Archive for the ‘cost of discipleship’ Category

Privation for a purpose brings its own content

September 5, 2011

People in Britain who lived through World War II do not remember it with anything like the horror one might have expected. In fact, they often remember it as the best time of their lives. Even allowing for the tendency of time to burnish unpleasant memories with a patina of romance, this is extraordinary. The war, after all, was a time of material shortage, terror, and loss: what could possibly have been good about it?

The answer, of course, is that it provided a powerful existential meaning and purpose. The population suffered at the hands of an easily identifiable external enemy, whose evil intentions it became the overriding purpose of the whole nation to thwart. A unified and preeminent national goal provided respite from the peacetime cacophony of complaint, bickering, and social division. And privation for a purpose brings its own content.

Theodore Dalrymple

A goal unites a people even if they must suffer hardships together to attain it. Ought not the gospel to be that unifying force for Christians as we deny ourselves to make Christ known?

The KGB will sense it and they will break you

July 19, 2011

If you’re not willing to go to the end (i.e. die) don’t even begin (to be a dissident) because the KGB will sense it and they will break you.

Yuri Yarim-Agaev, Soviet dissident

Don’t become a disciple unless and until you are willing to pay the ultimate price.

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62. And will not the enemy of our souls sense our irresolution more than the KGB?

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap

November 17, 2009

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap. He, ‘who had looked like a diplomat, had become a dirty, lice-infested, human wreck, his spirits broken.

I saw him go over to one of the camp foremen and whisper (something). The prisoner…brought out a small leather pouch (and) shook the contents into his palm. Like a million little suns the diamonds shone and sparkled. The foreman nodded and held out three miserable uncooked potatoes, and the elderly man, shaking with impatience, tore them out of his hand and put them to his mouth.

Here, in this Stock Exchange of Hell, the value of a bag of diamonds was three uncooked potatoes. And this value was the real one. Three potatoes…prolonged life, gave strength to work and to withstand beatings. For a while, a short while, it might delight the eyes of a ruthless murderer, but when the day of reckoning came it would not save his life.

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, p.729

What is the true value of our possessions? What is the use of acquiring the world’s goods when a man may lose his soul?

If my heart has been in love with the world when I was in robost health, destroy my vigour to promote my salvation

October 16, 2009

If my heart has been in love with the world when I was in robust health, destroy my vigour to promote my salvation.

Pascal

Can you pray that yet?

in attempting to serve my people, I found that was prevented form fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father and a husband

October 14, 2009

I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found that was prevented form fulfilling my obligations as a son¹, a brother, a father² and a husband³. In that way, my commitment to my people, to millions of South Africans I would never know are meet, was at the expense of the people I knew best and loved most.  It was as simple and as incomprehensible as the moment a small child asks her father, “Why can’t you be with us?” and the father must utter the terrible words: “There are other children like you, a great many of them…” and then one’s voice trails off.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, pp.749-50

1. His mother died while he was in prison and he was refused permission to bury her

2. He was largely estranged from his son and daughters who grew up without him. His daughter, when aged 15, had not seen him sicen she was a baby when he went to prison.

3. His first marriage ended in divorce in 1957 – she was a JW and non-political. His second, to Winniw, ended in divorce in 1996. He married a third time.

He who knoweth that he serveth a God that will never suffer any man to be a loser by him, need not fear what hazards he runs in his cause

October 14, 2009

He who knoweth that he serveth a God that will never suffer any man to be a loser by him, need not fear what hazards he runs in his cause: and he who knows that he seeks a prize, which, if obtained, will infinitely overbalance his cost, may boldly engage his whole estate on it, and sell all to purchase so rich a pearl.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.230

The Price of Integrity

August 5, 2009

On 16 November 1938, a week after Kristallnacht, Pastor J. von Jan preached to his congregation in Swabia: ‘Houses of worship, sacred to others, have been burned down with impunity – men who have locally served our nation and conscientiously done their duty, have been thrown into concentration camps simply because they belong to a different race.  Our nations’ infamy is bound to bring about Divine punishment.’  Dragged out of his Bible class by a Nazi mob, Pastor Jan was brutally beaten, then thrown on to the roof of a shed.  The mob then smashed his vicarage, just as, a week earlier, so many Jewish houses had been smashed.  Pastor Jan was imprisoned”

Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1986, p.73

Conformity

August 4, 2009

Psychologists distinguish conformity (influence of a group) and obedience (instructions from a person).

Asch (1951) found that a smal group of people can influence a person to agree with an incorrect statement with about 1/3 always agreeing, and about 3/4 at least once. (Only three other people were needed for maximum influence). reasons included:

I didn’t want to cause embarrassment.

I didn’t want to be different

I didn’t want to be wrong

Nigel C. Benson, Introducing Psychology, Icon Books, 1999, p.153

The Compromised Christian

October 21, 2008

I have sometimes been greatly obliged to a wicked world for what it has done to inconsistent professors of religion. While I was Pastor at Waterbeach, a certain young man joined the church. We thought he was a changed character, but there used to be in the village, once a year, a great temptation in the form of a feast; and when the feast came round, this foolish fellow was there in very evil company. He was in the long room of a public-house, in the evening, and when I heard what happened, I really felt intense gratitude to the landlady of that place. When she came in, and saw him there, she said, “Halloa, Jack So-and-so, are you here? Why, you are one of Spurgeon’s lot, yet you are here; you ought to be ashamed of yourself. This is not fit company for you. Put him out of the window, boys.” And they did put him out of the window on the Friday night, and we put him out of the door on the Sunday, for we removed his name from our church-book. Where was he to go to? The world would not have him, and the church would not have him; if he had been all for the world, the world would have made something of him; and if he had been all for Christ, Christ would have made something of him. But as he tried to be a little for each, and so nothing to either, his life became a wretched one; as he walked the Streets, people pointed at him with scorn. The Christians turned away, thinking him a hypocrite, as I fear he was; and the wordlings called him one, and made his name a by-word and a proverb.

The Autobiography of Charles Spurgeon vol.1 ch.14

Discipleship

October 21, 2008

In 1988 (sic – it was 1989) the American tennis player Michael Chang, then seventeen, won Roland Garros, the French hard court championships. Over the public address system, and on live national TV, he thanked his coach, his mom and dad, and most of all, ‘the Lord Jesus Christ, without whom,’ he said, ‘I am nothing.’ The seventeen thousand fans booed and whistled. The official TV news that night highlighted Chang’s short testimony by setting it mockingly against a musical background of Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’

 

The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back: An Old Heresy for The New Age, Peter Jones, 1992 P & R, p.2