What Happens in the Dash Matters

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Contributed by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

Questions are good for us… I was once asked what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Most of us have been asked the same thing. This question is very important to answer, and the answer matters BIG TIME! It matters what we do in this very temporal life. We should not just live for retirement… retire from DASH jobs, but not Kingdom jobs!

Jesus offers us salvation, then we are to passionately live this out… with a wreckless abandonment to our old lives! We will all have a tombstone one day, and no matter what is written on it, we will all have one thing in common… A DASH!

Luke 14:25-33 – Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. [ESV]

Jesus isn’t saying that if we do these things we will earn salvation or discipleship status with Him, He is addressing people who are acting like they want to be His followers…. He wants to make sure they understand what it means to follow Him in this life, during the DASH… this would all be a result of His gracious work of salvation in their lives… if they have truly experienced His grace and are truly His followers. Jesus is laying out what it means to be committed to Him during the Dash. If what happens in the Dash matters, then our commitments in the Dash matter…

Our commitments in the Dash matter because:

1st: Commitment leads us to passionately prioritize

Look at verses 25-26 – Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

So we must know, truly, what matters most to us, in this life. Now this might sound harsh at first glance, but we must understand what Jesus was saying here, He is using a comparison… First of all, He is turning around and almost smacking these people or fans in the face. He uses their families to compare the level of love they should have for Him, family should be who we love the most, He knew that, but our love for Him should be so great that our love for family would almost look like hate.

Then He takes it a step further and compares it to self-love, and we all love ourselves. BUT Jesus calls us to love Him so much that it looks like we hate self.

He calls us to commit to the priority of loving Him the most… that we have a deep, incredible, unexplainable passion for HIM!!! So we commit to invest our love in HIM! Then HE goes on to tell us in order to be His disciples our commitment matters because…

2nd: Commitment leads us to willingly sacrifice

Look at verse 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

To carry a cross was a bold statement to make, because the Jews in that time knew what it meant to carry a cross, you had literally lost your life if you are carrying a cross. What Jesus is conveying here is that we must be willing to submit our very lives to the master, even lose our lives if we have to, in order to submit our wills to His will. We must deny our selfish desires and be willing to sacrifice when necessary, even if it cost us our lives. This should come naturally, when we are passionate for Jesus, but it is still a sacrifice, it cost something. The cross was Jesus’ passion, but it was still a painful sacrifice to endure. The obedience to take up HIS cross came naturally, but HE still made a sacrifice and a painful one at that… So we give up our lives for the Kingdom, for others, and we invest in other lives.

There is a 3rd thing we see Jesus calling us to in this life… if our commitment matters in the Dash…

3rd: Commitment leads us to count the cost and release

Look at verses 28-33 – For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

We see here there is an almost wreckless abandonment to possessions.  That we are willing to not only give up, but to release and renounce our things, look at these similar passages where Jesus addressed possessions…

Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [ESV]

Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. [ESV]

Jesus wasn’t saying a disciple must take a vow of poverty, NO, a disciple would release his trust in possessions and place his trust in Jesus alone. A disciple would use the possessions or money for the One he is following. We invest our money in the Kingdom work, the local CHURCH! We must commit, today, to live this out.

If you are a true disciple and desire to be one, I am calling on us to truly commit to this, because our commitments in the DASH matter.

Would you pray about committing to this in 2011???

DASH 2011 Commitment

I commit to passionately prioritize my relationship with Jesus through faithful, daily prayer and obedience to be in His WORD.

God is going to do great things, as a result of our level of prayer and fasting! Lets commit to this in 2011… fasting and praying. Also, meditate on the WORD daily, memorize parts of it, get a good study Bible and learn, read, read, read!!! Now back to prayer, check this out…

Matthew 9:35-38 – And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. [ESV]

Jesus had just finished dealing with a ton of needy people, you would think He would have given the disciples instructions on how to meet the physical, temporal needs. He didn’t. In chapter 10 He sends them out with these instructions, but here, first He instructs them to PRAY, and specifically pray for laborers. He is telling them to pray for the Church.

David Platt in his book “Radical” puts it this way… “I would have expected Jesus to say, “You guys see the need. The harvest is plentiful. So pray for these people who are harassed and helpless. Pray for them.” But that isn’t what he said. Jesus didn’t say pray for those who are lost. Instead he told the disciples to pray for the church. Why do you think Jesus would look at the crowds around Him, with all their deep needs, and then turn to His disciples and tell them to pray for themselves? The answer is humbling. When Jesus looked at the harassed and helpless multitudes, apparently his concern was not that the lost would come to the Father. Instead His concern was that His followers would not go to the lost.”

Lets pray for laborers here!!!

This all leads to the next commitment…

I commit to willingly sacrifice time in my life by investing in at least ONE person’s life by telling them about Jesus and leading them through discipleship.

Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Enough said!!! One last commitment for 2011 dash…

I commit to prayerfully count the cost and release finances by consistently, generously, and cheerfully investing money in this local church for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [ESV]

We need money to carry out the mission, it takes commitment, it takes sacrifice, it takes consistency, it takes generosity, and it should all be done cheerfully!

I do not own this church, Jesus does. Church we have a vision of giving $60,000 to our global missions this year, we have a vision to support more missionaries in China. We have a vision to bring on more missionaries/pastors on our staff here so they can be completely devoted to the work of the church. We have a vision to expand our physical warehouse space during the DASH… SO, what happens with our money, in the dash matters… HOW WE INVEST OUR MONEY AND WHAT WE INVEST OUR MONEY IN, DURING THE DASH, MATTERS BIG TIME!!!

The fact is, we spend money on what we are passionate about.

We spend our time with people we want to be around.

We passionately prioritize what we do with our lives, and we passionately prioritize who we love the most!

So, here is the question… what are you going to do with your dash?

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