Series: Followership over Spectatorship

Title: Follow Me: The Conditions

Review of MBC’s vision for 2020: Pursuing followership over spectatorship by growing as disciples who make disciples.

Implementation:

  1. Implementation of a global & local mission team.
  2. Equip 75% of MBC partners share the gospel.
  3. Start 4 new LIFE Groups with 4 new leaders.
  4.  All LIFE groups learn basic subjects of discipleship.
  5. Pray at 1:11 pm
    • 1 to share the Gospel with in 2020.
    • 1 to come to faith in Christ in 2020.
    • 1 to personally disciple in 2021.

Passage: Mark 8:27-38

  • The Confession, v 27-30 
    • “Who do people say that I am?”
    • “But who do you say that I am?”
  • The Correction, v 31-33
    • The Son of Man must suffer (John 3:16)
    • Peter’s rebuke
    • “You’re shooting baskets for the wrong team.”
  • The Conditions, v 34
    • Deny himself
    • Take up his cross
    • Follow Me
  • The Rationale, v 35-38

Thoughts

I have to ask… Was anyone able to guess the song when Pastor Matt started “Name That Tune” humming on Sunday morning???  I sure wasn’t!  (My advice–Stick to preaching, Matt, and leave the music to Ryan and Zeke!) However, once Matt said it was the song My Life by Billy Joel, I knew exactly the song he meant!  I’ve even sung the lyrics myself along with the radio, “Go ahead with your own life!  Leave me alone!”  That song was a great reminder of what the first condition of following Christ– Deny Yourself–does NOT look like! 

Matt then mentioned, the second condition for following Christ–“Take up your cross” would have been a terribly gruesome metaphor to Jesus’ audience.  Crosses were the ultimate symbol of shame, pain, and disgrace—not pretty trinkets or artwork on t-shirts. Jesus was asking members of his audience to volunteer to take up the horrible object and its implied suffering in order to follow Him.  And as Matt pointed out, this isn’t like how we use it to sometimes refer to a “cross we have to bear.” Taking up your cross refers to the hardships that directly accompany the cost of following Christ.

Matt shared an example of a student who didn’t get into medical school because he revealed during his interview that he wouldn’t perform an abortion because he was a Christian. I’ve also had several instances where I was challenged to “take up my cross” in the workplace.  At one high school where I taught, a student asked me to start a Bible study.  However, when I went to submit a request to meet along with some other paperwork, I was told by an administrator that the school would be unable to offer an activity like that to the student body because it could be construed as favoring a religious organization. (Irony alert!!!  The administrator was a evangelical Christian and former missionary!)

You would think this kind of thing wouldn’t happen in Texas! I knew the law, and I knew that there was nothing in it to support this decision. My guess is that the administrator didn’t want any unnecessary controversy or attention, so the easiest option was to deny us the option of meeting.  I considered letting the matter drop. I was a relatively new teacher at the school, and I knew this might start me out on the wrong foot with the administration.  However, I was reminded of the story of Esther.  Maybe I was called to that school for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).  I also remembered Job’s message to his friends, “Though He slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15). I went ahead and requested a meeting with the administrator over student clubs and activities knowing that my message might not be well-received.

I went to school a nervous wreck that day, but after school, I presented my case and offered a defense as to why such a gathering would be well within the laws governing separation of church and state. I looked at my administrator and said, “And you need to know that if you deny us the right to meet, I will do everything in my power to see this through–including taking legal action.”  God was gracious that time, and we were allowed to meet, albeit with certain stipulations. I didn’t end up suffering personal loss that time, but I realize it could have gone differently.  “Taking up our cross” can be costly, but it’s required for those who want to follow Christ.

Finally, true followers of Christ need to be willing to submit to the third condition.  We need to be willing to follow Him–even if that means following Him into suffering.  I was talking to a friend today, and we were joking about how it’s not really submission if it’s something you would have done anyway.  True submission comes when we must bend our will to honor someone else in authority—especially if we have, what I like to call, “better ideas.”  Following Christ means submitting to Him and His authority in our lives.  We may think we have a better idea or a better way of doing things, but ultimately God has our best in mind. Romans 8:28 is clear that for those who love Him, He is working out everything for good.  Following Christ is trusting that God isn’t lying to us in this promise.

Noteworthy:

MBC at large:

  • Unfortunately, with the forecast of bad weather again for this weekend, the Saturday evening service has been cancelled.
  •   Please join us for a live stream of the service on Sunday morning on our YouTube Channel at the normal time of 10:30am.  We are working toward a reopening of the building on June 7th—just in time to celebrate our recent graduates with a rescheduling of our Senior Sunday.  Please remain flexible and give us time to communicate procedures and instructions with you for this reopening.  We have some creative ideas, and we’re looking forward to sharing them!

MBC Students:

  • Movie Night is today, May 22 @ 7:00pm.  They will be watching Disney’s Tangled.  The plan is for students to meet at the church, under the covered drive, and watch the movie outside, weather-permitting. However, know that if they need to move the students inside because of rain, they already have a plan that will allow them to follow the social distancing guidelines. Students may also participate in the movie night via Zoom. Also, the Student Ministries Team is looking for homes to host small groups for their Wednesday night meetings over the summer.  If you’re interested in hosting a small group or if you have any questions about the MBC Student Ministry, please contact Zeke, Corbin Wadkins, or Leah Austin (click here)

MBC Women:

  • Just a reminder and invitation for you to join us for Fitness & Fellowship, Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9am in the main gym. Bring a yoga mat and blocks on Tuesdays.  Bring a yoga mat and hand-weights on Thursdays.  Contact the church office for more information by clicking here.
  • The Women’s Summer morning Bible study begins this Wednesday, May 27th and will be held on Zoom from 9:30-11am.  They will be studying The Gift of Knowing Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David Benner (available on Amazon for $10). The “Expanded Edition” includes discussion questions. Peggy Arendsee, the group leader, mentioned that this study would be a nice follow-on for ladies coming out of Re:Gen.  Contact her by clicking here for more information.

MBC LIFE groups:

Join Mike Hogue for a study of Amos this Sunday at 6pm on Zoom! 

Scott BeVier’s Sunday school class is studying 1st & 2nd Timothy via Zoom on Sunday mornings at 9am.  

Scott Taillon’s class will be beginning a study of Paul soon.  The guide they are using was written by Jack Kuhatschek and can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.

Pam Curry’s Sunday morning Zoom group will be starting Jen Wilkin’s study God of the Covenant on Sunday, May 31st. 

There are other groups meeting, too, including Ed Fricke’s class, the Ambassador class, the Reynolds’ LIFE group, the Keener’s LIFE group, YAM(Young Adult Ministry)s, and more!

  Please contact the church office (click here) if you do not belong to a LIFE group and we’ll do out best to get you connected.

Finally, remember the vision we have at MBC for 2020: Pursuing follower-ship over spectator-ship by growing as disciples who make disciples.  Jesus made clear the conditions.  May God give us all the strength to follow Him and the grace to forgive ourselves and others when we fall short.


In service Him and you!
Heather Hogue