Sunday, September 21, 2014

Peak into New Disicpleship Book Designed to Challenge Mature Christians

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Introduction: Do You Want to Hear from God? 

When I turned 50, I had an epiphany. I had always been big on setting goals and planning my next big thing. Then at age 50, it occurred to me that I might only have about 25 or 30 years left to do whatever needed to be done. Maybe less. 

I suppose I’m not the only one to think such thoughts. Hence, we now have the famous bucket lists that many of my friends are creating. Would it surprise you to find out that most of those lists are filled with exotic places to visit? (I certainly want to go to Eastern Europe and Australia) The lists might include a new place to live, a certain car to own, or achieving some level of expertise in a sport or game. My conversations with others on the subject commonly come around to amassing some amount of net worth that will allow them to at least maintain their current standard of living.

It is very unlikely that many of those lists include the decision “doing whatever God calls me to do.” Can you imagine how the rest of your life might look if you made that decision today? Whether you are 18, 30, or ancient of days like me, you could make a major impact in the days left to you. 

Are you too busy? Are you worried about money? Do you think you do not possess the needed skills? Do you doubt you know what to do? Does it seem too big? Will you miss your TV too much? Are you afraid your family and friends will think you are weird? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are missing the Jesus that Paul, John, Matthew, Mark, James, Luke, Peter, and Jude talk about. 

I’m not a special person. I’m a layman like most of you. I have prospered in life, but 5 years ago I lost almost everything and had to start over at age 60. I have some talents and skills, as do you. I wish I had more talents and skills, just as you do. 

I do know this: if only one out of every 100 people that love Jesus in the US made a decision today to “do whatever God calls me to do” for the rest of their lives, this country and the world could experience revival unlike any other. Are you going to sit by and let someone else be that “one” who will enjoy all the fun, all the amazing best that God has to offer you while here on earth and then in heaven?
To take up God’s call requires a lot of hard work, determination, and most of all, faith. Remarkably, if it really is God’s call, and you respond with your whole heart, the yoke will seem light as a feather.
Seniors, you can choose to kick back and start counting the sunsets. You deserve it. You’ve worked hard, and now it is someone else’s turn. Is that where you are?

On the other hand, maybe you’re a young go-getter and you want treasures and fame here on earth. You might be promising God that you will use your money and fame to further the Kingdom later. I can identify with that very easily. Is this you? 

Possibly, you have been badly wounded by life, and you’re struggling to put one foot in front of the other. You think God can use you later. Are you hiding behind your wounds? Do you think, “I’ll do it when the kids are grown and through college. I’ll surrender to God’s call on my life when I have $500,000 in net assets.” Do you think that God dare not call a parent with small children?

How do I know you think that way? Easy. I have thought those thoughts.

We need a revival in the US, and throughout the world. The ability to communicate the Gospel to every person on earth has never been easier. The world has never been more ready to hear the message. Unless you are missing the news, you probably think we are certainly in the last days. There isn’t a lot of time left to make sure your loved ones and those in your community have Christ in their hearts. 

If you are ready to commit to God fully and avoid any potential of being seen as lukewarm, this book is the outpouring of my heart intended to provide you with a pathway to victory. Here is an outline of the path. Each step is based on a decision. Just like your initial decision to follow Jesus, you will be making decisions throughout your walk.
  • Decision: That I will listen to God for His call on my life.
  • Decision: That I will do what is necessary to hear and obey God's call on my life.
  • Decision: That in order to be in a position to hear God's calling, I will love Him and others, and seek the intimacy that accompanies that love. I hunger and thirst for a right relationship with Him and others.
  • Decision: That in order to love like that, I will be poor in spirit and more humble. Humility means that I trust God for my direction, not myself or other people. I believe what God says.
  • Decision: I will become a disciple of Christ, which means watching and hearing what He teaches, then doing those things.
The Bible describes five kinds of folowers of Jesus: the multitudes (Matthew 4:25), casual inquirers (John 4:9), disciples (Matthew 5:1), close disciples such as Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1) and intimately close disciple (John 13:23). Which kind of follower are you? 

The multitudes blend into the crowds on Sunday mornings. Rejecting service opportunities. Giving intermittently. Avoiding relationships. Avoiding commitment. They like being part of the crowd that gets close enough to Jesus to mollify the yearning desire in their hearts for relationship with Him, but not so close that His expectations touch them.

The casual inquirers ask endless questions about inconsequential matters. Seldom do they change their attitudes about the Lord but, rather, they relish the dispute and disagreements.

The disciples change the direction of their lives. They turn and follow Jesus after their encounter with Him. They learn from Him, they serve Him, they testify to what He’s done in their lives, they share His love with others, and they stay close to Him. Even when they drift away and wander off, they eventually turn around and come back to a close relationship and fellowship with Jesus.

The best picture of the intimate disciple is John reclining against Jesus with his head on Jesus’ breast. Do you think John heard Jesus’ heart beat? I do. And I want to be that disciple--the one that is so close to Jesus that I hear His heartbeat. Do you? I believe you can be!

You can be the kind of disciple who is so close to Jesus that there is no room for anything to come between Him and you. The kind of disciple that worships Him as closely and intimately as humanly possible. The kind of disciple that hears God’s voice distinctly calling to His service. The kind of disciple that, upon hearing God’s call, answers: “Here am I. Send me.” 

The rest of the book is now available on Amazon as a Kindle book or in print. The Kindle version is on sale. Normally $2.99 but until the end of October, the ebook will be just 99¢.

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