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You Must Follow Me - Part 1

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I have read many times about Peter denying Jesus three times on the way to the cross, and Jesus asking Peter if he loves him three times after the resurrection. In the Gospel according to John, an interesting exchange is recorded after Peter asserts his love for Jesus as third time:

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”  [John 21:17-23]

As someone who has committed to love Jesus, Peter still finds himself struggling with what it means to follow Jesus. He has already asserted with his words repeatedly that he loves Jesus, but Jesus is asking for more. He goes from love to Peter's calling: to feed Jesus' sheep. The outcome of love is action.

Unfortunately, it is more than the request to feed the sheep. The passage explains itself to the modern reader: Jesus tells Peter about the type of death which he will suffer for associated with Jesus.

The cost is high for Peter to follow, but he struggles to understand why the price is so high for him alone... why is he being singled out from all the other among the other disciples for such a dramatic and painful end? His attention immediately goes to finding out the cost to other disciples. Jesus challenges him: isn't it up to the Lord to decide what will be required? No matter the cost to others, Peter must choose to follow Jesus regardless of what it might cost.

Those of us who would call ourselves disciples have the same challenges. I am not sure why it seems to cost some people more to follow Christ. Some Christians go through tremendous suffering.

We follow, but we don't get the luxury of comparing our walk to others. We just don't have the perspective to judge what's equal and fair.  Like Peter and John, are we going to follow regardless of the cost?

(To read Part Two, click HERE.)

Dance Like David Danced...

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Dancing for God has always been a joy and a blessing. Whenever I get to dance before the Lord it allows to me do several things; 1) Give Him what I believe to be my utmost, bold and daring worship as a man to dance and give glory 2) Minister to those in the congregation and hope my praise, my movement for God to whatever song we are dancing to will touch them, move them and get closer to God 3) Get past my own insecurities of praise to my God.

I am a dancer by blood. I grew up dancing, involved in dance organizations and choreographing etc. When I danced int he secular world, it was out of arrogance, to show how good I am and to dominate the dance floor and popularity. How funny, when i joined the church way back when, and Deacon Karita asked me to dance for 2-3 months I kindly declined because I couldn't see myself dancing in church. I have seen praise dancing and thought it was out of my realm, not my kind of dancing, not masculine enough and I didn't want to be looked at a certain way. But as I started growing in my faith, growing in my word and understanding that this body is the body the Lord gave me and that my body was an instrument of praise and that I could and should use my gifts for dancing to praise God, I went full speed ahead and never looked backed. I have been able to get other men to dance with me and sometimes I am the only male dancing with an all female ensemble if you will.

Sometimes there can be self doubt and feeling awkward of being the only man dancing. Sometimes as much as I love dancing for the Lord, I wish there were more men who would be up there with me. When those thoughts enter my mind, I am reminded of David in 2 Samuel 6:4 

 

Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

David was bold. David was unashamed and David danced with all his might. I am a man who is and should not be afraid to praise the Lord with all I have, because He deserves all of the glory, He deserves all of me and it's not about being the only man dancing as much as it's about sharing my public praise with my congregation. Showing other men, it's OK to step outside of our comfort zone and shout, clap and move our feet for the Lord, because sure enough if we were all at a birthday party or celebration we would be shaking our behinds to the music we hear! So God often reminds me that with every breath, every step that I have on this earth whether it's with a group of women or by myself, I will Dance Like David Danced!!! Always and Forever because My God who continues to show my mercy and grace deserves it, because my God who came down as man and died on the cross, deserves it. So if you are a man, and you feel uncomfortable dancing before the Lord...then I say good..let's step out of our comfort zones together..let's dance because I know He has done a might wonderful things for you and your families lives..let's dance just of joy of having Christ in our lives!!!

 

 

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