Tag Archives: cost of discipleship.

Sunday School Discussion Guide for July 28

John 3:1-18 (NKJV)
1  There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2  This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3  Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5  Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9  Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10  Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
11  Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
12  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13  No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15  that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

What must I do to be lost?

Matthew 6:31-34 NIV

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

In what situation or circumstance does God abandon His care for us?


Matthew 6:30-34 (NKJV)
30  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Is it a sin not to trust?  Not to believe?


Three words in this section point the way to victory over worry: (1) faith (Matt. 6:30), trusting God to meet our needs; (2) Father (Matt. 6:32), knowing He cares for His children; and (3) first (Matt. 6:33), putting God’s will first in our lives so that He might be glorified. If we have faith in our Father and put Him first, He will meet our needs.

Hypocrisy and anxiety are sins. If we practice the true righteousness of the kingdom, we will avoid these sins and live for God’s glory.

If God’s care is a luxury hotel, why do we complain about the accommodations?



Luke 9:51-56


As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will. One day he sent messengers ahead to reserve rooms for them in a Samaritan village. But they were turned away! The people of the village refused to have anything to do with them because they were headed for Jerusalem.


When word came back of what had happened, James and John said to Jesus, “Master, shall we order fire down from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.


After Assyria invaded Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and resettled it with its own people (2 Kings 17:24-41), the mixed race that developed became known as the Samaritans. “Purebred” Jews hated these “half-breeds”; the Samaritans, in turn, hated the Jews.




When James and John were rejected by the Samaritan village, they didn’t want to stop at shaking the dust from their feet (Luke 9:5). They wanted to retaliate by calling down fire from heaven on the people as Elijah had done on the servants of a wicked king of Israel (2 Kings 1). When others reject or scorn us, we too may feel like retaliating. We must remember that judgment belongs to God, and we must not expect him to use his power to carry out our personal vendettas.


One Year with Jesus: 365 Daily Devotions based on the chronological life of Christ.


An Evening Devotional for…

July 1: True Sacrifice

Today’s Reading: Galatians 6:6-10

So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Galatians 6:9

A MOTHER WAS preparing pancakes for her two young sons, Kevin and Ryan. The boys began arguing over who would get the first pancake. The mother scolded them, and then took the opportunity to relay some moral truths to her children.

“What would Jesus do if he were here?” asked the mother. The boys shrugged their shoulders in unison. “Jesus would insist that his brother take the first pancake,” she told them. “And then he would wait for the next one.”

The boys nodded, and the mother felt confident that her lesson had taken. She turned her back and continued baking, but soon heard her oldest boy whispering to the younger one, “Ryan, you be Jesus.”

It’s a cute story, but at times it hits a little too close to home to be very funny. How often do you and I see an opportunity for good and instead of acting, wait for someone else to play the part of Jesus? Ever cast your eyes downward in a meeting hoping someone else will volunteer for the sacrificial jobs? Ever looked the other way when a brother in need walked past you? Ever passed the buck to a deacon when news of a needy family came your way? “I’m a little busy at the moment. Why don’t you be Jesus?”

I’ve been guilty more than once of leaving the tough jobs to others. I know a couple who have spent years working in inner-city missions, and we’ve spent years supporting them. Somehow it makes me feel noble and sacrificial. At least it did until we took a trip to visit them for the weekend. I saw firsthand the way they lived and ministered to some of the most needy and helpless people in our country, and suddenly I didn’t feel quite as merciful for my small contributions. Here’s a little money. Why don’t you be Jesus?

“We are each responsible for our own conduct,” writes the apostle Paul. “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time” (Galatians 6:5, 8-9). It’s easy to let others be Jesus for us, but a true follower doesn’t pass on that responsibility when it comes. Jesus expects more from us than we often expect from ourselves. Sacrifice means getting involved, not just getting others to do it.


In what ways do you allow others to do the work of Christ for you? How can you take more responsibility in service to Jesus?

Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day with a Heart Toward Heaven.

Galatians 6:6-10 (CEV)
6  Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said.
7  You cannot fool God, so don’t make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant.
8  If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life.
9  Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up.
10  We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.

Jesus Warns Against Temptation

English: Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness
English: Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mark 9:43-50 (also in Matthew 18:7-9)

If your hand does wrong, cut it off. Better live forever with one hand than be thrown into the unquenchable fires of hell with two! If your foot carries you toward evil, cut it off! Better be lame and live forever than have two feet that carry you to hell.

“And if your eye is sinful, gouge it out. Better enter the Kingdom of God half blind than have two eyes and see the fires of hell, where the worm never dies, and the fire never goes out—where all are salted with fire.

“Good salt is worthless if it loses its saltiness; it can’t season anything. So don’t lose your flavor! Live in peace with each other.”

Jesus used startling language to stress the importance of cutting sin out of our lives. Painful discipline is required of his true followers. Giving up a relationship, job, or habit that is against God’s will may seem just as painful as cutting off a hand. Nothing should stand in the way of faith.

Salty Enough?

Jesus used salt to illustrate three qualities that should be found in his people: (1) We should remember God’s faithfulness, just as salt when used with a sacrifice recalled God’s covenant with his people (Leviticus 2:13). (2) We should make a difference in the “flavor” of the world we live in, just as salt changes meat’s flavor (see Matthew 5:13). (3) We should counteract the moral decay in society, just as salt preserves food from decay. When we lose this desire to “salt” the earth with the love and message of God, we become useless to him. Think of how you can be salty this week.

One Year with Jesus: 365 Daily Devotions based on the chronological life of Christ.

God Honors His Own Name

My Pastor adds his thoughts to my blog today…

Windborn Church

In our study of Matthew, in the Sermon on the Mount, we have come to what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Even though we noted it that it’s the disciples prayer because Jesus is teaching us how to pray and that the Lord’s Prayer is recorded in John 17. Here we are taught to honor or hollow God’s holy name and we noted in Ezekiel 36 that as God provides the way of the New Covenant for us He is doing so to uphold His own name!

God is pretty good at honoring His own name (that is the understatement of the year). Let’s start with the “good” of God’s way. Isaiah 33.10 says, “”now I will arise,” says the Lord “now I will be exalted; now I will be lifted up.”” In the context of the chapter, Isaiah stresses the greatness of God’s provision. That His way is…

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Taking the High Road

GC4I am torn by conflicting feelings regarding recent events, I.e. Boston Marathon bombing, et. al.
I know some of you will not agree with me, but this is not a time for cheap vengeance, making the perpetrator a sympathetic figure or a hero to anarchists. It is not a time to turn to the baser elements of our nature. It is certainly not a time to show that our “might is right.”. But it is a time to show our conviction to our nobler precepts. Love our enemy does not mean we advocate no punishment for perpetrators, but simply expresses forgiveness without absolving him of this devilish series of actions.
Christ and the Apostle Paul spoke of this very thing:

Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 5:43-45 NKJV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

The advantage is clear in v45, that we may be sons of God. If we show all the base elements of their enemy, how are we any better? I choose to be like Jesus! God give me strength. I encourage all of you to take the high road, also. The ability to do this in your heart and life is the beginning of a leap from being a believer-only to a true disciple. This is a part of the cost of discipleship.

My prayer for all of you today is that the Holy Spirit will move on each of you with an anointing of love and forgiveness, that you may be more like Jesus and less like the enemy of your soul.