“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, 'Follow me.’" (John 1:43)
If being a “disciple” of Jesus means being a follower of Jesus, then how do we hear His call? How do we navigate His direction? How do we invest in His purposes?
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (Jn 17:18)
As hard as the trek up the mountain can be, it’s often the climb down that is more difficult.
But it’s only when we do that do we become remarkable.
Jesus’ love for His people is remarkable. The restoration of relationships found in Him is remarkable. The oneness of His church on mission together is remarkable.
So lean in with me - into the hard, messy, and complicated climb down the mountain, as we create consistent, real, and tangible opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the gospel.
Throughout history God has met and shaped his people in the wilderness. In the Bible, God took the prophet Elijah into the wilderness and fed him by ravens. He took Moses and the Israelites into the desert for 40 years to teach them dependence. God spoke of Israel in Hosea 2:14, “I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” John the Baptist was raised in the wilderness. Even Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days to be tested and tried.
The stillness and strength that is found in the wilderness still exists today, but all too often, amidst the rush and busyness of society, it is missed. But just beyond the pavement and asphalt, just past all the cars, and cell phone towers lies a wilderness that still calls to us. All the while it has remained, reminding those who choose to go, to be fed, to learn dependence, and to be tested and tried.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2
Ever felt like God is distant…disinterested… or maybe even displeased?
In John 15, Jesus gives us a very different and powerful picture of God’s heart for us. In it, we see a master gardener hard at work in our lives, shaping, nurturing, and pruning us to health. It’s a far cry from a “hands-off” god that we’re so tempted to imagine.
"Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, 'What are you seeking?’” John 1:38a
This morning a man committed an entire chapter of Romans to memory and journaled about how it applies to real life; a woman woke up at 4am and spent 3 hours in prayer and solitude encountering God; and a preacher served breakfast to poor people on the corner of main street…
SO... WHO’S THE BETTER DISCIPLE?
If not intentionally, then often subconsciously; our passions, personalities, and pasts incline us to favor one of these pictures of discipleship while de-emphasizing the others. We easily develop unsustainable patterns that, in the end, stunt growth, sever relationships, and cripple direction.
But Jesus has a better plan; a RHYTHM OF DISCIPLE-MAKING that develops, in us: deep roots that sustain, wise faith that perseveres, and compassionate hearts that work.