The Cost of Discipleship in Afghanistan

It will be hard to forget the images and video of Afghans mobbing outgoing aircraft in a desperate attempt to leave their country following the Taliban’s recent seizure of Kabul. 

In this episode, Caesar examines how thousands of Christians remaining in Afghanistan are counting the costs of discipleship and following Jesus–potentially at the risk of their lives. And he asks the question: What is your discipleship costing you today?

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The complexity of this 20-year saga and the outrage it has caused.
  • The persecution that Afghan Christians are immediately facing.
  • Jesus’ surprising commands concerning his will in persecution.
  • 3 things you can do immediately to help the people in Afghanistan.

Get started here…

The Cost of Discipleship in Afghanistan

From this episode:

“Afghan Christians pay a very high cost for being disciples of Jesus. They pay a very high cost and I’ve been asking myself this… What does discipleship cost us here in America and in the Western world today? For a lot of Christians I know here in the United States or other westernized countries, counting the cost of their discipleship amounts to seeing if they can fit a church service into their schedule or get around to watching part of their church’s live stream from last week. And there is NO cost.”

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Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Free Download of the Big 3 For Episode #346

Legacy Collective: Donate to help in Afghanistan.

Coaching with Caesar and Tina in discipleship and missional living.

Discipleship and Missional Resources

 

Join us on Facebook

Transcript
Caesar:

One thing is for sure.

Caesar:

Afghan Christians pay a very high cost for being disciples of Jesus.

Caesar:

They pay a very high cost and I've been asking myself this week, what does discipleship cost us herein America?

Caesar:

And in the Western world today for a lot of Christians, I know here in the United States or other westernized countries, counting the cost of their discipleship amounts to seeing if they can fit a church service into their schedule or get around to watching part of their churches alive stream from last week.

Caesar:

And there is no cost, no, one's going door to door in my neighborhood, searching homes and phones.

Caesar:

For Christian literature and then dragging us off.

Caesar:

No one is taking our daughters off to be slave wives or killing our pastor for owning a few pages of a Bible.

Caesar:

Think about that.

Announcer:

Welcome to the Everyday Disciple podcast where you learn how to live with greater intentionality and an integrated faith that naturally fits into every area of life.

Announcer:

In other words, discipleship as a lifestyle, this is the stuff your parents, pastors in seminary.

Announcer:

Professors probably forgot to tell you.

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And now here's your host Caesar.

Announcer:

Kalinowski

Caesar:

Hey.

Caesar:

Hey, good to be with you.

Caesar:

Good to be back back to our normally scheduled talks and the things we talk about.

Caesar:

Last week we're doing the Everyday Disciple Challenge I liked sharing all those teachings and trainings with there's so much packed into each of those days of the challenge.

Caesar:

That's why we put those up each day and then even a little bonus challenge last week, talking about the people a peace.

Caesar:

So I hope you enjoy it.

Caesar:

Hope you follow along.

Caesar:

There's a lot of meat on them, their bones, if you did, those episodes will stay up.

Caesar:

If you were part of the challenge, the video replays all come down, but the audio stays up here in the Everyday Disciple Podcast for you.

Caesar:

So enjoy that stuff.

Caesar:

All of that live training was done over in our Facebook group.

Caesar:

The Everyday Disciple.

Caesar:

Podcasts Facebook group.

Caesar:

I hope you'll join us over there.

Caesar:

You can go to Everyday Disciple dot com forward slash Facebook.

Caesar:

That'll take you right there or just when you're in Facebook, search it up.

Caesar:

But I hope you'll join us in there.

Caesar:

There's a lot going on.

Caesar:

There's a good community.

Caesar:

There.

Caesar:

We can talk.

Caesar:

You and I can chat.

Caesar:

You can throw out questions, give some help to others.

Caesar:

Wonderful.

Caesar:

I also want to invite you to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform it is that you listen to podcasts on that way.

Caesar:

You won't miss an episode.

Caesar:

And in this case like this week, if you're thinking well, I'll just tune in on Monday.

Caesar:

Well, there was a Monday, there was a Tuesday, there was a Wednesday, there was a Thursday episode.

Caesar:

There was a lot of goodness there by subscribing.

Caesar:

You don't miss anything.

Caesar:

It was wonderful.

Caesar:

Being able to be with so many people last week during the challenge and a whole lot of people also joined.

Caesar:

And enrolled in the Everyday Disciple incubator.

Caesar:

But while the enrollment for that is closed right now, we are about to start a new coaching cohort.

Caesar:

If you have interest in finding out about the coaching that we offer and learning a full framework for discipleship and mission, and having us walk with you and all of that and hold you by the hand and give you a custom roadmap and really do life together, I would love to set up a short zoom call, get to know you a little bit better.

Caesar:

Answer.

Caesar:

Any questions you have and tell you about the coaching.

Caesar:

Hopefully you get started with Tina and I real soon you can get more information and set up that zoom call by going over to Everyday Disciple dot com forward slash coaching Everyday Disciple dot com forward slash coaching.

Caesar:

I'll look forward to seeing you and getting to know you little.

Caesar:

Well, there have been endless news cycles the past 10 to 12 days or so about all that is happening in Afghanistan, kind of mindblowing in some ways, not surprising.

Caesar:

How do you, end something like that.

Caesar:

But it will be hard to forget the images of Afghans, mobbing, outgoing aircraft with some of them clinging onto the planes with their bare hands.

Caesar:

I heard that one of the flights, when it landed, they found parts of people up in there.

Caesar:

Wow, horrible.

Caesar:

These people are hanging on for their very lives and desperation, trying to leave their country, following the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

Caesar:

I think our kids, kids will be seeing those pictures and videos.

Caesar:

I liken it in my mind to scenes of horror that came out of the Vietnam war long ago.

Caesar:

And we're still seeing them.

Caesar:

They're still shown all the time.

Caesar:

Our U S president Joe Biden's follow through on former president Donald Trump's planned withdrawal from Afghanistan, and then the Taliban's rapid takeover.

Caesar:

Combined with the seeming lack of coordination and planning to evacuate translators, interpreters, Americans working, or serving there.

Caesar:

And whole lot of others at risk of persecution has sparked intense outrage and sadness around the world.

Caesar:

You might be feeling that way as well.

Caesar:

A lot of us are it's estimated right now that as many as 15,000 American citizens, And several thousand Afghans that worked with the U S and natal for several years may still be there in Afghanistan.

Caesar:

As I'm recording this, they're flying people out, but there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people that might be trapped.

Caesar:

And with troop withdrawals looming just days away from this recording, at least many seem to be true.

Caesar:

terror reigns

Caesar:

in and around cobble right now.

Caesar:

And there are even greater challenges to Westerners living, working, serving outside in the more rural villages and check this out.

Caesar:

The Taliban, I just read this today.

Caesar:

Brand new, just issued a warning for employed women in Afghanistan to stay indoors until it trains their security forces on quote, how to deal with women.

Caesar:

The quote goes on and says our security forces are not trained in how to deal with women, how to speak to women for some of them.

Caesar:

So this Taliban spokes person told reporters until we have full security in place, we ask women to stay home.

Caesar:

He added that the recommendation is a very temporary procedure and women will be allowed to return to work.

Caesar:

Once a system is in place to protect their safety.

Caesar:

Wow.

Caesar:

That's not awesome.

Caesar:

That's not what everybody's hoping to hear.

Caesar:l return to how it ruled from:Caesar:

Maybe you remember that back when their women were not allowed to attend school or go to work, they could only leave their homes in the presence of a man.

Caesar:

And they were required to wear those head to toe cover.

Caesar:

I think that's called a burka.

Caesar:

The Taliban recently said it's going to respect women's rights, but numerous reports from the ground are already coming in, showing women being pulled from their jobs and others trying to flee the country.

Caesar:

Because they're fearing death.

Caesar:

It's yeah, it is a mess over there.

Caesar:

Now.

Caesar:

Meanwhile, the Taliban has put out numerous statements saying it will respect quote unquote women's rights, but numerous reports from the ground show women already being pulled from their jobs and others are trying to flee the country out of fear of being killed.

Caesar:

Meanwhile, activists and former Afghan, judge.

Caesar:

I'm going to not probably pronounce the name properly nyala.

Caesar:

IUB added in an interview with sky news last week that a Taliban fighter allegedly set a woman on fire for bad cooking while other women are reportedly being forced into sex slavery.

Caesar:

So it seems that things are going right back to the way they were.

Caesar:

That is part of their worldview.

Caesar:

It is a sad mess over there for so many.

Caesar:

This week.

Caesar:

I talked with my son Caesarfour who was in the Marines for 10 years.

Caesar:

And he served in active duty in Afghanistan, and he has seen all the worst over there and he has lost many Marine brothers and sisters in that war.

Caesar:

And I wanted to speak with them a little bit about what he's thinking and what he's.

Caesar:

And he said, dad, I'm, I gotta be honest with you.

Caesar:

My emotions are all over the place.

Caesar:

I don't know exactly what I think.

Caesar:

One day I feel one thing and another day I feel another and I don't think it was all a big waste.

Caesar:

It's never a waste when you go to protect people and try to give them freedom.

Caesar:

Or even if it's fleeting, I don't think it's all been a waste, but I'm yet to talk to some of the families of some of my fallen brothers and try to comfort them.

Caesar:

He said it's so complex and he still sorting it out himself.

Caesar:

And most of his friends are to that.

Caesar:

That were over there.

Caesar:

Yeah, it was tough.

Caesar:

We had a pretty deep conversation about it and I could tell his heart was really, really burdened with this.

Caesar:

Of course it would be now turning to the impact on Christians in specific over there.

Caesar:

Here's a statistic I found even during.

Caesar:

The times when the restraining force of a us military presence was there, Afghanistan was listed by open doors as a land where persecution is only very slightly less suppressive than in North Korea.

Caesar:

Now that was back when we had our full military presence there.

Caesar:

I doubt that that's the case today.

Caesar:

In fact, I'm sure it's worse.

Caesar:

So probably they're not just slightly worse in second place than North Korea.

Caesar:

It's probably they've risen to the worst place.

Caesar:

Estimates of the number of Christians living in Afghanistan right now, they vary from a high of 20,000.

Caesar:

Some think it might be that high to possibly as few as just a thousand in the whole country.

Caesar:

And it's because getting accurate numbers for this, it's really hard because so many Christians live their lives of faith in fearful secret.

Caesar:

they are hiding.

Caesar:

I've read on multiple news sites.

Caesar:

The Taliban are already searching through people's phones in Afghanistan, following their takeover.

Caesar:

This is coming from a leading Christian satellite broadcaster.

Caesar:

Someone that's really involved and has lots of people on the ground, just outside the country.

Caesar:

Broadcast.

Caesar:

The president of this organization sat seven, Dr.

Caesar:

Rex, Roger said we're hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people's phones.

Caesar:

And if they found downloaded Bible on that device, they'll kill them immediately.

Caesar:

Wow.

Caesar:

He goes, and he says incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones.

Caesar:

The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere.

Caesar:

I can't even imagine it I've never faced anything like that.

Caesar:

The statement from sat seven goes on, says Taliban militants are even pulling people off public transport and killing them on the spot.

Caesar:

If they're Christians or considered ethnically unpure.

Caesar:

So anyone of a mixed race.

Caesar:

I also read this week that some Afghan Christians are burning literature and other Christian materials in their homes, which could expose them because the Taliban are searching house to house door, to door, to identify Christians.

Caesar:

Many of these believers who are now desperate to find safety and security outside of Afghanistan, they're actually the fruit of many years of prayer and discipleship and faith.

Caesar:

Well, ministry of sacrifice in that harsh environment by other believers.

Caesar:

And now.

Caesar:

They're considering many, uh, fleeing or they're really hiding their faith going forward.

Caesar:o missions as it was prior to:Caesar:

Christian missions will be extremely dangerous and difficult for the foreseeable future.

Caesar:

I know lots of.

Caesar:

Missions orgs are trying to pull their people.

Caesar:

Some are leaving them there or letting them decide.

Caesar:

And mind-blowingly a lot of Christians are choosing to stay.

Caesar:

Of course they are there again.

Caesar:

I have barely have a category for this one thing is for sure.

Caesar:

Afghan Christians pay a very high cost for being disciples of Jesus.

Caesar:

They pay a very high cost and I've been asking myself this week.

Caesar:

What does discipleship cost us here in America and in the Western world today?

Caesar:

For a lot of Christians, I know here in the United States or other westernized countries, counting the cost of their discipleship amounts to seeing if they can fit a church service into their schedule or get around to watching part of their churches alive stream from last week.

Caesar:

And there is no cost.

Caesar:

No, one's going door to door in my neighborhood, searching homes and phones for Christian literature, and then dragging us off.

Caesar:

No one is taking our daughters off to be slave wives or killing our pastor for owning a few pages of a Bible.

Caesar:

Think about that.

Caesar:

Yeah.

Caesar:

And just for a minute, let me address the question of why God allows some Christians throughout history and still today.

Caesar:

To suffer so much persecution while others like most of us here listening to this today are not under persecution and do not pay great costs for being Christians.

Caesar:

Remember in the book of John chapter 21, where Jesus is having a hard conversation with his disciples, Peter, this is now the third time Jesus has appeared to his disciples after he is raised from the dead.

Caesar:

It starts in verse 15, says after breakfast, Jesus asked Simon, Peter Simon, son of John.

Caesar:

Do you love me more than these talking about the other disciples?

Caesar:

Yes.

Caesar:

Lord Peter replied, you know, I love you then feed my lambs.

Caesar:

Jesus told him Jesus repeated the question.

Caesar:

Simon son of John, do you love me?

Caesar:

Yes, Lord.

Caesar:

Peter said, you know, I love you then take care of my sheep.

Caesar:

Jesus.

Caesar:

A third time.

Caesar:

He asked him Simon son of John, do you love me?

Caesar:

And Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time and he said, Lord, you know, everything, you know that I love you.

Caesar:

Jesus said, then feed my sheep.

Caesar:

And Jesus goes on.

Caesar:

He says, I tell you the truth when you were.

Caesar:

You were able to do as you liked, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go.

Caesar:

But when you're old, you'll stretch out your hands and others will dress you and they'll take you where you don't want to go.

Caesar:

verse 19 says, Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God, he was going to die.

Caesar:

Peter was going to be martyred.

Caesar:

Then Jesus told him follow me peter turned around and saw behind them.

Caesar:

The disciple Jesus loved that's.

Caesar:

John.

Caesar:

Who's writing this by the way, the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked Lord who will betray.

Caesar:

You Peter asked Jesus, what about him?

Caesar:

Lord.

Caesar:

What about John?

Caesar:

And Jesus replied.

Caesar:

If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you as for you follow me.

Caesar:

Wow, pretty heavy passage.

Caesar:

What a way to end breakfast with Jesus.

Caesar:

One thing, this passage shows me for sure that for both the persecuted and for those living and freedom, we are here and saved to be used by God to bring about his glory, his love and pursuit and ultimate provision in the worlld.

Caesar:

Are you living as a vessel for his glory is the cost to follow him into your neighborhood and invite others to walk with you.

Caesar:

As you walk in the ways of Jesus too high, are you allowing God, in fact, asking God to use you as he pleases for his glory?

Caesar:

God does not need us to accomplish his will, but he longs for us to trust him and join him in what he's already doing.

Caesar:

That's what he created and saved us for.

Caesar:

Let's cut the costs and realize how much grace we've been given and then ask God, how will you use this for your.

Caesar:

How can you use this now in light of this situation in Afghanistan, where so many are suffering believers and not yet believers.

Caesar:

So what can you and we do right now in light of this horrible situation.

Caesar:

Let me give you three things you can do immediately to help the people and actively engage in true gospel work.

Caesar:

And by the way, these will be my big three.

Caesar:

Instead of a summary, big three, I'm going to give you these three things you can do.

Caesar:

I'm really hoping to move your heart to action and your hands and all that.

Caesar:

And, and I'm going to write all this up.

Caesar:

You can still get this as a printable PDF.

Caesar:

These big three.

Caesar:

I'm about to give you.

Caesar:

All you have to do is go to Everyday Disciple dot com forward slash big three.

Caesar:

And I'll give you all of this.

Caesar:

Here's the first thing.

Caesar:

Start by sharing the abundance of resources that you have that God has given you for his glory.

Caesar:

Some friends of ours lead something called the legacy collective.

Caesar:

They're awesome.

Caesar:

And they've prepared a comprehensive response, supporting those.

Caesar:

They feel to be the most vulnerable, which is women and children.

Caesar:

And they've got a few organizations that they've vetted thoroughly to work with.

Caesar:

And I know these people personally, like really good friends and you can donate through them.

Caesar:

And be really very confident that you're not being scammed or that money is not going to what it's supposed to.

Caesar:

The legacy collective.

Caesar:

You can go to this link.

Caesar:

I'm going to put it in the show notes and I'll put out in the big three for you.

Caesar:

Go to legacy, collective.org forward slash relief.

Caesar:

There are so many scams out there by the way, be careful.

Caesar:

There are lots and lots of organizations trying to raise millions and millions of dollars.

Caesar:

And yet they don't have the, the people on the ground actually be able to distribute that.

Caesar:

And they're putting a price per person to get them out of the country and all be careful.

Caesar:

I'm not saying they're all scamming.

Caesar:

I'm saying be careful.

Caesar:

Whenever these types of things happen, there's an awful lot of fraud.

Caesar:

Number two, we can pray for Afghanistan.

Caesar:

That's not a lesser thing.

Caesar:

Let's pray.

Caesar:

Our friends over at the voice of the martyrs helped put this prayer list together.

Caesar:

First thing they say is pray for God's protection, the situation on the ground it's really fluid and no one's really exactly sure what's going on.

Caesar:

Pray for God's protection over the people in general, and for your Christian brothers and sisters next, they suggest, pray for wisdom for the believers, ask God to bless our brothers and sisters with discernment as they decide whether to stay or go.

Caesar:

And even with whom they should talk next, pray for fellowship.

Caesar:

See the believers in Afghanistan right now.

Caesar:

They've got to keep their faith secret even from other family members.

Caesar:

That's oh, they must feel so alone.

Caesar:

Pray that God will help each Afghan believer to connect and have some form of fellowship with at least one other believer in person or by phone or through some other technology.

Caesar:

And ask God to remind them that they're not alone, that they're a part of his worldwide body, his family, and also pray for safe passage, pray that God will provide some way, some safe way for those who feel led by God to leave Afghanistan.

Caesar:

And then that he'll provide for their immediate needs in their new location.

Caesar:

It's not like when you and I move or decide to move, we hire up a big truck and move our zillion dollars of a million things that we own.

Caesar:

If they leave.

Caesar:

And they even managed to get safely out of their country, they're going to be dropped off somewhere with nothing.

Caesar:

Pray for that provision.

Caesar:

too and third.

Caesar:

There's another group that Jesus tells us we need to pray for.

Caesar:

That's the Taliban.

Caesar:

Jesus said in the sermon on the Mount, you've heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

Caesar:

But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may live as children of your father in heaven.

Caesar:

He says that Matthew five, when Jesus gave the command to love and pray for our enemies, he already knew it would one day require praying for Islamic extremist groups like the Taliban.

Caesar:

Who often murder his bride, praying for the Taliban is not something we would choose, but it is what Jesus has commanded us.

Caesar:

Here are three specific ways we can pray for those who would murder Afghan brothers and sisters first pray for the conversion of the Taliban.

Caesar:

Pray for those people.

Caesar:

Those are image bearers.

Caesar:

Pray for them to move from unbelief to belief about who Jesus is and what he's done for them.

Caesar:

Do you believe that can happen?

Caesar:

Do you believe that Jesus died for them too?

Caesar:

Knowing all that he knows that he's drawing them to himself for his glory.

Caesar:

He is next pray.

Caesar:

The Taliban will be restrained.

Caesar:

From committing horrible acts and doing evil.

Caesar:

I don't know how God will work that out.

Caesar:

Let's ask our father to restrain them from committing these horrible acts and then pray for justice for the Taliban true justice, which means restoration, pray that God will glorify himself through them as a people group that they will one day be restored to the life that God created them to live for him.

Caesar:

This last thing here, praying for the Taliban might be the hardest thing.

Caesar:

Your heart might not want to ask God to give you a heart for them.

Caesar:

Okay, well, time is up today.

Caesar:

I hope that's been an encouragement and a little bit of a challenge for you.

Caesar:

Join me next week.

Caesar:

I have a really cool guy, a special guest with me, author Payton Jones.

Caesar:

He's a good friend and brother of mine and disciple maker who will talk with us and challenge us all to see ourselves as church planters or better yet gospel planters in the rhythms of our own lives and context.

Caesar:

I'll talk to you soon.

Announcer:

Thanks for joining us today.

Announcer:

For more information on this show and to get loads of free discipleship resources, visit Everyday Disciple dot com.