Called to Discipleship

by Rodney Thomas

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Jesus to call a person into discipleship? Discipleship is not a word that we use much today, but in the time of Jesus this meant several things. It meant that Jesus was calling these people to become like Him.

They would follow Jesus and live with Him, eat with Him, pray with Him, walk with Him, and observe Him in all sorts of different settings. They would see Him when He woke up in the morning, they would see Him when He went to sleep at night and all the places and circumstances in between. They would see Him when He felt good, when He was hungry, when He was well fed and when He encountered people from every background and every circumstance.

The challenge for being a disciple was for a person to be as much like their master as possible. Following Jesus was really hard and Jesus did not pretend that it was not going to be hard. Jesus said, “Those who don’t pick up their crosses and follow me aren’t worthy of me.” Following Jesus meant more than simply saying “Yes” to Jesus, it also meant saying “No” to ourselves. Luke says it like this: ‘Jesus said to everyone, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.”’

Saying “No” to ourselves is one of the hardest things possible for us. However, until we say “No” to ourselves our lives are so full of what we want, what we need, what satisfies us, what gratifies and what we dream of that there is not room for being a true disciple of Jesus. We cannot be a disciple of Jesus without saying no to ourselves.

Recently several members of the Broadway staff visited the Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas for a conference. While there Karl and I had the opportunity of having lunch with the Senior Pastor, Steve Stroop. He has worked at this church for 40 years and during his tenure the church attendance has gone from 50 on a Sunday morning to 15,000 on a Sunday morning.

Steve teaches a class for those interested in placing membership at Lake Point and He asks them to commit to five things in order to be a member: 1) To read one chapter of the Bible each day for at least 5 days in each week. 2) To find some place to serve in the church during their first 30 days. 3) To put 3 names on an impact card and to pray for these people every day. 4) To give small groups a try by attending one at least 4 times. 5) To go to the next level in their giving. He said in the 35 years since he has been doing this, only 3 people have refused to sign a card committing to these things and place it in his hand. Last year they baptized 969 people.

Whether you have just come to Broadway, or whether you have been here for 70 years are you willing to say “Yes” to Jesus and “No” to self? What does that mean for you as a “disciple” of Jesus Christ? What are you willing to commit to Christ as His disciple? Are you willing to say “Yes” to Jesus in more than words?

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