Week of June 25

Encountering Jesus

At The Crossroads of Belief

Day 1: Have you had a great teacher, one who could make history come alive or algebra bearable? Someone who knew his or her stuff and were worth listening to? Believing their content, even their sincerity in presenting it is different from believing in them as a person of character. They knew their stuff and you responded by listening. How do you find yourself responding to Jesus? Great teacher, good content, worth a listen? Or as King, Savior, Creator, and one who gives a new way of life? Look openly at the attitudes you hold, the values reflected in your choices. Ask a person you are in community with to help you. How are you responding with your life to Jesus? Do you simply believe Him, having made a decision about Him, or do you believe in Him and follow as a disciple?


Day 2: Read John 3:1-4. V2 – “we know you are a teacher from God”. Nicodemus had made a decision about Jesus, but he came at night. Maybe he could talk with Jesus, even begin a relationship with Jesus and nothing would really have to change. In V3 Jesus tells Nic, “You must be born again.” Nic will have to put aside what he thinks he knows and be born again into a new way of life, a new way of understanding how things are. We tend to think of BELIEF as accepting something as real or true. Biblical belief is a commitment to follow and making a decision about Jesus is not the same as following. Jesus tells Nic to rethink everything, to start again. How is following Jesus changing your thinking, priorities, motivations? What is your next step in following Jesus?


Day 3: One of the steps Doug mentioned in the message was to “Begin our day in a whole new way” perhaps by reading the Sermon on the Mount. Read Matt. 5-7, slowly, as if for the first time, and listen to Jesus announce how His Kingdom is. How do you respond to Jesus’ teaching? Head knowledge? Heart knowledge? Head and heart belief in Him – the way of His kingdom and the new life He is calling you to? This sermon is Jesus announcing His Kingdom, its values, how it works. It’s a call to rethink everything, move past what we think we know and begin to live in and live out this new way of life. What is your attitude about Jesus teaching in these 3 chapters? Do you believe Jesus really meant for us to follow/live these teachings? Do you see His teaching reflected more and more in your life? Can you identify a next step for you to take in following Jesus?


Day 4: Read John 8:31. “If you ABIDE (some translations say HOLD) to my teaching, you are really my disciples”. ABIDE/HOLD = remain in, dwell in, keep alive by doing, obey or follow, make it alive in your life and the lives of others. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus didn’t say here’s the new rules. It was His announcement of how the Kingdom of God is! He is teaching us how to walk in this new way of life – teaching us newborns how to walk. How are you doing, both behaviorally and attitudinally (at a heart level) in abiding in this new way of life? Do you ever think of this teaching of Jesus as impractical, nice but not how things really work, or as something for the over-achievers? What will it mean in your life today to ABIDE in this teaching?


Day 5: Yesterday we read John 8:31. Reread John 8:31 today. “If you ABIDE/HOLD to my teaching, (then) you are really my disciples”. To say it another way; If you’re taking steps to remain in my teaching, making it alive by following it – you are really my disciples. Jesus seems to believe His disciples are the ones who follow Him, who abide in His teaching – those who are reorienting their lives around His teaching, even the Sermon on the Mount! Look back to day 2, Nicodemus had made a decision about Jesus – he believed Him, but Jesus would not accept a relationship with Nic where he simply believed – Jesus wanted Nic to follow, to rethink everything and learn to walk in a new way of life. Is your identity as a disciple tied to a prayer you once prayed, an aisle you once walked, a confirmation process you went through, or how much you know about Jesus or the bible? Or are you trusting you are a disciple because you first trusted Jesus and now follow him – taking steps to know and become like Him?  


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