Tag Archives: radical

Christians And The American Dream: A Radical Choice

In his book, Radical, David Platt asks if the American dream is compatible with Christian discipleship. Can we be faithful to Jesus and pursue success by this world’s standards?

What is the American dream? Does it mean that we do whatever we must in order to get bigger houses and bank accounts, fancier cars and clothes, richer meals and vacations? If so, then how does Jesus and his agenda fit into such a life?

Jesus challenges his followers to make radical sacrifices, even to the point of risking one’s life in this age. He urges us to do whatever it takes in order to join him in his kingdom agenda.

The Lord’s agenda is clear and concise: “Go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).”

To be a disciple of Jesus we must make disciples for Jesus.

According to Jesus, the first step in making disciples is to go. We reach out to others with the good news about Jesus. We don’t just sit and wait for them to come to us.

Jesus tells us to make disciples of “all the nations.” Our outreach for making disciples is not limited by distance, race, nationality, politics, gender, or any of the other lines drawn by people to define and divide. We should go across the street and around the world to make disciples.

Jesus says that making disciples includes two things: baptizing and teaching.

Our first goal in reaching out is to bring people to a point of faith in Christ so that they will receive Christian baptism. We tell others about Jesus so that they will be saved and then profess their saving faith publicly through believer’s baptism.

Once people become disciples, we also help them be disciples.

Making disciples includes teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands. This is a life-long journey, the same journey that we are experiencing as disciples of Jesus.

So, we want to see lost people saved and saved people stronger.

Making disciples takes time, and so does the American dream. In his book, David Platt questions whether it is possible to succeed at both pursuits. Jesus puts it this way, “Nobody is able to serve two masters, for he will hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).”

Platt also points out the terrible loss that occurs when Jesus’ followers opt for the American dream and do not make disciples. Hundreds of millions of people around the world will be lost, suffering in hell forever.

So the cost of not making disciples is high, too high. On the other hand, the reward for making disciples is beyond measure. All the houses, money, clothes, food and vacations in this life will be forgotten, but those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.

Treasure on earth can be destroyed and stolen. Treasure in heaven will never be destroyed or stolen. And as Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be (Matthew 6:21).”

May the Lord give us hearts that store up treasure in heaven,
Brother Richard

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Who Speaks for Christianity?

Listening to chatter in the media one gets the message loud and clear that ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and a host of other violent Muslim organizations do not represent the true teachings of Islam.

On the other hand, Christianity is represented by crusaders who have been dead and buried for a thousand years, or a rogue demented shooter who attacks a Planned Parenthood outlet, so we are told.

Can we find a more objective and accurate measure for “true Islam” and “true Christianity”? Yes, we can. Jesus and Muhammad.

Muhammad was a raider who used the sword to advance his agenda. He killed and beheaded some 700 Jewish men in one episode, taking their wives and daughters as the spoils of war. He taught his followers to kill the infidel, or at least subject them to second-class status.

Jesus was a teacher who insisted that his followers put away their swords, even though his own life was at stake. He taught his followers to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them. He left this example for his followers: he gave his own life so that unbelievers can be saved.

To be a radical Muslim is to spill the blood of those who disagree with you. To be a radical Christian is to seal your testimony with your own blood, sacrificially giving your life so that others might live, in order to persuade many to be saved.

Peaceful Muslims are actually reflecting the life and values of Jesus more than those of Muhammad, at least with respect to violence. Murderous Christians are actually reflecting the life and values of Muhammad more than those of Jesus, at least when it comes to wielding the sword.

Jesus surprised his followers with his definition of greatness: “Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. And whoever wants to be first among you will serve all.”

Jesus got down on his knees and washed his disciples’ feet. He got up on his cross and died for his disciples’ salvation. He stood up and walked away from his tomb to be his disciples’ Lord.

Jesus speaks for Christianity.

May the Spirit of Christ speak to your heart,

Richard Foster

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