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Theme of the Week: The Call to Courageous Faith
Thursday, September 4, 2014

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Key Bible Verse: Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)

Dig Deeper: Matthew 16:24-27

I think we're tempted to conceive of biblical faith [as equal to joining an e-mail list]. You subscribe, get some messages in your inbox, distractedly scan them, and then go about the serious business of your day. Sure, you've signed up for the "Jesus Is My Lord" e-mail list, but it doesn't affect your life in any crazy way. It's another message to check, right along with your fantasy football updates.

Jesus is not an e-mail list.

Think of how he summoned his disciples [in Matthew 4:18-22]. He didn't encourage them to put an "I'm for Jesus" sticker on their fishing boats. He immediately offered them a choice: follow me and leave everything, or don't. This is it. Your chance is now.

One minute these men were fishing and mending nets; the next they were following Jesus, having been drafted into the most important mission in the history of humankind.

Now, let's be clear: these men were called to unique roles. They were Christ's apostles. You and I will not become apostles. That was a special office for a certain time. But we are called to put it all on the line for Jesus and his gospel.

That's what following Jesus means. That's what risking everything for the gospel looks like.

—Owen Strachan in Risky Gospel

My Response: How would I personally define what it means to follow Christ?

Thought to Apply: A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.—John A. Shedd (writer)

Adapted from Risky Gospel by Owen Strachan (Thomas Nelson, 2013; All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Lord, forgive me for times I've been ashamed of my faith or fearful about taking a stand for you. Fill me with your Spirit so that I will boldly follow you wherever you may lead.

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Dean Shackles

September 04, 2014  10:34am

The Apostles dropped everything and left that to be with Jesus, not knowing Him or what exactly they were going to be confronted with. Big sacrifices. I look at this and say what have I done for Christ? Have I left my comfort zone in any way or fashion? It's not just being on the mailing list, it is much more to do in order to reach out to others, to disciple, and build God's Kingdom.

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Curt Schleicher

September 04, 2014  9:04am

"To follow Christ" means to me to give 100% effort on any task i'm asked to do, however menial, or large. This following includes not only deeds, but 'His word'. this does not mean that i'll always be able to attain this goal, but it's an objective i should strive for. Let me put forth this as my daily task. In Jesus' name, amen.

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