What is the cost of following Jesus? I was honored to speak at Brookwood Church last Sunday when we explored that question together. The passage from Luke 14:25-35 can be a difficult one for many of us (myself included). So what does it truly mean to be a follower of Christ? What does discipleship in Christ require?
The outline, discussion questions and Family Talk guides for this message are available on the church website.
How do you struggle with the concepts addressed in this passage?
<VIDEO: The Two Question Prayer by Joshua J Masters>
What should you pray when you don’t know what to say anymore? What do you do when you feel like you’re out of prayers? As a pastor, I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re tired of praying.They’ve asked God to change their circumstance, fix their relationships, or transform their lives—but they still don’t feel connected to God.
I’ve experienced that same drought of divine intimacy myself, and it’s often because I’m focused on an outcome rather than my relationship with God. During those times, I’d obviously tell you I desire a closeness with God. But in reality, my heart and actions would reveal a secret hypocrisy. Is it possible that we feel disconnected from God—that He’s not answering our prayer because we’re asking the wrong questions?
What if we changed the focus of our prayers from us to Him? What if we simply asked God two questions:
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[VIDEO: After Easter by Joshua J Masters]
It’s the week after Easter. Our holiday clothes are back on their hangers, and our empty tomb memes are falling further down our social media pages. The leftover ham is tucked snuggly into the refrigerator, ready for its role in a much less grand series of lunches. Life will return to normal this week. But should it?
Life for the disciples didn’t return to normal after the resurrection. They could not say, “What a lovely Resurrection Day,” pretending the significance of Christ’s return would merely last a day. They tried to return to a normal life.
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[VIDEO: When I Think, “I’m not Strong Enough”]
A Think This, Not That Post.
I’ve always had a deep desire to become a knight. When I was young (although not as young as one would hope for such a thing), I wrote a letter to the Queen of England asking what deed I might perform to make me worthy of knighthood in her eyes. That was about twenty-five years ago—but the Queen is very busy; I’m sure she’ll get back to me soon. The truth is, I don’t always feel like I have the strength to be me, let alone the strength to be a knight.
There are events in our lives that knock the wind out of us, events that make us feel we don’t have the strength to fight or even stand. The truth is, we probably don’t have enough strength to stand on our own in those moments.
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[VIDEO: The Bat Pastor Teaches on Identity and Purpose]
Are you trying to become a Hero of Faith? Join the Bat Pastor as he shares these short and practical training exercises that will help you pursue a relationship with Jesus.
TODAY’S TRAINING: Identity and Purpose
1. CONSIDER: Why would any superhero want to call himself The Golden Spoon?
2. READ: 2 Timothy 2:20-21
In a wealthy home, some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21 NLT)
3. ASK: Am I living my life as a golden utensil or is it a life of common clay?
4. PRAY: Father, purify me so I might be used for an honorable purpose. Amen.
How have you learned to live a life of purpose for the Kingdom? Comment below.
© 2017 Joshua J. Masters. Please see the Conditions of Use for this blog.
[Video: A Pruning by Any Other Name]
When Gina and I bought our house, we fell in love with the landscaping. The previous owners meticulously designed the property to bloom in cycles. This created a seasonal adventure in our own yard, allowing us to see something new blooming nearly every week. Never having owned a house before, I didn’t know much about gardening. What I can tell you (now that I know what they are) is that the Knock Out Roses in the back were completely out of control.
Everything I read told me to prune the rose bushes all the way down—basically to the stubs. But I couldn’t imagine how that could be good for the plant, so I just cut off the excess and made them look pretty. The result was that the bushes were not nearly as healthy. They struggled because I was looking at short-term aesthetics over long-term growth.
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