When you hear the word disciple, you may envision people who spend all day praying and converting the masses. Or individuals who have a natural holiness deep inside. The truth is, being a follower of Jesus isn’t a job for the perfect or the Christian elite—it’s something anyone can and should be. (And even the original twelve disciples were far from perfect!) This thirty-day devotional looks at the traits real, very humandisciples have, using Scripture, first-person comments from teens, and questions that help you think about your own disciple experiences.
When you think of Peter, John, Matthew, and even Paul, they seem to be heroes for Jesus—the ones we’re supposed to emulate and be more like. After all, Jesus handpicked them to be his followers and ambassadors on earth, and trusted them with everything when he left, so they must have been really holy men, right?
But if you read the Gospels and Acts closely, you’ll notice the men Jesus called into his ministry were often clueless, selfish, afraid, and brash, and made a lot of mistakes during their time as disciples. In other words, they were very human. Just like you. This 30-day devotional peels back the holy veneer and explores the character traits that mark all disciples—things like fear, boldness, doubt, laziness, weakness, sensitivity, brokenness, alienation, hunger, immaturity, strength, and preparedness—and uses Scripture, real-world examples, and questions with space to journal to help you see these “negative” qualities actually qualify you to follow Jesus. Because discipleship isn’t something from the first century, and Jesus is calling you to follow him today.
- can be used for personal study or in a group setting
- is ideal for teens and young adults
- contains short readings, with full Scripture passages included, that you can take with you anywhere
- breaks down the real truth behind Scripture to show how it applies to your life today
About the Author
Mike Yaconelli is the author of bestselling books Dangerous Wonder and Messy Spirituality. He was the senior editor for the Wittenburg Door (1971-1996), a satirical religious magazine noted for its irreverent humor, in-depth interviews, and commitment to reforming the evangelical church. He was the cofounder of Youth Specialties, an international organization devoted to equipping youth workers through training and resources. Mike was a prophetic voice in the church-at-large and was a devoted husband and father until his death in 2003.
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DevotionA Raw Truth Journal for Following Jesus
By Mike Yaconelli
ZondervanCopyright © 2003 Youth Specialties
All right reserved.
Aliens are foreigners, strangers in a strange land. Aliens don't speak the native language, don't follow the customs and traditions, and don't fit in. Aliens are typically uncomfortable, awkward, and unsure of themselves in their new foreign homes.
Disciples are aliens in this world. Many of the values found within our culture are foreign to disciples. Disciples don't naturally fit into a society that's largely out of touch with God. They're uncomfortable-looking, and they feel out of place in the everyday world. Disciples of Christ find themselves continually at odds with the culture, because they have different values, different priorities, and a different language. Disciples feel odd and estranged in contemporary culture-and that's just how they ought to feel.
Fitting in is not always a good thing.
1 Peter 2:9-12
You say "different" like it's a bad thing?
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
FACT for the day
Robert Heinlein wrote the science fiction book Stranger in a Strange Land in 1961. It's the story of an alien who comes to earth and can't fit in, so he establishes a new religion.
Today's top 10
Make a list of the top ten things that make you different from everyone else.
The more I try to be like everyone else the more I build walls around myself. I need to tear down the walls. I need to celebrate who I am. I take today and I will ...
All that makes you different and unique in this world is a gift from God. Following the One who said to be different is a way to say thank you. May you celebrate that which others condemn in you. God does.
Someone Just Like You
Diane (some people called her "Lady Di" because she looked just like the late Princess of Wales) found herself at the center of the conversation. The slumber party had been going strong since last night, and now, at three in the morning, the talk was getting serious. "Come on, Diane, what do you mean you've never looked at a Victoria's Secret catalog? It's more than the underwear, which, frankly, I can't believe you don't care about. It's the models. They look so good. I want to know their secret; don't you?" "Not really," Di said. "That's why I don't go out with guys right now. I'm too young, too easily influenced by guys. I could easily be obsessed with how I look. And I know this sounds stupid, but my faith really matters to me. Thinking about guys and about my body and my clothes and my makeup all the time doesn't make a lot of sense when I could be learning more about God." "Get real, Di. The only reason you're saying that is because you already have a body worth dying for and looks to go with it. Every guy in class wants to go out with you. I mean, come on, you want to learn more about God? That's psycho. What's wrong with you?" Diane sat up, not sure if it was anger or hurt feelings that she felt inside. "Hey, I know, I know. Girls are considered crazy if they don't sit around drooling over guys and trying to turn them on by wearing tight skirts and miracle bras. Frankly, I don't like being pretty because it keeps people from trying to get to know me. I think it's sick to turn on guys just so I can feel good. Besides, I don't want some horny guy who just likes my body. Call me weird if you want, but I'm totally happy to have no guys in my life right now." The conversation ended awkwardly, and Diane eventually fell asleep. Later on that night something woke her up. She would rather not have heard the whispered conversation that was going on. "... but she doesn't make sense. She's full of crap and you know it. Either Diane's lying or she's a lesbian." "I wouldn't be surprised if she was a lesbian." "She's just plain weird. All this talk about God is a bunch of baloney." Diane pretended to turn over in her sleep so no one could see her crying.
IN THE STORY
If you were Diane's best friend and she came to you with what happened at the party, what would you say to her?
Authority is a word that most young people don't use for one simple reason. It's a power word ... and adults are the ones who generally have all the power. When adults want to describe reachable goals for you, they usually use words like maturity, growth, humility, or patience; but seldom, if ever, do they use authority. But disciples of Jesus can have authority, whatever their age. This kind of authority is the result of simple living. The authority of living always has greater influence than the authority of talking. A young person can possess all of the benefits of authority-influence, respect, and strength-just by living an ordinary life and following Jesus wherever he leads. Here's an easy way to know whether you have authority or not. If your friends ask for your advice, if they want to be with you when they are in a crisis, if they refer their friends to you, if they defend you to others ... then you know that they see you as someone with authority.
FACT for the day
A comedian by the name of Dr. Irwin Corey began performing stand up in the '30s (and still is). He billed himself as "The World's Foremost Authority." Corey claimed to know everything about everything. Basically he just made it up as he went along.
Question authority with your life not with your mouth. Show authority with your life, not with your mouth.
May God bless you with the patience you need to get through the day and give you the strength and courage you need to live an authoritative life.
Someone Just Like You
Rick is one of those very bright people other kids tolerate but don't like to hang out with. Rick knows all his "friends" at church put up with him because they need him now and then to fix their computers or bail them out at test time or to explain the latest calculus assignment. For some reason, Rick never worries much about his nerd status. He has a lot of self-confidence and has no huge need to be cool. A lot of his confidence comes from his faith in Jesus.
Rick has always lived on the outside of life. His divorced parents have little time for him. He lives with his grandmother, who barely copes with her own arthritis and other old-age ailments. His brother and two sisters have long since gone their own ways-ways that are cluttered with drugs, alcohol, and repeated trouble. When Rick heard about Jesus and understood that Jesus not only died for him but also wanted him as a disciple, it was all Rick needed to hear. Not being wanted by anyone else only made Jesus' "wanting" of Rick more powerful in his life. When Gina-the very popular and very sexy Gina-realized she was pregnant, it was Rick she asked for help and advice. When Mark-the very good-looking and very popular Mark-realized he was the father but didn't want to get married right away, he called Rick as well. Rick was surprised and, deep down inside himself, rather pleased. He realized that, although his faith in Jesus Christ hadn't gotten rid of his nerdiness, it had given him authority.
IN THE STORY
Is there a "Rick" in your church? Are you the "Rick"? What would you say if the popular pregnant girl (or the father) came to you?
I can choose the kind of life I live. I can choose what I believe. I can choose to control myself or not. I have authority over my decisions. I can choose to be....
Today's top 10
Make a list of the top ten things you do every day that are your choice to do.
Religion gets in the way of faith.
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
Excerpted from Devotion by Mike Yaconelli Copyright © 2003 by Youth Specialties. Excerpted by permission.
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