Apprenticeship   Leave a comment

I know I have not written for quite some time. This is, at least partly, because I don’t want to burden those kind enough to read my musings with anything that does not seem to have real importance (at least to me!!). I am writing today because I believe that at New Life we have just begun one of the most important preaching series since I became pastor some sixteen years ago. When COV!D -19 broke upon us and we were unable to meet together in church I was convinced at a very early stage that this was going to result in a profound and much-needed change in the church. This was not to cast any unnecessary aspersions on the past but to recognize what many have said: “What got you here will not get you where you are going.” Since that time many of my prayers have been focused on the request that the Father show us what that change was to look like and how we could join Him in bringing the change about.

I am certainly still on that prayerful path but I do believe that coming to a deeper and richer understanding of what it means to be an apprentice (disciple) of Jesus is foundational to us moving forward. In last Sunday’s sermon I shared this quote from Ronald Rolheiser which I think summarizes the challenge before us

We’ve always found it easiest to ignore the truth as long as we never stop moving. In the fall of humanity, we mastered the art of hurry. “And so we end up as good people, but as people who are not very deep: not bad, just busy; not immoral, just distracted; not lacking in soul, just preoccupied; not disdaining depth, just never doing the things to get us there,”                                                                           Ronald Rolheiser. 

When we read how Jesus invited a ramshackle group to follow him and think about how that invitation applies to us, do we really understand the journey that He invited them, and now us, to begin? In his book “Invitation to a Journey” Robert Mulholland says this:

I do not know what your perception of Christian discipleship might be, but much contemporary Christian spirituality tends to view the spiritual life as a static possession rather than a dynamic and ever-developing growth toward wholeness in the image of Christ. 

Robert Mulholland

As we study this together ( and we have only just begun) we are seeing that Jesus’ invitation to follow is motivated by His unconditional love for us but as with all invitations we are free to decline. The invitation to follow is rooted in the remarkable Jewish education system. This link takes you to some brilliant teaching on what it meant to be a disciple in Jesus’s day. I encourage you to take the time to listen because it will open your eyes as it did mine to what it meant when we said yes to following Jesus.

However, this is a journey that will last a lifetime. How do we begin? When we have taken the first step of recognizing our sin (the decision to decide for ourselves what is right or wrong) and have accepted the forgiveness purchased for us by Jesus on the cross we must begin to be with Jesus and get to know him. Here is an exercise that you might try to begin the process of getting to know him

Think about your closest friend or spouse and ask yourself how did I get to know them. Try and detail the process as far as you are able and preferably write it down. Then ask how your life of walking with Jesus compares to this and what has helped/hindered you from getting to know Him. Come up with one thing you might do now to help get to know Him better. To make this stick share it with someone you trust and ask them to keep you accountable.

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