September 9, 2001

Luke 14:25-33

One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters -- yes, even one's own self! -- can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.

"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.'

"Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't he send an emissary and work out a truce?

"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can't by my disciple."

<The Message >


1. Sounds like a pretty daunting task. Anyone who thinks they are up to this challenge is probably cruising for a fall. It would be appropriate to pray for one's self. Here is a portion of a Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (United Methodist Hymnal, #607):

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me having nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am Thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

2. Disciples know better than anyone else how frail they are. Disciples need to be praying for one another. Here is a prayer of consecration for Deaconesses from the 1956 Methodist Church. How can you transform it to be in prayer for the specific other people in your life?

O eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who didst call Phoebe and Dorcas into the service of thy Church; look upon these thy servants who are to be set apart to the office of deaconess. Give to them, we pray thee, such understanding of thy holy gospel, such firmness of Christian purpose, such diligence in service, and such beauty of life in Christ, that they may be to all whom they teach or serve a worthy revelation of the meaning and power of the Christian life. May they so order their time and nourish their minds and hearts that they may constantly grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may steadily increase in power to lead others unto him.

Grant that they may have strength of body, mind, and soul for the fulfillment of thy will in the holy task to which thou hast called them; and grant them thy Holy Spirit, that they may worthily discharge the work committed to them, to the blessing of mankind and to the praise of Christ our Saviour. Amen.

3. How would you move these male-language models into today's language? Is that they only thing which would have to change. We don't do "obey" stuff the same way it was done two hundred centuries ago, two centuries plus ago or even half a century ago. How does this get translated for Gen-Xers and subsequent generations? To work on this issue to to work on strengthening the church.

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