The following is the text from my bulletin insert. I am designing a series of weekly inserts to help me better explain the Wesleyan Way of Discipleship. You can download a pdf of this insert at the end of blog.
Provoking Question of the Week:
Find one or more church members and ask them this question.
“Can you tell me what it was like when you first came to know Jesus as your Savior?”
In order to begin a disciple’s life, you have to start with Jesus. In particular, you have to make that conscious decision to accept him as your Lord and Savior. Without that piece of the puzzle in place, there cannot be any form of discipleship.
At its very basic nature, a disciple is someone that chooses to follow a teacher, leader or philosopher. As a disciple of Jesus, you have chosen to follow him and his teachings. Therein, lies the problem that we face. “I’ve chosen to follow Jesus. What does that mean?” In the weeks and months ahead, I will attempt to answer that question. I will try to do so from a decidedly Wesleyan approach. In other words, I’ll try to answer that question in a manner similar to how Wesley may have answered to his followers. Wesley pointed them toward Jesus and them gave them some very specific instructions on how to live their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
One of the first things that Wesley insisted upon was the role that Jesus played in your life. In Sermon 92 “On Zeal” he gave us a word diagram that presented a series of ever larger circles. (think of a bullseye) At the center of these concentric circles was Jesus. Jesus has to be a the center of our lives. He has to sit on the throne of our hearts. He has to be the purpose for which we live. Wesley also taught that there could be nothing that stands between us and our relationship with Jesus.
This relationship formed the foundation of all that is to follow. From that foundation we will be able to forage out on a journey of growth as a disciple of Jesus. (You’ll hear more about that process in future lessons.) If anything, Wesley was methodical and provided a framework that seemed to work in the 18th century. I think that this framework can also work in the 21st century.
You’ve seen the Provoking Question listed above. To help answer that question, when someone asks you, consider the following.
· Did I get to know Jesus through a Damascus Road type of experience or a more gradual awakening of his presence in my life?
· Was my giving my life to Jesus tied to some specific event or activity?
· What effect did my coming to know Jesus have on my life at the time?
· After careful consideration, do you truly think you have accepted Jesus as your Savior? Would you like to talk with someone about it? If so, the pastor is available.
I am just a simple United Methodist pastor. I am an elder in the Holston Annual Conference. This blog is my attempt to share the insights that I have gathered from John Wesley's writings and from others more knowledgable than myself in regards to Wesley. I am not a scholar. Perhaps you could best think of me as a practical theologian.