Shape and fashion us in your likeness….
Fulfill in us all your purposes…
Teach us full obedience…
Strong sentiments that I’m sure resonates with you.
For we are followers of The Way
Jesus said, I AM THE Way…. The truth and the life.
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
In his book, Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch chronicles the development of The Church in the 1st Century AD. He notes, that the followers of The Way won a hearing and credibility, as he points it as “they used their lives as collateral, they put themselves in harm’s way, that gave up their lives”.
In this way The Gospel won credibility in the culture.
Today how do you think most Christians view sacrifice?
- When they can’t get what they want?
- When they can’t go where they want?
- When they can’t eat what they want?
Mark 8:34 -36
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
A few years ago I took from Dr. Stephen De Neff 4 one hour classes on preparing to preach. It was terrific and I found myself challenged in every class, though of course much of what he knew I had heard before. But then came the fourth lesson.
L:esson 4 began with the preacher preparing to preach – I was taken aback when he said the final step in preparing was “that the preacher must die”. I do not remember much of what he said for the next 10 minutes. I was churning inside with questions?
How many times has it been about me?
How many funny stories, how many ill-formed personality-driven deliveries?
Shameful. Shameful, shameful.
I was reminded – it is all about Jesus.
Being a follower is not about personal effort, doing better, or trying harder.
It is entirely saying to Jesus;
- I need your transforming power
- Help me to do your will on earth as it is in heaven
- It entirely about knowing His Word and then being obedient
- It must be about delivering that Word to others – to His people whoever they are.
They were called followers of The Way
They were not followers of some way – no, The Way.
People, who are anxious, stressed, tired, discouraged, or distressed need to get to Jesus – He is The Way!
Remember the song: Jesus loves me this I know….I am weak, but He is strong.
I often get asked, what good leadership books have I read lately. I’ve read lots of them.
But we are called first and foremost to be followers.
Our culture is all about individualism and that is entirely counter-culture to being a follower of The Way. So we need to pause and remember that our focus is on being a follower.
Years ago I came across this covenant from the Methodists. It is part of an annual covenant day, at least in the UK. I use it here for us as a prayer for us.
A Covenant with God
I am no longer
My own but yours
Put me to what you will,
Rank me with whom you will;
Put me to doing,
Put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for you,
Or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you,
Or brought low for you;
Let me be full,
Let me be empty,
Let me have all things,
Let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly
Yield all things
To your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious
And blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
The Methodist Covenant Prayer