Introduction (last part)

26 01 2016

(continued. go to first part of Introduction)

It ought to be redundant to use a phrase such as “radical disciple.” That is as sensible as describing “wet rain” or “wooden trees.” Unfortunately, we have created non-radical discipleship in which someone believes in Christ for salvation but lags behind and loses significant connection to Jesus beyond the initial days. Serious commitment to staying near Christ should be our expectation. We should not invent a category of casual follower that betrays the meaning of “disciple.” To be a disciple entails movement and action, for a disciple is a learner and follower – a person in formation. A disciple follows his rabbi or master teacher around so as to be mentored in his wisdom, to learn his methods, and to ultimately be like him.

As you follow Jesus, where will He lead you?

In the years that lie ahead, a hundred experiences will come your way and thousands of decisions large and small will present themselves. Some of the situations in your future will be exhilarating while others will be difficult. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, your intention is to stay on the ancient path of all disciples – “The Way.”

You have already learned that the path is not always clear, the trail not always straight. Up ahead, you may descend into a quagmire of doubt only to be baffled by what has happened and what you should do next. A fork in the path may tempt you to alter your commitment. A fog may descend and disorient your sense of direction.

Like travelers throughout history, you desire to navigate your journey so as to enjoy the adventure to the fullest. There are great vistas to enjoy and fascinating people to meet. And even more importantly, you want to fulfill God’s purpose for giving you these few years to trek with Him. Your bottom line is living for God’s glory.

When you come to those sections of the trail that require clear thinking, you do not want to hear a multitude of voices in your head. You don’t want to hear every possibility. You need to hear the right one. This trail guide provides just that: guidance. It will clarify, from Scripture, where Jesus will lead you as you follow Him.

MARKERS

In a sense, Jesus will lead you wherever He wants you to go. The Holy Spirit is the wildest member of the trinity, as predictable as the wind! Fortunately, the Bible gives us a lot of clarity to hang on to. In fact, Scripture reveals a repeated pattern that we can confidently expect to emerge as we follow the Jesus way. The value of this pattern is not in its complexity, for it is simple. But an expert trail guide is hired not because he has special eyesight but because he knows what to look for. The veteran trekker has learned to observe the obvious signs which others overlook. Where the novice sees a tree, the expert sees the home of a bobcat. Where the novice sees a trail ahead, the trail guide hears pounding hooves in the distance. Similarly, this guide book will train you to recognize the simple pattern of the Jesus way with great expertise.

The pattern we will learn to observe will then provide markers along the trail, for they unfold, generally, in a predictable order. Learning these trail markers, you will be able to discern where you are on the path, and what is expected of you there. Knowing where you are, you will be able to look back and make more sense of the trail behind you. And rest assured, you will be able to look ahead in anticipation of what lies ahead.

The most encouraging aspect of these truths is this. Jesus is the trailblazer. He is the one who originally walked this trail. He is the Master of the Jesus way, then and now and in all that is to come. He owns the trail. And because He is who He is, Jesus is able to accomplish something unimaginable – He will accompany you along every section of the trail, and He will stay with you at each marker along the way. He will linger with you as long as He needs you to linger there. He will give you His insight and endurance to succeed. After all, He called you to follow Him – to stay near Him. He will surely stay near to you as you follow Him.

This leads to the second question to be answered in this trail guide: In what situations will these markers be useful?

TERRAIN

To be prepared for the trail ahead, we need to look at the likely situations, or “terrain,” which we will encounter over the coming years. Realistically, you may have come across this guide right in the middle of a situation for which you need guidance.

One approach would be to think of the major life situations that Jesus followers find themselves in and write a chapter about each of those. That would be valuable. But we are not going to begin with ourselves and our needs. Instead we are going to point out passages where God has specifically revealed how the trail markers guide us in specific areas of life and spirituality.

This will be the main section of the trail guide because there are many Scripture passages that speak to the various kinds of terrain. In preparing this book for you, I imagined that at times you may find yourself in a remote area, whether geographically or spiritually. And so I have elected to type out for you the relevant passages under each topic. Even though this takes more space, I want to be sure that you visually see the markers in the text, in hopes that you will gain skill in observing them on the trail of life.

The final question we will seek to answer is: What can I carry with me so that I will finish well?

PROVISIONS

Trekkers plan ahead. If the journey is long – like the one you are on – you need to plan wisely and pack lightly. I do not want you to find yourself out in rough terrain lacking the provisions you need.

Since you are traversing the Jesus way, He is your main provision, and truly the only One you need. The Holy Spirit, the comforter, comes along side (Greek, paraclete) you to encourage and remind you of all that Jesus taught. So the “provisions” offered in the final section are supplemental tools to assist you in depending on God. You will be able to draw from these resources:

  • Prayers – As you learn of the markers and terrain, you will see prayer running through every experience you encounter. In the final section I will provide some written prayers for you to use in various life experiences.
  • Disciplines – The word itself makes it clear that a disciple must be disciplined. Your further progress in the disciplines of fasting, solitude, silence, Sabbath and study will greatly help you follow the Jesus way.
  • Meditations – You will carry with you original and traditional reflections on journeying with Christ. You will also be encouraged to create original meditations in various forms which the Holy Spirit gives to you personally.
  • Retreats – Jesus set the example of getting away by Himself. The guide will provide suggestions for individual and group retreats of various lengths, all of which relate directly to living out the teachings of Scripture presented in the guide.
  • Studies – I will suggest passages of scripture which yield further insight for the disciple to self-discover. These can be for individual or group usage.
  • Conversations – Contemporary issues in church and society should be discussed in light of what is presented in the trail guide. I will suggest some topics such as: economic inequality, racism, welfare, immigration, church systems, hospitality, and missions.

Not all of the provisions will be equally helpful to you. They are not assignments but, as the name suggests, tools that may prove useful on your trek.

I hope you are ready.

Robert E. Rasmussen

[back to index]


Actions

Information

5 responses

1 02 2016
Robert Rasmussen

Yeah, hope my chapters can measure up to my intro! thanks for the feedback Angie.

31 01 2016
Angie

When you come to those sections of the trail that require clear thinking, you do not want to hear a multitude of voices in your head. You don’t want to hear every possibility. You need to hear the right one. This trail guide provides just that: guidance. It will clarify, from Scripture, where Jesus will lead you as you follow Him.’ I’m really looking forward to what comes next! This intro is very clear.

30 01 2016
Robert Rasmussen

OK thanks Geneva, I’ll look at that.

30 01 2016
Geneva

Introduction parts one and two are clear. Under the “conversations” bullet there is a missing word–I believe it should read “in light ‘of’ what is presented.”

I am looking forward to reading more . . .

27 01 2016
Part 1. The Markers Along the Jesus Way | Robert E Rasmussen.com

[…] Introduction (last part) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.