11.14.2017 | by Patrick Voelker, Executive Administrator
We have begun to explore what it means to Discover Jesus. Today, let’s take a look at the perspectives or positions from which we approach Jesus. We have said that all of what we are talking about is a journey of faith. So where are people on that journey?
(Gina Jane Artwork)
Some of us may be at the very beginning. We have no idea what faith looks like. We may like the idea that there is a God, but we are not sure what that all means, especially to each of us as an individual. Religion means many things including concepts from faith in general to Christianity, Hindu, Islam, Mormon, etc. We may even connect it to a specific experience in our backgrounds like a church; Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, or many others.
At the beginning of the journey its really about Jesus and what is my relationship with Him. Do I believe He is the Son of God? If so, how does that affect me? These are basic questions to cope with early on in our journeys.
Others may be past this point. Those people have dealt with some of these early questions and are now farther along in their journey. But, Discover Jesus is still a part of the journey. The reason being that discovering Jesus is all about a relationship. A relationship with Jesus that is never ending. It is about becoming closer and closer to Jesus in relationship and the impact that relationship has on our lives. So, if you are farther along in your journey, how is your relationship with Jesus impacting your life? When we view the journey in this context, Discover Jesus is lifelong.
To help with the journey, at River of Life we focus on Discover Jesus in two ways; Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. During those two times; adults, students, and kids can engage in their journey of discovering Jesus. It’s an opportunity to explore questions, learn about God through His Word, the bible, and to engage with other people
As we travel the journey, we move to Connect to Others. At River of Life we engage through our Small Groups. A small group is all about doing life together with other people. Small Groups allow us to connect and also include our faith journey of discovering Jesus. Small Groups gather together, usually in homes to study how we put faith into action, have accountability by asking each other the hard questions, serve the church together on Sundays and Wednesday and also serve in our communities together, to reach out to others in our neighborhoods and invite others who may have questions about Jesus, to take care of each other through life’s difficulties, and to help coach members to lead a small group themselves.
After Connect comes Serve the Community! Serving is living out our faith. It strengthens our faith and deepens our relationships with others. You can say that we become the hands and feet of Jesus to other people. When we say “community” we are talking about two groups. First is the River of Life Community. Our first step in serving is on Sunday, on Wednesday night, or both. Serving the church is of utmost importance. By serving on Sunday/Wednesday’s you are serving each other and those who may be stepping in for the first time to engage in the process of discovering Jesus. The second “community” is all of the communities around River of Life Church and ultimately, the world. We serve in the community to help those in need, engage and participate in our own communities, and engage with people who may not know how to start on a journey of faith, a path to Discover Jesus.
Finally, is Give Financially. Giving is really the deepest level of faith. It is a pure expression of where we are at on the journey of faith, in relationship to God, and in our relationship to Jesus. I love how the notable author, C.S. Lewis describes giving in relationship to our faith journey. He wrote:
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
Some may ask, why do we need these steps, this process? Whether we talk about mission, vision, strategy, purpose, or our faith journey; it all is simply about: Jesus. It all comes back to Jesus and God the Father and how are you going deal with them. There is no middle ground, no half way position. You either accept or reject, and that is one of the main crossroads in our journey of faith. Let’s do this journey together. It’s the best way to live life!