What does “following Jesus” mean?

At Cedar Ridge we are followers of Jesus. This means that at a very practical level we follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and seek to model our lives after him. We spend a lot of time studying what he did and said (what we call “the way of Jesus”) and apply it to our own lives. This is very challenging because Jesus taught and lived many difficult things like loving our enemies, forgiving those who have hurt us, not judging others, being honest, and sharing what we have. This inevitably challenges us to change—and change is hard—so we put a lot of effort into this personal transformational process and support one another along the way.

But there is another deeper and perhaps more mysterious way in which we follow Jesus. We don’t just follow Jesus as a historical figure; we actually believe Jesus is present to us here and now. We believe Jesus was the embodiment of the Divine, Jesus was full of God’s spirit and that Spirit is available to us now. So we make a conscious effort to make room for God’s Spirit in our lives and look to this source as the power to change. Because of this we have great hope. We believe real change is possible no matter how dark or despairing the situation. That is true for our own lives (in all our personal struggles and difficulties) and for the world as a whole where life can sometimes seem impossibly dark. We feel called to bring God’s love and light into this darkness wherever we find it. That’s why we call ourselves a community of hope and transformation. Our vision is an expression of what that hope can look like.

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