Good morning, everybody. For those of you don’t know me, my name is Tony Fernandez and I’m one of the ministers here on staff and welcome to the Broad Church. I wanted to just one more time give a huge hand to the band. They just do such a good job pulling things together. And, I don’t know, just it was just awesome. We’re coming to the end of the series. We have one week after this one that we’re calling Practicing the Way of Jesus.

But the series really, really doesn’t end at the end of the series. This for us is going to be the emphasis for our church going forward. And the plan is to continue to learn to reorient ourselves and our church around the idea of what it means to be a disciple, an apprentice of Jesus of Nazareth, to continue to forge our church built around these three pronged ideas, to be with him or to be with Jesus, to become like him and to do as he did.

And yes, this language is kind of becoming fast familiar for us, because for us, it’s our best way of expressing what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus. Being a follower of Jesus means that you spend time with him, that you are with him in prayer and meditation. And in reading you learn, as we talked about, to be in two places at the same time in your car and in the presence of God in traffic and in the presence of God eating some food in the presence of God in a trial and in the presence of God.

It means that you learn to be to become like him, that you’re slowly being formed from one degree of glory to the next ever increasing glory day by day, as you resist the formation of the world by the counter formation that comes from biblical teaching, from biblical community and from the practices of Jesus and where you live your life beginning to where you live your life, hoping hopefully to look like what he did. So you follow his practices, you follow the lifestyle of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus, and you learn to bring the ministry of Jesus, loving the marginalized, pursuing righteousness and bringing the kingdom of God here on Earth.

And what we’ve been saying is that this requires much more than just listening on Sunday morning. It requires much more than even reading by yourself as you kind of wake up from a long sleep. It requires a whole life transformation. That’s what we’re after here. The fact is that Christianity cannot be a hobby. It can’t be a side project or a fad. What God is demanding from our lives is top to bottom reorientation, and that’s true no matter who you are, whether you’re young or old or rich or poor, if you’re a minister or if you’re a student, if you’re a banker, if you’re an architect, if you’re a barista, if you’re an Uber driver, whoever you are, God is saying to you, hey, I want you to radically alter the entirety of your whole life.

And it’s not I did it before when I was young. It’s I’m continuing to do it day by day with ever increasing glory. He is calling for your whole life, all in transformation and so for the last few weeks with this kind of daunting task before us, we’ve been asking the question, well, how does that happen? How do we change? How do we become disciples? And maybe more specifically, how do we follow Jesus in a Western secular, urban digital world?

This place that we call home, we’ve talked about a lot, but I believe there are two pieces of the puzzle that are missing. And so I’m going to take on one today. In the next week, I’ll hit the other one. But but today I’m going to talk about a subject that kind of hits the nerve of most of the developed world, something that that I believe to be the most offensive teaching maybe in all of the Bible. It’s probably the most difficult teaching that Jesus ever had.

It’s the teaching that pushes people away more than anything else. It’s the thing that we push back on when we hear it too much in our face. It’s the thing that many a journey to follow Jesus has ended with. Today, I want to talk about self-denial. If you have a Bible, you could join me in Luke Chapter nine. Again, the question is how do we reorient our lives? How do we change? How do we become different people?

How do we grow in the image of Christ to become like him, to have the same impact that he had? And the answer is a resounding, sorry, the answer given by Jesus is resounding and is powerful. And we get a picture of it right here in Luke, Chapter nine, we’re going to verse eighteen. It says this once, when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, who do the crowds say that I am?

Who do the crowds? Who are the people say that I am? They replied. Some say John the Baptist. If you’re not familiar with the Bible, John the Baptist is the person that came before Jesus kind of as the last prophet of old. Others, say Elijah and still others that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life. Jesus question to the disciples is this: but who, well, what about you? He asked. Who do you say I am?

Peter answered, Peter is one of the disciples he answers God’s messiah. This word Messiah here can be translated as anointed one, or maybe one of the best translations is king. You are God’s king. That’s what Peter says. You are king. Then listen to what Jesus says, there’s no celebration, there’s no you’ve got it, cheer. Verse twenty one, Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anybody. Listen to the next line. And he said to them.

The son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priest and the teachers of the law. He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. How disorienting is that? Who do you say I am? You are a king. You are right. I’m going to die. It’s kind of a bizarre way of celebrating this idea that this person has decided, has acknowledged correctly who you are, but then he doubles down.

Look at the next verses, verse twenty three. It’s not just about himself. Verse twenty three says that he said to them all, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves. Take up their cross daily and follow me. You know, we’ve been in this conversation for two months now on the idea of following Jesus, that it’s an open invitation, but here Jesus is introducing something that becomes a prerequisite for discipleship. It’s an open invitation, except you must listen to the definitive language, right.

He says whoever wants to be my disciple must. This is not language that seems vague. This is not like a question mark. You know, you can give it a shot. You know, it’s a declaration that this is mandatory for following Jesus. And here is why this discussion is so important. I have, over the course of my entire life of Christiandom have found more people. Well, let me just say this. Those who fail at practicing the way of Jesus fail because of self-denial.

In my experience, those who fail at becoming like Jesus almost always fail because they don’t want to deny themselves. It is the one thing that really stands up top of the mountain of characteristic that Jesus requires that the rest of the world hates. G.K. Chesterton in his book What’s Wrong With the World writes this The Christian ideal has not been found tried and left wanting. Christianity has never been found and left wanting. He says this It has been found difficult and left untried.

See, it’s easy to embrace the Christian virtues of love and peace. The whole world talks about love and peace, joy. It’s easy to talk about joy. It’s easy to say in Christianity you’re going to have a family and there’s going to be a community and there’s going to be blessings and blessings and you’re going to have life to the full. It’s easy to embrace those ideas that the character, that of the creator of the universe has your back and he’s with you and he’s going to support you.

And even if you fall down, he will lift you up. And all those things are totally true that you have a hope and a future that he’s going to take care of you. Those are easy things to buy into. But at the very center of Jesus is a prerequisite for faith. Is this deadly symbol. A cross. The principle of death. Because for two millennia, we have become numb and desensitized to the horrors of crucifixion. I want to give you a moment.

I just want to explain what this means for your discipleship. Crucifixion has been had been around for hundreds of years before Jesus, but the Roman Empire, in their quest of world domination, really made it into an art form. One historian writes, This Crucifixion was quintessentially a public affair, naked and affixed to a stake, cross or tree. The victim was subject to savage ridicule by frequent passer bys, while the general populace was given a grim reminder of the fate of those who assert themselves against the authority of the state.

The cross wasn’t, the cross wasn’t just about death. It was actually about shame. Crucifixion is, in fact, was so ignominious that the writers of the gospel couldn’t even bring themselves to describe it in detail. Read through the New Testament accounts of the crucifixion. And all you see is one simple line by all of the the apostles. It’s this they there they crucified him. Mark, Chapter 15, no description, no Passion of the Christ, no long Mel Gibson esque movie there.

They crucified him, period. End of sentence, move on. It couldn’t even bring themselves to write. And they crucified him. Then they crucified him. They crucified him there. It was so disgusting, so dehumanizing or inhumane and barbaric that it would be kind of akin to us watching a murder on YouTube. An ISIS beheading of a person stripped naked and beaten down right in front of billions of people to see, that’s the type of death that Jesus took for us.

It’s grotesque. It was embarrassing, grotesque, embarrassing. All that to say that in Jesus’s day, the cross was not this cute kind of, I don’t know, you know, symbol. It wasn’t like this Christianese symbol thing. It was not an item of jewelry that you wore on your neck or a logo that went on top of church steeples. It wasn’t a piece of art that you hung from a wall or anything like that. The cross was a symbol of death.

And here’s where they come back to you and me, Peter looked at Jesus and Luke Chapter nine and says, hey, you are king, you are the Messiah, you are king. And you says, that is right, I will die and you must die also. If you want to live with me and like me than first, you have to die with me and like me. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his famous book, The Cost of Discipleship, said it this way When Christ calls a man, he bid him come and die.

When Christ calls you, he says, hey, come and die. And for some who follow Jesus, this was a literal death. The aforementioned Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a great example. He was killed by Nazi Germany. And history tells us that the apostles were killed. James beheaded in Jerusalem by Herod. Matthew was killed by a sword in Ethiopia. Mark was dragged through the streets of Alexandria. Luke was was hung in Greece. Thomas was speared to death in India.

Peter, history tells us, was hung upside down in Rome. John, was dipped alive in boiling oil? When God calls a man, he bid him come and die. What’s my point? Christianity is not a game. It’s not some silly fad. What God is after is a whole life burned on the altar and brought to life afresh. These words of Jesus are a bit hard to interpret for us because we are not necessarily facing death, but I think if you look back at the passage, you see a line there that tells us that it actually is for us whether or not we actually face death or not.

Look at look at this says whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily. You can’t die daily technically, but you can die daily, spiritually. What is Jesus explaining? A death to self by self-denial. The reformer John Calvin, when asked to summarize the entire life of a disciple, said he could summarize the entire gospel in two words self denial. This is what Jesus is getting at for you and me. You may never face a Coliseum, you may never face a cross or a stoning at the hands of some oppressive government government, but we are called to crucify our desires daily.

We are called to crucify our fears and our passions, saying no to self over and over and over and over and over again and saying yes to Jesus over and over and over again. Self-denial, as the scriptures describe it, is a way is saying basically you’re saying yes to Jesus. You’re saying yes to everything, that Jesus is the thousands of other things of God. And when you say yes to Jesus, you’re also saying no to a thousand things that are your own desires.

It’s to say no to your spending habits. It’s to say no to your world view. It’s to say no to your life of individualism. It’s to say no to the fact that you are the ultimate authority in your own life. I won’t follow any rules on whatever I want to do is what I want to do. It’s to say no to your own sexual identity and sexual expressions. It’s to say no to I can do with my life what I want to do right now.

This is my body. Get your hands off of it. Saying yes to Jesus is saying no to the entirety of the world view that we live in every single day and that we are sold by the media every single day, that you are the master of your own life. The cross is a symbol that you don’t have authority anymore. That’s the thought there. And the reason Jesus is so serious about this is because there is always, always something vying for our hearts.

As I’m talking now, you have some things that you like, yeah, OK, whatever, let me just tell you a story. Over the last few years, I’ve been listening to podcast, I guess the last year on the Crusades, which is a tragic time in Christian history. But I came across a talk about the Knights Templar during the Crusades in the 11th century. The Knights Templar were basically like the churches military, which is kind of ridiculous.

Imagine we had a military, whatever, love your enemy, maybe just kill them instead. I don’t know. Many of these soldiers before battle would get baptized, which also is bizarre. But but when they got baptized, interestingly, they would get baptized with their entire with their entire armor on. We get baptized with the whole armor, the thought was God bless the armor to make sure I don’t die, but something really interesting would happen. They would get baptized with their armor, but they would hold their sword out of the water.

Historians tell us it’s because they’re saying God has my whole life except for this. God has everything in my life except for this sword, except for the violence, except for the injustice I do with my life. Now, when I listen to that, I thought, that’s crazy. Like, who would ever want to do that? And then I realized, I think we do that on a regular basis. They’re just like way more honest, like hypocrisy after millennia of Christian dumb has become kind of an art form for us.

But what we do this all the time. Can you imagine if we had, like, honest baptisms, like everyone decided to get baptized or get baptized again or whatever, but but this time you could hold up the thing that you decided you didn’t want to give God. You know, you see people with their cell phones like you see people with the picture of their girlfriend or maybe of their kids. You see people with kind of a symbol of their political allegiance, their identity, people will hold up some sort of symbol of their dream or their career path of their shopping habit.

And see, the reason self-denial is such a difficult topic for us is because all of us have this bent. It’s the bent of the Knights Templar. It’s the bent that we all we all have right now, that God, you can have most of my life. God, you can have like ninety seven percent, but let me just tell you, there’s like at least three things that are mine. They are mine. You can have all except you can have everything except the fact that my son hurt me and I’m never going to forgive him.

You can have everything except my anger because, you know, this is just the way I was made. You can have everything except for my comfort. You can have everything except for my money, everything except for my sexuality that I keep for myself. This this is the tension. This is the tension. This is why the apostle Paul calls it a battle. Listen to this. This is a Galatians chapter five or sixteen. So I say walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit in the spirit, what is contrary to the flesh? They are in conflict with each other. So you are not to do whatever you want. Self-denial is a war between the spirit, God’s character will, in a way, trying to manifest itself through your life and your flesh, your desires, your passion. Those two things are at war and every single day and in every moment we live in the tension between what God wants to do and what we want to do.

Do you feel that tension? It’s the tension between I really want this, I really need this, I must buy this, I must participate in this. If I just do this one time, it’s not going to matter all that much. And I need to be wholly given over to the holy God of Israel. It’s that tension. In the context here, Paul calls it a battle Galatians five, he says, We crucified the flesh. What do we do?

We crucified it. Oh, it’s self-denial, the flesh with its passions and desires. My point is that over and over again, we see Jesus point. We see Jesus point to the issue of self-denial as being the main issue, determining whether or not you become a disciple. Here’s a couple of illustrations. If you’re in Luke Chapter nine, you can turn down to verse fifty nine that says this. He said to another man, This is Jesus interacting with a guy who wants to become a follower.

He’s trying to reach out to, you know, he’s like, hey, follow me. Jesus says to this guy. But the man replied that he replied, First, let me go bury my father. Now let me go bury my father. Isn’t like my father just died. We believe it’s a first century euphemism for let me go back and take care of my family’s business. Let me walk my dad into retirement, basically saying I’ll join you in a couple of years.

Let me just get my house in order and then I’ll join you in a couple of years. We learned Jesus replies after this, hey, let the dead bury their own dead. What did Jesus saying? Hey, that’s not a good excuse. See, this is what convicted me, even in this study, my nature and our nature wants to find a way to follow Jesus without any sacrifice. Like I want to, oh, gosh, I want to be a disciple of Jesus without giving up anything. Like that’s really what I want.

But did you notice that the problem is not whether or not this man believes in Jesus, because that’s never really the issue. It’s not like, wow, I don’t believe in you, god, I’m going to go find some other rabbi. The problem here isn’t I don’t believe in you it’s he’s not willing to pay the price to become a disciple of Jesus. The issue the issue here isn’t apprentice versus atheist. It’s actually apprentice versus a vague, noncommittal, consumeristic type of faith that says, God, you know, I put you in top of my life and whatever else fits in, that’s good.

Whatever you give me that works, works, whatever else, I just kind of leave it out. I want the benefits of following Jesus without paying any cost. This is the tension. I believe in you, but I don’t really want to give up what it takes to follow you. And I love that jesus, he doesn’t go, oh, please. Begging the man, please. There’s no PR. There’s no sales pitch. There’s no like, oh, well, there’s a celebrity who loves me, you know, there is no hashtag.

He’s just honest. In other places in the Bible says, hey, if you choose to follow me, it will cost you everything. That’s it. Before you get discouraged, you should probably do the cost benefit analysis, when you do the math, it becomes a no brainer. You get far more than you give, but at the front end, it’ll cost you everything. Here’s another quick illustration, Luke chapter eight verse looks after 18, verse 18.

Sorry, so small. A certain ruler asked him, good teacher. What must I do to inherit eternal life? That’s a great question. Why do you call me good Jesus? No one is good except God alone. You know the commands. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not murder. You shall not steal. These are like from from the Ten Commandments. You shall give false testimony. Honor your father and mother. The man says all these I’ve kept since I was a boy, he said.

And when Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor and you have treasures in heaven, then come follow me, pause there. I know every preacher who has ever preached from this passage has asked you to do this, but could you imagine just what would you say? What would you say to Jesus? We said that to you right now. What would you what would you say now, disclaimer this is not a command for everybody, but but just for a second, imagine it’s for you. Sell everything and give it to the poor.

The truth is, I have no idea what I would say. That’s scary. Being that like I’m trying to follow God, I have no clue. When I was like a college student and I had, like, all I all I could buy was like a dollar hamburger. I’m like, of course, Lord, you know. But today, you know, like, I have things, you know, what am I supposed to do? It’s not a good investment, you know, like I can rationalize my way out of all types of faith.

I can rationalize my way out of all types of sacrifice. What would you what would you say, I honestly hope I would say yes, but I don’t know. The story goes on. When he heard this, he became very sad because he had he was very wealthy. The rich man the Bible just tells us, just kind of walks away. He would not take up his cross and follow Jesus. What happened here, he failed at apprenticeship because he failed at Self-denial, we see it again.

For him, the obstacle is money, but for us it’s all type of things at some of our allegiances, it could be money, it also might be sex, sexuality, it could be power or might be something else. It might be that you want to be an individual. You don’t want anybody telling you what to do. So we have to realize that self-denial is actually mandatory if you want to be a Christian. But this guy just couldn’t do it and he walks away sad.

And this story, the thing is, plays out, I don’t know, a thousand times a year even in the context of this church. Thousands of people walk through that door every single year or watch online every single year and are part of what we do here and listen and come with great excitement. They come like fired up. And they do all the exterior work and then Jesus demands something. Give up, let go, commit. And people walk away sad it happens all the time, just can’t quite bring myself to take up my cross and follow Jesus.

And I think the reason why this story in the story of the man is nameless is because he’s really everyman. And he’s every woman, he’s you and he’s certainly me on a regular basis. You know, this teaching that I’m giving right now has never been popular, you know, I apologize if you’re like I just brought my friend, please. If you want to shrink your church, this is the teaching. You know, like bring bring on the self-denial every single week.

Talk about the cost of discipleship. It’s not even kidding. It may be the least popular teacher in all of the Bible. I have never seen an Instagram post that was just like if you want to follow Jesus, you have to give up everything you like. I’ve never I’ve never seen that. I’ve never seen a sermon highlight with any of this. I’ve never I’ve never seen it. It’s not popular in the first century and it’s certainly not popular today because and this is the reason, I believe why,

Because who wants to talk about self-denial in an age of self-fulfillment? Like you and I both. Like we want all the things of God and totally to be fulfilled, like I want to be a disciple of Jesus and I want, like, everything that God could dawn on me. Like there’s a book by Skye Jethani called The Divine Commodity. I highly recommend it hits the nail on the head. When he says this, he says he says, My secret is that I want to be relevant and popular.

I want my desires fulfilled and my pain minimized. I want a manageable relationship with an institution rather than a messy relationship with real people. I want to be transformed into the image of Christ by showing up at entertaining events rather than through the hard work of discipline. I want to wear my faith on my sleeve and not look at the darkness of my own heart. And above all, I want I want a controllable God. I want a divine commodity to do my will on Earth as it is in heaven.

I read this and I think this guy is messed up. I’m just kidding. I read this and I think this is this is me. He calls out the elephant in the room. Hey, the invitation of Jesus, take up your cross, follow me, deny yourself. Is at odds against the mantra of our culture. I want it my way. I want the best of both worlds. I want to be generous, but I want to be rich.

You know what I’m saying? I want to be I want to be a follower of Jesus, but I also want to be a celebrity. I want character, but I want to have to suffer for character. I want humility, but I don’t want humiliation. I want to go to heaven. But I also want a comfortable life here on Earth. I want patience, but I don’t want to have to wait for anything. I want kindness, but I don’t want to hang out with people that are agitate me.

I want to hear God’s voice and I want to be in quiet meditation, but at the same time, I don’t want to wake up early. I want the life of Jesus, but I don’t want to take up my cross and follow Jesus. This is me. I wonder if it’s you. I live in that tension every single moment of my days. My guess is that you do, too. But what we miss is that what’s underneath all of this is really that we as we reject the concept of self denial, it goes back to the very first question that Jesus asks.

Who do you say I am? See, in the context of Peter’s confession of lordship, rather, it’s in the context of Peter’s confession of lordship that that Jesus reveals the principle of self-denial. Why, because self-denial is a question of authority, that’s the question that I don’t see. The real question is who has authority in your life, you or Jesus? That’s that’s it. That’s like the whole question. The reason we don’t want to do things is because we’re like I don’t I just I don’t want to give that up because I really am the controller of my own life.

That’s the real question. And in our culture, where external authority is seen as coercive and controlling, you know, and for what it’s worth, you know, we had an entire society like blow up over the government telling us to do anything. Jesus says, I am king. I am king. I am king. As he says that, you wonder why there are less and less people who follow Jesus. Oh, it’s because we don’t really like people to be kings of our lives.

We have the opposite viewpoint of the world. He tells us that joy is found in submission and we think that Joy is found in liberation to do whatever we want and as a matter of fact, we’re kind of allergic to authority. I love America. I’m super grateful for this country. But our entire nation is built on rebellion against authority, like we like kings and queens, as long as they have no authority, like we’re fine with like Kate Middleton because like she has a dress and beautiful or whatever or whatever the other kings and queens names are.

But like, if there was a real king over us, we would like go to war or we did go to war. Like we want to kill people that tell us what to do. And so what does Jesus says? Hey, what did you say? He says, Hey, I’m king and most of us go, I want to get rid of him. Oh, yeah, that’s exactly what they did. Jesus’s kingship is against our culture.

Jesus’s kingship is against everything that we believe in as a society. And in order to embrace self-denial, in order to embrace apprenticeship, we have to embrace the authority that Jesus has. There’s a deep conflict between the gospel of Jesus Christ and the gospel of the West. There’s a deep conflict between I am king and he is king, you should feel that tension because it happens every single day, every single moment of every single day. And I don’t know where you are.

You know, like maybe God is stirring in you and there’s something you need to deny. It’s like something big. The rich young ruler. Right. And for that, I hoped you would like open up to the Holy Spirit. No guilt, no shame, hopefully just conviction. As I remind you, that self-denial is mandatory and there are some choices that you may need to make some big ones, but more than likely, it’s not the big choices you need to make.

Instead, it’s this upcoming week, there’s going to be a thousand opportunities to deny yourself. And in those you need to practice, there’s a thousand chances to die if you’re a parent. There are a thousand chances to die. To decide I’m going to give my children what they need instead of giving into my own comfort. If you’re a husband or your wife, there’s a thousand chances to die, to serve your spouse rather than your own selfishness. In this upcoming week, there’s a thousand chances for you to die, to take up your cross and follow him every single moment when you’re thinking, hey, I can choose what’s best for me or what’s best for somebody else, or what God would have me do in those moments is an opportunity to practice self-denial. Practice saying no to self and yes to God.

Following Jesus, I believe, is much more about those thousand moments a day than the one big moment. It’s so much the one big moment get you started. But then it’s about those thousand moments a day. And here’s what I’ve learned, that if you want to make big changes, you need to practice in the little moments, the moments between when there’s conflict between the flesh and the spirit, between click that and put it away, between yes and between no following Jesus is a thousand small deaths that lead to an amazing life.

So I don’t know where you are and I don’t want to manipulate you by some emotional pitch, but I hope to encourage you to create space for you to ask the question, Jesus, what is the obstacle between me and my discipleship? What’s the obstacle? What’s the thing that’s stopping me from giving my whole heart to you? What’s the one thing I would hold up out of the water? Or what are the thousand things that I do daily that I decide I’m not giving up to you and then make some decisions to actually change?

And while you’re at it, make sure you don’t just count the cost of discipleship. Make sure you also count the cost of not following Jesus. Jesus is going to cost you everything. One hundred percent, no doubt about it. But not following Jesus is going to cost you even more. I believe a vague, noncommittal, consumeristic faith cost you much more than anything Jesus asks. It’s going to cost you your very soul. It’s cost you meaning and purpose.

It’ll cost you relationships, the fruits of the spirit, love, peace, joy, patience. It’s going to cost you even more. And as you’re making that debate, I want to just read you a passage and we’ll just kind of end here with communion. But this is like a passage of encouragement for you, this comes at the tail end of that discussion with the rich young ruler. Jesus has this interaction with this man. The disciples are like, I don’t even understand how anyone can be saved.

He’s done everything. And Jesus. And Peter looks at Jesus and he says, Peter said to him, We have left everything. Sorry, we left all we had to follow you given it all up. Jesus says truly, I tell you. No one who has left home or wife or mother or brother or sister or parent or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, will fail to receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come.

Eternal life. Let’s pray, father we are, god, thank you for for sending your son to die for us, Lord, as I think about what the Cross meant for you, it really means nothing like in comparison, like what we have to go through is basically nothing God. So I thank you for giving your whole life for this. Thank you for being willing to send your son to become an offering for us. God, I pray that as we think about this whole idea that we would make decisions, that we would practice the small decisions giving you our whole life, being willing to follow you totally and wholeheartedly.

God, I pray that if the spirit is stirring in us for something that we need to do, I pray that we’ll do it boldly. They won’t be afraid of the choices that we’re going to make that will actually make decisions that I pray. No one walks away sad, but instead can find the joy of discipleship. Lord, thank you for Jesus, Father. Thank you. That on the cross he spilled his blood. I pray that as we take the piece of bread that represents his body and the juice that represents his blood, that we will be moved to remember his sacrifice.

We praise you. Christ name. Amen.