The Mustard Seed
Becoming Jesus' Disciple
Recently I met a man who said that the government in his home country is so corrupt, the only way to get officials to just do their job is to pay them large bribes. Later he told me he had worked in a government finance office. He was a Christian trying to work with integrity.
I said, "I bet that was hard. If you didn't play the game and go along with the corruption, you could get fired."
"No," he said, "you can get killed! Assassinated. So I finally quit that job. It was too dangerous."
Following Jesus can be dangerous. Jesus promised, "In this world you will have trouble." (John 16:33) What kind of trouble? Persecution. False accusations. Legal trouble. Financial trouble. Even death.
"Does the world hate you?" Jesus said. "Remember that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you like one of its own. But you do not belong to the world. I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you. I said, ‘A servant is not more important than his master.’ If people hated me and tried to hurt me, they will do the same to you. They will treat you like that because of my name." (John 15:18-21 NIRV)
Many times and in many ways Jesus said, "If you want to be my disciple, you must take up your cross every day and follow me." (Matt. 10:38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)
What does it mean to "take up your cross?" When I hear Christians use the phrase, "carry my cross," it sounds like big load of self-pity. That's not a "cross." In Jesus' time, a cross had only one purpose: Crucifixion! Death! A cross was not a piece of jewelry.
When you surrender your life to Christ, you die to yourself, you die to the world, and Christ is free to live His life in you. Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ. I don’t live any longer. Christ lives in me. My faith in the Son of God helps me to live my life in my body. He loved me. He gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 NIRV)
When you surrender your life to Christ and become His disciple, what do you lose? Absolutely nothing! All the pleasures and treasures that this world offers will soon be gone, anyway. So we suffer no loss when we follow the way of the cross. This helps us stand calm and strong for Christ in the face of hate from those who oppose Christ.
Most of us have not suffered the kind of persecution that killed New Testament Christians. However, we often find ourselves following the way of the cross when we get hit with a difficult choice -- the choice of doing what is practical and profitable, or doing what is right at a great cost. Disciples of Jesus do what is right even at the risk of suffering loss. Remember that little tests today are just practice for the big tests yet to come.
(to be continued)
On October 1, the Gallaudet Board of Trustees issued a statement announcing honorees at the May 2014 graduation commencement. Two names in particular caught our attention: Fr. Tom Coughlin and our own Don Peterson.
Don Peterson came to Gallaudet as a student back when Rev. Walter Westermann served as the first full-time pastor of Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf. Don recounts how Pastor Westermann went into dorm rooms and pulled the Lutheran lads out of bed on Sunday morning to get them to church. After he graduated, Don stayed on at Gallaudet to teach chemistry, regaling his students with unconventional and spectacular science demonstrations. During his retirement, Don has faithfully served his church as an officer, worship leader, and editor of this newsletter. The Gallaudet Trustees will honor him with the title Professor Emeritus.
Fr. Coughlin is a friend of Christ/Deaf primarily through his close family ties with our members. Every summer we can count on the Pettis family's absence as they head north to help staff Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York. Today Fr. Coughlin heads the Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate for the Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. Gallaudet Trustee will bestow Fr. Tom a well deserved honorary degree.
To view live Signed Sunday morning worship, click here
You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Silver Spring
a couple blocks south of the Metro Red Line Forest Glen Station
Sunday Worship: 9:30AM
in Ely 118.
Drop in and introduce yourself!!
Pastor Ron Friedrich