The next step…

There is a next step for everyone in following Jesus… 
Sometimes we end up managing chaos and forget there is a next step.  Sometimes we fear taking another step because of the unknown.  Or like in Jesus’ day, we think we’re on the outside, and not a part of the people who are “invited to take a next step…”
Jesus made it clear in the Beatitudes that He actually had something amazing for those who thought they were on the outside.  Check out the Message Translation of these words:

  • “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
  • “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
  • “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
  • “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
  • “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
  • “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
  • “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
  • “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

Even with all that encouragement, it seems like so many things scream out and paralyze us in following Jesus. 
I was traveling recently and got to get out and play golf.  I was put in a group with 3 people I didn’t know (which can be interesting), and it ended up being a blast (better than expected).  I ended up having a lot of fun with one of the guys joking about golf, football and missed putts.  Eventually I asked if he had any spiritual belief.  He said he was Catholic but was pursuing his own journey because he was fed up with how the church had become a “big business.”  It was clear that his disillusionment had actually paralyzed him spiritually. 
I was so struck by God’s love for the guy and that this was no coincidence we were from different parts of the country, playing golf and talking about spiritual matters.  After hearing more of his story I just told him simply “this isn’t about Catholicism, it’s about Jesus…”  And basically that Jesus loves him and wants him to experience more, and to let go of the other junk (the next step).  It was one of those times you feel has been brewing on God’s agenda for months.
The next step for me was to get out of my comfort zone and explore what Jesus might be saying to this guy.  Boy was it worth it!
I think about the guy Jesus called “the rock” (long before Dwayne Johnson).  This guy had failure screaming at him, so much so he initially asked Jesus to leave him alone.  Jesus said this unstable guy was going to be “the rock” – Jesus would change his identity.  He took the first step and then spent 3 years following Jesus: watching > listening > doing > failing/succeeding; watching > listening > doing > failing/succeeding, etc.  There was always a next step for this guy.  Then after the colossal failure of denying Jesus, he was restored as Jesus told him 3x to “feed My sheep.”  That guy was Peter who ended up leading the rest of the disciples.
Peter wanted to know what Jesus had planned for one of his friends.  Jesus said “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.”  Translation: don’t worry about anybody else (friends, family, another leader, the catholic church or any church), you follow me!

There is a next step for you in following Jesus!  Find a local church community where you can connect with others in the journey with Jesus and don’t let anything keep you from taking the next step!

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