It’s been a while since the last blog update. I apologize for that, but as you know, life can get very hectic at times, especially during the holidays. And our family has had some issues dealing with various family situations, along with my dad. He is getting older and his mind is starting to change. He needs much more care than he ever has. At first, when he began to show signs of change, it was a little challenging, but now that he is going further down the road of “older life”, I realize that it is a great honor to help care for him. I don’t get to be with him as much as my brother does, he lives a couple hours from me, but I cherish more and more the time I do have with my dad.
You might be wondering were I’m going with this. So let me explain. My dad is my hero. He has been such a stabilizing force in my life. He is the one I have gained so much from about life, about relationships, about work, about managing people, about faithfulness, about determination, about love, about sensitivity to others and difficult subjects. And as I am getting older, I realize the times for me to learn from him are becoming less and less. So, when I have the opportunity, I try to pick his brain as much as I can.
So, As I was thinking about this blog, I realized I am a disciple of my dad, so to speak. Because a disciple is a learner or pupil of a master or teacher. My dad has certainly been my teacher and the older I have gotten, has pushed me to be a better learner from him.
But as much as my dad as taught me, I am aware that God is the greater Master. And that I need to be a greater disciple of Jesus. In fact, I am reminded daily, that I, and all who profess Him as Lord, are to be disciples under Him. And being a disciple is not just learning facts, or some skill for life, but a matter of following and learning all that the Lord teaches, so our hearts are changed. Because when the heart changes, our mind changes, and our actions change.
We have been working through a sermon series titled, “Embracing God as the Authority of Our Lives” for the past several weeks. In that series, I have tried to help our church family see that we will not follow God and all His Word teaches, unless He is the authority over us. In other words, when God is the authority over us, we don’t have the freedom to pick and choose what we will and will not listen to from His Word. But on the contrary, we will desire from our hearts to follow everything He teaches us. We will never be perfect in this life, but in our hearts, we strive to be what He teaches us to be.
Let me give you a great definition of a disciple of Christ, that I heard from my pastor many years ago, ” Disciple: A full-time, exclusive apprentice to Jesus, learning from Him to effectively live in and advance the Kingdom of God, by training to become the kind of people who routinely practice from the heart all that Jesus says.
I love that definition! It is so clear and all inclusive. There is nothing left out. A disciple of Jesus is to be all of this. What a challenge! What pressure! What an incredibly joyful truth, because to live life this way will bring blessings, maybe not physical or material, but spiritual blessings for sure.
So, we will be transitioning from our understanding of God as our Authority for life to what it means to be a disciple of God and what a disciples life in Christ is to look like. Our first message in that series will be that a disciple must be strong and courageous. I wanted to start there because often life has many challenges that can be scary and intimidating, to say the least. To follow God is not an easy road. In fact, Jesus said the way to life is narrow but the road to destruction is wide (Matt 7:13-14). It is imperative for disciples of Jesus to be unafraid to face what comes. And there are many challenges and many difficulties.
For example, speaking of my dad again, watching him change can be frightening. So, it is a necessity to be strong emotionally and mentally and spiritually. It requires courage to go into uncharted territory, so to speak, with my dad, because we don’t know how far he will go mentally, before the Lord takes him home. And it takes strength of soul spiritually and spiritual courage to be able to keep going in life when a love one passes. But it also takes courage to stay in a marriage that is rocky or to keep going when you have a child facing a traumatic illness or when you are missing income from a lost of work. All these things require a sense of inner spiritual strength and courage. If spiritual strength and spiritual courage are not at the foundation of a disciples life, they will never be able to face the challenges of life well. They may face them and survive in some ways, but they will not come out the other side victorious like they should. They may be battered and beaten from the challenges, but they will come out well, because they have strength and courage to go the journey with God.
I want to invite you to join us each Sunday at 10:30 am EST as we begin to look at a disciples life. If you are not physically able to be with us, join us by watching the messages on this website.
Have a blessed day and make sure you are being the disciple Jesus really wants you to be.