Monday, November 14, 2011

November 15, 2011

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:23-26

Once you have seen Jesus and understand Who He is, you can never be the same! Peter's confession of Christ shaped his life forever! It was his defining moment.

How did it define his life?

First, it defined His meaning.

Peter was a fisherman become follower. Jesus had promised him He would become a "fisher of men". But had that happened yet? No really. So, what value is there in being a non-fishing fisherman? Not much.

Fully knowing Who Jesus was meant that Peter now would fish differently with different bait, a new hook and a bigger net!

His new bait? JESUS!

His new hook? LOVE!


Second, it defined his mission.

When Peter first decided to follow Jesus he left his nets and his boat to learn about this amazing new Rabbi. He became a follower because of what it could do for him and if it did not work he could always go back to fishing. Peter had a fall back position - a "plan B".

His confession of Jesus would change that forever!

Once you truly understand Who Jesus is and confess Him as Savior and Lord, there is no more "plan B". Either you are all in or you are out! Peter understood that. His mission was to be fully committed to making Christ known to others. The news was too good to keep! Evangelizing became His purpose and His top priority.

Committing to Christ marks the end of casual, aimless living!

How did he do? Read the first several chapters of Acts!

Third, it defined his message.

When you know Who Jesus is, how can you stay silent about it? When you have witnessed miracles and seen people delivered and the dead raised, how can you not tell others about that? You can't! You must!

Others needed to hear it and Peter needed to tell.

How did he do? Read the first few chapters of Acts!

Once you understand Who Christ is and once you confess Him it should dramatically and fundamentally change you! It should change your meaning - has it? It should change your mission - has it? And it should change your message - what are you talking about?

November 14, 2011

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23

The best definition of discipleship that I have heard comes from Eugene Peterson, a prolific Christian writer and author of The Message translation of the Bible. He describes discipleship as "a long obedience in the same direction". Isn't that good? A long obedience in the direction of God and His Word and His will!

It sure fits with Jesus' call to His disciples here in this verse!

A disciple decides every day to aim his desires at God and shape his feelings, emotions and decisions around obeying Him. And then, the next day he awakes and does the same thing - and the next and the next and, well, you know. That is a "long obedience" in that direction.

A disciple daily chooses to deny himself of any desire, thought or habit that would tug the disciple in an opposite direction. Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, he guards every thought and reigns in every action. And then the next day he awakes and does the same - and the next and the next and, well, you know. That is a "long discipline" in God's direction.

A disciple takes up his cross daily - not the necklace or the bracelet or the lapel pin - the one that hurts, the one that demands him to die to self and sin. The disciple doesn't actually carry his cross, he lays down on it and dies. He dies to self so Christ can live through him in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And then the next day he awakes and does it again. And the next day! And the day after that! That is what it means to die daily - a long obedience in God's direction!

As you begin this new week, where will you aim your life? How will you direct your way? Who will you follow? Who will you please? What will you serve? Will you have to get back on course? Have you back tracked or strayed in another direction? Will you aim yourself in God's direction - again?