For many Christians, following Jesus is seen as best done from a distance. We want to be disciples as long as doing so does not intrude on our lifestyles, our preferences, our comforts and even our religion. But what if we really took the time to look Jesus in the eye and see who He truly is? What if we really listened to Jesus' words and heard what He is truly saying? Jesus' invitation to follow Him was - and still is - an invitation into a relationship marked by self-denial, personal intimacy, single-minded ambition and ultimate joy. When people truly engage with Jesus' personal invitation to follow Him, everything changes, for He is worthy of all our trust and all our affections.
In this new book, David Platt, contends that multitudes of people around the world culturally think they are Christians yet biblically are not followers of Christ.
Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves believing certain truths or saying certain words. As a result, churches today are filled with people who believe they are Christians . . . but aren’t. We want to be disciples as long as doing so does not intrude on our lifestyles, our preferences, our comforts, and even our religion.
Revealing a biblical picture of what it means to truly be a Christian, Follow Me explores the gravity of what we must forsake in this world, as well as the indescribable joy and deep satisfaction to be found when we live for Christ.
The call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it’s a summons to lose your life—and to find new life in him. This book will show you what such life actually looks like.
For the next few days, we are going to be offering some video snippets from David regarding his new book. Making Disciples
This entry was posted in Books and tagged David Platt on January 30, 2013 by Family Christian.
Besides a complete and total belief, which I held in the sixth grade, that I was going to become a world famous whistler who would bring people into a weepy wave of wonder with my haunting melodies- my parents have supported every dream I have ever had.
Even when they have made no logical sense.
I graduated with a bachelors degree from a private university. My career plans weren’t set in stone, but I always assumed I would go straight into graduate work, like both of my parents did. Social work, speech pathology, political science and seminary topped my list. Serving people, seeking justice, fighting for beauty and redemption in another person’s life was my ultimate goal. Making music was not.
But I fell in love. With a man and with music. And the day after my college graduation we packed our bags and moved into a 900 square foot duplex in the heart of ghetto, thug-riddled Dallas, Texas. For the next two years my husband and I lived in that duplex across the street from Joe the Pimp (yes, a real live pimp), with the entire band. It was just how every woman hopes to spend the first two years of marriage! No health insurance, life insurance, 401K plan, personal privacy or financial security blanket. Four college graduates still driving our cars from high school while our peers bought houses, invested in stocks and experimented in keeping small puppies and babies alive.
By the looks of it, my life did not measure up to the kind of success that our culture aspires to.
And yet I can’t remember a single conversation with my dad where he didn’t say, “I’m proud of you Jenny- don’t give up- it won’t always be this hard- it’s worth it- you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Keep doing what you feel like God has made you to do.”
And to the 32 year-old-girl, 10 years later, now turned mother who has lived through a fire that destroyed most of what I owned, a few break-ins, car-wrecks, near bankruptcy, still living in a small apartment, with no 401 K and, yes, still driving my car from high school- all in my pursuit of listening to and following God’s voice in my life...
my dad still says the same thing.
Don’t lose heart.Keep believing in the things that God has called you to.
You see my parents are both deeply spiritual people and have served on church staffs my entire life. Many times my sisters and I have watched as members of different congregations have lied about my parents, hurt them and given them good cause to never ever walk back through the doors of a church again. And yet, my parents have always walked back in the doors.
Dad often quoted Psalm 27:13 as he walked around the house listening to my sisters and I gripe about the injustice of it all. He simply said, “I am still confident of this: we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” And he and mom believed it enough that they didn’t quit, even when quitting was the most obvious answer.
I can’t count how many times I have tried to throw away the gifts and calling that the Lord has given me. I have tried to convince myself that I heard God’s voice wrong. That serving in ministry was too hard on my spirit. That the sacrifice was not worth it. That I was being financially irresponsible to live off of little- when I could make much else-where. That my family deserves better. Or perhaps, someone else is more qualified.
I am the queen of excuses and rationalizing. I’ve written the book on fear, anxiety and distrust in the face of the unknown. I have tried to quit God, quit His call on my life, quit that still, small voice who whispers over and over again to me, “Feed my sheep,” more times than I can count.
And yet I am still here. Still writing music and telling God’s story of redemption. Still driving that same old car. Still allowing God to use me in people’s journeys. Still listening to my daddy tell me that following the call is absolutely worth it- even when it makes no logical sense. Even when it hurts. Even if it leaves you broken sometimes.
The song, Don’t Lose Heart, is the most personal song for me on my new album, The Becoming. It’s not just a pithy sentiment spoken over someone in a tiny battle. It is a monumental cry to those serving in ministry- fighting the most important battle ever: whether to give up or not.
Following the great unknown has cost you everything
But listen to the voice inside who first called out your name...
To those following the Great Unknown, to those chasing a dream that only makes sense in light of the Holy Spirit that has given birth to that dream, to those barely hanging on as they try and survive ministry in a tough church, for those making art, parenting orphans, feeding homeless, teaching immigrants, sheltering battered women, loving pregnant teenagers, heck, loving any teenager through puberty, going to the uttermost corners of the earth to deliver water- and living water- this song is for you.
For anyone in the middle of a “What the heck am I doing here?” moment- the one where you fear you have gone the wrong way or the call was meant for someone else-
this is for you.
Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose faith. Keep believing in the things that He’s called to you. When you’re tired. When you’re faint. Look deep into the eyes of your Savior’s face. And you will find your resting place.
And to mom and dad- who never gave up on Jesus and his calling- you are the most beautiful people I know. Thank you for teaching me that sometimes following Jesus is more important than safety, security or comfort. Thank you for caring more about how Jesus wants to use me, than any thing else. I am here because of you.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Adulthood often seems like the place where dreams go to die. As a little girl my heart brimmed over with dreams. My parents' and teachers' encouragement convinced me anything was possible, so my prospects increased by the day.
I pictured myself traveling the countryside curing animals like James Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small. I envisioned myself as nanny-extraordinaire like Mary Poppins or an exquisite singer like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.
The advent of middle school challenged my girlish dreams. Not-so-encouraging peers, realizations of my limitations, and a few failures and hard knocks made me more cautious about my future. Although some dreams remained, others died along the way.
Sitting in a room of friends recently, I listened attentively as they shared a graveyard of dreams. Some dreams were killed by belittling from people who should have been supporters. Other dreams died a slow death when the realities of rent and grocery bills took precedence. Still others had been set on a shelf under a dusty dome of "some day." They wondered if God had forgotten the dreams in their hearts.
They aren't alone. The Bible records story after story of dreamers who had to wait for the fulfillment of their dreams.
Abraham dreamt of a promised nation.
Isaac dreamt of a beautiful woman in a strange land.
Hannah dreamt of a child.
Samuel dreamt of a godly king.
God is not only the weaver of dreams, but He answers them as well. God has limitless creativity, and His creation longs for the opportunity to create and build and produce things of value. He is the one who plants dreams in our heart to be held until the time is right to bring them to life.
I encourage you today to take out your dreams, resuscitate them if necessary and examine them. There may be childhood dreams that need to be allowed to slip away, like balloons gently released into the sky. But what about the others?
Are there any buried dreams that need to be dusted off, held in your hands and offered back to God? He's the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine with the ideas He's given. Offer those dreams a new start in this New Year.
Dear Lord, I embrace the dreams You've given me. Help me resist discouragement and hold on to them until I see Your power bring them to reality. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do you ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? If you struggle with self-doubt, pick up a copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope for biblical truth and encouragement!
Reflect and Respond:
Is there a dream you've let die and need to bring back to life?
Start a journal and write down your dreams. Read them aloud to God and ask Him to show you the ones that He's placed in your heart to hold.
Psalm 37:4-6, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." (NIV 1984)
Psalm 20:4, "May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!" (ESV)
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3:13
Almighty God is the focus of the faithful. He is the One Thing who needs the attention from those attentive to Christ’s agenda. This focus of faith writes a beautiful script for a surrendered life--like a sharpened pencil it etches clearly, compared to the illegible scribblings of a dull point. A mind focused on what’s ahead is not encumbered with what’s behind. Single focus creates mental stamina. Indeed, focused thinking on God is not distracted by the world’s allure.
Is Christ the central point of your plans? Do you anticipate what lies ahead? Your single focus on your heavenly Father’s heart will embolden your heart. Belief in Jesus is the bull’s eye on the target of trust. Always shoot your arrows of action toward the Almighty’s agenda and you will accomplish His purpose for your life. Take hold of Him and He will guide you by His good light. Take hold of integrity and you will walk securely. Take hold of prayer and you’ll hear His voice.
“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous.” Psalm 15:1-2
We must beware of separating the sacred from the secular. Our life and work are not silos separated from the grain of God’s goodness. Our salvation is an acorn of faith that grows into an oak tree of mature discipleship. However, the pruning of adversity is necessary to keep us growing in grace. Everything we do is meant to move us toward the Lord’s one thing: progress toward perfection in Christ. Momentary affliction is meant to move us into His deeper affections.
Therefore, do for one what you would like to do for many. Trust God that your single focus at home and work will create quality relationships that lead to a quantity of influence for good. Like a laser, your single focus to love can clear away the cloudy cataracts from another’s eyes of fear. Like courageous military personnel, your single focus on humble service can protect you and your family from pride. Your single focus puts fear in the enemy and faith in your heart.
“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
Prayer: Heavenly Father, make my focus forward on You and Your priorities.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:22-23
Wow! The Creator came to dwell with His creation. The all knowing One came to teach teachers and students limited by their lack of knowledge and understanding. The ever present One came to comfort hurting people stuck in their suffering. The all powerful One came to serve weak people, empowering them with His Spirit. The Almighty sent His only son Jesus into the world, fully God and fully man. Yes, the Word became flesh!
God is with us to face down our fears by faith. God is with us in our doubts. God is with us in our hurts, applying His healing balm of grace. God is with us in our transitions to grow our trust in Him. God is with us at work and at home. God is with us in our uncertainty. God is with us when we feel His presence and when we don't feel Him near. God is with us in our successes and in our failures. God is with us and for us for His glory!
"And surely I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NIV)
God is with us in our modern technology and our antiquated activities. The Lord is with us in our big cities and our small towns. Jesus is with us when we feel joy, laughter and loss. Christ is with us to comfort us in our pain and encourage us to persevere for Him. He is with us in the ups and the downs. He is with us and He is in us to work through us!
Therefore, because Christ is with you, you can be confident of His wisdom and direction. Fools flounder for lack of faith, but you have the Faithful One as the facilitator of your circumstances. Immanuel entered the earth by birth and entered your heart by new birth. Your Savior Jesus has saved you from your sins and your Lord Jesus commands you to follow His ways and experience His life. He gave His life and came to life for your life!
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for being with us on earth and for being my life.
Check out this devotional from Jenny Simmons of Addison Road.
In the popular children’s T.V. show, Dora the Explorer, there is a character who always sneaks up on Dora and her best friend Boots and swipes their stuff. This bad guy, Swiper the Fox, follows up his sneaky swiping of goods with, “You’re too late! You’ll never find it now!” and he disappears leaving Dora and Boots empty-handed.
Imagine my surprise last Christmas when my sweet 2-year-old daughter, who is an avid watcher of Dora the Explorer, picked up the baby Jesus from our nativity scene at home and with as much gusto, fear, courage and spunk as her body could muster, yelled, “You’re too late now! You’ll never find him now!” and took off running with the Christ child down the hallway.
And she was right. We didn’t find Jesus until Valentine’s Day.
She had wrapped him up in paper and stuck him inside her treasure box and wouldn’t tell us where she put him. And then I suppose she forgot, because she truly couldn’t remember and ended up in tears as I demanded she find Jesus. I searched the house in vain for baby Jesus all Christmas season. And it wasn’t until Valentines Day, when we took out her box of treasures to put her Valentines in, that we found him.
When I think about my 2-year-old snatching the baby Jesus, storing him in her treasure box and then forgetting where she put him, I am reminded of my own tendency to do exactly that. Feverishly loving the Lord, consuming His words and presence, storing these moments deep within me, in much the same way that Mary did, and then...
Dishes. Laundry. Writing assignments. Phone calls to family. Taxi-driver. Wrapping paper. Church. Working out. Being a mom. Being a wife. Being an artist. Being a friend. Life happens.
And sometimes in the midst of it all- I forget where I have put Jesus.
As we enter into the season of celebrating the life of Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a baby, we are invited once again into a story of unbelievable shock, awe, beauty, courage and ultimately, redemption. And perhaps, like me, you’ve heard the Christmas story before and it has feverishly consumed your heart. But somewhere along the way, the smallness of daily living took over, and the very thing that meant the most to you, got hidden- and ultimately- lost. Well, this is your invitation to dust off Luke Chapters 1 and 2 and ask the Lord to help you find what has been lost on you. This is your invitation to ask “what child is this?” And this is your chance to let the answer, Jesus Christ, find you, keep you, embrace you and be with you- now and always.
Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
Jesus, Friend Of Sinners
Track from: Come To The Well
[Beach Street/Reunion Records]
Take Me To The King
[Tillymann Music Group]
Go Get It
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
Track from: 10,000 Reasons
Track from: I Win
[Verity Gospel Music Group]
Best Gospel Song
Go Get It
Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell & Warryn Campbell, songwriters (Mary Mary)
[Columbia; Publishers: EMI April Music, It's Tea Tyme, That's Plum Song, Wet Ink Red Music]
Cheryl Fortune, James Fortune & Terence Vaughn, songwriters (James Fortune &
FIYA, Monica & Fred Hammond)
Track from: Identity
[Light Records/eOne Music]
I Feel Good
Phillip Feaster, Fred Hammond, Jonathan Miller & Calvin Rodgers, songwriters
Track from: God, Love & Romance
[Verity Gospel Music Group; Publishers: fHammond Music/Bridge Bldg Music/CJMS Music/Music Feast Productions/Jonathan Miller Publishing]
Aaron Lindsey & Marvin Sapp, songwriters (Marvin Sapp)
Track from: I Win
[Verity Gospel Music Group; Publishers: Universal Music-Brentwood Benson Songs/Marvin L. Sapp Music/Ardent Media]
Donald Lawrence, songwriter (Bill Winston & Living Word Featuring Donald
[Source Media; Publisher: Quiet Water Ent.]
Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
Jesus, Friend Of Sinners
Mark Hall & Matthew West, songwriters (Casting Crowns)
Track from: Come To The Well
[Beach Street/Reunion Records]
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
Jonas Myrin & Matt Redman, songwriters (Matt Redman)
Track from: 10,000 Reasons
[sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records; Publishers: Thankyou Music/sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/Said And Done Music/Shout! Publishing]
When Mercy Found Me
Jeff Pardo & Rhett Walker, songwriters (Rhett Walker Band)
Track from: Come To The River
[Essential Records; Publishers: Sony ATV Music, Ships In A Bottle/Simple Tense Songs]
Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Matt Redman & Chris Tomlin, songwriters (Passion &
Track from: White Flag
[sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records; Publishers: sixsteps Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/Vamos Publishing/Said And Done Music/Valley of the Songs Music/Sony ATV Timber Publishing/West Main Music/Windsor Hill Music/Thankyou Music]
Your Presence Is Heaven
Israel Houghton & Micah Massey, songwriters (Israel & New Breed)
Track from: Jesus At The Center Live
[Integrity Music; Publishers: Integrity's Praise! Music/Sound of the New Breed, Regenerate Music]
Ever committed to the simple but profound story of truth, Casting Crowns has impacted millions with powerful songs like "East To West", "Who Am I", and "If We Are The Body". Now fans can experience these favorites and more on the new acoustic project The Acoustic Sessions: Volume 1. In times of difficulty and in moments of praise, these songs have provided the words so many hearts long to communicate. Including two BRAND NEW songs, Acoustic Sessions: Volume 1, is a must have for any Casting Crowns fan.
Here is Praise You in the Storm - listen now.
Prebuy their new album today. Click here for details.
This entry was posted in Music and tagged Casting Crowns on December 4, 2012 by Family Christian.
Family Christian: Chris, congratulations on your new album. What can people expect to hear on Burning Lights?
Chris Tomlin: Hopefully, they will find songs that are more than just the latest flavor—but they will hear the heart, the passion, the fire, the joy, the majesty, the surrender, the truth, and the triumph in every listen.
FC: The first single from the album draws from II Kings 6. Tell us a little about the connection between that story and the song, “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies).”
Chris: My friend Matt Redman says it best, "Worship is about seeing. We sing in response to what we see.”
In II Kings 6, there is an enemy army surrounding the town of the prophet Elisha. Elisha proclaims to his servant, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." He then prays for the eyes of his servant to be opened to truly see what is going on around them. The Lord opens the eyes of the servant and he sees the mountains filled with horses and chariots of fire (angel armies)! Truth is, we live in the same reality. There are enemy armies constantly at our doorstep, and many times, we live in a state of fear. I hope and pray this song can build faith in people to know the truth that "those who are with us are far more than those who are against us."
FC: On that song, the lyrics, “The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine,” feel very personal. What inspired this line?
Chris: I love this line. What a concept and truth to grasp. The creator of the heavens, the maker of every living thing, the One who sits on the throne of an everlasting kingdom calls us "friend." Every time I sing this line, I can barely contain the thought of it.
FC: What else would you like listeners to know about this album as they worship the Lord with these songs?
Chris: In the end, it’s about the heart of the song. Does the song move people or not? "I'm just a shepherd boy, singing to a choir of burning lights.” And I’m asking everyone to sing along.
FC: As you contemplate a new year, is there a passage from Scripture that the Lord has been speaking to you about lately?
Chris: I would easily say the passage from II Kings 6 I referenced earlier. My prayer for my own life: "God open my eyes to see the true reality...give me a fearless heart."
FC: In your travels around the world leading worship, can you recall a particular story that has really impacted your life or ministry?
Chris: The ministries of Compassion International and Watoto have truly blown me away. So many people are doing amazing work for the kingdom of God. Sitting in the shanty of a little boy named Julius in Uganda—it was just him and his grandmother, everyone else in his family had died (mostly of HIV). He had the disease as well. Through Compassion, he was receiving the medicine to keep the deadly disease away. He was five years old and so full of life and hope. And to know he was just one of the countless that this ministry and others like it are touching.
I have been humbled every time we have traveled around to these other nations and experienced the passionate worship of Jesus.
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