A Personal Disciple-Making Plan

Grace For The Journey



As we follow Christ, He transforms our minds, our desires, our wills, our relationships, and our ultimate reason for living.  Every disciple of Jesus exists to make disciples of Jesus.  There are no spectators.  We are all born-again to reproduce the life of Christ in others.

So how are you going to reproduce?

The purpose in asking this question is to spur you on to consider how the life of Christ in you might be multiplied through you in the world.  That’s what the Personal Disciple-Making Plan below is all about.  Don’t feel like you need to come up with new and creative things to do in response to each of the questions.  It is helpful with many questions simply to identify normal patterns of Christian obedience that may already be present in your life.

In the end, these questions are not exhaustive,

But they are essential.

My hope and prayer is that they will be helpful to us as we consider what it means to be disciples of Jesus and make disciples of Jesus.

The Personal Disciple-Making Plan below involves answering six biblically rooted questions . . .

  1. How Will I Fill My Mind with Truth?

The life of the disciple is the life of a learner.  We are to constantly attune our ears to the words of our Master.

As He teaches us through His Word, He transforms us in the world.

Consider a plan for reading, memorizing, and learning God’s Word, but don’t forget that disciples do these things not merely for information, but for transformation.

Our goal as disciples is never just to believe God’s Word;

Our goal is to obey God’s Word.

As you plan to fill your mind with truth, purpose to follow the One Who is Truth.

  • How will I read God’s Word?
  • How will I memorize God’s Word?
  • How will I learn God’s Word from others?
  1. How Will I Fuel My Affections for God?

There is a dangerous tendency for discipline in the disciple’s life to become mechanical and monotonous.

Our aim is not simply to know God;

Our aim is to love and surrender to God,

And the more we read His Word,

The more we delight in His glory.

Our aim in other spiritual disciplines is the same.

As we worship, pray, fast, and give, these disciplines should fuel our affection for God.  It is impossible to separate true faith in Christ from profound feelings for Christ.  As disciples of Jesus, we need to intentionally worship, pray, fast, and give in order to fuel affection for God.

  • How will I worship?
  • How will I pray?
  • How will I fast?
  • How will I give?
  1. How Will I Share God’s Love as a Witness in the World?

God’s will in the world and for our lives is to spread His gospel, grace, and glory to the whole world.

Instead of asking what God’s will is for our lives, disciples of Jesus ask,

“How can my life align with His will for me to be His witness in the world?”

Every person that God has graciously put around you is a sinner eternally in need of a Savior.  You were once that person, yet God intentionally brought someone into your life someone to share the Gospel with you.  And now this is the purpose for which God has graciously created, saved, and blessed you.  So, with the Word of God in your mind, and the Spirit of God in your heart, end your quest to find God’s will by deciding today to follow it.

  • Who is God brining into my daily path?
  • How can I build a relationship with them and share with them the gift of eternal life?
  • When are opportunities in my schedule that would allow me do to that?
  1. How Will I Show God’s Love as a Member of a Church?

The Bible flies in the face of American individualism and church consumerism, prompting followers of Christ to ask the question,

“Am I committed to a local church

Where I am sharing life with other followers of Christ

In mutual accountability under biblical

Leadership for the glory of God?”

To follow Christ is to love and be involved in His church.  It is biblically, spiritually, and practically impossible to be a disciple of Christ (much less make disciples of Christ) apart from total devotion to a family of Christians.

  • Who in my local church family does God want me to pour my life into and disciple?
  • What principles, passions, and priorities can I share with others to help them grow in the walk with Christ?
  1. How Will I Spread God’s Glory among All Peoples?

The eternal purpose of God is to save people through Christ.  The clear commission of Christ for every single disciple is to make disciples not just generally, but of all nations. So, regardless of where you live, how is your life going to impact every nation, tribe, tongue, and people in the world?

This is not a question for extraordinary missionaries;

This is a question for ordinary disciples.

God wants His will to be accomplished through us more than we do.  And as we follow Him, He will lead us to the people, places, and positions where we can most effectively make disciples of all nations for the glory of His name.

  • How will I pray for the nations?
  • How will I give to the nations?
  • How will I go to the nations?
  1. How Will I Make Disciple-Makers among a Few People?

Jesus spent His life investing in a few people.

His strategy for reaching all people was clear:

Make disciple-makers among a few people.

God will lead us to live in all kinds of different places in the world.  Yet, regardless of where we live, the task we have is the same.

No Christian is excused from the command to make disciples,


No Christian would want to escape this command.

Every one of us needs to look around and asks, “How will I make disciple-makers among a few people?”

  • How will I bring them in?
  • How will I teach them to obey?
  • How will I model obedience?
  • How will I send them out?

No child of God is intended by God to be on the sidelines as a spectator in the Great Commission.

Every child of God has been invited by God

To be on the front lines

Of the supreme mission in all of history.

Every disciple of Jesus has been created, called, saved, and empowered to make disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus . . .

Until the grace of God is enjoyed


The glory of God is exalted

Among every people group on the earth.

Making a personal plan for how we are going to join God in His mission is a huge step in joyfully experiencing the fullness of His grace in our lives as we join Him in His mission for the world.  May God bring you to that decision and bless you as you embark upon this tremendous journey.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Why Love Compels Us To Expose False Gospels

Grace For The Journey


27Apr  For many in our world today, religion and moral values have become like soft drinks.  Their thinking goes something like this, “I prefer Coke, you prefer Dr. Pepper, but in the end, neither of us is wrong.  We’re talking about tastes, after all.  Likewise, when it comes to religion, every person has his or her own personal preferences, but who’s to say that one of us is right?  To each his own.”

Of course, our culture doesn’t actually believe this, which is why people revolt whenever someone questions one of their cherished beliefs – like absolute personal autonomy.

Nevertheless, the choose-your-own-taste view of

Truth and morality still sounds good to many people.

While many Christians rightly recoil at such a view, they often fail to notice the inroads it has made into their own thinking.  For instance, when you hear a fellow believer on a major TV news network say that Muslims who do not turn to Jesus will go to hell, do you wince?  Or, when a Christian pastor calls homosexuality a sin, do you feel a little uncomfortable?

Sure, you may agree in principle, but for someone

To put it out there so candidly,

Without a thousand qualifications,

Seems so, well, unloving and intolerant.

If someone is sincere about what they believe,

Who are we to “judge” them?

When to Rebuke Apostles and Angels

Many believers seem to have forgotten that love “rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).  We could turn that statement around and say that love rejects error.

And nowhere is loving truth and rejecting error

More important than when we’re talking

About the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

According to the Bible, not even apostles and angels get a free pass on this one.  Typically, Paul begins his letters with warm greetings, thanking God for the followers of Christ in a particular church.  However, when a false gospel seemed to be gaining traction in the church at Galatia, the apostle came out swinging.  Certain teachers were saying that you had to be circumcised in order to be part of God’s people.  Simply believing in Christ was not sufficient in order to be justified (declared righteous) before God.

In response, Paul didn’t opt for the

Let’s appreciate-each-other’s-differences approach.”

He stated in no uncertain terms that proclaiming a distorted gospel was an offense worthy of hell.  God led him to write in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

The word “accursed” means “damned.”  In other words, anyone proclaiming a false gospel – even apostles or angels – is will not pass God’s final judgment.

Paul’s point is clear:

There is only one Gospel,

And no one has the right to add to,

Take away from, water-down,

Distort, undermine, or downplay it.

Paul even confronted Peter, one of the leading apostles in the early church, “to his face” when his actions undermined the free grace of God in the Gospel (Galatians 2:11–21). These kinds of errors cannot be swept under the rug.

A False Dilemma

Without a doubt, many Christians could use a strong dose of humility and compassion mixed in with their truth-speaking.  Anger and spite aren’t fruits of the Spirit. But that leaves some wondering . . .

Should we refute false teaching or should we simply

Love those with whom we disagree?”

Sadly, some Christians don’t have a category for someone who holds tenaciously to the Gospel and, at the same time, loves his or her neighbor.

But these two things can go together.

Better yet, they must go together.

If one of my daughters were younger and one of them was about to run out into the street, it would not be unloving for me to yell “Stop!” at the top of my lungs, even if it meant startling her.  In fact, it would be unloving not to get her attention.

When it comes to the Gospel, we don’t have to yell at people,

But we should be compelled to speak up

When fellow believers and unbelieving neighbors

Are being tempted to walk down a road that leads to destruction.

And that’s exactly what a false gospel does . . .

It leads people down a road that ends in eternal ruin.

What True Love Does

Given the consequences of false teaching, it’s little wonder that Jesus and the apostles spent so much time warning us about it (see Matthew 7:15–20; Acts 20:28–31; 1 Timothy 4:1–5; 2 Peter 2–3; Revelation 2:12–17.).  And because false gospels are often subtle (at least at the beginning), we must have our spiritual antennae up at all times.  Pastors, in particular, are charged with warning God’s people about such dangers.  They must be “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).  This kind of confrontation is compelled by love.

If we care about the spiritual health of our

Fellow believers and the salvation of unbelievers,

Then we must identify and refute false Gospels.

That includes cults who explicitly deny foundational Christian truths (like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, or the substitutionary atonement of Christ), as well as more subtle distortions of the truth found in some versions of the Prosperity Gospel.  Yes, our interactions should be marked by humility, for we too would be buying into false teaching if God had not opened our eyes to the truth (Matthew 11:25–26).  We should speak about the hope we have in Christ “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Since there is only one way to the Father (John 14:6),

Then we should make sure that people

Don’t try to get there some other way.

What could be more loving and compassionate than that?

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

 Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

 Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


What Brings Happiness And Hope?

Grace For The Journey


25Apr  “You do you” is a phrase that has gained popularity in recent years, especially among Generation Z (children born after 1999).  One New York Times article explains it as a contemporary version of the encouragement, “Just be yourself.”  However, unlike “Just be yourself,” “You do you” is not just a phrase a parent uses to encourage her child on the first day of school.

“You do you” has become the slogan for a generation

That prides itself on individual expression.

It’s a statement of one’s individual

Right to judge what’s best for himself,

Regardless of what others say or think.

From the sexual revolution, to gender identity, to everyday life decisions, “You do you” is the message teenagers are sending to the world today in order to declare that no one can tell them what to do or who they should be.

The Good and the Bad

As narcissistic as the “You do you” phrase may sound, it has sometimes been put to good use, which reminds us that God’s common grace permeates various aspects of culture.  The “You do you” ideology has given this generation of youth greater confidence to stand up for what they believe in; it has been used to speak up against injustice; it has encouraged them not to sit by passively watching the world.  With the rise of social media and cyper-bullying, some students seem to be standing up for one another and guarding the rights of others.  This is a good thing.  I’m grateful for the students at our church who are taking a greater interest in what goes on in the world and who are standing up for the rights of others.  However, I also worry that this generation has made individual expression an untouchable law.

Youth today may be more atheistic than ever before, but you will also find studies showing they are more open to religion than their Millennial and Gen X predecessors. They are seeking more of life’s answers in religion over science.  They are thinking deeply about life, social issues, and the spiritual realm.  Such openness poses great opportunities for the church to reach young people today.

However, if you threaten their desire for individual expression, then be prepared for some backlash.  Even among Christian teens, guarding one’s self-expression – whether it be sexual orientation, gender orientation, life paths, or what clothes to wear and music to listen to – is a non-negotiable.

The “You do you” mentality has become their Savior:

Which is to say, “if only more people believed in themselves,

Expressed themselves, and did what they thought was best,

Then our world would be a better place.”

Self at the Center

In light of this generation’s idolatry of self-expression,

The church ought to point Gen Z towards the true gospel of Christ

By teaching them why the gospel of self-expression

Is not the way to salvation, let alone happiness.

At the heart of today’s message is the desire for freedom to be yourself, to be true and authentic to who you really are.  To them self-expression, self-love, and self-glory are the answers to freedom in life.  And they are not coming up with this on their own . . . teenagers are told being told today to think about themselves more, love themselves more, and express their own individuality.

The problem with furthering our self-glory is that, as we look within, we will only find more brokenness, which then pushes us to justify that brokenness in order to find “freedom” for one’s true self.  (This may be one of the reasons our culture is beginning to justify sexual practices that were once forbidden by previous generations).

Self-consumption only results in further self-absorption.

The answer to the internal struggle in life is not to look further within,

Where brokenness and sin abound, but to look outward.

Instead of being more captivated by ourselves,

We must be more captivated by Another,

By One Who is far greater and more glorious than we are.

When we are consumed not with our own fading glory, but the infinite glory of God, we will begin to understand what Paul meant when he said, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Paul’s greatest self-expression was not found by being more true to himself

Or by declaring “You do you” to his disciples,

But rather in submitting himself to Christ Who

“humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death”

(Philippians 2:8).

Paul was willing to suffer “the loss of all things” in order to “gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

The truly free person is not the one who is adamant about self-expression;

The truly free person is the one who willingly submits

To self-denial for the sake of gaining Christ!

Of course, we can agree with our culture when it affirms the worth of each individual. However, self-expression is not the true path to freedom.  The gospel points us to true freedom, and this freedom is found when we are consumed with worshipping God, not when we are so consumed with worshipping ourselves.

True Fulfillment

Although it sounds strange to the world,

Fulfillment is not found when we fully express

Who we are naturally according to our worldly, sinful, broken selves.

Fulfillment comes when we realize that no amount of self-expression

Can cover up our brokenness and that this brokenness and sin is only covered in Christ.

Self-expression is most fulfilling, not when we live out our human freedoms in the world,

But when we live out our heavenly freedoms in Christ (Philippians 3:20).

We certainly are not presently who we ought to be, but we know that upon our Savior’s return we will fully become who we ought to be (1 John 3:2).  We will be changed in a moment (1 Corinthians 15:52) and obtain the full glory of who God intends us to be (Romans 8:18–19, 29–30).

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”



What Counts as Christian “Fellowship”?

Grace For The Journey


25AprHang around Christians long enough and you will likely to hear the word “fellowship.”  It comes from the Greek word “koinania,” and in the New Testament it often denotes “sharing,” “close association,” or “mutual participation.”  I want to answer the questions “What makes Christian fellowship distinctively Christian?” in today’s blog.

Is it truly Christian fellowship whenever a Christian shares something with another Christian?  What about when two Christians swap recipes, share a meal together, or carpool to work?  Is it considered Christian fellowship just because you are involved in an activity that takes place in a part of a church building called the “Fellowship Hall”?  Is it Christian fellowship any time Christians hang out in a social setting – a women’s book club, the gym, or the ball park?

Must Christians do something together, like share a meal?  Or does it count as fellowship only if it is a “spiritual activity”?  Does the prayer before we eat count as fellowship, and does that transform the meal into a time of Christian fellowship?

Let’s look at the Bible to see what counts as Christian fellowship.

When the Bible Talks about Fellowship

In order to answer these questions, we need to see how the New Testament uses the word “fellowship” (and words similar to it).  The word appears in a variety of contexts and does not refer to only one concept or activity.  In fact, we can observe at least three senses in which the Bible talks about fellowship . . .

  1. Shared Life from Jesus.

Sometimes the word fellowship is used to explain the bond between believers and the Lord.  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (See also: 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Philippians 2:1; 1 John 1:3).   Real “Christian” fellowship happens when branches draw life from the vine (John 15:1-11).

  1. Shared Life with Each Other.

Fellowship also involves the ways believers help one another, often in the context of meeting physical needs.  The Bible says in Hebrews 13:16, “And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  (See also: Romans 15:26; Acts 2:42–45).  Much the same way Christ supplies all our needs according to His riches (Philippians 4:19), we reflect His love by supplying the same kind of love to the rest of His body (1 John 3:17).

  1. Shared Living for the Same Purpose.

Finally, fellowship can refer to a sharing of the same purpose.  The Bible says in Acts 2:42 and 44, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. . . . And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common.”  (See also Galatians 2:9; Philippians 1:4–5.

The fellowship of the early church consisted in unity in doctrine, belief, and direction. They joined together in the essentials of their core identity and purpose.

When We Talk about Fellowship

It’s often the third aspect of fellowship (shared living for the same purpose) that we have in mind when we use the term today.  When we say we had “fellowship,” we usually mean we got together with people with whom we share a similar life direction, value, and/or goal.  We love Jesus, and so whether we are sitting in a restaurant, a deer stand, or a back porch with our Christian friends, there is an unspoken understanding: we are on the same team trying to move the ball in the same direction.

Although the other two aspects of fellowship (shared life with each other and shared life with Jesus) appear just as frequently in Scripture, we don’t often refer to them as fellowship today.  Therefore, it is challenging to provide specific guidelines for what activities constitute Christian fellowship, because fellowship isn’t always an event.  In some cases, it’s simply the unspoken but understood sharing of the love of God between two believers.

Regardless of how the term is commonly used, we can say without a shadow of a doubt that there are instances when fellowship occurs in all three senses in the church’s weekly gathering for worship and Bible Study.  We celebrate shared life from Jesus, we contribute to the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we unite in song, doctrine, and commitment to the Lord.  This is one reason why gathering with God’s people is so critical, for it is one of the only times on the weekly calendar when all three aspects of fellowship merge into a moment.

It’s not surprising, then, that the author of Hebrews urges us, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25)

You and I need this kind of fellowship.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”



Why Should We Be Concerned About Doctrine?

Grace For The Journey


24Apr  Why should we be concerned about doctrine?  After all, some have complained that doctrines divide Christians; while others have suggested that an emphasis on the mission of the church would unite Christians.  But, is it true that “doctrine divides, but missions unite”?  Well, the answer is both “yes” and “no.”

On The One Hand, Yes!  Doctrines may and often do divide professed Christians. “Doctrine” is important in the church.  One cannot read the Old and New Testaments without understanding the place of “doctrine” in God’s kingdom work.  The word comes from the Latin word “doctrina,” which means “teaching” or “learning” or “instruction.”  This is the foundation upon which every disciple (“learner”) of Jesus Christ is to live in this world.

In spite of its ability to divide us, what we teach really does matter.  Doctrine matters because our salvation depends upon the truth, in particular upon the preaching of the Good News of the free offer of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The problem with doctrine arises not because of the existence of doctrine, for doctrine is necessary to our salvation.  The problem with doctrine arises because of the existence of false doctrine as opposed to true doctrine.  I will comment more on this later in this blog.

On The Other Hand, No!  A mission may unite us, but it may not necessarily unite us for good.

If a church is not engaged

In the right mission

With the right message,

An appeal to unity is meaningless, even dangerous.

Churches who proclaim the true doctrine, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will be used to bring people to salvation.  People who proclaim false doctrine, which comes from human wisdom or philosophy, are not bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (See 1 Corinthians 2).

Apart from the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ,

There is no salvation possible

(John 14:1-7; Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:6-9).

So, those who do not define their mission as teaching and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ have the wrong mission.  This should convince us that doctrine is necessary.

But why is doctrine so necessary?

Because God ordained that through the preaching and teaching

Of true doctrine, people may be saved.

Let me offer three examples.  Concern for orthodox doctrine motivated the two most prolific New Testament authors, Paul and John, to write many of their letters.  Both of them stressed the coming of God in Jesus, His death for our sins, and His resurrection for our justification – this is the Gospel.  Both built their arguments of living for Christ upon the Bible’s teaching of who Jesus was and what Jesus did.  In addition, it is Peter, who also was very concerned with proclaiming true doctrine and opposing false doctrine.

The Bible tells us that Peter was granted the saving confession upon which Jesus Christ would build His church.  Peter, inspired by the God, proclaimed that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-20).  This God-given teaching and truth is the basis for all true doctrine.  In his second letter, Peter warned about the coming of “false teachers,” who will “introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them.”  Many will sadly “follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned” (2 Peter 2:1-2).  According to Peter in his second letter, true doctrine must be proclaimed, and false doctrine must be opposed.

In his first letter, Peter explained why this is the case. He describes how true faith – real life-changing Christianity – comes into existence.  To do so, he employs a mixed metaphor, equating the “word” with a “seed” (1 Peter 1:23-25).

The way in which Peter identified God’s “word” as “seed”

Has profound implications for what Christian

Preachers, teachers, and evangelists

Are required to teach.

This metaphor indicates that a person who teaches anything other than the God-given, Christ-revealing, and Spirit-inspired Holy Bible teaches without divine power.  Let us explore the biblical correlation of “word” with “seed.”

First, note that Peter was not the first to combine “word” and “seed.”  His Lord, Jesus Christ, earlier used the identification between “word of God” and “seed” as the basis of one of His most extensive and well-known parables (Luke 8:4-15; parallels in Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20).  The metaphor was so fruitful in Jesus’ mind that it earned prominent roles in at least three more parables: the parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29); the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30); and the parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32).

Actually, Jesus was drawing upon two deep and highly significant Old Testament traditions with His use of “word” and “seed.”  After Jesus, the apostles invested both terms with theological importance in their writing of the New Testament.  Let’s take a brief look at this . . .

The Lord God Himself introduced the idea of a “seed” (Hebrew zerah) through the promise that He would accomplish His saving will.  In the Genesis 3:15, the seed, or “descendent,” of Eve would crush the head of the serpent even though the serpent would strike His heel.  In Genesis 12:7; 15:3, 5, 13, 18; 17:7-10, 12, 19; and 22:17-18, Abraham was granted a covenant promise that his seed, or “offspring,” would rule the land and bring God’s blessing to the nations.  Paul drew upon the Abrahamic concept of “seed” (Greek sperma or spora) in order to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is the covenantal plan of God for saving both Israel and the nations (Romans 4:13, 16, 18; 9:7-8, 29; Galatians 3:16, 19, 29).

As for the “word” of God, we see from Genesis 1:3 onward that the speaking (Hebrew dabar) of God has power to implement God’s creative will (Genesis 1:6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26; cf. Psalm 33:6, 9; Romans 4:17).  According to Isaiah, the Word of God is eternal, while human words fail (Isaiah 40:7-8) and God’s Word is sent to accomplish, and will perfectly perform, God’s will (Isaiah 55:10-11).  But the power of the Word of God is not limited to creating life.

In the New Testament, God’s Word (Greek logos or rhema) is powerful enough even to re-create life.  According to John, not only is the Word God Himself, who has come in the flesh (John 1:1, 14), but the Spirit works through the Word to bring life to us (John 6:63).  Anyone who believes these words of Jesus will be given life (John 5:24).  In Hebrews, God’s Word is a living, powerful, active, judging agent (Hebrews 4:12). According to Jesus, His words come from eternity and “will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). And in Paul, the Word of God brings us surety of perseverance in the faith (Philippians 2:16).

Thus, Peter is continuing and contributing to a universally biblical conception when he brings together, like Jesus, the “word” with the “seed.”  For Peter, the Word of God functions in such a way as to regenerate life.  Because it comes from divine eternity, the Word of God is “living and enduring” (1 Peter 1:23).  Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6b-8 in order to prove its eternality (1 Peter 1:24-25a; cf. James 1:10-11).  The Word of God, moreover, is “the gospel,” which has been “proclaimed to you” (1 Peter 1:25).

The Word of God, from a soteriological perspective, is entirely different from the words of men.  While man is “like grass,” which “withers” and “fails,” the Word of God can lead one to be “born again” (1 Peter 1:23).  Man’s “seed” is “perishable,” indicating that human words and deeds ultimately end in death, no matter how beautiful they may sound or what they promise to convey or even why man intends to utter them.  But the “seed” of the Word of God, to the contrary, is “imperishable.”

There is an insurmountable difference between human words,

Flawed by temporal imperfections, and

The divine Word,

Fruitful with God’s eternal perfection.

In summary, we conclude that the Word of God has power in itself to bring the new birth that fallen human beings require.

There is no other way people may be saved other than through the Word of God.

Our well-thought words to advance apologetics and our well-meaning works to improve society will ultimately fail – if that is all we give people.

The only way people will truly encounter God and receive new life

Occurs when we give them the Word of God,

Which we know is inextricably bound for us today with the Holy Bible.

If you do not teach the entirely sufficient doctrine of Scripture, your listeners have no hope at all.

  • This is why doctrine, biblical doctrine, is singularly necessary, and every other human teaching pales into insignificance.
  • This is why we must emphasize the knowledge of Scripture, or doctrine, as the essential, absolute, and indispensable thing a disciple of Christ must learn.
  • This is why we believe that evangelizing with true biblical doctrine is the mission of God and His church.

It is the only way we can bring the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, which so desperately needs to hear this life-giving Word.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


All In The Family

Grace For The Journey

2018BlogTheme 22Apr If you’re old enough, today’s title might well call to mind the popular 1970’s sitcom starring Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton as Archie and Edith Bunker.  Well, the Bunkers are not the focus of this word of encouragement; rather, it is my prayer that we catch a glimpse of the truth proclaimed by Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond or nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In other words, if we have acknowledged that we are sinners, that we cannot save ourselves, and have repented of that sin and accepted what Jesus Christ has done through the cross and the empty tomb, and have asked Him to be our Savior and Lord, we are all in the family!  You see, we are called by God . . .

Not just to “believe” but to “belong”

To the One who called us and to belong

To all those whom He has called.

As someone has rightly said, “All those who belong to Jesus belong to all those who belong to Jesus.”  In other words, we are all in the same family!

The Bible knows nothing of the solitary saint.  To be sure, we are all saved individually, but we are saved to community, which means we are part of something bigger than ourselves; we are members of God’s family of faith.  As part of the same family, we are to go beyond simply being consumers to becoming contributors who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others – all others – regardless of cost or circumstance!  The Bible says in Hebrews 10:22-25, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from and evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith with wavering 9for He is faithrul that promised), and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”

The primary mark for making a difference in the lives of others is love.

Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So . . . how visible is the love you have for all of your family members?  Based on this biblical truth, would those closest to you consider you to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Look at it this way: you are going to spend eternity with your family of faith.  So it’s probably best to get used to them on this side of glory!  The only way to truly demonstrate that we are “All in the Family” is to simply be … “ALL IN!”

May that be the commitment and testimony of our lives.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”



Forever Family!

Grace For The Journey


20Apr  The work on the cross of Jesus not only makes us one with Him, it makes us one with each other.  Listen to these words from the lips of our Savior as He hung upon that cross . . . “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’”  (John 19:26-27)

Jesus told John and Mary that they would be part of the same household and family from that moment on . . . but they would also become part of a forever family.  To be sure, we are saved individually, but we are not to remain that way.  When we were saved, we were brought into our forever family – not by human bloodlines, but by the blood of the Lamb.

The Bible says in Romans 12:5, “In Christ we, though many, form one Body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Everyone who has placed their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior has been made part of a new forever family.  And, as Paul wrote, “Each member belongs to all the others.”  No matter where this message finds you as we move through this day, if you are in Christ, you are a member of His forever family.

Because of this remarkable truth, everyone matters.

Regardless of your gifting and calling, regardless of your success and station in life, you matter.

God did not make us all the same to do the same thing.

Each member is as valuable as the next.

Each one is as needed as the next.

And as members of the Body of Christ, we must always remember we are not the Head.  Jesus is!  When we mess that up, we mess others up.  When we see ourselves as the head, rather than a member, of the Body of Christ . . .

  • We criticize
  • We condemn
  • We seek to control

Only the Gospel can free us from the need to be the head, rather than a member.  Only the Gospel keeps us working toward the expansion of God’s kingdom rather than our own kingdom.  Only the Gospel frees us from slavery to self, preoccupied with our agendas, our goals, our dreams, and our plans.

When the Gospel rules our hearts,

It shapes our lives into the shape of a cross.

We not only have an intimate personal relationship with the Almighty (vertical), we have a family relationship with everyone in His Body as brothers and sisters (horizontal).   United with Christ vertically means we are to be in unity with every other believer horizontally.

What is amazing is we do not have to create this unity.

It has been given to every believer at conversion.

Our job is to maintain unity, and that can only be done when the truth of the Gospel seizes us.

  • Only the Gospel can free us from our critical spirit.
  • Only the Gospel frees us from our desire to be condemning.
  • Only the Gospel frees us from our fundamental need to gain and keep control.

Nothing can ever change that truth.  As the Bible says in Romans 8:38-39, “I persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.



He Paid My Debt – So What?

Grace For The Journey


There is a hymn we sing by Elvina Hall entitled, “Jesus Paid It All.”  The refrain goes like this:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Jesus paid our debt through His substitutionary atonement on the cross and then overcame the penalty of sin through His resurrection.  Unfortunately . . .

I’m afraid the fact that Jesus paid your debt and my debt

Is losing its wonder in today’s world.

We live in a time when debt is no longer something to be avoided or delivered from.  Being in debt has become an accepted, even embraced, way of life.  Numerous countries, including the U.S., run on debt-based economic models.  The government’s debt is presently greater than $21 trillion – that’s a debt of $174,000 per tax payer.  It is the largest debt for a single country in the world.  Chasing the American Dream has resulted in student loan debt of $1.5 trillion and credit card debt approaching $1 trillion.  Now, credit card companies are offering marketing promises to pay the card user cash back for using its credit card.  How can these company not go bankrupt giving away cash?  Because card users carry debt on the card.

Folks have forgotten the wisdom of “don’t spend what you don’t have.”  Society has become desensitized to debt, justifies debt burdens, and feels entitled to debt forgiveness without consequence.  To be sure, society is now conditioned to carry large debt burdens despite the long-term ramifications.  Commercials and societal norms opine that you cannot go to college, buy a house, or get a car without loans.  Even cell phone companies offer financing for the purchase of the latest and greatest phone.

With “living with debt” as the societal norm,

Do we really understand the debt that Jesus paid?

What the Bible says in Romans 3:23 is clear, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and the Bible informs us in Romans 6:23 that, “the wages of sin is death.”  You and I deserve death.  We are not entitled to probation for good behavior or a “get out of jail free” card.  Moreover, the consequence of carrying our sin debt is beyond the temporal trappings of this world; it is eternal – eternal separation from God (Romans6;23b).

As sinners, we are enemies to God (Ephesians 2  and separated from our holy God.  We cannot approach Him after the fact to plead our case or play “let’s make a deal.”

There is no debt forgiveness with a holy God.  The sin debt has to be paid, or else we suffer the consequences.  However, our debt is so enormous that it leaves us bankrupt, and we cannot do anything about it.  Isaiah 64:6 attests that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.”

But the good news is that

“God so loved the world, that

He gave His only begotten Son”

(John 3:16)

To pay our sin debt.

Jesus is the only person who could pay our sin debt.

The Bible plainly tells us what Jesus did for us in Isaiah 53,:4-5, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

In 1 John 2:2 the Bible says, “[Jesus] Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. “

And in Revelation 5:9, the Bible says, “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation….’”

Jesus died for your sins and my sins on the cross. His blood was spilled as the atoning sacrifice to pay our sin debt.  John 19:30 records the last words of Jesus on the cross: “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

The single Greek word translated “It is finished” is tetelestai. I t is an accounting term meaning “paid in full.”  Jesus was declaring that our debt owed to God for our sin was completely wiped away forever.  No payment plan is required, no surprise balloon payments materialize at the end – the sin debt has been paid in full.  This is perhaps easier to see in the Greek, for tetelestai is spoken by Jesus in the perfect tense.  There is no English equivalent to the Greek perfect tense.  The perfect tense means that something happens at a specific point in time and continues on into the future with ongoing results.  Hence, Jesus paid all of mankind’s sin debt at that very moment and for eternity.

Properly understanding debt is of critical importance.  Everyone’s greatest debt is not material or monetary, but one that possesses eternal consequences for our soul.  Hell is no longer our destiny because “Jesus paid it all….”  We will be able to stand before holy God and be ushered into eternity with Him.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


What God’s Delights In

Grace For The Journey


18Apr  My prayer and greatest desire in writing this blog each day is that the truths I share from God’s Word will help you to know Him and discover His delight in you.

So much of religion demands us to do something.

Do something delightful, good or worthy in order to gain acceptance from our incomprehensible God.  Major world religions of various stripes place the constant requirement upon their followers to . . .

Do something to either

Remove the displeasure of God against you

Or to

Facilitate His favor on your behalf.

The big problem with this is, what is enough?  This can terrorize and harass a person because . . .

They are never certain that they

Have done the right thing or

Enough of the right thing.

The Bible teaches that only one human

Has ever pleased the Father,

And this was Jesus.

God’s acceptance of any one of us is found only in the pleasure that the only begotten Son of God brought to His own Father.

It is in Jesus that God is still well-pleased.

Jesus is the beloved Son, and He lavishly procured the basis of our acceptance with the Father when gave Himself as our substitute and He poured out His own blood on Calvary.  Because of that God the Father holds back nothing in communicating to you that you are His, and that He delights in you in ways that our hearts are reluctant to believe.

Listen to what God says in His Word . . .

Psalm 35:27, “Let those who delight in My righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, ‘Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of His servant!’”

Psalm 149:4, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.”

As someone has said, “These two missiles of truth should land in our hearts to explode away all our doubts and fears.”

God has accepted you,

Not because you were worthy then,

 Or remain worthy at this very moment.

The basis of our acceptance is

Because of Who Jesus is and what He has done.

The magnitude of this acceptance is highlighted when we think that this is made possible because of God’s immeasurable love for us.

He loves you in Jesus. 

He accepts you in Jesus. 

He forgives you in Jesus.

The Bible says in Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save: He will rejoice over you with gladness.  He will quiet you with his love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.”

What a powerful truth!  Because of Jesus . . .

God takes pleasure in us.

God delights in the welfare of all His servants.

Because of Jesus you are cherished & welcomed by Him.

It is His love for you,


Goodness toward you,

That must become your foundational rock of assurance.

Today, let’s choose to bask in and soak in the wonderful truth that because of Jesus God delights in us.    Perhaps it has been a long time since some of us have done so.  Some may have never thought about it even once.  Become immersed in the boundless sea of His acceptance.   Swim as far as you will and there will be no obstacle or shore where the delight of Father comes to an end on your behalf!

Oh, that more of us would frolic in the acceptance of our Lord!  We stand in a tub of lukewarm, ankle-deep water and call it salvation, when God has provided a vast, never-ending ocean for us with an open invitation to come, dive in, swim, and enjoy.  Will you admit that your are not good enough, nor can you do enough good things for God to accept you?  Will you accept who Jesus is and what He has done (the only One who is good enough and has done what is necessary) to make you acceptable to God?  Or will you, like many, choose for another day … another month … another year … to doubt His acceptance and love for you and try in vain to earn it?

Don’t let that be you.

God made you to experience and enjoy His acceptance.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

 Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Divine Distribution Centers

Grace For The Journey


17Apr  I have learned a sound biblical truth over the years:

God will only give to you what He will give through you!

In other words, we are to be conduits of God’s grace; or, as someone has said, we are to be “divine distribution centers” for His many blessings.

God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Abraham was blessed to be a blessing.  Abraham was chosen to be one of God’s divine distribution centers, and . . .

What was true of Abraham is true of every child of God.

What we have been given from the hand of God is given to flow through us to bless the lives of all those with whom we come have contact with in our daily lives.

So . . . would those around you describe you as a conduit of God’s grace?  Funny thing about being one of God’s divine distribution centers:

The more that flows through us, the more that flows to us.

In God’s economy, the more we pour into the lives of others, the more God pours into our lives.

Jesus says in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

When we keep in view all that God has given us in Christ, we find great joy and freedom in being divine distribution centers!  The true mark of the society of saints is service to others – all others.

When we realize that the correct answer to Paul’s rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians 4:7 – “What do you have that you did not receive?” – is “Nothing,” we shift from being consumers to being contributors.  When we understand that the greatest return in giving is the giving itself, we hold nothing back that is in the storage room of our divine distribution centers.  Everything will be moved out into circulation for the good of others (that includes you) and the glory of God.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”