Luke 12-14 Gives us a difficult description of the cost of following Christ.
Luke 12:21~ a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.
vs 29~ don’t worry about what you eat or drink
vs 33~ sell your possessions and give to the poor
vs 49~ “I have come to set the world on fire. How I wish it was already burning!” ~Jesus
Luke 14:33~ You cannot be my disciple without giving up everything you own.
My heart is grieved with the cost of being a disciple, and that it is ‘very difficult’ (easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle) than for the rich to enter the Kingdom. We are very rich. We are very ‘blessed’. So blessed in fact, that it becomes easy to minimize the words of Christ to mere suggestions or tokens of wisdom; in the same category as a fortune cookie. What if Christ was serious about what he said in these chapters?
Luke 12~Don’t fear those who can kill your body, they can’t do anything more after that. Fear God!
God knows you and loves you! He isn’t planning harm for you, He is planning good!
He cares for you more than sparrows.
Forgiveness is a huge issue. Be reconciled. Quickly!
Don’t be afraid, little flock. It gives God great pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
Put your treasure in heaven.
Be ready for my return. [all my paraphrases…you should read the chapters for full impact!]
The Kingdom of God is supposed to permeate every area of our life, like yeast works through dough. We should have nothing left of our own ambition, only Christ’s Kingdom.
Jesus is the Narrow Door.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus marks the cost of following Him pretty clearly: IT WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING. The life of a disciple is full of love, joy and peace, but also much suffering. There is a crucifying that must take place as we enter from death to life. My family has decided that His Kingdom is worth any cost. His Presence is worth any amount of suffering. We have set our hearts towards His Kingdom, as Christ set his face towards Jerusalem. We are striving for a house of Worship, Prayer, and Discipleship in North Minneapolis. We want to see men and women, young and old, fall in love with a Risen Christ.
- Worship: Declaring who God is to the world around us. This looks like songs sometimes. At other times it might be shouting, obedience, evangelism, hard work…all we do must declare God’s glory.
- Prayer: We need prayer. Prayer changes the spiritual atmosphere. Nothing good happens without it.
- Discipleship: Living a life abandoned to Jesus in close proximity to others; training them in the way they should go.
Jesus showed us what love looks like: He gave up everything to pursue us. Phil 2 talks about Him leaving His heavenly throne and becoming a man in order to save us. This is love, not that we loved Him, but that He loved us and gave His life for us on the cross. Our love response must be the same. We must give up our everything to pursue His Kingdom and Love. Anything less than our everything is offensive. God has put a desire in our hearts that people could meet Him, face to face, in real time.
This is why the 810 project exists. We want to see the men and women of North Minneapolis meet the Love of Jesus. As they enter His Presence, they will never be the same. As they fall in love with Him, they will in turn give up all they have to follow Him. They will testify to their friends, family, neighbors how great the love of God is. Why? Because His love compels us. If we have the love of God in us, we must tell others about it. There simply is no containing this great love. This isn’t about being an evangelist or even a defined strategy to ‘take over territory’ for God. This is about families falling in love with Christ to the point where they are completely undone. This life has no value anymore compared to the joy of Knowing Him.
Below are some stories of what God has been doing lately through the project. I hope you are encouraged to step out on your own journey of faith. None of these stories happened in my own initiative. These are God breathed. He’s got stories He wants to write in your life too (He is the author and perfecter of your faith). What story could he write for you co-worker? Your neighbor? The guy at the gas station? Pray. Seek His face. Fall in love with Him. As the Hymn goes: “the things of earth will grow strangely dim…” His Spirit is alive and wants to wow you with His intimate power and grace.
I make a habit when I’m working on the house to check in with neighbors as often as I can. Some days are more fruitful than others. The other week as I was leaving the house, I noticed four neighbor boys standing on their porch looking through the window. They were locked out of their house. I let them use my phone to call their mom, who was at the hospital with their sister. She agreed to let me drive the boys down and meet them there. Now I’ve got 4 boys aged 14 down to 7 in my car for 15 minutes.
“Have you boys heard of the Gospel?” I ask. “Like the music?” was their response. I went on to explain where the music came from and how the Gospel is good news. “Like a birthday party?” they ask. Yep. Like a birthday party, a free gift because someone loves you. As I continue to unpack the Story, they would occasionally ask questions and by the time we reached downtown they had a pretty good understanding of God the Creator, sin our separator, and Christ our Savior. Finally I ask the oldest, “is this something you want to do?” (referring to salvation). “Yeah,” was his reply. He didn’t know how to pray and asked for my help. When we were finished, he had a big smile and exclaimed “I feel happy!”
The three younger brothers were next. When they finished, they each testified to feeling God’s presence. The middle kid says, “I feel strong!” I am able to pray over them some more in the car and God’s presence was thick, “like electricity”. Another friend had randomly stopped by the 810 house earlier that day with a “comfort pie” and I was able to deliver that to the family.
Now the work begins. The mom has a Mormon background, and is not willing to let these boys come to church with me yet. Please pray for continued favor and opportunity with this family.
We continue our regular Thursday outreaches and they have been very fruitful. This past Saturday we had a large outreach with 50+ messengers from and evangelism school called Messenger Boot Camp (trinityworks.org). They gathered at a local grocery store where a mom was shot several weeks ago. We set up a prayer table at the entrance and were blessed to pray with MANY customers. We distributed free bread and the Gospel throughout the community and prayed with many more neighbors.
Please pray for continued favor with the store owner and for water on the seeds that were planted over the weekend.
The electrical work has begun. There were some issues with the placement of boxes and code compliance, so we will need some more funds to have Excel Energy move the power line so we can get a new box installed. I’m awaiting a bid on the plumbing, but confident that God will continue to supply all that we need. He has been so faithful with the way He’s directed these contacts. I’m amazed at His favor. (below, Windows donated from Marvin are installed!)
Once the electric and plumbing are done, we can begin re-sheet rocking the upstairs to move in. I’m very excited to be able to move into the community. There are many seeds that have been planted that I know will produce fruit if they can receive more water (Spirit) and light (God’s word). I am so excited to see what God will do next!
If you are willing to give towards “Establishing a house of Worship, Prayer, and Discipleship in North Minneapolis” we would be eternally grateful. Giving can happen online at www.damascusway.com
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org