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Apr 22, 2018

Follow Me

Follow Me

Passage: Matthew 4:1-25

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Keywords: christian, follow, jesus

What it means to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

Would you drop everything and follow Jesus?

That is a question that had come up consistently in my work with the men’s ministry, youth groups and confirmation students. This is also a theme found in the bible, most notably in the scene described with Jesus and fishermen, which we covered this past Sunday earlier in Matthew (4:18-25) as we celebrated the end of Confirmation.

Whenever I begin to meditate and think about this, it always leads me to the inevitable question … ”What would it take?” This question is a lot of things, but it is not the right question in my mind. The right question should be … ”What is keeping me from it now?” This inevitably leads me to the concept of surrender. As I look back on my walk and where I’ve been called, the paths I’ve chosen in terms of how to serve the church are representative of where I have surrendered. Surrendering my doubts, pre-conceived notions, fear or contempt. Most importantly, I surrendered my notion of control and trusted the Lord’s call on my heart.

I can not begin to describe the growth and peace I’ve had once I have made the decision to follow. As much as I’ve had parents and youth thank me over the years for working with them, I am getting the better end of the deal. The youth I interact with, the other (many) youth leaders and the church itself have challenged me and shaped me into a better servant and follower. If you ever want to be challenged in what you believe, put yourself in the position of having to mentor those who have more questions than you do. I could probably fill up a couple of sermons and devotionals based on those lessons alone.

So what is it that is trapping you today from being the follower Christ intended you to be? Fear? Materialism? A conversation not had? The unwillingness to surrender control? We all have that hinderance that latches on to us and slows our walk with Christ. Once we recognize it, we can than work to move past it.

I know. It sounds so easy. As much as I have surrendered on some things in my life, I admit I have not surrendered on all of the things.

It’s just a simple command. “Follow me.”

Is it really that complicated to surrender and follow? Or do we just make it complicated on ourselves?

The Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender
All things to your hope and service.
And now, O glorious and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
You are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.

Jake Skolarus leads Arcola's high school youth small group, participates in the men's ministry and plays his bass and saxophone when he can. He lives in Stone Ridge with his wife and two boys.