Living in a world so full of options means we are bombarded by choice in so many different ways. Whether it’s the never-ending supply of on-demand programmes at our fingertips, the growing list of cheap flights we can hop on at any moment, the huge choice of social events filling the pages of our slimline diaries or the vast array of options in the aisles of our supermarkets, choice seduces the modern consumer at every turn. We have more choice than ever before. We get to choose what we want, the way we want it and when we can have it. That’s what society screams at us, isn’t it?
You get to choose!
But what about when it comes to following Jesus? Perhaps we are tempted to view faith in Jesus as just one extra choice in a world full of options. Maybe we treat Jesus as some sort of special deal that we can pick off the shelf of the supermarket of life for whenever we need him most – grabbing prayer when trouble hits, reaching for the Bible when guidance is needed or the church when loneliness comes our way.
Living as a disciple of Jesus is not just some of optional extra. Following Him is not just a special deal, a weekend activity or one extra option that we can add on to an already crowded life. In fact, when it comes to faith in Jesus, there are some things that aren’t just optional but essential. And while these things won’t earn us salvation, they should always flow from it. As Billy Graham said, “salvation is free but discipleship will cost you everything you have.”
We want to move beyond treating following Jesus as some sort of optional extra and begin treating the words he spoke, the things he did and the life he lived as essential aspects for his disciples. Watching his life will reveal how it is essential for disciples today to come to Jesus, respond to His call, share in community, take their place in culture, reflect His courage, accept the cost, take up His challenge and continue with Christ.
These are not optional extras. They are essential characteristics for followers of Jesus and they help to provide the framework for a brand new PCI Film Series called 'Essentials' that will be released very soon. The 'Essentials' Resource will include 8 short, 15-minute videos, complete with bible teaching, personal stories and discussion questions to help individuals, groups and churches walk through the essentials of following Jesus today.
Launching this summer, we hope that 'Essentials' will be an inspiring resource for all congregations to use in a variety of settings such as small groups, midweek meetings or short term courses. The mix of voices through bible teaching or interviews from throughout the Presbyterian Church in Ireland will help give a local flavour to this whole life call.
ESSENTIALS SESSION TITLES
- COME (John 1:35-46)
- CALL (Matthew 4:12-24)
- COMMUNITY (Luke 6:12-23)
- CULTURE (Matthew 5:13-16)
- COURAGE (Matthew 10:1-22)
- COST (Mark 8:34-38)
- CHALLENGE (Matthew 28:16-20)
- CONTINUE (Luke 9:28-36)