Decider or Disciple

Decider or Disciple: which one best describes your life right now?

I’m reading through the Psalms right now, and am in Psalm 119 today. Here’s a thought from my time alone with God this morning.

As I reflected on Psalm 119:9-16 this morning, I recalled a portion of Richard Stearns book, Unfinished: Filling The Hole In Our Gospel, where he talked about the difference between a disciple and a decider.   He writes that Scot McKnight says: “Most of evangelism today focuses on getting someone to make a decision; the apostles, however, were obsessed with making disciples.”

Richard Stearns went on to say: “Disciples try to plan their entire lives around Jesus’ teaching and commands. Deciders have their own plans for their lives and invite Jesus to bless them.”

My Life Objective is not only to be a disciple, but to make disciples (fully devoted followers of  Jesus Christ).  However, there are times I act more like a decider than a disciple.  I agree with Richard Stearns that disciples try to plan their lives around Jesus’ teachings and commands.   One of the frustrations I see in the lives of people who have chosen to follow Christ is this struggle between asking Jesus to bless their plans instead of making a decision to experience the blessing of being obedient to Jesus’ plans as outlined in His Word.

I spent some time evaluating my own life in light of Psalm 119:9-16 this morning and invite you to do the same.  This short passage has a lot to say about how we live our lives.

Psalm 119:9-16 NIV

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Here is Psalm 119:9-16 in the Message paraphrase:

How can a young person live a clean life?  By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;  don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

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God Hears – Do I ?

I love the Lord,for he heard my voice;  he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.  Psalm 116:1-2 NIV

I read Psalm 116 this morning and the first two verses really caught my attention.  I know God hears when I call to Him; when I pray.  The Psalmist also praises God because He is compassionate, gracious, righteous; He saves, satisfies and is our source of security.

I know all those things and have experienced them, and I’m so grateful that God “turns his ear to me” and hears my voice and my cry for help.  I’m grateful He bends down (like a father would with a child) to give me His full attention when I call to Him.

What I desire is that I learn to more consistently “turn my ear” to Him; to hear His voice as He speaks to my heart.  I know He speaks to me through His written Word, but I also want to be in tune with His Spirit as He speaks to me throughout the day; to give Him my full attention.

Simple thought: I know He turns His ear to me and listens; I want to turn my ear to Him and listen attentively.

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STANDING ROOM ONLY AT EASTER

I love celebrating Easter; it’s usually a big day at most churches. It was a huge weekend for us this year; the biggest in Grace Fellowship history! We got to talk with 3544 people about Jesus this Easter weekend!

We invited people to engage with us in conversations about their spiritual journey and we’ll be following up with them for quite some time!

In addition to this, we started and wrapped up Easter Sunday services with baptism; baptizing 14 people. I was stoked!!!

Our vision hasn’t changed: “We exist to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” We have a four-fold strategy: INVITE CONNECT GROW GO.

Thank you for taking the core value of “INVITE” to heart! You made the difference and we had more first time guests and families than we’ve ever had.  Lives are being changed; please pray with us now that many of the guests we met at Easter will “CONNECT” at Grace or a church near them!  You guys rock.

On Saturday night, we had the biggest single service crowd in the history of our church family with 1508 people in attendance. Our volunteers and staff were stretched to the max in just about every area.  Every seat in the auditorium was filled, people were standing around the walls and there were nearly 200 people in overflow in the atrium.

Small World and PZ were overrun with kids which was amazing! It also stretched us to the max which showed us the potential we have in light of the many families with young children who are attending Grace. We had over 100 first time families registering their children on Saturday night. We are praying about solutions to provide more space.

When we did the helicopter egg drop, the scene reminded me of one of the battle scenes from Braveheart (without the blood & gore of course)! We learned some valuable lessons this year and will improve our egg hunts next year, but it was an amazing sight!

The Petting Zoo had a constant line and was another big hit. We just need a bigger petting zoo, or more of them, the next time we have petting zoos.

So, I want to thank our volunteers and staff. Thank you – Thank you – Thank you! I also want to thank all of you who jumped in to help on Saturday night even if you weren’t scheduled to serve.

It was an amazing weekend where we got to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and share His truth with 1000’s of people.  I’m humbled by all that happened over the weekend and look forward to the conversations we will have with folks in the weeks to come.

Here Are 3 Things You Can Do NOW To Help Make An Even Greater Impact:

  1. PRAY for us as we try to follow up on many people who are open to talking further about their spiritual journey, and as we follow up with the many first time guests who attended. Thank you!
  2. CONNECT – get involved and serve in a ministry; especially in our Small World, Children’s, and Student areas.  If you want to GROW, you need to SERVE and we need your help if we’re to fulfill God’s mission and vision for our church.
  3. INVITE people to join us this Sunday, April 23, at 8:30am, 10:00am or 11:30am to hear NAVY SEAL Chad Williams. I think it’s going to be “off the charts!”

Grateful to serve with you,
Pastor BJ

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50 Days of Grace – Day 50 – April 16

1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

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50 Days of Grace – Day 49 – April 15

2 Corinthians 4:14-16 NLT

14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

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50 Days of Grace – Day 48 – April 14

Romans 3:23-25 AMP

23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion].

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50 Days of Grace – Day 47 – April 13

Romans 5:20-21 NLT

20 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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50 Days of Grace – Day 46 – April 12

Romans 5:16-18 NLT

16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.

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50 Days of Grace – Day 45 – April 11

Romans 5:14-16 AMP

14 Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse—Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation].

15 But the free gift [of God] is not like the trespass [because the gift of grace overwhelms the fall of man]. For if many died by one man’s trespass [Adam’s sin], much more [abundantly] did God’s grace and the gift [that comes] by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to [benefit] the many. 16 Nor is the gift [of grace] like that which came through the one who sinned. For on the one hand the judgment [following the sin] resulted from one trespass and brought condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift resulted from many trespasses and brought justification [the release from sin’s penalty for those who believe].

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50 Days of Grace – Day 44 – April 10

Romans 5:1-2 AMP

5 Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].

 

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