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Chris Russo's Blog

Conflict Resolution 101

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Seek first to understand

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Seeking God’s Presence

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Fighting for Freedom

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Rethinking our habits

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My favorite spiritual discipline

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Letting go of the future

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Learning to let go

Surrendering with White Flag

If I could pinpoint a single theme that is present every day of my life, it would be the theme of surrender. In every situation and in every struggle, in every high and every low, I sense God calling me to surrender to him…to relinquish my will to him. There is this constant sense that he is saying…

“Chris, trust me. I’ve got you. I won’t fail you. Let it go and don’t worry. I know you don’t have all the answers, but I’m not calling you to. I’m simply calling you to surrender.”

It’s so simple and yet, so difficult. Why is it so difficult? The basic, but hard truth is that I struggle when it comes to trusting God. There is this deep feeling that if I surrender, everything is going to fall apart. Surrender is really difficult, especially in the areas that matter the most to us.

In my mind, one of the greatest moments of surrender in all of human history was in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before Jesus was arrested. Jesus knew what was about to happen and agonized in the presence of his heavenly Father. In Luke 22:42 Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” He made known his will to God, but he still surrendered.

Not my will, but yours be done. That is the heart of surrender. That is the heart of trust. That is what this life boils down to. C.S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”

This is, of course, a spectrum. On the one side, you have the person who is completely shut off to the things of God. On the other side, you have someone who is completely and utterly surrendered. I don’t think anyone ever gets to complete and total surrender in this life, but I’m sure you understand the point. Where do you fall on the spectrum? How do you move a little closer to surrender today? It might be as simple as a phone call you need to make or a person you need to forgive. It might mean praying for the first time in a while or deciding to go back to church after a long time away. It might mean surrendering your life to Christ for the very first time. By the way, that is how you receive the salvation that Jesus paid for with his life. Whatever it looks like for you, my hope is that we would all take that step today.

If it is helpful to you, here is a simple prayer of surrender you can pray.

God, thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I surrender my life to you. Jesus, thank you that you died on the cross for me and rose from the grave. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you are the way, the truth and the life. I surrender all that I am to you. Have your way in and through me. Lord, whatever you want…my life is yours. Amen. 

The Mission

nations

In Matthew 28, verses 19-20, Jesus gives what is known as the Great Commission. He has his eleven disciples with him and gives them a charge with the mission he has for them.

He says, 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I love the simplicity, here. Jesus envisioned a world where more and more people were following him and he entrusted this process to his disciples. Now, for anyone who claims to be a Christ-follower, the same mission is presented to us. The baton has now been passed to us to go out and make disciples.

I went through a book called, Start With Why by Simon Sinek. One of the things Sinek makes clear is that without a clear and compelling why, all the how’s and what’s don’t matter all that much. For Christians, this is our mission. This is what we are called to do. He didn’t say, “Therefore go and make churches.” He didn’t say, “Therefore, go and make compelling outreach programs.” He said, “Therefore go and make disciples…”

A disciple is someone whose 24/7/365 focus is following Christ. They know they’re not perfect, but they’ve parted ways with who they used to be and are in hot pursuit of Jesus. They want to know him, follow him and represent him to the world.

So, a couple clarifying questions for consideration:

  1. Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? How do you know?
  2. Are you actively engaging with his mission to go out and make disciples? How do you know?

What Jesus said just before he left this planet was massively important. If you were about to leave your close friends for a long time, you would want to condense things and make sure you communicated clearly. Jesus told them, 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Every follower of Christ would do well to meditate on these words and consider what they mean for us today. I think the implications are life-altering.

 

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