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March 15, 2024


 

Last Sunday, in our sermon series, The Gospel: Good News for Everyone, we talked about how the love always costs something. To love and follow Jesus cost his disciples many things. Peter will declare to Jesus that they had given up or sacrificed “everything” (time with family, homes, wives, etc.) to follow Jesus. (Luke 18:28). When James and John ask for positions of power in Jesus’s kingdom, he corrects them by telling them that will end up giving up their lives for the sake of the Gospel (Matthew 20:20-23). Discipleship costs something. Love cost Jesus his life on the cross. He paid the ultimate price for our ransom from sin.

 

The question lingers for me: To where am I willing to follow Jesus? How far am I willing to go? Are you willing to follow Jesus to wherever he is leading you?

 

We’re coming up on St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. I came across a prayer written by Patrick in the 5th Century in a book I was reading. Here is a portion of St. Patrick’s Prayer (I encourage you to research and read the prayer in its entirety):

 

Christ shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through a confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.

 

You may know the story of Patrick. Kidnapped as a teenager from his coastal home in Britain by Irish pirates, he was taken as a slave to Ireland for several years. As his faith grew during his enslavement, he grew close to Jesus. He eventually escaped and returned to his family in Britain. He had a vision one night of the Irish asking him to come back and share the Good News with them. Against his family’s wishes, Patrick returned to Ireland to share Jesus with the Druid tribes. While there he suffered rejection, beatings, attempted murder, and many hardships. All for the sake of the Gospel.

 

These seemingly extreme examples of the cost of discipleship always inspire me but what do they do to move me? If the Gospel truly is Good News for Everyone, to what lengths are we willing to go to draw closer to Jesus, listen to his voice and promptings, and actively share of the hope that we have in Christ with others? This Easter season I am asking you to pray and consider who your ONE is. Who is the one person you feel God placing on your heart to share about your faith in Jesus? The challenge is that you would then also invite this person to come to church with you on Easter weekend. This week I saw a person from White Oak post a picture and comment about our services from the weekend on social media. A friend commented, “I’ve always thought about checking out that church.” To which the person replied something to the affect of, “come and check it out with me.” It’s a simple gesture with potential profound implications.

 

In his book, Confessions, Patrick wrote, “As every day arrives, I expect either sudden death or deception, or being taken back as a slave or some such other misfortune. But I fear none of these, since I look to the promise of heaven and have flung myself into the hands of the all-powerful God, who rules as Lord everywhere.” (https://www.persecution.com/2021-03-st-patrick).

 

What line or phrase from St. Patrick’s Prayer stands out to you? Read it again. Maybe a few more times. To what/where/whom do you hear God calling you?

 

Christ shield me today,

Nathan

   


Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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