Sheptock, Rudy

Pastor Rudy Sheptock.

As I write this, I am wrapping up my Sunday afternoon radio show that I do on 106.3 The Shore. Earlier today, I played the hit from Little Peggy March entitled, “I Will Follow Him.” In the movie, “The Sister Act,” a group of nuns sang it as a gospel song by making the “Him” they referenced in their hymn, the Lord Jesus.

The chorus proclaims a devotion that is not embarrassed to tell the world, “I love Him and where He goes, I’ll follow. He’ll always be my true love, from now until forever.”

Jesus said that the watching world would know that we are what we say we are not by all the knowledge we could spout off, but simply by our love for him and one another. As important as the brain is to our intellect, it is the heart that is the driving force in our worship of God.

God wants more than empty religious motion. He wants real emotion that expresses itself in nothing less than fiery devotion.  

When life makes no sense when what God is visibly doing is more frustrating than fulfilling, He still wants us to live by faith. Without faith, the Bible tells us that it is impossible to please God. A better translation for “please God,” would be “to walk close in consistent community with the Lord.”

Without faith, it is impossible for human beings to have a relationship with God because we must first admit that God exists. There is a term today called “Christian Atheists” which defines believers who say they are dedicated with their mouths but their behavior would tell a different story.

Do you live as if God exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? Would those who know you give a positive testimony that you are the kind of person who practices what you preach?

 We begin to fulfill our God given purpose when we willingly yield and surrender to the specific plan that God has for each of us.

The goal of all Christians is to be like Jesus, but the road to get there is unique for every man and woman. The most important trait that followers of Jesus need to own, is that we don’t just hear the words of Jesus, but we listen with the intent to assimilate his instructions into everything we are, do, and say.

How do we know it is God’s voice leading the way in our every day?

One of the clearest signs that the Lord is really in charge is when the pages of God’s word begin to come alive with power in our lives. The acts of the apostles were not limited to the early church.

The same Holy Spirit is looking to move in and through us. Does the Holy Spirit have access to your will and your life? Don’t say “Yes,” if you keep on saying “No” to his invitations.

I think one of the greatest obstacles for American churchgoers is that we are looking for a syllabus, when we should be content to follow the Savior. We stubbornly expect the almighty to provide us with all the details before we choose to follow.

God won’t give us the plans when His true will for us to just stay as close to the planner as we possibly can. This flies right into the philosophy of the culture we live amidst.

Scriptures tell us, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

Did you see that? There were more questions than answers. Common sense might tell you that you should never leave a pleasant present if it means walking into a “who knows what” tomorrow? Yet without faith, it is impossible to know God as He desires to be understood.

The Bible goes on to tell us that,“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”

Abraham went even though he didn’t know where he was going.He just knew who he was going with.How many of us are stuck looking for tomorrow’s agenda that we miss today’s adventure that comes with following Jesus?

Jesus summoned the 12 Apostles with the same call. He challenged them to drop what they were doing and to “come, follow me.”The disciples didn’t get a three-year plan to buy into. They got not much more than Abraham, and yet they ended up going without knowing what they had gotten themselves into.

Are we so busy trying to fit God into our dreams and schemesthat we are missing out on letting the Lord lead?

From what I read in the Word of God, it seems that it is very much God’s style to give us as little information as possible about what we are doing until we are actually doing it. When we want it all at once, Jesus says it will be disseminated on a need to know basis. He doesn’t give us the script ahead of time.

Sounds like there is a lot of improvising along the way. The Lord adjusts the load as we share the road with him, but we must make a move towards him for the adventure to begin.

Even when God seems absent, worse, indifferent, or worse still, utterly unfair by my standards of justice, when most of the plans I make never come to fruition, as long as he still leads, I am on the right track. For example, when two of your sons die in your arms, and when your last 12 years have been haunted by depression and anxiety. Also, when you have experienced a heart attack, two bouts of shingles, and a mini-stroke.

            God “wants me to wait on him so that I will feel life deeply and not lash out in despairing frustration or angry rebellion but rather to still believe that He is here and his plan is good no matter how out of whack I think it has spun.

The Holy Spirit reminds me Jesus, who is called Emmanuel, is always here no matter how it looks or feels. But if we don’t make time to meet with our Heavenly Supervisor daily, how are we ever going to be able to please the CEO of the Universe? What would Jesus do?

The New Testament tells us exactly what He did and if He did it, we should do it too. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” “Solitary place,” means somewhere that you won’t be distracted and interrupted. A place where you can give God your undivided attention.The story goes on to tell us, “Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you.”

How many times are the days we live controlled not by the Holy Spirit, but more by the tyranny of the urgent? I love the reply of Jesus. Because He has been with His Father, he can pass up the good thing so that he may do the God thing.

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”

            When we are sold out to following Him, we are finally free to say “No,” to the crowds so we can “Yes,” to the Christ. How many Holy Spirit specific directions have we missed because we can’t recognize His voice over the noise of the crowd? 

Changing the way we relate to God and life requires entering into a battle. We are naturally self-obsessed and committed to our well-being at any cost. God is naturally others-obsessed.

He’s committed to our well-being at any cost to himself. Who is following who? We need to stop demanding that God follows us so that we are humbly open to following him. The more you hang out with Jesus, the less you care about where you are.

As long as God is here, I am not lost or in trouble or lacking the resources I need to get to where He has promised. The Spirit is the first-rate guide. He will teach willing hearts how to live. Are you ready to follow?