Living by the Power

Living-Power-TD10-01166School of Discipleship Vision/Goal 8: Understand that the Christian life and ministry cannot be lived apart from God’s help.

When arriving at Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship program in January 2014,  I was blessed to learn what the vision for the program would be. After just over a year and a half of having the privilege of being discipled and trained in the ways of God, I feel as though it is this core value that has become an increasing reality in my life.

When first pondering upon this truth- the Christian life made possible only by Christ- it seemed rather like a gimme. However, only now has the Lord been teaching me in a greater measure of the significance and necessity of His Spirit being preeminent in my life.

In a recent message we heard by Major Ian Thomas, he states, “ Christ is the only One capable of living the Christian life”. Oh the thought! When I ponder upon this, I must humbly conclude that this is the only thing that makes sense.  I find myself coming repeatedly to quick failure when attempting to live the Christian life in the flesh. One author put it well when he declared, “There is nothing more nauseating than the flesh trying to be holy”.

Although the Lord has had to remind me of my neediness for His Spirit, I am blessed and relieved by the liberating thought that I simply will never have what it takes to live for Christ, but He sure does! I am challenged to remember this beautiful promise!  My flesh must die, and then I will be able to live. It is in the moments of feeling strong that I invite a dangerous conception of following Christ in my own so called strength. Through self-denial, I must stay needy and completely dependent upon Christ alone.

Praise God for His Spirit that does indwell us, as we can be sure that His power and enabling that has kept us until now will continue to sustain us until the end.

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4

—School of Discipleship student

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True Discipleship

True-Discipleship-TD13-01075When I first started to read True Discipleship, I realized that I would be getting a lot of answers to questions that I had had in the back of my mind. Questions about Scripture passages like, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 (KJV)and “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 (KJV). A few of the statements that Jesus said sound so radical, to the point of impossible. The thought that runs through my head is, “forsake all? is that even possible?”. The truth is that I can’t and never would be able to forsake all, because my flesh wouldn’t allow me too. The Holy Spirit in me is the only way. I cannot live a perfect life no matter how much I try but Christ indwelling my heart changes me more and more into his image. Christ enables me to be a Christian.  I claim what Paul said ” I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

Believing that Jesus walked the earth is easy. Believing what He said and obeying requires faith and trust in God. To be a true disciple of Christ, I must hail Him as King over my life and obey when He speaks. Yet Jesus offers so gently, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29. What does it cost on my part to be a true disciple and what is my motivation, is now the question. My part is surrender completely and know that Christ is worth it and worthy of all praise. Radical is the normal for a Christian because Jesus is the Christian life, He showed us how to live — To be different and to stand out by how we love one another (John 13:34-35).

—School of Discipleship student

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The Power of Relationship

Power-Relationship-RT15-03647Last year I had my relationship with God and that was good enough. I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live to please God. Hmmm, there are a lot of I’s in that sentence. Then God brought me to Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship, not only to grow me in my walk with Him, but to show me the importance of walking with other Christians. Just like the song “They Will Know We Our Christians by Our Love”, God created us to live together in unity; to work together and encourage one another.

Right now for class we are going through the book of Philippians. Paul’s love for the church stands out to me, it was his desire and goal to serve the church and see his brothers and sisters grow in the Lord.

He says “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” Philippians 1:21-26

Paul was so selfless and willing to give up his wants to pour himself out for the benefit of the Philippians. If it helped anyone, Paul was willing to do it. This shows me that I can’t just have my relationship with God; Jesus says we love Him by obeying His commands, and the second greatest command is to love one another. How can I love God when I live only for myself and refuse to serve others?

If I was faced with the choice like Paul to meet Jesus and be free at last from trials or to continue living and encourage others, what would I do?

—School of Discipleship student

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To Live as Christ

How am I to live? (This is a question I have often asked myself.)Live-as-Christ_DSC0252

We can sum it up in one sentence…

I am to live as Jesus lived.

So the more important question is how did Jesus live here on earth?

Jesus by His birth, life, and death represented the very definition of humility.

He lived in such a way that no one felt intimidated by Him. Friend or foe approached Him freely. He lived in a way that He had no reputation; if you would have passed Him on the street you probably wouldn’t have recognized Him unless someone pointed Him out to you.

Jesus being fully God and also fully human faced every temptation that we face today. Being fully God He was perfect and did not sin. Jesus as human let Himself be touched by people and He reached out to them too. The children, the lepers, and many others felt the warmth of His hands.

Nothing Jesus did on earth was for His personal gain or selfish ambition. He had many opportunities to use people for His advantage. The crowd that followed Him were ready to make Him king. Jesus could have influenced the rich and intelligent that came to Him in a way that would have pleased them so that they would have willingly helped Him succeed. That is not why He came to earth, He came to redeem mankind.

Jesus was obedient to His father in everything, even in death. He prayed “not my will but Thine be done.” He did only what He saw the Father do.

Now Jesus commands all those who believe in Him to live as He Lived. We must be willing to live in complete humility. As a pilgrim, walking through this life; not working towards fame and fortune. We must be willing to sacrifice our very lives for the sake of the gospel — to take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on the needs of others.

Just as no one was intimidated by Jesus so we should not live in a way that would hinder others from approaching us. Jesus lived a completely transparent life, not hiding any emotions from His followers. We are also called to live in complete transparency, so that the sinner looking on can see Jesus working in us and give glory to the Father. Most of all we are called to love as Jesus loved. The world will know if we are true disciples of Jesus by the love we have for one another.

Looking at life through Jesus’ life style I realize how wrongly my view on life has been. I see now to truly live is, to live as Christ.

—School of Discipleship student

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The Glories in Suffering!

Glories-of-Suffering-RT14-11351

“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Philippians 1:29

What a blessing to have studied the book of Philippians and “The Calvary Road” in class the past couple weeks. I certainly feel like I have a greater understanding of suffering and the glories thereof. Time and time again the Holy Spirit has brought me to a place of sweet brokenness, as I am reminded of my Lord Jesus Christ hanging on a cross for me. It remains a mystery to me that God would go about bringing redemption to the world, through the ultimate sacrifice, our Lord Jesus Christ. Seeing as though I will never figure out God or His ways with my mortal mind, I am coming to a place of acceptance and faith realizing that in suffering is a hidden fellowship with God that will not be experienced in any other manner. O WHAT GLORY! WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN!

—School of Discipleship student

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A Careless Reputation

A-Careless-Reputation-DSC_0171 Near the beginning of my year at School of Discipleship we went through the book “The Jesus Style” by Gayle Erwin. In this book he talked about the characteristics of Jesus, and one is that he was a man of no reputation. It stood out to me at the time, but since then we have gone through many others books and I had forgotten about it, until just recently.

In one of our classes the teacher challenged us to search our hearts to find out what is coming in between us and God. After meditating on this, I realized that though it may sometimes come in different forms, what really hinders my walk with God is my trying to protect my reputation. It causes me to fear obeying God and losing friends. But Jesus had no reputation.

In a way everyone has a reputation, but for Jesus it had no meaning because his reputation was simply who he was. He wasn’t ever trying to be someone he wasn’t, or show off to people; he had no worries of who was, or who wasn’t his friend; he had one mission and that is what his whole life was focused on.

For me it comes back to the thing I struggle with the most: Being real with people and not hiding who I really am. This was one thing I saw in myself a few months ago and it really hit me hard. I thought I had made changes and at least overcome this some what. Now I see that though I may have taken one step, there are still hundreds more to go. I can’t do it, I will only fail. Yet I am amazed with the grace of God, he stands by my side still loving me and telling me his grace is sufficient for me.

And I believe that “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

1 Thess. 5:24.

—School of Discipleship student

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