Following Jesus: Ministry - Doing For and Being With

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” 

Many Christians adhere to the formula: Following Jesus = Serving People. Consequently, they stay busy with mission trips, feeding the hungry, and doing kind acts for others. All these are wonderful things to do for others. But notice again the first part of the job description of Jesus’ original disciples: “He appointed twelve . . . [to] be with him” (emphasis added).

It was extended time in Jesus’ presence—watching him, listening to his words, and asking him lots of questions—that transformed these very ordinary men. By being in the company of Jesus, they eventually took on his character (Acts 4:13).

It’s easy to fall into the activity trap. But ministry for Jesus apart from intimacy with him leads only to frustration and burnout. The most fruitful and fulfilling service always flows from our relationship with Jesus.



Reflection Question
How can you get to know what Jesus said and did—and imitate him today?


Prayer
Jesus, remind me that before you ever commanded anyone to go, you first invited them to come and follow you. I always ask you to be with me; in truth, I need to be with you! Amen.



This blog post has been adapted from my book Following Jesus Daily Devotional. You can learn more about it here.

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Following Jesus: The Bible - God's Message to Us

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NLT)


Lots of books are inspiring. The Bible claims to be inspired.

By inspiration, Christians mean that the Bible is God’s message to us. The Christian teaching is that the Spirit of God superintended some forty human authors over roughly two thousand years, so that they recorded (in their own unique styles) God’s holy revelation to humanity about the spiritual history and future of the world.

In the Christian view, the Bible is God’s very Word. We read the Bible, therefore, to hear from God. We read it to learn about him and to understand how to get back on track when we lose our way. It’s by engaging and embracing the eternal truth of Scripture that we learn to live in ways that bring honor to God, blessing to others, and joy to our own souls.


Reflection Question
How should knowing that the Bible is inspired by God affect the way you read Scripture?


Prayer
Lord Jesus, your prayer is my prayer: “Make [me] holy by your truth; teach [me] your word, which is truth” (John 17:17 NLT).




This blog post has been adapted from my new book Following Jesus. You can learn more about it here.

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Following Jesus: The Holy Spirit - Our Live-in Counselor

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John14:26

Imagine being forced to take a graduate-level physics exam. Panic time, right? But what if just before the test you were filled with the “spirit” of the world’s greatest physicist and that person were suddenly in your head helping you solve all those complicated problems? You’d do great, don’t you think?

This isn’t a perfect analogy, but in a sense, it’s what happens in the spiritual life. When a person turns to God through faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit moves into that individual. Suddenly, this new believer has a live-in counselor, guide, and helper. The Spirit convicts, teaches, and comforts. He helps us follow Jesus day by day.


When we give God’s Spirit free rein in our hearts, he helps us with all the complicated tests of life.


Reflection Question
The Holy Spirit wants to give us wisdom and guide us day by day. What distractions or misplaced priorities keep us from hearing his leading?

Prayer
Holy Spirit, thank you for living in me. Right now, I give you the power to control and direct my life. Amen.
This blog post has been adapted from my new book Following Jesus. You can learn more about it here.





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Following Jesus: Jesus' Death - The Strange Message of the Cross

, by Christopher D. Hudson

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18

If people were going to create a religion out of thin air, they’d never dream up Christianity. No one would come up with these ideas: Let’s have a God who enters the world as a human baby. He’ll wait till he’s thirty to reveal himself, and then he’ll show compassion to the irreligious and wrangle with the religious elite for three years. Though he has power to crush his enemies, he will let them kill him! As he dies shamefully, he’ll triumphantly yell, “Mission accomplished!”

Christianity seems foolish to most people. And yet that’s the paradoxical gospel of Jesus: God came to us in order to bring us to himself. Love—not hate—nailed Jesus to the cross. Jesus was cursed so we might find blessing. The battered man being mocked by a raucous crowd was a victor, not a victim. Because of Jesus’ gruesome death we can experience glorious, new, never-ending life through faith in him.

The truth really is stranger than fiction.


Reflection Question
What thoughts and feelings do you have when you contemplate Jesus’ sacrifice of himself on the cross?

Prayer
Jesus, give me eyes to see the wonder of your work at the cross. Amen.

This blog post has been adapted from my new book Following Jesus. You can learn more about it here.


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