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1. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:22 KJV

2. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:23 KJV

3. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:33 KJV
These are the three requirements for being a disciple (or follower) of Jesus. It’s there in black and white. If you want to tell other people how to love God, these three things must be accomplished before you can do that. That goes for pastors, deacons, bishops, and anyone else who sets themselves up between you and God. Period. He said so. Anything else is just “seeking” God. Trying to find a way to get closer to Him, without quite arriving there; sidling up alongside of Him, so to speak. Because, once you believe that Jesus meant those words He said, here, you must either act upon that, or not. Either you think that Jesus was insane (I couldn’t give away everything I own!), or you do what He said, in words, to do (forsake all you own). It means turning away from the World (corruption, greed, and hate), and turning toward the Light (caring, sharing, and love). You cannot very well do that in any church that does the one thing that Jesus went berserk over. The one time He totally lost it. Bookstores, that’s what I mean here. It makes me want to go off and flip over cash registers and chase people out of there, when I see sales going on in what is supposed to be God’s home. You gotta consider, though, that all the people in church are broken, that’s why they’re there. They want God, but just don’t necessarily want to do the things He said to do to show that they love Him. It’s more fun to sing about doing good than it is to actually go do that.

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Hating yourself and everyone you’re related to has got to be the hardest to understand. Most churches teach that this doesn’t mean actually “hating” your family, it means how you feel about them compared to how you should feel about God. The text doesn’t say that. It says to hate them. Okay…if you don’t dislike how your life is going, how can you ever hope to change it for the better? Or…if you don’t dislike how your loved ones are, how can you possibly want them to be better? There’s just one small step, from dislike to hate. One step more of caring, and you get to loving them. Now, if you follow that just one further step, you get to loving others. That’s where you hate the bad part, but love the good part, of everyone you meet. Wanting them to be better, so all of us can be better. Helping others, so they can help yet others.

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The bad things you have done in your life are the only key you get, to open a path into others‘ hearts. Yes…the things you wish you hadn’t done. When your conscience (God’s own voice!) told you not to do something, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Those things can help you to relate to others, to share your knowledge with others, and to learn from others who have already walked on the wrong path. They are the cross that you bear, all your life. They are scars written painfully large upon your heart, the wisdom you have eventually learned in your life.

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The freedom you get from throwing away greed is indescribable. You begin to realize that people are living in pure terror of losing all those things they have. Instead of that fear, you have time for loving everybody else on the planet. That terror, spiritually, comes from not doing what God wants done. Turning from the god of mammon that is greed, and turning toward the true God that is Love. When we are all poor, we will all be rich. Have a King, not a president.

As for me, I say to come, look, and see what I do. I dare you. Failing that, look at my Facebook pages, see the fruit of my work for God. I’m not boasting, here, I’m trying to prod your spiritual imagination. To find a way to carve out a niche where you can make a difference in other people’s lives. Not by giving to Goodwill, or writing a check to The United Way, but touching, feeling, and immersing yourself in other people’s very lives. I want to make your empathy grow and bear the fruits of the Spirit. I want you to hate how everybody is so much that you grow to love them all their lives. I want you to care about others, at least as much as I try to, and work at, every day. I must thank God for helping me write out this rant, it would be impossible, without Him. The name on the narrow gate to heaven is love.

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