You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘following Jesus’ tag.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NLT)

We used to play a game when I was growing up. It was like ‘follow the leader’ but with a twist. One person would be blindfolded and spun around in a circle a few times. Then, another person would lead that person on a walk. The object was to guess where you were going or, once stopped, where you had been led.

While the game was a simple on in some respects, it taught us all a lesson in trust and wisdom. Trust came from the person being led. That person had to rely completely on the leadership of the person who held his/her hand, knowing they would never be led into an area of danger.

The game required wisdom on the part of the person leading. The leader would have to go slowly so that the one following wouldn’t smash into hidden obstacles or trip on obstructions or fall down (or up) stairs. If the follower was injured or hurt in any way, the trust the leader hoped to establish would be gone and hard to re-establish.

Jesus final command to those who would follow him was to make disciples. Matthew challenges us with it in his book, Luke reinforces it in Acts. Our purpose here on earth as Christ followers, is to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Making converts is easy. Give them a shot of the gospel, get them to make a decision and move on. Don’t forget to add a star to your evangelist hat. But making converts is like delivering a baby and leaving it in the nursery to fend for itself. Not likely to have good results.

Making disciples, on the other hand is hard work. It takes time to pour your life into someone else. It requires strength on your part, and wisdom gained from your own growth experiences. Making disciples can also be discouraging because we may see little or no progress and sometimes time and circumstances work against us and the person being discipled leaves. Even so, making disciples is the focus of our ‘Great Commission’. We aren’t called to ‘go’. We aren’t called to baptize. We are called to teach and make disciples.

Many people shy away from ‘discipleship’ because they feel inadequate, unqualified or feel they need to ‘grow themselves’ before they can help others. But making disciples should be a much like the modified game of follow the leader we played.

Jesus promised to lead us. He promised to take us into uncharted areas, to endure pain and rejection, to stumble at times or even fall occasionally. In his wisdom he’ll take us slowly, but will offer little information on where we are going or what will happen next. The only thing he offers us is a promise. A promise that wherever we go, whatever happens in our lives, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, he will have our hand. His intent isn’t to injure or make a fool out of us. His intent is to help us grow stronger.

Making a disciple doesn’t follow a program or require a college degree. It is simply holding on to Jesus with one hand and holding on to someone else with the other. It’s sharing your life lessons of the heart with those who need to be comforted with the comfort you have received from the Lord.

Pour yourself into someone else. Both of you will be blessed. Don’t be afraid of where that may lead you. By holding Jesus’ hand you have nothing to fear. He’s a compassionate, trusted leader.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you called us to make disciples and I must admit the idea of me being a ‘discipler’ is scary. I feel inadequate for the task. Yet this is your calling for me. Give me the courage to hold your hand and take someone else with me on the journey. Amen.

“Master,” Simon answered, “we have worked hard all night long and have not caught a thing. But if you tell me to, I will let the nets down.” Luke 5:5 (CEV)

He was an expert in his field. He knew the lake, he knew the seasons, he knew the patterns of the fish and the moon. He was a fisherman. Some of us fish for hobby and some are successful at it. Peter was a professional fisherman. His very livelihood depended on his ability to catch fish.

Because so much depended on his ability to catch fish, having an entire night without a single catch must have been very demoralizing for Peter and his crew. They had bills to pay. They had a family to feed. They had a reputation to uphold. A night without fish for Peter was like a business owner without a single customer entering the business on a given day.

I’ve never fished with nets before but I can imagine that cleaning them was no fun. Cleaning nets after a whole night of catching nothing must have been even more unpleasant. All that work for nothing! It’s no wonder that Peter was a bit hesitant to drop those nets back into the water. It wasn’t the right time or place for a catch. They’d just spent all night fishing and caught nothing. They were tired, perhaps hungry and that male ‘conquering spirit’ had been wounded by the lack of success.

On top of all that, Jesus was a carpenter by trade. What do carpenters know about fishing? Most people in Peter’s position would probably be thinking, “I wouldn’t waltz into his carpenter shop and tell him how to adjust that table or form that yoke for the Oxen. Who does he think he is?”

Peter didn’t do that though. He followed the request of this carpenter turned teacher turned fishing expert. He went against all he knew professionally to follow Jesus’ command. The result amazed him and his crew. So many fish were caught that day that there was concern that the fish would break the nets. And, as mentioned earlier, fish meant cash!

When you follow Jesus you have to be willing to step outside of common knowledge and your comfort zone. Jesus works best through us when we work outside the box. Everything he asked Peter to do was against common knowledge, but Peter was blessed mightily for his faith.

What steps might Jesus be asking you to do in your home, workplace or church? Are you basing your actions on human understanding or divine leadership? The outcome depends on your decision. Act outside the box and see what Jesus can do for you.

PRAYER: Lord, so much of my thought processes revolve around what I know and not what you can do through me. Give me the courage to think outside the box so you can do amazing things through me. Amen.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

Several years ago now, I worked in a warehouse driving forklift to load and unload trucks. I’m pretty sure I was the only Christ-follower in my department. This was made evident one day when we were in the foreman’s office killing some time. Soon jokes started flying that became more and more inappropriate. Apparently I didn’t hide my uneasiness with the situation. I said nothing, but excused myself from the office and went back to work.

After that whenever the conversation began to turn onto the ‘dirty side’ my foreman would look at me and, very respectfully, warn me that I may not want to hear the following story. I’d make some quip about having a truck to load and that would be the end of it.

I got along well with everyone in the department. I wasn’t a goody-two-shoe, Bible thumping preacher (at least not then!). I just had standards that were different than the rest of them and we respected those differences…I thought.

Christmas came and the foreman invited the entire department and their spouses to his house for dinner and drinks. In the days leading up to the party I’d overheard others talking about previous parties. I was torn. A part of me wanted nothing to do with the lifestyle that was being portrayed at those parties. But another part of me wanted to show my acceptance of my friends in the department, even though we were miles apart in what we considered appropriate.

The night of the party came and I reluctantly showed up at the party. I was, I admit, very apprehensive and already had an exit strategy planned if needed. I was surprised though. The foreman and his wife greeted each of us when we arrived. We were offered either alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. I wasn’t the only one that chose the latter!

When it came time for the meal I was really taken by surprise. My cigarette smoking, foul language master and dirty joke coinsure asked me if I’d say a table grace before the meal! I made sure my lord Jesus was glorified in those few minutes of silence and the party went on.

After dinner we played a couple games and I left, knowing full well that some of the others may spend the night because they’d be in no condition to drive.

A few days later I was talking with a friend of mine from church. He said, “I hear you got to pray at the party the other night.” I was taken back! How did he know? Then Don told me another part of the story.

His cousin was Bob, one of my co-workers. I hadn’t known that before. The family had been praying for Bob for quite some time and so far the prayers were unanswered. Bob was very angry with me that night because of my ‘holier than thou’ attitude. I was self-righteous, judgmental and made Bob feel very uneasy.

I began to apologize to Don and told him my story, which was completely different that Bob’s. Don laughed. “I was pretty sure that was the case. Bob is under conviction. He knows what he is doing is wrong and he refuses to change. You weren’t bothering him. HE was bothering him!”

I never heard if Bob ever came to Christ. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. Try as we might to get along with the world, there will be times when we have to take a stand for the right. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an open attack on ‘the sinful lifestyle’. It can be a quiet resolve to live what we know is right.

Not being a friend to the world doesn’t mean we reject those who don’t follow Christ. It simply means we hold to a different standard. At times that standard will put us at odds with others. The true Christ-follower will always choose to please Jesus rather than the world.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many voices telling me what is right and wrong. So many times I’m forced to make decisions that may go against the mainstream. I ask that you would empower me with your Holy Spirit to have the wisdom and strength to choose your way regardless of the results. May my life be an example of your love and grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

When we were young we lived on a small hobby farm in the country. Often, on warm summer night we would go for walks in the woods, following a makeshift trail. One time in particular we were using the opportunity to try out our new flashlights we’d gotten from our grandparents. Halfway through the adventure, my flashlight quit working. It was a moonless night and it was dark!

We’d made this hike hundreds of times at day and at night, but since I’d had light and now was ‘in the dark’ it was scary. I had been in the lead but my brother and I decided that I should relinquish that position since he had the working flashlight. With his guidance (and flashlight!) we were able to make it safely back to the house avoiding the obstacles in our way.

I think of that situation every once in awhile when I read this verse. Jesus invites me to follow him. He doesn’t order me to follow him. It’s my choice. I can decide to take shortcuts. I can go off on my own and try to make my way ‘home’ taking my chances at stumbling over rocks, falling into holes or having a branch slap me across the face. Or, I can follow the light and let it guide me through the troubled times.

Following Jesus isn’t the same as ‘following’ someone on some social networking site. He doesn’t ask me to follow him for his sake; he invites me to follow him for my safety and protection. Jesus knows the safest, and the most fulfilling path for me to follow. It may not be the easiest. It may not be the most glamorous. But it’s the best path for me.

Following Jesus takes risk. I risk being the most popular. I risk being wealthy. I risk having the most toys. What I lose following Jesus pales in comparison to what I gain. Rev. Billy Graham had a friend, George Beverly Shea, who turned down a lucrative recording contract to sing for Jesus. His voice could have brought him millions of dollars. Instead, his songs were instrumental in winning millions to Jesus. I may lose temporary treasure here on earth, but what I gain lasts for eternity.

Following Jesus is exclusive. There are many in the world that will tell you of other ways to happiness, other ways to fame and fortune, other ways to fulfillment of your true self. Who knows better what you need? Someone you have never met or the one who formed you in your mother’s womb? Jesus knows the very best path for you to follow because he made you…and he made the path!

Following Jesus is passionate. When you are in a passion filled relationship you want nothing more than to be in close proximity to the one whom you love. Jesus longs for a passionate relationship with you so that, like Adam and Eve, you can walk the path of life together.

PRAYER: Jesus it’s so easy for me to stray from the path. So many times when I decide my way is faster, safer, quicker and more profitable. Following my path has led to nothing but heartache and frustration. I want to follow you completely. Forgive me for straying. Empower me with your Spirit to follow only you. In your name I pray, Amen.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,759 other followers


Twitter Updates

  • RT @jccareyIV: Remember we can grow in our ability to love! We can grow in our ability to serve, we can grow in our ability to have confid… 4 days ago


August 2022
Follow Built with Grace on
%d bloggers like this: