The Beginning – Following Jesus

The other morning, I woke up from a dream that left me content and positive. The scene was the big lobby of a college dorm, and I was just about to give the opening talk on discipleship at an InterVarsity Bible and Life weekend conference.

InterVarsity_Christian_Fellowship-USA_logoIn the 80’s and 90’s when I worked for IV, we had these once a semester and they were key to our work on the campus. (We didn’t have them in dorm lobbies though, but in auditoriums. Oh well, dreams are always a little weird.) I was quite excited to be invited back. All of the sudden I remembered that I had not prepared at all for the time. As I stepped to the podium, I decided I’ll have to trust the Lord to bring back the material from years before. I remained confident even pumped. So much so that I did a one-handed hand stand on the podium and then a flip to the floor to the roar of the students. (Amazing what you can do in a dream!)

“Ok,” I started out, “I want you to get with your leaders and follow them out to the courtyard and do what they do.” So everyone obediently marched out behind his or her small group leader for the weekend. I joined one group and followed as they wound through what I think was the basement in the dark. At one point I came up to a wire cage, which the person before me was in. I could barely squeeze through the door to get in. As a leader you have to make sure your people can go where you go, I thought.

Then we came out to the courtyard, which was bustling with activity. I caught another leader coming out another side door with followers behind. Another group was doing gymnastic movements one after another.

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As I walked around, I came across a former student leader of mine sitting quietly on a bench reading the newspaper. “Wow, that’s great he’s here, I could never get him to help at conferences.” Then I noticed his group all sitting behind him quietly on a little hill of grass, patiently doing nothing. One of them spoke up, “This is what it means to be a disciple of the Lord’s, to follow him wherever he goes. If it means sitting and doing nothing, then we will trust him and sit and do nothing. He knows what he is doing, we don’t. Ours is simply to obey and do what he does.”

Wow, my little exercise had paid off, they had caught the point. Discipleship is simply following Jesus. So easy, so free from hassle.

We in the church make it so hard, don’t we? We hear lots of sermons on this or that aspect of the faith. We go to seminars and training events, finding that new thing that will help make us grow. Or we spend so much time trying to figure out our motives, is it us or the Lord?

Perhaps the Lord takes us through a difficult season of life. Maybe relationships are breaking down. Maybe our health isn’t what it used to be. Maybe you have no job at present. We have a hundred questions. What’s going on? Why is this happening? And we talk to friends and the Lord. But he just says “follow me, be my disciple.” What’s the old saying, “Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die.”

It’s the simple message of the church to believers.

As I woke from the dream I thought this would be so appropriate for my first blog on this site. Undoubtedly, I will talk about all sorts of things here, raise all sorts of questions, discuss controversies, but in the midst of all that, I and I believe, the church needs to remember… its simply about following Jesus, nothing more, nothing less.

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