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Radical commitment 2



'Take up your cross daily, and follow me.' Luke 9:23 NLT

Let's consider: (1) Commitment at work. In the past, employers valued their workers and workers valued their employers. But today's workplace has become increasingly adversarial, with workers resenting their bosses and doing the bare minimum, while bosses are often demanding and take their employees for granted. God's way calls for mutual commitment. 'Don't work hard only when your master is watching and then shirk when he isn't looking; work hard and with gladness all the time, as though working for Christ' (Ephesians 6:6-7 TLB). If you are an employer, take note who you represent - God. (2) Commitment at church. Many folks have a casual, cafeteria-style approach to church: they pick what they like and leave what they don't. Jesus said, 'I will build my church' (Matthew 16:18 NIV). And membership in it calls for a covenant relationship between believers: one in which we agree to encourage, nurture, protect, cherish, pray for each other and fulfil our mission together (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31). (3) Commitment to Christ. Jesus made a radical commitment to us through his birth, life, suffering, crucifixion and death, and he asks us to commit radically to him. 'Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me"' (Luke 9:23 NLT). That means you no longer follow your own wishes or will, but follow the Lord, his wishes and his will.

That's radical commitment, and it's what God expects from you.

Soulfood: Gen 40-41 Luke 10:13-24 Ps 28 Pro 5:3-6,

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Radical commitment 1



'I have been crucified with Christ.' Galatians 2:20 NIV

We live in a time of commitment-phobia. We want to get as much as we can while giving back as little as possible. We want to be there for others in good times but not bad times. And our lack of commitment is reflected in the statistics. The marriage rate is down while the divorce rate is up. Involvement in church and participation in compassionate causes are both down. We're becoming a society that fears putting itself on the line or being pinned down by responsibility and obligation. To escape the awkwardness and embarrassment of saying no, we avoid our obligations and responsibilities by simply being elsewhere when we're needed. And we're a 'sound bite' generation with attention spans geared to fifteen-second commercials. We prefer our sermons simple, entertaining and, above all, short!

Radical commitment is rare - but it's what God wants from us! The Bible says, 'It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it' (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV).

How about commitment to marriage? God doesn't see it as a 50/50 arrangement, but one where both sides give 100 per cent. It's a sacred covenant made before God between a man and woman, 'for better or worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; until parted by death'. And it works best when both partners have learned to say with Paul, 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me' (Galatians 2:20 NIV). That's radical commitment, and it's the way to a great marriage.

Soulfood: Gen 37-39 Luke 10:1-12 Ps 5 Pro 5:1-2,

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Encourage your pastor



'Honour...your leaders in the Lord's work.' 1 Thessalonians 5:12 NLT

If you want to encourage your pastor: (1) Cut the criticism. Most workers are evaluated each year based on their job performance; pastors are evaluated every week. Remember, if a particular sermon doesn't scratch where you itch, chances are somebody else needs to hear it. (2) 'Remember your leaders who taught you the Word' (Hebrews 13:7 NLT), and pray for their spiritual growth. Goethe said, 'If you treat a person as he is, he'll stay that way. But if you treat him as what he ought to be, he'll become what he ought to be and could be.'

(3) Write a note. Especially when something your leader says or does ministers to you. Verbal encouragement is good, but a note can be read many times over. (4) Put your talents to work. For example, if you're mechanically inclined, service the pastor's car. If you're technologically savvy, help them improve their computer skills. Instead of saying, 'You need to do this,' say, 'I'd like to help by doing.' Ask where your skills are most needed and become an active participant. (5) Squash gossip. James said, 'If you...don't control your tongue...your religion is worthless' (James 1:26 NLT). Counter negative talk with positive comments, and correct misinformation with truth. If all else fails - walk away!

(6) Be openly responsive. Nothing encourages leaders like seeing people respond to their preaching and teaching. (7) Lose the measuring stick. Instead of expecting them to be a mirror image of their predecessor, thank God for your pastor's individual style to minister to those in need.

Soulfood: Gen 35-36 Luke 9:57-62 Ps 149 Pro 4:25-27,

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