Deliberating About Discipleship

“Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14:31-33, ESV

 

This is deep thinking, and a critical analysis gives us a behind-the-scenes of what happens when kings (and armies) go to war against each other.  They count.  They try to accurately fix the hearts of their soldiers.  Their bravado is left in a speech from their balcony.  It is now the time to back off, and deliberate carefully.  There must be admissions of weakness.  Can we really fight and win this war?

Jesus brings us to the same point.  The question is definitely presented; can you really “pull this off?”  When we try to analyze this from a Godly perspective, we will end up determining our own weaknesses and flaws that no one knows about except us (and God.)  Often, understanding fully our personal issues, we will try to courageously try to fight, even though the battle in our own hearts has not really been resolved. 

We may have a deep and intense battle with our own personal lust, or pride, or of greed–but haven’t come to an understanding of freedom.  We really want to claim it, even though we haven’t seen it.  volitionally we agree, but practically we stumble, over and over.  We cry out, “I want to be real!”

The Word tells us that we are to be very deliberate about our discipleship.  So many are trying very hard to be disciples when they have a great issue with a personal holiness that would re-route this .  Simply put, there can be no victory, unless we are going to be obedient.  Jesus intends that we will become holy, because he has asked us to be.

The 33rd verse is very significant.  The definite issue is “renunciation.”  We are to come to this point, and just “turn everything” over to Him, and then renounce it all to His Kingdom.  In a sense, we back out–and give him the glory of the moment.

We really struggle with this.  There is a very definite issue of renouncing many different issues.  No matter what is decided, we are to be His, fully and specifically.  He brings us to this point, and we have to make a very definite realization to things that brings the “discipleship revelation.”  Simply, we must accept His work in us, even when He approaches us from point-blank range.

Early CCM Spotlight: Don Francisco

“The Steeple Song” was one of the best songs that framed out the CCM movement in a more definite direction.  Don Francisco became the master of the story– he would narrarate the word in popular songs.  This happened at the perfect time, as the church in the 1970s needed that approach.  You might say he was a Bible teacher who narrated his teaching with his wonderful guitar.

If (and when) we look back, Mr. Francisco will be a bright spot with his many songs.  This song, in particular calls it Churchianity when the habit of church life replaces actual Christianity.

There is one other song, “I Don’t Care Where You’ve Been Sleeping” written in 1977.  I’m giving you 2 for the price of 1 as I put his link down for you.  As you listen, I hope it will be a deep and solid blessing to your heart.

Useful links–

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Francisco_(Christian_musician)

http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/music/Don_Francisco_The_veteran_troubadour_with_a_winning_way_in_Bible_narrative_songs/36882/p1/

Taking a Book By the Horns

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Quite often, we let the Bible intimidate us.  We all can take on a verse or two.  But that is pretty weak.  The Bible isn’t made up of singular verses, but of whole books.  I intend to go on record, to encourage you to ingest the Word.  It’s as if we went to a Chinese restaurant buffet.  There is so many delicious choices.  But we load up exclusively on the “Kung Pao Chicken.”  We make many trips, but that is all we take.  Only the Kung Pao, and that’s it.

Have we really experienced this restaurant?  Or just the chicken?  The Word is amazingly extensive.  There are recipes, and there are heaping and steaming platters of things we will never personally experience, and that is a shame.  So much is there, but we pick out just one thing.

I have been reading the first few chapters of the prophet Jeremiah.  It humbles me, and I sense I’ve been sliced open and my innards have been drug out into the streets.  It has eviscerated me. It has opened me up, with a spiritual power.  I’m sorry, but “Moby Dick” or “Great Expectations” or other works of classical literature does nothing comparable for me.

God’s Word has an incredible dimension to it.  What it does is spiritually forceful.  It eagerly waits for us–this leather backed book.  At random we pick it up and start to read.  Quite quickly, it slips through our issues, and it devastates us.  It has such power that it enters our thinking, and detonates, when the time is right.  And we are left to pick-up the pieces.

You see, His presence has throughly saturated His Word.  He comes and infuses His books.  They have been dipped in His very personality and brought out for us to read and handle.  The things we discover there develop an awareness of truth and what is real.  If you study, you will hear the voice of God.

You have not arrived.  There is still a substantial work to be done.  You desperately need God’s word.  And you don’t need to become proficient or educated.  You should just strive to be holy and kind.  Even an unorthodox approach is better than none.  Please–put down the remote, take up your heart, and apply it to your Bible.  It won’t take long, but the work is eternal.

To Give Beyond Giving

“Calling his followers to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people.”

Mark 12:43, NCV

 

Heaven uses scales that earth knows nothing about.  Jesus calls out to His disciples, and they gather up close.  Life has a way of teaching us incredible things.  Circumstances usually make the best instructors.  These disciples did not need a didactic lecture.  They needed an authentic example of how of giving was processed through the economy of heaven.

The widow’s desperate poverty becomes the prime matrix of giving to the Father.  Her deposit was miniscule, hardly even enough for Jesus to even acknowledge.   Two pennies– laughable at best.  Many would give thousands more that day.  The widow gave everything she had.  The big ticket guys gave a very small precentage from their bank account.

The money box was a place of worship.  Let’s not forget that.  In our culture we have categorized everything into distinct units.  And the mindset we have means nothing ever blends or overlaps.  Our checkbook proves this as fact.

Jesus acknowledged what this very poor widow did.  Some stood close to money box, and they would evaluate the giving of each one.  The text tells us that many came “with large sums of money.”  But Jesus declared the “widow’s mite” to be supreme.  Her pathetic gift was of a utmost value.

Upside down.  The view of heaven has turned everything on it’s head.  Our first impression is almost always wrong.  This poor widow has been exalted to a place of example.  She now takes the spotlight as the model for us. Jesus makes her his Director of the Treasury for the KoG.  Two pathetic pennies!  And she becomes an astonishing pattern for us.