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“I Will Follow You”

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Jesus calls us to drop our plans and follow what He has in store for our lives, will you?

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“Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.”  Matthew 5:19-20 NLT

When Jesus called the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, to follow Him, they left their nets “at once.”  I believe they did this because it was evident, even that early in Jesus’ ministry, who He is.  So Peter and Andrew drop their nets, essentially everything they knew, and followed a man that they didn’t know.  How crazy does that seem? Living in a world where our society is so concerned with material things, the idea of literally dropping your career in the water to follow someone you don’t even know sounds crazy.  

But what it comes down to is this:

“‘Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.'”  Matthew 6:19-21 NLT

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” Luke 9:25 NLT

Does it matter what we have in this life if we don’t have Jesus? Honestly, no. Can we live a humble, God-honoring life and a good job and nice things? Yes, but it’s about having a life that is completely focused on honoring Christ in everything you say and do.

So what does this actually have to do with me, as a college student only working part-time right now?

Well, I’ve addressed this in a bit different of a light before, but if you’re in high school or older you’ve probably been asked at one time in your life something along the lines of (over and over again) “So what are you going to do again?”

Now, if you’re going for something “safe” where you’ll almost definitely get a job right out of school making a lot of money, kudos to you.

My major is Christian Leadership and Management. Originally, I thought that I would use that in a business setting to start a Christian gym/counseling center.  Here’s the thing: over the past few years, I’ve felt God calling me to do something else.  Something that scares me..like..a lot.

I’ve felt some little nudges here and there and had family and friends occasionally mention “Why don’t you just (insert what I felt God calling me to do all along..)” I think my typical response would be something along the lines of “But I don’t want to.”

I’ve always had a tremendous fear of public speaking, but have often found myself in situations where I just have to do it anyway.   It no longer matters how afraid I am, because all that matters is that if I sit here instead of standing up then what happens?  Could God have used me to save souls if I had just opened my mouth?

The final nudge came about three weeks ago when I had to take a spiritual gifts test for my Introduction to Church Ministries class and my dominant gifts were as follows: #1: Pastoring/Shepherding and tied for #2:Exhortation and Serving.  That kind of sealed the deal for me.  I had felt God’s leading to be a pastor for the last few years, but never that clearly.  Yes, it may sound like I’m reading into the test too much, but hear me out.

If these are the gifts that God has given me, it makes perfect sense that I’ve been feeling God calling me to be a pastor.  I cannot wait to see where God leads me where He takes me from here, but all I know is this:

Lord, I will follow you. If following you means across this city, nation or to the ends of the earth, I will follow you.  You are worth so much more than anything in this world.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Jesus Time

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Photo taken from Flickr by silent shot. Used under Creative Commons License.

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Since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, truly spending one-on-one time with Him has been highest priority in my life.  Why? It changes everything.  It changes the way I go about my day.  It changes my attitude, how I treat other people, how I respond to situations, did I say everything?

But here’s the thing: I haven’t had enough Jesus time lately.  I can see differences in every area of my life because of a lack of spending 10 or 15 minutes a day reading my Bible.  I know, it might sound drastic, but when I’ve seen the result of what it can do when I’m reading my Bible every day, it hurts not to.

So why haven’t I been reading my Bible as much?  I’m in school, working, and involved with other activities that keep me pretty busy.  I took a theology class this summer that drained me emotionally and honestly, spiritually as well. So I tried telling myself over and over that that theology course was my “Jesus time” but it wasn’t.  Ever.  Not when it’s draining.  I do have some classes that are more rewarding spiritually than draining. But they still do not substitute for time spent outside of my coursework focused on my Savior.

 

What’s this have to do with you? Well, you need to have your Jesus time too.  Here’s what the Bible says about the importance of the Word of God.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 ESV

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 ESV

Additionally, Jesus time needs to include worship and prayer!

“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 NIV

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 NIV

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. James 5:13 NIV

Our Jesus time needs to consist of these three elements to be complete, as well as doing these things with fellow believers.  We cannot expect to just do this once or twice a week and truly grow in our relationship with Christ.

So as I challenge myself to get back to having quality Jesus Time every day, I challenge you as well.  Will you accept that challenge?

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Let Freedom Ring

Photo I took on the 4th of July.
Photo I took on the 4th of July.

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Every year, we celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and honor Veterans on Veterans Day. We do this to honor those who gave their lives and continue to give their lives to fight for our freedom.

I was lying in bed Friday night thinking about how Jesus paid the ultimate price for our freedom; how He was beaten and mocked, then had nails hammered through his wrists to a cross and then was placed in an empty tomb, but came back three days later. And it got me thinking:

“Why does everyone honor the ones who give their lives but not everyone honors Jesus?”

Is it because we actually know these people or can see these humans right in front of us, fighting for our freedom and can’t see Jesus?

That’s where I’d be wrong.

I can see Jesus.

I can see Him.

I can’t see Him physically, but I can see Him in things that I do, things that other people do. I see Him working in me and other people.

I see Him every single Saturday and Sunday when I look at the kids in my church’s children’s ministry.

Because He is working.

 

May we honor the ones who gave their lives for us and continue to every single day and may God bless them, but let us not forget who first fought for our freedom.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”-John 8:36