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Saturday Sermon: Don't get stuck in a rut

By By Jerry Wheeler
Aug. 17, 2012 at 3:17 a.m.

Jerry Wheeler

Get out now, while the door is still open. Go in search of a new way of spiritual sustenance. Change what makes you go, tick, work or feel satisfied and redefine what gives you joy. Leave behind the short-term rewards of adulation and reputation and choose the life of discipleship.

What an odd, even insulting thing for me to say to you, the company of the committed. "Discipleship" you might protest, "Hey man, that is what I am doing. That is my life."

Is it really? Who are you following? Is it the Jesus who took a pass on adulation and reputation, who suffered and served, who was rejected and who failed in the eyes of most, Philippians 2:5-8? Do you follow the Jesus who rejected any shortcuts offered to him by the culture, even the religious culture? The Jesus who only looked to his father for applause and direction?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor, described the essence of discipleship, "It is nothing else than bondage to Jesus Christ alone, completely breaking through every program, every ideal, every set of laws. No other significance is possible, since Jesus is the only significance beside Jesus nothing has any significance. He alone matters."

Isn't it true that many of us have followed a theological school of thought or system? It is undeniable that some leaders are of the reformed stream, others a modified dispensational, and still others charismatic. Each school of thought comes with accoutrements, such as modes of worship and preaching. So, we find ourselves in pursuit of how Jesus has led others of our tradition - other people in different settings, with different skills, team chemistry and set of circumstances.

There are schools of thought with regard to philosophy of ministry. Some may adhere to some plan learned from a successful ministry or leader. Of course, following Jesus is embedded in the various approaches, but it is not central with regard to method of ministry, means of reaching others and what is valued. Almost all provide proof that they work by an increase in size.

What I am talking about, however, is an old way that is new to me and many like me. It is Jesus' way of being and doing - a way that I believe will change leaders and the church and finally society. This journey begins with the personal choice of the leader who must ask. Who will I follow? What kind of life do I choose?

Jerry Wheeler is a lay speaker at John Wesley Methodist Church.

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