As a follower of Jesus we have a new identity, an identity in Christ. As partners with Shiloh Road, we are asking you to join with us, to partner with us on the journey to make Jesus KNOWN. To partner means to embrace the values of Shiloh Road. To worship Christ, live in community, get trained for ministry, and make disciples. To do this we have identified several markers for all of us on the journey. The markers can help us on an individual level and corporate level to gauge the pulse of our relationship with Christ. We want to live life on purpose.
As we move forward it is so important that we begin by looking back. Throughout the years God has been so faithful to Shiloh Road and if we are not careful, it is easy to forget. It is easy to point to all “we” have done right, rather than point to God who has sustained us through good times and bad. Shiloh Road has a rich history that began with the faith and courage of several leaders. The impact of their decision is still felt today. We celebrate what God has done for this church and through this church, as we look into the future trusting that God will continue in His faithfulness.
It is a story we know so well. It is dark, there is the wind, the waves, the lighting and then, seemingly out of nowhere comes Jesus. Walking out to his disciples on the water. There is fear and terror, there are questions. Yet through the noise we hear a voice speak and say, I AM. Don’t be afraid. Then in bold Peter like fashion, Peter speaks, Lord tell me to come to you on the water. Jesus calls and Peter steps out. It is there Peter hears the voice of Jesus and follows Him into the unknown. It is faith and it is what Jesus has called his followers to display for the world around them. Ultimately, it is what WE DO for Christ that is evidence of our faith, NOT what WE THINK WE SHOULD.
You can tell who people follow by what they wear. Go to a college football game. Walk around the mall and observe teenagers. What we wear tells people who we follow. So, what does a follower of Jesus wear? Probably lots of things, from blue jeans and tshirts to a 3 piece suit, yet it is not the one thing Jesus points to that sets them apart. What sets them apart is the devotion to what he calls a new command. While it is not really a new command because in Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19:18 we see the command. What is new then? The depth and type of love, a love that mirrors the perfect love of Christ. It is when we learn to put on this form of love that we are set apart. We are followers. We are disciples.
Jesus comes along and begins inviting people, “Follow me.” It is the same invitation he has given to us. But why is it so hard? And to make it even more difficult it is as if Jesus comes along and says, by the way, you need to see the fine print. This is not just about following me, it is about becoming like me. To do that is going to cost you.
At times it seems like we have it backwards. The Pharisees struggled with the same thing. The Pharisees said, change and you can join us. Jesus comes along and says, join us and you will change. Many times we allow the same attitude to infiltrate the church. Jesus invitation to us all is not get your life right and then follow me, but follow me and your life will be transformed.
Message: Ground Rules
We are kicking off a new series called “follow.” It was one simple term Jesus asked of his first followers. Have you ever stop to think, “really, why are they leaving everything to follow him?” Is there something else happening in this story below the surface that we don’t realize? We are going to look at the 1st century world of a Rabbi and disciple. What did it mean 2,000 years ago and what does it mean for us today?
Many times we look at scripture and narrow in on very specific passages. What happens when you step back and look at the bigger picture? It is fascinating John begins numbering the miraculous signs performed by Jesus (John 2:11 & 4:54). But then he stops, almost as if he is urging the reader to keep counting. Healing at the pool (3), Feeding the 5,000 (4), Walking on water (5), healing a blind man (6) and raising Lazarus from the dead (7). Then the signs stop. So what is John trying to convey? If each sign represented a day, the last day, the 7th day, would be the most significant sign, raising someone from the dead. Then suddenly the signs stop and the story dramatically slows down, focusing in on the last week of Jesus life. Then chapter after chapter with no more signs, then in chapter 20 we see another sign, a bigger sign, the tomb is empty and Jesus has been raised to life. Jesus raising from the dead is the 8th sign and the 8th day would actually be the first day of a new week. Today new life begins. Today is a new day, it is a day when the miraculous intersects with the ordinary. It is a new day where heaven and earth intersect, it is a new day we are invited to be a part of… Today is a day to dream, a day to imagine!