Dan Starcevich

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Humility Precedes Discipleship

But at these words he was saddened, and went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Mark 10:22

Humility Precedes Discipleship

Success as a follower of Jesus demands different attitudes and skills than success in the world.  Consider the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22.  This guy had it all.  He had youth, wealth, and even outward goodness going for him.  When He claimed to have been perfect as far as the Mosaic Law was concerned, Jesus never contradicted Him.  In fact Jesus felt love for this young, wealthy, pious man.  I mean, who wouldn't love a guy like this?  

Yet, the success He enjoyed had a steep price.  Rather than thanking God for all that He had, His blessings had led to pride.  If we are honest we must admit how easy it is to start thinking that all we are and have is from our hard work, sacrifice, effort, and skill. That attitude, when allowed to take root, become an obstacle to discipleship.

Humility must precede discipleship.  Just as this young man would not forfeit all He had gained to follow Jesus so those who insist on hanging on to their pride also forfeit following Jesus. 

Pride can come disguised as many things.  For the young man Jesus spoke to, pride was cloaked in a multitude of possessions.  For those of us who have been part of a church pride can come covered by the shroud of a pattern of religious observance.  We can get so committed to a certain way of doing things and so content with the results  that we refuse to try something new.  The result for us, as it was with this young man, is that Jesus moves on without us.

I think God I am surrounded by people who want to set aside pride and everything else that hinders us to follow Jesus.  I pray that you too share fellowship with others who want to humble themselves and follow Him.

Who You Are and Why It Matters

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation...

2 Corinthians 5:17

Because We Are New Creations We Are Moved to Engage the World

It would be easy simply throw up our hands  and walk away.  Maybe one part of you wants ignore what is happening around us and retreat to your mountain hide-away.  Yet, another part nags that you can, and should, make a difference.  

As Hal was preaching this Sunday, it is the Gospel that defines who we are and how we see the world.  On the one hand the Gospel tells us that we and our world are damaged goods.  Our internal disposition, or core nature was damaged the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  Not only that, our nature works itself out in sinful desires and actions.  The Gospel reveals the truth that we are sinners by nature and by action.  This is the part that says retreat, give up, hide.

Yet, the Gospel also tells us that God provided forgiveness for our sinful nature and sinful actions at the cross.  Jesus satisfied God's demand for punishment of sin by bearing that punishment for us.  By the simple act of trusting what God has done in Jesus we are made holy before God.  We are no longer damaged goods but new creations.  New creations live new lives.  This is the part that says, don't give up, its not too late, your life changed so change is possible for everyone.

That new creation in us keeps nagging.  It gives us the motivation to reach out and make a difference in someone else's life.  Listen to the new creation.  Pray now for God to bring someone into your life that is hungry to hear that they can be a new person, have a new identity, become a new creation through faith in Jesus.

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