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Monday, June 1, 2015

Advent 1996

The Four Steps to Discipleship: The Holy Season of Advent 1996

Dr. John C. Ogden, Senior Minister, Dec. 1996

After some careful reflection I would like to suggest that there are four simple steps to being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

Of course, much could be written and said about the role of the Christian disciple. The popularity of The Discipleship Bible Study, which some of you have experienced recently, is but one example of one way in which you can strengthen your spiritual life, so you can become a more well informed disciple.

STUDY.  At the top of my list, I would have to put the role and the place of careful study of the Holy Scripture.  What do we learn when we study both the Old and the New Testaments? Going back to the Book for reading, study reflection, and careful listening is for me the very first step of being a good disciple.  There is an obvious need to know what God has said and such knowledge can only come through personal study.

ACTION. Then, I must find certain ways to put my faith in Jesus Christ to work in the world. Caring for those persons whose personal needs are so obvious, reaching out to all kinds of people daily, and being a witness is crucial. I must find different and unusual ways each day to put into practice what I think/preach/teach, so my faith can take on some kind of form. What I think and what I do must join hands.

COMPASSION. In my study of the New Testament, I quickly discover the great compassion of Jesus Christ. He loved all kinds of people. He cared for everyone.  He was a very good friend to those who had no friends. He always had the time to stop and listen to someone tell their life story.  Remember the woman at the well?? What a story! He invited the little children to come to him.

PRAYER. I must find time during the week to be in prayer. Praying for the world, praying for those whose needs I know, praying for direction and guidance as I move from day to day. Just being in the Presence of God, so I can hear what I need to hear and be aware of the great power and the reality of the God of the Universe is for me a great joy.

[“Then and Now Disciples.” Charge Conference Report, Wesley United Methodist Church, Dec. 4, 1996]

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