This November 16-23, 2013 I will be serving The Lord through refugee relief and leadership evangelism among area business leaders in Rwanda. In January 7-18, 2014 I will be following The Lord's call to a part of India that hasn't heard the Gospel before as well as partnering with a pastor in another area that is trying to make disciples that make disciples. Here's where the call came from for me:
There's a prayer that I consistently pray when talking to God, and it's that he would make me a disciple of his. Jesus says in Mark, Chapter 8 that, 34 ..."Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." The idea of going out and finding my own tool that I would later be executed on and carrying it around with me doesn't sound too appealing (imagine carrying around an electric chair letting everyone know that you will later be killed on it), but throughout Scripture following Jesus never sounds appealing (Become homeless. Don't even go back to bury your father. Don't even say goodbye to your family. Give up everything. Sell all your things and give that money to the poor. Leave your nets, or your job, your every source of income right now. Go to places of great need and danger where you might end up losing your life. And on it goes).
So, why follow Jesus at all? Because I'm madly in love with Him. How can I not be? Jesus sacrificed & surrendered His life for me (and you, too!) so that, not only, could I live forever with Him in Heaven, but also to save me from the bondage of sin in this life and it's consequences of Hell for eternity.
Think about what you do when you're madly in love. We go to great lengths and make extreme sacrifices to be with the one we love and give to them all that we can and all that they want. True love requires sacrifice, and that love is shown by how we live our lives (1 John 3:18 "“ "Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.").
John 14:15 are the words of Jesus, and he says, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." It's simple: if we love, then we obey. In fact, we can't even help but do anything else except obey what Jesus says to us in his Word, the Bible, if we truly love him. -- Just a few of those things to obey are: "˜go and make disciples of all nations, love your enemies, go and preach the gospel in all of the world, give generously to those in need, seek God's Kingdom and righteousness above everything else, love others as ourselves,' and more.
There's a popular analogy of Christians being like manure (I know, strange, but it makes sense). You spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly. It's Biblical because Jesus created each of us to go and take the gospel to the ends of the Earth. I can't see myself doing anything less than that or let anything stop me from doing that because that would be unbiblical Christianity. So, here I am, wanting to obey what my Savior commands out of love for him.
Mark 8 ends this way, 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." Do I want to live for this world and the things in it and maybe even achieve a lot of it, yet lose my soul and have God be ashamed of me? Absolutely not. I often times think about my face-to-face encounter with Christ that we each will get where he holds us accountable for our time on Earth (2 Cor. 5). To some He will look back at and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant (Mt. 25)," and to others He will say, "I never knew you. Depart from me (Mt. 7)." I choose to live for that encounter to be one where Christ is not ashamed of me, but proud and able to say, "Well done. You were good. You were faithful. Welcome:" or however it might sound.
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