Posts Tagged ‘Mark Besh’

One’s ‘Last Words’

30 June 18

A person’s final articulated words said prior to death—or as death approaches—generally are taken to have particular significance, and are usually intended to calm, encourage, or ‘DISCIPLE’

Dying is not a joyous event. However, some “last words” spoken by people that are respected by many can make this phenomenon a bit easier on loved ones, especially if the words are something poignant, profound, or have a bit of wisdom behind them.

It is believed that people tend to become the most honest when they are about to die. Some have even said that of all the words a person utters in their entire lifetime, it is what they say on their death bed that makes the most sense.

Last words also have a surprising way of sticking to our memories like ‘glue’, and over the years, many famous people have said some truly insightful things—and others some very haunting and sad things. Still, sometimes we need to hear their words to get that little ounce of inspiration or a ‘revelation’ to live our lives to the fullest. Here’s a few examples from relatively famous people (with many more listed at the end of this ‘post’):

Confucius (479 BC)
“Heaven has turned against me. No wise ruler arises, and no one in the Empire wishes to make me his teacher. The hour of my death has come.”

Socrates (339 BC)
“All the wisdom of this world is but a tiny raft upon we must set sail when we leave this earth. If only there was a firmer foundation upon which to sail, perhaps some divine word.”

Alexander the Great (323 BC)
“To the strongest!”
(When asked about to whom his empire should belong after his death)

Archimedes (212 BC)
“Wait till I have finished my problem. Don’t disturb my circles!”

Cleopatra (30 BC)
“So here it is!”
(Right before committing suicide by letting an asp bite her)

Augustus Caesar (14)
“Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.”

Julius Caesar (44)
“Et tu, Brute?”
(Meaning: “Even you, Brutus?”)

Severus (211)
“I have been everything, and everything is nothing. A little urn will contain all that remains of one for whom the whole world was too little.”

Charlemagne (814)
“Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Genghis Khan (1227)
“Let not my end disarm you, and on no account weep or keen for me, let the enemy be warned of my death.”

Marco Polo (1324)
“I have not told half of what I saw.”

Joan of Arc (1431)
“Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames!”

Christopher Columbus (1506)
“Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

Leonardo Da Vinci (1519)
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”

Anne Boleyn (1536)
“O God, have pity on my soul. O God, have pity on my soul.”

Martin Luther (1546)
“Into Thy hands I commend my spirit! Thou hast redeemed me, O God of truth.”

Elizabeth I (1603)
“All my possessions for a moment of time.”

William Shakespeare (1616)
“I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Savior, to be made partaker of life everlasting; and my body to the earth, whereof it was made.”

Sir Walter Raleigh (1619)
“So the heart be right, it is no matter which way the head lieth.”

John Milton (1674)
“Death is a great key that opens the palace of eternity.”

Thomas Hobbs (1679)
“I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.”

Louis XIV (1715)
“Why do you weep. Did you think I was immortal?”

Sir Isaac Newton (1727)
“I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Jonathan Edwards (1758)
“Trust in God, and you need not fear.”

Benjamin Franklin (1790)
“A dying man can do nothing easy.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)
“The taste of death is upon my lips… I feel something, that is not of this earth.”

George Washington (1799)
“‘Tis well. I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.”

Napoleon Bonaparte (1821)
“I marvel that where the ambitious dreams of myself and of Alexander and of Caesar should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant—Jesus—should be able to stretch his hands across the centuries, and control the destinies of men and nations.”

Ludwig van Beethoven (1827)
“I will hear in Heaven.”

Andrew Jackson (1845)
“My dear children, do not grieve for me…I am my God’s. I belong to Him. I go but a short time before you, and…I hope and trust to meet you all in heaven.”

Edgar Allan Poe (1849)
“Lord help my poor soul.”

General John Sedgwick (1864)
“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist——!”
(During the heat of a battle during the Civil War)

Victor Hugo (1885)
“I see black light.”

Emily Dickinson (1886)
“I must go in, the fog is rising.”

Charles Darwin (1882)
“I am not the least afraid to die.”

Tolstoy (1910)
“Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.”

Jack Daniel (1911)
“One last drink, please.”

General William Booth (1912)
“And the homeless children, Bramwell, look after the homeless. Promise me…”

Harriet Tubman (1913)
“Swing low, sweet chariot.”

Edith Cavell (1915)
“Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”
(Before facing a German firing squad)

Sigmund Freud (1939)
“The meager satisfaction that man can extract from reality leaves him starving.”

H. G. Wells (1946)
“Go away: I’m alright.”

W. C. Fields (1946)
“I’m looking for a loophole.”

Albert Einstein (1955)
“I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”

James Dean (1955)
“My fun days are over.”

John F. Kennedy (1963)
“No, you certainly can’t.”
(Replying to co-passenger Nellie Connally saying “You certainly can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you, Mr. President.”)

Aldus Huxley (1963)
“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘Try and be a little kinder.’”

Lady Nancy Astor (1964)
“Am I dying or is this my birthday?”
(When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all of her family around her bedside)

Winston Churchill (1965)
“I’m bored with it all.”

Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
“Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

Tony Hancock (1968)
“Nobody will ever know I existed. Nothing to leave behind me. Nothing to pass on. Nobody to mourn me. That’s the bitterest blow of all.”

Salvador Dali (1989)
“I do not believe in my death.”

Princess Diana (1996)
“My God, what’s happened?”

Charlie Chaplin (1997)
“Why not? After all, it belongs to him.”
(After a priest told him, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”)

Charles Gussman (2000)
“And now for a final word from our sponsor—.”
(The most popular 1950’s radio personality)

George Harrison (2001)
“Love one another.”

Bob Hope (2003)
“Surprise me.”
(Responding to where he wanted to be buried)

St. Stephen (34 AD)
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
(In the Bible, as he was being stoned)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKkn-Tv9m1A

 

Probably some of the most well-known famous final “last words” were said by Jesus, while He was dying on the Cross. The “Seven Last Words from the Cross” are the seven ‘expressions’ attributed to Him during His crucifixion:

– “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” [ Luke 23:34 ]
– “Today you will be with me in paradise” [ Luke 23:43 ]
– “Women, behold your son!…Behold your mother!” [ John 19:26-27 ]
– “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [ Matthew 27:46 ]
– “I thirst” [ John 19:28 ]
– “It is finished” [John 19:30 ]
– “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” [ Luke 23:46 ]

[ Note: Traditionally, these seven sayings are called words of 1). Forgiveness, 2). Salvation, 3). Relationship, 4). Abandonment, 5). Distress, 6). Triumph and 7). Reunion – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayings_of_Jesus_on_the_cross ].

 

BUT!!!…Jesus was different than all the other people I cited above—HE RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD!!!

[ As I mentioned in last month’s Life’s Deep Thoughts ( https://markbesh.wordpress.com/fulfilled-your-mission-v231/ ), Jesus was the only One, in all of the history Who, by His own power, resurrected from the dead and then left earth going directly to Heaven under His own power (https://markbesh.wordpress.com/greatest-comeback-ever-v217/) ].

 

As was said, the “last words” of someone are usually VERY IMPORTANT, and if the person was one of wisdom and integrity, we should heed them the best we can.

So, the following are, in effect, the REALLY FINAL “last words” of Jesus on this earth—that He said from the Mount of Olives to His disciples—and they are a ‘charge’, a ‘commission’. That’s probably why most theologians call it the “Great Commission.”

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [ Matthew 28:18b-20 ]

 

I posit that Jesus was THE MOST IMPORTANT ‘PERSON’ that has ever lived—and since I believe He was God in the flesh—these would be THE MOST IMPORTANT “LAST WORDS” EVER! So then, what was He trying to tell His disciples to do?

Well, Jesus ‘commanded’ His disciples that they do three things: “Make disciples; baptize disciples; and teach disciples what He had taught—and that He would be ‘with’ them to carry these out.

I’m thinking that if one is to do these things, one must ‘BE’ A DISCIPLE themselves before they can ‘pass it on’ to others.

 

So then, what is a “disciple” of Jesus? What are the ‘characteristics’?

First off, one has to be a “Christian”—a person that has been “born again”—they have to be “saved” (For more info on this, see this previous Life’s Deep Thoughts: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/saved-from-death-v219/ ).

 

The word “Christian” is a ‘descriptive’ word, but the word “disciple” is a ‘dynamic’ word. The Greek word “mathétés” is transliterated as “disciple,” and we get our English word “mathematics” from it (“mental effort needed to think something through”)—which also portrays the idea of a “learner” or a “pupil.”

In short, a disciple is a “student.” A disciple is one who disciplines himself in the teachings and practices of another. The word disciple, like discipline, comes from the Latin word “discipulus,” meaning “pupil” or “learner.” Consequently, to learn is to discipline oneself—to be an ‘active’ learner.

 

It is not a coincidence that the words disciple and discipline look so similar. A “disciple” is one who is “disciplined.” This can refer to self-discipline, as when the Apostle Paul says he “disciplines” his body to keep it under control (1 Corinthians 9:27). It can also mean receiving discipline or correction from others when one goes astray, whether from parents (Ephesians 6:4), other believers (Gal. 6:1), or God (Hebrews 12:5, 7–8, 11). Discipline, especially in the sense of correction, is vital for being a disciple.

 

Jesus wanted people to come and learn of Him. He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me” (Matthew 11:29)—be ‘discipled’ by Me. I really believe that it is the essence of what conversion (being “saved) is all about. Conversion is identifying yourself as one willing to learn from Jesus all things whatsoever He has commanded. It is affirming His “Lordship” over you—His role as teacher, and your role as pupil—to be brought to ‘maturity’ in the Christian faith.

 

Since what Jesus said on the Mount of Olives is considered a ‘command’, let me try to give you the most important 10 ‘commandments’ (characteristics) for being a disciple of Jesus.

 

CHARACTERISTIC 1 – PASSIONATELY COMMITTED
Characteristic number one would be that one must be PASSIONATELY ‘COMMITTED’ to Jesus. This essentially is the first of the actual “10 Commandments,” and also harkens back to the “new commandment” Jesus gave to His disciples at the “Last Supper”: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” [ John 13:34-35 ].

Jesus talked a lot about the willingness to make a ‘commitment’ to Him. Jesus said: “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 ]. Jesus actually made it ‘hard’ on those who were not willing to make the commitment, to ‘pay the price’.

Jesus meets three eager men, all who are willing to follow Him. Jesus’ responses to them are surprisingly blunt.

The first man says, “I will follow you wherever you go” (Luke 9:57). So, Jesus says, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). Jesus was saying that, “There’s nothing wrong with what you just said, but I discern a wrong attitude underneath your statement. Do you really know what kind of ‘Savior’ I am?”

Let me try to apply this to an area of your life. I assume you have a nice home, a nice car, a nice family, and a nice standard of living (or at least one of them). Are you absolutely willing to put Jesus before all of them? Are you absolutely willing to ‘lose’ those things for Him? (Job lost “everything” – Job 1:13-22).

Then Jesus addresses two other men, similarly concerned with their families. One says, “I’d love to come with you, but first I have to bury my father” (Luke 9:59), and the other says, “First let me go back and say goodbye to my family” (Luke (9:61).

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a funeral for your father or going back to see your family, but ‘behind’ these requests Jesus sees a wrong attitude in their ‘hearts’.

Notice their language. In both cases they say, “Lord, first, let me go do this,” but Jesus says, “I must be your first priority.” That’s what Jesus means when He says: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Anyone who is plowing a field must be completely focused on plowing, or things will go awry really quickly. Following Jesus is no different—His disciple has to be UTTERLY FOCUSED on Him.

Jesus’ second comment is a bit more cryptic: “Let the dead bury their own dead” (Luke 9:60). You may read this and think that Jesus is being so heartless. But, in the culture of His day, it was a commonly used phrase. What it meant was to wait, maybe many years, until their parents would grow old and eventually die. It’s just another way of saying “Well, I do believe in you Jesus, but I just can’t put You first in my life right now. I’ve got my _______ (fill in the blank with things like career, finances, personal development, relationships, health, etc.). I’m just not ready to put You at the central place in my life right now.” Jesus essentially says: “Putting anything before me reveals spiritual deadness. Let the dead bury their dead. If you put your father before Me, there’s a spiritual deadness in your life.”

 

Jesus really gets down to ‘brass tacks’ about what it means to be a disciple when He said, “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! What?!

Now, this doesn’t seem right. I mean, doesn’t God say we need to honor our father and mother? Doesn’t the Bible say we are supposed to love our children? Why would Jesus call on us to hate our family? Well, we need to understand that the word “hate” in this biblical context doesn’t carry the idea of emotional ill will. It carries the idea of a choice. That’s what Jesus is saying here. He is saying, “If it ever comes down to serving your family or serving God, a true disciple will always choose God over family.”

Jesus was using the method of “sharp contrast,” and here’s what He’s really saying: “Your love for God must be so strong and so intense that all other loves would be like ‘hatred’ in comparison.”

If you want to be Jesus’ disciple, you need to love Him more than you love your husband or your wife, more than you love your children, and even more than your own life! That’s what Jesus was saying here.

That command goes against both our secular culture and our Christian culture today. We are told, “Family above all.” But Jesus says, “God above all.” He’s not saying you are not supposed to care about your family. But if it ever comes down to whom you are going to serve, a disciple always chooses God. Some of you are trying to be a faithful follower of Christ and it’s causing friction with your spouse or your parents. Maybe you’re being tempted to compromise, give up, give in, just to have peace at home. Jesus says, “No. If you are going to follow Me, it requires an unconditional allegiance.”

Jesus demands our allegiance above anyone and anything else. Yes, we ought to love our family, but we must never confuse our loyalty to our family with loyalty to God. Jesus Christ says our unconditional allegiance belongs to Him and Him alone.

By the way, notice Jesus doesn’t say, “To be My disciple you have to give away your husband, your wife, your bank account, your job, or even your dreams.” You don’t necessarily have to give them away, but you do have to give them up. That means that you say, “God, You are in control. These things belong to You, and You are free to do with them whatever You choose.” When you hold the things God gives you loosely in your hands, then it doesn’t hurt quite as much if God decides to pry them from your fingers. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. To be His disciple you have to hold your life and the things in your life loosely, realizing they all belong to God. That’s the demonstration of your ‘commitment’ to Jesus.

 

Making a commitment involves dedicating yourself to something, like a person or a cause. Before you make a commitment, one must think carefully about it. A commitment ‘obligates’ you to DO something.

Some commitments in life are really large—like a marriage—being the most important relationship in your life, and doing anything to preserve and develop it. Some things are not as important, like a job, where you are making a commitment to show up on time, and do the job well—and your employer makes a commitment to pay you for that. There are smaller commitments, too. If you said you would meet a friend somewhere at a certain time, that’s a commitment—but show up late or not at all, and your friend may not trust what you say in the future. Jesus just wants you to consider all aspects before you commit yourself to Him—because the ‘relationship’ may not go like you are ‘planning’ it to.

 

The disciple must turn the ‘title deed’ of their life over to Jesus. If you’re a car guy, you’ve got to give Him the “pink slip.” Jesus said, “you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own” [ Luke 14:33b ]. It’s just reminding ourselves that we’re actually not owners, we’re ‘stewards’.

Here’s what it all means. It would be better translated, “surrender your claim to those things.” It’s a recognition that God is the ‘owner’. See, it’s not wrong to have a career, but it’s wrong if a career ‘has’ you. It’s not wrong to have possessions, but it’s wrong if your possessions ‘have’ you. Your only real passion and obsession in life should be Jesus. All these other things have their place, but just not the ‘most important’ place! Again, we’re talking about total dedication, total commitment—holding nothing back. Jesus is your Master, and you are His ‘slave’.

When you became a Christian, you affirmed the Lordship of Christ and that means that you affirmed a response of obedience. You said He is your ‘teacher’, and you are the learner—and you will learn all things whatsoever He has commanded you. If you became a Christian on any other terms, it’s questionable whether you’re ‘in’ at all.

 

One of the most crucial aspects of faith in Jesus is total submission—understanding the Jesus alone is our authority for everything we do and say. Our ‘vertical’ relationship with Jesus shapes our ‘horizontal’ relationship with others. Only when we develop a humility of spirit and a willingness to submit to God, will we be able to develop and open, honest kind of sharing (“koinonia” in the Greek), that gives us strength, support, and guidance for our lives. Our meaningful fellowship with Jesus prepares us for meaningful fellowship with other disciples.

The essence of what God expects from the disciple is obedience. He wants US. We are His ‘children’, and He wants us to be a ‘branch’ in His ‘vine’.

 

CHARACTERISTIC 2 – FOLLOWS JESUS
Characteristic number two is to FOLLOW JESUS. Most disciples of Jesus ‘decide’ to follow Him because of a ‘hunger’ to “come and see” what He is doing and saying.

For people to catch a vision, they must first open their eyes. Spiritual realities are not as easy to perceive, especially when one has spent an entire lifetime wearing ‘spiritual blinders’. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” [ John 9:39 ]. Jesus gradually, but fully, exposed to His disciples the nature of His Kingdom—and He will do the same for you.

 

Jesus’ primary method of training was modeling, showing the disciples a ‘vision’ not just a ‘job’ to do. People are not motivated by the ‘mundane’ and mediocrity. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” [ Proverbs 29:18 ]. But when Jesus ‘calls’ a person, He sets their hearts aflame with a life-changing vision—saving souls from hell.

As any good trainer will do, Jesus ‘showed’ the disciples how to be a disciple, and the primary ‘source’ for becoming one was the Scriptures—the necessity of knowing them and their supernatural nature. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” [ Hebrews 4:13 ].

 

When Jesus ‘invites’ someone to become a disciple, He expects that they commit everything to Him—and only when one places all areas of ones life into the capable ‘hands’ of Jesus, can the ‘abundant’ discipleship begin. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” [ Hebrews 11:6 ]. G.K Chesterton wrote, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

 

But, no one can truly call himself a disciple of Jesus who is not willing to obey Him. The disciple, the one who truly listens and learns, will put into practice what he learns. Since Jesus has proven Himself worthy of all obedience. Those who know Him best are most aware of this. When the wedding at Cana ran out of wine, Mary (Jesus’ mother) told the servants of the house to find Jesus and “do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). That was great advice. Putting the Master’s teachings into practice is the fruit of true discipleship. Jesus Himself declared that those who love Him evidence their love for Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:21, 23; 15:10).

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He made it very clear to His listeners that being His disciples was not simply about receiving an education or even adhering to a set of ethical principles or stipulations. To be His disciple meant to recognize Him for who He really was—the incarnate Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah—and therefore one must reorient one’s life so that it conforms to the standards of His heavenly Kingdom.

In John 14:15, Jesus put this truth plainly to His disciples like this: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” That may seem like a simple, even simplistic, statement, but if we look at it closely, we realize that it teaches us much about what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus.

 

To truly follow Christ means He has to become everything to us. Everyone follows something: friends, popular culture, family, selfish desires, or God. We can only follow one thing at a time (Matthew 6:24).

To truly follow Christ means we do not follow anything else. Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” There is no such thing as a “halfway disciple.”

Jesus said, “Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” [ Matthew 4:19 ]. One thing He was saying was that He was going to assume the full responsibility for the disciples’ training—and He will also do so for you, too.

 

CHARACTERISTIC 3 – LEARNS JESUS’ TEACHINGS
Characteristic number three is to LEARN JESUS’ TEACHINGS—and to carefully read, study, and live according to God’s Word (the Bible). This develops a deeper relationship with Jesus.

The disciple hangs on every word of the Master as if that word were bread for the hungry or water for the thirsty. When Jesus gathered with His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, God the Father spoke from Heaven with a clear command: “This is my Son, whom I love…listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).

Back in the late 1970’s there was a very popular TV commercial, by the stock broker E.F. Hutton, and the ‘punch line’ was “When E.F. Hutton Talks, People Listen.” I would hope that the Christian would focus on “When Jesus ‘speaks’, the disciple listens.” ‘Listening’ to Jesus is what a Christian disciple desires the most—even more than a great stock ‘tip’.

No one can say they are a disciple of any ‘teacher’ unless they are ready to listen to that teacher. The world is awash in ‘teachers’ on the Internet vying for listeners and followers on Social Media ‘channels’.

I’m thinking that Jesus would have a lot of Facebook ‘friends’ when He sign up, but when they find out what He really wants from them, they ‘unfollow’ Him in a flash. (By the way, He would know when you unfollowed Him). The reality is, they were never followers to begin with.

 

Since Jesus is no longer here physical on earth, He ‘speaks’ to His disciples through the Bible. A disciple needs to immerse themselves in God’s ‘message’ to us if they are to continue to learn from Him.

The Bible is God’s truth. Disciples have made a decision that they must elevate the Word above their feelings—even when it’s difficult. Acting on His instruction takes us to another ‘level’ in our relationship with Jesus. He said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” [ John 8:31-32 ].

As a learner, the words of Jesus carry a heavy ‘weight’ for the disciple. After one of Jesus’ sermons—when He ‘weeded out the joyriders’—He turned to the Twelve and asked, “Will you go away as well?” Peter, speaking on behalf of the others, replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69).

Learning from Christ is the disciple’s greatest desire. It is the foundation of all that he believes. He joyfully receives the words of his Master. They are his daily ‘bread’. He meditates upon them day and night (Psalm 1:2). Jesus emphasized this by saying, “If you continue in My word, you are My disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” [ John 8:31 ].

 

CHARACTERISTIC 4 – IMITATES JESUS’ CHARACTER
Characteristic number four is to IMITATE JESUS’ CHARACTER, living morally pure, being selfless, humble, having self control, and sacrificing for others.

After being instructed to think like Jesus, one has to start acting like Jesus and develop a daily commitment to His plans. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” [ Luke 9:23 ]. Jesus was saying that a disciple needs to renounce ‘self’ as the center of our lives and give everything over to God—their body, career, finances, and time—and giving up the ‘rights’ to manage them themselves.

Because God is a good Father, He invites us to share in His character. As followers of Jesus, we have been forgiven and have been made holy. So, because God is holy, and we are made in His image, we’re also called to live like Him. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” [ 1 Peter 1:15-16 ].

 

This is not just an intellectual ascent, just to ‘know’ what the Bible ‘says’, but to ‘live’ what the Bible says—exemplifying and modeling who Jesus was and what He did. The word disciple implies an intellectual process that directly affects the lifestyle of a person.

The disciple is going through a “sanctification” process, constantly changing to become more like Jesus (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18)—transforming into a loving spirit that is compassionate for the ‘needy’ (lost sinners).

Jesus showed His disciples His “inner character”—humility, respect, courage, patience, and His love for people.

Being a disciple is more than getting to ‘know’ what the teacher knows. It’s getting to ‘BE’ what the teacher is!

Just as the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church, a disciple is always seeking to be like Jesus—as he was: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” [ 1 Corinthians 11:1 ]. Jesus told His disciples: “A disciple is not above his teacher,” then He says this, “but everyone after he has been fully trained will be like his teacher” [ Luke 6:40 ].

The disciple’s goal is to BE like Jesus—growing toward “Christlikeness.”

The Apostle John summed it up my saying: “He that saith he abides in Him ought so to walk even as He walked” [ 1 John 2:8 ].

 

CHARACTERISTIC 5 – LOVES PEOPLE
Characteristic number five is to have an EXTRAORDINARY LOVE FOR PEOPLE, since their souls, God, and God’s Word (the Bible) are the only ‘things’ that will last for eternity!

Jesus modeled extraordinary love for all people, and He came to teach us how to do the same. He came to break down the barriers that separate us. We are meant to be a ‘light’ to the world—demonstrating the Father’s heart so that all may be reconciled back to Him.

Jesus emphasized this be giving a “new commandment”: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples [ John 13:34-35 ].

Our example of how to love people is Jesus Himself, but the model of His love is one of principle, not of personality. The principles that measure love are the same regardless of personality of style. Love is a ‘verb’, something that can be seen in action (1 John 3:16-17).

Only ‘principle’ love is enough to establish credibility. Jesus wasn’t talking about superficial love. He was talking about the kind of love that love enemies—an assignment that only a committed disciple of Jesus can ‘pull off’!

 

CHARACTERISTIC 6 – HAS A SERVANT’S HEART
Characteristic number six is to have a SERVANT’S ‘HEART’, thinking of others as better than yourself.

Jesus modeled what that meant by His actions—humbly serving others. In one instance, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, and showed the disciples, by example, how they should serve others (John 13:1-17).

True ‘greatness’ begins with humility. The Bible tells us that to be a ‘great’ person, we must serve others—and humility is at the center of the heart of a servant. Jesus said, “The greatest among you must be a servant” [ Matthew 23:11 ]. We must decrease so that Christ’s character in us may increase.

During the most important ‘sermon’ Jesus ever gave (“The Sermon on the Mount”), He said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” [ Matthew 6:24 ].

What we put our hope and trust in guides our thoughts and decisions. When money rules us, it steals our hearts and affections away from Jesus. God isn’t interested in what we acquire for ourselves. What matters to Him is what we do that has eternal significance—to save ‘souls’!

 

CHARACTERISTIC 7 – SENSITIVE TO HOLY SPIRIT
Characteristic number seven is to be SENSITIVE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, since the more ‘connected’ you are to the Holy Spirit, the more connected you are to God. He is the presence, power, and ‘anointing’ of God. When you receive Jesus as Lord, His Spirit comes to live inside of you—to cleanse you of your past and give you a new life.

At the “Last Supper,” after Jesus told the disciples He was going to leave this earth, He encouraged them by saying: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you” [ John 14:16-17 ].

Jesus gave His disciples the secret to faithfully following Him, but they did not recognize it at the time. He said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63), and “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them” (John 6:65). The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years, learning, observing, and participating in His miracles. Yet, even they could not follow Him faithfully in their own strength. They needed a ‘Helper’.

Jesus promised many times that, once He had ascended to the Father, He would send a “Helper” to them—the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). In fact, He told them that it was for their good that He was going away so that the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit indwells the heart of every believer (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:16; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20). Jesus warned His followers that they were not to begin testifying of Him “until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4). When the Holy Spirit came upon those first believers at Pentecost, they suddenly had all the ‘power’ they needed to follow Christ, even to their death (Acts 2:1-4; 4:31; 7:59-60).

Following Jesus means striving to be like Him. He always obeyed His Father, so that’s what we strive to do (John 8:29; 15:10). To truly follow Christ means to make Him the ‘Boss’. That’s what it means to make Jesus Lord of our lives (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5). Every decision and dream is filtered through His Word with the goal of glorifying Him in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are not saved by the things we do for Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9) but by what He has done for us. Because of His grace, we want to please Him in everything. All this is accomplished as we allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control of every area of our lives (Ephesians 5:18). He explains the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:14), empowers us with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), comforts us (John 14:16), and guides us (John 14:26). To follow Christ means we apply the truths we learn from His Word and live as if Jesus walked beside us in person.

 

Being a disciple of Jesus is pretty much impossible to do on our own. So, that is why Jesus said, just before He left this earth, that God the Father would be sending the “Holy Spirit” to indwell them, and He would be their Helper, Counselor, and Teacher. The Spirit would reveal “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-16), and remind them of all important truths—so they wouldn’t forget.

The disciple now has the wisdom and power of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) at their ‘fingertips’, to become more like Jesus and be successful in what God wants them to accomplish in this life.

 

CHARACTERISTIC 8 – ENGAGES WITH GOD’S PEOPLE
Characteristic number eight shows how it is essential that the disciple ENGAGES WITH GOD’S PEOPLE, primarily in a church setting.

God said that it is not good for man to be alone—He ‘wired’ us to function best in the context of biblical community. We are the family of God through faith in Jesus, so we don’t have to run this ‘race’ alone.

Luke provides a summary of the ways believers in the early church grew as disciples. He wrote, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” [ Acts 2:42 ].

As a disciple is made more like Jesus, we are developed for both fellowship with Jesus and with other disciples. Our lives are deficient without genuine fellowship with others, especially with others who share our love for Jesus. As we proactively encourage one another, the body of Christ is ‘built up’.

 

CHARACTERISTIC 9 – INFLUENCE THE CULTURE
Characteristic number nine shows how a disciple should INFLUENCE THE CULTURE around them by being ‘salt’ and light’.

A disciple must, and will, impact their culture. Jesus says, “salt is good for seasoning, but if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good for the soil, excuse me, flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile, it’s thrown away, anyone willing to hear what I’m saying, should listen and understand.” [ Like 14:34 ].

Salt was kind of a big deal in the first century. In fact it was so important and valuable that sometimes they would pay Roman soldiers in salt. Hence the expression, “he’s not worth his salt.” It was a valuable commodity back then, and did two things: it ‘flavored’ food, and ‘preserved’ food

In the same way, a disciple can ‘flavor’ their speech when talking about how Jesus can save them from their sins, and they can ‘preserve’ righteousness and stop the spread of evil. All this stimulates a ‘thirst’ for Jesus.

Apprenticeship is very important, but there comes a natural time when the disciple ‘graduates’ and tries to put into practice what they have learned.

When we receive Christ, His Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. Many people in the world are searching. They need someone who’s bold enough to share their faith and show them the love of the Father. Now is the time to stand out and be different—and be the ‘light’—sharing the great news about Jesus!

Disciples are not influenced by culture, they influence the culture!

 

CHARACTERISTIC 10 – YIELDS SPIRITUAL ‘FRUIT’
Characteristic number ten shows a disciple how they can YIELD SPIRITUAL ‘FRUIT’, by living lives ‘on purpose’.

Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” [ John 15:7-8 ].

The Greek word “meno” can be translated as “remain” or “abide”—meaning to dwell in or to make a ‘home’ in. The eventual result of remaining is much ‘fruit bearing’. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me…If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” [ John 15:4,6 ].

A vine is good for nothing unless it bears fruit. By the same token, a disciple’s life that doesn’t bear any ‘fruit’—doesn’t remain ‘in’ Jesus—is a useless life.

Jesus said that only if the disciple continues to stay ‘in tune’ with Him, will they be able to be spiritually ‘fruitful’. Just like a fruit needs to do, the disciple will bring forth spiritual fruit if they are ‘connected’ to “the vine” (John 15:1-8).

Jesus said about this, “by this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, so shall you be My disciples” [ John 15:8 ]. So, if you are really a disciple of Jesus, you’ll have ‘fruit’ in your life—that is tangible ‘results’.

One way to bring forth ‘fruit’ in your own life is a change in your conduct and character—primarily “the fruit of the Spirit”: “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control” [ Galatians 5:22 ]. Can people see this kind of ‘fruit’ in your life?

[ If you are interested in learning more about the “fruit of the Spirit” (as well as “The “Beatitudes”), visit a website I developed, “Fruits Of The Beatitudes”:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/ ].

The disciple bears spiritual ‘fruit’ in both attitude and actions. It is just as unthinkable for a disciple to be fruitless as it is for a healthy apple tree not to yield its natural harvest. You can recognize disciples by the results they produce in their own life and in the lives of others.

 

 

So, there you have my suggested “10 Characteristics” of what a disciple is, and if you are a disciple.

Even though I focused on the New Testament and Jesus for these characteristics, the Old Testament also infers what it takes to be a ‘disciple’:

“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.”
[ Psalm 15 ]

So, it seems that there are 12 principles of being a committed ‘disciple’ in this Psalm that focus on loving people, being a servant, and imitating Jesus’ character:

– Walk with integrity and honesty; is genuine and just (Characteristic #4)
– Restrains the tongue that reflects what is in the ‘soul’ (Characteristic #4)
– Works and lives for righteousness and truth (Characteristic #4)
– Models Jesus’ love for those around him (Characteristic #6)
– Speaks from the ‘heart’ with love (Characteristic #4)
– Does not slander or lie (Characteristic #4)
– Does not do evil or reproach others (Characteristic #5)
– Despises ungodliness (Characteristic #4)
– Honor people who fear and respect God (Characteristic #4)
– Does not take bribes or rewards against the innocent (Characteristic #4)
– Allows the Holy Spirit to direct their life (Characteristic #7)
– Keeps their promises (Characteristic #4)

 

All this is to say that the discipleship ‘characteristics’ all point to one thing: the true disciple GLORIFIES GOD—perhaps our foremost spiritual goal as disciples—to give God the glory He deserves!

It so happens that the first ‘item’ mentioned in the “Westminster Shorter Catechism” (teachings of the Christian faith) is what the chief end of man is: “To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

 

SO, after considering all this, ARE YOU A DISCIPLE OF JESUS, OR JUST A “FAN” OF HIM? (or maybe not even a “fan” yet).

I believe it is better to refer to true believers of Jesus as “disciples” than it is to refer to them as Christians. The term “Christian” is so generic today that almost anyone can claim to be one, but, as you have read, to be a “disciple” is MUCH DIFFERENT—involving much more COMMITMENT, as was detailed in the “10 Characteristics.” As a reminder, here’s a summary list of them:

1) Passionately Committed
2) Follows Jesus
3) Learns Jesus’ Teachings
4) Imitates Jesus’ Character
5) Loves People
6) Has a Servant’s ‘Heart’
7) Is Sensitive to the Holy Spirit
8) Engages God’s People
9) Influences the Culture
10) Yields Spiritual ‘Fruit’

 

So, you might ask, “Why should I ‘BE’ a disciple?”

Well, Jesus said, “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). It is only as a Christian submits themselves to the lordship of Jesus, and become His disciples, that they experience TRUE FREEDOM. Jesus breaks the ‘power’ of sin in our lives and grants us freedom under His benevolent rule. We become free to be what He created us to be—beings who are filled with unspeakable joy as we obey Him and fulfill the purposes for which He created us!

The Apostle Paul tells us that when our bondage to sin and death is broken by the power of God’s grace in Jesus, it is a joyous servitude indeed, for Jesus treats His disciples as sons and daughters. In fact, we enter into the joyous freedom of the sons of God. (Romans 6:20–23). Isn’t that something you want while you’re here on earth, in addition to ETERNITY!?

 

So, for the TRUE “Christian,” discipleship is not an option. Jesus says that if anyone would come after me, he must follow Me. If you want to come after Me—it’s a general term—if you want to have any experience of me, any relationship with Me, you have to be a disciple. There are not two kinds of Christians: regular Christians and people who are really disciples. There’s only one: to be a Christian is to be a disciple.

In addition to that, having said that it’s not an option, on the other hand, it is a ‘journey’. In other words, there is a decisiveness to it—you have to ‘leave’. Have you left? To go on the journey means saying, “I take my hands off my life.” To go on the journey means saying, “I give up my right to self-determination.” To go on the journey means saying, “I will obey you, Lord, and I’ll get rid of all the ‘ifs’. Not ‘obey you if,’ but obey—period! I drop all my ‘conditions’. Not until you have done all this, have you begun your journey.

However, after you do decide, it’s still a ‘journey’—a process that takes time (sometimes a lot of time—God’s not in a ‘hurry’, He ‘lives outside’ time). You’re not going to have it all together right away. It’s very important to keep that in mind, because if you think that discipleship is the way you’re saved—that by being committed and focused and giving Jesus the priority you’re going to please God and that will get you saved—you’re missing the point. You are not ‘saved’ because you’re a disciple; you are a disciple if and only if you understand what Jesus has done to save you!

 

There are many “committed disciples” of any religion, philosophy, or political cause, and they are really ‘hard’ on themselves—with total commitment. But, although admirable, their cause is ‘temporary’, something that might even change after they go on to something else, or they die.

But, being a disciple of Jesus is ‘eternal’—a ‘cause’ that will get you, and hopefully others around you, to Heaven…forever!!!

 

So, even though this is a life-long ‘process’—to be made into a “disciple” and become more like Jesus—are you UP FOR IT?

It’s not going to be easy. As a result of loving God more than anyone or anything else, you are either going to friction with people and harmony with God, or you’re going have harmony with God and friction with people. You have to make your choice!

 

I choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. What about you?

 

[ Excerpts from: Tim Keller; Bill Hull; Greg Laurie; John MacArthur; Robert Jeffress; Dennis Rouse; Dr. Richard J. Krejcir; Jack Wellman; Burk Parsons ]

 

[ NOTE: These are not the “last words” on this subject. Next month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” will be focused on the “COSTS’ of 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) ].

=============

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

Just a ‘Fan’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/just-a-fan-v166/

Greatest ‘Comeback’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/greatest-comeback-ever-v217/

New ‘Identity’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/new-identity-v220/

‘Fulfilled’ Your Mission?
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/fulfilled-your-mission-v231/

=============

[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what it means to give God ‘control’ of your life, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d2_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! ].

 

*****************************
*****************************

RESOURCES:

—————-
Famous Last Words: Apt Observations, Pleas, Curses, Benedictions, Sour Notes, Bons Mots, and Insights from People on the Brink of Departure
By: Alan Bisbort

Whether inspiring, incomprehensible, insightful, bleak, or absurd, last words can be spoken by the living as well as the dying. Among the dying, last words are truly final, as was the case with Dylan Thomas, who uttered, “I’ve just had eighteen straight whiskeys. I think that’s the record.” Famous Last Words records the parting shots of dozens of folks no longer with us, from those dead for political reasons to those who themselves decided to end it all. And it records the words of those who went on with their lives after uttering a memorable farewell but whose reputation was made by their words, often to their lasting frustration, such as the infamous Richard Milhouse Nixon: “You won’t have me to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Click on the small picture to see an inside page.

Famous Last Words also preserves the last words of those inhabiting the world of fiction, whether in a book, on the stage, in a movie or on TV. Blanche DuBois’s “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” ranks right alongside Charles Foster Kane’s “Rosebud” and Sidney Carton’s “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done . . .” The mutterings of the imagined are always floating around in our culture’s consciousness, kicking lustily.

https://www.amazon.com/Famous-Last-Words-Observations-Benedictions/dp/0764917382

—————-
The Anatomy of a Disciple: So Many Believers. So Few Disciples
By: Dr. Rick Taylor

Some believers boil the Christian life down to an easy formula. Some believers fall into comparative Christianity, assuming being better than average is better than nothing. Other believers fake it, trying to look and act like they think a Christian should. But all these forms of Christianity are just settling for a cheap substitute for the real thing: genuine discipleship. So many followed Him. So few were called disciples. In The Anatomy of a Disciple, Rick Taylor will help you become more aware of what God is already doing in your life, so you can become a true disciple of Jesus Christ rather than just another follower at a distance. The paperback edition includes a unique access code to the Anatomy of a Disciple Self-Assessment, which determines exactly how you are doing spiritually, and provides a personalized report showing you where God may be specifically growing you right now.

—————-
Kingdom Disciples: Heaven’s Representatives on Earth
By: Tony Evans

Where have all the disciples gone?

There is a missing force in Christianity today. It’s a critical one, and its absence has led to weak believers, disintegrating families, ineffective churches, and a decaying culture. Without it, we lack what we need to fully live as heaven’s representatives on earth.

That missing force is discipleship. In Kingdom Disciples, Tony Evans outlines a simple, actionable definition of discipleship to help the church fulfill its calling. Readers will learn:

– What a disciple is
– What a disciple cares about
– How to be a disciple and make disciples
– What discipleship looks like in community
– What the impact of discipleship on the world can be

Kingdom disciples are in short supply, and the result is a legion of powerless Christians attending powerless churches, having a powerless presence in the world. The power, authority, abundance, victory, and impact God has promised will only come about when we understand and align ourselves with His definition of discipleship.

Kingdom Disciples calls believers and churches back to our primary, divinely ordained responsibility to be disciples and make disciples. Only when we take seriously this assignment will the world see heaven at work on earth.

Will you accept the assignment?

—————-
Being Disciples: Essentials of the Christian Life
By: Rowan Williams

Basic instruction in Christian discipleship from one of the world’s greatest living theologians

“Discipleship,” says Rowan Williams in this companion to his best-selling Being Christian, “is a state of being. Discipleship is about how we live; not just the decisions we make, not just the things we believe, but a state of being.”

Having covered baptism, Bible, Eucharist, and prayer in Being Christian, Williams turns his attention in this book to what is required for us to continue following Jesus and growing in faith. The book has six succinct chapters:

– Being Disciples
– Faith, Hope, and Love
– Forgiveness
– Holiness
– Faith in Society
– Life in the Spirit

In his typically gentle, inviting, pastoral writing style, Williams offers biblically grounded wisdom for Christians at all stages of their journeys as disciples of Jesus.

—————-
Being a Disciple
By: Kay Arthur, Tom Hart, and Jane Hart

This brand new Bible study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can benefit from personally or as part of a small group. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. As Kay explains, “Rather than simply reading or listening to what others say about a subject, you are going to see for yourself what God says about it.” Join one of the world’s most respected Bible teachers in a study that will revolutionize your thinking–and your life.

What is the difference between a true follower of Jesus Christ and others who merely call themselves “Christian”? Kay Arthur and Tom and Jane Hart point the way to clear answers in this instructive study of what Jesus had to say about the subject.

Through these eye-opening inductive studies of passages from the Gospels, you can better understand the distinctive marks of a disciple of Christ and how to make sure they are true of your own life.
Join Kay Arthur in exploring what it means to count the cost, deny yourself, and follow Christ.

—————-
Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life
By: Jeff Vanderstelt

What does it look like to live for Jesus in the everyday stuff of life?

Many Christians have unwittingly embraced the idea that “church” is a once-a-week event rather than a community of Spirit-empowered people; that “ministry” is what pastors do on Sundays rather than the 24/7 calling of all believers; and that “discipleship” is a program rather than the normal state of every follower of Jesus.

Drawing on his experience as a pastor and church planter, Jeff Vanderstelt wants us to see that there’s more—much more—to the Christian life than sitting in a pew once a week. God has called his people to something bigger: a view of the Christian life that encompasses the ordinary, the extraordinary, and everything in between.

Packed full of biblical teaching, compelling stories, and real-world advice, this book will remind you that Jesus is filling the world with his presence through the everyday lives of everyday people…

People just like you.

—————-
10 Qualities That Move You From A Believer To A Disciple
By: Dennis Rouse

Do you simply believe and do ‘the church thing’ or are you passionately pursuing what it means to be a fully committed disciple of Christ? Pastor Dennis Rouse takes us on a journey to discover the answer in his new book, 10. Learn what it takes to move from a believer to a disciple.

[ Not only are individuals learning from 10 to move from just believing to becoming a disciple. 10 is also written with small groups in mind and is perfect for leading a church community to a deeper place of discipleship. Each chapter features questions with a group discussion in mind ].

—————-
Not a Fan

“Not a Fan.” is a six-episode Bible study series that challenges participants to become sincere “followers” of Jesus Christ, rather than simply “enthusiastic admirers” or ‘fans.”

[ Kyle Idleman ]

Study:

More Info:
http://www.notafan.com/

—————-
What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me?
By: David Platt

You may think you are a Christian―but are you sure? Jesus’ call to follow him is more than an invitation to pray a prayer. It is a summons to lose your life and find new life and ultimate joy in him. In David Platt’s book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live he asks the question, “What did Jesus really mean when he said, ‘Follow me’?” What if we really listened to Jesus’ words and heard what he is saying? When people truly engage with Jesus’ personal invitation to follow him, everything changes, for he is worthy of all our trust and affections.

What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? builds on the message of Follow Me to motivate readers to experience our grand purpose: to exalt the glory of God by spreading Christ’s gospel―to make disciples who are making disciples. This booklet is a great resource to share with others to discuss crucial faith questions in a personal and grace-filled manner and engage others to be disciple-makers in obedience to Jesus. Ideal for small groups or personal and mass evangelism.

 

*****************************
*****************************

“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/

[ Mark Besh ]

*****************************
*****************************

 

ARTICLES:

*****************************
Famous Last Words

The seventh album by English rock band Supertramp and was released in October 1982. It was the studio follow-up to 1979’s Breakfast in America and the last album with vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Roger Hodgson, who left the group to pursue a solo career. Thus, it was the final album to be released by the classic lineup of the band (Hodgson/Davies/Helliwell/Thomson/Siebenberg).

The album reached number 5 on the Billboard Pop Albums Charts in 1982[2] and was certified Gold for sales in excess of 500,000 copies there.[3] It also peaked at number 6 in the UK where it was certified Gold for 100,000 copies sold.[4]

A remastered CD version of …Famous Last Words… was released on 30 July 2002 on A&M Records. The remastered CD comes with all of the original artwork and the CD art features a green pair of scissors and a black background.

*****************************
The Seven Last Words of Christ has served as inspiration to a great many visual artists and composers over the centuries. In particular, at least 16 composers have written musical settings of the “Seven Last Words,” for various combinations of voice and/or instruments.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_settings_of_The_Seven_Last_Words_of_Christ

*****************************
The Seven Last Words of Christ
By: Joseph Haydn

The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On the Cross (German: Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze) is an orchestral work by Joseph Haydn, commissioned in 1785 or 1786 for the Good Friday service at Cádiz Cathedral in Spain. The composer adapted it in 1787 for string quartet and in 1796 as an oratorio (with both solo and choral vocal forces), and he approved a version for solo piano.

The seven main meditative sections — labelled “sonatas” and all slow — are framed by an Introduction and a speedy “Earthquake” conclusion, for a total of nine movements. Complete all movements

*****************************
Commitment – How To Stay Committed To A Cause

Hey, what’s up? This is Leo for Actualized.org and in this video I want to talk about commitment and I want to give you an example of what it takes to be committed to your life purpose.

Hey, all right, commitment, let’s talk about this, let’s crack into it. I want to get really practical with you guys in these videos and I want to give you more and more details about what it is I actually mean about some of these concepts. Sometimes when you get these concepts I know what’s going on in your heads when you get these concepts. I know that you’re dismissing them because you’re missing the depth and the impact that they can really have on you. One of the things that I think I can do is share more examples of what I really mean.

Get Action On Your Goals

A lot of times you’ll be surprised by how these concepts actually get fleshed out in real life and how it can be something really simple that you just overlook. You don’t really notice these things until you start to study this stuff like I do and when I give you these examples the thing they’re going to do is solidify in your mind what I’m really talking about. So one of the things that I want from you is that I want commitment from you and I want you to be working to get action on your goals.

One of the things I mean by commitment, because commitment can be an abstract term, what the hell does commitment mean? How can you quantify commitment? I’ve got a perfect example for you today. It’s actually something I struggled with a little bit.

A little technical fact is as I’m shooting these videos I use an expensive wireless microphone. The wireless microphone system plugs into the camera, I’ve got it on my hip here. This microphone system takes two AA batteries on the receiver and the transmitter so it’s four AA batteries. I don’t know how much time I get. I usually get maybe, I’d say, four hours of recording on four of those batteries. One set of batteries will get me about four hours of footage then the battery dies out and I need to replace those to shoot more video.

So what’s the point? The point is I’ve been putting myself on track to be releasing a lot of content, a lot of videos for you guys and I want to keep doing that for the long run. So today, I had a pack of maybe twelve batteries and I was starting to run low and so I went to Home Depot to buy some more batteries and I’m stocking up and as I’m there looking at the battery counter and there’s all sorts of brands, all sorts of sizes and the packages, I’m looking for AAs, and I see packages.

I see a four pack, I see an eight pack, I see a twelve pack. I’m like, a twelve pack, that’s nice I want something big because i plan to be shooting more of these videos, I’m committed to that. So twelve pack looks good, then I think, what is more than twelve? How about a twenty pack, do they have a twenty pack? Sure enough they have a twenty pack.

Then I look, do they have anything bigger like a thirty pack? Sure enough there’s like a thirty-six pack of Energizers. I’m like, “Yeah, that’s what I should be getting. Why? I’m going to be saving some money if I do that, but ultimately why would I not do that if I’m serious about releasing this content. Am I serious about it or not? Why am I hesitating?”

A Subtle Mental War

I found myself hesitating and it’s not like I have a money problem, I don’t have a shortage of money so I can splurge and buy as many batteries as I really want. It’s not going to really affect my bottom line, but psychologically what’s happening in my mind is there’s a little bit of a war going on, it’s a little subtle if you’re not sensitive to it.

What’s happening is I was standing there and I was thinking on the one level I saw some limiting beliefs I still have about money and scarcity and still found myself saying, “Do I really need thirty-six Energizer batteries, what am I going to do with that many of them? What if I end up not liking the Energizers and maybe I want some other brand later, then I’m going to have all these left over batteries. Or what happens if they expire?”

Then I actually picked the pack up and started looking at expiration dates and I’m wondering, “Will I even be able to burn through that many batteries in the next year or two?” I don’t now how long a battery lasts, I’m not sure. Started looking at the expiration dates and by the way batteries last forever so there’s not a problem there.

The other thought that I was having is, the bottom line of it is I was questioning whether this is something that I’m committed to because on the one hand, logically I’m saying, “Yes I’m committed to this. I’m committed to releasing lots of content. I want to be doing this for at least the next few years of my life. I’m just going to devote myself to creating content, maybe even longer if things are going great”.

Your Mind Will Resist

So I committed myself to that, but, I’m still working the process. It’s not just simple. It’s not black and white. You start off and you tell yourself consciously, but it’s still not really permeated on the subconscious level. It’s not totally you. You don’t always believe everything you tell yourself and that’s how it should be. That doesn’t mean you’re bullshitting yourself, you’re moving yourself up. You’re kind of bootstrapping yourself and bootstrapping yourself can be tricky, can be tough. Sometimes your mind will resist.

In this case my mind was resisting a little bit. I noticed I wasn’t fully bought in with the battery situation and then I’m like, “Well you know what, why am I not practicing what I’m preaching here? I’m telling you guys to be committed. I’m telling myself even. My high self is telling my lower self that I’m committed and that I’m willing to do this, I’m going to be spending the next few years doing this.”

Logically it just makes sense that I would stock up on as many batteries as I can get because I’m burning through batteries so quickly that realistically I’m going to be burning through thirty-six batteries in a month if not in a few weeks because of how much content I shoot. That being the case then I’ll easily be able to use those batteries. Even as I was having that argument with myself I still noticed resistance.

The lower self was resisting and it was saying, ” What if I want to leave my options open? What if I decide that this wasn’t really what I want to do? What if I decide I want to do something else? Maybe I stop shooting video, maybe something happens… Not too smart to stock up in that case”.

Leave Your Options Open If You Want To

See, what I’m doing there is leaving my options open. Sometimes it’s smart to leave your options open. I’m not saying you should always cut, make these decisions and make these cuts. Sometimes you want to keep stuff open, great. Sometimes you want to make cuts, you want to make a clear cut and you want to say, “This is it, I’m all in. I’m committed”. It’s a little bit of a technique, a little bit of a mind fuck that you run on yourself to get yourself to follow through on stuff that you said you were going to follow through on, because it’s tough.

Sometimes I’m really excited to be shooting these videos, usually I am, but it’s still tough motivate myself to get up here and do this stuff. I have to summon charisma and energy and knowledge and resources that I would rather not have to summon. I’d rather sit on the couch and do nothing. Honestly that would be easier and more comfortable than being up here in front of a bright light and shooting all this stuff and wondering about whether I said everything I wanted to say, and getting it right and editing and posting it and then trying to make sure that you guys are happy with it and I’m happy with it…

You Have To Keep Recommitting

That’s more of a hassle than not doing it, but there’s something higher there that I’m working towards. I’m making a commitment and I’m recommitting. This is key. You don’t make a commitment once. You keep recommitting because I can guarantee you that even if you find that perfect fit, that perfect life purpose, that perfect cause in your life that perfect business, that perfect job, just that perfect vocation for you, your life call and you find it, you feel awesome.

The next week, your life can still feel pretty dull and in fact you can feel depressed the next week, because you were on a high, now you’re on a low. That’s how it is sometimes. Then you get some snag here, you get some snag there, something doesn’t quite go the way you want it to go, you’re becoming butt hurt about it, you’re becoming depressed about it. All of a sudden you start going into a spiral of negative thinking, worry, pessimism.

All of a sudden you start thinking about failure too much, all your old limiting beliefs come back in a big, bright flash and what do you want to do? You want to quit, you want to cut, you want to run, you want to pull yourself out of that commitment. Oh yeah, you don’t want to be committed at that point.

What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to realize that it’s all a trick. It’s your mind fucking with you. It’s your mind trying to keep you where you’re at and not where you should be. What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to push yourself through and you say, “This is tough. This is a really tough time, but I’m pushing through it. I’m not going to say this battery situation was really tough for me, it was just a subtle thing, but I want you to notice how commitment gets translated into something very tangible.

Wait one second. Look, batteries. What did I end up buying? I bought sixty AA Rayovacs. Sixty batteries. Look at that. Sixty bad boys. So now I’m excited to create enough content to burn through sixty batteries. This is about fifteen four hour sessions of footage so I’ve got a lot of recording to do. This is what I mean about commitment. This is practical. This is tangible.

It’s Up To You To Apply The Abstract

What I want you to be doing with all the information that I’m sharing with you throughout all these videos, not just this one but all the rest, is I want you to always keep in mind that everything that I’m telling you that seems abstract is abstract, it’s a principle, it’s a guideline, it’s a rule of thumb. You need to take it upon yourself to then find ways of applying it.

This is how I interpreted commitment. This works for me, this is not going to work for you. You don’t need sixty AA batteries. It’s not going to do anything for you. You need something else in your life. Commitment for you is going to mean something totally different, but the idea of it is still going to apply. The abstract principle is going to apply.

How it’s going to manifest, that’s for you to decide. You have to use your best judgment, but all these concepts that I’m throwing at you are practical. Don’t tell me they’re abstract, you just start using them the way that I want you to use them. You’re not taking the initiative. You still have to do the work.

I’m not here to solve your problems. I’m here to give you ideas. I’m here to inspire you and to keep you honest with yourself and to keep you accountable to your higher self. I do that by providing wisdom, knowledge, inspiration… whatever.

This is what it comes down to. Start to be smart about this. Start to see how wisdom manifests in the world in practical ways like this and you will start moving forward really fast in your life because all the stuff you know s right, you’re going to start doing it and it’s going to start manifesting and start happening. You’re going to start taking action because stuff is going to connect with you and you’re going to say, “Ah, so that’s what that principle meant.” You’re going to start to say, “Oh, okay. So that principle was abstract but it was actually powerful. There’s power in the abstractness of it”.

Appreciate What The Abstract Can Do For You

I can give you very, very minutia type tricks and tricks and techniques, but that’s not going to make you resourceful, plus it’s just not very practical with this format where I don’t really know you too well through the camera. The more powerful thing here is that you start to develop an understanding and appreciation of what abstract principles and ideas can do for you.

When you start to see that… wow! When you really feel it, you really buy into this, that wisdom can actually be practical and can actually be transformative to your life, improve your life in very tangible ways, what’s going to happen is you’re going to buy into this whole idea of self-mastery that I’m promoting. You’re going to buy into the self-help movement. You’re going to start reading books. You’re going to start accumulating more wisdom. You’re actually going to start thinking about wisdom and that’s what you need.

It’s not enough to sit here and absorb information from me. It’s not even enough to go and apply a principle. I want you to go above and beyond that. I want you to not only apply a principle successfully and to see how this works, but I want you to start cultivating a deep appreciation and understanding that these principles are powerful and that you should want to understand them and apply them almost for their own sake, not even for what they do for you-although they can do a lot- almost for their own sake because of the power they have, and the majesty and the wisdom.

Wrap Up

All right, so this is it. I’m getting off the soap box. This is Leo signing off. Go ahead leave me your comments, share this, like this so that others can get the message and of course I would like you to check out Actualized.org where you can sign up for the free newsletter where I release exclusive articles each week so you can stay on top of your commitment so you can recommit and I can help you to keep remembering holding yourself accountable.

Also for signing up you get some awesome free bonuses. You get a nineteen-part video series, exclusive only to my subscribers and you also get a chance to win two hours of free coaching from me which I give away every month. You don’t want to miss out on that so go ahead, sign up right now.

https://www.actualized.org/articles/commitment

*****************************
What Is the Great Commission?

What is the great commission? We answer that question in this week’s episode.

1. George Barna’s study on The Great Commission
https://www.barna.com/research/half-c…

2. Is God Ever Pleased When a Church Shuts Down

3. Do I Have to Be Baptized to Go to Heaven?

*****************************
Jesus Saying ‘Follow Me’ = Greatest Invitation on Planet Earth!!!

Jesus is inviting men and women all the world to forsake themselves and follow Him! This is the greatest invitation a human being could ever receive! In this video The Holy Spirit calls on people who have not yet chosen to follow to now do so!

[ The Vigilant Christian ]

*****************************
Follow Me

[ Casting Crowns – “Thrive” album ]

*****************************
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Elevation Worship performing their single “I Have Decided” live.

*****************************
Follow Me – Session 1

Are you a follower of Christ? Are you sure? When Jesus says, Come, follow Me, it is not an invitation to say a prayer. It is a summons to lose our lives.

[ David Platt ]

*****************************
Follow Me

[ David Platt ]

*****************************
Follow Me Series – The Call (Part 1)

Pastor Mark kicks off a new six week series called “Follow Me”. A series birthed from the best-selling novel by David Platt.

[ First Baptist Church Lloydminster ]

*****************************
Come, Follow Me

“Come Follow Me” dramatizes the experience of the Apostle Peter—his misunderstanding, doubts, denial and finally his commitment to follow his Master no matter where that path would take him. Peter’s journey with Jesus unfolds from their first meeting to the post resurrection appearance in which Jesus charges Peter to “feed my sheep.” “Come Follow Me” depicts what it means to be a disciple. The way for Peter and the way for us is found in the power and promises of Jesus’ word.

[ VisionVideo ]

*****************************
The Great Ordinary Commission

When I teach on the Great Commission, I often begin by asking my students, “What is Jesus’ primary emphasis in the Great Commission?” Typically, most students reply, “evangelism.” I then ask them to read the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18–20, after which I ask my question a second time. The students quickly see that although the Great Commission includes a call to evangelism, it doesn’t actually contain the word evangelism. What the students observe through more careful study of the Great Commission is that Jesus’ primary emphasis is on making disciples.

Making disciples certainly includes evangelism but is by no means limited to evangelism. The sort of disciple-making to which Jesus commissions the church involves much more, including baptizing and teaching. Simply put, if we have only evangelized a people or a nation, we have not been obedient to the fullness of the Great Commission. In addition to evangelism, Jesus provided us with specific instructions that we are to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and that we are to teach people “to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Moreover, if we have only evangelized, baptized, and received a person into church membership, we have not been obedient to the fullness of the Great Commission. Both baptizing and teaching are the ministry of the local church around the world, and this is why the local church sends us forth to make disciples. As missionaries, preachers, and teachers, we go to all nations to plant, equip, and disciple the church of Jesus Christ. We are called not simply to evangelize and baptize and move on, but we are called to stay the course to do the hard work of teaching Jesus’ disciples to observe all that He commanded, including the command to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

The Great Commission is a call to the church to be the church and to do the work of the church by making disciples of all nations. And we must remember that Jesus never called it “the Great Commission.” It is indeed a great commission, but it is a beautifully ordinary commission that we have the great privilege of fulfilling in part as we gather together with every tribe, tongue, and nation to worship with our families every Lord’s Day. Then we partake of and bear witness to the ordinary means of grace in the building up of the church in the preaching of the Word, growing as disciples and learning from the Scriptures to observe all that Jesus commanded. Then we enjoy the communion of the saints in communion with God in prayer, observe baptism in the name of our triune God, and partake regularly of the Supper that our Lord provides at His table. This is the extraordinarily great and greatly ordinary work of the church as we go, send, and make disciple-making disciples of all nations, just as we see the early church being faithful to the fullness of the Great Commission (Acts 2:42–47).

[ Burk Parsons ]

*****************************
Marks of a Healthy Church – Lecture 12, The Great Commission

He who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth has commissioned us. In this lesson, Dr. Dever shows that God established the church so that we might fulfill this Great Commission.

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/marks-healthy-church/great-commission/

*****************************
The Gospel Commission

Dr. Horton discusses his lastest book _The Gospel Commission_ concerning a proper understanding of “The Great Commission” that Christ gave the church.

[ Dr. Michael Horton ]

*****************************
Followers Not Fans – Command For Discipleship

Jesus is looking for followers. He’s not just looking for fans. Jesus is commanding you to not only be a disciple, but be a disciple maker—and so we’re gonna look at that command today, from the Greatest Commission of them all—Matthew 28. We’re going to discover what it means to be a follower of Christ—and not merely somebody in the vicinity not merely a groupie.

Let’s go to God’s Word, Matthew 28, and let’s find out what following Christ is all about. If you are a Christian today you also belong to another Kingdom. Biblical discipleship that is the cultivation of kingdom people is that process of the local church to bring Christians from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity—so that they are then able to replicate the process with someone else.

[ Dr. Tony Evans ]

*****************************
Christian vs. Disciple

This is David Bowden ministering at the 2015 Northeast Winterfest. This is his powerful poem “Christian vs Disciple” about the fundamental difference between both roles.

*****************************
Are you a Disciple or a Consumer?

In Matthew 20:34 we are told that the blind men Jesus just healed “followed him.” These men didn’t just use Jesus for their own personal gain. They didn’t think of Him as a genie in a bottle who comes out to heal them before disappearing back into the bottle. No, after their sight was restored, after they were healed by Jesus, they got up and followed Him. [ more…].

[ Casey Lewis ]

Are you a Disciple or a Consumer?

*****************************
What Is a Disciple?

The word disciple means a learner but it’s not a passive learner it’s an active learner it’s a learner who lives to learn and learns to live and together this makes this disciple a first and foremost a follower of Jesus a disciple is a follower. (Are they a verb are they a follower).

Secondly he is a person or she is a person that’s an example we are to exemplify what we expect were to model what we mandate were to were to show what we share in our lives and then finally I think a disciple biblically speaking is a reproducer it’s multiplication ministry as a disciple we’re also a disciple maker we look to make disciples.

How can you better follow Jesus, how can you better be an example, and in third who can you begin to invest in right now where you’re not only a disciple but yo are a disciple maker. because a disciple is a follower of Christ that’s what a Christian is.

*****************************
How to Be a Fully Committed Disciple of Jesus

A disciple is is a worshiper who will worship at any cost; will build at any cost (will not back away and will not stop); disciples worship at any cost; disciples work at any cost; and now disciples war at any cost; worship at any cost.

Notice what our Lord does our Lord speaks first of all about a crucifixion then a construction then a conflict and now a commission we’re like salt we are the salt of the earth and that means we’re to witness that’s what salt does salt speaks of witness and testimony now think about what salt does salt preserves

America needs the preserving salt of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

[ Adrian Rogers ]

*****************************
Being A Disciple

Notice three practical things about being a disciple. First, discipleship is not an option. Jesus says that if anyone would come after me, he must follow me. If you want to come after me—it’s a general term—if you want to have any experience of me, any relationship with me, you have to be a disciple. There are not two kinds of Christians: regular Christians and people who are really disciples. There’s only one: to be a Christian is to be a disciple. To have anything to do with me is to follow me in the way I define it: setting a new priority, finding a new identity, experiencing living out of a new mercy.

Second, having said that it’s not an option—on the other hand, it is a journey. It’s narratively brilliant of Luke to note this. In verse 51 Jesus sets out on a journey toward Jerusalem. It’s Jesus’ journey of discipleship, “He sets his face to go to Jerusalem.” And it’s from the moment he begins his journey toward the cross that he begins all his teaching about discipleship. All the next nine chapters, all the teaching on discipleship, comes as he’s going on a journey. This is Luke’s way of saying that discipleship is a journey. In other words, on the one hand, there is a decisiveness. You have to leave. Have you left? To go on the journey means saying, “I take my hands off my life.” To go on the journey means saying, “I give up my right to self-determination.” To go on the journey means saying, “I will obey you, Lord, and I’ll get rid of all the ifs. Not ‘obey you if,’ but obey. Period. I drop my conditions. I drop the ifs; they’re gone!” Not until you say that have you begun the journey. However, after your decisive beginning, the fact remains that it’s a journey. It’s a process that takes time. You’re not going to have it all together. It’s very important to keep that in mind, because if you think that discipleship is the way you’re saved—that by being committed and focused and giving Jesus the priority you’re going to please God and that will get you saved—you’re missing the point. Look at the order. He doesn’t say, “If you follow me, I’ll go to the cross for you.” He says, “I’m going to the cross for you, so follow me.” You’re not saved because you’re a disciple; you’re a disciple if and only if you understand what he has done to save you.

There is one last thing. The sign of true, growing, gospel disciples is their gentleness. What really amazes me about the heart of this passage is that the disciples say, “We’re going to show you how intensely committed we are to you. Look at those people rejecting you. Don’t you want us to bring fire down on them?!” And what does Jesus say? “Oh, just shut up. You don’t get it.” And here’s why.

My experience is that committed disciples of any religion, philosophy, or political cause are hard on themselves and on other people too. They’re committed to the cause, so why aren’t you committed to the cause? You should all be committed to the cause; what’s the matter with you? But the gospel is utterly different. The harder you are on yourself and the gospel, the easier you are on other people. Jesus Christ is saying: My disciples are not terrorists. My disciples know they’re saved by grace, so when they look at people who aren’t doing it right, they don’t say, “Why aren’t you as good as we are? Why aren’t you as committed as we are?” They don’t call fire down from heaven. Jesus says to his disciples: You don’t understand at all. You haven’t had the transformation of identity, because you don’t yet understand my mercy. You don’t know what I’ve done for you, because as yet you can’t, but someday you will. These disciples are probably racist; notice this: they’re calling down fire on the half-breed Samaritans. A lot of Israelites have done a lot of things to reject Jesus, but this is the first time any of his followers wanted fire to come down. There’s racism maybe; there’s self-righteousness definitely! Self-righteousness, bigotry, stridency, harshness—they go away, the more you become a disciple. They go away as your awareness of Jesus taking the fire for you becomes more central in your heart. And that’s a sign that you’re not just trying to save yourself, not just being religious, not just trying to save yourself through your commitment.

Are you becoming more gentle? More tolerant? More gracious with people around you? More kind? Follow Jesus. He’ll give you what you need. He’s a wonderful counselor. One guy comes and says, “I’m ready to follow you wherever you go.” Jesus says, “Go home and think about it.” Another guy says, “I want to go home and think about it.” Jesus says, “Follow me.” What? Because he’s the perfect counselor. All other counseling theories look flat next to his, because he never gives you a template. He gives you exactly what you need. Follow him, and he will give you exactly what you need. He will love you singularly. He will love the real you. He will love you into a whole new identity.

[ Tim Keller ]

*****************************
10 Qualities of a True Disciple of Christ

Ladies, as Christians, we’re called to discipleship. Scripture mentions being a disciple many times. And Jesus Himself speaks often about the significance of being His disciple. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus instructs the apostles with these words, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Discipleship is key to our Christianity, and while we are not perfect in our faith, we should always strive for perfection for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Lord wants of us. He expects that if we choose to follow Him, then we are accepting that we are to live a different life from those who don’t follow Him. Jesus laid out the many standards and expectations of discipleship.

Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

So, what does it mean to be a disciple? Here are 10 qualities of discipleship that we should all adhere to as followers of Christ.

Loves Jesus above everyone and everything. The first Commandment calls for this and Christians adhere to this with devotion. While disciples love their family, friends and even foes, they put the Lord above all else and it’s evident in their priorities. Money, career, ambition may be a part of their lives, but these things and other material interests never come before Christ and following His Word.
Selflessness and sacrifice. Disciples always put others first and in many ways put other’s needs before their own. This is evident in disciples’ selfless deeds and many acts of kindness.

Humility and modesty. To be humble is to be a disciple of the Lord, because the Lord Himself was truly humble. Just remember that He came into this world a man, and how he came, in a stable, laying in a manger. He humbled Himself to everyone and yet He was God. Christ’s disciples are also modest, not just in appearance but also in the way that they act.

Dedicated to following Christ and the Commandments. A disciple is committed to the Lord and eager to follow His Word and act in ways that are pleasing to Him. This doesn’t mean that a disciple is perfect or that she always does the right thing.
Is not easily influenced by the world. In fact, a disciple is indifferent to the standards of the world and is not affected by trends or fashion.

Has self-control in her emotions and actions. This is evident in the way she behaves, regardless of how others act toward her. If she is criticized, ridiculed or persecuted for her faith, she responds with kindness, just as Jesus did. After all, Christ called us all to do as He did.

Lives the Word. A disciple is a light that shines in the world and reflects the Lord in her actions and lifestyle. Her faith is reflected in her words and deeds. “You are the light of the world,” Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16. “A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Professes the Word regularly and effectively. A disciple speaks the Word of the Lord in regular conversation, not in a preachy way, but naturally because it’s what she believes. And she’s so eager to share the Word because her desire is to introduce the Lord to everyone.

Loves as Christ did. Or at least tries to. Jesus is love and He was clear when He called all His followers to love as He loved. Disciples understand that it’s not easy to love as the Lord did, but know also that to love others is to love Him.

Recognizes that she needs God’s strength to be a true disciple. Because a disciple knows her weaknesses and understands that she cannot live in this world without the strength of the Lord. And that suffering is only bearable when the Lord is with her.

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Ladies, what do you think is the most important quality of a true disciple of Christ?

[ T.M. Gaouette ]

*****************************
I’m a Christ Follower

Community Christian Church Series Video: a parody of the Mac vs. PC commercials to introduce the series “Christian No More.”








*****************************
The Anatomy of a Disciple

What if you knew exactly what a disciple of Christ looked like? What if you knew with certainty – whether or not – you were actively becoming more like Him? Do you think your spiritual life would look different? Do you think it would feel different?

Offering a common language to what is generally understood as a complex idea, The Anatomy of a Disciple provides awareness of what God intended for authentic and sustainable spiritual growth, and what He intended for His disciples, as well as substantial resources allowing you to respond to what He is calling you to do.

The Anatomy of a Disciple has taken the Gospel accounts, observing the life and ministry of Jesus, and identified 8 elements of Christ’s life that ought to be reflected in our lives as well.

In less than 30 minutes, The Anatomy of a Disciple Self-Assessment will identify areas where you are becoming more like Christ and areas that are far from the Lord. Your personalized profile will provide clear, quantifiable data so you can articulate with clarity exactly how you are doing spiritually.

http://anatomyofadisciple.com/

http://anatomyofadisciple.com/assessment

*****************************
Are You a Disciple or Just a Christian?

Are you a disciple or just a Christian? Is there a difference between the two? Jesus told us to go and make disciples, but instead we make Christians. We are often guilty of not preparing people for what it TRULY means to be a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ. In this 10-minute sermon from Luke 14:25-35 Jesus is brutally honest about what it means to be a disciple rather than just being a Christian.

[ Allen Parr]

*****************************
Are You His Disciple?

Pastor Greg shares on what it means to be a real disciple, and encourages us to learn and grow into spiritual maturity. As believers in Jesus, this is our commission and purpose. Opportunity is everywhere, but time is limited. We must seize the moment before it expires.

*****************************
What is a Disciple

“The true mark of spiritual growth is when you realize you have so far to go,” says Pastor Greg. In this message, we discover what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

*****************************
The Disciplines of a Disciple

“A disciple will carefully read, study, and live according to God’s Word”, Pastor Greg Laurie shares his latest message in the series “Discipleship, the Road Less Taken.”

*****************************
I Am a Disciple

A disciple is a follower. As it concerns Christianity, a disciple of Jesus is one who is devoted and committed to the ways and teachings of Jesus.

*****************************
The Cross-Shaped Life” Series

Living the Cross-Shaped Life means living for Jesus each and every day. It means being open to not only seeking God’s will but actually doing God’s will so you can grow in faith and impact others along life’s journey.

“Do I Have a Spiritual Birth Certificate”
You can try religion, righteousness, rules, and rituals, but that is just a soft reset that won’t get you anywhere. What you need is a hard reset, a new start, a new heart, and a new life. You need a spiritual birth certificate and there is one available for you today.

“Is My Flashlight On?”
You cannot be light on the outside, until you have light on the inside. Everybody in this world is either in the light or they are in the dark. Jesus came to die on a cross for our sins, to take care of the darkness of sin and death, and to come out of the grave three days later so He could be to us the light of the world. Is your flashlight on? If you have Jesus in your heart, your flashlight must be on!

“Who Has My Password?”
The Christian life is lived in a world that is hostile to the Gospel, to Jesus, and to Biblical truth. We don’t have to go it alone, don’t need to go it alone, and we really can’t go it alone. Just as Jesus left heaven and came to earth to died on a cross to forgive us of our sin and make us a part of his family, we need to get into community groups so we can link arm to arm with other believers as we walk through life together.

“Am I In My Sweet Spot?”
In the church, you don’t just do something big, you do something bigger than you could ever do anywhere else. When you do something that not only can’t happen anywhere else, you do something that has an eternal impact in transforming lives forever. When you are doing that, you are in your sweet spot.

[ James Merritt ]

*****************************
The Goal of Discipleship

Discipleship is that developmental process of the local church that seeks to bring Christians from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity so that they can replicate the process with someone else [ more… ]

[ Tony Evans ]

*****************************
Making Kingdom Disciples

What is God’s Great Commission for you? You are to make Kingdom disciples! Yes you can! What is a disciple? Find out in this message as well as how ordinary Christians can become disciples and make disciples!

[ Tony Evans ]

*****************************
What Is Discipleship?

Introduction

While every disciple is a believer, not every believer is necessarily a disciple.

Many may think that the term disciple refers only to the early followers of Christ. We know that they were a praying, worshipping, loving, giving, and evangelizing group of men and women who refused to keep the truth of the gospel to themselves. Yet, God still desires disciples today—ordinary people like you and me whom God can use to do extraordinary things.

The Christian experience of the believers in the first-century church may seem radical to many in the church today, but to those early believers, it was normal Christianity. And these men and women—empowered and motivated by the Holy Spirit—turned their world upside down for the sake of Christ. In short, they were true disciples of Jesus Christ.

—————

Are We True Disciples?

If you are a true disciple, your Christian walk will be challenging and exciting, and you will have a sense of purpose and direction. But if your Christian experience can be described as dull, unfulfilling, and even boring at times, you need to seriously examine the statements Jesus made concerning what it means to be a disciple. After all, how can we expect to fulfill the Great Commission (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19) to go into all the world and make disciples if we don’t even really know what one is? It literally takes one to make one.

A disciple is defined as a learner, a pupil, one who comes to be taught.

The relationship between the disciple and his teacher is not merely that of a student listening to a lecturer, or a passively interested listener. A disciple listens with attention and intention. He drinks in every word of his teacher, marking every inflection of voice with an intense desire to apply what has been learned.

—————

The Requirements of Discipleship

In Luke 14:25–35, Jesus laid out the tests and requirements of discipleship. Jesus saw a large crowd gathering. He knew that these people believed and accepted His message in principle. Prior to this point, Jesus had shown how the message of the gospel was for everyone. He had exposed the Pharisees as the religious hypocrites that they were. As a result, He had become enormously popular. Now He wanted to weed out those who were following Him for the wrong reasons.

Some wanted to be dazzled by Jesus’ miracles, while others came looking for a free meal. A few even hoped that He would overthrow Rome and establish God’s kingdom. So Jesus turned to the multitude and preached a sermon that deliberately thinned out the ranks.

Jesus seeks quality over quantity
Jesus makes it clear that when it comes to personal discipleship, He is more interested in quality than quantity. The words He spoke that day are perhaps the most solemn and searching words that ever fell from His lips.

Why would Jesus say such things to all those people who followed Him? It seems that He is intentionally trying to get rid of them. In a sense, He is trying to get rid of at least some of them.

A similar account is found in Judges 7:1–22. There God wanted to give His servant Gideon a victory in battle against the Midianites. But the Lord wanted the glory for the victory. So, through a series of tests, God whittled down Gideon’s original army of 32,000 to 300. God knew that He could do more with 300 alert, committed men than He could with 32,000 half-hearted ones.

Three times in the course of this message in Luke 14, Jesus used the phrase, “cannot be my disciple.” In other words, Jesus was laying out some absolute requirements for discipleship.

—————

Requirement #1: Love God More Than Anyone Else

Jesus begins with some very strong words: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

Jesus was not advocating that in order to be disciples, we must actually hate family, friends, and ourselves. In this verse, Jesus was using sharp contrasts to make a point. Here He uses the word hate as the opposite of love. He did not choose something easily hated, like sin. Instead, He chose the most noble love we could have in this world—the love of family. He uses this analogy to show that our love for God must take pre-eminence over all others.

Your love for God should be so strong that your love for others is like hatred by comparison.

We see how personal relationships can conflict with the call of discipleship in Luke 9. There, Jesus asked someone to follow Him, but the man responds with this excuse: “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” (Luke 9:59)

Right there, a conflict arises. If He is truly Lord, then He is first, not us. This man was essentially saying, “Lord, let me wait until my parents grow old and die. I don’t want to create any conflict. I’ll follow You at a more convenient time.”

Jesus answered: “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60)

In this life, you either will have harmony with people and friction with God, or harmony with God and friction with people. You cannot have it both ways.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35).
You must decide which way it will go. If you choose harmony with God, the conflict you experience with others may ultimately lead to the awareness of their own need to find harmony with God.

—————

A Test of Devotion

Jesus wants to test our hearts. He wants to be sure that we love Him more than anyone or anything else.

Abraham of the Old Testament seemed to struggle with this. God gave him a son, Isaac, in his old age. The boy was precious to Abraham’s life, the joy of his heart. This young man was a physical representation of everything sacred to Abraham’s heart: the covenants God had made and the physical link to the coming Messiah.

As Abraham watched Isaac grow from a little baby to a strong, young man, perhaps this child began to fill the spot that Abraham had previously reserved for his friend, God. Perhaps, at this point in his life, had he been asked whom he loved more—Isaac or God—it would have been difficult to answer.

A.W. Tozer writes, “It was then that God stepped in to save both father and son from the consequences of an uncleansed love.” So God said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2).

Abraham passed the test.
When Abraham so wonderfully passed this test, God blessed him and spared his son (Genesis 22:3–18). In essence, God told him, “It’s all right, Abraham. I never intended that you actually kill Isaac. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might remain unchallenged there.”

After this test in Abraham’s life, there was nothing in his life that was not committed to the Lord. He still had great wealth, flocks, and possessions. He still had his son Isaac. He had everything, but he possessed nothing! His grip was very light on these things, and tighter on the eternal. Again, to quote Tozer: “Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.”

God is still looking for men and women who will shake their world, men and women who will be His disciples. I urge you to make that step. If you do, our world will never be the same again. English evangelist John Wesley once said, “Give me a hundred men who love God with all of their hearts and fear nothing but sin, and I will move the world.”

A personal thought
Will you dedicate your Isaac to the Lord today? It could be a family member or friend you love more than God. It may be a relationship you are in at the moment. It may be some sort of pursuit you are afraid to give up.

Will you step out from the fickle multitudes and fair-weather followers today and be a true disciple of Jesus, loving Him more than anyone or anything else?

—————

The Cost of Discipleship

If ever there comes a time when the call of the highest earthly love and the cross of Christ are in conflict, the call of Christ must prevail. According to Jesus, a disciple is someone who loves God more than anyone else—even family and friends.

—————

Requirement #2: Deny Yourself and Take up the Cross

“And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27).
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
The greatest barrier to discovering all that God has for us is our preoccupation with self. We have become a self-obsessed society—Jesus’ mandate goes against the grain of popular culture. In fact, many in the church today have been advocating that the answer to most of the problems in our society is to build up our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
Our self-love versus our sinful nature
The Bible plainly teaches that we have an inherently sinful nature (Proverbs 20:9; Romans 3:23; 5:12–13; 1 John 1:8). The apostle Paul seemed to have pretty low self-esteem when he cried, “O wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24).

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. In fact, this love of self will be one of the earmarks of the last days, leading to a host of other problems (see 2 Timothy 3:1–5).

Scripture acknowledges the fact that we already love ourselves. Ephesians 5:29 says, “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it” No, Jesus did not say that we need to love ourselves (we already do that). He told us to deny ourselves. To better understand the significance of this, we must first understand what that means.

The word denial means to repudiate; to disdain; to disown; to forfeit; to totally disregard.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or you see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.”

What is the positive outcome of denying yourself? Jesus goes on to say,

“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. When you give that up to allow yourself to be conformed into the image of Jesus, you will discover His plan and purpose for you.
Bearing your cross means dying to oneself.
Why did Jesus use this particular illustration? He used a radical symbol to get people’s attention. He was not simply speaking of an individual’s personal problem or obstacle. In that day and age, a person who was bearing a cross was walking to his death. Bearing your cross means dying to self—laying aside your personal goals, desires and ambitions so that God can reveal His desires, ambitions and goals for your life. In essence, it is living life as it was meant to be lived: in the will of God.

Samuel Rutherford said, “The cross of Christ is the sweetest burden that I ever bore. It is a burden to me such as wings are to a bird or sails are to a ship to carry me forward to my harbor.”

“In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne. Perhaps this is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today. We want to be saved, but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Man’s soul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility” (A.W. Tozer).

—————

Requirement #3: Forsake All That You Have

“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).

To forsake means to surrender your claim to; to say goodbye to.
Until I recognize that everything I have belongs to Jesus Christ, I am not His disciple. Consider Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).

“Jesus answered, ‘You know the commandments: Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ the man replied, ‘I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was a child.’”
“Jesus felt genuine love for this man as He looked at him. ‘You lack only one thing,’ He told him. ‘Go and sell all you have and give money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this, the man’s face fell, and he went sadly away because he had many possessions” (Mark 10:19–22 NLT).
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 this man’s life. If something else had been on the “throne of his life,” Jesus would have asked him for that.

—————

Requirement #4: Count the Cost

“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 underlines 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. Sadly, some do the same in their commitment to follow Christ.

This point is illustrated in Luke 9:57–58: “Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, ‘Lord, 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.’”

The man in this story did not even wait to be called. He hastily volunteered. He seemed to have a good heart, but he was impulsive. No doubt he had been watching Jesus with great admiration, and now wanted to walk with Him. But he had not counted the cost!

This man did not know what lay in his future, but Jesus did. By the nature of Jesus’ statement to him, it would appear that this man, in contrast to the one who wanted to avoid friction with family and friends, was too concerned with material things in general. In essence, Jesus was saying to this man (and to all who would be His disciples), “Whatever would dull your desire to serve, quench your hunger for the Word and thirst for prayer, or make the world more attractive must go.”

Jesus is not asking if you will commit 20%, 30%, or 50% to Him. He is asking you to commit everything. Billy Graham has said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have.”

—————

What Is the Cost of Discipleship?

I must pay the price for the sins that I may now cherish.
As a disciple of Christ, I cannot cling to a single sin and pretend that I am following Him. In the place of those sins, I can enjoy walking in fellowship and friendship with God, living a holy and happy life.

I must pay the price of this world’s fellowship.
In other words, I must no longer allow secular and worldly philosophy to color my thinking and living. “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold” (Romans 12:2 Phillips).

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must pay the price of this world’s friendship. I will be laughed at for my convictions, mocked for my beliefs, and scorned for trying to live by what the Bible teaches. At the same time, in place of the world’s friendship, I will have God’s.

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

—————

What Are the Benefits of Being a Disciple?

Yes, there is a cost to discipleship, but what we gain in the place of the things we give up is infinitely better.

The disciple is the one to whom God reveals more as that individual drinks in His every Word, marking the inflection of His voice with the desire to obey.
The disciple is the one who lives the Christian life in all its fullness, receiving all God has for him.
To the disciple, each new day is a fresh opportunity to walk with God.
To the disciple, life has definite purpose and direction. It is life abundant.
It costs to follow Jesus Christ, but it costs more not to. If you are settling for anything short of discipleship, you are missing out.

—————

You have a choice to make.

You love God, and you want to follow Him. Now you have to choose:

To live for yourself or to deny yourself.
To ignore the cross or to take it up.
To seek to save your life and ultimately lose it, or to lose (or invest) your life and ultimately find it.
To gain the world or to forsake the world.
To lose your soul or to keep it.
Though our numbers as disciples are small, we must press on and stand together. God may purge our ranks, but it is only to make us stronger as we pursue His plan and purpose to make an impact upon our world.

[ Harvest Christian Fellowship (Greg Laurie) ]

https://www.harvest.org/know-god/foundations/what-is-discipleship

*****************************
Smooth Grandmama
(Parody of “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson)

As he came up to the window, heard the sound of Barry Manilow
He came into her apartment, smelled the Ben Gay and the chocolate
She was sitting at the table, he could see she had a Bible
So she ran into the bedroom, got her teeth down and her perfume
Granny, are you OK, you OK, you OK, Granny? (4X)
Granny’s not an old maid, she’s a zealot with a bold faith
She’s a kind-hearted widow and she bought you a Nintendo, last week
You came into her apartment, left the mudstains on the carpet
And then she ran into the bedroom, she was knelt down, it was for you
Granny likes to crochet, and croquet, and quote Dear Abby
Granny causes road rage in the slow lanes, she’s no Andretti
Granny’s got the whole day to go pray for all her family
You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by, a smooth grandmama
So she came into the hallway, it was Sunday, had a snack made
Then the book of Revelation was the topic of conversation
Granny says, you know, babe, the Lord says in verse 3:20
He’s standing at the doorway, so don’t waste a moment, honey
And you gotta go pray or else, babe, He won’t gain entry
Then you told her OK, I want saved, I’ll go pray, Granny
Granny told you, OK, first you tell Him that you’re sorry
Believe He died for your sins, though
And accept Him and repento — Whammy!
He came into your heart then, you were prostrate on the carpet
Then she ran you to the next room
You were sat down, there was more food
Granny karaokes to old tapes of Sandi Patty
You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by, a smooth grandmama
Granny had a roast made and potatoes that were homemade
And she buys Poppin’ Fresh Dough
So she baked you some crescent rolls, man, eat!
You came into her apartment, and the blessings only started
And then your Granny took and fed you
You were stuffed now; it was her food
Granny brought you cold grapes and poached eggs and bowls of candy
Granny brought you milkshakes and fruitcake, keep Rolaids handy
Granny’s artichokes make your throat gag so don’t take any
And before you go, babe, you must take a roast beef sandwich

[ ApologetiX – “Grace Period” album ]

*****************************
People Are Lazy
(Parody of “People Are Crazy” by Billy Currington)

This old man and me
Were at the barber and we
We had him cut our hairs
And watched some NASCAR there
He talked of politics
With lots of rhetoric
I told him, I’m a Christian — I have a wife and kids
I talked about God’s grace
Then why’s there Hell, he raged
And why on earth aren’t all men saved?

And I said,
God has made it clear in His book, but people are lazy

He said, I’m not too sure
If there is any Lord
What makes you His disciple?
I said I’ve read the Bible
It taught me how the truth
Is never far from you,
What all we shouldn’t do,
And how to be born anew
I squandered life till then
In blissful ignorance
So please don’t think I’m silly, friend

When I say,
God has made it clear in His book, but people are lazy

NASCAR was due to end
I read the Bible with him
And then I stopped at Romans 10

And in God’s funny way
I saw the whole plan change
From being a bit too hairy
I was a missionary
We read Ephesians 2
Saw lines he never knew
Said, Kid, you’ve read it well
But, me, I’m going to hell
But I got wise today
So if you think we can pray
Then I’d like to fix that right here – I need saved
‘Cause I see
God has made it clear in His book but people are lazy
‘Cause God has made it clear in His book that Jesus can save me
God has made it clear in His book but people are lazy

[ ApologetiX – “Soundproof” album ]

*****************************
Show Us the Way
(Parody of “Go All the Way” by The Raspberries)

My Lord, yeah! Woo!
Ooh ooh hoo hoo!
Alright! Yeah!
My-my-my-my yeah-yeah! Woo!

I never knew how come He had to leave
Till we quizzed Him and said, Savior, please
Show us the way
It feels so right — eating with You here tonight
Please show us the way
Just so we know wherever that You go

I am the way, truth, and life, Jesus said
No one gets to the Father without Me
Don’t go astray
It’s been so nice — eating with you here tonight
Please don’t fall away
The Holy Ghost won’t ever let you go — oh no

Before our Lord died for you and me
We had a hole in the place where the Lord should be
But now Christ’s raised and He fills that space
We come alive when we trust all the things He says
And He says
(Come on) come on (come on) to Me
(Come on) come on (come on)
I’ll lead you (come on) I love you (come on)
I’ll lead you (come on) I’m the Way (come on)

He showed us the way
It’s Jesus Christ — He is the truth and the life
He showed us the way
His Holy Ghost won’t ever let me go, oh no

Ooh ooh ooh ooh — ooh ooh ooh ooh
Oh-oh yeah — ooh ooh ooh
Go check John 14:6, yeah! Oh!
Go on, baby
Wooo ooh hooo hoo!

[ ApologetiX – “Xit Ego Lopa” album ]

*****************************
We Got the Feet
(Parody of “We Got the Beat” by The Go-Go’s)

See how Peter squawked real loud and shrieked
‘Cause the Lord was washing all their feet
Didn’t know that when He cleansed their soles
He washed them inside

‘Cause they got their feet
Cleaned off cause Jesus
Washed their feet, yeah
He got their feet

All the Christians gettin’ out the news
Paved the way, Isaiah 52
‘Member how the Lord sent out the twelve
God sent them far and wide

‘Cause they got to be
His Gospel feet
His Gospel feet, yeah
They got to be

So go use those feet and take a stand
In the mountains, woods, or in the sand
Then let Jesus rinse them off again
He’ll send you far and wide

‘Cause we got the feet
We got the feet
We got the feet, yeah
We go!

(We got the feet)
(We got the feet)
(We got the feet) Everybody get on the street
(We got the feet) We could use some sand on our feet
(We got the feet) Somebody needs found
(We got the feet) Romans 10 shows how
Whoa!

(We got the feet)
We got the feet
(We got the feet)

We got the feet
(We got the feet)
We got the feet
(We got the feet)
We got the feet
(We got the feet, we got the feet)
We got the feet
(We got the feet, we got the feet)
We got the feet

[ ApologetiX – “Play Nice” album ]

*****************************
Get a Bite
(Parody of “Let it Ride” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive)

We tried – all night – no dice – couldn’t get a bite
We tried – all night – no dice – couldn’t get a bite
We came in this mornin’ when I met Jesus Christ
Tryin’, tryin’, tryin’ to get a bite
Where’ve you been at Simon?
I’ve been fishin’ half the night
Tryin’, tryin’, tryin’ to get a bite
He said, would you try
If I showed you how to find ’em
Would you take a ride – if I get inside?
He sure proved right
‘Cause our boats almost capsized
From all the fish we fried – when our net had dried
Lived my life in Galilee – Capernaum is my town
Tryin’, tryin’, tryin’ to get a bite
Says that He wants me to fish for men
But I just don’t know how
Tryin’, tryin’, tryin’ to get a bite
He said, would you try
If I showed you how to find ’em
With a bait that’s right? Would you get excited?
And would you try
If I called you my disciple
Would you preach for Christ? Could you get a bite?
LEAD
I’ve been doing His works now
While He’s been doin’ mine
Tryin’, tryin’, tryin’ to get a bite
And would you cry
If I told you that He died
And that He gave His life? Would I get a bite?
And would you try
If I told you how to find Him
Would you take advice?
Would you let Him inside? (3X)
Would you let Him inside? (ah ha)
Would you let Him inside?
DRUMS
Try, try, try to get a bite (9X)
Would you let Him inside (4X)

[ ApologetiX – “Chosen Ones” album ]

*****************************
Act Selfless
(Parody of “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles)

[ WHISPERED ]
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests
but each of you to the interests of the others.”

As He’s sitting in the midst of the disciples
Jesus rises with a little ol’ surprise
Now He’s standin’ with a basin full of water
He doesn’t set aside till the last one’s feet are dry
It was a strange new attitude in a king
‘Cause they saw their Lord, kneeling upon the floor

Act selfless – and then give a broad smile
Act selfless – and then go another mile
A new religion where the King is on His knees
Act selfless – if you please

Unpretentious and He woos us with His meek ways
Christ likes it when the proud decide to bow
Love your neighbor – it’s a hard, rough thing to do but
Love your enemies – it’s what Christ wants in us now
When we refuse it’s just a sin, so see it through
Always striving for pleasing your humble Lord

Act selfless – and ya did the Lord proud
Act selfless – ‘cause we’re all brothers now
A new religion that’ll bring ya inner peace
Act selfless – if you please

Yeah, the Word He left His throne and He came just for you
In the flesh He was God
His actions so proved
What should you do?
LEAD

Act selfless — when that bitter world’s vile
Act selfless when your soul suffers trials
A new religion where the strength goes to the weak
Act selfless – it’s unique

Act selfless – and the risen Lord smiles
Act selfless – and then you’re the Father’s child
A new religion – in Philippians 2 verse 3
Act selfless – if you believe
If you believe.

[ ApologetiX – “Play Nice” album ]

*****************************
Follow Me
(Parody of “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker)

You don’t know how He met me — You don’t know why
You can’t turn around my faith in Christ
Long ago I went-a fishin’ one day at sea
He said to me, “James, try some fishin’ for Me”

He told me, “Follow Me, ” and I said, “Jesus, all right
“I’ll be the one to trust You with his life
“And if You want to leave life in Galilee
“You know I’ll go gladly just like Thee”

I’m not worried ’bout the king out there
Cause the Lord has got my soul and my body don’t care
You feel I’m guilty and I’m well aware
A funeral’s booked for James but baby I’m not scared

He told me, “Follow Me, ” and I said, “Jesus, all right
“I’ll be the one to trust You with his life
“And if You’re gonna be fightin’ Pharisees
“You know I’ll go gladly just like Thee”

Forgive me, Mama, I can’t kiss you goodbye
You’re better off if you don’t drop by
I’m locked in prison; I’ll soon go away
Maybe they’ll write of this in Acts 12 someday

“Follow Me, ” and I said, “Jesus, all right
“I’ll be the one to trust You with his life
“And if You want to lead to Gethsemane
“You know I’ll go gladly just like Thee”

You don’t know how He met me — You don’t know Christ
You’ve captured me now and say I’ll die
All I know is when I’ve left you, I’m breaking free
So cling to your vain lives, I’m itchin’ to leave

He told me, “Follow Me, ” and I said, “Jesus, all right
“I’ll be the one to trust You with his life
“And if You want to lead up to Calvary
“You know I’ll go gladly just like Thee”

He told me, “Follow Me, ” and I said, “Jesus, all right
“I’ll be the one to trust You with his life
“And if You want to lead up to Calvary
“You know I’ll go gladly just like Thee”

He told me, “Follow Me, ” and I said, “Jesus, all right
“I’ll be the one to trust You with his life
“And if You want to lead up to Heavenly
“You know I’ll go gladly just like Thee”

[ ApologetiX – “Grace Period” album ]

 

*****************************
*****************************

DEEP THOUGHTS:

“Discipleship is not just a matter of bending your will to Jesus’ will; it’s melting your heart into a whole new shape. A disciple is not someone who simply sets a new priority; a disciple finds a new identity.”
[ Tim Keller ]

“When Jesus said to make disciples the disciples understood that to mean that they should make out of others what Jesus had made out of them.”
[ Don Whitney ]

“Salvation will cost you nothing, but discipleship will cost you everything!”
[ Bill Hull ]

“Discipleship is not just a matter of bending your will to Jesus’ will; it’s melting your heart into a whole new shape. A disciple is not someone who simply sets a new priority; a disciple finds a new identity.”
[ Tim Keller ]

“We want to get in the Word of God until the Word of God gets into us.” [ Robby Galaxy ]

“My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”
[ Charles Wesley ]

————————-

FAMOUS LAST WORDS:

“This is no way to live!”
[ Groucho Marx ]

“I hope the exit is joyful and hope never to return.”
[ Frida Kahlo ]

“Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
[ Karl Marx ]

“God damn the whole friggin’ world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta.”
[ W.C. Fields ]

“Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
[ Pancho Villa ]

“This isn’t Hamlet, you know. It’s not meant to go in my bloody ear.”
[ Laurence Olivier ]

”Happy anniversary. I love you.”
[ Vince Lombardi ]

“Damn it! Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”
[ Joan Crawford ]

“One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”
[ Alfred Hitchcock ]

“Work hard to gain your own salvation.”
[ Buddha (Siddhattha Gautama) ]

“Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues.”
[ Ken Saro-Wiwa ]

“I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
[ Richard Feynman ]

“Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.”
[ Walter De La Mare ]

“No, I shall not give in. I shall go on. I shall work to the end.”
[ Edward VII ]

“Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.”
[ Ludwig Wittgenstein ]

“So little done, so much to do.”
[ CJ Rhodes ]

“Turn up the lights, I don’t want to go home in the dark.”
[ William Sidney Porter (O. Henry) ]

“Soldiers, save my face; aim at my heart. Farewell.”
[ Murat, King of Naples (to his firing squad) ]

“Lift me up that I might die standing, not lying down like a cow.”
[ Siward, the Dane ]

“I believe we should adjourn this meeting to another place.”
[ Adam Smith ]

“I am ready.”
[ Woodrow Wilson ]

“My work is done, why wait?”
[ George Eastman (his suicide note) ]

“Go on, get out – last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
[ Karl Marx – To his housekeeper, who urged him to tell her his last words so she could write them down for posterity ]

“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than, ‘Try to be a little kinder.’”
[ Aldous Huxley ]

“I have a terrific headache.”
[ Franklin D. Roosevelt ]

“I commit my soul to the mercy of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I exhort my dear children humbly to try to guide themselves by the teaching of the New Testament in its broad spirit, and to put no faith in any man’s narrow construction of its letter here or there.”
[ Charles Dickens ]

“It doesn’t take much of a man to become a Christian, but it does take all of him.”
[ Thomas Huxley ]

“What an account I shall have to give to God! How should I like to live otherwise that I have lived.”
[ Phillip III ]

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”
[ Alexander Hamilton ]

“What I was as an artist seemed of some importance to me while I lived; but what I was as a believer in Jesus Christ is the only thing of importance to me now.”
[John Bacon]

Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph. Here’s what he wrote:
“The Body of B. Franklin, Printer: Like the Cover of an old Book Its contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Guilding, Lies here, Food for Worms, But the Work shall not be wholy lost: For it will, as he believ’d, Appear once more In a new an more perfect Edition.
[ Benjamin Franklin ]

“I have provided in the course of my life for everything except death, and now, alas, I am to die unprepared.”
[ Cardinal Borgia ]

“Frances and Courtney, I’ll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney, for Frances. For her life will be so much happier without me. I love you. I love you.”
[ Kurt Cobain (suicide note) ]

“Tie a rope round my body, pull me out of bed, and lay me in ashes, that I may die with repentant prayers to an offended God. O! I in vain wish for that time I lost with you and others in vain recreations.”
[ Prince Henry of Wales ]

“I don’t feel good.”
[ Luther Burbank ]

“I have lived my life in a laborious doing of nothing.”
[ Grotius ]

“That was a great game of golf.”
[ Bing Crosby ]

“I am late by ten minutes. I hate being late. I like to be at the prayer punctually at the stroke of five.”
[ Mahatma Ghandi ]

“Never felt better.”
[ Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. ]

“It’s awfully hot today.”
[ Jesse James ]

“I will be glad to discuss this proposition with my attorney, and that after I talk with one, we could either discuss it with him or discuss it with my attorney, if the attorney thinks it is a wise thing to do, but at the present time I have nothing more to say to you.”
[ Lee Harvey Oswald ]

“I shall never get rid of this depression.”
[ Vincent Van Gogh ]

“Now is not the time for making new enemies.”
[ Voltaire, after being asked by a priest to renounce Satan ].

Voltaire (skeptic): “I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!” (The talented French writer once said of Jesus, “Curse the wretch!” He stated, “Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror …Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.”) He also boasted, “In twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear.” Some years later, Voltaire’s house was used by the Geneva Bible Society to print Bibles.

“I have something to tell you . . .”
[ Louis XVII ]

“Doctor, I wish you to observe how real and beneficial the religion of Christ is to a man about to die . . .” In his will he wrote: “This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ which will give them one which will make them rich indeed.”
[ Patrick Henry ]

“I am going to Him whom my soul loveth, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the sole ground of all my consolation.”
[ John Owen ]

“I see earth receding; heaven is opening. God is calling me.”
[ D. L. Moody ]

“Thy will be done.”
[ Lew Wallace (author of Ben Hur) ]

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy.”
[ Alexander Hamilton ]

“The great mystery is Jesus Christ—the gospel. What would the condition of any of us be if we had not the hope of immortality? . . . Thank God, the gospel of Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light.” His last words were: “I still live.”
[ Daniel Webster ]

“Build me a hut to die in. I am going home.”
[ David Livingstone ]

“I commit my soul to the mercy of God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I exhort my dear children humbly to try and guide themselves by the teaching of the New Testament.”
[ Charles Dickens ]

“It is a great mercy that I have no manner of fear or dread of death. I could, if God please, lay my head back and die without terror this afternoon.”
[ Isaac Watts ]

“I am glad to hear it; but O brother Payne! The long wished-for day is come at last, in which I shall see the glory in another manner than I have ever done, or was capable of doing in the world.”
[ John Owen ]

“If all the swords in England were pointed against my hewed, your threats would not move me. I am really to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.”
[ Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury ]

“Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”
[ William Tyndale ]

 

MORE “LAST WORDS” FROM FAMOUS PEOPLE:

http://www.mapping.com/words.shtml

http://www.evidencebible.com/witnessingtool/lastwords.shtml

 

RELATED BIBLE VERSES:

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
[ Jeremiah 29:13 ]

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
[ Matthew 4:19 ]

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’”
[ Matthew 16:24 ]

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
[ Matthew 19:28 ]

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
[ Mark 1:17 ]

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”
[ Mark 10:21 ]

“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”
[ Luke 5:27 ]

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”
[ Luke 18:22 ]

“Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means “Teacher”), ‘where are you staying?’”
[ John 1:38 ]

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’”
[ John 1:43 ]

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
[ John 8:12 ]

“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’”
[ John 21:19 ]

=============

“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 ]

*****************************
*****************************

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!

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[ Matthew 28:18b-20 ]

Mark

*****************************
*****************************

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.

·.¸¸.·´¯`·.. ><((((‘>
><((((‘> ·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..><((((‘> ·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.. ><((((‘>
·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·..><((((‘>
><((((‘> ·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.><((((‘>

Advertisements