Potential Fears of Discipleship.

In Matthew 10:24-42 there are a handful of potential fears that a disciple of Jesus could have. To summarize they are ridicule because if they spoke against Jesus they will speak against you (v25), revealing because everything from their deeds to ours will be revealed (v26), discomfort because Jesus calls us to speak what He shows us (v27), death because there will be those who desire to take the life of the believer (v28), and finally, family rejection because those who do not understand your new devotion to Christ can reject you because they do not know the new you (v35&36).  Jesus calms almost all of these fears by saying don’t fear and which is easier said than done, however, the key to not fearing is found in verse 25 where Jesus says that it is enough for a disciple to become like his teacher. If we look at the life of Jesus we then have an example of how to conquer these fears and that is by relying on God’s power. The greatest example of this would be Jesus praying in the garden before His crucifixion. In that moment of His greatest trial, Jesus went to prayer so our response to times of trial whether persecution, rejection, or just fear should be to seek God in prayer to ask for strength. If the goal of discipleship is to be more like Jesus, then it must be accomplished by moving in His strength and power. This is not a mimicking although there is a time for that but instead true reliance on His power and strength.

 

Just a thought,

Mike

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Counting the Cost

In Luke 14:28-32 Jesus speaks of counting the cost to be a disciple and while I am not actually going to be discussing that topic I think the advice He gives is pretty sound and useful for other areas because after all, He is Jesus and Jesus does not give bad advice. If you are wondering if we are allowed to take His advice out of its context I would say in this instance yes. Let me explain… If I were to tell you that proper air pressure in your car tires is good for getting the best possible gas mileage and for decreasing the risk of an accident would that advice also apply to a truck? What about a motorcycle? The answers are yes and yes. The advice is solid advice and can be applied to anything with tires actually. In the same way, the advice Jesus gives about counting the cost of being a disciple applies to other situations and we can feel comfortable saying this because Jesus actually used nonspiritual examples on why we count the cost.

So what cost am I counting? Why do I bring this up? Well as I may have said (I am not sure) my wife and I are in the process of becoming foster parents and let me tell you this is not for the faint of heart. There is quite a bit of money involved, a ton of paperwork, many probing questions, and a bunch of time. Then there is the fact that all along the way there have been things to discourage us. If it were not for the fact that we believe that God has called us to do this I would have stopped.

The hardest parts though are the spiritual parts. We have rarely felt like we were under such a spiritual attack as we are since starting this process. I mean everything from money being stolen out of our bank (we got it all back but grr), to the “new” car needing $650 worth of work, to crazy out of nowhere arguments, and of course full frontal “you’re not good enough” feelings. I am honestly tired. I am so tired that I can hardly express how tired I am. To top it off I have a math class I am taking right now and I do not have the patience to understand what 1√5 means or why I care.

What does this have to do with counting the cost? Well at the outset of this process we knew this was what God was calling us to, but we had no idea how hard it would be and we are not even done yet. What I do know (and did know) is that if God is calling us then we would pay any cost because it is always worth it. When God is calling you to something it is always worth the cost and there will always be a cost. You just need to settle that in your mind. Service to God will cost you something. David said in 2 Samuel 24:24 when he was offered free items “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” What it cost you depends on your relationship with God. Maybe it is money, maybe time, maybe pride, maybe risk, or maybe… Whatever it is the cost is the part you pay to be more like Christ because after all that is what the Father is doing. He is trying to mold you into the image of His Son. I like the way the King James reads 2 Cor 3:13 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

If God is calling you to something then count the cost if you can. Knowing that it will cost you more than you expect but it also worth whatever the cost is.

Just a thought,

Mike

Q&A – Define a minister

I was recently asked to detail the biblical concept of being a “minister.” This is what I came up with

As ministers of the gospel we must remember that we are forgiven servants of Christ, sent as ambassadors, working in and acting out of love, pleading with people to be reconciled to God, we are not above the people we are called to minister to but instead come along side of those who are in need. It must always be remembered then that first we are forgiven. This reminds us that we did not start off from a position of greatness but needed rescuing ourselves. Second, we are ambassadors of Christ. He is Lord and it is His message that is to be proclaimed. Third, we are to work in and out of love not lording over those who need grace. Jesus is the only one who had the right to lord over anyone and He chose not to. Instead, He died on the cross in order to free us from our sins. Fourth, and this ties back into being ambassadors we are to plead with people to be reconciled to God. God has done all the work, and He has completed the heavy lifting. It is now to those who are at odds with Him to turn and receive what He offers. Fifth and finally, we are to come alongside those who are in need and not live so far from them that they cannot hear the message. We are to be in but not of the world but all too often we instead sit hidden from the world as if the stain might get back on us. Christ came in the flesh and dwelt among us so we should not hide from the world.

Just a thought,

Mike

2 Peter 1:3-4

Much energy has by been used by Christians in praying to receive power from God to overcome sin and live a godly life. Peter writes in his second epistle in 1:3 that we have everything required to live a life for God. A believer need not struggle for the power to live a godly life any more than Adam had to struggle to take his first breath. Adam’s breath was given to him by God and the power to live a life for God comes from God. God did not expect those who were in sin to suddenly turn and by their own might obey Him but because of His glory and goodness, He called us and equipped us for that very life. Peter continues in verse 4 by contrasting the natural life and the divine life. He says that we as believers now share in the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. This by default contrasts the two lives first our original life characterized by evil desires and second God’s divine life that is goodness and love. We are given, because of God’s love, the one thing that makes godly living possible that is Christ in us. His nature has become our nature not that we become gods but that God has come to empower us to live for Him.

Just a thought,

Mike

Colossians 1:10

It is God’s desire for His children to walk with Him in fellowship and in the works He has prepared ahead of time for them. Verse 10 of Colossians if read on its own starts with something that has the potential to strike fear into the heart of the believer “walk worthy of the Lord.” This can cause one to instead of walking in joyful fellowship walk on eggshells wondering if they are pleasing the God they serve. However, we read in verse 9 that Paul says that when you are filled with the knowledge of God’s will then you will walk worthy of Him, pleasing Him, bearing fruit, and growing in the knowledge of Him. Fruitful ministry and growth in Christ does not come on its own apart from first receiving Him. A servant of God in ministry can no more have a successful ministry apart from Christ then a car can move without an engine. It is Jesus that gives fruitfulness when we walk with Him, and it is in walking with Him that we know more of Him. The cycle continues because as we know more of Him and are constantly filled with Him we go and are fruitful in the things that He has called us to.

So today as you go about your ministry whether it be a pastor, missionary, evangelist, dad, mom, teacher, police officer, server, or what have you. Remember first to connect with the God who loves you so. Before you attempt to reach those who are hurting and needing that love make sure you have received it because you cannot give what you do not possess.

 

Just a thought,

Mike