February / March 2019 - Vol. 102

                  Conference of Christian Disciples on Mission 
Following Christ Together as a Community of Disciples
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28–30)
In This Issue

What is the essence of being a Christian? It is certainly more than doctrine, precepts, and commandments. It is first and foremost a relationship - a relationship of trust, affection, commitment, loyalty, faithfulness, kindness, compassion, mercy, encouragement, support, strength, protection, and so many other qualities that bind people together in mutual love and unity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

God offers us the greatest of relationships - union of heart, mind, and spirit with himself, the very author and source of love (1 John 4:8,16) and with his people who have been redeemed in Christ who shed his blood for us on the cross and rose again to give us abundant new life now and forever.

The Lord Jesus calls all who believe in him to follow as his disciples. Discipleship is not optional but an integral part of being a Christian. This issue explores what discipleship entails and how we can grow and be renewed in this call in living together as a community of disciples on mission.

Dan Keating in his new book, The Adventure of Discipleship, writes:
To hear and believe the good news of Jesus Christ (the Gospel) is to set out on the costly adventure of discipleship. “Being a Christian” or “becoming a Christian” involves much more than staking a claim to a religious identity. It means more than taking on a set of practices or attending services – though practices and services are essential. When Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” he is inviting us to become his disciples. When we respond to this call, we leave behind our own plans and enter into an adventure not of our own making. This adventure of discipleship is costly – it requires the cost of our lives.
[Read his article in this issue here.]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, Discipleship, probes what it means for Christians today to hear the Lord's call and joyfully entrust their lives and future into his hands - both individually and together as a brothers and sisters in Christ. He writes:

Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.
[Read article by Bonhoeffer here.]

Steve Clark in his article explains both the costs and rewards in choosing to live a life of discipleship.

If you want to deepen your love for God and grow in discipleship, let this issue be a source of rich spiritual food, wisdom, and encouragement for you, and also aid in your preparation for the upcoming season of the Forty Days of Lent which begins in March.

Sincerely in Christ,
Don Schwager

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