How are you going to continue on this adventurous journey of following Jesus? Remember, the survey says you’ve got no chance. You can’t commit. You can’t discipline yourself. You can’t give your whole self to Jesus.
I’m here to tell you that you HAVE to – WE have to — and WE will.
What is it going to take? You must continually say yes to Jesus. Not just once. Not just when you feel like it, but continually.
When I first entered into college as a baseball player, I rode the bench. All year. When my sophomore year came, I started the first 3 games and then I rode the bench. Suddenly, my dreams of becoming a pro baseball player were diminishing.
I had three options at this point: I could quit. I could work as hard as I had been. Or I could work even harder, be more disciplined, dedicate myself even more, sacrifice even more than I had been.
Following Jesus is no different than what I did with baseball. In fact, following Jesus, remaining faithful to God’s dream for your life, requires more discipline, more dedication, more sacrifice than anything else in life. It isn’t about being nice or about taking your God box with you whenever you feel like it. It is so much more.
Let me throw in a little caveat: There is NOTHING you can do to earn God’s favor and grace. NOTHING. While God is opposed to earning, God isn’t opposed to effort.
The sacrifice of Jesus, the life, death and resurrection Jesus paid for you, SHOULD compel us to sacrifice more, to give more, to love more, to hope more, to pray more, to be more dedicated, more disciplined in following Jesus than anything else. We do this not necessarily through our own efforts but through opening ourselves to be moved by the Holy Spirit more and more.
When Officer Gable told me I wouldn’t ever be a pro baseball player, I gave my all to this dream. I wrote down goals. I practiced. I worked out. I drank various supplements. I joined great teams. When I didn’t feel like working out or practicing, I had friends in place who would encourage me when I didn’t feel like it. I dreamed of becoming one no matter what people said.
And I did. I played pro baseball. One season. One summer. I achieved my goal.
It was great. It truly was. I reached a dream.
Through that process, however, I learned something of much more value than that dream.
What I learned was this: Following Jesus, becoming more Christ-like, is the ultimate dream. Since then on, I’ve used that dream to help other people achieve their dreams.
My dreams in this world remain: To become a pastor of a radical church, to become the best husband and father possible, to write books, to change lives, to lead people to Jesus, to become a tri-athlete. These are all great dreams that require dedication, discipline, and sacrifice.
But the only dream that is of eternal significance is how I’m following Jesus in the midst of chasing those dreams. Chase any dream you want, but consider the SO THAT portion…
Want to buck the trend of what “Almost Christian” – that book – told me? Want to live a great story? Want to give yourself to a journey that is more adventurous and more radical than you’ve ever dreamed?
You’ve got what it takes. You can be different. The RADICAL MINIMUM STANDARD of the journey is this: Embrace God’s true identity for you. Dream great God SO THAT dreams consumed by sacrificial love, compassion and crazy generosity. And continually SAY YES to Jesus while doing life with a faith community.
Here’s the takeaway. Do this for me as end here this morning.
1. Continually say YES to Jesus. Surrender the keys to him. Be disciplined. Set goals. Analyze the gap between the actual and the desired in your life.
* Dream dreams so that the world will be a better place. Reach out to the lonely, the depressed kids in your school. Love unconditionally. Pray for your classmates. Start a bible study.
2. Second, join a faith community. Find others who are willing to be on your team and who can encourage you when you don’t feel like it. Don’t leave here without committing to those two things.
Stay on the journey of following Jesus! It will require sacrifice, dedication, discipline, and a willingness to suffer.
But man, will it be worth it!
The question is: Are you going to stay on this incredible, radical journey of following Jesus or not
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Matthew 16:24
Stay on the journey…