We had a good discussion last night about how much we include in the core gospel message.
By grace alone through faith alone.
Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.
It’s not by works…
Of course it’d be silly to try to do something to earn your salvation, to ransom yourself back from eternal destruction, to pay your creator God in order to be justified.
But at the same time we realize that we are called to live out the life that we’ve been given in Christ. Live by faith and all that. Put off and put on.
How much of that should you be telling someone when you share the gospel?
The reality is that if someone professes faith and then continues to live the exact same lifestyle we doubt their salvation.
We can never really know about someone else but when we see them doing works in keeping with repentance it gives us faith that they have faith.
I think we need to be careful of either extreme – downplaying works so much that someone feels like they can “go on sinning” or saying that unless you do these ___ number of things you really can’t be saved.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
I know that we don’t get much for comments around here but any thoughts? 🙂
Well after the “new baby” hiatus I think I’m now ready blog again.
I’ve been reading a novel about Saint Patrick that has been challenging me to stay in the discipleship ranks and not pull back to simply directing the action from a desk. I don’t think I was in any real danger of doing that but the temptation of the easy life is always there.
Short and sweet those are my thoughts this morning.
Well, here we are. It’s the end of the semester and classes are in high gear.
Thanksgiving has come and gone.
November is draining away…
We’re within a month of Christie’s due date and we’re starting to put the final pieces in place before this kid arrives.
We haven’t put the car seat in yet but we’re packing up the bags, buying the little diapers and mentally getting ready to not sleep… for a month plus.
We’ve done this before so there is less mystery than our first round but it’s also fantastically exciting as we will soon get to meet this child we’ve been hoping and praying for!
On a different note:
It’s been fun to consider what Mary would have been going through during this time in her pregnancy with Jesus.
(I realize that Jesus most likely wasn’t actually born on Dec 25th)
I’d assume that they had a good idea of when Jesus was due. Was he early or did they expect him on the trip to Bethlehem?
It’s fun to imagine!
I will probably get a chance to post again before our kid comes but if not – see you on the other side! 🙂
Here is my update newsletter for November – Enjoy!
As you know we’ve been pushing to get out support back up from 81% to at least a reasonable level. Many of you have responded with bumping up your support and we’re up to 86%. Thank you all for your support!
If you’re still deciding whether to give or raise your support we could still use it! Visit http://www.gcmweb.org/getinvolved/Give.aspx
Our church had the joy of seeing 8 people baptized (two from the Rock – Anthony and Anna) a couple weeks ago.
Anthony hung out with the Rock a couple of years ago and then took a break. Last spring he got re-involved through some of our students in the dorms, chose to finally devote his life to Christ and participated in our summer program where I was in a small group with him. He’s been humming and hawing over getting baptized since then and finally decided to jump in – literally! It’s always a blast to work with young believers as they take steps of faith!
Anna came around this fall as a result of several of our students handing out free snow cones on campus. She was looking for a church to get involved with after a car accident last year. One of the other staffers had the opportunity to go through the gospel at length with her, she trusted Christ with her life and chose to get baptized as a public declaration of her new life in Christ!
We had over 40 students attend our annual fall conference a couple weekends ago. This year it featured Rob Gerber from our sister church in Wisconsin. He did a fantastic job sharing the gospel and calling us to live grace-filled Christ-centered lives.
The conference was rounded out by some great tie-down times that our students took together to cement the lessons that God was teaching them and share them with one another. These conferences are always a fantastic time for relationships to deepen around the core connection that we have with God.
The Rock Underground
In case you haven’t heard – I feel that one of my biggest roles is to make disciples. I’m always looking to make that more streamlined but it never gets past that life on life interaction – people connecting and learning together. A big way I try to streamline the process as much as I can is meeting with those in the Rock with the desire and time to go deeper in their faith.
We’ve had a weekly Rock leaders time on Sunday nights for 10+ years. It has taken different forms over the years from prayer focused times to seminar style teachings to discussion centered Bible studies. This year we’re changing it up again. We’re upping the training/teaching element of the time in order to equip the students for the work of ministry so that we can be united in discipleship together as we all grow toward Christ.
These Sunday nights are always a treat for me as I have the opportunity to challenge and encourage our core saints directly, interacting with them on the trials of life, the rewards of following God and the truths found in scripture.
Eph 4:15-16 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
New baby on the way! (If you’ve been keeping up on this site I announced this months ago)
That’s right, Christie is pregnant and we’re expecting the little one around Dec 24th! According to the ultrasounds Theo will have a little brother and he is very excited! We keep telling him that the baby will come when it snows and he can’t wait!
We’ve been working on fixing our basement up so that Theo will have a place to play this winter where he can expend some energy without waking up the baby. I have been able to do a fair amount of the work alongside several students and staff to make the most of that time. It’s fun to work on a project together.
The next time you hear from us will hopefully be a birth announcement just after Christmas, so look forward to the news as we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
Keep the faith!
Paul, Christie and Theo
If you’re interested in receiving this letter through email please email me at email@example.com.
I really appreciate your prayers and support in ministry and want to continue to keep you informed about the things God is doing here!