Is He Really Your Lord?

I am currently reading the book Multiply by one of my favorite pastors, Francis Chan. I strongly encourage all to check out this book ($5 at LifeWay) and the Multiply Movement that he is leading (http://www.multiplymovement.com/). The premise of the book is pretty simple, disciple-making. It makes for a great Bible Study, or personal read if you rather. As I go through the book I plan to reiterate points that Chan makes and that I see and are helping me grow.

So what does it mean to be a disciple? Well, to put it as plain as possible it is a follower. Rabbi’s had disciples in this day, men who literally followed them everywhere to learn to be like them. Becoming a disciple of Christ really means to obey His call to follow. Chan makes the point that it is impossible for a disciple to not like end up like the teacher (point is made with the reference of Luke 6:40). What better person to end up like than Jesus Christ, am I right? The whole point of being a disciple of Christ is “to imitate him, carry out His ministry, and become like Him in the process.

Unfortunately, for a lot of churches I feel like they have gotten away from this point. I wrote a blog last Easter about this issue. That so often we hear that if we pray the prayer that we will be saved. Now I don’t know about you, if you tell me that if I repeat a prayer after you then I went spend eternity in a lake of fire, well sign me up! That is not what salvation is at all. It’s faith in Christ, but we will get into that more in a minute. Anyone can call themselves Christian, in fact 73% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. More accurate numbers though portray that it is much more likely that 200 million of America’s 300 million residents are lost. If you look at my previous blog on my upcoming mission trips you can see the even more troubling global statistics. The call for discipleship is urgent fellow believers. It is not a call though, it is a command and I wouldn’t take disobeying God Almighty too lightly.

Chan points out that when we talk about discipleship most of us ultimately jump out to Matthew 4:19. You know the verse, Jesus says “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Now this is a big verse, I mean this guy just walks up to these guys and says follow me and they do. However, we often skip over something very important. Just two verses prior in Matthew 4:17 Jesus tells the very same men “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So before we can even follow we must repent!

What does it mean to repent. Is it to bow are heads and close our eyes, and ask Jesus to forgive us for the same sin we have committed for the thousandth time? To some maybe. However, repent means to literally “to turn” or to go in the opposite direction you are going. To flee from your sins is common church talk. The book has a great illustration of this. If I were to tell you that someone was coming to your house with some guys and going to attack what would you do? You would prepare! Maybe you would arm yourselves, seek shelter, call the police. Regardless you would not sit there and do nothing as someone is coming after you. Jesus is telling the disciples to be prepared for His kingdom is at hand.

Christ makes it very clear that we need to repent. That we are living a life that is in direct contradiction to the Word. We can go down the Romans Road, which tells us we have all sinned (Romans 3:23), that sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), but thankfully while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Repentance then leads to salvation, which is the grace of God. There is nothing you and I can do to save ourselves. No one is good enough, because our good deeds are like filthy rage. Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul tells us that we do nothing but it is a gift from God, and we should not boast in our works. Chan sums it up as “All Salvation requires is faith: Do you believe that Jesus is who He says he is?”

Often we hear that Jesus was a good man, but not God. I have actually had Jewish people tell me they believe he was a good teacher, but not the promised Messiah. Which is a completely ludicrous idea if you ask me. Claiming to be the Son of God was punishable by death in Jewish custom (and in the car of Christ), so how on earth could this make him a “good” man. I believe it was CS Lewis who said “Christ was one of two things: He was either who He said he was in the Son of God, or he was a liar.” So by no means can you think Jesus was a good teacher, but not God.

Faith in Jesus is not easy though although it is simple. Faith in Jesus means that you are declaring that he is Lord. Now that is something that we hear is it not? “Jesus is Lord!” “Jesus is Lord of my life!” or my favorite “Jesus is one of the most important parts of my life.” One of the most important parts? Are you kidding me, Christian? Jesus is life! Apart from him we are dead and slaves to the darkness, never limit Him to a part of your life. What does it mean then for him to be Lord? Lord means that he is the owner and master. So when you say He is the Lord of your life then you are saying He is the master and the owner! Do our lives reflect that? Do you believe you actually belong to Him, and your life is no longer you own but that author and perfecter of our faith?

“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God with you body” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. He gave up His life so we could live, He paid for it and if you believe in Him He owns it. You cannot claim to be a Christian but not change your lifestyle. We have watered down salvation to a prayer, but it is so much more. It is a lifetime commitment of change, pursuit of holiness, and love for others. The greatest advice I have ever gotten in my life is “Serve God, serve others. Love God, love others” but do our lives reflect that? That’s what Christ was all about.

“The problem is, many in the church want to ‘confess that Jesus is LOrd’ yet don’t believe that He is their master.” That is impossible for this person to truly be saved. Repeating a prayer that is not even in the Bible will not save anyone. Raising your hand at a convention or rally is not good enough. The only true response to Christ is surrender, repentance, obedience, and following. If Jesus is really Lord of your life, then it belongs to Him. You don’t decide what you do with your life, He does. And that plan is perfect! It may not be prosperity like some preachers promise, you may die young like Jim Elliott. However if you commit your life to following Christ it will be a life of rejection, reward, persecution, and great fulfillment. There is not greater joy than doing life with people. Not just going to church with them, or weekly Bible study. Truly doing life like the disciples did, telling people about Jesus. Not just inviting them to Church, but going out to them and helping them.

I think we need to constantly evaluate out lives and ask, is He Lord? We go through slumps, we sin, and we are in constant need of Grace. We must always repent to new sins that come our way. Are we being a light to others, I think if we challenge to ask ourselves that daily we will be on the right direction.  Onward to being a disciple, and making disciples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa, East Asia- A Chance to Give

“Why do you do it? Why do you think you have to go to all these places?”

A fair question that was asked of me when I announced to some friends that along with spending Spring Break in Africa, two days after graduation I would be leaving for East Asia. I thought got a minute, it shouldn’t be a tough question but it was. I thought back on my trip last year to Zimbabwe and the growth I experienced in that trip. I thought of friends I have serving in East Asia, Africa, and Europe who do this for a living. I thought of Matthew 18:29 commands us to spread the good news to all the earth. My reply was what came to my head “If not me, then who will?”

I don’t believe that I am more special in the sense it has to be to go on these trips. I am fallen sinner in as much need of the savior as the next person. I know thought that if God can use a man like Paul, he can use Jared Cornutt. God doesn’t need me He can get it done without me, but He can use me. The good news I believe is He can use everyone, and every believer should want to go somewhere and tell someone about Jesus. For us who have Jesus, wouldn’t you want someone to come tell you about Him if you didn’t know? Matthew 28:19 is what the church should be known for! Sadly we have corrupted the message of Christ to go, baptize, and teach all nations and transformed it into a message of come, be baptized, and listen in one location. That is heresy at best. The greatest purpose we as Christians have is to enjoy the grace of Christ as we tell the gospel of Christ to all nations. A preacher once said “The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity” Once you do it, you won’t want to stop but we have to stop use waiting for it to happen!

So we need to pray boldly, and commit! The phrase, “Jesus is the most important part of my life,” is uninformed at best. If we read the New Testament correctly, then Jesus doesn’t get relegated to a part of piece of life. He has come and boldly proclaimed that He is life, not a slice or sliver of it. Last August I prayed boldly after being challenged in the summer of 2011 for Christ to give me an opportunity to serve him somewhere. That somewhere happened to by a little community called Sanyati in Zimbabwe.   Through Him I raised the money, helped build a roof for a hospital (there is a blog on that on the page), and serve a people in the name of the most high God. I prayed that same prayer again and a trip to South Africa so happened fall during my Spring Break to go to Johannesburg, South Africa to go to the “Door of Hope.” An orphanage for abandoned babies in the city, many of which are HIV positive. I believed God would provide a way for me to go.

Then in October of this year I was presented an opportunity to go to East Asia. The trip was going to be about as much as the Africa trip. I felt the same call to go, but I had a problem. I knew there was no way I could ask people for so much money in such a short of amount of time, it would not be fair. God provides friends. My trip was independently funded by an anonymous source giving me the chance to raise money for East Asia. God is sovereign and God is good.

So why should we do this? Why is disciple making so important? Other than of course that Christ commands us to do so. Well here are some numbers that I hope trouble you if you’re a believer.

Global Statistics

Peoples-by-Country Individuals
All People Groups 16,448 6.92 billion
Unreached People Groups 7,082 2.89 billion
% Unreached Peoples 43.1 % 41.7 %

That’ too many people whose eternal home will be hell. I know what you may be thinking, there is no way God would send people to hell who don’t know Him! Romans 1:20 though says that ignorance is no excuse. Why is there a call to missions if theses people are going to Heaven? Wouldn’t we be doing them a disservice by telling them about Jesus? Think about it. If they get to go to Heaven because they have never heard that’s a sweet deal, but if we go and tell them then there is a chance they will reject it and go to hell. Christ commands us to go. Christians people are dying and spending eternity in Hell because no one told them, you and I didn’t tell the. We are failing. There is no innocent man for we are born sinners. So hell, when all is said and done, is the absence of God’s goodness and blessedness. Therefore, hell is the absence of anything we can think of that’s good, right, comforting, joyous, happy, and peaceful. As Christians we should be working to make sure that no man or woman goes without hearing the good news, until it reaches the ends of the earth.

We go because Christ first loved us, and saved us. It would be a shame to keep that love and message to ourselves. You know there have been a lot of tragic events here and abroad recently. I think our message about the world as Christians should be pretty clear. Evil exist, and the enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). This world is depraved, evil, and hurting. Let it know someone has come to save it. Tell the world about Jesus. That’s what I love to do and hope you can help me do, tell someone about Jesus.

So how can you help me? Well here are 2 ways:

The first is through prayer support. You can pray for me and the team in the following ways: 1) That God will spiritually prepare me and each member of the team,

2) That God will prepare the hearts of the students we will meet and talk to,

3) That God will provide financially for our trip (each team member needs to raise $1900),

4) That God will keep us safe on our trip, and

5) that God will move powerfully as He uses our team to minister to these people in East Asia.

Secondly, you can provide financial support. If you feel the Lord’s leading, you may send money to help support this mission trip. Please make support checks payable to First Baptist Church and please do not put my name anywhere on the check. The first payment of $1,000 is due by January 22, and the remainder of the money is due by March 19. You can use your donation as a tax write off as well with the end of the year coming up.

A lot of Christians now are at a point where it is difficult for them to go. Jobs, families, and other responsibilities make it difficult. Helping someone go though is a great opportunity in playing a part of spreading the gospel. I am 22, not married, and love going to these places. It’s the best time in my life to do this. There will come a time when I cannot and I hope then I will be able to sponsor people. It’s up to us friends if there are going to be any more disciples. I ask you pray if God is calling you to help, and pray if He is calling you to go. I thank you for reading this and considering helping me take the Gospel to East Asia.