Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Average Discipleship Allowed

I love this daily e-devotional! This one challenges me and I love that. I pray with all my heart that the last paragraph will be true of me every day of my life.

Jesus Knows You Can Have Exceptional Faith
by Jon Walker


“Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.” Mark 11:22-23 (NLT)
This devotional is by Jon Walker, editor of the Daily Hope Devotionals and author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's ‘The Cost of Discipleship.’

"Jesus saw it as a matter of fact that his disciples would be able to develop a noteworthy faith."


We often speak of a radical faith in Jesus and what we mean is an extreme faith where someone is committed to Jesus to the exclusion of anything or anyone else. We think of someone who sacrifices everything, who irrevocably alters his or her life in order to follow Jesus. The sacrifice is so significant that there is no turning back to the old way of life.

We are amazed by this sacrifice and we tend to think these people have an unusual and exceptional faith. Yet, the truth is their exceptional faith is what Jesus expects of us all.

In a sense, we’ve been lulled into believing there are two tiers to discipleship – there’s the basic plan and then there’s a premium package for the more pious. We think there are only a few among us -- monks, missionaries, and ministers – who are called to be more saintly while the rest of us must settle into an average discipleship.

Jesus, on the other hand, saw it as a matter of fact that his disciples would be able to develop a noteworthy faith. He said, “Have faith in God.” He didn’t say, ‘Only some of you should have faith in God.’ His command to have faith includes you and me. And, because he’s told us to grow in faith, we can not only be certain we can develop greater faith, we can also know he is working to help us become more faithful.

Jesus says our faith is based upon our trust in him. We will see the power of God working through us when we believe it will really happen and when we have no doubt in our hearts. As Pastor Rick teaches, our faith increases through our obedience to Jesus.

Jesus calls every one of us to develop an exceptional and extraordinary faith. He won’t allow us to settle into a ‘discipleship’ where we think Jesus may mean what he says but we’re not sure; or a ‘discipleship’ where we sort of agree with Jesus and sort of live according to his commands. He knows God created us for so much more.

For us to confidently live out our Decade of Destiny, we must learn to trust that Jesus really means what he says and that he will do what he says he will do. Instead of trying harder to be a faithful disciple, we must learn to trust him more.

That trust will allow us to see the kingdom of heaven like the man who finds hidden treasure in a field. He re-sorts all of his priorities because nothing is as important as buying the field. Our trust in Jesus will make us like the shopkeeper who finds a rare pearl and realizes everything else he has pales in comparison and so he never looks back to the things that once were important (Matthew 13:44-50). You will be someone who is characterized by an extreme faith.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Birthday Buddy!

It's a very special day at our house! Lukas is 8 years old today! Happy, happy birthday buddy boy! Oh what life you have brought to this family, the full belly laughs, the stubborness, the sweetness, the temper tantrums, the busyness ending in crashing on the couch before supper, the kind words that choke us up, the deep thoughts that are a window into your heart, and on and on.

We'll be partying it up tonight in honor of the birthday boy. I love celebrating birthdays with our family. It's so much fun to watch the events play out, the birthday boy or girl with perma-grin, the siblings doing their best to stay out of the spotlight, the opening of the gift with the inevitable help from 6 other hands, what a joy and a blessing!

Here are some pictures of Lukas through the years. Enjoy!





Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Love Story and Holy Ground

This post may come out as a whole bunch of rambling, but I'm going to give it a whirl anyway.

After what has felt like an eternity, we have received our adoption court date, February 14! This is going to be a Valentine's day for the books! It also happens to be Little Man's birthday (I can't write his name here, but it starts with A)! What a day for celebrating!

Waiting can be such a crazy thing. I thought that we had become quite good at it after having several opportunities to practice, not really the case. Although, I can't imagine waiting "well" for something so amazing as an adoption. One huge wait is coming to an end and some pretty big emotions have come up for me as I've been reflecting on this journey God has been laying out for us.

The thing I keep coming back to as I've been pondering, is the realization that we are standing on holy ground. God's Hand has been so very evident throughout this adoption process. The evidence of His work in bringing all of the pieces together at just the right time can be traced back for years. I am just in awe of Him. He has covered even the tiniest details and that makes my heart just sing. These children have endured some of the ugliest results of sin in this world and for that I am sad and even angry, but (I love the word "but" because it means the story doesn't end there!)my hope for them, and all of us, lies securely with our Mighty, Merciful and very personal God! He has been pursuing these children (and all of us) since before they were born, and that is Love. That's the Love I plan to celebrate this Valentine's day!

There's a song that has been swirling through my mind for months now. You can listen to it HERE. I've also included the lyrics below. It's my heart's song when I think about what God is doing on this earth.

Holy by Watermark

Holy presence, gentle brush of angel's wings
Creatures strange, breathing heavenly breaths
Encircle the throne...still they are saying...

Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
All of heaven is singing
Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come

Mighty God, strong to save
Who can compare?
The earth is Yours, and all that's in it
Every knee will bow
And every tongue will sing...

Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
All of heaven is singing
Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come

May You be worshipped on the earth in this moment
As You are worshipped there in heaven at Your throne

All this time, even before, You've been worshipped
All this time, forever unending, You'll be worshipped
All creation singing...

Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
All of heaven is singing
Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
Who was, and is, and is to come
Who was, and is, and is to come