Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Follow Thee More Nearly

I'm reading a little book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. I commend this book highly to any of you who love to read and are looking for a book (short read) that will spur you on in your walk with Christ.

I have always been fascinated by Jewish culture and heritage, especially as the origins of Christianity. I did not realize, however, until I read this book, how different is the Western culture from the Jewish culture that Jesus lived in. You might be inclined to ask yourself, as I did, why is that significant? Because our interpretation of the biblical stories about Jesus, the parables that Jesus spoke, the expectations that He laid down for His disciples, grew out of the Jewish faith that Jesus learned and practiced throughout His lifetime. I have found a deeper understanding of why Jesus said this or that, what Jesus was calling His disciples to, and subsequently, what He is calling me to as a servant of Christ, called to follow my Master.

In some ways, this little book has awakened a much deeper understanding in me of what it means to be a “disciple” of Jesus Christ. The lights have suddenly come on, highlighting areas in my life that are not at all pleasing to my Lord and Savior, and then, to do something about them!  I will admit, I didn't expect this when I started reading the book!  Before I read this book, I was quite comfortable in my ignorance, thank you very much! But, now, I cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube! So be forewarned, if you do decide to read this book, you might just have to face the man (or woman) in the mirror and make some attitude and behavior adjustments! Don't say I didn't warn you!

Here's a few quotes from the book that I found very challenging!

“Sometimes, we hear the word 'disciple' and conclude that it is too hard to become one. But think of the alternative. To refuse to become Jesus' disciples is to consign ourselves to perpetual childhood and condemn ourselves to a wasted, frustrating life... It may not always be easy, but it will certainly be good, and, as we follow Him, we will find ourselves living with greater passion and purpose, experiencing a life of greater fulfillment.” (P. 64)

Suggestions for growth at the end of Chapter Four:

  1. Discipleship involves gradual change over a period of years. Ask a friend who knows you well to comment on changes he or she has observed in you as you have matured as Christ's disciple. (risky, I know!)
  2. What of your parents' traits, even those you dislike (!), are evident in your own life? Ask God to show you how to improve the example you are to others.
  3. Who are you being discipled by? Who are you discipling?

This is not a hugely difficult book to read, but it is for serious followers of Jesus who want to grow in that relationship. If that's you, I hope you check it out. Let me know what you think!

I'm considering starting an online book club on this blog. Let me know if you are interested!  I'm open to suggestions on books, etc.  This might be something fun to do for the New Year!

Scripture Reference: Mark 8:34 NKJV

Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me...”


  1. Ironically, your post made me think of a chorus from one of Michael Jackson's songs:

    I'm talking to the man in the mirror
    I'm asking him to change his ways
    No message could have been any clearer
    If you want to make the world a better place
    Take a look at yourself, then make the change.

    While I know this wasn't God speaking, his song does go along with what your book implies. So often we point our fingers at everyone else instead of the one staring back at us in the mirror. I know I'm guilty. And, I'm interested in the book club. I love to read and will do my best with what little time I have outside of work and school. Also, a book you might enjoy is called Hinds Feet for High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Excellent's an allegory about surrender, a little bit at a time.

  2. Yes, Shannon, I thought of the Michael Jackson song, as well! It shouldn't really surprise us that Jesus was pursuing M.J. I hope He reached him before it was too late... I have also read Hinds Feet on High Places and loved it! We think an awful lot alike! That's great that you are interested in a book club. I'll let you know after the New Year what we will do. Any and all suggestions from you are welcome! I'll let you know the details after Christmas!

  3. Since pursuing a relationship with Christ , a friend at work once remarked that I appeared to be much calmer and relaxed. I am fine with that since all I desie is peace.


How are you doing on your journey with the Lord? Started yet? Still searching. My prayer is that you will be encouraged to seek after Him with all your heart. Without a doubt, you will find Him. He is searching for YOU!