Home » Blog » The Joy of Following Jesus

The Joy of Following Jesus

Red, white, and blue tent

Revival Under the Big Tent

I went to an honest-to-goodness tent revival meeting last week. At some point between the opening song of “Our God Reigns” and later during “I Exalt Thee” a little piece of my soul came back to life. The cross section of Believers was beautiful: all ages, races, walks of life, and even denominations were gathered together to worship Jesus in a parking lot in a small Ohio town called Cambridge. 

There was a call to salvation followed by baptisms, and kids were running around waving banners that spelled out JESUS in colorful letters. There was freedom to worship, play tambourine, dance (if you’re brave), and twirl. Ahhh, my Soul delighted to be part of this special night!

Foolish

There are a lot of people who may question whether that was a lot of man-made “hype.” Or they may imagine that the people who attend are a strange breed of human – those easily led to follow an outmoded religion. One that causes them to act like fools.

However, if you look closely, you will see the joy that radiates from the faces of the people. Young and old, black and white. We are in love with a person, not a religion. His name is Jesus. God in the flesh. He came to the world 2000 years ago to settle the score on sin for those who would give their whole lives to follow him. 

The transaction that takes place is holy. Those of us who call him Lord have exchanged our darkest days and deeds for his love, forgiveness, and freedom. Can you imagine the joy of letting all the shame go and being washed clean, fully embraced by Father God through Jesus? 

The Bible says that “everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.” John 3:15 (NLT) Getting to trade in a steaming pile of yuck for a clean slate may cause you to rethink what’s important in life. Like me, you might be willing to change your life, your career, your future.  

Some may say that this kind of reckless abandon in following Jesus is foolish. Then by all means, call me a fool. As John Piper said, “Become a fool, that you may become wise — a thoughtful, hopeful, happy fool for Christ.”

Let the Children Come

I sat there and listened to the perfect harmony of a hundred voices singing “I Exalt Thee” a cappella, and I was reminded of my history. As a young girl, I heard the adults singing that very song in a tent meeting just like this. Participating in the chorus was like coming home.

Raising a child in the church to know the love of Jesus is like steeping tea. As the tea brews, with longer exposure, the flavor is darker, richer, more complex. So it is with these little children who are running around, playing games, and eating popsicles on a warm summer night while their parents worship Christ.

Jesus is delighted with their steps toward him. Their formative years are being steeped in their parents’ faith and love of God. A beautifully complex relationship is brewing, creating layer upon layer of history, memories, and moments in the joy of Jesus’ love. 

Jesus says “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. Mark 10:14 NLT

I imagine the Holy Spirit is out there in the parking lot playing Tag with them. Instead of saying “Tag, you’re it” when he catches the four-year-old girl in a pink dress, he says, “Tag, you’re Mine.” He doesn’t stop playing until each child has been tagged. Each one sealed with his promise to dwell in them one day when they accept him as Lord and Savior.

Do you know the joy of being tagged by the Holy Spirit? It feels like complete contentment and peace, with a side of joyful expectation of the future.

Dreams and Plans

I quit my job almost four weeks ago to go chase the dream God placed in my heart years ago. He recently reminded me that he never forgets his plans, nor the specific purpose he created for each of his children. Though, as steps of faith go, this one has felt like the first steps of a newborn calf on wobbly legs. 

Last Saturday at the revival, as I stared up at the red, white, and blue striped tent roof, I felt a thrill of excitement. I could almost hear God whisper, You’re doing it, Leanna. This is everything you’ve been waiting for. 

It’s true. Standing in that tent, 100% free to pursue the calling God placed on my life is a dream come true. Following Jesus, trusting in his plan and not my own, is such a joy. I am in the sweet spot at the center of every song and prayer I’d uttered to, “go anywhere, do anything, send me!” And right now, I can do just that. 

Thank you for sending me, Jesus.

He Is Faithful, His Promises Are True

I don’t know exactly what I’m getting into, and I’m trying to be ok with that. I know two promises for sure. These promises are the same for you as they are for me.

#1. We are a work in progress, and God will complete his work in us!

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

#2. We can trust wholeheartedly that he is faithful to fulfill his promises.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 

Praise God for His faithfulness.


If you are interested to hear more about how to be tagged by the Holy Spirit and become a follower of Jesus, send me a note!  I’d love to chat. You can also sign up for my newsletter which includes an email of my blogs, news, and guest posts.