Tag: Discipleship

What our kids need to know.

“Dad knows everything”. That was my dad’s response to me and my siblings almost anytime he said something impressive. We would be sitting at a red light and somehow, Dad had this incredible ability to know exactly when the light would turn green. He’d count down and say “green” right when it turned and we would, in awe, say “How did you know that?!”

“Dad knows everything”.

I don’t know how long it took for me to realize it was all a schtick and my dad was just watching the crossing sign countdown, but nevertheless, eventually I learned my dad actually didn’t know everything. And now as a dad, I find myself playing the same game at red lights with my kids and giving the same answer when they (for now) are shocked, “Dad knows everything”. Soon, they’ll realize I don’t know everything. Soon they realize that I’m not perfect. And that’s okay. 

While we as parents don’t know everything, there are certain things we do know and we should desire to teach these truths with certainty to our kids. And we should want them to know them deep within their souls. 

 

They need to know how much Jesus loves them.

There is no greater truth than the message of the gospel. The life changing power of Jesus Christ and Him crucified is what I long for my kids to know. I want them to know that they are sinners and God sent His only Son to this earth to die for them, conquer death for them, and to give them eternal life. (John 3:16)

Taking every opportunity to share the gospel message with our kids demonstrates the importance of the message. We share with them this gospel message because it is real to us. We’ve been covered by the blood of Jesus and our sins have been forgiven. This incredible reality is what we long to see in our kids. 

We tell them how much Jesus loves them. Jesus loves our kids so much He gave His life for them. Jesus loves our kids so much that He took on their sin so He could place His righteousness on them. No matter how much we love our kids, Jesus loves them more. Only Jesus can give them eternal life and I want them to know it. 

 

They need to know how much we love them.

While I teach them that Jesus loves them more than I do, I’m going to demonstrate that through loving them like no one else on this earth. Both of my kids are uniquely made by a powerful Creator (Psalm 139:14). They have different personalities and different interests. Loving them means knowing them. It means knowing their little hearts, ambitions, interests, and fears. Loving them means often doing things that are of no interest to me but I know will make their day.

Loving our kids means we take the time to teach them the truths of the Bible (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Family discipleship is the responsibility of the parent. The church is to come alongside the family and help, but at the end of the day, we as parents are to be intentional in making disciples within our homes. We take time throughout the day to point our kids to Jesus. We take moments in the car, at the park, and getting ready for bed as opportunities to teach our kids the goodness of our God. What great privilege then to teach our kids about God! As one pastor said, “The greatest contribution we make may not be something we do, but someone we raise”.

Loving our kids also means there are good and necessary times to tell them no and to stick with it. Parenting is hard work and the good work means we have to do the hard work. That often means sticking with our no’s (Matthew 5:37). God has placed our children into our care and we are to steward that responsibility well. We are to love them in such a way that that brings them up to know the Lord (Proverbs 22:6) and at times it requires a stern voice that knows what is best for them.

 

They need to know that following Jesus in all things is absolutely worth it.

As we have recently learned from our sermon series in Ecclesiastes everything in this world is empty and meaningless and not worth holding on to. There is far more to this life than money and materials and entertainment and status. Yet, we must be careful that we are not raising our kids to find their joy and satisfaction in these pleasures. 

Jesus promised to us a life and life abundantly (John 10:10). It may not be filled with wealth or a nice home or even good health, but a life with Him is far better than a life without. The joy and satisfaction that they will grow up to search for can only be found in Jesus. A life in Christ is worth living, and this is a truth we must remind them everyday. Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer. 

If there is one truth we must instill in our children, it is that Jesus is better. We teach them this and pray the Holy Spirit will bring them to the knowledge of Jesus for the salvation of their sin. I don’t know everything, but I do know that I love my kids and I want them to know how much Jesus loves them and that following Him with their lives is absolutely worth it. Let’s commit to making sure they know Jesus, and let’s pray that we too will know Him more each and every day (Philippians 3:10).

 

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Why We Have a Preaching Team at Grace Life

I can remember my first sermon clearly. I was taking a speech class my senior year of high school and since I already knew I would be going to seminary once I graduated, I decided to turn my speech into a sermon. The sermon was a short gospel presentation from Matthew 7:13-14.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

I remember being extremely nervous and wanting to back out at the last minute. I remember seeing my mom and my youth pastor watching from the pews. I remember my blue shirt and red tie that was poorly tied. I remember this nervous tick my foot would do and wondering during the sermon why my foot was doing that and how I could possibly be thinking about that while I was preaching! Funny thing is, my foot still does it every once in a while.

I can’t remember the sermon points and no great revival was launched from that chapel sermon, but I do remember clearly thinking that this was something I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing: preaching the gospel to people who needed to hear it. 

This is what I’ve committed my life to doing as the Pastor of Grace Life. God has called me to deliver His Word to His people and to disciple and develop leaders for God’s glory. Part of doing this is training, equipping, and providing opportunities for other men to preach God’s Word to God’s people. This is why developing Biblical preachers within a local church is important to the doctrinal health of a local church. 

Over the summer, you will hear God’s Word preached from men within our church as they share with you the eternal truths found in Hebrews 11. These men are faithful men who love our church and support the gospel work within our church. They have studied diligently in preparation for their sermon, and I know they will be a blessing to you. They are to me. 

Here is why we have a preaching team at Grace Life Church. 

A preaching team serves as a reminder of the church’s need for God’s Word, not one communicator.

The pulpit I stand behind each Sunday to preach God’s Word is not my pulpit; it belongs to Jesus Christ, the Perfect One who died for His bride, the church. The Book I preach from is not my book; it’s the Holy Spirit Inspired Word of God that makes us wise to salvation and equipped to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And it is my belief that the most important component within a church is the preaching of God’s Word. Having more men capable of preaching God’s Word is a benefit to the health of the church.

Pastor Steve Lawson wrote this in the forward to his book on John Calvin.

“As the pulpit goes, so goes the church. In this hour, pastors must see their pulpits again marked by sequential exposition, doctrinal clarity, and a sense of gravity regarding eternal matters. This, in my estimation, is the need of the hour.”

The church doesn’t need a dynamic communicator, it needs the preaching of God’s Word. Charles Spurgeon says this:

​​“My brethren, if we are to see the church of God really restored to her pristine glory, we must have back this plain, simple, gospel-preaching. I do believe that the hiding of the cross beneath the veil of fine language and learned dissertation is half the cause of the spiritual destitution of our country. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. I would sooner say these few words and then cease my testimony, than utter the most splendid oration that ever streamed from the lips of Demosthenes or of Cicero, but not have declared the gospel of Christ. We must keep to this. This must be the hammer that we bring down upon the anvil of the human heart again, and again, and again. God forbid that we should glory save in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord! God forbid that we should know anything among men save Jesus Christ and him crucified!”

A preaching team provides an opportunity to develop Gospel-centered, Biblically-driven preachers.

The development of Gospel-centered, Biblically driven preachers keeps the focus on God’s Word and not man. But there must be a space for these men to learn, grow, and actually preach to the church. It is difficult to become a gospel preacher within the church if you have no opportunities to preach to the church.

Preaching is not easy. Writing a sermon and preparing to preach it is very similar to writing a term paper. Several hours of research, writing, reading, and studying goes into the final manuscript that will be delivered to the saints on Sunday. This is after years of working to study better and after having several years of seminary training. 

For the men who will be preaching over the summer, they have had several months to work on their text of Scripture. They are doing their prep work in their free time while learning the ins and outs of deep study of the Bible and then putting the pieces together to form a sermon. They’re thinking about illustrations, applications, and transitions, and they’re wrestling with the final outline that will be heard on Sunday, all without the years of training that most preachers have. 

This process takes practice and patience. It takes encouragement and critique. It takes grace and prayer. It takes Holy Spirit strength to stand before the church and deliver the Word of God to the church under the weight of knowing their words will be judged one day. And when they preach God’s Word to us, we respond with joy for the preaching of God’s Word and encourage them and thank them for preaching to us.

A preaching team provides necessary rest for the main preacher

I think about the sermon text from Sunday night until I deliver it the next Sunday. It is not uncommon for me to spend 10-20 hours working on a sermon every week while also keeping up with pastoral responsibilities. Early on as a preacher, I didn’t realize the mental strain writing a sermon would bring, and there are seasons I find myself needing to be preached to instead of being the one preaching.

Having a preaching team helps me rest physically, mentally, and spiritually. I hate not preaching, but I’m a better preacher when I have weeks off on the sermon calendar. The Sundays I don’t preach allow me to take a vacation with my family and be fully present with them (instead of trying to outline the sermon in my head or on my phone.) The Sundays I don’t preach allow me to prepare for future sermon series and handle other pastoral responsibilities. The Sundays I don’t preach frees me to sit and listen to the preaching of God’s Word.

Having faithful men step in now to preach to our church allows me to rest and prepare. It makes me a stronger preacher. It makes me stop and breathe. It makes me look at God’s Word not for sermon prep, but for the much needed spiritual nourishment for my soul.

A preaching team aides in the planting, replanting, and revitalization of more gospel focused churches in our community

We want to plant more churches in our community and serve churches who are on the verge of closing their doors and one of the necessary components to these causes is having faithful men who can teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). I believe that the Lord will raise up men within our churches to one day pastor church plants or serve as a guest preacher in a church with no pastor. Preaching has a Kingdom impact not just within our church, but in other churches as well. Having a preaching team opens up opportunities for us to make more disciples who make disciples. 

I am thankful for the men who will be preaching over the summer. When they preach, encourage them. Tell them how the Lord used their sermon to speak to you. Show up and listen to them, because they are heralds of God’s message. The text they will preach from is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Family Discipleship: “God Created the World”

This past Sunday, our KidLife Preschool and Elementary Class began a new curriculum cycle. This cycle will walk your child through the entire Bible while focusing on the Gospel. As they learn the incredible stories of Scripture, they’ll be taught how Christ is connected to all of it.

We have a deep desire to come along side you, the parent, and help you disciple your children. We want to help you teach them about God’s Word. Every week, we will send home information about the lesson your child learned. We also plan to include the lesson in our church program and post a weekly summary here, on the Grace Life Blog.

Take the time each day to go over what they learn, memorize the Scripture verse with them, and continue to show them Jesus. The greatest responsibility we have as parents is to disciple are kids and to show them how to follow Jesus. For more information on the importance of Family Discipleship, here’s a quick Facebook Live video from Pastor Matt.

Here is this week’s summary.

GOD CREATED THE WORLD

Genesis 1

MAIN POINT: God created everything, and everything He created was good.

BIG PICTURE QUESTION: Who is God? God is our Creator and King.

CHRIST CONNECTION:  Jesus is Lord over all of creation. The Son has always existed. The Bible says everything was created by Him and for Him, and He holds everything together. All of creation exists to bring God glory.

KEY PASSAGE: Colossians 1:16b-17

MEMMORY VERSE: Genesis 1:1

 

NEXT WEEK: God Created People (Genesis 1-2)

 

 

Making Jesus-Centered Disciples For God's Glory


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