disciple (dih-sayh-puhl) noun, verb. A person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower
"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master" (Mt. 10:24).
Are you a disciple of Jesus, an adherent of His doctrines? If we claim to be followers of Christ, we cannot pretend to be above the teachings of Jesus. We are to be like Him in every way. We are to share in His loves and hates, His joys and sorrows. Everything we lived for before answering His call to, "Follow me!" is dead, buried in a deep grave. Including our dreams and goals, our hopes for the future.
Can I be honest with you all for a minute? I am a dreamer, and as such have visions of what the perfect life would look like. I've always wanted to get married, to have a big family, to take family vacations and build a home and walk through the joys and sorrows of parenting with a spouse. Recently, I put these dreams on the altar. I cannot serve two masters. I cannot keep one hand on my "dreams checklist" and one in the hand of Jesus. When I gave my heart to Jesus years ago, I tried to fit Him into my life. But the sovereign God of all the universe cannot be minimized to a human-size god. I have been convicted of my adultery in the years since, and have come to this conclusion: When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He leaves no room for anything or anyone else to stay where He invades. You cannot say you love Him and still hold onto your plans and dreams, to your stuff, to your family, to your house. You have no claim on any of that anymore. Instead, we are to become students of the Teacher. His dreams replace ours. And everything and everyone we love is held in an open hand.
Have you neglected to give God your dreams? If you truly want to follow Him, there is no room for your futile goals and plans. You were bought at a price...your life is not your own.
"Another disciple said to him, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.' But Jesus told him, 'Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead'" (Mt. 8: 21-22).
There is no, "I'll follow you, but...______________." I'll follow you but I'm going to get married. I'll follow you but I will never go to Africa. I'll follow you but I'm going to save this money for a cushy retirement. I'll follow you but I'm not giving up this house. I'll follow you but I'm going to raise my kids the way I want to raise them. I'll follow you but I'm not going to forgive that person. I'll follow you but there's no way I'm adopting a sick orphan! I'll follow you but I refuse to visit prisoners. I'll follow you but I can't talk to that homeless man I keep passing. I'll follow you, but...but...but...
There are no "buts" with Jesus. You are not above His teaching. It's either yes or no. If we say yes, His dreams become our dreams, His loves become our loves, and everything and everyone we have become His.
Have you made room for Him in the midst of your clutter, your dreams and goals and lists and stuff? If we are to truly follow Jesus, we need to study His teachings, His loves and hates. We need to rid ourselves of everything we have held onto for so long. We need to understand His perspective.
FAITHdare #2 once again has two parts:
1) Click HERE. Beside the title, "What the Gospel Demands," click "Notes" and print the handout. Then cuddle up with your Bible, the handout, and a pen and watch the video below in its entirety...TWICE (yes, I said two times...if you feel so led, watch it with your family the second time). When he calls for time of reflection, hit pause and answer the questions on the handout. It is about an hour long. If you've already seen it, watch it again. We all need reminders, sometimes more than one = ] Friends, this is TWO HOURS out of your life this week. Make the sacrifice. Feel free to dialogue with other team members through the comment section about what God convicts you of through this sermon.
2) Memorize Matthew 10. Yes, I said memorize. Now, before you freak out on me, let me finish. Choose for yourself how you will divide it up. Maybe you work on a verse a day for a little more than a month. Maybe you do two verses a day. It doesn't matter, just so you MEMORIZE IT. And don't even try to use the excuse we've all used at one point or another: "I'm bad at memorizing stuff!" You may be, but if you have your address memorized, or a song from the radio, or someone else's phone number, that tells me you are capable of memorizing the Word of God. In fact, this is His commission to the disciples (to YOU and ME), His final instructions before sending them out into the world. These are the instructions you are giving up everything to follow...so read the fine print, and put it into your heart. Remember, His loves are your loves...His dreams are your dreams. You are not above ANY of His words.
This may seem like a strange dare. This month is all about laying a foundation for what is to come...we have to understand God's perspective on the issues we will be uncovering the rest of the year. Let's be about building a solid foundation this month, a foundation built with conviction and the Word of God!