4 Phases of Following

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by bobby williams

Jesus invites us to follow him.

Not just into the safe places or places where we are around other Christians, but to follow him everywhere our feet lead us.

Sunday in part 1 of the #follow series, we talked about Jesus’ call for Peter, James and John to follow him and the 4 phases of following.

Each one of us can fall into one of these 4 phases of following, meaning we each have a next step to take in following Jesus. The 4 phases are:

  • Observing
  • Inconvenience 
  • Take Action
  • All In

We’ll unpack each one over several posts. Today, let’s take a look at observing.

Observing

Before Peter began following Jesus, he listened, gathered information and observed what Jesus was teaching. While Jesus taught from Peter’s boat, Peter listened. Because a lot of Jesus’ ministry took place around the Sea of Galilee, it was probably not the first time Peter had heard Jesus teach. He was a pretty popular guy in those parts.

Following always begins with observing and gathering information. Jesus never walked up to anyone and just said, “believe.” There was almost always a conversation or some teaching involved before Jesus asked anyone to follow him.

My own story consisted of a period of following and observing for almost 5 years before I knew that I believed. We have to be ok with people that follow before they believe and trust that the Holy Spirit will lead them to a place of belief. In fact it would take some of Jesus’ own disciples until his resurrection to fully believe that Jesus was who he said he was. Essentially, they followed for 3 years before they believed.

If you or someone you know is in the observing phase, it’s ok to be there. Your next step is to simply keep following; come to a church where it’s ok for you to follow before you believe.

21 Days of Prayer | Day 21 

By Kevin Bradford 

We close out our 21 day journey today. We have heard from many different people at Ridge Church throughout the past 3 weeks, each bringing a unique perspective of a variety of topics. It’s been inspiring!

My prayer is the same as it was on day 1: that we approach God with confidence. I encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to remember that you have direct access to God the Father because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Shed off any thoughts of unworthiness that keep you from talking to Him every moment of the day. I used this quote from Oswald Chambers before, and I’ll use it again because the message is so important and urgent: Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surpassing power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides. 
My prayer for today:
Lord, I want to know you more, to see you more, and to experience you in ways I have yet to. Deepen my understanding of you so that my worship and my life can be more rich and wonderful than ever. Thank you for sending Jesus your Son as a sacrifice for my sin and to intercede on my behalf. Help me to remember this as I approach you and seek you more. May the reflection of the gospel in me grow clearer and brighter as I draw closer to you.

I pray for my brothers and sisters. Help each of us to build margin in our lives to experience life in you which is greater than we could ever imagine. Strengthen us as we walk in your truth. I pray that an eagerness to meet with you and an expectation of seeing you move would grow within us.

Amen.

21 Days of Prayer | Day 20

By Denira Williams 

Today’s prayer is focused on praying for your pastor and his family. I feel a little weird writing this post, but I guess I am the one who knows your pastor and his family the best! As you pray for Bobby and our family, pray for the other pastors in our church as well. They all have a tough job and need your prayers daily.

There are 4 things I would ask you to pray over for our family and the families of the other pastors.
1. Pray for our children. Pray they grow up loving God and loving people. My biggest fear in ministry is that my children will grow up resenting the church. Kids who have parents in ministry so often spend a ton of time at the church and sharing their parents constantly with the ministry isn’t always easy.
2. Pray for our marriages. It’s hard to do ministry when your marriage isn’t where it should be. Sometimes it’s hard to keep priorities straight when there is so much in the ministry that needs attention. Pray that we remember God first, spouse next, kids and then the church.

3. Pray for our health, especially around big “events”. I can almost guarantee that someone in my family will get sick the week of Easter and the week of Christmas. It happens every year. I remember one year the stomach bug ran rampant through not just our family but the families of the lead team the entire week of Easter. Satan loves to use this to distract us and take our focus off God.

4. Pray for our personal spiritual growth. A lot of times in ministry we are leading everyone around us in ministry that it can get hard for us to stop and just focus on our relationship with God. I find myself praying a lot just for quiet moments with God so that I can refocus my eyes on him.

Bobby and I love you all so much and love serving along side you! This is the greatest adventure of our lives and we are so glad you are here with us!

21 Days of Prayer | Day 19

By Amanda Pyle 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Protection is the act of shielding from harm: the state of being shielded from harm or a person or thing that shields from harm. The part I love about this definition is “a person” that shields from harm. A person could be Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandparent’s, Sibling’s, Teacher’s, Friend’s, Pastor’s or most importantly God. Did you know that we serve a God that shields us from harm? Psalm 18:2-3 tells us, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

As a mom of five amazing kids, I can’t physically meet every one of their individual needs and definitely cannot go every direction that they go. I must believe and trust that God will protect them. God sends his angels to watch over all of us. It’s in; Psalm 91:11-12, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” Also in, Psalm 34:7, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” Ever since our girls were babies and since the boys have been placed in our lives; we pray this with them and over them each night before bed:    
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my sole to keep and the angels watch me through the night and keep me safe till morning light.”
Prayer:
Father God,
I pray a mighty shield of protection over the Ridge Church. Each family has a story and each story is important to you God. I pray for a host of angels to protect them and be with each family, not only through the night but through each day too. You don’t promise us a world free of danger but you do promise that you will be with us to help when we face challenges. Let us be reminded that your faithful promises are our armor, Father. You know our name and you know our direction! I pray that we fear no evil because you, Father, are with us. In Jesus name, Amen

21 Days of Prayer | Day

by steve pyle

Health in humans is the ability of communities to adapt when facing physical, mental, social, or spiritual challenges.
Ridge church came to my mind as soon as I read the above definition of health. I believe health is one of Ridge’s strongest characteristics. There are a few questions Ridge lead team always asks before starting a ministry. Will it make disciples is normally always at top of list? How will it promote building a stronger community is also close to top of the list? Prayer Partners exist because of first our belief in the power of prayer but a very close second reason is we care deeply for hurting and/or lost people. Ridge Recovery is the perfect example of a ministry that promotes a community of people willing to admit their hang-ups. Recovery leaders lead by example while walking along side people hurting from their hang-ups. Many churches would think having Prayer Partners and Ridge Recovery ministries are more than enough to care for hurting people. Not at the Ridge, the Care Room was developed for yet another place people to be shown God loves them. One of the single most significant things I see time and time again is our ability to comfort someone else, even though we had just asked for prayer for our pain a short time before that. The best thing of all, we give God the glory.

Father God,

I pray You continue to lead us at the Ridge to love people as You love them. Help us see what You see, hear what You hear, and care for what You care for. We are helpless without You Father. I pray for all the people in pain physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. I also thank you for all the people in a season of joy. Protect us from evil. God, You are so amazing. Please, please, please let us not ever forget what You have done and take for granted what You will do. I repent of the many times I denied time with You to do other things not nearly as important. I am now down on my knees as I should have been from the beginning. I bow to You Father in love and respect. Ridge church thanks You for pouring Your grace upon us all. In closing Father, we will never know how You loved us so much to send your Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, but we are forever grateful He lives.