“When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon in the other.” Nehemiah 4:15 – 17
I cannot describe to you how awesome it was to be able to celebrate that first step of obedience with our students this past weekend as Renea, Matt, Parker and Noah came forward to be baptized. A lot of times as leaders and pastors in the church we put so much emphasis into leading non-believers by the hand to Jesus, and we’ve been guilty taking off without them once we have “arrived,” thereby failing in the area of discipleship. This is not to knock anyone else, but it is a beautiful thing to see that discipleship within Journey is taken seriously and does occur far beyond one’s moment in his life where Christ becomes both real and important. I pray that my heart and work in student ministry looks like what He has in mind for the discipleship of our Youth at Journey Church.
A serious part of discipling another to follow Christ is to teach him to remain focused on Him and to remain ready for the challenges that will come. To teach him not to take his eyes off of Christ, even for a minute. Man, that’s hard right? Especially when we struggle with that in our own walks. We have to remain focused on the work that He has for us, but when the task is seemingly finished for a time or we’re “between assignments,” we cannot let down our guard against the enemy.
How does one take this and make it practical? Let me tell you what I’ve shared with our students, in just the past few weeks even. We have moments when it is so obvious what we should be doing for His purpose and what we can do to help our brothers and sisters in either coming to Him or staying with Him if they’ve already begun their walk. We do it, we share our faith story, and it feels awesome because we know we just did what God told us to do! The moment passes and the spiritual high has run its course; now what? We must stay ready in these moments. Do not allow the enemy to push you to buy into a lie that makes you someone who is anything other than your new being in Christ. Those new brothers and sisters? You’re not done with them yet, neither are they with you. You now have the responsibility of showing them that you were for real when you told them about Jesus. New faces visiting Journey or getting involved for the first time with a ministry? You have the responsibility to LET THEM SEE CHRIST IN YOU.
At Fuge a couple of weeks ago, our camp pastor Will Snipes said, “The Gospel should be working in us and changing us every single day.” If we do not stay at His work and stay ready, we stand in the way of a transformation by the Gospel that needs to happen—every single day.
Stay ready, my friends.