I would like to introduce Luke Patterson. Luke is a fellow Cedar Hillian, and part of our Rooted Leadership team. The journey he has been on and the insights he brings, continue to inspire me and challenge me. I asked him to share his journey with us because I am confident the work the Lord is doing in him will inspire you as well.
A Season of 'Yes'
Imagine being a fisherman, standing in your boat with your brother and father, sorting the nets. A crowd approaches, following a man. Amid the murmur of voices you catch a name: "Jesus". You've heard incredible stories of this man the last few months. Surprisingly, he approaches your boat as you look on. When he is within speaking distance, you are shocked when he looks right at you and says "Come, follow me." What arises in you in that moment? Surprise? Fear? Curiosity? Likely, you'd have some questions too, such as "Where are we going?", "For how long?". As we see in Mark 1:16-20, Simon and Andrew, and also James and John said "Yes." Not just in word but with their actions. Both that day, and again and again.
This is a common pattern you'll see in the Gospels as Jesus ministered. A call, a command, an invitation. The ones who responded with a 'yes' received the miracle - the healing, the deliverance, the very presence of Jesus. He invites us, beckons us into something, then waits for our response. In His Kingdom, there is choice. We always get to choose whether to respond or not. That freedom is so beautiful and powerful, but also heavy. Heavy because of the responsibility that it gives us over our spiritual life. We are fully, 100% responsible for our part in the relationship.
For me, this has been a season of saying 'yes' to where I feel Him inviting me. In the fall of last year, Kiersten and I were given the opportunity to go through Rooted with several other people. Rooted is a 10-week group experience hosted by Cedar Hills that establishes deep spiritual foundations and growth in a community environment. It is vulnerable, deep, and real. Being a part of that group was such a beautiful experience for us. We didn't have to say 'yes' though. We are busy, have kids, businesses, and other pursuits. But when we prayed about it, we felt that it was a God invitation. Then, as we went each week and did our studying at home, we continued to say 'yes'. 'Yes' to going deep, to wrestling with the topics, to being genuine and vulnerable during our group times. During that 10 weeks, lots of things came up in our life - other opportunities, events, etc. that we had to say 'no' to. Our 'no' protects our 'yes'. I am learning to use my 'no' a lot more, so that the few things I say 'yes' to can really be great. I can give them the time and attention they deserve.
After a 2-month break, Cedar Hills launched a new 10-week round of Rooted groups, and this time Kiersten and I were facilitating a group of our own. During our first meeting together, as the 11 of us strangers sat in a room together, we went around and each shared what had led us to sign up and what we were hoping to get out of our time together. The common theme that we heard was that while almost everyone was nervous, hesitant, or even uncomfortable, they all simply wanted more of Jesus. Their hunger was greater than their fear, busyness, insecurity or questions.
This morning, we had our 10th and final meeting. As we broke bread and took communion together I looked around the room at each person. I can say that we all have our share of problems, of pain and struggle that we've lived through, or are still in. But I see how each one of us has continued to lean in to Jesus these last 10 weeks, opening up to Him and each other, and giving Him room to work in our lives. The growth, breakthrough, and transformation that we all have experienced is real and amazing.
I think that life is really all about our 'yes' and 'no'. I believe that right now, in this season, the invitation from Jesus is clearer than ever. Breakthrough is happening, and people are choosing to follow Him at a greater level than they ever have before. He is ready and willing to come into our lives and heal, deliver, teach, grow, and LOVE. The question is, will we say 'yes'? And will we protect that 'yes' with our 'no'?
In the place within your life where you sense Jesus beckoning for you to follow Him - I ask that today you will take a moment to talk to Him about it. Tell him of your fears, your hesitation, your doubt. Put simple words to what you are feeling. Then ask yourself this: "If I am standing in the boat, and Jesus is calling me, what am I going to do?". There is always a price we must pay with our 'yes' - but we get so much more back than we give out. He is really that good.