I was hosting a youth gathering at my home recently where I showed them a recorded message from Francis Chan. In the message Chan talked about how we receive so many messages and do nothing with them. He gave the analogy of telling his daughter to clean her room and she didn’t do it until about the fourth time of being told. He said what if his daughter came back like we do with how we treat the word and direction we’ve been given by God’s word. “Dad I wrote down what you told me about cleaning my room, Dad, I memorized that you said to clean my room and finally Dad, some of my friends and I are going to start a three-week study of what it would look like to clean my room. This is a funny analogy but it is so true about how we avoid what the word of God is telling us every time we read the word or a message from God. So many times we just take the word and read it but do not take action steps in following what God has spoken into our lives. In Mark 8:34, Jesus tells the crowd and His disciples to deny themselves, take up the cross, and follow him. In this one verse Jesus gives us three specific commands to do if we wish to be true followers of the way, the truth, and the life. For me we really can’t proceed with reading any further without dealing with this one verse of scripture. First, Jesus’ says to deny ourselves and He means more than just denying ourselves from personal items and desires. We’re to deny ourselves to the point that we see the will that God has for our lives. It’s like the Brandon Heath song, “Give Me Your Eyes” so we may have a glimpse of how God truly intends for us to see things.

     Secondly, Jesus wants us to take up our cross and not just sometimes. Your true cross can’t be put down when things get tough or when you think it’s too hard to continue any further with the weight upon your shoulders. When my son was in the hospital with an unshakable strain of flu it was without a doubt the most difficult struggle my family ever had to face. I spent most of the time of his stay in the hospital by myself while my wife took care of our remaining family back at home. I look back on what my son had to be thinking and how I was trying to strong for him. As my son’s condition continued to deteriorate it came to a point where they wanted to intubate my son once again and he looked at me in the eyes and without saying a word, he said no. I went down the hall to call my wife and to pray about this difficult decision. The numbers the doctors were giving for his survival were not favorable so through prayer I allowed my son to make the decision for himself and God gave me peace about it. The Holy Spirit never left my side during the whole ordeal. My son carried his cross to the point of death. He never got mad at God or asked why was him that was dying. My son actually looked at me and apologized for getting sick. God used this young man in so many ways it’s incredible. (Many future blogs will include more of his story) He never put his cross down or denied that Jesus was the Lord of his life.
     Finally, Jesus says for us to follow him. It is time for us to take the scriptures that are written in the Bible and really absorb what is being said through them. The gospel demands a response and not just a click on the like button on facebook. Following Jesus will be the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do but at the same time the most rewarding. I’m not talking about following Jesus in the current state of just feel good messages where people just want goose pimple feeling but following a cause that will cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand up and get you out of your comfort zone. We need to quit Americanizing our savior who died on the cross for our sins. The God who is calling you to action isn’t going to give you suggestions on how to live but give you undeniable commands on how to live. If your life is feeling boring or mundane then you’re not following Passion’s Path.
I’m not a great writer but I think we all have something to say that matters.
I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Passion’s Path.
God Bless you all!
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