It Will ‘Cost’ You!

31 July 18

Before you truly commit to a goal, you must be sure that you understand all of the ‘COSTS’ that are involved with achieving that goal, and confirm that you are willing to ‘paying the price’ before you get involved too deeply.

Most of us first think about how much money something will cost. I can definitely relate to this personally.

I am about 15-20 pounds over my ‘ideal’ weight, so I decided to go on the “Atkins Diet” (which has worked well for me in the past). But, as I also know from past experience, my food bill is going to increase, since it requires a lot more expensive proteins and organic foods—but it will be worth it when I achieve my weight goal.

Costs aren’t simply confined to the financial, though. Another obvious ‘cost’ is the investment of time. Again, personally, I will have to spend a bit more time preparing my meals ‘fresh’ to follow the program, so I can be successful with my weight loss. So, you must make sure you understand how much time it will truly take to work on your goal, since you won’t ever to be able to get that time back.

However, some costs, beyond time and money, are almost impossible to quantify—i.e. emotional and social costs. Anytime one is on any diet that changes the ‘norm’ eating pattern, there can be some ‘frustrations’ when you are not losing the weight fast enough (or even gain some weight, which is normal with a no carb diet in the first few weeks), or having to explain why you can’t eat certain things when everyone else around you is (like birthday cake!).

You also have to consider how long these costs will be exacted. In some cases, it can be a long process, and the ‘cost’ continues to mount over time.

One example of this would be an Olympic athlete, that has to put in time, money, and even limit their relationships (so they are not ‘distracted’) to achieve that goal of winning a gold medal. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time (with a total of 28 medals), began swimming competitively at 7 years old, and held the national record for his age group in the 100-meter butterfly when he was just 10 years old. During his Olympic training phases, he would swim a minimum of 80,000 meters (50 miles) per week, training five to six hours a day, six days a week, and was on a very regulated diet (I’m sure way more restrictive than my “Atkins” diet, and probably way more expensive, too!).

 

Anything worthwhile in life comes with a ‘cost’ involved. There is always a personal sacrifice that is required with possessing something valuable. This is true whether it is succeeding at sport, work, a marriage, or with a musical instrument.

[ Note: Cellist Yo Yo Ma, having started performing at the age of four, has estimated that he has practiced over 50,000 hours over the course of his career. That’s 6,250 8-hour days—over 17 years playing his cello! ].

 

There’s a ‘motto’ in and around the exercise industry that says, “No pain, no gain,” and I think that pertains to any ‘stretching’ goal you try to achieve—just be realistic about the cost. As long as you can make it work, and you feel the cost is worth it, go ahead and ‘pay’ it.

 

So, when you “count the cost,” you take inventory of everything that needs to happen before you pursue a goal, and consider the risks. Now, you may not know every little detail that needs to be achieved in the process, but you can, at least, get a sense of all the ‘big rocks’ that will need to be accomplished in order for you to have success at accomplishing your goal.

This concept isn’t a new one. The term “count the cost” actually is a ‘substantial’ teaching of Jesus in the Bible.

Jesus ’strongly’ encouraged His followers to deliberate about what it means to follow Him. Many times you get the sense that Jesus’ disciples really didn’t understand what it would take for them live out His teachings.

So, in order to get his point across, Jesus uses examples of how planning ahead of time can lead to a successful outcome.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” [ Luke 14:28-30 ].

This teaching could not be more obvious. Achieving success at the end of the journey starts at the beginning of the journey.

 

Sometimes when considering a ‘project’, we imagine that the cost of the process will be too great, and we don’t want to go through the struggle and the pain. So we never start, we never commit, and we never succeed.

Jesus knew the ‘cost’ for His disciples following and applying His teachings would be great—He wanted them to “count the cost” (most would ultimately lose their lives in service for Him). He wanted them to know that the circumstances that lay ahead so they could be prepared and finish what they started (one crucial step towards having success with a plan is actually following the plan through to completion).

They needed something ‘deeper’ than just knowledge. They needed ‘conviction’—and so do we for any task we set out to achieve.

Conviction is a step beyond commitment. A person with conviction says, “I’m ready to die for my commitment.” When convicted, that commitment has now become a ‘passion’ in your life. You eat it, sleep it, live it—every day, every moment. There are no lengths—within the bounds of morality and law—that you won’t go to for your ‘cause’ or goal.

There’s an old business fable about conviction. In this story, there’s a father and son sitting at the breakfast table. The son says, “Dad, I’m learning about conviction versus contribution in school, and I’m trying to grasp it, but I can’t quite understand the difference.” So, the father thinks about it for a minute and says, “Son, look down at your plate and tell me what do you see.” His son says, “Ham and eggs, dad.” The father then says, “Well, son, that chicken made a contribution to your breakfast, and that pig made a conviction!”

 

So then, what kind of dedication is required to be a ‘convicted’ disciple of Jesus? Well, just like any other ‘pursuit’ you have, one needs to COUNT THE ‘COST’—and Jesus was very upfront about what it will take to follow Him—loving Him above all other things and relationships.

 

BUILDING A TOWER
As was mentioned previously, that raises the big question about how do we ‘calculate’ the cost of following Jesus. Well, Jesus gives His disciples an illustration about building a tower to clarify it.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it” [ Luke 14:28 ].

Jesus is probably talking about a tower a farmer might build in his vineyard, the purpose of which would be to protect the crops against animals or other people who might try to destroy them. So, the farmer begins to build a tower and he starts to lay the foundation, but runs out of money. Now, all he has is a foundation and no tower. But not only that, the job is left undone, and his crops are not protected.

Jesus is emphasizing the importance of counting the cost of discipleship. Many people make impulse purchases without even considering the cost, or they rush into marriage or a career. Unfortunately, some do the same in their commitment to follow Jesus.

Sadly, the ‘landscape’ of Christianity is littered with abandoned, half-built ‘towers’. These are what remains of those who intended to follow Christ but were unable to follow through on their commitment. Many people still ignore Christ’s warning and try to follow Him without first reflecting on the cost of doing so. The result is the great ‘scandal’ of Christianity today—so-called “nominal” Christianity.

 

HAVE ENOUGH SOLDIERS?
Jesus continues by using another illustration about determining if you have enough soldiers to do battle with an approaching army.

“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?” [ Luke 14:31 ].

In this clash, only one king will be victorious, and the armies are not two equal powers. The approaching ruler is far superior, and most likely will easily gain domination over his weaker foe, and will, in turn, gain the ‘spoils’ of victory. The lesser king will lose everything and become the ‘slave’ of the other. The one who suffers defeat will even lose his life. This is a winner-take-all battle.

So, when the inferior king realizes that the superior king is approaching, the only rational conclusion for the short-handed king is to come to his senses and act immediately before it’s too late.

To properly understand this parable, these two ‘powers’ need to identified. The lesser king represents every ‘non-believer’ in that crowd Jesus was talking to that day. The approaching monarch is Jesus Himself, who possesses infinitely greater power, and no ‘foe’ can withstand His advances, and every human life is subjected to His omnipotence.

The parable is teaching that there is a hostile ‘war’ that exists between sinful man and a holy God—and they are not at peace with each other, but are in severe conflict. However, the encroaching king offer the possibility of reconciliation and terms of peace. So, the only rational decision for the inferior king (humans) is to ‘surrender’.

Jesus extends His terms of peace to you, reconciling you with God the Father. However, you can’t ‘cut a deal’ with Him—He will not negotiate. The only ‘offer’ is for you to accept His terms of peace—unconditional surrender of your life—and He is waiting for your answer.

[ FYI: If you would like more information about how to be reconciled to God, read these previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” posts:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/know-peace-v201/ |
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/be-a-peacemaker-v202/ ].

 

A LIFE OF INCONVENIENCE
Jesus now reminds these would-be disciples what following Him will mean—a life of extreme ‘inconvenience’.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’” [ Luke 9:58 ].

Now, in that day, when you ‘followed’ Jesus you literally followed Him—when and where He was if you wanted to listen to Him—and He was on the move quite a bit. Jesus was also making it very clear that He wasn’t staying in ‘five-star’ hotels along the way, and He didn’t even have a ‘home’ to go back to.

Now, although today following Jesus does not require that we literally follow Him from place to place, up and down mountains, and sleep on the ground, discipleship is going to cost you whatever you have, and don’t expect a life of comfort and ease, despite what you hear from the ‘prosperity’ preachers on television. It’s not about “your best life now” and an easy life. In fact, more often than not, it will be the exact opposite. (For more about the lives of early Protestant martyrs, consider reading “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”:
https://www.biblestudytools.com/history/foxs-book-of-martyrs/ ).

 

BURY MY FATHER
Another disciple then said to Jesus: “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus responded, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God” [ Luke 9:60 ].

Now, Jesus is not being as harsh as it might initially appear here. This man was not saying that his father was already dead, nor was he saying that he was expected to die soon. The phrase “until I bury my father” was a common figure of speech that actually meant until I received my inheritance. What this fellow wanted to do was wait until his father did die, and then after he received his portion of the family estate, he would then become Jesus’ disciple.

Jesus made it clear that there’s no room for that kind of double mindedness. He who wants to delay and make excuses is not fit for the Kingdom.

 

SAY GOODBYE TO MY FAMILY
Yet another disciple said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home” [ Luke 9:61 ].

Now, that certainly seems like a reasonable request. In fact, you’d be concerned about someone who was so coldhearted towards his family that he would just leave on such short notice without even saying goodbye.

However, it is implied that this man was asking for something more than a simple goodbye to his friends and family, because it’s a ‘reflexive’ verb being used here, literally meaning “let me first withdraw myself from matters at home.” He probably wanted to avoid friction with his family and friends about following Jesus, and was too concerned with material things, in general.

Yet, once again, Jesus replied to this would-be disciple, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” [ Luke 9:62 ].

That’s a pretty vivid and accurate picture, because it’s a fact that if a plowman does look backward, the furrow will not be straight. It requires great concentration and a constant forward look to do the job properly. [ The idea of causing a problem when one looks back makes me think of Lot’s wife, who was told by God not to look back, but she disobeyed because she was reluctant to leave Sodom—and in that one moment of hesitation, ‘judgment’ caught up with her, and she was turned to a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26) ].

In essence, Jesus was saying to this man (and to all who would be His disciples), “Whatever would dull your desire to serve Me, quench your hunger for the Bible and a thirst for prayer, or think the world more ‘attractive’ than Me, you must go.”

Jesus is stressing a single-mindedness that He demands from all of His disciples.

 

HATE YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER
Now, Jesus ‘gets down to brass tacks’: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” [ Luke 14:26 ].

Whoa! This is shocking and perplexing! Jesus is coming across as abrupt, unfeeling, harsh, and insensitive, lacking any of the type of the sympathy or patience that we typically associate with Him.

Now, elsewhere in the Bible, didn’t Jesus say that we should honor our father and mother, but is here telling me to hate them? That doesn’t make any sense. We’re commanded to do that!

Well, Jesus was not talking about dishonoring your father and mother, He was intentionally exaggerating a comparison.

The “hatred” called for here is actually a ‘lesser love’. Jesus was calling His disciples to cultivate such a devotion for Him that their attachment to everything else—including their own lives—would seem like hatred by comparison.

You should be willing to elevate Jesus to a place of preeminence and priority in your life so far above and beyond every other person, that it is like the distance from here on earth to Galaxy MACS0647-JD (about 13.3 billion light-years away!).

If we are to follow Jesus, He must be our FIRST PRIORITY and our most fervent ‘passion’. He will not settle for being ‘second place’ in our lives. Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus emphasized this by saying, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” [ Matthew 6:33 ]. Everything else in life is ‘peripheral’. Jesus is ‘primary’.

 

LOSE YOUR LIFE FOR HIM
Jesus then gets really ‘personal’ saying, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” [ Luke 9:24 ].

The word for “life” in the original Greek was “psuche,” meaning “soul life”—literally your will, ambition, goals and desires. This tells us what our priorities should be. So, if we’re focused on our ‘temporary’ earthly life, we’ll ‘throw away’ our eternal life. But, if we love the things of God and are willing to focus, instead, on things of eternal importance, we will ‘gain’ eternal life.

The person who “loves his life” is one who is living for the now, and they are contradicting Jesus’ command, “Don’t lay up treasure on earth” [ Matthew 6:19 ].

So, this means that you don’t take much thought for your life in this world. In other words, it just doesn’t matter much what happens to your life in the here and now—eternal life is all that matters.

Jesus is saying, choose to ‘die’ with Me: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” [ John 12:24 ]. Choose to ‘hate’ your life in this world for Jesus’ sake.

But why? For the sake of RADICAL ‘CONVICTION’ to serving Jesus, the Apostle Paul said: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course” [ Acts 20:24a ]. I read this as Paul saying, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me. I just want to live to the glory of God.”

Whoever protects his physical safety by denying Jesus under pressure will LOSE THEIR ETERNAL SOUL! But, if you are willing to lose your life for Jesus’ sake, you will FIND ETERNAL LIFE in the end!

 

DIE TO OURSELVES
The world’s philosophy says, “live for self,” but God’s Word says, “die to self.” Many people came to Jesus and asked to be His disciples, but most of them turned away because they were not willing to be a ‘slave’ of Jesus (Romans 12:1). The Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” [ Galatians 2:20 ].

The original Greek word for “deny” means “to refuse to associate with.” The thought is that if you want to be Jesus’ disciple, and receive forgiveness and eternal life, then you must refuse to associate any longer with the person you are! You’ve got to be sick and tired of your sinful self, and want nothing to do with yourself anymore!

Jesus said that, “dying to self” is actually a positive, not a negative: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it!” [ Matthew 16:25 ]. In dying to the self-life, we discover an “abundant life” by depending on God, Who provides much more than we can imagine. Jesus put it this way: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” [ John 12:24 ].

Part of the life we discover when we give our lives to Christ, is freedom from a life of self-obsession, as such, we experience the joy of Christ, and we become more accepting, generous, and loving of others. So, when we die to self we set aside “our wants and desires” and instead focus on loving God and valuing others as highly as we value ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). This moves us away from “self-centeredness” and more open to being a follower of Christ, allowing us to care deeply for others, paying attention to the concerns, interests and needs them (Philippians 2:3-4) when we are no longer obsessed with our own interests.

The Bible makes it clear that it is not a lack of love for oneself that causes problems in society, it is the ‘obsession’ with self. The greatest barrier to discovering all that God has for us is our preoccupation with self.

Sadly, we have become a self-obsessed society—Jesus’ mandate goes against the grain of our popular culture encouraging “selfies.”

Essentially, the Christian life is an ongoing process of seeking God’s will, His Kingdom and His righteousness—rather than our own. The disciple must let go of his plans and what he wants to do—a process of stripping away layers of sin ‘encrusted’ with selfishness. Jesus expects His disciples to do what He wants them to do, instead of them doing what they want to do.

A follower of Jesus must ‘die’ to self-love, and not remain self-focused, self-motivated, and self-reliant. They must love Jesus more than we even love ourselves!

 

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
Continuing on in this ‘vein’ of thinking, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” [ Luke 9:23 ].

By these words, Jesus was not talking about wearing a piece of gold jewelry around one’s neck. Back in Jesus’ time, to take up one’s cross was to assume the position of a condemned criminal who had to take up and carry his cross through the streets of the city to a public site of their barbaric execution—a horrific death that unleashed the most excruciating pain possible. Crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the day.

So, being a disciple of Jesus can cost you your reputation, your comfort, your friendships, your job, your security, and can cause family tensions—it can ‘cost’ a lot!

Jesus is being up front in saying that being His disciple DOES NOT GUARANTEE AN EASY LIFE—actually, the Bible says that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL BE PERSECUTED! (2 Timothy 3:12).

BUT, with every temptation Jesus promises a way of ‘escape’. For every persecution we suffer, He promises recompense in the ‘world’ to come. So that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).

For every sacrifice we make Jesus promises “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” [ Luke 6:38 ]. For every loss we suffer or every friend or loved one who forsakes us, Jesus promises we “will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29).

Whatever trials he permits to assault you, Jesus will give you grace sufficient to endure—and none of that will be worthy of comparing with the glory that will ultimately be revealed to you (Romans 8:18).

Jesus’ invitations to become His disciple are starting to sound much more rigorous, and demanding—requiring absolute surrender and a total renunciation of the self, up to and including a willingness to DIE FOR HIM! (Sadly, in many places around the world today, Christians have been killed because they would not deny Jesus.)

[ If you are interested in learning more about how you can help provide assistance to persecuted Christians around the world, visit “The Voice of the Martyrs” website:
https://www.persecution.com/ ].

 

In the Bible, an ardent disciple of Jesus, Stephen, was stoned to death because he was standing up for his belief in a resurrected Jesus—overseen by an ardent Pharisee named “Saul” (who later became the Apostle Paul!). Stephen is considered the first Christian “martyr.”

More recently, in the 17th century, John Bunyan knew all about this, too. The authorities told him that he needed to stop preaching, but he said, “I cannot quit preaching, because God has called me to preach.” So they said they would put him in prison.

John had a dilemma. How would he provide for his family from inside a prison, since he was not well off. He bravely committed his family into God’s care. He was in prison 12 years, and while his family suffered without him, he wrote a magnificent Christian allegory beloved by millions, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” (The best selling novel of all time, and is said to be the second most widely read book, after the Bible!)

[ Click on the following link watch, in my opinion, the best life-action movie of “Pilgrim’s Progress”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8Vq_jtZ7QY ].

 

FORSAKE ALL
Now, Jesus is really ‘upping the anti’ requiring His disciples to ‘forsake’ all: “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” [ Luke 14:33 ].

To forsake means to surrender your claim to, say, ‘goodbye’ to EVERYTHING! “Renouncing” may mean we give up something physically, but more often it means we let go emotionally, so that what we possess no longer ‘possesses’ us.

Consider Jesus’ encounter with a “rich young ruler,” who asked Him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” [ Luke 9:57 ].

Jesus told him, “‘One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich” [ Luke 18:22-23 ].

Jesus was not implying that to follow Him, we need to take a vow of poverty. He asked THIS MAN to “sell all he had” because He could see that possessions were the ‘god’ of his life. If something else had been on the “throne of his life,” Jesus would have asked him for that.

When we become a disciple of Jesus, we cannot continue to belong to this ‘world’ (1 John 2:15-17). We must make a choice, for we cannot serve both God and Mammon (money/material wealth – Matthew 6:24). The rich young ruler, when confronted with that choice, turned his back on Jesus.

I know, this sounds really extreme. It is—IT’S RADICAL!

Many people love the idea of eternal life, escaping hell, and having Jesus at their beck and call, but they are not willing to leave the life they now live. Their desires, lifestyle, and sinful habits are too precious to them. Their lives may exhibit a token change—starting to attend church or giving up a ‘major’ sin—but they want to retain ‘ownership’ of everything else.

Until you recognize that everything you have belong to Jesus, you will not be His disciple. When we choose to follow Jesus, we are RELEASING ALL ‘CONTROL’ of our lives!

The Apostle Paul understood very well forsaking all! He was a man who enjoyed great prominence among the Jewish elite, but forsook all to follow Jesus. Paul declared, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him” [ Philippians 3:7-9 ].

 

THE NARROW GATE
Today, however, many preachers of the “consumer gospel” persuasion are telling everyone that it is really easy to become a Christian and receive eternal life. They tell everyone that you just say this “Sinner’s Prayer” and poof!, you’re in the ‘club’.

The thing is, according to the Bible, it doesn’t work that way. Jesus, during His “Sermon on the Mount,” admonished His followers: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” [ Matthew 7:13-14 ].

This “gate” represents the ‘way’ that leads into the Kingdom of God. This gate prohibits an entire group to pass through it. The connotation here is ‘constricted’—a very, very, very tight squeeze. We can’t carry anything through—EVERYTHING must be removed before we can go through, and there’s room for only one person at a time to pass through. Everyone who believes in Jesus must do it individually—no one else can make this commitment for you.

However, there is a wide ‘religious gate’ that exists today: You won’t have to do any of the ‘hard stuff’ to get into Heaven, and if you “have faith” God will heal you and make you rich financially. The thing is, Jesus said that, “the way is hard” and “few find the gate.”

It’s hard to get through the narrow gate, because it’s so hard for us to deny ourselves, anything. The hard words of Jesus call for total and absolute self-denial—the recognition that we’re ‘worthy’ of nothing, commendable for nothing, and that nothing in us is worth salvaging! That’s not a real ‘popular’ message, but that’s what Jesus said!

All the Apostles made this radical choice to totally submit their lives to the ‘lordship’ of Jesus. They left all for which they had previously lived. Like a traveler approaching a major fork in the road they’re on, the Apostles abandoned the ‘broad path’ and went down the ‘narrow path’. They forsook the many to join the few—and Jesus ‘asks’ you to do the same today!

Jesus’ whole thrust in the Sermon on the Mount, particularly with this key point of the wide and narrow gates, is to break the backs of such deadly kinds of belief systems and show that everyone who believes those lies is wrong. Jesus’ purpose was to bring His listeners to where He began the sermon: the truly blessed are poor in spirit, mourn, are meek, and hunger for righteousness. He started out where He wanted to end up—with people who are broken, mourning over their sinfulness, meek in the ‘face’ of God, and ‘thirsting’ for what they know they don’t have but desperately need: the righteousness of God.

It’s not enough to hear about the ‘gate’, nor is it enough to ‘respect’ the ethics—you’ve got to ‘walk through’ the gate! Hell will be full of people who thought ‘highly’ of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, but you must do more than just that—you must obey it and TAKE ACTION!

You can’t just stand ‘outside’ and admire the narrow gate—you have to get rid of everything and ‘walk’ through it.

Many people on the broad road have ‘admired’ Jesus, but since they didn’t come through the narrow gate, Jesus says that He “doesn’t know you” (Matthew 7:22-23)—you haven’t come humbly seeking forgiveness, knowing you don’t deserve it.

Isn’t that narrow-minded? Yes, and we do it because Jesus said to do it!

The Kingdom is for those who agonize to enter it, whose hearts are ‘shattered’ over their own sinfulness, who mourn meekly, and who hunger and long for God to change their lives. It’s ‘narrow’ and hard because one of satan’s pervasive lies is that the Christian life is easy—IT’S NOT!

As John Bunyan said, “For some the entrance to hell is from the portals of Heaven.” What a shock it will be for some people that they didn’t make it into Heaven. The board way narrows down into a terrible ‘pit’ (hell). the narrow way ‘widens into unspeakable joy in Heaven that we can’t now even imagine!

Jesus tells us that the narrow ‘road’ will be sprinkled with pressure, tribulation, and persecution. The way of Jesus is hard to follow, and it’s hated by many.

 

 

THE COST NOT TO FOLLOW JESUS
Not following Jesus leads to heavy regrets. Jesus says that our lives will end up as a total waste—and the regrets will be eternal. The guilt, loss, and isolation we experience in this life will become the defining traits of our eternal existence.

When a person chooses to embrace this world instead of Heaven, he is forfeiting his soul. If a person rejects Jesus for the sake of anything in this life, he will lose his soul, just as Judas did when he ‘sold’ Jesus for a few pieces of silver. He thought he was gaining something, but actually he LOST EVERYTHING!

Many people think that making a lot of money and having a lot of ‘things’ will make them happy—and that’s their primary goal for their life. The thing is, Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” [ Matthew 16:26 ]. Jesus then spoke to the crowd and reminded them that there was nothing worth more than one’s own eternal soul. Rejecting Him might mean temporary, earthly gains, but it comes at a tremendous ‘price’ and trading that away is the epitome of foolishness.

You will sacrifice the of peace of conscience and heart by not having ‘peace’ with God. You will not be reconciled to God. You will be considered an enemy of God. (For more info about obtaining peace with God, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/know-peace-v201/).

You also lose the chance to be in on the greatest adventure in human history—the ‘unfolding’ of God’s plan for this earth and its people. You will also miss out on the chance of finding out God’s will for your life—why you are living at this specific time in history.

Ultimately, we must make a choice whom we will seek to please—Jesus or ourselves. Jesus promised that if you serve Him on this earth, He will ‘stand up’, intercede for you as your ‘advocate’ in front of God the Father at the final judgment (God accepts His Son’s advocacy on our behalf as part of their divine ‘agreement’). Trust me, you don’t want Jesus to say this to you a the ‘pearly gates’:

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” [ Matthew 7:22-23 ].

Did you catch that? “Many” will come to Him thinking they are saved and on their way to Heaven, but they loved their lives and followed their own desires. They didn’t count the cost, so they were not worthy of Him. Jesus doesn’t say, “I didn’t know you well enough,” or “I wished I had known you better,” but instead, He says, “I NEVER KNEW YOU.” Horrifying!

If you are settling for anything short of total abandonment to Jesus, you are REALLY MISSING OUT!

 

So, WHY PAY THIS HIGH PRICE of following Jesus?

 

REWARDS
Well, first off, in the here and now, Jesus will replace worry with ‘joy’. As was said before, that doesn’t mean that you will no longer have any problems, it’s just that God said He would be “with you” in the midst of the ‘storms’ of life: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” [ Isaiah 43:2 ]. Now, He won’t necessarily ‘calm’ the storm fully, but you will ‘sense’ a peace in the middle of it that “surpasses understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

You gain another type of peace—knowing you’re forgiven, adopted into the family of God, and on your way to Heaven. [ For more info about peace with God, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/be-a-peacemaker-v202/ ].

Jesus was specific about this peace you will have: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” [ Matthew 11:28-30 ].

This implies is there are ‘layers’ of rest in Jesus. Rest from your works. Rest from for your ‘nagging’ conscience. Rest from the ‘cares’ of this life. Ultimately (in Heaven), a TOTAL REST from all of our labors: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’” [ Revelation 14:13 ].

In addition to this, Jesus told His disciples (and us) that “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” [ Matthew 19:29 ].

Jesus is saying that, YOU WILL BE REPAID for the suffering you incurred here on earth. There will be no cost that you have paid in following Jesus that won’t be made up to you MUCH, MUCH MORE in Heaven.

The Apostle Paul said it this way: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
[ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ]

All the so-called ‘losses’ are NOTHING COMPARED to the gains of having Jesus as your greatest ‘treasure’—and He told two parables to His disciples about this to emphasize it for them:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” [ Matthew 13:44-46 ].

I can only imagine people coming up to the guy buying the field and saying, “What are you doing! You’re out of your mind to sell everything you have for that worthless field.” He just smiles and says, “I’ve got a hunch,” because he knows that he’s found something that’s worth losing everything for, and that’s what Jesus is trying to say. HE IS WORTH GIVING EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO POSSESS!

Now, even though we are hopelessly undeserving of the saving grace Jesus has bestowed upon every Christian, they can say “Thank You,” by denying themselves, picking up their ‘cross’, and following Him!

In other words, all the so-called ‘costs’ and all the so-called ‘losses’—everything —are NOTHING COMPARED TO THE GAINS OF HAVING JESUS, THE GREATEST ‘TREASURE’.

 

WHERE ARE YOU ON THIS?
SO, whether you are a ‘normal’ person just trying to lose a little weight, or an Olympic athlete trying to win a gold medal, everyone has to consider the ‘cost’ they will incur to attain their goal.

To be a real ‘winner’, the person has to make sure that they have the ‘fortitude’ to pull it off, so that later on, when things get tough, they don’t give up but stay ‘committed’ to the end.

Jesus never softened the truth, and following Him leads to difficult choices. Sometimes turning back may seem very appealing.

 

Let me strongly encourage you to consider all that has been said in this ‘post’—it could DETERMINE YOUR ETERNITY!

So, you may say that you will get around to doing this a bit later. Well, one must understand a concept termed “The Tremendous Cost Of Doing Nothing.”

If you’re not familiar with the term, it is the cost that may occur because needed actions are never taken or were unnecessarily delayed. For example, when you notice an engine warning light on in your car, “doing nothing” might be VERY COSTLY—like needing a new engine. If your second-floor bathroom has a leaky pipe, postponing getting it fixed might result in a flooded on the first floor, resulting in cost that might go up exponentially from under $1,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage!

 

Now, a new engine or the renovation of your home would definitely be a bit costly, but losing out on ETERNAL LIFE would be MUCH, MUCH, MUCH MORE COSTLY!!!

This is why Jesus is being SO ‘STRONG’ about this. You see, discipleship is not an ‘experiment’. Discipleship is not ‘trying Jesus’, to see if He ‘works’. Discipleship is a lifelong commitment, and Jesus doesn’t want one to ‘sign up’ naively and be surprised later when the ‘COST’ BECOMES REALLY HIGH!

 

Sadly, you might be hearing ‘seeker-sensitive’ pastors promise these days that, after one ‘comes to Jesus’ there’s not going to be any more pain in life. God’s gonna heal your body, erase your debt, give you your ‘breakthrough’, and make a ‘way out’ of all your problems. They say, “God’s got a ‘blessing’ with your name on it!” Well, most people would say, “Great, sign me up! This Christianity thing is wonderful—and not hard at all. I meet nice people at church, hear an inspirational message and some cool current music, and I get to go to Heaven.”

Well, some of these things might happen, but this is NOT what Jesus is promising for His disciples. What Jesus is saying is that if you want to be His disciple, your life is going to have pain and heartache—it’s going to be HARD WORK! Jesus is preparing His disciples for REALITY—He’s not ‘sugarcoating’ or ‘watering it down’. It will be a life of EXTREME ‘INCONVENIENCE’. It’s not about you, it’s about Me—and sacrificing yourself to follow Me!

After Jesus left this earth, the author to the Hebrews gives us a fair description of what authentic faith looks like—it’s a willingness to follow Christ anywhere even unto death (Hebrews 11:35-38). Note how some of the “heroes of faith” are described: Some were tortured refusing to accept release; Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment; They were stoned and sawn in two; They were killed with the sword or went about destitute, afflicted and mistreated (I wonder where the prosperity preachers were for these people). But, listen to what it says of them: “the world was not worthy of them”! (Hebrews 11:38).

Many of those ‘saints’, though commended for their ‘tenacious’ faith, did not receive what was ‘promised’ them here on earth. However, their HEAVENLY ‘REWARD’ WILL BE GREAT, since the defining feature of their faith was a willingness to do anything and suffer for the Jesus’ sake.

So then, faith involves a willingness to go anywhere, forego any convenience, and suffer any inconvenience—all for Jesus sake. That’s a true disciple.

Now, to be clear, Jesus’ words certainly don’t mean that the comforts of life are inherently sinful—that’s not what He’s saying. He’s not calling for an ascetic lifestyle where you you simply do away with the comforts of life. There’s no particular merit in that and there’s nothing inherently superior in the spirituality of the ascetic who renounces material comforts and leads a life of austerity and self deprivation.

God richly provides “ALL OUR NEEDS” (Philippians 4:19) to enjoy here on earth. However, these things are fleeting and unreliable, and that’s not where we’re supposed to put our trust. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear: “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” [ 1 Timothy 6:7-10 ].

True Christianity is ultimately not about affluence or convenience. It’s about OBEDIENCE to Jesus. It will inevitably take us far outside our ‘comfort zone’, but that will lead us to a life focused on the narrow way going towards small gate.

 

Many people would agree with the billionaire media mogul, Ted Turner, when he said, “Christianity is for losers.” However, as the apostle Paul reminded us so many times, God’s ways are much different from the world’s, and His definition of ‘winning’ has nothing to do with powerful influence or the size of one’s bank account. “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” [ 1 Corinthians 1:27 ].

 

Be assured that that a faith that costs nothing is worth nothing, and accomplishes nothing—especially if it costs you neither time, effort, self-denial, sacrifice, conflict, suffering, or persecution. It will never give you any comfort in your day of adversity, nor give you any peace on the day of your death—and it won’t save your soul from eternal punishment!

Thus, failure to count the cost of following Jesus results in an incomplete life. “Holding fast to the word of life” is part of the solution for finishing one’s life successfully (Philippians 2:16).

 

Is there anything in this world that costs nothing that is worth anything? Well, salvation COSTS YOU NOTHING, but discipleship will COST YOU EVERYTHING! Even though the entrance ‘ticket’ into the Kingdom of Heaven is free, it will cost you everything in the ‘monthly dues’.

 

Jesus is not looking for easy superficial decisions. He’s not looking for speedy emotional responses or thoughtless momentary impulsive decisions. He tells people to count the cost, and He’s urging them not to respond not to make a profession of faith unless they are willing to go all the way with Him.

Jesus gave His ALL FOR US. Sadly, so many believers give so little to the One who gave them so much—forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and eventually eternal life—that the cost of discipleship is totally reasonable in light of the UNBELIEVABLE GIFT the Christian has been given by Jesus!

We all have ideas of what we want to do and who we want to be. These are not evil or wrong. Still, a disciple I must be willing to give them up if ‘asked’ to do so by Jesus. And in the place of those flawed plans, they will have God’s perfect plan for their life.

If Jesus is nothing more to you than your heavenly ‘vending machine’ to whom you pray for things you want, then you probably shouldn’t consider following Him. If you’re not willing to follow Him and yield to Him as your Master, then again, you probably shouldn’t consider following Jesus.

BUT, if you do understand what has been presented herein about what Jesus expects of His disciples, then ‘SIGN UP’! He graciously invites you to participate!

 

I want you to know that the ‘gates’ of Paradise have been swung open to you. The narrow gate is open and if you will take a step of faith and come through this narrow gate, and commit your life to Jesus. Despite the strength of His words, Jesus also says, “him who comes unto Me I will in no wise cast out” [ John 6:37b ]. He is calling you today to come to Him, and to take a step of faith. But if you do come to Him, don’t play games. You must ‘SURRENDER’ EVERYTHING to follow Jesus.

 

The ‘cost’ for being a disciple of Jesus will differ from one person to the next, but there will ALWAYS BE A PRICE TO PAY for all those who ‘go after’ Jesus. He calls for a sober ‘analysis’ by everyone. No one just decides this on a whim. The stakes are too high. It REQUIRES TOO MUCH of you!

Jesus’ expectations about being His disciple will challenge everyone—even an authentic disciple. However, hopefully this ‘message’ will deepen the resolve of those whom currently follow Jesus. Every believer should reaffirm the foundational commitment they first made to Jesus when they were born again, and increase their desire to a continual, passionate quest for ‘Christlikeness’.

 

Many of you might think that you are already a Christian, but what if you are not? Maybe you grew up in a Christian home, and perhaps made a “confession of faith,” were baptized, became a member of a church, and you regularly attend a Bible study. However, could it be possible that you are just “going through the motions” and NEVER REALLY ‘SURRENDERED’ your life to Jesus? As has been presented, Jesus’ expectations to enter His Kingdom are ‘radical’, and requires THE TOTAL CONVICTION of your entire life to Him. So, you might want to ask yourself if you have truly done so (you want to hear “good and faithful servant,” not “I never knew you” when you get to Heaven!)

Surrendering your life to Jesus is a conviction that encompasses EVERY ASPECT of your life. Everything you are, and everything you possess must be considered by this reality. In short, you must come “under new management”—Jesus’ that is!

 

So yes, we must count the cost in order to be a disciple. The ‘COST’ IS TOTAL in principle and may be total in actual experience. In the end, having Jesus means PHENOMENAL GAIN, like the Apostle Paul said: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” [ Philippians 3:8 ].

 

This is a SERIOUS CONVICTION—and if you don’t want to put forth YOUR ALL, as you would with the goal of winning a gold medal in the Olympics, it’s just best you don’t even ‘think’ about it. BUT, if you ARE WILLING TO FORSAKE ALL FOR JESUS, then it will be the most amazing ‘adventure’ you will be able to experience here on earth, but even more so in ETERNITY!!!

Responding to Jesus ‘invitation’ should be a PRIORITY for every person. This cannot be ‘put off’ and moved down your “things to do” list. It should be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT issue in your life! Let me strongly encourage you to DO IT TODAY—become a DISCIPLE OF JESUS!

 

[ Excerpts from: Billy Graham; Tim Conway; Dr. Steven J. Lawson; Phil Johnson; John Piper; John MacArthur; David Servant ]

 

 

[ NOTE: These are not the “last words” on this subject. Next month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” will be focused on ‘GOING’—telling others about being a disciple of Jesus ]

[ FYI: ‘Discipleship’ is the reason I do “Life’s Deep Thoughts,” and why I started it way back in January 1999 (https://markbesh.wordpress.com/how-this-all-started/) to try to apply Biblical teaching, as best I know how, to life’s ‘circumstances’ (‘providence’?), and to try to “disciple” people (you the reader), with the best understanding of Biblical teaching I have (with help from ‘reliable’ Reformed pastors and theologians), so that you would become a ‘disciple’ of Jesus yourself (or become a better one) ].

 

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FYI: Other Related “Life’s Deep Thoughts” Posts:

“Know ‘Peace’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/know-peace-v201/

“Be A ‘Peacemaker’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/be-a-peacemaker-v202/

“The Purpose of ‘Tests’?”
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/the-purpose-of-tests-v213/

“Are You ‘Thirsty’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-thirsty-v229/

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about why God ‘allows’ suffering in your life, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d1_1of10.html

 

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

 

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RESOURCES:

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Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.”
By: David Platt (Author), Francis Chan (Introduction)

What did Jesus really mean when he said, “Follow Me”?

In this new book, David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, contends that multitudes of people around the world culturally think they are Christians yet biblically are not followers of Christ.

Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves believing certain truths or saying certain words. As a result, churches today are filled with people who believe they are Christians . . . but aren’t. We want to be disciples as long as doing so does not intrude on our lifestyles, our preferences, our comforts, and even our religion.

Revealing a biblical picture of what it means to truly be a Christian, Follow Me explores the gravity of what we must forsake in this world, as well as the indescribable joy and deep satisfaction to be found when we live for Christ.

The call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it’s a summons to lose your life―and to find new life in him. This book will show you what such life actually looks like.

—————-
The Cost of Discipleship
By: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century illuminates the relationship between ourselves and the teachings of Jesus
What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves…grace without discipleship….Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know….It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty.

—————-
All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life
By: Mark Batterson

The Gospel costs nothing. You can’t earn it or buy it. It can only be received as a free gift compliments of God’s grace. It doesn’t cost anything, but it demands everything. It demands that we go “all in,” a term that simply means placing all that you have into God’s hands. Pushing it all in. And that’s where we get stuck―spiritual no man’s land. We’re afraid that if we go all in that we might miss out on what this life has to offer. It’s not true. The only thing you’ll miss out on is everything God has to offer. And the good news is this: if you don’t hold out on God, God won’t hold out on you. Readers will find Batterson’s writing filled with his customary vivid, contemporary illustrations as well as biblical characters like Shamgar and Elisha and Jonathan and . . . Judas.

No one has ever sacrificed anything for God. If you always get back more than you gave up, have you sacrificed anything at all? The eternal reward always outweighs the temporal sacrifice. At the end of the day, our greatest regret will be whatever we didn’t give back to God. What we didn’t push back across the table to Him. Eternity will reveal that holding out is losing out.

The message of All In is simple: if Jesus is not Lord of all then Jesus is not Lord at all. It’s all or nothing. It’s now or never. Kneeling at the foot of cross of Christ and surrendering to His Lordship is a radical act of dethroning yourself and enthroning Christ as King. It’s also an act of disowning yourself. Nothing belongs to you. Not even you.

Batterson writes, for many years, I thought I was following Jesus. I wasn’t. I had invited Jesus to follow me. I call it inverted Christianity. And it’s a subtle form of selfishness that masquerades as spirituality. That’s when I sold out and bought in. When did we start believing that the gospel is an insurance plan? It’s a daring plan. Jesus did not die just to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.”

—————-
Hard To Believe
By: John MacArthur

Jesus Christ did not die on the cross so you and I could have a nice day.

Ministers and teachers who water down the gospel of Christ in order to make it more popular and appealing may be leading their fun-loving audiences down the road to eternal punishment.

This book is John MacArthur’s unflinching, unapologetic treatise on the modern tendency to alter the true message of Christianity in order to meet the whims and desires of a culture hoping for nonconfrontational messages, easy answers, and superficial commitments.

Too many people just want a Madison Avenue Jesus to make them well, make them happy, and make them prosperous. But Jesus Christ isn’t a personal genie. He is the Savior. He died in agony to satisfy the wrath of a holy God and to forgive the sins of humankind. Faith in Him demands a willingness to make any sacrifice He asks. The hard truth about Christianity is that the cost is high, but the rewards are priceless: abundant and eternal life that comes only from faithfully follwing Christ.

 

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Content and website by Mark Besh ]

 

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ARTICLES:

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In 1998, the Australian Sports Commission actually did a study to determine the “success” of their elite sports programs for the 5 previous Olympics 1976/77 to 1995/96. The total amount spent on elite athletes was $0.918 billion. In the period 1980-96 Australia won 25 gold and 115 total Olympic medals. This equates to approximately $37 million per gold and $8 million per medal in general.

The study found that there was a significant linear relationship between money spent and total medals won.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11104312

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The Cost of Greatness

A word we throw around all the time “difficult.” How difficult was the journey be? How hard is going to be to succeed” This is more or less asking: Is a desirable
outcome likely?” We’re asking if it is worth our time. If something difficult, we associate that with a low probability of success. But that’s not the right way of looking at it. If you want something enough, “difficult” becomes your best friend. It’s your greatest asset.

And this is: 1. Because of the growth that comes with it, but 2. Because very few people are willing to chase it down. The reality is, most people are average. And that’s just looking at the definition of the word. If everyone was great, greatness wouldn’t mean anything. There’s something special about it. It’s unique. It sets people apart.

We generally live amongst people, places, and expectations that make up everything we know. That’s our normal. That’s our box.

But what’s particularly interesting, is that the people we celebrate, the
accomplishments we admire, they go far beyond this sort of confined view of the world. So where is the line? Something is weird, it’s abnormal, it’s looked down
upon, until suddenly it’s not. You snap your finger and it’s cherished.

That guitar player practicing 15 hours a day. It’s lame. They don’t have a real job. They’re not contributing anything to society. And then he or she puts out an album that revolutionizes music and they’re a hero. The whole thought process is counterintuitive.

That’s why the words difficult and great are so closely
related. Not because it’s physically stressful, but because “great” comes with a
hefty mental price tag. Difficult means you are consistently doing what the
average, normal, and unspectacular deemed to be too great a sacrifice. They’re not asking if it can be done. They’re not asking if it’s possible. What they are
really asking, what they want to know is if they have to break through every day
normality to achieve a result. Do we have to make ourselves uncomfortable? Do we have to give more than we normally would? Do we have to be better than we were yesterday? If that answer is yes, the vast majority say thank you, but no thank you.

That’s where defining opportunities open up. Great means you have the desire
to set yourself apart. Difficult means you have the dedication and the drive to
do the little thing no one else wanted to do.

There is nothing miraculous about greatness. It is not divine. It is not incredible. It’s simply seeing the word “difficult” as a staircase instead of a brick wall. It
means you get the opportunity to both give more of yourself and get more from
the world. It is your secret door, your passageway.

If the incremental progress, the growth, and the sacrifice are worth the prize, easy, difficult, and everything in between fades away.

The only thing worth a second of your time, is making sure that every step you take, points you in the direction of where you want to be most.

[ Motivation World ]

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The Mindset of High Achievers

Here’s the hard truth.

people don’t necessarily want you to succeed. and the bigger your dream the more people that are going to come out of the woodwork to try to stop you. as
Oliver M Burton said “the only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important”

but if you’re striving for something important, if you’re trying to make real change, if there’s something in your life that you are absolutely hell-bent to make happen, you have got to understand that you’re going to be fighting against something.

people are going to be pushing back against you. and it is going to be your ability to hold true to that vision that’s going to determine whether you can pull it off

and as Victor Hugo said “you have enemies good it means you stood up for something at some point in your life”

and that’s what people miss. they somehow want to get through this unscathed. they somehow hope that with this grand change, that they want to make that people just fall in love. that they see your vision that they fall in line behind you and that they want you to lead them.

that’s not the way that people work.

having a vision already puts you in an incredibly rare group of people.

being able to see something that other people can’t see that is the role of visionary—is literally to interpret the world that other people don’t even know exist.

and bring it into portion and get people excited about. to get them to fall in line but understand when you build an army you will have an opposing force.

but as Mark Twain said “keep away from those who try to belittle your ambition small people always do tha,t but the really great ones they make you believe that you too can become great.”

and that’s the kind of person that you wanted to round yourself with. you want to surround yourself with people that believe in you you want to surround yourself with people even when they can’t see it they can see you.

even when they don’t understand that you’re trying to build they believe in you and they’re willing to get in mind and they’re willing to meet that opposing force.

and when you’re able to galvanize people around your idea and push it
forward and pay for them the world not as it is but as it could be, that’s when you can make change.

but you can’t be afraid to piss people off.

you have to know that they’re coming for you and you have to be willing to fight. because if you’re not willing to fight you might as well sit down now.

so if you’re going to be one of the few that stands up you’ve got to stand up prepared for war.

[ Be Inspired ]

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What Price Are You Willing to Pay For Greatness?

Tom Bilyeu inspires with quotes from Randy Pausch, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and Kobe Bryant.

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Commitment

[ Your World Within ]

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It Will Cost You Everything

You need to way in on the cost factor and count the costs of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

It will cost you popularity, it will cost you promotion perhaps at times, it will cost you an easy life, you will have to discipline yourself, you will have to buffet your body, you will have to say “No” to temptation, you will have to say “No” to this world, you will have to break with the crowd, you will have to be willing to stand alone for Christ, you will have to be willing walk to the beat of a different drummer and to step out of the crowd even if no one follows after Jesus Christ, you would be willing to stand if you were the only person in the world for Jesus Christ. That’s the cost factor.

You will have to be willing to suffer persecution for Christ and let me tell you, it will come. It might even cost you your life.

He is not coming to play games. He is not coming to be docile. (Definition: an ornamental hanging of rich fabric hung behind the altar of a church). He is coming to dominate. He is coming to slaughter.

He is the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. and at the end of this age, He will bolt out of heaven on a white steed and His garments are dripped in blood. The blood of His own enemies and He is coming back to conquer and to damn.
You need to make terms of peace with this coming King or you will be subjected in damnation forever and Jesus Christ has made terms of peace.

You need to settle out of court with Him. You do not want to go into that final day of conflict with Christ.

For He will be ruthless in the execution of His Justice but He offers you mercy today. He will agree to terms of surrender. He will agree to terms of peace but they are His terms of peace, not ours and His terms of peace are very simply this: You must hate your own father and mother and brother and sister and even your own life more than Me or you cannot be My disciple and you must take up a cross and follow Me or you cannot be My disciple. And if you do not, you will meet Me in the final judgment and it will glorify God in your destruction.

He is pressing you for a decision. He will not be put off. You cannot hit the mute button any longer in your heart, you must answer Him.

Verse 33, “so then,” conclusion, “none of you can be My disciple.”

[ “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” – Luke 14:33 ].

He is saying none of you can be a true Christian, None of you can be in My Kingdom, None of you can be in right relationship with Me or the Father, None of you can be My disciple Who does not give up all His own possessions.
What is our Lord saying? He is not backing off.

He is increasing the commitment that He is calling for with every line of this section. Well He is not saying that you have to buy your way into the Kingdom of Heaven for none of us have enough gold and none of us have enough silver to ever remove the stain of sin that has defiled our inner soul.

What is He saying? Who does not give up ALL of his own possessions. Well this must be taken in context with other texts of Scripture and let me just cut to the bottom line of the bottom line. You must transfer the ownership of all that you are and all that you have to all that He is. That’s what He is saying.

You life is no longer your life, it is now His life. Your time is no longer your time, it is now His time. Your possessions are no longer your possessions, they are now His possessions. Your future is no longer your future, it is now His future. Your treasure is no longer your treasure, it is now His treasure. And you have transferred all that you are and all that you have to all that He is.

That’s what it is to meet His terms of peace. Yet, the exchange is not bartered or bought with real money, but it is purchased with the total complete surrender of your life to Christ. That’s what saving faith is. It is coming to the end of yourself and completely and entirely and trusting all that you are and all that you have to all that He is.

This is your eternal soul. This is the only life you will ever live. This deals with the only eternity you will ever have.

And so He says, “salt is good but if even salt has become tasteless,” meaning it gives evidence that was never true salt to begin with. “With what will it be seasoned.” And the answer is nothing. Verse 34, it is useless either for the soil or the manure pile. It’s just no good to anyone, not to God, not to Christ, not to the Kingdom, not to the movement. You’re just taking up a seat for someone else. There were other people who were trying to get into this.

It is useless either for the soil. Your not even worth the toilet, spiritually speaking. Because you have not come to the place of total surrender of your life and supreme allegiance and supreme loyalty to Christ. You have not yet come under the Lordship of Christ and taken up a cross to follow after Him. And then He says, “he who has hears to hear, let him hear.”

You need to give strictest attention to what God has said in His Son. For God has spoken in His Son to us in this conference. And God has brought everyone of us to this place. Not one of us is here by accident or by happenstance and it is the goodness of God and the mercy of God that has brought you to this place where you have heard of Isaiah 53. You have heard of the suffering Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who upon that cross became sin for us. Upon that cross He died to self that He might live for us and that He might bear our sins and iniquities upon that tree and purchase our salvation. And there is salvation in no other name, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” And He is calling out to you today “Come unto Me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will take you in and receive you unto Myself. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. And you shall find rest for your souls. For My burden is easy and My yoke is Light.” It is. it is. You will have the weight of sin lifted off of you and you will now have the yoke of Christ upon you and He gets into that yoke with you and He pulls with you but it will require the total commitment of your life to Him.

Oh, how we ought to search our hearts here today. Have I come to this place of total commitment in my life? Have I yielded my life to the sovereign lordship of Him who died upon the cross for me. I want you to know that the gates of Paradise have been swung open to you. The narrow gate is open. And if you will take a step of faith and come through this narrow gate, and commit your life to Him, despite the strength of His words, He also says, “him who comes unto Me I will in no wise cast out.”

He is calling you today to come, to come to Him. To take a step of faith and to come to Him but if you come to Him. Don’t play games. You must surrender to Christ.

[ Steve Lawson ]

https://illbehonest.com/It-Will-Cost-You-Everything-Steve-Lawson

SERMON:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxnCD-yffWo

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Following Jesus – Counting The Cost

I’m coming a Christian has always meant following Jesus Christ I have to say that because all sorts of people today want to make up their own path and call it Christianity but if you take following Christ out with Christianity you should really call it something else Jesus spoke a lot about following him and a good deal could be said about what it means it does mean accepting him as your Lord and Master you can’t really say you’re following Jesus if you refuse to do what he commands it does mean he is your teacher it would be strange if you said you were following him but denied some of his teaching and it must mean repenting of your sin and believe in the good news because that’s what he taught so if you think about it although the good news is about free salvation it’s something you can’t pay for in any way if you want to follow Jesus it could cost you everything Jesus put it like this if anyone wishes to come after me he must deny himself take up his cross and follow me let’s just think about that you have to deny yourself you probably already know that it’s you that will get in the way of you following Jesus more than anything else you your sinful flesh will have desires and ambitions and fears that will almost shout out at you don’t do it don’t follow Jesus but if you’re going to follow him it means say no to yourself more than that you have take up your cross people in jest I had no difficulty understanding what that meant it meant being ready to suffer in the worst kind of persecution even the ultimate cost there’s no way you can follow Jesus if you’re not prepared to suffer if you’re not prepared to acknowledge him if you won’t even own up to being his own follower he himself said 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 there’s some smooth-talking false teachers who will invite you to follow Jesus and promise you health wealth and prosperity but Jesus didn’t promised those things to his followers in this life true Christianity brings you unspeakable joy but it’s not a joyride there’s peace that passes all understanding but jesus said in this world you will have trouble before you follow Christ you ought to stop and can the cost following Jesus could cost you everything so if that’s the case why would anyone follow Jesus thankfully following him is not just about suffering jesus promised his followers spiritual life and the comfort of fellowship with the Holy Spirit called his followers his friends gives us peace with God and a guarantee that whoever comes to him will never cast out for those are in Christ there’s a promise that all things will alternate work together for your good and a future inheritance waiting for you that makes any suffer in this life more

[ The London Gap ]

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Follow Me
“The Cost of Non-discipleship”

What it means to follow Jesus:
– To live with radical abandonment for Jesus’ glory
– To live with joyful dependance ion Jesus; grace,
– To live with faithful adherence to Jesus
– To live with urgent obedience to Jesus’ mission.

[ David Platt ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

Sermon Text: Luke 14:25-35

This sermon is from the Lord’s Day pulpit ministry of R.C. Sproul at Saint Andrew’s Chapel near Orlando Florida.

[ R.C. Sproul ]

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/sermons/cost-discipleship-luke-weekends/

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The Cost of Discipleship

“Another of the disciples said to him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead’” (vv. 21–22).

Matthew 8:18–22
A great crowd gathers about Christ as His acclaim spreads in Capernaum, and He prepares to cross the sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:18). We are not certain why He makes this move, but many interpreters believe Jesus is seeking rest. After all, He is found asleep in the episode following today’s passage (v. 24).

Seeing that our Savior is about to depart, a scribe trained in the law of Moses expresses His desire to follow Jesus wherever He goes (v. 19). Christ does not turn this would-be disciple away, but He explains to this scholar the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus, the scribe learns, might even entail the loss of a permanent home (v. 20). The Redeemer’s people must accept that they are strangers and exiles in this present world (Heb. 11:13–16). In Christ we will one day rule over all (2 Tim. 2:12a), but the Christian life, as the church father Tertullian says, is a call to follow the Lord’s pattern: “He walked in humility and obscurity. He had no definite home. …He is unadorned as to dress. He exercised no right of power even over his own followers. …Though conscious of his own kingdom, he shrank back from being made a king” (On Idolatry, 18.4–5).

Like Jesus, we must be willing to tell people that there is a cost to following the Savior. We do not help the non-believer if we teach or imply that Jesus can be folded into the fabric of our lives without the world hating us (Matt. 24:9).

Even family duties take second place when Jesus calls. After speaking to the scribe, another man says he is willing to follow Christ if he can first go bury His father. Yet Jesus allows no hesitation (8:21—22). This is a difficult saying, since Scripture tells us to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12), but it is likely that our Lord’s reply to the dead man’s son is a universal principle, not a universal application. Jesus alone deserves our supreme devotion, but the ways in which this principle is applied may vary. John Calvin comments, “Children should discharge their duty to their parents in such a manner that, whenever God calls them to another employment, they should lay this aside, and assign the first place to the command of God. Whatever duties we owe to men must give way, when God enjoins upon us what is immediately due to himself.”

Coram Deo

John Chrysostom comments on today’s passage that Jesus would not have us “think lightly of the honor due to parents.” His words only signify “that nothing ought to be to us more urgent than the affairs of the kingdom of heaven” (Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 27.3). It can be hard to know how to honor one’s parents and follow Jesus, but let us remember that His will alone deserves our undivided submission.

[ R.C. Sproul ]

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Counting The Cost

Read: Luke 14:25-33 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 1-3; Matthew 24:1-28
Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost. —Luke 14:28
Several years ago I read an article about the importance of counting the cost before making a major purchase. The advice is particularly appropriate for those of us who overspent this past Christmas season.

The writer illustrated his point by adding up the actual cost of the gifts listed in the popular song “Twelve Days of Christmas.” The result was a lot less romantic than the song itself. All the gifts given in the name of love have their price.

A pear tree was figured at $14, one partridge—$15, two turtle doves— $10, three French hens—$36, four calling birds—$140, five golden rings—$1,000, six geese a-laying— $1,260, and so on. The total tab for all 12 days came to $10,314.92. (And that was not figured at today’s prices.)

Counting the cost is also important in our commitment to Christ. He made this clear in Luke 14, when He talked about what it takes to be His disciple—loving Him more than family relationships, our possessions, or even our own life.

Giving your life in service to Christ and others can be very rewarding. But let’s remember what Jesus said. Being His disciple has its price, and we must carefully count the cost.

When called to do a work for Christ,
We can’t ignore the cost;
For if we fail to think it through,
Our efforts may be lost. —JDB

Following Jesus costs more than anything—except not following Him.

[ Mart DeHaan – Our Daily Bread (2/7/1998) ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

FOLLOWING PEOPLE TODAY is effortless. We follow each other with the click of a button on social media. The cost is minuscule. At most, we lose a bit of dignity (depending on whom we follow). Ordinarily, we want to follow friends and family, or people whose lives we covet. Celebrities have millions of followers, and they don’t ask for much in return, perhaps the occasional “like.” Nowadays, following someone is easy, so easy in fact that we can follow hundreds, even thousands, of people. I wonder if this phenomenon has helped to confuse us about Jesus’ words, “Follow me.”

The life that Jesus calls us to emulate actually wasn’t coveted by anyone. If Instagram existed in the first century, I’m not sure Jesus would have had many followers. He was a religious outcast, so the pious wouldn’t be caught be- hind Him. In our day, the “spiritual but not religious” find it equally hard to follow Jesus for two reasons.

First, Jesus demands that we follow Him in a way that we follow no one else. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Family and celebrities are happy to share their followers, but Jesus isn’t. You cannot follow Jesus and be devoted to others in the same way you’re devoted to Him. This type of exclusivity is especially difficult in societies like ours, where non-Christians are happy to include Jesus among the great religious teachers but not above them. Yet, Jesus won’t share the stage with anyone else, and He demands that our love for Him be unique.

Second, Jesus demands that we follow Him precisely when it isn’t exciting or comfortable. “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (v. 27). The comfort and glory we often want for ourselves are antithetical to the cross. Yet, to follow Jesus is to embrace a cruciform life. John Calvin wrote that Christ’s followers “ought to prepare themselves for a hard, toilsome, and unquiet life, crammed with very many and various kinds of evil.” So great is the cost of following Jesus that He exhorts us to consider the decision thoroughly before we “click” (vv. 28–32).

Jesus concluded His call to discipleship in Luke 14 by saying, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (v. 33). Simply put, follow- ing Jesus will cost you everything, but what you gain is greater than what you lose. Through the cross, we get the Christ, who for our salvation bore it before we did.

[ Adriel Sanchez ]

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John Ankerberg Show: Discipleship Series

Why would you do something that is going to ‘cost’ you? Because you are in love with this ‘Person’ Jesus, and you want to please Him in any way you can—not to get saved, but because He has saved us!

A disciple’s focus is not out of ‘duty’ but out of ‘devotion’. They are not trying to earn ‘favor’ from Jesus because of the things they do, but because of what He has already done in our life!

When on becomes a disciple of Jesus, the outflow of that realization in disciple-making—wanting everyone you know to know Jesus like you do.

What Does It Mean to Be a Disciple of Jesus?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwVXTPM5faA

The Process of Becoming a Disciple
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAcvQ5pDoBk

The Practices of Discipleship
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAtjg7HSA4w

Making Disciples of Others
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_IqimCGwyY

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Fellowship Of The Unashamed

“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer and I labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach until all know and work until He stops me. And, when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear!”

[ Author unknown – Read by Steven Lawson ]

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Discipleship in 3-D

PART 1:
Sometimes a picture can help us to understand profound truths. In the second chapter of his final letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul uses word pictures to describe Christian discipleship. Alistair Begg explains how God’s grace empowers us to obey Him, like a devoted soldier, and to live within the rules He prescribes, like a disciplined athlete: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttP2_wBqOW4

PART 2:
Farmers reap a harvest through patient attention to the daily demands of their crops and consistent hard work. Like the farmer, most of our Christian experience consists in diligent attention to the ordinary routines of life. In this message from 2 Timothy 2:4-6, Alistair Begg explores this comparison. Although the prospect can seem daunting, we can be encouraged that our obedience to the law of God in the daily routines of life and ministry flows from communion with the Lord Jesus and is enabled by the grace of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz4gpcQabTI

[ Alistair Begg ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
—Luke 14:28–30

Before you sign on to this thing called Christianity, Jesus says, you better calculate the cost and see if you are really willing to pay it. To sign on as a disciple but not follow through on that commitment is to embarrass not only yourself but also the kingdom of God. And to illustrate that truth, in Luke 14, Jesus gives two parables that illustrate the cost of discipleship.

First, He gives the parable of the builder. Remember, Jesus uses parables to teach important truths. The truth He is illustrating in this parable is about calculating the cost of following Him. He says, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” (Luke 14:28–30). Jesus is talking about a tower a farmer might build in his vineyard. And the purpose of the tower would be to protect the crops against animals or other people who might try to destroy it. So here is a farmer who begins to build a tower. He laid the foundation but didn’t properly calculate the cost. He runs out of money. So all he has is a foundation and no tower. The result is embarrassment for the farmer. People ridicule him. “You didn’t plan very well, did you?” But not only that, the job is left undone. The vineyard is not protected.

Back in the 1960s, they started building the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Dallas. The developer built two huge steel tower structures . . . but then he ran out of money and construction came to a halt. Those two towers stood there and stood there and stood there for many years. The towers were an eyesore on the city of Dallas. People would look at those towers and say, “What happened? What was wrong with those people that they would start something they couldn’t finish?” Well, that’s the same thing when we don’t follow through on our commitment to God.

The landscape of Christianity is littered with abandoned, half-built towers. These are what remains of those who intended to follow Christ but were unable to follow through on their commitment. Many people still ignore Christ’s warning and try to follow Him without first reflecting on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christianity today—so-called nominal Christianity.

In countries where Christian civilization has spread, thousands of people have covered themselves with a thin veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to be somewhat involved with Christ—enough to be respectable, but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is like a soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life while changing its shape to suit their convenience. No wonder cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

————-

THE DEMONSTRATION OF DISCIPLESHIP
Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
—Luke 14:31–32

After the parable of the builder in Luke 14, Jesus gives a second parable of not calculating the cost of discipleship. This parable is an illustration of a warrior. Look at verses 31–32: “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.” In other words, if you are going into battle with someone who has twice as many forces as you do, you better determine whether you have the ability and the willingness to win the war. Otherwise it is better to negotiate for peace from the start.

What Jesus is alluding to here is the great conflict you are going to experience if you become a follower of Christ. It is not going to be all health and wealth and peace and prosperity, like some TV charlatans promise today on religious television. The life of a true disciple is not like that. If you are going to live as a disciple of Christ, it is going to cost you something. You better be prepared to pay that cost. You better be prepared for the spiritual attack you will come under and commit in advance that you will stay with it until the very end—or else it’s better not to enter into the battle to begin with.

Then Jesus, beginning in verse 33, talks about the demonstration of discipleship. “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” By possessions Jesus is not just talking about money. He is talking about anything of value to us. If you are going to be a follower of Christ, it means giving up everything important to you.

————-

The disciple must take up the cross and follow Jesus. Verse 27, “whoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” In Luke’s Gospel over in the ninth chapter Jesus addresses this again, addresses this again with a little more detail. He says, “if anyone desires to come after me and be my disciple, he must deny himself,” listen to this, “and take up his cross daily, and follow me, for whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life, for my sake, will find it.”

———–

Second, to be a disciple demands a willingness to die. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (v. 27). Today, some Christians wear the cross as a necklace or use it as a decoration in their homes. But did you know the cross was not used as a decoration for the first 400 years of church history? The cross was a horrible instrument of torture. Yet some people romanticize the cross. Other people trivialize the cross. They use the term “carry your cross” to mean going through an unpleasant time or doing something inconvenient. And they use it to refer to everything from allergies to an obnoxious mother-in-law. “Oh, that’s my cross to bear in life.” That’s not how Jesus uses the term here.

In Jesus’ day, if you saw someone carrying a cross through the streets of Jerusalem, you knew that person was on his way to his death. A person carrying a cross symbolized execution. And that’s how Jesus is using the term here. To be a disciple means to be willing to die.

Did you know that there were more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than there were in the first century? In America we are living in a bubble from the rest of the world. We are not suffering the intense persecution that other Christians around the world are suffering right now. But I think there’s a time coming when we, too, will have to be willing to give up our life as disciples of Jesus Christ.

I think Jesus is talking about physical death in this verse, and I also think He’s talking about more than just physical death. The phrase “carry his own cross” implies a continuous action. You can only give up your physical life once. But Jesus says a disciple has to keep on dying. What does that mean? I think Jesus means a willingness to die to your desires every day. To become a disciple, you have to be willing to kill your own aspirations for the cause of Christ. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

[ Dr. Robert Jeffress – excerpted from “Becoming Salty Saints” ]

https://ptv.org/devotional/cost-of-discipleship/

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The Cost of Discipleship

– Deny Self
– Take up one’s cross, daily
– Follow Me

[ – Dr. Steven J. Lawson ]

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The Cost of True Discipleship

What does it TRULY mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Is it simply reciting a prayer? Is it being in good standing at your church? Is it giving a certain percentage regularly? While all of those things are good, Jesus presents a very different picture of what a disciple is. This audio sermon will break down exactly what Jesus expects from His disciples.

[ Allen Parr ]

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What Does It Mean To ‘Take Up Your Cross?’

[ Real Truth. Real Quick. – Todd Wagner ]

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The Cost of True Discipleship

What does it TRULY mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Is it simply reciting a prayer? Is it being in good standing at your church? Is it giving a certain percentage regularly? While all of those things are good, Jesus presents a very different picture of what a disciple is. This audio sermon will break down exactly what Jesus expects from His disciples.

[ Allen Parr ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

“When we see crowds, we want to keep them. When Jesus see crowd he gets skeptical; ‘Are you sure you guys are following the right guy? Because if you want to follow me, you got to put me so far above every one’ ”

[ Francis Chan ]

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Parable Video – The Cost of Being a Disciple” (Luke 14.25-35)

This is the eighth (and final) parable video from the “Upside Down” series at ECHO. It is based off of the Parable of the Cost of Being a Disciple from Luke 14.25-35: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTtdVeRYEk4

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The Cost Of Discipleship

[ Billy Graham ]

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Following Jesus – Counting The Cost

[ The London Group ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

Jeff Durbin preaches live at Apologia Church on The Cost of Discipleship from the Gospel of Matthew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2hPadMV6ts

[ Jeff Durbin ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

[ Paul Washer ]

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The High Cost Of Following Christ

Tonight I want to talk to young people primarily on counting the cost what it cost to follow Jesus Christ there’s a price to be paid… [ more ]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2woQLN7X0M

[ Billy Graham ]

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The Cost of Not Following Jesus

It will cost you to follow Jesus. But it will cost you more not to. It will cost you either way. What are those costs?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGcX_zs7Bvs

[ Billy Graham

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The Gospel Demands Radical Sacrifice

I’ve also heard some folks especially a lot of the passages we looked at last week hate your father and mother and your brother and sister wife and your children and go sell all you have and give it to the poor and people are asking questions like really I’m really supposed to sell everything I have and give it to the poor and that’s a good question to ask it’s a question we need to ask it’s a question that
obviously scripture warrants that we ask so we need to wrestle with these questions… [ more ]

[ David Platt ]

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Following Christ Is Costly — But How Do You Count the Cost?

Jesus is calling people to follow him in discipleship, and then he’s reminding them that it’s like building a tower that you don’t want to leave half-finished because you don’t have enough commitment or enough resources to finish it. It’s like going to war and realizing you don’t have enough soldiers to win the battle and defeat the enemy. [ more… ].

[ John Piper ]

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The Cost to Follow Jesus

In this video clip Dr. Dallas Willard talks about the cost of following Jesus. This is a segment from “What Jesus Said About Following Him.”

[ Dr. Dallas Willard ]

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Counting the Costs” (Sermon Jam)

This sermon jam titled “Counting the Cost” comes from a sermon preached by Benjamen Leahey “The Kingdom of God”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNIQiq3hjIQ

[ Benjamen Leahey ]

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The Cost of Following Jesus

[ Francis Chan ]

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High Cost of Following Christ

Well, let’s just open the promises of God now and look into them I want you to take God’s Word and be turning to the Gospel of Luke Luke chapter 9 the title the message today is the high cost of following Christ… [ more ]

[ Dr. Steven J. Lawson ]

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We Have Forgotten that the Way is Narrow

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

[ Paul Washer ]

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What Is The Cost Of Following Jesus?

Bobby unpacks what Jesus meant by counting the cost before following Him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvQo5dX-3QA

[ Dr. Bobby Conway ]

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Count The Cost To Be Accosted For Jesus’ Sake

Pastor Ken Burge Sr. sermon entitled “Count The Cost To Be Accosted For Jesus’ Sake – Luke 6:22-26” This is the 40th sermon in the Luke series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE7HALM2Ijc

[ Ken Burge Sr. ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

To speak of the cost of discipleship in our society may be not the most needful thing from the viewpoint of the listener right now; it may become more needful in the days ahead. If we were in Eastern Europe tonight, we would be speaking on a subject very dear to the heart of the hearer. In fact, I would dare say that they are so well apprised of the matter of the cost of discipleship that perhaps it wouldn’t need to be spoken of at all, except to encourage them. And frankly, the approach that I will take in this message wouldn’t be needed at all, because no one in a country where you pay a price for naming the name of Jesus Christ is going to do that unless they are willing to pay that price. There are no shallow, uncommitted believers. Why pay the price? And yet in our society here, we have developed this incredible theology that says you can be a Christian and not worry about being committed. In fact, you can be a Christian and not even be a disciple. Those who teach that would say, “Yes, there’s no question in the New Testament about Jesus assigning a tremendous cost to discipleship. But you don’t need to worry about that, because that’s second-level Christianity. First-level Christianity doesn’t really have any particular cost at all.” [ more… ].

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-23/the-cost-of-discipleship

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The True Cost and Benefits of Following Christ

Does following Jesus involve not much more than appreciating Mac/PC commercial parodies, owning an iPod, and listening to Christian pop, or is there a Biblical definition of what it means to follow Christ? Did Christ, Himself, define in Scripture what true followers of Christ would face? True Christians: Are you suffering persecution and being called “divisive” because you’ve dared to question your “pastor’s leadership vision”? Have you wondered why this is, and if you’re really in the wrong Biblically? If you’ve ever had these questions and haven’t been sure about the correct answers to them, you should listen to this sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuSUj2Iv8jw

[ Mark Kielar ]

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What It Costs To Be A Christian

[ J. C. Ryle ]

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Counting The Cost of Discipleship

Paul Washer’s sermon on the importance of counting the cost of discipleship.

[ Paul Washer ]

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Counting the Cost

Here is the first in our new online series “Let God Write Your Story.” In this first episode, Jaime Saint tells the story of his missionary grandfather Nate Saint and his four friends who were murdered in 1956 by the Waodani tribe of Ecuador. Recorded live at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiCKwhq_fiM

[ Jaime Saint ]

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Counting the Cost

Christ’s pre-eminence means everything else is secondary. Our only objective is to be Christ’s flavor in the world. If we do not accomplish this task, we are only good to be thrown away. [ Luke 14:25-35 ]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMQKT2dCDHQ

[ Geoff Gleason ]

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Counting The Cost #1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9cIxs2M-Uk

Counting The Cost #2: “The Parable of the Sower
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0IjXpJRpis

Counting The Cost #3 ‘Deny Yourself, Pick Up Your Cross & Follow Me’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8V3tIqYaVA

[ Bill Meiter ]

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Have You Counted The Costs of Following Jesus?

Before you decide to follow Jesus OR pickup a free hot tub you need to count your costs.

Let’s start with the hot tub first.

“Free Hot Tub” was how the advertisement read. We couldn’t believe it. There had to be a catch. Nope.

The craiglist ad was clear. If we wanted one we could have a free hot tub. All we had to do was drive about 45 minutes away and pick it up. That’s it? That’s it.

That was SO NOT it. The only thing that was “it” was the 45 minute drive. That was correct. The rest of it was an enormous pain in…everywhere.

We got it out of the backyard and struggled to lift this “free hot tub” into the back of our truck. Painful.

So far, super difficult but still free right? I guess.

Reversing that process, out of the truck and into our backyard difficult? Yes. Very.

Now, after all this effort we figure out that the electricity needs to be setup specifically for this kind of tub.

Someone had to pay. Cash. Now our free hot tub was no longer “free.” It was never free. We just never fully calculated the costs.

It’s just like trying to follow Jesus and be his disciple. So many start but never finish.

Jesus gave us three illustrations that are heavy—just so we can know, and count the costs of discipleship.

First, in front of a large crowd, he said,

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

No need to get all crazy trying to interpret this. Jesus taught love ALL THE TIME. What he’s saying here is will you be able to put Jesus above everyone else in your life? Will he hold the number one position in your heart? If not, no disciple.

Jesus goes on and says,

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

If you want to be a disciple and you don’t count the cost before you begin you may hit a rough spot and turn back. Quitters. Uh, uh. That’s not discipleship.

The last illustration Jesus used was this:

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25–33 NIV)

If you hold back, when trying to follow Jesus you will fail. You must be all in to be a disciple.

So many start. So few finish. I pray that you are a finisher.

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The Tragic Cost of Non-Discipleship

Yes, Deitrich Bonhoeffer has taught us well. That the cost of discipleship is great. To live with radical abandonment for His glory, faithful adherence to His person, urgent obedience to His ministry—this is costly. This could cost us, or the people we lead, our lives. But I submit to you this morning that the cost of non-discipleship is far, far, far greater. The cost of non-discipleship is great for scores of people in the church sitting comfortably right now under the banner of Christianity, but have never counted the cost of following Christ—many eternally deceived.

There’s great cost for all who settle for casual association with Jesus and miss out on the abundance and satisfaction and joy that he has designed for us. There’s a cost that comes to monotonous routine Christianity. Don’t do it and don’t lead churches like that. We’ll waste our lives away like that. The cost will be great for us and the church…And the cost of nominal Christianity will be great for those who are lost in this world.

For people in our communities, our cities, for people groups are the world who will go on without the Gospel, because we are content with not making disciples of all the nations. Because in our casual approach to Christianity we are leaving them on a road that leads to an eternal hell. The consequences to casual cultural Christianity are tragic—eternally tragic…Let’s follow Him with abandonment for His glory, with dependance of His grace, with adherence to His Person, and with urgent obedience to His mission.”

[ David Platt ]

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The Cost of Discipleship

This video consists of excerpts I’ve taken from the book “The Cost of Discipleship” published in 1937 by Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The accompanying music is the composition “Air” by 18th century composer Johann Sebastian Bach

[ Deitrich Bonhoeffer ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI-4CFwBm4A

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The Cost of Discipleship

Examines the lives and deaths of Andrew, Peter, and Thomas; 3 average guys who God used to do extraordinary things. Their stories are told through famous paintings and sculpture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N-kJsOR4AE

[ Dan Severs ]

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Follow Me” [ Sermon Series ]

A year-long sermon series at Harvest Christian Fellowship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaf-ErWrksE&list=PL7AE3C19D853BAF83

[ Greg Laurie ]

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Pilgrim’s Progress” (Movie)

Christian meets two more ill-fated pilgrims as he continues his expedition down the King’s Highway. His ability to discern a false pilgrim has been advanced since his experience with Simple, Sloth, and Presumption.

Christian immediately focuses on three things that seem out of place. First, the tumbling over the wall called Salvation without coming through Christ, the narrow gate, or experiencing any illumination by the Holy Spirit immediately warns Christian that these are trespassers.

Second, their testimony of having come from the land of Vain-Glory warns Christian that they are neither humble nor burdened by sin.

Third, their wish to arrive at Mt. Zion to receive praise rather than to give praise to the only one worthy of praise alarms Christian. Christian quickly discerns that the motives of Formalist and Hypocrisy are unworthy and contemptuous.
Formalist” John Bunyan!

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The Kingdom of Heaven Is a Treasure

The link between last week’s message and today’s message is the kingdom of God. Our focus today is Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven [that is, the kingdom of God] is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” We are focusing here because I want us to understand and embrace and enjoy the biblical foundation for Treasuring Christ Together. The link is back to Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” What we said there is important here… [more].

[ John Piper ]

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-kingdom-of-heaven-is-a-treasure

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Burn the Ships

Open Innovation, loosely defined as seeking solutions outside your company, can help a company dramatically increase its technology and product pipeline, but it is not without its challenges. In this article, we explore a major obstacle that can impede the success of an open innovation based project, and how to remedy it.
I have seen and been involved with hundreds of open innovation projects. Many of these projects succeed, and help the company push through major obstacles to be able to release a disruptive new product or technology. But some fail – and one of the biggest reasons for failure is a lack of full commitment from the stakeholders in the project.

In 1519, the Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando Cortez decided that he wanted to seize the treasure that the Aztecs had been hoarding. He took 500 soldiers and 100 sailors and landed his 11 ships on the shores of the Yucatan. Despite the large army under his command, he was still vastly outnumbered by a huge and powerful empire that had been around for 600 years.

Some of his men were unconvinced of success, and being loyal to Cuba, they tried to seize some ships to escape to there. Cortez got wind of the plot, and captured the ringleaders. He wanted to make sure that the remainder of his men were completely committed to his mission and quest for riches, so he did something that seemed completely insane to his people: Cortez gave the order to scuttle his own ships.

His men resisted, wondering how they would even get home, and his answer was: “If we are going home, we are going home in their ships!”

The path forward was clear for Cortez – All or nothing, 100% commitment. The option of failure was gone – Conquer as heroes, or die.

The ships were sunk – He kept a single ship to send back the “royal fifth” (the king of Spain claimed 20% of all treasures). By doing this, the level of commitment of the men was raised to an extreme level, much higher than anyone could have imagined.

Incredibly, they succeeded in this unlikely feat. In six hundred years, no one else had been able to conquer the Aztecs and plunder their riches. They were able to do it simply because there was no choice, no fallback – the ships were gone, the only alternative was death.

The lesson is this:
Retreat is easy when you let yourself have the option.
Ponder that for a while – I certainly did.

This story of the Spanish Conquistador beating the odds is really a story about commitment. Commitment is critical to success – Nothing of significance can be achieved without it. By focusing on commitment, we forge our own future.

This very same element is essential to success in open innovation.

Open Innovation is hard. There are always going to be people at your company who are, at best unconvinced. At worst, they actually want it to fail.

Think about your technical people—if open innovation succeeds, what does it say about them? That someone else could solve the problem where they couldn’t? That they really aren’t the best in the world?

Think about your legal people—open innovation can be frightening. What are the risks? What haven’t we thought of? There certainly isn’t a template contract for this thing that this radical business unit wants to do.

As I stated in the first paragraph, a common thread that I see in failed open innovation projects is that at least one stakeholder is convinced right from the outset that it will fail. All it takes is one. It could be the legal department, or the technical people, or a manager. It could be you.

When failure is an option, there is a lack of commitment. Although you are not conquering the Aztecs, open innovation projects can still be challenging – it takes vision, leadership, buy-in and most of all commitment from ALL of the stakeholders to make it through.

Many people think that Cortez actually burned his ships – he didn’t – he sank them. This is a misconception that has made its way into history due to a reference made by the Spanish writer Cervantes de Salazar in 1546. I think that people cling to the idea because it’s evocative; nevertheless, the message is still the same:

You need to burn the ships.

If you want your open innovation endeavor to be successful, you need to remove the lifeline. To do this, you need to do these two scary, but important things:

Do not continue to work on the project internally while the OI project is underway. If you do, then you are giving yourselves a fallback, and that can dramatically reduce the commitment from the stakeholders. The OI project doesn’t have to work because your people “might still come up with something”.
Make the OI project your “final answer”. Decide at the outset that if it fails, the project will be scrapped. This ensures that everyone needs the project to be successful. Your technical people fail if the OI project fails – this flips the tables, because without this, your technical people have a way to prove that they really are the best. Take that ammunition away, and directly connect their own success with the success of the OI project.
By removing failure as an option, you are only left with success. Most importantly, you disarm the people who can co-opt your project: the naysayers, the not-invented-here proponents and the individuals in your organization who may be driven by ego to never be shown up.

As I said above – open innovation can be hard business, but if you purposefully construct the right environment, you’ll be aligning everyone’s goals. And when everyone’s goals are aligned, you can sometimes come home with bags of treasure where others before you have failed.

The results speak for themselves. At IdeaConnection, we have seen an 80% increase in success when the stakeholders back it with this kind of commitment.

[ Paul Wagorn ]

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Burn The Ships!—A Leadership Lesson rom Cortes

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz to begin his great conquest. Upon arriving, he gave the order to his men to burn the ships. As I imagine it, someone then laughed and Cortés promptly thrust his sword into the man’s chest. After which, the rest proceeded to get hammered on rum by the glow of the blaze. Almost like a bloodier version of The Pirates of the Caribbean with Cortés played by Johnny Depp.

Here’s the lesson: Retreat is easy when you have the option.

Let that ruminate in your brain for a moment. I had to.

We all cling to something that acts as our escape hatch or our exit strategy (in the negative connotation). It’s our safety net “just in case…” What we fail to do is honestly complete that sentence. We lie to ourselves. If we were honest, we would say, “This is my safety net just in case I get scared.”

We postpone action until we no longer feel fear. Either that, or our actions are shallow attempts never designed to succeed. In reality, we must learn to act decisively in spite of our fear.

Burning Things that “Make Sense”
“That doesn’t makes sense.” We love that phrase. We love to hide behind it. We tell ourselves that certain things don’t make sense. It would have “made sense” for Cortés to keep a ship or two if not his entire fleet. But Cortés was on a mission and he knew that the only way to keep himself or his men from quitting on the mission was to take that option off the table.

What Cortés did was force himself and his men to either succeed or die. Retreat was not an option. I believe that to truly achieve the level of success we each desire, there are times when we need to “burn the ships.”

The question we have to ask ourselves is this: What are my ships? What am I afraid to let go of?

I can’t answer that question for you, but I can give you some areas to consider as you ponder the question, “What ships do I need to burn in my life?” Take a look at them, then feel free to add your own in the comments below.

As you consider each one, if it jumps out at you, ask yourself why. What is it that makes it hard to burn? Is it a false sense of obligation to it? Is it fear of the unknown? Is it fear of being perceived as a failure? What is it?

Your Current Job – Are you afraid of trying something new? Are you comfortable? Are you convinced that this is as good as it gets?

Your Field of Employment – Have you been dreaming of a career change? Does every ounce of your work drain you? Are you a people person stuck behind a computer screen? This is one I had to wrestle with.

A Bad Business Deal – Why is it a bad deal? Why can’t you let it go? Do you feel obligated to the relationship?

An Unrealistic Dream – Sometimes this is the toughest one to spot. I enjoy watching TV shows like American Idol because you get a chance to see people who are willing to put it all on the line in front of a national audience for their dreams. During the tryout rounds, you’ll witness as people who are ill-prepared give what they believe to be a stellar performance. Unfortunately, they don’t recognize the lack of skill in themselves. It’s sad because they are neither willing to put the work into accomplishing their dreams nor willing to modify them accordingly. Instead of dreams they have fantasies and that is a sad state for anyone to live in.

What are other “ships” that often need to be burned? What “ships” have you burned? How did it feel at the time? How does it feel now?

[ Travis Robertson ]

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C.S. Lewis on Authentic Discipleship

Walter Hooper has on several occasions stated that C.S. Lewis was the most thoroughly converted person he had ever met. If I were to put what Hooper was saying into biblical language, it would go something like this: “From the time Lewis came to faith in Jesus Christ to the day he died, he desired, worked, and struggled, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, to bring all of his life captive to Christ.” An evangelical would simply have said that Lewis was a model disciple of Christ. I agree with both assertions. I also believe Lewis understood the nature and purpose of Christian discipleship better than most and communicated as clearly as anyone in the English speaking world. [more…].

[ Christopher W. Mitchell ]

http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/CS_Lewis_on_Authentic_Discipleship_SinglePage

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The Rewards of Discipleship

Discipleship is costly. Jesus promised persecutions. But, the narrow way leads to expansive joys!

It was then that Peter said, “Lord, we have left everything and followed you.”
Implicit in his statement was the question, “Is there a reward in forsaking every- thing to follow you, Lord?” Peter and the other disciples may not have had an abundance of riches when the Lord called them to follow Him, but what they had, they left behind.
Before Peter could finish, the Lord Jesus answered:

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time . . . and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:29–30)

Our Lord declared that there is indeed reward in giving up everything to follow Him, both in this life and in the life to come. And the reward will far exceed any cost.

During his ministry, Peter experienced these rewards. He was welcomed into many houses and lands. He gained many brothers, sisters, mothers, and children in the body of Christ. And although Peter endured terrible persecutions, today he dwells in eternity.

Discipleship is costly. Jesus promised persecutions. But the narrow way leads to expansive joys. Thus, Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool to give up that which he can- not keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

For all those who have given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for the sake of the gospel: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great” (Matt. 5:12).

[ Brad Waller ]

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Tears of the Saints

“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves”
[ John Piper ]

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Count the Cost

I will give my life to the One who is worthy. the One who is worthy.
I want to pour out my heart to the One who is deserving. To the One who is deserving.
I will walk any road, I will praise thru sorrow. For the One who is worthy…

[ Joy Bullard ]

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The Cost

I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You

I’ll walk the narrow road
‘Cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh, I’ve counted up the cost
Yes, I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

I do not need safety
As much as I need You
You’re dangerous
But Lord, You’re beautiful

I’ll chase You through the pain
I’ll carry my cross
‘Cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh, I’ve counted up the cost
Yes, I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

Sing with me now

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh, I’ve counted up the cost
Yes, I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

Take my all

Jesus, take my all
Take my everything
I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything

Jesus, take my all
Take my everything
I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh, I’ve counted up the cost
Yes, I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

[ Rend Collective ]

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Count the Cost

You’ve got to count the cost,
If you’re gonna be a believer.
You’ve got to know that the price,
Is the one you can’t afford.

You’ve got to count the cost,
If you’re gonna be a believer.
You’ve got go all the way,
If you really love the Lord…

[ David Meece ]

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Count the Cost

Count the cost of never caring for a world that’s lost in sin.
Count the cost of never sharing that new life can now begin.
Count the cost of people dying never knowing of the Cross.
Though our lives will be an offering for His service, Count the Cost!…

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You Don’t Count The Cost

It happens to a mother
She is giving birth
Her heart is filled with joy
While her body’s filled with hurt
She holds the baby close to her
Despite the pain he caused
When it comes to love, you don’t count the cost
It happens to a soldier
Fighting for his home
Fear wells up inside him
And yet he still goes on
Even though he knows
He may be the next to fall
When it comes to love, you don’t count the cost
You don’t count the heartache
You don’t count the sacrifice
All that counts is what you feel inside
It doesn’t really matter what is gained or what is lost
When it comes to love, you don’t count the cost
It happens all around us
Each and every day
Someone’s giving all they got
For someone else’s sake
If you ever doubt it
Just think about the cross
When it comes to love, you don’t count the cost
You don’t count the heartache
You don’t count the sacrifice
All that counts is what you feel inside
It doesn’t really matter what is gained or what is lost
When it comes to love, you don’t count the cost
No

[ Billy Dean ]

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I Would Die for You

And I know that I can find You here
Cause You promised me You’ll always be there
Times like these it’s hard to see
But somehow I have a peace…You’re near

And I pray that you will use my life
In whatever way Your name is glorified
Even if surrendering
Means leaving everything…behind

My life has never been this clear
Now I know the reason why I’m here
You never know why you’re alive
Until you know what you would die for
I would die for you

And I know I don’t have much to give
But I promise You I will give You all there is
Can I possibly do less
When through Your own death…I live

No Greater love is found
Than of those who lay their own lives down
As sure as I live and breathe
I know what it means to be free

[ MercyMe – “Coming Up to Breathe” album ]

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Burn The Ships

In the spring of 1519 a Spanish fleet set sail
Cortez told his sailors this mission must not fail
On the eastern shore of Mexico they landed with great dreams
But the hardships of the new world make them restless and weak

Quietly they whispered, “Let’s sail back to the life we knew”
But the one who led them there was saying

“Burn the ships we’re here to stay
There’s no way we could go back
Now that we’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships we’ve passed the point of no return
Our life is here so let the ships burn and burn”

In the spring of new beginnings a searching heart set sail
Looking for a new life and a love that would not fail
On the shores of grace and mercy we landed with great joy
But an enemy was waiting to steal, kill, and destroy

Quietly he whispers, “Go back to the life you know”
But the one who led us here is saying

“Burn the ships we’re here to stay
There’s no way we could go back
Now that we’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships we’ve passed the point of no return
Our life is here so let the ships burn and burn”

Nobody said it would be easy
But the one who brought us here
Is never gonna leave us alone

Never gonna leave, never gonna leave
Never gonna leave, never gonna leave
Never gonna leave

Burn the ships we’re here to stay
There’s no way we could go back
Now that we’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships we’ve passed the point of no return
Our life is here so let the ships burn

Burn the ships we’re here to stay
There’s no way we could go back
Now that we’ve come this far by faith
Burn the ships we’ve passed the point of no return
Our life is here so let the ships burn, so let the ships burn
Let them burn, let the ships burn

[ Steven Curtis Chapman ]

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I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me, Jesus, take me now,

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

All to Jesus I surrender
Make me Savior wholly thine
May Thy Holy Spirit fill me
May I know Thy power divine

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior

I surrender all
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

[ CeCe Winans – “Alone In His Presence” album ]

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Counted the Cost

[ Cory Asbury ]

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I Will Follow

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow
All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone
Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you
Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone
In you there’s life everlasting
In you there’s freedom for my soul
In you there’s joy, unending joy
And I will follow

[ Chris Tomlin – “And If Our God Is For Us” album ]

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I Will Follow

When the sea is calm and all is right
When I feel Your favor flood my life
Even in the good, I’ll follow You
Even in the good, I’ll follow You
When the boat is tossed upon the waves
When I wonder if You’ll keep me safe
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

When I see the wicked prospering
When I feel I have no voice to sing
Even in the want, I’ll follow You
Even in the want, I’ll follow You

When I find myself so far from home
And You lead me somewhere I don’t wanna go
Even in my death, I’ll follow You
Even in my death, I’ll follow You
When I come to end this race I’ve run
And I receive the prize that Christ has won
I will be with You in Paradise
I will be with You in Paradise

[ Vertical Worship – “The Rock Won’t Move” album ]

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I Will Follow” (You Are With Me)

Though the desert be before me
And there’s no relief in sight
Though the enemy is breathing
All the lies into my mind
You will always carry me
Until my dying day
What you have for me is worth it
‘Cause I’ll see you face to face
I will follow, follow you wherever you go
And I will listen, to the very promises I know
You are with me, always with me
Keeper of my soul
I will follow, follow you wherever you go
And the day is coming quickly
When you break open the sky
And the armies all around you
Will be conquering the night
You gather all the children
That are calling out your name
When the troubles are there here and now
I know it’s not in vain
I will follow, follow you wherever you go
And I will listen, to the very promises I know
You are with me, always with me
Keeper of my soul
I will follow, follow you wherever you go
You have my heart
I’ll follow all the way
I will follow
I will follow, follow you wherever you go
And I will listen, to the very promises I know
You are with me, always with me
Keeper of my soul
I will follow, follow you wherever you go

[ Jeremy Camp – “I Will Follow” album

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Crossloads
(Parody of “Crossroads” by Cream )

Simon helped with the cross load
Dwelt in old Cyrene
Helped with the cross load
Helped our Lord, I mean
Asked someone about the verses
Check in Mark 15

Simon helped with the cross load
Right in back of Christ
Helped with the cross load
Simon’s an African guy
Nobody seemed to notice
Whether he was black or white

Well, out Lord died and rose, well
Take me word and my advice
Do what Simon does, pal
Take your cross and follow Christ
You can feel that His yoke’s easy
and His burden’s light

Know He died and rose, well
Take me word and my advice
Do it now, and don’t fail
Take your cross and follow Christ
He can help bear your cross, baby
Once He lives inside

You can walk with that cross
Well, my friend, don’t put it down
Walk with that cross
Well, my friend, don’t put it down
We’re all staring at a cross load
Believe and seek Him now.

[ ApologetiX – “Can’t Fight This Kneeling/Crossloads” album ]

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Every Crown Has Its Thorns
(Parody of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison)

We’re both like Simon we still live in a state of denial Although we’d both like to go to Heaven
We feel surprised about the trial
But the suff’ring Christ did accomplished somethin’ And the worst all turned out right
Go and find out in Hebrews chapter 5 Verses 7 through 9
You see
Every crown has its thorns
Just like every life has its cross
Just like every choirboy sings some sad, sad songs
Every crown has its thorns … it does
A Christian needs to take his cross
Take it up and hit the road
Yeah, ‘cause Jesus said lots of times that we should do it and He should know
But I wonder – as He walked
If He ever felt like quittin’
Yet I know we wouldn’t be here right now if Christ
Took a different road than Calvary
CHORUS
Though I’m in a trial now
Christ can still feel all my pain
Like the nails that cut through and bruised Him
Cause the scars – Christ’s scars remain
LEAD
I know He could have saved His life that night if Christ
Chose to run away
Instead of takin’ off – He chose
To take the narrow way
And now I’m Heaven bound and born anew
And man I never had that much to lose
I’m here to bear my cross in life
And to see Him on the other side – because
CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Spoofernatural” album ]

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Puffed Up Cliques
(Parody of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People)

Robert’s caught in quicksand
He’s lookin’ ’round the room for help but he’s stranded
Got untold secrets
Ain’t comin’ out of his mouth, he’s a careful kid
Or from the clique he’ll be shunned
And he’s gettin’ blasé – he reads the Book for somethin’
I don’t think he knows what
But he’s huntin’ for truth, yeah, he’s hungry for truth

All the other kids with their puffed-up cliques
They’re better than everyone, how come, how come?
All the other kids with their puffed-up cliques
I’d rather run with the Son back where there’s no bullies
All the other kids with their puffed-up cliques
They get to shun everyone outside their fun
All the other kids with their puffed-up cliques
I’d rather run with the Son that’s where it’s the coolest

Said His word’s a long blade
It can cuts ya both ways, and if Robert obeys it
He thinks he’ll be ostracized
But didn’t Jesus mention it’s a sacrifice?
He weighs it for a long time
Then in spite of the danger, leaves the clique forever
He’s no longer secret
Sayin’ pearls of value also cost you a bit

[ ApologetiX – “Hot Potato Soup” album ]

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Spread the Way
Parody of “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray
(Acts 12:1-3, John 21:15-24)

Day after day my Lord comes through
Still it looks more than likely that more’ll be slain
You know after James died my faith was bruised
And I’m feelin’ the pain – but I ain’t gonna change

Jimmy and me, Lord, me and my bro
You wanted apostles to walk the road and spread the Way
Galilee Beach Boys, that’s me and my bro
We counted the cost and we rocked the boat and left the lake
Why’d You take him away?

Beginning to think that I’m racing time
They don’t understand the things they do
But Lord our side will come out fine
And I’m counting on You when they bury me too

CHORUS

And when my time’s complete
You’ll hold a family reunion
And if my dreams come true
I’ll get to come with You real soon then

Thanks Father God that I live and breathe
I want You to know that I believe in Your Son
But livin’ with dyin’ is hard for me
So help me,God
Ah, it’s taking so long

CHORUS

You won’t forsake me, you won’t forsake me

[ ApologetiX – “Wordplay” album ]

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Costly Truth
(Parody Of “Dr. Feelgood” By Motley Crue)

Radical Jimmy He’s Been Checkin’ That Book
He Kneels Down – Now He’s Hooked
Got His Sister Tryin’ To Tell Him He’s Probably Insane
Afraid To Take The Path He Took
She Saw Him And He Was Running Away
From The Things He’d Do In Those Days
But He’s Goin’ Really Strong
With His Medicine Gone
That’s The Thing She Can’t Explain

Hedonism Tells Us To Feel Good
Seekin’ Only Pleasure Till We All Die
Gee, It Doesn’t Like The Deal’s Good

The Cost Of The Coroner’s Always Ignored
But Somehow He’s Gettin’ Paid
Sin Has Got A Price, We All Have Got A Vice
God’ll Pay It If We’re Saved
God He Did Provide A Way
That’s How Jimmy Got Saved
’cause His Life Was Lost And Found
So He Took It To The Street
Keepin’ On His Feet
Calling Sinners Now

Hedonism Tells Us To Feel Good
Seekin’ Only Pleasure Till We All Die
A Season Though Is All That You’ll Feel Good
Hebrews 11:25

Christ’s Got All The Strength You’ll Want To Stand (Not Just Feel Good)
He’s Got What You’d Call A Grander Plan (’cause It’s Real Good)
God Can Trample Evil Things Underfoot (Like A Steel Boot)
Freedom From Them Causes Us To Feel Good – Oh Yeah!

He’ll Tell You Here’s The Key To Me Survivin’ Those Streets
Movin’ Out And Changed The Locks
Can’t Try That Stuff ’cause It’s Never Enough
Instead You Better Trust In God
True Crime Brews With Drugs And Booze
It’s Time You Full-Out Quit
Honey, You Ain’t Gonna Drown
Jesus Won’t Allow It
This Time You’re Gonna Swim

Hedonism Tells Us To Feel Good
Seekin’ Only Pleasure Till We All Die
Please, You Want Your Doors Locked And Sealed Good
He’s Gonna See You Sanctified

Let Him Save Your Soul – Just Take His Hand (The Offer’s Still Good)
Some People Comment When We Repent (But Ya Still Should)
Let Him In The Room He’ll Help Bring You Through It (Not Concealed Goods)
He’s The Holy Son Of God – He’ll Do It

Tincha!

(Spoken) For The Wages Of Sin Is Death;
But The Gift Of God Is Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Hooh!
Christ’s Got The Strength You’ll Want To Stand
(Not Just Feel Good)
He’s Got What You’d Call A Grander Plan
(’cause It’s Real Good)
God Will Trample Evil Things Underfoot
(Like A Steel Boot)
Freedom From Those Old Monsters Feels Good
Wow!

God Can Heal Good (God Can Heal Good)
God Can Heal Good (God Can Heal Good)
God Can Heal Good (God Can Heal Good)

[ ApologetiX – “Doves in Snakes Clothing” album ]

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DEEP THOUGHTS:

“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambition small people always do that but the really great ones they make you believe that you too can become great.”
[ Mark Twain ]

“You have enemies, good, it means you stood up for something at some point in your life.”
[ Victor Hugo ]

“The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.”
[ William A. Ward ]

“The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ”
[ Deitrich Bonhoeffer ]

“The road that leads to Heaven is risky, lonely, and costly in this world, and few are willing to pay the price. Following Jesus involves losing your life—and finding new life in Him.”
[ David Platt ]

“Christianity in the hands of some seeker-sensitive church leaders has become a get what you want rather than a give up everything movement.”
[ John MacArthur ]

“If anyone wants to follow me continually which is the idea here if he wants to walk in my steps and lead a life that says to others I’m learning how to live life by observing the life of Jesus the Christ the let him say notice self-interests selfless agendas even self-preservation and human understanding and say yes to God that’s the part of taking up your cross and whatever he asks no matter how unreasonable may seem to you to me or to others I gladly follow him not my will but your will be done that’s what I think it means.”
[ Todd Wagner ]

“That is why He warned people to “count the cost” before becoming Christians. “Make no mistake,” He says, “if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have the free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect—until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.”
[ C.S. Lewis ]

“If you are a Christian, your life is not your own. Rather than dying, however, God asks you to live for Him as a living sacrifice. Every day, you are to offer your life to Him for His service.”
[ Henry T. Blackaby ]

“As the Promised One, Jesus is worthy of our hope. As Messiah, He is worthy of out trust. As Savior, His name should be proclaimed to all the earth, and lo, He is with us, even to the end of the age.”
[ David Jeremiah ]

“When Jesus called people to follow him he was not seeking companions to be his sidekicks or admirers whom he could entertain with miracles he was calling people to yield completely and unreservedly to his lordship so that a renunciation of self-rule and self-will is the only the only appropriate response to Jesus call for disciples.”
[ John MacArthur ]

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
[ Deitrich Bonhoeffer ]

“The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half-built towers, the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning, and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so- called nominal Christianity. In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent but thin veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable, but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.”
[ John Stott ]

“Sir, the law of Christ hath provided two ways of obeying, the one to do that which I in my conscience do believe I am bound to do actively. And where I cannot obey it actively, there I am willing to lie down and suffer what they shall do unto me.”
[ John Bunyan ]

“Give me fifty men who fear nothing but God, hate nothing but sin, and refuse to know anything other than Jesus Christ crucified, and I will turn the world upside down.”
[ John Wesley ]

“We must not make cheap what cost God everything.”
[ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ]

“The true Christian is of this disposition of mind that if there were no conscience to accuse, no devil to terrify, no judge to arraign or condemn, no hell to torment, yet he would be humbled and brought to his knees for his sins, because he has offended a loving, merciful, and long-suffering God.”
[ William Perkins ]

 

RELATED BIBLE VERSES:

“Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
[ Luke 10:3 ]

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”
[ Luke 9:62 ]

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
[ Matthew 8:18-22 ]

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
[ Luke 14:33 ]

“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’”
[ Luke 9:23 ]

“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 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? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
[ Luke 14:25-33 ]

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”
[ Mark 8:34 ]

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”
[Matthew 16:24 ]

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
[ 1 Peter 2:21 ]

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
[ Romans 12:1-2 ]

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
[ John 8:31-32 ]

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
[ Matthew 10:34-37 ]

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
[ Matthew 11:28-30 ]

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“A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]

 

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

 

The Cost of Being a Disciple
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 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? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
[ Luke 14:25-33 ]

———–

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
[ Luke 9:23-26 ]

———–

The Cost of Following Jesus
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus[g] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
[ Luke 9:57-62 ]

 

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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