Yes! We have made it to summer. For many, summer entails a much needed break from our very busy schedules during the academic year when children and grandchildren are in school. Although the pace of life often changes during the next three months with vacations and travel, the journey of discipleship isn't suspended. We are being shaped by God everywhere, in every experience. So how do we keep our eyes on Jesus while on this journey?
Looking ahead with vision
Our church vision statement identifies our congregation as a covenant community, making disciples who light the world. Thus, our mission is not to make more church members or worship attenders; it is to make disciples. And we believe a disciple is someone pursuing an ongoing, intimate, and growing relationship with Jesus. What exactly does that mean?
First, God is calling us into a deeper relationship. This is His gracious invitation. He wants to lead us on a grand ad-venture. He offers His grace, forgiveness, and love, and He desires our trust and obedience to His truth. He does this because He wants us to experience the joy and peace that life with Him affords. We nurture this relationship by listening to God’s voice, and responding to that voice in daily living. It entails spending time with Him, in the same way you would spend time with anyone you love.
Activating your faith
Second, this relationship is dynamic. It is composed of verbs, not nouns.
Ongoing: The pursuit of Jesus is a lifelong journey. From the moment one accepts the gracious invitation to follow, until the moment they receive their promotion to glory, the journey never ceases. Although we may divert from time to time, we understand that in the same way our Savior relentlessly pursues us, we strive to relentlessly pursue Him.
Intimate: The goal of pursuing Jesus is one of deep connection. He longs to have intimacy with us. It is not enough for us to know about Jesus; a disciple strives to know Jesus on a personal level. What are your hopes and dreams? What are your worries and fears? God wants to know.
Growing: Scripture recognizes that disciples have different levels of spiritual maturity, with descriptors ranging from “worldly” and “infant” to “spiritual” and “adult.” The nourishment to grow should correspond with where you are in your journey, but God clearly expects you to grow in your discipleship.
It’s not easy in this day and age to set aside time for God, but that is exactly what God expects of us. We don’t grow in our faith by simply wishing for it. We need to exercise our spiritual muscles. We need to be committed to our journey of discipleship in all seasons of life.
We've got you covered
To facilitate your relationship with Jesus, even in the midst of these relaxed summer months, I wanted you to be aware of our Sunday School opportunities and our School of Discipleship summer course. Please take a look at all of our Sunday morning offerings at fpco.org/learn and let us know if we can help you to make a connection.
I'm so excited for what God has in store for us in the future. I'll leave you with this teaser: this fall, the JOURNEY begins at First Pres. Get ready!