Pastor Mike’s Meditations
Disciplines of Discipleship~
Studying the Discipleship Manual of the Early Church
It was back in the spring. I was prayerfully discerning what God would have me preach on once I returned from sabbatical. It was then that I came across a commentary that described the Gospel of Mark as the Discipleship Manual of the Early Church. With disciple making being the heart of what we are about as a church, I was intrigued by this phrase. I soon found after further study that in the early church many followers of Christ would memorize the whole Gospel of Mark in order to make the message more of a part of themselves.
With this in mind I spent part of my sabbatical studying the Gospel of Mark and memorizing the first chapter of it myself. As I did so, I could start to see how Mark’s Gospel presents various disciplines that Jesus and his first followers practiced which enable us to grow in our discipleship. Our sermon series this fall, which will have accompanying Growth Group discussion questions, will serve as invitation to practice specific spiritual disciplines that support a growing understanding of who Jesus is and how God has called us to continue to fulfill his mission. As the disciples slowly come to a fuller understanding of who Jesus is as the one and only Son of God who was sent to save us, we see them growing as followers who start doing the things that Jesus does, things they would go on doing after he imparted his mission of making disciples of all nations, tribes, and tongues to them.
In addition to the sermon series and the opportunity to sign-up for a Growth Group, there are a number of experiences being prepared this fall to encourage you as followers of Christ. For those who are just starting out in your journey of faith or have yet to make a commitment to our specific church body, we invite you to consider coming to our Discovery New Members Class on Saturday, September 14, from 8:30-12 pm. This Discovery Class is an opportunity to learn about our mission and beliefs and organization of Sierra Pres. and what it means to be a member. For those who have yet to find a place in ministry in our church community, on Wednesday, September 18, we will host a Ministry Opportunity Potluck at 5:30 pm where you are invited to bring something to contribute to our meal and you can hear about various ways to use your gifts in service at Sierra Pres..
In addition, there a number of retreat experiences coming up including our Men’s RetreatSeptember 20-22. A Discover Spiritual Growth-Solitude and Silence Retreatin October and a one day Women’s Retreatlater that month. These retreats serve as an opportunity to get away with others who are seeking to follow Christ and give you a focused time to practice spiritual disciplines that can support your growth in him. Being reminded of the importance of having such a spiritually-focused time away during my sabbatical, I can’t encourage you enough to plan on participating in one or more of these opportunities for spiritual revitalization that will be offered through the church.
With You on the Journey, Pastor Mike