Danny’s Definition of Success

Helping put together a church service for a group of inmates was a big “get off the couch and do something” moment for Danny. When he did, he got to see what happens when you follow where the Holy Spirit leads.

Danny was accustomed to the big stage, the lights, top notch equipment, and a mass of fans, but a small worship service with these inmates changed his view of success. He saw people who had no “stuff,” but they knew they had the most important thing, a relationship with Jesus Christ. And to Danny, that just made sense. That success is knowing who we are in Christ.

New Life Through Baptism

When we repent of our sins, God forgives us wholly and completely. We are made new. Baptism is a wonderful symbol of the new life God gives us when we repent and make Him Lord of our life.

By being baptized, we are making a physical expression of the new life God has placed inwardly in our hearts. The water symbolizes cleansing, and when we lay back to die to our old life, our sin, we are then brought up and cleansed. We are a new creation.

Danny’s Faith Story

Danny had everything he’d sought after in life — he was a great guitarist in a well-loved band, went to parties every night, had a girlfriend, and even a baby girl. But then that baby girl grew up. She saw her dad and was concerned with where he would be spending eternity. That concern from his daughter was a turning point for Danny.

Through a series of conversations with Pastor Kevin and worship pastor, Chris Morgan, Danny decided to take the leap. To forget what he thought were the “good things” in life, and say, “Yes.”

God Put Our Wrong on Jesus to Put Us Right with Him

At the end of each person’s life, we calculate the total value of their life by weighing the amount of bad that they’ve done against the amount of good that they’ve done. If at the end that person has a high positive value, they get to go to the ‘Good Place’. Thank goodness that is not how our God works! Though we tend to think this way about our sin debt. “If I do a little good, it will cancel out the bad.”

The truth is that God sent Jesus to willingly die on a cross to take away our sin. To pay off our debt. All our our “bad” was put on Jesus, so that we could be right with Him. What an amazing gift!

If Not Me, Then Who?

If we don’t take action, who will? The answer is no one. That’s a haunting thought. But there is good news!

We were created by God with a purpose to do good works, which He prepared for us to do. We are the answer. God has placed us right where we are to solve problems and fill needs that we see around us. What a privilege that we are God’s answer and that He will give us the courage to take action.

The Other Side of Sacrifice

Pastor Jason shares the story of a 12Stone family, who were led by God to do something significant for a complete stranger. God stirred their hearts to sacrifice to send an unnamed student, who didn’t know Jesus and couldn’t afford to go on their own, to “Never The Same” camp.

The family made budget cuts to bless this student with what could be a life-changing experience. And it was! They received word the student learned about the rescuing hand of God in a camp service and accepted Jesus.

God used their sacrifice of several hundred dollars to do something that changed all of eternity for one young person — all the while, marking the family with playing a part in an enormous blessing.

Sacrifice Is the Core of Living Sent

The life of the Apostle Paul is a remarkable demonstration of sacrifice. He left everything he knew behind to do what God called him to do, and he experienced extraordinary hardships along the way, including prison and severe persecution.

We all know how to sacrifice for the things we love and enjoy. But can we sacrifice to Live Sent and meet the needs of others — even when it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient? Paul believed his life would be worthless if he didn’t live out what God called him to do.

Imagine how the gospel would advance if we all did everything God called us to do, and we spread the good news of God’s grace on a daily basis.

Day 7: Is Teaching My Kids about Jesus Really Worth It?

Read: 2 Timothy 1:52 Timothy 3:15

Let’s be honest, teaching our kids about Jesus may feel more awkward or scary than it feels natural. Questions like, “What if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to?” or “Who am I to teach them about Jesus?” can creep in and create fear in our hearts. But God wants us to know that we have more influence in shaping the hearts of our children than we realize, and it’s worth it!

In Acts 16:1, we first hear about a mom named Eunice and a son named Timothy. Despite her circumstances, Eunice taught Timothy about God and His Word. 2 Timothy 3:15 tells us that Timothy knew the scripture from infancy, which means that Eunice shared what she knew of the Old Testament with him as he grew from a baby to a young man.

Our job is not to save our children, but to share with them the truth about Jesus, the only One who can save.

As she raised her little boy, Eunice had no idea that Timothy would become an evangelist with the Apostle Paul, or if he would even share the beliefs she held dear. She knew that God was good, and she shared her love for Him because she knew that God loved her son and had a special plan for him.

Like Eunice, we don’t need to have a perfect past in order to tell our kids about Jesus. All we need is a heart that loves Him, loves His Word, and loves our kids. Our job is not to save our children, but to share with them the truth about Jesus, the only One who can save. God loves our kids even more than we do, and He has a special plan for them. The way we share and teach our kids about Jesus will help shape their hearts for all that God has in store for them.

Mamas, it’s worth it. It’s worth figuring out how we can spend intentional time with Jesus to develop our relationship with Him. It’s worth pausing in the moment to pray with your child or turning up the worship music in the car to sing praises as you drive. Teaching our kids about Jesus doesn’t have to be formal or scary, but instead, daily conversations and teachable moments as life happens. Eunice is proof that being intentional about teaching our kids about Jesus at home makes a difference!

Reflect:

  • How is your relationship with Jesus? Is there time in your schedule where you can carve out ten minutes a day to spend intentional time with Him?
  • What is one thing you can do this week to be intentional about teaching your kids about Jesus? (Examples could be: talking about what they learned in Kids Ministry, singing and dancing to kids’ worship and praise music, memorizing a verse together, praying together, etc.)

Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Jeff Foxworthy’s Story with the Atlanta Mission

Acclaimed comedian Jeff Foxworthy shares a series of life-changing moments he experienced at the Atlanta Mission, a nonprofit Christian ministry serving the homeless. Overs the past decade, he’s led many men’s small groups with his long-time friend, Ronnie Brasfield, a licensed professional counselor. What started with 12 men and 2 leaders has turned into a small group ministry serving near 200 men.

“The only thing we can ever do for God is say yes,” says Foxworthy. He goes on to share an incredible story of restoration and redemption in the life of small group member named Wayne.

God Causes Trouble in You

Pastor Kevin explains how God caused trouble in the life of Saul to awaken him to living for Christ. Saul did not believe Jesus was the Messiah and he persecuted many Christians. He was on the road to Damascus to continue persecution when he had an encounter with the Living God. He was told to continue to the city and wait for instructions of what to do. For three days, he was blind and did not eat or drink.

Later, God returned his sight and changed his name to Paul. This is who we now know as the Apostle Paul, who wrote many books of the Bible. God had specific assignments for Paul, and He has them for us, too. We should ask ourselves where we are blind in our spiritual life? And how can we move from living for ourselves to living sent?

Jesus Wants You to Get Over Yourself

Sin makes us self-centered, and many of us build entire lives around getting what we want. But when asked about Jesus’s teachings, He said the most important truths were “to love God and love others.” (Mark 12:30-31) And this requires us to “die to self.” (Put ourselves last.)

Our lives take on new meaning when we live in self-sacrifice and according to God’s instruction through the Bible. We no longer consider what we want first (our selfish desires); we consider what other’s need first and how we can serve them just as Jesus would.

Jesus Is the Only Way to Heaven

Jesus isn’t one of many ways to get to heaven. He is the only way! In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is an absolutely essential part of the Christian faith.

Think about it: If there was another way, why would Jesus go through the horrors of death on the cross?

Lie: Forgiveness Has to be Earned

The Bible is very clear about forgiveness. We didn’t earn our forgiveness (and salvation) on our own — we never could. Forgiveness came only through the sacrifice of God’s only son, Jesus Christ, and it was freely given. In the same way, our spouse, our coworker, our family, or our friend do not need to earn our forgiveness.

We are called to freely forgive others. And in doing so, we free up ourselves from carrying bitterness and anger that only causes strife in our lives. Trust can be earned (or re-earned), but not forgiveness.

Lie: God’s Love Must Be Earned

There are many lies we believe about God. One of the most fundamental lies is that we can somehow earn God’s love by being “good enough.” Generations of people come out of church with that lie. Or stay in church with that lie. Or stay distant from God with that lie. It’s destructive and heartbreaking. Because we can never be “good enough.”

Jesus died for us while we were sinners. He was the perfect one, and He paid our sin debt. God knew we could never do it on our own. That was God’s extraordinary plan all along.

From Living For Self To Living Sent

The Holy Spirit wants to empower us from living for self to living sent.

Living Sent is a disposition that our lives are more about ourselves.

Living Sent won’t change where we go, but it’ll change how we get there. We are living for more than self, we are sent by God into our world!

However, we cannot live sent without the power of the Holy Spirit. When we get on God’s agenda, we have access to God’s power!

What if God wants our lives to be filled with miracles and little less normal?

 

10 Core Questions of Life

Our personal world view shapes everything in our lives — and in our kids’ lives. Our actions and reactions are determined by what we believe to be the answers to what Pastor Kevin calls the “10 Core Questions of Life.”

Using the Bible as a reference, we can teach our kids God’s answers to these questions. We’ll have to adapt our answers according to their age so their understanding will grow as their minds and bodies do. Eventually, when they’re adults, they’ll have adult-sized answers and be deeply grounded in their faith.

God’s Will, God’s Way

We must surrender to “God’s Will” and “God’s Way,” and we cannot separate the two.

“God’s Will” is His sovereign will – it cannot be changed; it’s what God wants most. He wants everyone to be saved and spend eternity with Him. “God’s Way” is His revealed will – what He has revealed to us through the Bible on how we should live our lives.

What Is Unique About the Christian Worldview of God?

In every other religion, people either have to know something, experience something, or do something to be made right with God.

In Christianity, the grace of God comes to us because of His innate love for us. That grace comes in the form of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins.

It is God’s love and grace that separates Christianity from other world religions.

We Need a Shepherd for Eternity

Our physical bodies will die, but our spirits will live on forever. And hard as we may try, we can’t make it to heaven on our own. It doesn’t matter whether we’re good people who do good works every single day of our lives. We need Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to lead us into heaven. Take hold of the rescuing hand of Jesus to spend eternity in heaven.

 

Understanding the Debt Jesus Paid

The idea of being rescued from our financial debt is thrilling. We can imagine how freed up we would feel! The reason we don’t get as excited about Jesus, and His sacrifice for our sin debt, is because we don’t really understand it. It pales in comparison when we measure our financial debt against our sin debt – and Jesus’s offer to “pay it all.” What Jesus did is rescue us for eternity!

Easter isn’t about bunnies, eggs, and baskets. Easter is about eternal life through Jesus Christ.

We Need a Shepherd Every Day

Some people mistakenly believe they only need a shepherd to lead them to eternity. And once they accept Jesus, they stop seeking God and live their lives according to their own desires. The truth is, we all need a shepherd every single day. The nature and the heart of God is to also be our shepherd on earth – through every step of our life’s journey.

Even as we love and shepherd others, God is shepherding us.

Bless, Train, Send – Overview

12Stone is called to live for a bigger purpose:

Because of the rescuing hand of Jesus, we pursue personal transformation, one life at a time.

Transformation is the river that runs through everything that we do. We bless, train, and send. Jason Berry provides a brief overview of the layers and complexities in these:

Bless
In Christ, we live in God’s grace. Therefore, we invite you into God’s blessing to bless others.

Train
In Christ, we live up to God’s potential for us. Therefore, we encourage you to a life of intentional growth.

Send
In Christ, we live out God’s mission. Therefore, we challenge you to go into your world and serve.

We’re Here to Train You to Bless Others

PK uses an illustration of visiting a restaurant contrasted to visiting a church.

When we go to a restaurant, our expectation is to be served. The restaurant’s purpose is to serve the customer, not to turn the customer into a waiter.

In contrast, the church’s purpose is to make us “waiters” and not keep us as “customers.” The church is first here to help people come to Christ, then to help us have a spirit of blessing others.

We weren’t meant to a reservoir of God’s blessing, but a river of God’s blessing to others. God blesses us so we can bless others.