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Daily Encouragement - January 27

Mark 3:13-19 Common English Bible

Jesus went up on a mountain and called those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve and called them apostles. He appointed them to be with him, to be sent out to preach, and to have authority to throw out demons. He appointed twelve: Peter, a name he gave Simon; James and John, Zebedee’s sons, whom he nicknamed Boanerges, which means “sons of Thunder”; and Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James, Alphaeus’ son; Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

This is God’s word - for us, God’s people. Thanks be to God.

Often when we read an obituary and we come to the part about the persons life and activities, we’ll read something like this:

- so and so was an ‘active member of their church’. Interesting adjective. Should there be another kind.

Kidding aside…we often look at someone who is ‘on fire’ for the Lord and the Gospel and we’ll usually see a list of achievements similar to this:

- organized bake sale

- chaired finance committee

- sang in choir

- assisted in worship

- serves as an usher

Don’t get me wrong. All of these are very important things in the life of all congregations. However, as important as these works are, they do not make up the essence of what a disciple for Christ is or what a disciple of Christ is empowered to do.

Jesus didn't give his disciples simple, safe assignments when he commissioned them into his ministry. They were difficult missions for these average blue collar first disciples…These tasks are difficult for anyone…they were called to:

- cure the sick

- raise the dead

- cleanse the lepers

- cast out demons.

How would any of you like to be handed that as a list of "things to do” by a pastor? Would you volunteer for discipleship if you realized those were the expectations?

This is an unbelievable list of tasks. And I think it’s that way for a reason. The disciples path isn’t one that’s designed to be taken alone. And it IS NOT EASY. We can’t summon up enough will to empower ourselves to make these miracles occur. We’re made uniquely, but we don’t possess super hero powers. The only one who has what’s necessary to be able to provide power of that magnitude - the power necessary to carry out these daunting disciple responsibilities…is Jesus Christ alone. Only the one who perfectly embodied the kingdom can breath the life of his Spirit into you….and into a new generation of disciples of all ages, colors and backgrounds.

Gracious God, you call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship. Help us to understand and accept the costs of following Christ, that we may know the joy you intend for the faithful. Make us lifelong learners in the school of faithfulness, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Pastor Michael Williams

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