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Summary: Jesus call is not always gentle. The discipleship He calls us to could seem a bit extreme, but what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

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6. Spiritual Disciplines Series

May 10th, 2009

Discipleship

A few weeks ago my parents came down to visit for Easter and I got to relieve another childhood memory. My parents stayed at a hotel on Saturday night. Sunday after church we ate lunch and were hanging out before they had to start the journey back home. All of a sudden my mom panicked. She had forgotten her favorite pair of black shoes at the hotel. She remembered right where they were. She had taken them off and put them in the closet of the hotel room with her clothes for Sunday and just forgot to pack them when they checked out. So my dad had to drive all the way over to the hotel to look for the shoes. He called to tell her they were not there and that she must have packed them someplace else. He didn’t get to see this but I did. My mom’s face turned a light red hue as she realized something. She had a pair of black shoes, and she had a pair of brown shoes with her. She thought she had brought a third pair, her favorite pair of black shoes but then realized she hadn’t. She had decided against bringing them. When she had changed she thought to herself that her favorite black shoes would go well with her current outfit and so she imagined bringing them and even leaving them in the hotel while they were still safely at home in her closet.

I have always felt that my mom was a little ditzy. She is very smart but in some ways I thought of her as the absent minded professor type. When we were growing up we would often go on trips to see relatives especially around the holidays but we lived a few hours away from them so it would become a little bit of a journey. My dad is captain early starter. He wakes up and in ten minutes he is ready to go. He always plans to leave about an hour before we ever made it out the door. That was just the beginning of our problems. It would seem that no matter how carefully we planned or how many checklists we went through it was inevitable that someone would forget something and we would have to turn around and go back. We began to refer to our first attempt to leave as the false start. We would forget to turn off the lights, go to the bathroom, get a snack, turn off the curling iron, bring the Christmas presents but it was always something. Whenever we tried to start a journey we would have to turn around and go back for something.

Now I am sure you can all think of a story like this from your own life where you were starting to leave when all of a sudden you realized you had to go back for something. We do that don’t we? We get ready to go and as soon as we start off we remember something we need to go back for. Lack of planning or commitment sometimes keeps us from continuing on with the decisions we make. Following Christ is not a one time decision that we choose and are done with. It is not like voting where you make your pick and it is over. It is like eating or drinking or breathing you must do it all the time because following Christ is about more than just believing or accepting Him, it is about becoming His disciple. The decision to follow Christ is a decision that requires constant and continual attention.

Our goal for the first part of this year was to develop mature Christians. So we have looked at our identity, our investment in the kingdom of God, and our values as a church. Now we have been looking at Spiritual disciplines: bible study, prayer, evangelism, stewardship, and perseverance to help see how to become more mature Christians. Discipline is a huge part of maturity. We need discipline to get through school, to work, to maintain a family, a home, and a life. Part of being an adult is learning how to discipline yourselves because honestly not every part of life is fun, enjoyable, and exciting. We have chores and responsibilities that are not always things we want to do so we need discipline. Is it any wonder then if part of growing up is learning discipline in our physical lives that to grow to maturity in our faith we would need to learn Spiritual discipline? While we can measure the benefit of learning discipline in our physical lives seeing the purpose of Spiritual discipline can sometimes be more challenging. The purpose of Spiritual disciplines is to create discipleship.

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