Tag Archives: Following Jesus

Lenten Sermon Teaser ~ The Good Shepherd

Sermon teaser for our midweek Lenten worship tonight…

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
[John 10:3-4]

As followers of Jesus Christ, it is our joy to hear the beautiful voice of our Shepherd; knowing that that voice is one of peace and love and compassion. It is a voice of Truth. It is a voice that can be trusted. It is a voice the beckons. It is a voice that soothes. To ignore that voice is foolish and dangerous; not because our Shepherd is vengeful; but rather to follow another voice means following unto our death. The Good Shepherd is the only one who loves us unto death and beyond; for he lays his life down for his sheep. The Good Shepherd is the only one who true cares about you. And therefore it behooves us to drown out the competing voices and listen to THE Shepherd and joyfully follow him…

The Pastor -|—

Qualified

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
[Matthew 4:18-20]

Think about it for a second (or two), Jesus called a group of unqualified men to follow him and be the beginning of the Church. No small task, so one would think Jesus would look for only the best. But Jesus doesn’t ask for a resume or a list of references. He doesn’t quiz them to check their knowledge of scripture. He doesn’t inquire about any advanced degrees. Jesus simply approaches these men and says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men“. Their only qualification was their un-qualification. JESUS made them qualified to be fishers of men. It wasn’t about oratory skills or knowledge or street smarts or financial savvy. It was only about Jesus. He called, they followed and once Jesus died and rose, the Holy Spirit guided them into all Truth.

And so think about it again. If Jesus can use a group of unqualified men to continue a movement of sorts, don’t you think that Jesus can do something amazing through you. Never think that you are unqualified to follow Jesus or be a leader in the church. If you are called, then you are qualified. Just trust in him and follow.

Awesome God,
You called a group of unqualified fishermen
to walk with Jesus
and to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
As Your Spirit led those first disciples
may Your Spirit lead us now in serving You in this world.
May we not bow to the temptation
that we are not good enough
but rather trust in You
that we may give glory to Your holy name.
May we leap out in faith when Jesus calls,
and may we go with the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Don’t be a Jerk

I saw a Facebook post recently that said:

“Sometimes the best evangelism is simply telling people you’re a Christian and then not being a complete jerk.”

There is some truth to that but it definitely does not go far enough in today’s world. There are way too many people who claim to be a Christian but do not follow Jesus (which doesn’t make sense to me). For some, “Christian” is just a title to be used when it suits them but when opposition comes the title is abandoned. Then there are people who claim the title “Christian” but under a new and “relevant” definition. It’s like a Twitter post I saw recently,

“Saying you’re a new kind of Christian with a new kind of Christianity is basically saying you’re an old kind of heretic.” [Burk Parsons]

To “simply” say you’re a Christian doesn’t tell me much now days, which is kind of sad. “Christian” used to mean something but now it is just a watered down title. So now what? Well, you can’t simply tell people you are a Christian and then not be a complete jerk. In today’s world, Jesus-following Christians need to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead. That is salvation and that is the message that needs to be proclaimed.
Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus died for you.
Jesus was raised for you.
Through faith, when you confess your sins, you are forgiven.

So don’t “simply” stop at Christian, but confess with your mouth what you believe in your heart…and THEN don’t be a complete jerk.

The Pastor -|—

To Follow

Holy God,
through Jesus Christ You call us to action,
as You call us to follow.
But road is not easy
and the task is daunting.
We are tempted to give up
or take shortcuts so not to offend people.

May we never do so.
May we always be faithful.

Grant us Your Spirit
that we may fix our gaze upon Jesus,
so much so,
that his glory is reflected in the world
through our faithfulness.
May our actions shed light
in a dark world
and
may our words speak peace and hope.

You call us to follow,
may we do so now without hesitation.
All praise, glory and honor
be unto You,
Creator God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Call to Follow Jesus

[18] While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. [19] And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-20 ESV]

The call to follow Jesus is one where you relinquish control of your life and trust the One whom you follow; namely Jesus. It’s not a life where you call the shots. I was recently speaking with a group of young men when one asked me how long do pastor’s stay at churches. I responded, “That depends on God”. He smiled and agreed and that was the end of his inquiry. My guess is that he heard all he needed to know; basically, the call to follow Jesus is not one you get to control.

The call to follow Jesus is one of trust. You may not get the whole picture. Often times God operates on a need to know basis. The call may simply be to go to such and such a country or to such and such a town. God may not lay everything out in black and white but rather in a muddled, garbled mess; one that starts to make sense as you move along God’s path.

The call to follow Jesus is not necessarily one of worldly riches and comforts. And this is the one the gets a lot of people. I need to provide for my family. I have to pay the bills. So you may be hesitant to listen to God’s voice because you are afraid of what it might say (even though deep down inside you have been hearing it already).

The call to follow Jesus is one that may lead to friction in worldly relationships. Family may be upset that you are moving so far away or putting your family in a difficult financial situation or moving to an unsafe part of the world. Close friends may express sadness and maybe a little pressure to stay close. Some may call you crazy and think you have fallen off your rocker for “following Jesus”.

The call to follow Jesus is one of discipline and refining. God may bring a period of darkness in your life in order to draw you deeper in Him. God may be refining out impurities in your faith in order for you to minister in a new way. God may be convicting you of a sin that needs to be addressed in order for you to better glorify Him.

The call to follow Jesus is one of leaving peace of mind in order to bring peace to those in chaos.

The call to follow Jesus is one of Kingdom advancement; not yours, so therefore the hesitation for some.

The call to follow Jesus is one of great joy for those who place their complete faith and trust in God almighty through Christ Jesus our Lord. For when the Jesus follower does this it is because they know it’s not their knowledge or skills or wisdom or strength that will get them by. It’s God and if God is for you then who could possibly be against you?

The call to follow Jesus takes prayer, patience and persistence. Prayer in order to receive your true marching orders; patience to wait on God’s timing; and persistence to keep at it during periods of darkness and difficulties.

The call to follow Jesus is one of fishing for people so the nets of God’s kingdom are filled to overflowing and then some. Those first disciples had no clue what Jesus meant by “fishing for men” or how to go about doing it. They simply responded to the call to follow Jesus and trusted him. And you know something? They did it and the net continues to be filled.

The call to follow Jesus is a call to participate in God’s plan of redemption and God’s plan is NOT going to fail. So drop your nets and go. Follow Jesus wherever HE goes.

Holy Father, You have called me to follow You. You have called me to faith. You have called me to share the Gospel through Word and deed. You have called me to obey. Grant me the faith to listen and follow that you may continue to be glorified. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—