It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

14 January 2011

Following Jesus Requires Sacrifice – pt. 1

4:50 PM Posted by steve flores , , No comments
[Matthew 16:21-26] This was one of the most challenging messages I have ever written in my life.  I speak to a group of students (junior high/high school) in the Little Rock Area weekly and this message is part of a series called, “Jesus’ Words”.  I wanted our students to hear the words that so deeply impacted me while they were fresh.  And I want to so the same with you, that’s why I’m just way ahead in Matthew.  This will not be your average blog update, but a series of 7 blog updates unfolding the whole message.  I hope you are as challenged by Jesus’ words as I have been.  I encourage you to subscribe to follow as I post and to invite others to subscribe also.  Let’s learn together.  If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, then we need to start following His words.  Welcome to the journey…

I don’t know how I developed a wrong thinking about following Jesus, but I did.  When I started this journey of reading Jesus’ words over a year ago, I came face to face with some of my wrong thinking.  I believe many followers of Jesus think the same way I did:
·         Following Jesus I’m more successful than I’ve ever been
·         Just pray and God will give you money to pay your bills
·         If you follow Jesus you’ll be blessed with everything you could ask for and more.
·         If you just add Jesus to your life, it will be so much better.
·         The reason you’re not blessed is because you haven’t given your life over to Jesus.
·         If you’ll just turn to Jesus, He’ll help you get that job, that girl, that guy, that car, that raise, that…

Is that really what we’ve made Jesus to be, a Divine slot machine we can pray to?  I want to refocus to Jesus’ words.  Somehow we’ve made following Jesus more about us and less about Him.  It has become more about how our lives could be made happy and less about sharing Who He is.  So, rather than asking, “Lord, is this difficult time part of the process?  Do I just need to sacrifice these things, whatever they may be, to follow you?” we demand, “Lord, get me out of this situation!  If I can’t get this or have that then how can I trust You?”  And, when Jesus doesn’t meet our demands, we get angry at Him because He didn’t deliver.  That’s not the way it works.

We’ve made Jesus a hostage to our demands. (to be continued…)