Follow Me

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Follow Me. That’s the gospel message condensed into a single two-word sentence. It’s all about following Jesus—on His terms, of course (as revealed in the Bible). Being a Christian is far more than saying a prayer at an altar after a message (although that’s wonderful to do). It’s far more than going on a weekend retreat each year (although that’s great to do too). It’s far more than being a local church member (which is essential to our life in Christ). Being a born-again believer is about following this Jewish Carpenter from Nazareth whom we call Savior, Lord and King with all of our hearts for our entire lives. This is Christianity; this is discipleship. This is evidence of our repentance and the crux of our faith—following this Man to the end, wherever in the world it takes us and whatever in the world it looks like. This is the gospel of our salvation: “Follow Me.”

Are you following Jesus?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)

Dad, is God real?

“Dad, can you pray for me? I need some information. Is God real? I want to really know.” This is what Caleb, my seven-year-old, said to me last night as we’re doing our bedtime prayer routine. We ended up having such a neat chat about all the different things people believe, how daddy started following Jesus and how our faith in God grows over time. We talked about the answered prayers we’ve seen for Lego sets and such. Noah was part of the conversation too (while reading his Berenstain Bears book). Great times. It’s such a treasure seeing your kiddos grow up, learn the world around them and begin to question for themselves what they believe. It’s just so cool. Love being their daddy.

Faith Like Disney World

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Wouldn’t it be crazy if we went through all the rigors of planning a family vacation to Walt Disney World thinking, “Man, it would be so awesome if we could just get in the front gate and sit there all day looking around at everyone having fun! We could take pictures of other families hugging Snow White and look at the Magic Kingdom from a distance!” As completely nonsensical as that would be, I find it all too common for Christians young and old to treat their faith in similar fashion. They say things like, “Well, I don’t want to get into a works mentality or worry about being deep in God. I really just want to make sure I get into heaven. I don’t want to concern myself with much other than going to church. I’ll let the pastor or theologians handle all that other ‘complicated’ stuff.”

Can I just say that as silly as it is to camp out just inside the front gate of Disney World, it’s incredibly more silly to camp out just inside salvation’s gates. As fun as that turnstile may be, turning it isn’t the ultimate point; being enamored with the rest of the theme park is the ultimate point. Just like a normal response at Disney would be to do as much as possible, have tons of fun experiences and then tell everyone else about it, wouldn’t you agree that the realities of heaven—of infinitely more beauty, perfection and wonder than anything in this world—should incite even more fervor within us to search out all there is in God? Who on earth would see all the rides at Walt Disney World and think, “Nah, I don’t want to be a legalist and actually try to ride them. Seeing the concept of them from way back here is good enough for me. After all, this place scares me.” Sad enough to say, many Christians subscribe to this unfortunate mentality all too often with respect to their journey in Christ—and often times due to unperceived fears that run contrary to the nature of our good Father.

That being said, I would suggest today that a normal response for a follower of Jesus should be something more akin to this: “Let’s get in line and wait as long as needed in order to see everything there is to see in this exceedingly majestic heavenly kingdom we’ve been born again into that far transcends any earthly Magic Kingdom. Let’s go searching out all there is in God as much as we can in this one life we’ve been given, experience the unspeakable joy of it and then gladly tell others about all the goodness we’ve tasted and seen.”

What do you think?