Friday tends to be one of those days when we are tempted to make it all about us. We have been busy all week long – giving ourselves to someone or something else and it would appear that now it is almost time to make it about ourselves. Before we make the leap, I want to share some thoughts that the Holy Spirit has been laying on my heart. And let me be the first to say: “I’ve got some work to do!”
Jesus said: “If any man would come after (follow) me, then he must deny (surrender) himself, take up his cross (sacrifice) and follow me!” This is what it means to be a Christian! Being a Christian is about so much more than getting out of Hell and into Heaven! It is so much more than going to church and going through the motions. Being a Christian is about living in a relationship of following, surrender and sacrifice!
I often hear “church attenders” make so many excuses about what they can and can’t do, about what they are and are not going to do. And what it really boils down to, is this one question: Are you going to be a Christian or not? If you are going to be a Christian, then you are going to follow Jesus because you have a “want to” to follow Jesus. If you are going to be a Christian, then you will surrender your will to His will, because you truly believe that His will is better! If you are going to be a Christian, then you will sacrifice everyday, multiple times throughout the day, because you know and appreciate the sacrifice that Jesus made for you!
Let’s stop making excuses! Let’s start making a difference! Let’s really be what we say we are! I am a Christian! I choose to follow Christ! I am excited about surrendering my will to His will! I count it all joy to be able to sacrifice for His glory and other’s blessing! I am following Jesus and I know that I am on a journey of “right direction!” Let’s do it together! The journey is so much more enjoyable when we do it together and I do it better when I have someone that I can help and someone that will help me back! I just can’t wait to see where God is going to take us together!
I am pretty excited about some of the things that God is doing in my life! I must admit that this last year has been a tough one for me personally, but I am glad for what God has taught and is teaching me through the experiences! Thank you to my family and friends who have not judged, but loved me and allowed me the space to grow. I believe that it has all come together to help me to be a more caring and effective pastor and preacher!
More than anything in this world, I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ that makes disciples for His glory and this world’s blessing! I know who I am and what God has called, created and gifted me to do. I love His Word and look forward to every opportunity I have to preach and teach it. I know where He wants to take the ministry of His church and I am excited about seeing us go there!
I hope you will make plans to join me this Sunday as we learn from Matthew 3:13-17 which shares with us the amazing story of “The Baptism Of Jesus!” There is great glory and blessing in surrender! The only plan that matters is God’s plan – work to discover it and surrender to it today!
Discipleship is one of those words that we toss around our churches like a familiar football! We know that the word discipleship has something to do with being close to God, and we convince ourselves that this is enough. We need to start thinking about discipleship and what it really means. I think that true discipleship is one of the lost gifts that God has given to the church! I am trying to get my head and heart around it, and must admit that I have a ways to go. I thought that it might be helpful for me to share with you some of the things that God has been teaching and showing me!
How do you know when discipleship is happening? Discipleship is the work of God in a person”s heart and life. When a person experiences transformation through a relationship with God, their life shines Jesus to all of those around. When you experience God’s love, you can’t help but to share that love with any and all around you.
I am afraid that many times in our churches we end up preaching a gospel that turns people into consumers of religion, rather than into disciples of relationship. The problem is this: Faith that does not grow into action is not really faith at all! Bonhoeffer said: “Only those who are obedient believe and only those who believe are obedient. Faith is the only real obedience.”
A true disciple is a person who abides in Christ, produces fruit, practices obedience, lives with joy and gives love! (John 15) If you want to be a growing disciple, then you must submit to spiritual leadership and teaching, so that you can learn to live by the words of Jesus and follow His example of ministry, which seeks to find and grow other disciples.
Are you a disciple? Would the life that you are living today prove it? I have to go – because I’ve got some work to do! I want my life to prove it!