Thursday, December 27, 2018

Following Jesus

As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:16-18
As we look toward a new year it is a good time to review our commitment to Christ. Jesus gave the call to His disciples to “Follow Me.”
Hey kids let's play "follow the leader!" Okay everybody wave their right hand just like I am doing. Now shake your left leg and foot like I am doing. Okay who wants to be the leader? Nope, I've decided that I still want to be the leader. Everybody walk in circles like me. Now everybody wave both arms in the air. Isn't this fun? Okay, who wants to be the leader now? Never mind, I've decided I like being the leader. 
Are we playing games when it comes to following Jesus? Let's face it.  We'd rather be leaders than followers.  ILL: S. I. McMillen, in his book "None of These Diseases," tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?"  Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.  To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders.  We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."  
We send our youth off to conferences, clubs and colleges in hopes they will come back leaders. Leadership books are big sellers in the secular and religious bookstores to hopeful readers in hopes of improving their leadership skills.  Today even pastors, preachers and other called staff of the church are often considered for call or hire on the bases of how well they are able to lead a church into mega growth, rather than how disciplined they are to following Jesus. 
We forget that it was a small band of followers of Jesus Christ who turned the known living world of their day right side up (without Jesus we are upside down!).  The church today may not need more leaders but followers that are accessible and usable to God.  True leadership rises from the ranks of those who know how to follow and who never forget to keep following Jesus.  
"Keep looking in the road ahead and make sure Christ is there. Make sure He is walking in front of you. Keep walking with Him and then look over your shoulder and you'll find there is someone following you because you are following Christ."- Joseph Stowell  
One thing we need to bear in mind and heart is that leadership is at best temporary, whereas being a follower is a life time call.  This week we will examine what following Jesus does to our lives.
When we become a follower of Jesus He will take us . . .  
To places we have never been before. 
To people we have never gone to before. 
For reasons we have never gone before.
Jesus is giving the same call to you and me that He to His Disciples.  The start of a new year is always a good time to re-evaluate our lives. Have you answered the call of Jesus to Follow Him?  Are you following completely?  Now is a great time to make the commitment to Him to follow Him whole heartedly – with your whole life. 
Scripture to Claim:Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

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