Dec 27, 2021
Hey, it's Mike Henry with Follower of One. And I wanted to take a few days and just tell some of the stories behind Follower of One. It seems to me like my whole life has been pointed at the idea that I would be involved in helping others figure out how their faith shows up in the world.
But I feel like the before picture. I feel like the picture on the before part of the poster, not the after part. And I always have. I never met my own expectations. This goes way back. I thought I had to be good to get to heaven. I thought the point of Christianity was to get me to behave.
I related to God much the way I related to my dad. He was always trying to get me to behave. I wanted to do the minimum necessary to get by. If I had to be good to get into heaven, my goal was to be just good enough. My plan was to be the third-to-last guy to get into heaven. I didn't want to be the last or next to last. I figured that was cutting it a little too close, but I wanted to be third-to-last.
If I got in any before third-to-last, I had worked too hard. I was too good. I'd missed out on too much of the good stuff. But life wasn't working. I mean, it wasn't all that good. Not behaving. I hated my job. I was miserable in my career. I made more money, but I liked work less with every single job.
My wife was a real Christ-follower. She wanted me to go to church and have a relationship with Jesus, but I didn't want anything about it. And my boss, who was my dad wanted me to just do what he said. It was already hard enough. I was afraid my life would be 40 or 50 years of being something I didn't want to be so I could make money. I would go play a part during the day and they give me some money at the end of the week or at the end of the month. But since I never met my own expectations, I figured I'd never meet theirs either. I wondered if I was destined for adult boring, miserable life. I really wanted my life to matter, but it seemed like everything was stacked against me.
Because I couldn't tell my boss no, I couldn't tell my dad no, and still get a paycheck, I decided I would go check out church. If church didn't work, then I just tell my wife to forget it. I could tell her no. Church would be one of those things that I just wouldn't do. I figured I could hold my position at third-to-last for getting into heaven without attending church. I don't know where I got that idea.
But they had this workshop that fall when I was involved in church and in the workshop they showed how you could show someone else how they might know for a fact they were going to heaven. So I went, I felt like I needed to know that. And there, I learned a way to explain the real good news of the Bible, but more importantly, I learned the good news.
The last bullet was a passage in Ephesians that blew my mind away. It was Ephesians 2:8-9, which I'm saying from memory here. So I may be saying it slightly wrong. "For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not as a result of works so that no one may boast."
I realized that I didn't have to be third-to-last. There was no order for getting into heaven. My job was to obey Jesus and follow him because he paid the way for me to get to heaven. I was just totally blown away. No line, no progression from effort. My mind was shot. I chose that day to see what else Jesus had to say.
And I've been following him ever since. I didn't come to Jesus through a church, but I was sitting in one, when it happened. But I came to Jesus through frustration and a life that wasn't working. Just me talking to him, studying his Bible and learning about him from his people, that's what I do. With a few steps in between, that's how I and Follower of One show up here.
Can you tell someone else why you follow Jesus? Think about it and practice it. When we live, like we follow Jesus, eventually someone will ask us why. Prepare, get ready to be able to tell them your motives. Just like I just did.
Jesus changed me that day. When I realized that I couldn't work my way to heaven, I knew I was onto something. And I've been learning about that something, that Someone, ever since.
Do you follow Jesus? If not, or if you have any questions, please let me know. Send a note to email@example.com or call me at (918) 899-4239.
You'll probably have to leave a message because I don't often answer calls where I don't recognize the caller, but I would love to talk with you. And if you do follow him, practice your answer to the question, "Why are you doing this?" We're praying that you have an answer to that question, and that you have to give it to someone over a dozen times next year. Care to join us, check out our ministry and let's let Jesus put us to work.
Join us at https://followerofone.org. Thanks very much.