The Cost of Non-Discipleship

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’ ” – Luke 9:23 Another term that was coined by Dallas Willard is non-discipleship. There is a trend in our society toward not taking responsibility for choices and actions. Even sadder is the fact that this appears to be happening in the Church as well. In many congregations today, you can be a Christian without walking the narrow road, paying the price, sacrificing for your neighbor, and serving people. What is often taught is that as long as you pray and ask Jesus into your heart, everything’s fine and you never have to sacrifice again. Although the prayer of salvation is very important, there is also a call to be responsible and moral. This is much more costly in the long run. Becoming a Christian doesn’t

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Good Company With The Lord

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” – Psalm 27:5 Today I want to talk about the importance of keeping good company with the Lord, particularly as it has to do with personal development. We can incorporate personal development into our view of discipleship. To be a disciple of Jesus means to be an apprentice or a student, and the expectation is that we make a choice every day to do our best to follow Christ and become like Him. This is demonstrated as we apply ourselves with a degree of effort to become the best version of ourselves. This version of transformation is not something we’re called to do by duty, but it’s the best possible life we can live. I want to invite

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Ignore the Dream Destroyers

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17 Today, I am excited to continue talking to you about dreams and dreamers. If we want to achieve our dreams and live a great life, discipleship is the doorway through which we enter into the kind of life we’ve always dreamt of. It won’t be perfect and there will be suffering and challenges, but what God offers us through discipleship is a reward He calls eternal life. The mistake we make is to limit eternal life to just heaven. Eternal life is also the quality of God’s life now, in the present, and this includes our dreams. God is a dreaming God and He gives people dreams; it’s all throughout

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Your Mess Becomes Your Message

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1a I have witnessed it’s the sinners, the mess-ups, and those who make a muck of things who make some of the greatest disciples. If I go to my doctor with an unknown condition that I cannot cure, and my doctor says, “You know what? I had that, too. I know just the cure.” That makes me feel pretty good. That is what the transforming power of discipleship is all about. Jesus says, “I’ve seen this before. Let me show you.” There is truth to the old adage, “Your mess becomes your message. Your test becomes your testimony.” Just remember that there’s no tragedy; there’s no falling short, that God cannot turn around.  I had this radical experience in high school where I

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Coming to Faith in the Lord

“For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ” – 2 Corinthians 6:16b After you become a believer of Christ, you become a temple of the Lord, or in essence, a house of the Lord. God’s call is for us to renovate this house and take responsibility for where we are now and where we’re going.  C.S. Lewis, a British writer and lay theologian, had a wonderful view on coming to faith. He said: “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are

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Knowing the Unsearchable Mind of the Lord

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ” – Romans 11:33,34 In his famous essay “As a Man Thinketh,” James Allen made an incredible statement that has become familiar to many of us. He said, “Men imagine that a thought can be kept secret, but it cannot. It rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.” You see, if you nurture a certain type of thinking, it will not remain hidden; the more you dwell on something, the more it will make itself apparent in every aspect of your life. If your thoughts are negative and filled with unforgiveness, bitterness, putting yourself down and feeling shame, your relationships will have negative outcomes. Thankfully, positive change is entirely possible and

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Death to Self is not Death of Self

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 Yesterday, we discussed what it means to die to ourselves, so today, I want to point out what that doesn’t mean. Unfortunately, many of us who were raised in the church learned that death to self means death of self, but this is not the case. There is an important distinction to be made here that keeps us from falling into the trap of legalism and self-condemnation.  Death of self teaches that I don’t matter and that all of my desires are bad or wrong. In other words, it crucifies me as an individual. This, however, is not how God designed it to be. He created each one of His children uniquely and with a purpose, and as the Bible states, we are His handiwork,

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Replication vs. Self-Gratification

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19 Yesterday, we looked at the manner in which Jesus invested in making disciples rather than in building an empire. We saw that by befriending and mentoring a group of people, His influence was replicated in ways that wouldn’t have been possible had He focused solely on His own glory. Interestingly, I believe one of the greatest case studies for these principles in modern-day Christianity is a man named Chuck Smith. Most of us have heard of him, but he was the founder of Calvary Chapel, which started here in Orange County and now has influence all over the world. Surprisingly, when I hear his name, I recognize it, but I’m not bombarded by images of his “larger than life” personality nor do

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The Root of the Problem

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.’” – Matthew 5:27-29 As Christians, we should constantly seek to become more like Jesus. While this is an everyday aspiration, looking ahead to a new year gives us an opportunity to commit ourselves again to the call of discipleship. In light of our divided culture — one in which social media has given everyone a platform — many of us feel a burden to cultivate unity. More than ever, we’re zealous about bringing divine justice and mercy to earth, yet

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