Transform the World

Homeless (Luke 9:58), separated from blood relatives (Luke 14:26), no going back (Luke 14:33)……..defining qualities of a disciple?

Things That Matter week 3: Transform the World

These qualifications for disciples aren’t exactly what you’ll find in an inspirational self-help book, much less a detail to encourage while trying to attract people. No self-respecting evangelist would add “hate you parents and live on the street” to their faith pitch! What in His own name is Jesus thinking?! Well, let’s look at what He’s actually saying.

Luke 9:57-58 transcribes an encounter one potential follower has with Jesus. The man approaches Jesus and volunteers his faithfulness. Jesus responds; “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus’s response is essentially asking, “Are you sure? This is what you’re asking for.” Aspiring religious leaders of the day would volunteer their loyalty to an established priest in hopes of developing that relationship into an apprenticeship. Jesus doesn’t want students who want to become Him, He wants disciples who will become themselves through Him.

As the passage continues, two more similar encounters occur in verses 59-62. During each of these transactions, the potential disciple hesitates, citing a family issue. One wants to go home and bury their father, the other asks to give proper goodbyes to their family members. Sounds innocent enough, right? Possibly, but their lack of commitment to the Mission throw up big red flags. What are these guys really asking? The man who wants to bury his father. Well, there’s no indication how close his father is to the grave. The eldest son is heir to the family fortune in this culture. What the man is most likely asking is, can I go home until my father dies and I receive my inheritance, then commit to following you? Takes on a different tone than just “can’t I bury my dad”, doesn’t it?

What about the other guy, he just wants to say goodbye to everyone. Family is important, they are the people who are responsible for forming our character starting at day one. Family also holds the most influence over our decisions. Jesus’s issue is not with the man wanting to tell his family goodbye, the issue is using his family to confirm or change his decision. Jesus wants commitment; now, not after you’ve had time to think it over. Do or do not. There is no try.

What is completely evident is that the people who made a total commitment to following Jesus changed their world so significantly they are still affecting ours. Commitment to God so strong you freely ignore when even your closest blood relatives reject your decision. Faith so fulfilling that no possession, even what most deem a ‘basic need’, has space to occupy. Loyalty without regret. Those characteristics make a disciple of Christ that will change their community. Assemble a team of those disciples and they will transform the world.

What does this mean for you? Once you’re brave enough to let these qualifications sink in, the will challenge how you understand your faith by posing several questions.

Do you believe this book? A negative answer puts you out of the running already.

Will you choose comfort over the cross? Bubble people need not apply

Will you choose maintenance or mission? Nominal Christian is an oxymoron

Will you have indecisive minds or committed hearts? The revolution will not be televised

Correctly address these four questions in your faith and you will transform your world, then together we’ll mould the sphere we share.

Today’s drawing is two hands, reaching through the Word and taking hold of the world. By committing to the mission taught in the book and exemplified on the cross, the hands mould the sphere into a heart, teaching love through love; transforming the world.

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Reactivate

Re-activate; our re- word for week 2 of the series RE:. Last week we revealed the missio di, the mission of God. This week we are delving into reactivating ourselves and the church in light of God’s mission. The ultimate mission of God, and the reason He created us, is to glorify Himself. God’s Word is easily and often contorted into applying directly to us individually, as if it were written specifically about us. Don’t get me wrong, God is all about you; but at the same time, it’s not about you. God is for your joy, but He is for it so that He is glorified through it. So, how do we receive this joy? By obeying the commands we’re given by God for living. In an ironic twist, what we have in the Bible that the world judges as life and joy-restricting rules is actually life’s instruction manual for happiness.

Wait, what? Did I just say following the Bible is the means to our happiness, not the guidelines that, if followed closely enough, appease an angry God? Yes I did. Pulling from Dean’s beach observations, God is just as pleased when the sea gull He created soars over the waves as when it poops on the unsuspecting sunbather. Both processes utilize the biological mechanics He designed, but our limited perception values seeing the gull soar and is disgusted by any manner of defecation!

If the mission of God is to make much of Himself, then what is the mission of the church?

Discipleship. Not just convincing someone to say some ultra-spiritual magic words or winning a theological debate, the kind of discipleship that walks people through positive life change. Discipleship as a lifestyle.

Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came to the and said, “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, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Jesus’ parting words to his closest friends, go make disciples by teaching them what I’ve taught you and the command them to go and teach more.  We are the current members of the “all nations” Jesus refers to; the ones who should observe all that Jesus commanded to the eleven (including his final command to disciple the world).

How does this pertain to you today? The church today modifies its programming and embraces traditions by popular vote to keep up numbers. You don’t need another Bible study, you need to observe what you’ve already learned.

Translating today’s message visually, I pulled from several sources. Chasing UFOs is a show I’ve gotten into watching recently, purely for the entertainment value. The last episode we watched researched videos, eyewitnesses, and even a proclaimed alien fetus. None of the video or witness stories could be conclusively confirmed or busted (of course) but the preserved “alien fetus” was obviously the body of a small marmoset, a popular central American pet. The body in today’s drawing mimics the marmoset.

The gospel is referred to as “living water” in the recount of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (John4:10). The first step of following Jesus in discipleship is public baptism, a ceremonial washing that displays your commitment to following Jesus’ commandments in front of your closest friends. A stream of living water flows down from the top of the page onto the dry human carcass. As this water hits the body, it brings life back to the decaying shell, regenerating the muscle and skin that once animated those dry bones.

The point where the water hits the body, light is most concentrated, symbolizing life. The light splashes outward, reaching out to other dry bones through the reactivated body. This is God revealing himself through us, reactivating us in order to reactivate others through us.

Below is the digital interpretation of today’s drawing, living water reactivating ashes.

(Prints and original drawing available upon request)