Jesus is here. God is present. In all the confusion, in all the messy situations, in all of life’s painful circumstances… God is near. Too often we proceed with business as usual without recognizing the presence of God. The scripture declares that where two or three gather in the name of Jesus, he is there in a special way, working, moving, and changing lives (Matthew 18). As a pastor part of my job is to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit and help people unite in the direction he is guiding. Will everyone follow? Probably not. Will God’s purpose be established? Yes it will.
Today, we are leading a new generation of Christ-followers. Our purpose is to equip them to rise above mediocrity, apathy, and the dumbing down of discipleship and instead teach them to be tried and true followers of our Lord and Savior. This initiative takes deep commitment; it takes the current leaders rising up and leading the way with passion and boldness. Without the kind of discipleship Jesus originated, we have little to no chance of making a difference for God in the world. Undisciplined disciples will not survive spiritually in today’s society.
So, how do we make better disciples who recognize the presence of God even in the messy parts of life? How do we change our discipling process? We preach, we teach, we go through curriculums, yet we struggle as disciples… We struggle at “obeying everything Jesus commanded.” We are often confused about what it means to “seek first the kingdom of God.” Many even struggle with the first commandment, which is putting God first and having whole-hearted passion for Jesus alone.
The chief goal of ministry today must be the making of true disciples, genuine followers of Christ. In our attempts at making disciples we must do what Jesus did… create small, tight-knit units that meet regularly for prayer, accountability, and fellowship. Jesus was able to accomplish his mission with the first twelve disciples because he created an atmosphere where they were in his immediate presence. They could ask intimate questions and he could give intimate answers. The first disciples literally experienced the presence of God… and we can too!
Remember, God is here. He is present.
Cast off the hindrances. Abandon the snares that have distracted you from full devotion to our Lord. Dedicate to sharing your life with people who you can love, trust, and experience God’s presence with. Follow him. Experience him. Love him. Invite him into the messiness of your life. Learn to trust God with everything and experience the blessing of his presence. That’s what disciples do.
(Source: Discipled By Jesus by Hal and Debbi Perkins)