’s name (identity), but they quickly forgot what that identity required of them (purpose).  An entire generation missed out on God’s promises because they forgot what it was like to desperately need Him.  Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10 that the people of God had experienced the Exodus, crossed the parted Red Sea, ate the manna, drank water from the rock, but lacked faith.  They had forgotten… then in verse 11 These things happened to them as examples…written for our instruction.  In Joshua 4, we see the effort that Joshua took to ensure that the new generation of the people of God didn’t make the same mistake.  He called them to remember and even to build memorials that ensured they’d be INTENTIONAL to REMEMBER for generations to come.  Why?  We are prone to forget.

Years ago, my brother introduced me to a great tool to help me REMEMBER.  We call it the “Anti-Psalm 23”. 

Psalm 23 is song of assurance and protection under the care of a loving Shepherd.  The Anti-Psalm 23 is a way to remind myself that none of these assurances and protections are true for those who are not following Jesus. Many people I meet daily cannot rest in the care of the Shepherd.  The ANTI-Psalm 23 is a reminder of the stark reality of lostness and life without Christ.  I would encourage you to take some time to read Psalm 23, think about the truth of the care, guidance, protection and assurance we have under the Shepherd’s care.   Then take time to re-write it, as if those things were no longer true.  Be intentional to REMEMBER.

Here is my Anti-Psalm 23.., one of the ways I am INTENTIONAL to REMEMBER:

I have no Shepherd;
I don’t even know where to look for all that I need.

I don’t remember the last time I felt at rest,
I’m out here all alone.  I am thirsty…scared

I am tired and feeling old, used up;
am I even going the right way
What is the use?

At every turn I find myself in the darkest valley,
danger surrounds me,
I am all alone out here;
If I’m going the wrong way, no one can even correct me,
If I get hurt, who would comfort me?


I feel shame, I’m weak and embarrassed;
I hope my enemies can’t see this;
I better keep my head down;
I feel empty… is there any hope?

Seems like worry and cold pursue me;
Is this all there is to my life?
I wish I could just go home, but where is that? Who would have me?

This life… is this all there is?   

Thank God that Psalm 23 as David wrote it is my reality.  My awe of Jesus and dependence on the Father increase when I’m intentional to remember my life without Him.  My heart’s desire is for others to have this reality of security, identity, and purpose when I am intentional to Remember. 

What does this have to do with intentionality in making disciples? 

  • Intentionality to REMEMBER ensures that we avoid the trap of taking on the posture of “expert”. This helps us be intentional to love others well, walking with them patiently; meeting them where they are, instead of demanding they walk at our pace.

  • Intentionality to REMEMBER helps me to maintain a desperation for God to act and protects me from an entitlement that he should, keeping me prayerful

  • Intentionality to REMEMBER helps me to seek to grow in my own discipleship, and not be content with being ahead of someone else, or ahead of where I used to be.

  • Intentionality to REMEMBER reminds us of the urgency to live out the purposes of God instead of settling for a new identity. It keeps us Moving Toward, Being Changed By and Living On Mission with, JESUS… protecting against inevitable pride and self-assurance that is soon to follow when I forget.