By Gerry Wakeland
For the past several months Pastor Cook has been preaching on becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ. He has shared repeatedly from the Word of God what that looks like. I have listened carefully, taken copious notes and strived to learn what this means in my own life. When all is said and done, I still come back to one thing. The goal of a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ is to become more like Christ. (See Colossians 3) To do so, we must know Christ, really know Him.
What does this mean? Literally it means becoming a disciple. Think about it. Jesus chose 12 men, common ordinary everyday guys. Just like He chose those twelve He has chosen us, you and me.
Those men left their lives, their families, their jobs, everything to follow Jesus. Perhaps God has not called you to depart from your family or quit your job but He has asked you to put the world aside and to follow Him, to become His disciples here and now in 2014. Much like Peter, John, James and the rest, we are confused. How do we become like Jesus? We watch. We listen. We learn. We ask questions and we wait for the answers.
I have discovered I cannot do this on my own. I came face to face with this reality on a very hot afternoon in July of 2009 as I sat in a hotel conference room in San Antonio, TX shoulder to shoulder with pastors, theologians and other lay leaders like myself.
I had arrived at the conference room intrigued with the topic of the seminar, Becoming an Apprentice of Jesus. I had no clue what to expect. As Professor James Bryan Smith began to teach I became captivated with this concept.
The word apprentice is defined as one who works for or with another in order to learn a trade. The idea that I could walk along side Jesus in a group of fellow believers and that together we could learn and live out His Word intrigued me. The more Jim Smith spoke the more compelled I felt to make this happen in my own life.
The Apprentice study encourages you to read, journal, pray, discuss and participate in weekly spiritual exercises with the goal that you will discover your heart being shaped by the truth of Jesus Christ and your life transformed.
My first step was participating in the study on a personal level. It wasn’t easy. I had to make a commitment of time and study. I had to be intentional about my goals. It did not take long for me to become hooked. Jim Smith’s book, The Good and Beautiful God, was changing my life. I had grown up in the church but I had never been exposed to the attributes of God expressed in this way.
Having taken the study I could see the life changing potential of this material and I could not wait to share it. It’s been five years since that hot, humid day in San Antonio and I have led four groups through the Apprentice series.
If you are looking for a way to take your relationship with Jesus to a new level, a deeper level then this is the study for you. Join us and fall in love with the God that Jesus knows.
Download a free chapter of The Good and Beautiful LIfe, from the Apprentice Series, by James Bryan Smith, courtesy of InterVarsity Press. Good&BeautifulLife Ch.10 (click to download)
Learning to Live Without Worry
God is working with me, and his kingdom pace is one day at a time. He has wisely ordered and measured what I can handle. Adding tomorrow’s problems to today’s is actually impossible, but many of us try to do it anyway.
Taken from The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith.
Copyright (c) 2009 by James Bryan Smith.
Used by permission of InterVarsity Press,
P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.