Sunday, December 29, 2013

Following Jesus: A Mission Statement for Service

Organizations dedicated to serving God faithfully should never fear to spell out exactly how it will do so, and on what basis it does so.

In 2014, as the Jesus Followers organization moves out of the conceptual stage and into the “real world” as well as in the “virtual” world of the Internet, it’s fitting to spell out clearly from where it obtains its values and beliefs.

In the coming weeks, sermon/messages will focus on 13 Statements outlining the Jesus Follower organization’s faith, and a Mission Statement by which we will be guided.

This week, let’s take up the group’s Mission Statement: “Following Jesus, we love God and Serve Others, Working Righteousness,” which is at the same time simple and radical.

We are called, first and foremost, to follow Jesus. This isn't a mere word game, a passive commitment we can easily forget, or a look back upon as a past event. No, following Jesus an ongoing, substantial recognition that Jesus is a man whom God adopted and anointed as His son and prophet at his baptism, and sent into the world. Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” and expects us to not look back.

To Love God seems simple, and yet it is an all-encompassing command Jesus gives to those who say they will follow his teachings. Apart from acknowledging the absolute Oneness of God, Jesus makes it clear we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This doesn't mean that we simply “love God” the way we love a favorite food. This is a deep love that demands from us all that we have, and all we can give. 

When we learn that God our Creator has given us much, and learn from Jesus that we will be judged by God according to our deeds, we must take God’s Will for our lives seriously, and follow the example Jesus sets for us.

That we are called by Jesus to Serve Others as ourselves is a remarkably clear teaching. We are to become the servant of others, turn the other cheek, and serving in humility. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it.”

Finally, we are clearly called by Jesus to perform Works of Righteousness, not in a spirit of pride, but in a spirit of the pure service to which we are called by God’s servant, Jesus. As followers of Jesus we are, he says, to let our light “shine before others, so that they may see your good Works and give glory to your Father, Who is in Heaven.”

So, let us go forward together in this New Year with joy in our hearts for the work we must do as servants of God as called by Jesus, His servant, and our Teacher. 

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