I read a quote this week that encouraged me. “God isn’t behind me, yelling, ‘Go!’ He’s ahead of me bidding, ‘Come!’ He’s in front, clearing the path and cutting the brush. Standing next to the rocks, He warns, ‘Watch your step there.'”
In a time of so much uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that God walks ahead of each and every one of us. He offers no magical solution to our problems, no miraculous resolution to our earthly concerns, but He strides along just ahead… We can know the future is nothing to fear when He is already there. I think this is the comfort David must have felt when he wrote the Shepherd Psalm. “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” Psalm 23:3-4 David well-knew that trouble was ahead. Trouble was all around for him. But he also knew God was ahead as well as all around him.
The world is a scary place on the world stage, the national stage, perhaps even on your personal stage. You are not alone. God goes ahead and your church family walks alongside you.
Friday was the dreaded Friday the 13th – that day when scary and dreadful things are supposed to happen. Fortunately nothing untoward happened. I didn’t see any black cats. I didn’t break a mirror. I didn’t encounter any serial killers (that I know of.) It was an uneventful day.
You know, sometimes we put too much emphasis on all the wrong things, don’t we? We might be afraid of breaking mirrors, or the trade war, or losing our job. We might have a lucky shirt, a favorite pen, or a cursed intersection. Those things range from inconsequential to counterproductive. But they have no real power. What we should really work toward in this life is a closer relationship with God and His people.
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
Last week I was blessed to attend Equip Conference in Orlando. This ministry conference was very informative and refreshing. I decided to mostly follow the Discipleship and Evangelism tracks, which means I had the opportunity to hear lessons and lectures from some ministers very talented in these areas.
While mentoring has always been one of my focuses, I’ve never really thought of mentoring/discipleship as THE focus of Christianity. The realization was eye-opening! Consider: Jesus came to the world and ministered for about three years. With three years to make an impact, certainly he preached, taught, and healed… But his primary focus was always in disciple-making! He found Peter and Andrew and said, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:18-22 He goes on to collect 12 men and call them Apostles. These were the men he mentored. They had the closest of relationships, eating, living, traveling together and learning from Jesus and each other. Jesus ultimately commands them, “Go and make disciples of all nations!” Matthew 28:19
Discipleship as always been Jesus’ plan for ministry. He has always intended us to live our lives together, learning from each other and teaching each other. It is my intention going forward in ministry to make this my primary focus as well. Each of us should be mentoring someone and each of us should be mentored by someone. Every one of us putting this into practice may make a greater difference for the kingdom of Christ than anything else we can do.