We have a real treat planned for you! Starting tomorrow, on Tuesdays for the next 10 weeks, we're running a series of posts focusing on discipleship. Our hope is that they will be helpful tools for you as leaders. Some of you are walking with new believers who met Christ at camp this summer. Others of you are leading Campaigners groups. Take this material and use it however you see best.
This series is written by long time Young Lifer, Justin McRoberts. Justin is a singer/songwriter, author, and speaker. This summer he spoke at a Young Life Adventures camp in Santa Cruz. The posts he'll share were born out of those discipleship talks. Here's a 90 second video where you can hear Justin introduce the series.
Discipleship Series Introduction
By Justin McRoberts
If you show up to a professional baseball game before it starts, you’ll likely see players on the field running drills. They are the best players in the world and most of them have been playing baseball since they were children. Yet, there they are running the same drills they ran as kids. Why? Because, when the ball comes off a bat, it can be traveling at over 100 mph and an infielder is standing only 90ft from the point of contact; he has just about one second before the ball is to him. That player doesn’t have time to analyze the situation and prepare himself; he doesn’t have time to think about the placement of his feet or decide which way to shift his weight. His responses have to be near- automatic so that he can make a play and avoid injury. Only because a professional player has done that drill every day for fifteen, twenty or thirty years does his body respond the right way, allowing him to snag the ball and toss it to first base.
As disciples, you and I want to live for, with and like Jesus; The Jesus Way of Life. I’ve been following Jesus for 23 years and what I’ve learned is that doing so takes practice. What you and I think about Jesus is important, but how we live is what ultimately matters. For instance, I may think Jesus is generous and kind but if I live selfishly then what I think about Him doesn’t do the folks around me much good. The next few posts won’t be so much about convincing you what to think about Jesus, but how to follow Him - how to live like Him, for Him and with Him.
In this series I will share a few practices I see in Jesus’ life; practices I have found helpful as I follow Him. I’ll do my best to share not just why I think they’re important but also how to go about doing them.
Jesus regularly prayed.
He lived intentionally with a community.
He also loved and served the world around Him.
So, join me as we look at the practices of prayer, community and serving our world (what I will call “mission”).
For you and me, living like Jesus can be difficult. Life, like a baseball, can come at us pretty fast and if we aren’t practiced at this Jesus Way of Life, we easily turn right back to living older ways of living and coping; like bottling up our problems (instead of praying), trying to go it alone (instead of letting others help), trusting lesser voices to tell us who we are (instead of the word of God) and thinking mostly of ourselves (instead of loving the world around us).
I have two main hopes for this series. First, I hope that when life comes at you at 100 mph with confusion or stress or drama or hate, these practices help you to live and respond like Jesus; in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. I also hope that, by thinking of this life in terms of “practice,” you feel free to try without the fear of failure. God does not want you jumping through hoops to “get life right.”
That’s not what following Jesus (discipleship) is about. Discipleship begins when you realize that God loves you exactly as you are, continues as you accept that He also wants to love His world through you and never includes a single moment when God quits on you. You see, the work God started in you is just that; a work God started. And even if you aren’t sure you have what it takes to make it, you can be rest assured that God finishes what God starts.
Let’s practice, shall we?