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Count the Cost: Part 3

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
March 1, 2020 1:00 am

Count the Cost: Part 3

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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March 1, 2020 1:00 am

Often, in church, we discuss the rewarding part of ministry. However, when it comes to discipleship, there will always be a cost. Unlike the worldly view that focuses on gaining as much as possible, the Christ-like way is asking how much of ourselves can we spend on others?

Series: The Least of These

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From the Salvation Army, you're listening to Wonderful Words of Life. Well, welcome back to Wonderful Words of Life, everybody. I'm Bernie Dake, and you are? Jimmy Taylor. And we're glad that you're here, Jimmy.

Yeah, thanks. By now, I think our listeners know who you are. I think they are. I think they're aware.

And it's important that they do. You've been a friend to me. Your whole family have been wonderful to my wife and I, as we've known you.

And we pray that God will continue to bless you in your ministry as Salvation Army officers. Well, as we begin to close this series next week, the least of these, Rob and Heather spend one more week discussing the cost of ministry. And if you missed it, Soundcast produced another podcast, the Storyteller Series this Christmas, where we read a chapter a day from the Book of Luke, and each chapter was followed by a group conversation of which Rob and Heather were actually a part of.

But another friend of ours, Caleb Loudon, said something really beautiful in one of those episodes. He was comparing the consumer mentality of gaining more, getting as much out of life as possible for ourselves, and comparing that with the heart of Christ, and therefore a believer, where we want to live in a way where we ask, how can I spend as much of myself for others? That was a beautiful statement and really speaks to the cost of discipleship.

Jimmy, how much more can you spend of your own life having given yourself to Salvation Army officership and full-time ministry? You know, everyone's life is their own. And I think we have to not look at it as I'm giving some of my life. I'm giving all of my life. It's more of, am I really giving myself? Have I surrendered all of me? Not just a perception of that, but have I really given all of me to what God has for me? And I think that's a question we have to all ask of ourselves. What else can I give God?

And what areas am I holding back? Because we're created for love, we're created for service, we're created for ministry. And if we are holding back, then we're ultimately cheating the Lord, cheating those that we could be mentioned to, and even cheating ourselves.

So yeah. Earlier in this series, Heather said something that we alluded to that, you know, salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you everything. I think of my wife and I as people who volunteer at our local Salvation Army. But at the end of the day, you know, we can go home.

We don't bear the burden of responsibility for the Salvation Army's entire ministry in the city of Atlanta. Whereas you and your wife, Ashley, are serving in Hagerstown, Maryland, and you are the be-all and the end-all for the Army's work there with the people that come alongside and serve with you, both staff and volunteers. Jimmy, I just want to say thank you for your surrender, as you've alluded to. I don't think any of us can ever know how God will use that surrender, but we've seen fruit of your ministry, both here in Atlanta and in our visit to Hagerstown last year. So I applaud you for your work with Ashley. We're glad that you've come to join us. We've got one more episode left in this series, and we pray that you'll join us again next week on Wonderful Words of Life. If you are encouraged, or if you have something you want to share with us that is meaningful to you, or just an encouragement to us, send us an email at radio.uss.salvationarmy.org, or call us at 1-800-229-9965.

God bless you. So we spoke last week a little bit about what it feels like to have a ministry failure, to kind of get to that point where we're trying to do everything right, go through all the motions, and it doesn't work. There's not that response that we expect in that moment, and how sometimes that can even be about us in that moment. I love that in the kingdom of God at the table, it's not just us and them, but we're there together with Jesus. And we were talking about Matthew 7, chapter 7, verse 3, and he says, why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there's a plank in your own eye? And it's this beautiful picture. And again, I don't think Jesus is angry and like yelling at people when he shares that. I think he really is trying to help us. And this idea where we have to do all the right things and have all the right results, that can be overwhelming. And, you know, he just calls us to look in the mirror and spend some time with him. And I love that, you know, before we go out and try and do all this stuff for those that are hurting and those that are broken, that he's so gracious to sit down with me and make sure that I'm ready for that by dealing with the issues I have in my own life.

Sure. I recognize here in Matthew 7 that the theme is judging others. And, you know, all throughout the series, I feel like we've been touching on what that it looks like, whether it's through the Pharisees, whether it's the disciples looking at the crowd of 5,000, whether it is the priest and the Levi looking at the man beaten up at the side of the road, or even how the congregation listening to that Good Samaritan parable would have felt about the Samaritan.

Right. A lot of people are casting judgments. And so when Jesus speaks about the plank, He's talking about judging others. And you're right. Like we in our own time as believers and our prayer clauses with the Lord and our devotional times, He's working with us and dealing with us. And I'm thankful for that. But my experience is, is that there are things that I discover about myself only when I am out amongst people doing what I believe to be the work of God, does those judgments that sometimes I didn't even know I had or I didn't see as being negative things come out.

And I have to be faced with the reality of what I'm really like. Right. Sober judgment. So the Kingdom, when we engage the Kingdom and the least of these, you know, it's not about showing up and seeing everyone else's brokenness and me getting to participate with Jesus and fixing that. But it's actually joining together in community and all getting closer to Jesus together. Right. Because God opposes the proud. And that's what that is. Judgment is usually from a place of pride. Like, I know enough to decide what is best and what is worst.

And I'm the best and you're the worst or this or that. And Jesus Himself did not model that for us. Right. And that is why people got so mad. Like when we were talking about Him and Levi and Him hanging out at Levi's house and eating a meal and the people that were full of pride that were very self-focused, those religious leaders and Pharisees were like, what do you, if you really knew who that guy was, you know, you wouldn't be at his house or if you knew where that woman had been, you wouldn't be letting her wash your feet.

You know, that woman that broke the perfume over Jesus feet and wept and dried him with her hair. Like you, if you knew you wouldn't, because you should judge them because they're bad people. Right. But Jesus does not model that for us. He actually spends time with those people who are used to being pushed away, pushed aside and judged. And He brings dignity to those relationships.

Yeah. I remember this time where, you know, we were ministering to folks that were struggling with addiction and, you know, we'd build relationships and invite them into our community of worship. And sure enough, there'd be this moment where they want to receive Jesus, where they say, I don't want to live this way anymore.

This is not for me. And, you know, we pray with them. And in that moment, begin to teach them about Jesus and invite the kingdom through invitation in their lives.

It's a powerful moment. And I remember as a, as a young believer, trying to disciple people, then feeling the need to then tell them all the things they had to stop doing. You know, so as now, you know, Jesus, now you're following Jesus, by the way, I'm going to provide you with a list here and I can back it up with scripture. Here's one to 10 of all the things you have to stop doing immediately. And, you know, so you have to stop doing this, stop doing that. You definitely can't do that. And here's all the things you must do. Right.

Which really, there's a lot of legalism in that. And I remember all these guys that would come through this small group that we were running with just time after time, just keep going back to all those things. And I had to look at myself in that. And, you know, Jesus really challenged me to build relationships in a different way, maybe outside of that judgment a little bit. And the challenge the Holy Spirit really put on my heart was just to journey with people and just to teach them how to read scripture, you know, just teach them how to pray and get to know the Father. And in that place, you know, what would happen is instead of me giving them a list of all the things they couldn't do anymore, and then another list of all the things they must do, I just started talking about Jesus and telling stories from my own life, how I knew Jesus, reading scripture together, praying together.

And you know what happened? Immediately that person often wouldn't stop all those things that we knew weren't good for them and didn't please God, but by me not providing the list for them and allowing God to work and the Holy Spirit to be present in their life. Sure enough, a couple of weeks in, they'd say, you know, I've been praying like, like is, you know, we've been learning how to pray.

I've been praying on my own and God just really convicted me. I think I need to stop this thing in my life. Yeah. You know, I'm thinking of, I'm reminded of Adam, reminded of Adam. And I remember, you know, he was a young man and he had been living on his own for a long time, even though he was only in his late teens and a lot of drug issues.

But even more than that, like just unhealthy mental wellness, really unhealthy life skill behaviors and stuff. And I remember we felt like when I first met him, I felt like, oh, this guy just needs people around him. Right.

Which is true. But I felt like it was then my job to kind of be the spiritual police and make sure that he was like, he knew all the expectations God had on him, like you were saying with the list, but also that he knew that, listen, like if you're going to follow Jesus, it's a serious thing. You know, discipleship is serious. I probably quoted that whole like, salvation's free, but discipleship will cost you everything. So come on now, we got to be self-sacrificing here and live radically and, you know, whatever. And I knew that I did love, I loved Adam and I knew that he loved us back.

Right. Because when he was together and God was in our midst, something beautiful was happening. But in my immaturity and in my pride, I created this terrible scenario, which was Adam was living to please me rather than to please God. So then what would happen is, and I'm not saying I'm God, but what I'm saying is I was like, okay, we love you.

We want you. You're so great, but you really got to quit smoking. You got to stop sleeping around with Tracy. You got to wash your clothes from time to time.

Please have a bath, like stop cussing, like call your mom, like all these things. And so when he would come around me, he knew those were my expectations and he would modify his behavior just for me. Right. And I think that, you know, when we do that, when we fall into that trap, we can probably create some short-term changes in our lives. Or even if we're teaching that way, we can see some short-term changes in people's life. But that long-term transformative change, I think it's not something that happens from the outside in.

That's something that only happens from the inside out. That outside in change is really just behavior modification. And I think that's when the Pharisees and the religious folks that Jesus is kind of having a come to Jesus moment with, that's what he's talking about literally, is that they had a list. And if you follow these rules, do all these things and don't do these things for sure, you know, modify your behavior, then you're in, you're in the kingdom. I think that we see that, you know, just spending time with Jesus and bringing others, the invitation to bring others, hey, come spend time with this Jesus guy I know.

Let's spend time together with him. That's really what creates that inside out transformative change that brings the power where the miracle shows up and lives are changed, where blinded eyes are open, deaf ears here. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support.

And we would love to hear from you. Email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org. Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.

Box 29972, Atlanta, Georgia, 30359. When you contact us, we'll send you our gift for this series. It's totally free for listeners like you, one per household, while supplies last. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for Wonderful Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for the Salvation Army's Wonderful Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-03 10:28:24 / 2024-02-03 10:34:37 / 6

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