why Jesus follower?

For some time now I have sensed that the word ‘christian’ has lost its original punch.
Many people seem to use the label ‘christian’, without having a sense of what it means to follow Jesus.
Many others seem to react negatively to anything associated with the word ‘christian’, but not for reasons related to what it means to follow Jesus.

I am not sure when I became a ‘christian’.
Born into a ‘christian’ home, I went to a ‘christian’ church and a christian grade school.
(Interestingly, I attended a ‘public’ highschool – is ‘christian’ not ‘public’ but ‘private’?)
When I decided to become a ‘christian’ minister, I went to a ‘christian’ college, then to a ‘christian’ seminary, and then graduated to serve in two ‘christian’ churches among good, ‘christian’ people.

But while serving as a ‘christian’ minister, I encountered the message of Jesus (go figure), as opposed to the doctrines of the church.
Don’t get me wrong, the doctrines of the church include the message of Jesus, but in my own experience the message of Jesus was lost in the doctrines of the church.
I started to think (and think even more so now) that, while we still will have doctrines, that the doctrines of the church are a sub-category to the message of Jesus.
The early disciples did not have catechisms or systematic theologies in their hands when they decided to follow Jesus, they developed their thinking after they started following Jesus.

The key elements for the early disciples was not learning doctrine, but it was deciding whether to throw in their lot with Jesus and His mission from God.
They had to decide to surrender their own dreams and ambitions, and risk their future safety and success by aligning themselves with Jesus and His kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

I want to rediscover this radical quality of deciding to follow Jesus, spending time in dialogue with Him to learn and grow, and going out with Him into the world to seek and to save the lost.
I want to be a disciple, not a ‘christian’ or a ‘church-goer’ or a ‘pew-sitter’ or a ‘church member’.
Jesus is God’s messiah, the only hope of the world, and His way is the only way.
What I need to figure out from here is, how do I live in my own time the way Jesus did?

From my point of view, Jesus did not come to forgive me or to take me to heaven… these are just the fringe benefits.
The reason Jesus came was to call me to Himself that I might join Him in His mission for the world.
He is calling me (us) to a way of life, a way of living and dying that is contrary to the worldly ways.
Somehow, being a Jesus-follower ought to be more radical than being a ‘christian’ was to me.

I am slowly learning what it means to be a Jesus follower… but I have a long way to go.
Will you join me?

Join me in this blog conversation about what it means to follow Jesus.
You will find personal stories, questions for discussion, Bible readings and reflections, as well as updates on my own journey.
You can also share your own stories, ask your own questions, and offer your own insights to the question, what does it mean to follow Jesus?

In His Hands,

Norm

2 Comments

  1. Greetings Norm: Finally read why you refer to being a “Jesus Follower”. Today I listened to Charles Price who said the “church” as we know it today is not the “church” of the Bible. We, as believers, born of the Holy Spirit, are the church as God intended it. What we call “church” is just a bricks & mortar building or facility. While rules, regulations, doctrines, etc. might be necessary, these are not what God had in mind when He called us to follow Jesus with our whole being, body, mind and spirit. Some among us would continue to hold onto these ingrained doctrines and teachings, but I believe, like yourself, God is looking at the condition of our hearts, not at all the “laws” we keep. Just a comment from a Jesus Follower who daily gives me the grace to follow Him…in my weakness, He is my strength.

  2. Hi Norm,
    I just came here while looking for a picture. Your I AM picture, that is a cut down version of another. I write a daily devotional blog, and need pictures and music videos every day. Once in a while I say hello to people who write about God online like I do.

    God nudges me?

    I’ve written over 2600 posts in 7 years now. I don’t get many page views, but God said that isn’t my problem, let Him take care of it. I don’t go to a church. I’ve never been to any kind of training. I am a machinist, husband, father, wannabe violin and guitar maker. Most of all a follower of Jesus. I don’t like doctrine, they form demon nations. The main focus of the blog has always been: Come back to Me, and Seek God WHILE He may be found.

    My blog has been a great source of growth for me spiritually. I read posts and I’m amazed at them sometimes. I write in the flow of the spirit. I’ve written about just about everything. Nehemiah, and then this wall stuff comes up. Job, Job is great. Even a paraphrase of Romans, Paul is the hardest to understand, I don’t think like he does. This last year until now I’ve been doing the Chronological Gospel. Only up to John 9. I don’t know if I’ll use the small or the big photo, but it will be live on the 19th.

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