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The Benefits of Discipleship

By Ministries

​We hear much about the cost of discipleship. As Jesus stated it in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” He further expounds on it in verses 24 – 28, and in a parallel passage in Matthew 10:32-39. So, Christ doesn’t sugar-coat the cost of following Him, and being one of His disciples. Yet the Great Commission clearly states that we are to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;…” I recently read a devotional selection from the book titled Devotional Classics by Dallas Willard titled “The Cost of Nondiscipleship.” He pointed out that the church today has drifted to “Make converts (to a particular faith and practice) and baptize them into church membership”, and is omitting two important parts of the Great Commission. First, “the making of disciples or enrolling people as Christ’s students, when we should let all else wait for that.” Second, “we also omit the step of taking our converts through training that will bring them ever increasingly to do what Jesus directed” (“observe all that I commanded you.”)

Willard went on to point out that we are really short-changing those converts because then they experience “the cost of nondiscipleship”. He defined the cost of nondiscipleship as follows:

“Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil…it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said He came to bring (John 10:10).”

This brought the thought that these costs of nondiscipleship are actually the benefits of discipleship stated in the negative. Through discipleship we can help the converts:

​•​come to understand the “abiding peace” they have in Christ (John 14:27).

​•​They will experience “a life penetrated throughout by love” (John 15:9-13).

​•​As they go through the ups and downs of life they will develop a “faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good” (John 16:33).

​•​They will develop a “hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging circumstances” (John 15:18-21;Phil. 4:11-13; IITim. 1:12).

​•​They will have the “power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil” (I John 2:12-17; I Peter 5:5-10). 

Then they will experience “that abundance of life Jesus said He came to bring (John 10:10).

I pray that your Christian life has been more than a conversion and baptism experience, but that you have been discipled and taught “to observe (obey) all that I commanded you” If not, go to your church leaders and ask to be discipled in order that you may enjoy the benefits of discipleship instead of experiencing the cost of nondiscipleship.

Church leaders – be sure your ministry is more than making converts and baptizing them into membership. Fulfill the Great Commission in its entirety – make them disciples who follow and obey Christ with their whole heart.
Being discipled,

Gary Winters

Leviticus – Ugh!!

By Ministries

Marty’s newest series is on the book of Leviticus. If you’re like I was, you’ve only done a quick scan of Leviticus on trips through the Bible. I mean, it’s just about blood and mildew – right? Each time I approached the book I said, “Next year I’ll read more thoroughly – or at least I’ll stop and think about what it’s saying.” And that thought seemed to keep my conscience relatively clear.

But one year when Exodus ended and I turned the page to Leviticus, I was determined to find out what the book said – since it is part of God’s Word, maybe it says something important… So I found a commentary and began studying. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. I went from knowing about it to actually knowing it. I began to see beyond and beneath the blood and mildew. The Old Testament adds to the backstory of the truths of the New Testament. It adds a richness, a fullness and provides a deeper understanding of the New Testament. And Leviticus is no exception to this.  

So instead of thinking “ugh” at the thought of Leviticus, be ready to be amazed!    


 

 

Broken for the broken

By Ministries

Why does God have to punish sin? Because he’s so good. Why does God want to forgive sin? Because he’s so good.” Tim Keller

On friday night, Jewish people around the world started celebrating the Passover. On the same evening Christians remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Scripture is clear that God carefully planned the timing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The high priest’s practice of killing the Passover Lamb had been in force for hundreds, perhaps a thousand years. On Friday of the year Jesus died, the Jews celebrated Passover and killed a lamb for the temple sacrifice. Jesus, the Lamb of God, died at that same time in order to take our sins upon Himself.

This Friday,  Heritage will  celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a Church Body, remembering that it was instituted at the last meal our Savior enjoyed before His death (Matt. 26:26–29). This sacrament is central to the life and worship of Christ’s church, but, it didn’t start in the upper room and it doesn’t end with us leaving with a hymn. To understand the significance we remember what came before.. Just as our view of baptism is informed by its link to circumcision (Col. 2:8–15), so too does the link between Passover and the Lord’s Supper, which was instituted at Passover, help explain the purpose of eating the bread and drinking the wine.

At the original Passover, the Lord said the firstborn of every house would die unless the doorframe of that house was covered with the blood of a perfect lamb. That night, the Lord “passed over” the homes with blood on the door frames. God would tell the people to remember Passover for generations to come. And years later Jesus ate remembered the Passover with His disciples. He even said that He eagerly desired to eat this Passover with them before He suffered (Luke 22:7-16). Jesus was crucified as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of His sacrifice as the perfect PAssover lamb and the fulfillment of the new covenant between God and man.

Ligonier Ministries explained it this way:

“Passover was established when God rescued His people Israel from Egyptian slavery. After nine plagues did not move the pharaoh to let the Israelites go (Ex. 7:14–10:29), God sent one final plague that provoked the king of Egypt to relent temporarily and free the Israelites. This plague, the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn sons (Ex. 11:1–10), gave only a short window in which to escape; thus, the meal preceding it had to be something that could be eaten in haste. Unleavened bread was essential to the Passover as the people had no time to wait for the dough to rise if they were to get away (Deut. 16:3).

The blood of the Passover lamb was also a part of the feast. Though the people did not consume the blood, they did spread it on their door posts so that the angel of death would “pass over” their households (Ex. 12:7–13). In so doing the Israelites marked themselves off as God’s people, saved from His wrath.”

Though God elected to save the Israelites, their sin did not make them any less worthy of death than the Egyptians. But the Lord provided a way for them to escape His wrath in those days. Ultimately, this looked forward to the time when the Lord would eternally save His people from judgment. We are saved from God’s wrath by God Himself. Let us never forget the righteous character of our Creator, who, despite our sin, mercifully chooses to redeem His people.

 

Come and Celebrate the Resurrection!

By Announcements, Ministries, Ministry

Someone has said that Christmas is essential, for it is the beginning. But without Easter, Christmas would be worthless, forgotten not long after it had begun. Easter truly is the apex of the Christian faith. It is the day in which we celebrate the wonder of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ who gave us new life. Instead of viewing Easter as another holiday, those of us who believe should return it to being a holyday. 

This coming Friday night at 7-8pm our church family will gather to remember the sober side of Easter. We will commemorate the passion of Christ as He went to Golgotha and there became the substitute for sinners, bearing the wrath of God as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. The service will be a rich tapestry of music, preaching and observing the Lord’s Supper together. Childcare is provided for children through the age of four, and we encourage families to come and remember this time together.

On Sunday Morning at 9:00am we will enjoy a wonderful time of fellowship together with a pancake breakfast in the West Wing of our facilities. After a time of prayer we will transition to our Worship Celebration at 10:30am where we will sing the songs of resurrection and hear God’s Word proclaimed that Jesus is alive. What a great time this would be for you to invite that neighbor or friend to join you for fellowship and worship! People are often eager to attend a worship service on Easter, and your invitation could be their opportunity to come and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

At Easter we celebrate a great victory! We rejoice over the unspeakable deliverance that is ours through simple faith in Jesus Christ, who conquered sin and the grave and who has set us free. This victory deserves a wonderful and jubilant celebration, and we hope that you will be present this coming Easter Sunday to celebrate with us!

One Girls Reflections

By Community, Ministries, Missions

My name is Caroline Dickey and I am currently building a career in photography as a free-lancer. On the side, I nanny three little girls & love it! In the future, I want photography to my be my full time job & then of course to be a wife & mom, that’s my dream job.

You are reading this because last year the Maisha Choir came to Okc and I ended up getting to know many of the kids through that time. I also knew some of the host families so I spent a lot of extra time with some of the kids that came.

An opportunity came up for several of us to go to Africa with the Maisha Project & I was thrilled. One, because it meant I got to see the friends I had made & meet more! Two, because it meant I got to travel across the world and love on people who have so much less than me.

I didn’t go with any expectations but was completely open to what The Lord would do in & through me by going.

What you can’t miss when you arrive is the poverty: so much trash and filth. At the same time it was so beautiful… Everything was colorful & even though their homes were made of mud, trash, scraps, basically anything they could find, it was beautiful and I didn’t look at it as gross or dirty. There were people everywhere as well as livestock just roaming the streets.

I was surprised by the people and how they reacted to seeing me, a white person. They would yell, “mzungu” while chasing the car we were riding in. They wanted to touch my face, hands, & my hair, they’d stare at the veins in my arm and ask why my skin was blue. Haha It was strange being the minority, not in a bad way though.

My purpose was to be used by God in whatever way. The main reason for going was to help the ladies in the feeding program prepare food, help tutor kids, minister to the people in the slums, and help the ladies in the sewing room. And, of course, to love on the kids at Maisha!

The trip has given me a new perspective on life and what truly matters. In America, we get so distracted by all the stuff we have. I often think I am self-sufficient and forget how much I am in need of a savior. On this I don’t think I am alone. These people in Kenya have next to nothing yet find so much joy and fulfillment in life because they rely on the Lord for their peace, comfort, joy, and strength. Some don’t even know when their next meal will be, yet they know God will provide. And He does! Time and time again! I learned what it should look like to be in community with one another. Again, these people don’t have a lot, they rely on each other for encouragement and truly love one other. The amount of encouragement and love I got from these people was enough to last a lifetime. I’m not saying everyone in America is horrible and doesn’t know what it means to love their neighbor. I just think it’s a lot easier to forget what really matters when we are so distracted by the things of this world and what we want now!

We are all in need of a savior! And the things of this world that give us temporary comfort and joy will soon pass away!

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:17

Find community with other believers and walk life with them! Know our peace and comfort, joy and strength comes from The Lord, not our circumstances or the things we have.

Thanks! 🙂

– Caroline Dickey

 

My Utmost (Vimeo Video)

By Ministries

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Propterea sicut per unum hominem in hunc mundum peccatum intravit et per peccatum mors et ita in omnes homines mors pertransiit in quo omnes peccaverunt. Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam.

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Here is the First Post

By Ministries, Missions

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Propterea sicut per unum hominem in hunc mundum peccatum intravit et per peccatum mors et ita in omnes homines mors pertransiit in quo omnes peccaverunt. Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam.

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