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Posts tagged with: Luke

A plate full of fried chicken, macaroni, okra, and greens

Following Jesus Today: Using Your Stuff for Kingdom Purposes

When we follow Jesus, we learn to think differently about “our stuff.” Whether we have relatively little or whether we have a lot, all of our possessions ultimately belong to the Lord and are committed to his work. What this means for each of us will vary with our circumstances and calling. But we will share together in a life of hospitality and generosity.

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A table beautifully set for a banquet

Following Jesus Today: Must I Leave Everything Behind?
Further Thoughts

In the New Testament gospels, when Jesus called people they often “left everything” to follow him. While there’s no doubt that following Jesus involved significant sacrifice, financial and otherwise, not every disciple of Jesus gave up literally everything. In Luke 5, for example, Levi “left everything” to follow Jesus but was still able to host a banquet in his home. Though Levi was the legal owner, he thought of his home in a completely new perspective. It was now devoted to the ministry of Jesus. It was a base for hospitality and generosity. For us, therefore, whether we own, rent, or live with others, “our stuff” is not really ours. Everything we have belongs ultimately to the Lord and is devoted to his purposes.

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A 1930's-era store window with a sign reading "Pay Your Tax Now"

Following Jesus Today: The Surprising Call of Jesus

The story of Levi in Luke 5 shows us, once again, that Jesus calls people who are on the margins of society. Often, those on the margins are even more responsive to the call of Jesus because they have less to give up than those who are more central and privileged. Yet, we must remember that Jesus also calls people who are on the margins of our own networks and preferences. Jesus doesn’t check with us first before he calls people to follow him.

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A man climbing the side of a mountain

Following Jesus Today: Why Take Risks?

The more we trust Jesus, the more we will take risks for the sake of the kingdom of God. We will be emboldened to try things we would not otherwise try, to love in ways we would not otherwise love. Why? Because we trust Jesus to guide us, empower us, and work through us. So, whether we are moving far away from home in response to God’s call, reaching out to care for a colleague at work, or confronting injustice in our city, we rely on Jesus, the one we trust because he is utterly trustworthy.

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The legs of someone sitting on top of a skyscraper

Following Jesus Today: Taking Risks

Following Jesus isn’t safe. If we’re going to follow Jesus today, we will inevitably take risks. We may put at risk our comfort, reputation, safety, or financial security. Yet, the more we trust Jesus and pay attention to him, the more we will be empowered to take risks for the sake of his kingdom and for the people he has entrusted to our care.

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A number of people joining hands in the middle of a circle

Following Jesus Today: Healing Beyond Healing

Healing was central to the ministry of Jesus. When he healed people, he demonstrated the reality of the kingdom of God. God’s power defeats disease. God’s love creates wholeness. So when God reigns, healing happens. Jesus offered physical healing, yes, but also healing beyond healing . . . relational healing, psychological healing, spiritual healing. Jesus seeks to make us whole in every way.

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An old car in a shed being worked on

Following Jesus Today: Must I Leave Everything Behind?

Sometimes Jesus calls people to follow him by leaving their current lives behind and starting over again in a brand new location. This happened to the first disciples of Jesus, for example. For most of us, however, following Jesus is something we do in our familiar cities, families, and workplaces. To be sure, following Jesus still requires plenty of leaving behind. Jesus will ask us to discard our worldly values, unjust practices, prejudicial biases, selfish materialism, and inborn “me first” attitude. We will come to see our whole life, including our daily work and everyday relationships, as contexts in which can follow Jesus faithfully.

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Three neon signs that say "Perfect"

Following Jesus Today: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Follow Jesus

In Luke 5, when Simon Peter observes Jesus doing an extraordinary miracle, he tells Jesus to go away because, as he says, “I am a sinful man.” But Jesus does not go away. Instead, he calls Simon to follow him and join his kingdom-centered mission. This is good news for us! It means we don’t have to try to be perfect in order to follow Jesus. Jesus calls sinners to follow him, people like Simon Peter, people like you and me.

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A family in a fishing boat bringing in the nets

Following Jesus Today: Responding to His Call

In the biblical Gospels we see Jesus calling those who will be his disciples. They respond by following him, literally. Today, we also respond to the call of Jesus. We are disciples in response to his initiative. Jesus calls us into relationship with himself and into a life of service. Following Jesus changes the way we work and live each day.

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The face of a male lion

Following Jesus Today: Proclaiming the Kingdom of God

Jesus said that his purpose was to proclaim the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not a place, an inner state of spiritual awareness, or life after death. Rather, the kingdom of God in the preaching of Jesus is God’s reign, God’s rule, God’s sovereignty. When we allow God to reign over every part of our lives, over every action and every word, we begin in this age to experience the reign of God. We celebrate the good news that “Our God reigns!”

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A person in the middle of a field with her hands raised in prayer

Following Jesus Today: Prayer and Purpose

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus chose purpose over popularity. His clarity about his life’s purpose and his ability to choose this over other tempting options were supported by his practice of prayer. Jesus often withdrew from the crowds in order to engage in conversation with his Heavenly Father. This clarified his sense of purpose and strengthened his resolve to do what he had been called to do. Similarly, you and I need time alone with God if we’re to know and to fulfill our purpose in life. Prayer elucidates and energizes purpose.

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A crowd of people with their hands in the air

Following Jesus Today: Purpose Over Popularity

Early in his ministry, Jesus was extremely popular with the crowds. They marveled at his teachings and were astounded by his healings. They wanted Jesus to stay with them. Yet Jesus was not governed by the feelings of others. He chose purpose over popularity. His example challenges us to live our lives in fulfillment of our calling, not in order to get the most “likes” or win the most “friends.” When we are clear about our purpose, then we can devote our lives to what really matters.

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A man tightrope-walking over a chasm

Following Jesus Today: Honoring the Authority of Jesus – An Example

Honoring the authority of Jesus can be difficult when he asks to do what we’d rather avoid. Loving our enemies, for example, is not something we’re naturally inclined to do. Many of us also struggle with other things Jesus said, like going directly to someone who has wronged us in order to reconcile. Truly, following Jesus is not always easy, but he will help us through the power of his Spirit.

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The synagogue in Capernaum.

Following Jesus Today: Honoring the Authority of Jesus

Jesus taught with surprising authority. Those who heard him marveled at the clarity and power of his words. We who seek to follow Jesus today are called, not just to marvel, but to believe and obey. Even when Jesus says something that makes us uncomfortable – like “Love your enemies” – our challenge is to act in faithful obedience. In this way our lives are built on solid ground.

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A "PUSH" sign on a door

Following Jesus Today: Anticipating Resistance

As Jesus faithfully proclaimed and lived the kingdom of God, he faced resistance, even from those who had been close to him. We will experience something similar as we seek to follow Jesus today. Knowing that resistance will come allows us to be ready. We won’t stand alone, but will follow Jesus in a community that can help us discern what is right and persevere in the face of opposition.

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