Posts Tagged priority

Luke 14:25-33 “The Cost of War” JUMC 20130909


25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. [NRSV]

The Cost of Discipleship: Hate your family and carry your cross. How many of you want to sign up?

  • The Cost of Discipleship: A building project that needs to be completed
  • The Cost of Discipleship: A Battle as the underdog, who had the options for seeking peace.
  • The Cost of Discipleship: Give away all your possessions. Who is left to follow?


Why so strict and exclusive?


Disciples redefined: Family comes second to Jesus. Still a hard saying but think of the covenant faith in the context of Jesus’s day: In his context: People would say, we are part of Aarons’ family, we are covered, we have connections.


Jesus redefines family as those who love God as our core family rather than automatically our biological family. (Be clear: I’m not saying that every thing under the umbrella of church should come first, but our relationship to God supersedes all others.


If that is not hard enough, Jesus redefines our self-worth. God does not measure us with a profit and loss statement. It is not about our wealth or debt. It is not about our good works or our sins.

Jesus calls into question first the relationships and then the things that we confuse our: 1 confidence and trust, 2 our value and worth, and 3 who’s work drives our lives.

Jesus speaks of carrying ‘the’ cross. The cross is the sign of ultimate self-less gift of placing all else down and picking up the very thing God calls us to do.

“The” Cross

Often we define my cross is different from your cross. The catch is that the cross is neither mine nor your cross. It is God’s work that we carry.

  • Have you ever wondered if we took these words literally that the church would not be struggling for members but would the greatest force for good?
  • Have you ever wondered if we took these radical and extreme forces of guiding our lives that we would be free from so many rules, fears and limitations?
  • Have you ever wondered if we took Jesus at his word in these basic actions, that we would see the same powers, healing, transformations, and life that Jesus shows?


We are quick to water them down. We excuse each other trying to make it easier on each other.

The two mini parables Jesus tells in the context of discipleship are about the process of building and the gift of discernment about choosing our battles.

These are the HOW TO part of this disciples lesson.

If the requirements are outrageous, so should be the ways to faithfully follow

First, as a building project, our life as a disciple is built over time. It is not immediate. Even the Apostle Paul with is conversion on the Damascus road, is transformed from passionate life of rule following, through a radical blindness, to see that the rest of his life was God and not his own. The progressions of faith in his letters give witness to the depth of faith that builds over time. The letter to the church at Thessaloniki addresses problems and disputes. The book of Romans his latest letter is thick with faithful thought and practice.

Second, discipleship is learning the wisdom to choose our battles. There is more than one way to show our faithfulness. We need to be cautious when were here there are four simple truths or seven habits or three priorities that sum of our lives.

We may have core values, but how we use those basic beliefs shapes us in  360 degrees.

The So What? Bottom line

Jesus makes it clear:

Discipleship is not easy, but it is worth seething through to the end.

Discipleship is about constant choices about our relationships, possessions and spiritual compass.


The challenge is for the church, filled with disciples to transform the world for Christ.

How we do it is not easy, but it is worth seeing it through

It calls for constant choices about our relationship, possession and spiritual compass.


Invitation to read “Remember the Future” Bishop Robert Schnase



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Luke13:10-17 Church Work JUMC 20130826


10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. [NRSV]

Is this passage about Sabbath rules?
Is this passage about miraculous healing story?
Is this passage about a woman’s desperation to try anything because of pain?

If you are, or know someone who lives with chronic pain, you know how even the most simple or small task can be debilitation and excruciating. Typically finding a balancing point in one’s pain tolerance is called a good day, even though the pain is present.

Backbreaking work from years of stressed postures, injury, surgery, over worked muscles and joints or autoimmune triggers…the pain hurts the same, no matter how it started. This woman who comes to see Jesus, and Jesus sees her. He is moved with compassion and see a world broken and hurting summed up in one person’s experience.

Something caused the woman’s pain, it might have taken years or over night, but it reached a tipping point eighteen years ago. It had affected her spirit. Certainly, in that time she had gone to the temple for healing, encouragement, and blessing.

The priest, who is not able to do in 18 years, what Jesus can do in an instant, points to something he can manage and control. Why can’t the priest be happy the woman is healed? Jesus uses the situation to show that at times, God and good and wholeness will threaten some folks. It is an act of self-defense to try to save face.

Why do we need to always be right, particularly when we are not? It is a sign that our view is upside down. The charge that Jesus makes is the priest was acting hypocritical. Saying one thing is important when acting like something else is more important.

Five times in seven verses the idea and concept of Sabbath is defined. Once by the priest, correcting Jesus and the crowd and the woman healed. Four times by Jesus who reveals the Sabbath is a day for teaching, gathering, learning, worshiping, and healing…all of which require work.

Is the passage about working on Sunday or caring more about rules than people?
Is the massage about pain management or turning to Jesus for wholeness?
Is this passage about trying what we have done for the past 18 years and expect a different out come?

This message is to the faithful, because the faithless are not ready or willing to hear it.. ie) the priest

The message is about saying one thing and living another.

Sing our songs, but not believe that Jesus Loves us. Or that God so great, when I have a better idea to cut a corner

This message is about talking Jesus today, living by my rules when it’s Tuesday..

Jesus is saying: don’t fool yourself because God cant be fooled.


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