Martin Niemoeller was a World War I hero in Germany as a U-boat captain. But later in life, he was imprisoned for eight years by Hitler, from 1937 - 1945 on charges of treason. He spent time in prisons and concentration camps, including Dachau.

But even while Niemoeller was in prison, Hitler realized that much of his opposition would collapse if the influential Niemoeller, a leading figure in the German church, was on Hitler's side and supported his cause. So, to help convince Niemoeller to join his side, Hitler sent one of Niemoeller's friends to visit him in prison.

Seeing his friend Niemoeller in a prison cell, the onetime friend said, "Martin, Martin! Why are you here?" The response from Martin: "My friend! Why are you NOT here?"

Martin Niemoeller had convictions - he was totally committed to what he thought was right. NO. MATTER. WHAT. For Niemoeller, that included being in prison.

As His followers, Jesus calls for us to make a commitment, to have a conviction to follow Him. We are blessed in our country that the costs of stating that we follow Jesus, in terms of persecution at least, are far less than in other countries. But nonetheless, there are costs (even if they are far outweighed by the benefits). We all have to answer the question: will we follow Jesus?

Just a reminder that you can attend our Thursday Teaching Service in-person, this Thursday March 11th at 6:30 p.m. as we continue our discussion of the gospel of Luke. Or join in via Zoom.

This week, as you to continue your reading, read Luke 9:51 - 14:35. As you read, think about these questions as Luke continues to reveal Jesus to us:
* If you were creating an advertisement to recruit new Christians, what perks would you advertise?
* Are there any negatives (let's say costs) to be a Christian? What are they? And would you put them in the advertisement?
* See Luke 11:23. Have you chosen a side? How can you communicate to others the need to choose in a loving way? And if a person doesn't want to choose, can you "shake the dust off your feet" and move on?
* See Luke 12:13-34. How can you seek the Kingdom of God beyond all else?
* See Luke 12:51. How do you react to Jesus statement that He has not come to bring peace, but has come to divide people?
* What does it mean to you to put Jesus above earthly comforts (like a home) and above family obligations?
* Have you counted the cost of following Jesus in your life? What would go into the cost comparison, the cost/benefit analysis (to use business terms)?
* What excuses do we seem to have for not loving our neighbor?
* You have seen what Jesus is doing and heard what Jesus is saying in the readings from this week. Based on that, do you want to be more like Jesus, and what does that mean?

Pastor Doug