September 5, 2004
 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 good-bye, you can't be my disciple.
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1. Life is a maturational endeavor. We are to grow in wisdom and stature and nearer to GOD. For some immaturity is the order of the day all their life long. Others begin early or mid-stream and grow and plateau and grow and plateau. All manner of habits, tapes, can be used as an excuse to remain plateaued and not take a next step. Among the strongest of these hinderances are those related to family that shapes who we have become. Our father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters, comrades, friends are all in relationship with us and call our very self to not get too far ahead of them.
2. As we listen to the restraints all around us, it is important to engage our reason in the midst of the emotional ties with those who have helped us come this far by faith. If we are intent on bringing "thy kingdom on earth as it is in heaven" it is important to plan ahead even as we celebrate and remember those who have gone before and are still with us. What will it cost to follow the way of Jesus, attending to the journey to GOD and resurrection? Will it cost you your father? your mother? Is it worth that cost?
3. Knowing how strong the ties are with our family of origin, our culture of early days, we are helped by considering them to be this other king. How do we face them? What agreement can be worked out with them? If we can't work something out does that mean it is fish or cut bait with faith, with family?
How simply can you put the choices of life you are facing? In facing them that directly, are you empowered to choose as well as you can and proceed to enjoy and face the consequences?