A Simple and Profound Call to Live Like Jesus
David C. Cook, 2010, 254 pp. ISBN 978-1-4347-0192-3
Follow describes the cost and beauty of living Jesus' way. The three basic truths of discipleship are to love Jesus, love the world the way Jesus loves it, and love others who love Jesus: worship, mission, and community. Floyd McClung has been a missional leader and church planter in Afghanistan, Amsterdam, America, and Africa. He and Sally currently live in Cape Town, South Africa leading a movement called All Nations.
Introduction - Simple Yet Profound
A disciple is a trained person. Everything that is good and true about us will flow from knowing and being like Jesus. In order to follow Jesus, you must emulate him, patterning everything in your life after His life. (12)
"If you choose to follow Jesus, to commit or recommit your life to Him, then you can do so on His terms but not your own." (17)
"Jesus came to earth not just to save us personally with a private kind of salvation; He came to establish His radical, sweeping, upending kingdom on earth. … Jesus came to establish His rule on earth. …He is working toward a global revolution." (17) The Kingdom of God is "Jesus living on in us as the ruler and King of our lives--and through us transforming the world." (28)
Part One - Loving Jesus
1. Repenting of Religion
"I had been taught most of my life that devotion was duty to God, not delight in God. I quietly determined to live for delight, not duty." (28) "Loving God begins with the discovery that He has created us for intimacy and friendship with Him." "…loving Jesus is a heart response to His love for us, involving a commitment to obey Jesus each day of our lives. But we must allow God to love us to the point where He captures our complete devotion." (29)
"Make it your purpose to obey God's will for your life no matter what He asks of you, sight unseen." Remember that "obedience to God is an act of gratitude, not servitude." (40) "What God has in mind is not hard to discover if you are committed to obedience. He is able to reveal His will for your life to you, no question. But do you want to know the will of God for your life so you can decide if you like it or not? Or do you want to know so you can please God and obey Him?" (41) "Rebellion boils down to one word: disobedience. Disobedience comes from a proud heart that thinks it knows best." (41) "Obedience is responding to the love of God." (43) "The issue to settle is this: Will I obey God, period?" "He comes to live His life in us. This is good news!" (44) "Obedience is … allowing God to enter our lives so that our motivations are changed." (45) "Obedience to God makes it possible for us to discover our purpose in life." (46) "Obedience allows God to form Christ in us." (46)
"To become like Jesus means that we are committed to forgive the sins and carry the sorrows of others as Jesus did." (47) "We have to step down from the throne of domination and take up our cross of servanthood." (48) "Obedience brings greater revelation of the father's will for us." (51)
"He deserves nothing less than our absolute surrender to Him. Anything less demeans His greatness." (52) Making Jesus ruler of everything means surrendering total control of our lives and beliefs to Him. Life will be out of my control, but not out of His control.
God does not call just some to be missionaries leaving others not called. His one mission is His kingdom ruling over everything! If you are ready to join His mission, He is Lord of your life.
Church is "a community of revolutionary people who make Jesus the Lord of their whole lives and live to accomplish His mission." (55) Being "full time" is not a vocation but an attitude.
Every human being has two great purposes: "Intimate friendship with God and purposeful living for God." (59) If there is one area you are still holding back, you are still ruling your life.
"Doing all the right things for the wrong reasons means that all we have accomplished is a well-refined state of hypocrisy." (63) "It is so important that we make Jesus our Lord from a motive to please Him, and not to get something from Him." (65)
"When we put Jesus first in our lives, we unleash the power of the Creator of the universe to dwell within us and to work through us." (67)
"Making Jesus the Lord of everything can be a painful process, because it means giving to Jesus the big and little 'idols' of our lives. These idols can work their way into our identity and our sense of significance until we are no longer our true selves. We become what we imagine we are, rather than the people God made us to be. Tearing down something that has taken a place of idolatrous devotion in our hearts is like tearing out a piece of our own flesh." (67) "The Bible calls this painful and radical recalibrating of our lives repentance." (68)
"Repentance is a change of mind about the direction we are going…." (69) "True repentance occurs when we begin to see sin from God's point of view--when we see the way our sin has broken His heart." (70) "To repent is to turn from loving ourselves supremely to loving God first." (71) "Repentance is not a one-time thing … [but] a lifestyle. It is deciding that we are going to deal honestly with things as they come up in our lives." (72)
"Pride is an undue sense of self-importance. It is pretending to be something we are not, refusing to acknowledge our weaknesses or recognize our natural limitations. Pride is covering our problems or sins from those with whom we should be open and hiding behind excuses and rationalizations when confronted." (77) "Every sin committed can be traced back to pride." (77) "Pride is very subtle." "There is no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves; and the more we have it in ourselves, the more we dislike it in others…" (78, quoting C. S. Lewis).
"God is the author and perfecter of humility; Satan is the author and perfecter of pride." (80) "Pride is a form of moral insanity. If we fail to see God as immeasurably superior to ourselves, we fail to see Him at all." (81)
"Transparency is a willingness to be known for who we really are, to be ruthlessly honest about our lives." The greatest hindrance to transparency is our pride." (85) "Taking credit for the good that God has enabled us to do is stealing from God." (86)
"Sarcasm is a thinly veiled attempt to impress people by highlighting the faults of others." (9 90) "Proud people are critical and judgmental." (91)
"No form of leadership will be effective if it is not built on faithfulness and servanthood." (100) "The best way to find out how we can serve God most effectively is by starting where we are, by doing the things no one else will do." (101)
Three kinds of faithfulness are being faithful with little, being faithful with material things, and being faithful with what belongs to others. Taking care of what we have lays a character foundation. "A position of leadership may only compound areas of weakness in our character if we don't learn the lessons God has for us." (113)
The epitome of humility is prayer. "Those who are too busy to spend time with Jesus alone in prayer are too proud to learn from Him." (118) "The goal of prayer is to become like Jesus--for the sake of others." (118) "Prayer takes you beyond religion to Jesus Himself." (119) Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. "Our passion for the world is a measure of our passion for Jesus." (120) "We can focus wholeheartedly on only one person at a time--on ourselves or Jesus." (121)
Praying God's work back to him is powerful.
Part Two - Loving Those Who Don't Know Jesus
8. Practicing Jesus
"There is a 'Jesus deficit disorder' in the church today. The person of Jesus has been replaced with great enthusiasm for 'justice and reconciliation,' 'discipling the nations,' 'leadership principles,' 'core values,' and the 'kingdom of God.'" "What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more Nothing Less." (142 quoting Len Sweet and Frank Viola)
"We focus on the person of Jesus. … Jesus is the message…. We make Jesus known so He can be loved and obeyed. God's greatest priority is not transformation of society, justice, healing, miracles, church growth, church planting, house church, missions, recovery, Bible study, discipleship, or anything else--just … Jesus. … Jesus is central in everything." (142) The goal is becoming like Jesus for the sake of others. (147)
9. Sharing Jesus
Jesus related to crowds (those who gathered), seekers (those who responded to him), and disciples (those who followed him). He spent 75% of his time with His followers. In relation to the crowds he taught them, showed compassion, healed, fed, raised the dead, defended and inspired them. He did not pressure them but tried to arouse spiritual interest. He asked seekers to make costly choices. "For Jesus, evangelism was disciple-making." (154) "Sharing Jesus is partly about discerning the 'crowd' in our lives, building relationships with a 'community of seekers,' and then selecting a core group of potential disciples to invest in. Sharing Jesus--what we typically refer to as evangelism--cannot be separated from a process of finding those who are truly responsive to Jesus." (155)
"Presence without proclamation is not what Jesus modeled and taught. The good news of Jesus is truth to be told…. We are to share Jesus with all who will allow us, as long as we do that with both courage and decency." It is the message we share with people that conveys the truth that God loves them." (156)
"Jesus wants us to find the people in our lives that God has been preparing for the good news. If we look for them, we can expect those who are people of peace to respond with openness." (157) "…it is our job to sow the seed of the good news in a person's heart and it is Holy Spirit's job to cause that seed to take root and bring a harvest of new life." (166) "He always presented the truth and then allowed people the latitude to act upon it as they saw fit." (167)
10. Suffering with Jesus
"Our suffering is not so much for Jesus as with Him. He invites us to join Him among the lost, broken, diseased, abandoned, and hurting of our global community. Jesus is already there, beckoning us to join Him. …if we join Him we will probably suffer alongside Him." (178)
Part Three - Loving One Another
11. A Committed Community
"The first disciples did not just attend meetings…: gospel intentionality was their life. … Christian community was the very center of their lives because they knew it was the center of God's purposes on the earth." (187)
"How you love Jesus determines what you believe about mission, and what you believe about mission determines how you do church. … Our love for God fills us up and overflows into our love for one another, and that love then empowers us to love the lost." (188)
"When we come to faith in Jesus, we become part of the people who are sent by God into the world. This means that God's mission to save the world is our mission as well. … God has one mission and one group of people to accomplish His mission: the church. The church exists to love and enjoy God by aligning our hearts with His great longing to bring glory to Himself in the whole earth. There are not 'missionaries;' and 'nonmissionaries,' but the obedient or the disobedient." (190)
12. Allies in a Global Awakening
13. Gut-Level Transparency
14. Start a Simple Church!
"If we are not careful, time and effort can be spent maintaining the institutions of church instead of fulfilling the main calling of the church." (222) The three loves of the church: worship--to love Jesus with passion and truth; mission--to love those who don't know Jesus with courage and decency; and community--to love one another with transparency and intentionality. (222)
Appendix 1: A Discovery Bible Study
Appendix 2. Finding a Person of Peace
Appendix 3. Becoming a D-(Discovery) Group Starter
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