We began reading “Not a Fan” tonight byKyle Idleman. It’s amazing how perfectly it tied into the theme from the Winter Retreat of Discipleship. I have also tried to begin reading “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pairing it along with a lighter read. The Lord is gracious in how He works, calling for full consecration of my life at WCCC all the way to His calling for full discipleship. I know what is expected of me and I am still struggling to put my “self” to death. But until there is no flesh left in me, the life of Christ cannot overflow from me. I need to give Him “First Authority” in my life.
The Calling is an absolute surrender and I’m not sure I’m ready to do that. Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. But at some point I have to stop running and be willing to surrender all in order to take the Kingdom of Heaven by force.
I’m going to take some time this week to listen to D.Peng’s messages again.
1: Determine the Relationship (Not a Fan)
1. Are you a follower of Jesus?” (19)
2. “You need to intentionally evaluate the state of the relationship and your level of commitment to the person.” (23)
3. “The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits but not so close that it requires anything from them.” (25)
4. “Fans often confuse their admiration for devotion. they mistake their knowledge of Jesus for intimacy with Jesus Fans assume their good intentions make up for their apathetic faith.” (27)
1: Costly Grace (Cost of Discipleship)
1. “Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification fo the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before.” (43)
2. “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” (45)
3. “Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true lie. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son.” (45)
4. “Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him;…” (45)
5. “In the depth of his misery, Luther had grasped by faith the free and unconditional forgiveness of his sins. That experience taught him that this grace had cost him his very life, and must continue to cost him the same price day by day.
6. “The justification of the sinner in the world degenerated into the justification of sin and the world. Costly grace was turned into cheap grace without discipleship. (50)
I can’t say I’m a dedicated, whole-hearted follower but I know I am more than just a fan. Perhaps I’m the follower that only follows when I find the need to follow. I’m the follower that is too afraid to give up my will to the Father because I love my own will too much. I’m the fan that needs a big push to make the extra step into becoming a devoted follower, yoked to Jesus, going wherever He leads. I struggle with absolute obedience to the Father’s will and so often, the price Jesus paid on that cross is cheapened. During Communion, my mind wanders and I often fall to slumber. If I understood the gravity of what God did for me, this could never be possible. I would never dare let my mind wander or my body lose attention in the presence of the Almighty King. My prayer is that as I go through this quarter, reading these two books, the Lord will reveal Himself to me and help me put my self to death. I pray that He will make me willing to give up everything to Him and allow His yoke to guide me in my life.