You know, we all have certain specific life-changing moments in our lives. Today I want to share one of those moments in my life that changed my entire future, and I believe it might change yours as well.
Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Drouie, and in just a minute we'll continue our series, Real Discipleship, How Jesus Chose to Change the World, based in the Gospel of Mark. But before we get started, this series was recorded many years ago, so you'll notice that Chip's going to sound a little different than what you may be used to.
But the truth he's going to share is still so applicable to all of us. If you have a Bible, turn now to Mark Chapter 9 for Chip's message, Taste and See. I basically, through the life of another person, put me in a situation where he had me ask and answer the question, are you willing to go for broke or not?
Do you trust me? Is this a college passing fantasy of getting involved in Bible studies and all that? Or are you really committed to go where I send you, to do what I want you to do, to literally write a blank check, sign your name on the bottom, and let me fill out the top? To take all the chips of your life and push them to the middle of the table and let me deal and accept that I'm good enough and more powerful and gracious that what the hand I deal you will be best. And in my case, it may not seem like a lot to you now, but back then, leaving a girl that I thought I would marry for a year and leaving a basketball scholarship and friends and all the rest seemed like a real big deal. And for six or eight months, I prayed about it.
And it was exciting for me to get to a point where I could say, God, if you want me to leave this school and go, I'm willing. I don't want to. I mean, I'm going to be up front with you.
This does not sound like a fun deal at all. But if you want me to do it, I'll do it. And it was even more exciting for them to say, we don't think you need to do it.
It's kind of like, you know, the knife was coming down on Abraham's son and God said, stop. And I said, great. But a year later, I did it. A year later, I turned down a couple teaching jobs and ended up mixing mud for a bricklayer and started a campus ministry on a campus where there was nothing going on. To be honest with you, when I am serious and write a blank check with my name on the bottom of it and give it to God, I hate to admit this, but it scares me to death. And that's why a lot of us don't do it. But let me tell you, in this case, I did it. I said, I'll go. At that campus is where I met my wife, Theresa. That was a pretty good little bonus, wasn't it?
I think it's even better than pretty good. It was there that for the first time after a year, the bricklayer said, you know something, I'm getting too old for this stuff. You take over all the college part of it and I'll work with couples. And I was very young for someone to turn over the entire reigns of the campus ministry and where issues of leadership and teaching ability and full reign. God developed my life because I took that step. I always had a dream of coaching and after about four months of mixing mud and realizing what real life is about, I decided that I was willing to do this and I admire those who do it, but I sure would like to get back into teaching and coaching. God opened the door and I got to coach a high school team. Another reason, another benefit that came from there is a year later, they had a real particular need that I had some background in at West Virginia University and they asked me to come there and teach for a year while I did my master's degree. Well, West Virginia University was only 20 minutes from where I moved.
Couldn't have done it anyplace else. So what I want to help you see is that when God asks you and I to make a radical step and say no to our will and yes to His will, what I want you to see is His will is great. It's wonderful. It's good. It's powerful.
It's better than anything you can dream up for yourself, but you have to let go of yours to get to His. So often when we talk about sacrifice and commitment, you know what I find people do? We always look at the side of this is what I've got to give up and then we recoil. What Jesus is going to do with His followers is He's going to flip the coin over and say this is what you get. This is what you get in on. Following me instead of focusing on what we give up, He's going to talk about what He promises and He's going to show His inner group of three that it is the most fantastic thing you'll ever get in your life and to actually to do anything less than abandon yourself to Christ really is not very intelligent.
That's a different way to look at it, isn't it? Well, let's open it up to Mark chapter nine and pick it up and He said to them, I tell you the truth after this great call to commitment and the reasons why they should do it. Some of you are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power and the word power there is dunamis.
We get our word dynamite. He says to them, look, I've just asked you guys to go for broke. I've asked you to put the chips of your life in the center of the table. Let me deal. Do whatever I ask you to do. He says, but now here's what I want you to get.
There's some of you standing right here. Not only are you going to see me in all my glory and power when I return, but He says some of you are going to get to taste and see what it's like even before you die. Now, verse two says after six days, Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him, and He led them up on a high mountain where they were all alone. Notice the little phrase six days. He made this challenge and for six days, can you imagine what it was like?
I mean, let's put ourselves in their shoes. Two and a half years we're following this guy. We listen to him. We see the miracles.
He walks on water. He calms the storms. We're on board. He's our Messiah. He's going to do it. But in our mind, we're thinking, oh, I can't wait until he takes on the Roman government and he pushes them aside and then he takes care of that religious establishment and then he's the Messiah, the King, the Deliverer, and the 12 of us will rule with him. Boy, that's going to be neat. See, that's how they viewed it.
And then he comes on with this sort of side light to the story. Yes, I am the Messiah. You're right. But before I reign, there's a part of God's plan you all have skipped over. Remember, I'm going to suffer, be rejected and then killed and then after that rise again. And that's when Peter said, hey, hey, hey.
We don't go for that part of it. And Jesus had a few choice words for him. Now, for six days you realize that he has kind of shifted the cost. And for six days you're saying, hey, Pete, what do you think about the suffering jazz? I don't know, Andrew.
You know, this is what I, you know, when I signed on and left the fishing business and, you know, I've been away from my wife a lot and we've had a lot of sacrifice. What is the suffering reject? Are you in for that? I don't know. See, he gives them six days to rummage with it and struggle with it and ask and answer the question. Hey, are you in this for good or just for what you can get? Are you in this for the miracles, for the blessings?
Are you loyal to this person who is actually God? And then after six days, he takes the inner three, James, John and Peter. And what he wants to do is take them up where their focus can change from on what they have to give up onto what they're going to get, what they can share. And so they go up on this high mountain, probably Mount Hermon, about 9,000 feet. There it says he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Matthew in the same account will say, his face shone like light. Luke will tell us in the same account that they fell on their face when it happened. And it likely happened at night because Peter, it says, was kind of sleepy and then all these lights come. And they appeared before them, Elijah and Moses who were talking with Jesus and Peter in typical fashion, not knowing what to do, starts talking. And he says, Rabbi, it's good for us to be here. I mean, this is awesome. What an experience. Let us put up three shelters, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.
You know, this is a great deal. We'll stay up here forever. He did not know what to say. They were so frightened. Then a cloud appeared and it enveloped them, this kind of glory cloud of God. And a voice came from the cloud. This is my son.
Can you imagine what they're going through at this point? My beloved son, listen to him. The present imperative. Keep on listening to him.
Obey his words. And then suddenly when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except for Jesus. Let me give you a little insight about what's happening here. They go up on the mountain. Luke tells us they went up to pray.
So, you know, these guys don't, this is normal. They went up on mountains to pray all the time. You're going to spend time with the Lord?
Great. The nine are down. They're ministering. We'll go up on the mountain to pray. It's probably night by the time they get there and they're having a prayer meeting. And as Peter and some of us struggle with at night when we pray, we fall asleep.
And, you know, he's waffling a little bit. And then it says he was transfigured. You learned this word in ninth grade biology, metamorphosis. Remember the little worm that turns into a butterfly?
Metamorphosis means a change from the inside that manifests itself on the outside. See, what happened is lights didn't shine from angels or spotlights on Jesus. What happened was his true nature, all man, yes, but all God, what he did is he opened just a little bit and cracked and he allowed them to see his deity, his power, his glory. And so all of a sudden, instead of this itinerant preacher who walked around in sandals and had a beard, all of a sudden, it's lights.
And then Moses shows up and Elijah shows up. And they've got these glorious shining bodies too. And they are shaking in their boots. All of a sudden, instead of, they're not thinking, oh, well, we have to give up. They're realizing for the first time in their life who it is they're really following. They're seeing Jesus in his power and Jesus in his glory.
And then can you imagine being a Jew? Who is the most highly esteemed person in all Jewish history? Jesus.
He's the lawgiver. And then who was the king of the prophets? Elijah. Both of those men had miraculous ministries.
Both of those men had unusual ways of leaving. Do you remember who buried Moses? God did. Do you remember what happened to Elijah? God took him.
I mean, these are heavy weights. These are the guys that of all Jewish history and Peter and James and John, you know, six days earlier, they were saying, do we really want to get on board with this guy? Should we give up home and life and future and dreams and submit them all to him and trust that he'll make our lives work out okay? What's God doing? He's saying, I want you to see me for who I am.
I want you to get your focus off of what you're giving up and into the promiser. Now you might be wondering, it says that Elijah and Moses and Jesus were talking. It's an interesting tense of the verb. It means they were talking and had a prolonged conversation. And if you cross-reference this with Matthew's account, he tells us what they were talking about.
Matthew 17 says that they were talking about his, and the word is, his exodus, his death, his checking out, his going to the cross. Now, what's the part of this whole plan that Peter and the disciples are having the biggest problem with? They like the king idea. They like the glory idea.
They're not real big on the cross idea, are they? The suffering? And so you have here the man who gave the law and the king of the prophets, the law and the prophets, the Old Testament summarized in these great men, and they're talking with Jesus, and I can't help but them thinking, they're affirming and saying, all the prophecies are now coming together. All the dream of God, all the power, eternity past, and you are now going to do what you and the Father and the Holy Spirit had decided from eternity past.
You are going to exodus. You're going to the cross. And as you study here, the reason he shows them power is he wants them to learn that the pathway to power is only through the door of the cross. It's what he wants them to learn.
It's the theme of this section. The kingdom will only come in power when it goes through the cross. Now, don't get that negative idea of what the cross is. Oh, the cross is, you know, I got to hurt here. The cross is the will of God. You and I and the disciples will only experience kingdom power like dynamite when we sign that blank check and say your will instead of mine. For Jesus it meant death.
At times it will mean suffering and rejection for us, but it also means power. And so the disciples now, their focus has totally changed. And if that wasn't enough, you talk about confirmation.
You know, sometimes we ask God, oh God, give me a sign. These guys are the three men that the way to the church is going to follow on later. John is going to write books and end up giving his revelation at a ripe old age.
Peter is going to be the man who gets things going and then Paul takes it to the Gentiles. He wanted to convince them, men, you are in on the most fabulous opportunity that few human beings ever get ever, and I want you to see who I really am. And that's his message to us today.
And so this cloud, just like the Shekinah glory comes down, and they actually hear the voice of God tell them, this is right. This is Jesus. Listen to him. He's my son.
Follow him regardless of the cost. You get the affirmation? Now, like us, they have a few questions. And so after this experience, they're walking down the hill. They kept the matters to themselves discussing what rising from the dead meant. And Jesus, as they were walking down the hill, gave him orders that until they see the Son of Man rise from the dead, they should not tell this to anyone. And they still can't figure out what all this resurrection terminology is about. Verse 11, they ask him, why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first? Now, see, they're convinced he's the Messiah.
Peter knew it before this experience. But now they've heard from Moses, Elijah, and the voice of God, but they've got a couple of nagging theological questions, like you and I have sometimes. You know, sometimes God makes his will clear and you know what to do, but you've always been taught a couple things, and they don't quite jive with what exactly you think God's will is, and you need it cleared up. And so this is what Jesus does. During that day, they had a lot of big, I would say, extra biblical ideas about Elijah and what he would do and when he came and what it would look like. So Jesus clears them up. Verse 12, Jesus replied, to be sure Elijah comes first and restores all things. That's true.
Those teachers of the law, they're correct. And then he adds a question, gets back to the heart of the issue. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.
Let's do a quick review. A group of men have been challenged to the core of their being for about six days. They saw the King in his glory and power. They saw his deity. They heard from the founders of the faith to affirm and confirm that Jesus was the Messiah. They heard his methodology about the cross was confirmed by who? The law, the prophets, and the Father. They had their theological questions answered about Elijah and John the Baptist, and they saw and they heard God.
Now I don't know about you, but that would be a pretty, you know, one of those experiences you want to mark up and write down in your journal and read it every day. The question I have is, why is this here? Every gospel, this transfiguration follows the great confession.
Why? I think the answer is real simple. The great confession calls the side of the coin of great demand, great sacrifice, follow Christ no matter what. And I think the Lord knows our humanness and knows that we struggle and knows that we need to also be able to focus on who in the world are we following and is it worth it?
Is it worth it? And the answer is yes. I mean, can you imagine these guys, if you can't trust them, who can you trust now? Now what I'd like to say is that this isn't reserved for them. This mount of transfiguration experience is what? They saw God for who He really was and what He was going to do. And you and I have the Spirit of God living in our life. We've got the Word of God available. We have the fellowship of other believers, and God can allow us to see Him for who He is today. And also begin to see that His will isn't some dark, terrible, scary, oh no, I don't want to do that because, but it's the greatest opportunity in the world. See, a lot of you, like me, I mean, I was the black sheep of every Bible study I was in for the first three years I was a Christian.
If you were supposed to memorize Scripture, I wouldn't do it. If you were supposed to go to this meeting, I didn't go. Or, you know, I was always in and out.
And you know why? I had such a faulty view of God. I was convinced if I got committed to Christ, I'd end up in Africa. I'm serious. So you know, I don't want to get too close to this guy. You know, I want to go to heaven but that's about it. And then, you know, then when I was single, some of you are this way, if you think you're single and you get really committed to Christ, you'll never get married.
And that's what I thought. So I don't want to get too close then either. And some of us, you know, we get married and we start our career, well, I don't want to get committed to Christ.
You know, buying things, I'll never have anything. You know, committed Christians are poor. See, what God wants us to learn is His will is good and acceptable and perfect and that we can trust Him. Let me give you one verse, and I want you to write this down because this is the message He wants, Psalm 84-11. It says, the Lord God, it's a strong combination of two names for God. The Lord God is a sun and a shield. What's the sun? A source of power and a shield, a source of protection. The Lord authority, sovereign one, gives grace.
What's that? Unmerited favor, blessing, encouragement and glory, enhancement of one's reputation in life. The Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. And here's the killer, no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. You'll never get a raw deal going for broke with Christ. You'll never miss.
The only way your life won't turn out best is when you arrogantly, like I have done in my life, think that you can follow your agenda and it will make you more happy and more fulfilled than sacrificially following His agenda. Now is there a cost? Sure. Is there a balance?
Absolutely. But you know, I'm convinced that in our day, we are so focused on, I got to give this up. This will never work out. And on the front end, what I've learned, you let go and it's real painful and hard. And my experience is God in six weeks doesn't make everything wonderful. He usually takes me through a period of weaning and learning and trusting. And I look back over a year, two, three, four years and realize that's the greatest decision I ever made in my life.
But it sure was hard for me here. Now that's what He wants us to hear. I want you to understand that God wants you to know His will for you individually is good and it will require sacrifice and faith. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, Taste and See. He'll be right back with his application for this teaching from his series, Real Discipleship. In recent times, it seems like more and more Christians are falling into the traps of hypocrisy, scandal and corruption.
So how can we change that? In this series, Chip reveals that it comes down to two words, real disciples. As he teaches through Mark chapter six through ten, he shares how we can authentically follow after Jesus and avoid the obstacles and distractions that so easily entangle us. Don't miss how genuine disciples of Christ can radically change our world.
For more information about our resources for this series, go to livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app or call 888-333-6003. Chip's with me in studio now and Chip, at the end of the program you quoted Psalm 84-11, which says, God is our son and shield. That's such an encouraging message and I think there's one group of people who need to hear that word the most, pastors. Would you take a minute and talk about what Living on the Edge is doing to support and encourage church leaders?
Absolutely, Dave. A recent Barna research found that there's a growing number of pastors that are struggling with burnout and discouragement. The study found an immense stress of the job, the loneliness, the political and cultural tension and the strain on their family were the top reasons many pastors, and I'm talking tens of thousands, are considering quitting the ministry. As a pastor for almost 40 years, the challenges of leading a church today, I will tell you, are greater and more difficult than anything I have ever seen. And at Living on the Edge, we're committed to coming alongside those who shepherd the church. We provide them with tools that help them navigate the increasingly difficult situation seeping into the church. We want to support them with a safe place to talk and face their challenges related to their marriage and their family, their own walk with God, and strengthen them in community to help them because they get weary and they get discouraged. That's why Living on the Edge has launched what we call the Art of Survival. These materials and training events have helped renew the commitment of pastors literally all across the world.
It started in the Middle East, then it went to India, then Africa, Mexico. It's amazing what God has done. Here's my question. Will you help us bring hope and encouragement and theological training to these church leaders? We believe we'll need to multiply our capacity literally by 10 times in the next two years with all the doors that the Lord has opened.
There's a real sense of urgency for this right now. Would you prayerfully consider giving to Living on the Edge to help make this happen? Every dollar you give between now and July 7th will be doubled dollar for dollar, and you double your impact as we help pastors here and across the world. Thank you for praying and doing whatever God leads you to do.
Well, if you believe God is calling you to join that mission with us, we'd be honored to have you on our team. And while we're in our mid-year match, every gift we receive will be doubled thanks to some very generous friends of the ministry. To send a donation or become a monthly partner, call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003. Or if you prefer to donate online, go to livingontheedge.org.
App listeners just tap donate. Thank you in advance for your support. Well, Chip, let's get to that application you promised.
Thanks so much, Dave. And as we wrap up today's program, let me just ask a couple questions that Jesus was asking of all of us. Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? In this new world that we're living in, have you thought about, am I really willing to suffer rejection or hardship or even persecution? And then I think the big thing is, is the risk worth the reward? And can I just kind of lean back and wish I could sit across the table from you and have a cup of coffee and you actually turn to me and say, Chip, you know, you're probably a lot older than I am.
Could you tell me about your lordship journey? And what I would say is, I struggled so much. I was so afraid. I mean, I was so afraid of missing out.
And because of my insecurities and some issues in my early life, I just so wanted people to like me. And I was afraid if I was really bold for Jesus and one of those quote out there fully committed Christians that, you know, I wouldn't be with the in group. And what I can tell you was it took me a while. And I really struggled to come to that moment where I said to the Lord, whatever you want, God, I'll do it.
You fill in the top of the check. My name's already signed at the bottom. I will do whatever you want me to do. And I was hoping he wouldn't send me to Africa. I was hoping, you know, he wasn't gonna have me be single all my life because I wanted to be married. But I came to the point where I said, I will do whatever because I came to this conviction that the Lord God Almighty really is a son and a shield, that the Lord gives grace and glory and that no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. And now in my sixth decade, let me tell you something. When I look back, the greatest danger is not what you'll miss out on by allowing Jesus to be the Lord of your life. The greatest danger is not following him and allowing him to be the Lord of your life. Because what I've experienced is beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
His plan was so much better, so much bigger. Were there challenges? Yes. But are you ready for this?
I don't care what you do with your life. There's going to be challenges. And you're going to depend on something. You're gonna put your hope in someone.
And you're gonna have a whole thought and a plan that you think will quote either make you happy or deliver what you really want. Can I just tell you, no one will ever be able to be to you or give to you what Jesus already has and what he wants to do in your life. If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life without question, without reservation, can I encourage you, get alone somewhere tonight and before your head hits the pillow, make the decision. Jesus your Lord, I'll follow you no matter what. And here's my promise and far better God's promise.
You will never, ever regret it. Just before we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is. If there's a way we can help, we'd love to do that. Maybe give us a call at 888-333-6003 or connect with us at livingontheedge.org. And while you're there, take a second and look through our resources on a variety of topics, many of them absolutely free. Well, join us next time as Chip continues his series, Real Discipleship. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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