Chad Cowan • Pastor of Care & Discipleship
The Way of the Disciple
In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes discipleship this way, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” This week, we’ll be looking at various passages in the Book of Mark, which discuss how we “die” as we proceed along the pathway of discipleship.
MONDAY: Publisher’s Clearing House
You could be the next millionaire! This short phrase on the outside of a large yellow envelope sets off in my mind a myriad of daydreams. Yachts, exotic world travel or maybe a perpetual Disney vacation awaits me as I mail it back. When I read the story of John the Baptist in Mark 1, I’m introduced to a man who saw something as bigger, better and more important than anything this world could offer. In his camel hair-clothes, John the Baptist embraced his God-given role with no sign of complaining, and suffered through the weirdness and simplicity of his place in life. In the life of a disciple, suffering and sacrifice are to be embraced. To quote something I heard from a congregant recently, “When I wake up in the morning with the goal of making myself comfortable, I’m getting off to the wrong start.”
Is the desire for comfort preventing you from doing great things for God?
TUESDAY: Is It Worth It?
In regard to American evangelicalism, author and scholar Ed Stetzer offers this challenging revelation:
The cultural cost of calling yourself “Christian” is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a “Christian” according to their convictions are starting to identify as “nones” because it’s more culturally savvy. Christianity is losing–and will continue to lose–its home field advantage; no one can (or should) deny this. However, the numerical decline of self-identified American Christianity is more of a purifying bloodletting than it is an arrow to the heart of the church.
Much like Christ’s testing in the wilderness, modern Christians may very well be on the brink of their own wilderness experience. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can emerge victorious, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Remember to be thankful to God in both the easy times and in the trying times.
WEDNESDAY: Unnecessarily Annoyed
On a cold and snowy night, I heard a thud and a car door outside my bedroom window. I slowly got out of bed, made my way to the bedroom window, slightly pushed aside the drapes and shears, and peeked outside to see a car on top of a rock. Clearly, the frustrated driver needed assistance–assistance which required that I get dressed and go outside. Sadly, and to the chagrin of my wife, I opted to return to my slumber. With a note of annoyance, in Mark 1:37, the disciples approach Christ to simply say to Him, “Everyone is looking for you.” Instead of rejoicing over those coming to Jesus for help, they’re put off by this interruption. When God opens the door for us to serve someone, let’s look at as an opportunity and not an annoyance.
Look for a God-given opportunity to serve someone today!
THURSDAY: FoMO – A New Kind of Fear
A new kind of fear has risen as a result of social media. It’s called “FoMO” for short, or “Fear of Missing Out.” FoMO has been defined as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. This social angst is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.” Let’s face it, while we don’t want to admit it, we’ve all experienced this. Fortunately, the greatest of experiences is guaranteed to the follower of Jesus Christ. When questioned about His family, Jesus made it clear that those who are doing the will of His Father are those whom He calls “brothers and sisters.” Are you feeling left out? Did you see something on Facebook you weren’t invited to? Rest assured, you have a loving family in Christ.
Better to be a nerd than one of the herd! – Mandy Hale
FRIDAY: Unknowingly Productive
Mark 4:1-9, 14-20
Dividends? I remember my reaction the first time I was told that you can make investments that pay dividends, and I was amazed! You mean you get something for doing no work? Sign me up! Well, before getting the payoff, you must first make the investment, which can at times be quite risky. According to Mark 4, when the Word of God takes root in our hearts, a hundredfold crop may be harvested. Our job? Make sure that the distractions of this world don’t hinder the harvest. Resisting the lure of wealth and desires for what this world has to offer is part of the duty of the disciple of Christ. The degree to which we are able to resist distraction often determines the degree of our fruit-bearing.
Praise God for producing fruit through you today!