Simply Follow Jesus

Drjriley   -  

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be…”

‭‭John‬ ‭12:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

At the door last Wednesday, I greeted Brian and Michelle, who came together for Dinner Church, but they were still angry and hurt from an argument earlier that day. They told me their argument had become explosive due to the stress they felt over their being broke and having no income. They had hoped to get a refund check from the IRS but it was not coming, for reasons they didn’t understand. To make things worse, they were being evicted at the end of the month.

Brian wanted to talk more with me,  so later I was able to listen to their concerns. Brian was distraught and felt so hopeless that he started crying. My heart went out to him. I told him we would help in any way we could and I encouraged him and Michelle to get help at Horizon House where they could get counseling and assistance to find a place to live.

Jesus calls us to reach out to those like Brian and Michelle and come alongside them with grace and compassion. CCDC provides the opportunity for us to be there for those who are hurting. By being there with those in need, we can fulfill the calling Jesus gives to follow in his footsteps.

To follow Jesus means to follow in his way of caring for others, especially for the economically disadvantaged and spiritually needy in our community. As I have heard said, the Church is not to be a museum for the saints but a hospital for sinners. We are called to bring healing and hope to those who struggle with the temptations and challenges of a sinful world.  We are commanded by Jesus to follow him. Not study about him. Not to say we believe something about him. But to follow him. That means going where he is.

I learned about the way of providing ministry through the means of the Dinner Church format from Verlon Fosner, the founding pastor of Seattle, WA. Dinner Churches, and the national movement of Dinner Church. He explains the meaning of following Jesus better than I can.

“Following Jesus does not mean agreeing to be a Christian; it does mean replicating the things Jesus did in our life situations. Jesus healed people, so we follow Jesus by starting to pray for healing over people; Jesus spent time with the poor, so we follow Jesus by spending time with the poor; Jesus confronted evil, so we follow Jesus by confronting evil in prayer when it shows up in our lives or the lives of those around us. But, this is where the rub is – actually engaging in the behaviors of Jesus. We can follow Jesus in theory, but when we are asked to follow the actual behaviors of Jesus like preaching to the poor or square off with evil, our self-rule sometimes rises up.”

We hesitate to follow Jesus when he seems to ask us to go too far. Remember his words, “Whoever serves me, must follow me.” We must follow where he is. And we must follow where he dwells with poor.  Dr. Quiona Russell came to serve for the first time last Wednesday. She told me, “It was such a blessing to serve alongside you and your team. I will definitely be back!” She expresses the wonderful feeling we all have at Dinner Church in following Jesus and serving others.

We welcome all who sense the call of Jesus and are moved to follow him where he is caring for the needy in our city. There are so many like Brian and Michelle who need us to be there for them.

May God’s Peace be with you,

                                       Pastor Jim and Debby Riley