Following Jesus is something we do together, but it is a self-initiated journey. No one can walk this journey for you; it is something you determine to do. God gives his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to be our helper and companion. You make the daily decision to either cooperate with the Spirit or work against the Spirit’s empowering presence.
We are each responsible for our own exploration of The Journey. We have the help of the Holy Spirit, but we also have the help of the collective wisdom of those who have followed Jesus before us. We have summed up much of this wisdom in what we call The Four Practices. As you continue to explore worship, justice, and community, allow these practices to be your guide to cooperate with the Spirit in forming you into the image of Jesus.
Listen to Pastor Derek Vreeland describe The Four Practices.
Be aware of the presence and activity of God
We are following Jesus into a God-saturated world. God is not distant or far-away. God is intimately connected to the world. Jesus is the way to God and as he leads us through the exploration of worship, justice, and community, we find God there waiting patiently for us. We are called to seek God, not because God wants to remain hidden, but because God wants to be found.
Be open to learn new things in the light of Jesus
When Jesus invites us to come and follow him, he does not require us to go to school first. However, as with every adventure there is much to learn on The Journey. Each area has new words to learn, a new story to familiarize yourself with. Learning new vocabulary opens up new ways of thinking and living. As followers of Jesus, we never stop learning. We remain lifelong learners on The Journey because there are always new things to learn.
Be intentional to reflect on what you are experiencing
Experience is not the best teacher; experience reflected upon is. As you grow in your awareness and you are learning new things on The Journey, take time to reflect on what you are experiencing. Make mental note of how you are being challenged and how you are changing. Do not merely absorb information, but see how specific parts of The Journey are connecting with other parts. Begin to write things down.
Be committed to acting upon what you have discovered
The Journey has movement. Following Jesus looks much more like hiking in the woods than sitting in a classroom. A full exploration of worship, justice, and community is not complete until we become doers of the message and not merely listeners. This action flows from hearts that have been changed as we are animated by the Holy Spirit. We begin to practice new habits and routines as we continue to progress on The Journey.
The Four Practices have a natural progression from one practice to the next, but they are intended to be a cycle. In other words, as you continue to practice what you are learning through reflection, you will find yourself growing in a deeper awareness of the presence of God.