Day Five: Same Call, Different Stories

John 21:19-22 (NLT)Jesus said this to let [Peter] know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved… Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

“God does not issue his call for a season, but for a lifetime. Service for the kingdom begins at the moment we receive Jesus and continues until the Father calls us home. What does this look like? In detail, it is different for each person. Some are called to serve where they grew up; others are called to journey thousands of miles away. Some live in hardship and lose their life for the faith, like Peter who died for the faith, while others live a long life, like John who apparently died of old age. What is the same for all is the call that discipleship should have priority over everything else.” [D. Bock, NIVAC Luke, p. 289]

What are the priorities in your life that you are challenged to reorder?

Let’s worship to “More to Come” by Kristian Stanfill (Click here).

Let’s pray: God, we believe there is more to come for each one of us, more of our stories that are yet to be seen. We look forward to life in you and through you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– AK


Day Four: The Stories That Stayed With You, Pt. 3

Luke 14:26 (NIV/NLT)“If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, [love less] everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”

Keith Green passed away on July 28, 1982 at 28 with his 3-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter along with nine others in a plane crash. His wife Melody who was six weeks pregnant was at home with their one-year-old daughter. Though his life was short, his music, ministry and biography, “No Compromise,” has continued to challenge later generations to have a wholehearted, passionate love for Jesus.

Here are some verses from his song, “I Pledge My Head to Heaven.”

Well I pledge my wife to heaven, for the Gospel,
Though our love each passing day just seems to grow.
As I told her when we wed, I’d surely rather be found dead,
Than to love her more than the one who saved my soul.
I’m your child, and I want to be in your family forever.

Well I pledge my son to heaven for the gospel.
Though he’s kicked and beaten, ridiculed and scorn.
I will teach him to rejoice, and lift a thankful praising voice,
And to be like Him who bore the nails and crown of thorns.

No matter whatever the cost, I’m gonna count all things lost.

Listen here (Click here):

Let’s pray: God, we pledge ourselves to you. Whatever the cost, may we count it all a loss. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– AK


Day Three: The Stories That Stayed With You, Pt. 2

Luke 14:27 (NIV)“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

It is said that when Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf came across the painting Ecce Homo “Behold the Man” by Domenico Feti, he was deeply stirred as the inscription read, “This have I done for thee; now what wilt thou do for me?” Zinzendorf went on to establish the village of Herrnhut in Germany and it became the refuge of the Moravians. It was there in 1727 they began a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week prayer vigil which lasted for a hundred years. They also sent out hundreds of missionaries and impacted men like William Carey and John Wesley who also carried their crosses.

As we consider what Jesus has done for us and what we will do for him, let’s read this over again from Sunday’s confession. Let’s read it prayerfully.

“That I am not my own, but belong—
body and soul, in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ…
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly
willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
[Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1]

Let’s pray: Father, we belong to you. No one and nothing else can have a claim on us. Have your way Lord, in our lives, that we would do what you would have us to do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– AK


Day Two: The Stories That Stayed With You, Pt. 1

Luke 9:24-25 (NIV)For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?

Jim Elliott famously paraphrased these verses when he wrote, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” The journal entry was dated October 28, 1949. Seven years later, Jim Elliott along with four other missionaries were martyred by the very people they were evangelizing in Ecuador. Their stories made the news in the States with most containing headlines regarding the tragedy of these lost lives and the wasted effort. Yet, the response by Elizabeth Elliott, Jim’s wife, was the following, “There can be no greater joy than to know that the blood of our husbands has been the seed of the [Huaorani] church.”

“To follow Jesus and share his cross may mean that neighbors and friends do not always understand why we do what we do. Our understanding of what counting the cost means is only theoretical until we are put in such circumstances. But those who have contemplated counting the cost will be ready when the moment comes… when a time comes to choose God over family, self, or possessions.” [Darrell L. Bock, NIVAC Luke, p. 405]

Let’s pray: Father, may we be ready to say, “there is no greater joy,” when through our laying down of life, comes life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– AK


Day One: Everyday Carry

Luke 9:23 (NIV)Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

“When Jesus tells you to take up your cross daily, he is not telling you to find some way to suffer daily. He is simply forewarning of what happens to the person committed to following him. It is neither a call to seek suffering as an end in itself nor an invitation to undergo an inner experience of dying. ‘If you want to follow me,’ he is saying, ‘be prepared for what you will have to face. They put me on a cross–and they may do the same to you. You will do well, then, to arm yourself daily with a willingness to take whatever ever may come to you because of me.’” [John White, Cost of Commitment, Location 880]

We have been forewarned that following Jesus will come at a cost. We should not be caught off guard when sacrifices are required. There is a daily training program we are to commit ourselves to – the everyday carrying of our cross. It will get us in shape to face what comes our way.

Let’s worship to “Endless Alleluia” by Bethel Music (Click here).

Let’s pray: God, please give us this magnificent obsession of following Jesus. May no cost be too much for us. Train us in willingness, in commitment, through the daily carrying of our cross. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– AK