It is July. A hot June already has set us longing for pools, iced drinks, and sunscreen. Summer also changes how we dress, how we plan our cooking (do I want to use the grill outside, or the oven inside?). Summer even changes our body chemistry, our appetites, our attitudes. We cannot help but be changed.
I would also say, that living a life focused on Jesus should also change us. These last few months I have been sharing this Nautilus discipleship model. First there is an ENCOUNTER, something that sparks in our hearts and makes us aware of Jesus Christ or God or the Holy Spirit. Once intrigued by that spark, we ENGAGE our faith. This involves seeking Jesus out. Most do this by coming to a worship service, reading scripture, or listening to more Christian themed music or podcasts. How were you first engaged in your own faith journey?
If the person finds Jesus, and feels welcomed in a community of others also seeking Jesus, they will want to fully PARTICIPATE. This involves preparing, planning, and making room in our lives for activities and thoughts that draw us closer to Jesus. Worship isn’t about finding out “about” Jesus, but in “finding Jesus” in a personal and meaningful way. Reading the Bible isn’t just informative, but hopeful and encouraging as we gain strength to grow our faith in Jesus.
Now TRANSFORMATION is the key part of a person’s life that moves them from being a person who “likes” Jesus, to one who “follows” Jesus. When someone encounters the saving grace of Jesus, there is no way to deny that God’s love in Jesus is real. This profound understanding transforms how they view themselves, others, and the world. Previous ways that perhaps were judgmental are transformed into habits of forgiveness. Ways of selfishness are transformed into acts of generosity. The desire to serve others in the name of Jesus grows into a strong sense of discipleship. This does not mean everyone is an evangelist, but it does mean everyone devotes time and energy to loving God and serving their neighbors.
To be transformed is not the end of a faith journey, like graduating high school is not the end to an
education. Transformation is the beginning of a lifetime of faithfulness, of putting generosity and forgiveness into action for the good of the world. Just like the Nautilus, the faith journey is a continuous cycle of encounters, engagements, participations and transformations as we draw closer to Jesus at the center of our lives!
We are new people every summer. It is the continual growing and changing that bring excitement and joy into the world. For our faith to be meaningful it needs to grow and to adapt with us. Southminster can be a place to ENCOUNTER, ENGAGE, PARTICIPATE, and TRANSFORM our hearts for Jesus. Come and deepen your faith in a community that is always focused on Jesus, and doing everything we can to glorify Him in our lives and in the world!