Don't Quit


1 John 4:9-11 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

The appeal of Jesus and the gospel is so compelling yet too often people are driven away from Christianity. The fact that Jesus followers can be less like him than they should be isn't surprising, I am sure that we have all been hurt by someone wearing the label Christian, as a group we can be "quarrelsome, hostile, and disputatious" and make people want to run away.

The power that changed the world is love yet we have lost our appreciation for the power that love has to make positive change. As Andy Stanley says we give up our leverage in culture when we focus on anything but love. If we loved like he calls us to love, people wouldn’t feel condemned by us.

Don't give up on the gospel lived out in a loving community, Jesus called  us to participate in mission together, it would be wrong to turn our back on our faith and it would be equally wrong to live out our faith as a "Lone Ranger" Christians.

Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

As a gospel community we know that Jesus is coming back for a unified body of believers and he expects us to be working together as a body to complete the mission that he gave us. We cannot possibly go into all the world and make disciples while we are busy fighting each other. We must love as Jesus did if we are going to draw people into our community and bring about change in their life.

Brand Recognition

John 13:34-35 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

We have all been bombarded with advertising that screams at the message of the brand. Companies spend thousands to protect their brand and to make sure that people understand what the brand stands for.

Of all of the brands in the world there is one that may have the least amount of understanding as to what it is or what it does. If you mention the name "Christian" you will get a lot of ideas about what it is and what it stands for. Even the people that label themselves with this brand name have a difficult time agreeing about what it means.

Anybody can call themselves Christian but Jesus called his followers disciples and he called them to make more disciples. Jesus didn't give a vague calling to his followers to be something obscure. He called them to be something that is a lot more serious, something that you can easily define, something that is a lot more demanding.

Has "Christian" behavior made you think twice about being one? Please don't miss Jesus because of the people that claim to belong to him.

Join the conversation this Sunday as we take a look at the damage that has been created because a lot of people that wear the label Christian don't really look like someone that is following Jesus. Let's discuss what the world would look like if we loved each other the way that Jesus told us.

Amazing Faith - Pivotal Circumstances

View the lyrics "The Hurt And The Healer"

Psalm 31:14-15 But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands.

Why? As the video says, we all want to know that we didn't go through trials and pain for no good reason. We go through times when we think that God isn't paying attention to what is going on. Sometimes we wonder if he is late or why he just won't cooperate.

Why is God late? If there isn't anything that God can't do then why isn't he doing something for me? Take a look at the delays that Jesus made before going to see Lazarus, the delay didn't make any sense to Lazarus family or the disciples, nobody was pleased with Jesus for a few days. (John 11)

Why is God inattentive? Jesus cousin, John the Baptist, must have felt that Jesus wasn't paying attention. John had given everything for Jesus to prepare the people for the arrival of the Messiah. John's struggles were just like any of us would have. Why didn't his own cousin who is so powerful bust him out of jail? (Matthew 11)

Why doesn't God cooperate? How many times have you tried to pray away a struggle and God doesn't seem to be willing to answer? The Apostle Paul wanted to get rid of a "thorn in the flesh" but God had other plans. You may want that thorn to go away but it may be something that God wants to use. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Sometimes it looks like God isn't working in our lives, our circumstances begin to impact our confidence in God, we doubt that he loves us or if he cares about us. Our pain begins to distort reality and we think that God doesn't care when the truth is he cares and he wants to help grow your faith.

It is important to remember that your circumstances do not coincide with how God feels about you, the proof of that is at the cross, our knowledge of God's infinite love needs to be recalled when the doubts come our way. We went out of his way to prove his love to you and to provide a way for you to spent eternity with him.

We need help to see past our prison walls, our thorn in the flesh and the delays in our prayers and remember the goodness of God. As a gospel community we need to encourage each other to keep the faith and to grow our faith through these pivotal circumstances.


Amazing Faith - Personal Ministry

Matthew 14:14-16 Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to Him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus said, "That isn't necessary--you feed them."

Have you ever been out in the middle of nowhere with Jesus and you heard him tell you to do something impossible? That's where the disciples found themselves on more than one occasion. We have all felt that internal nudge to do something, you see a need, you feel some tension inside, but just like the disciples you say "this is all I have."

Do you tell God that there is no way that you have the resources or the skill set, you are not equipped, you are scared but God says "I don't care, bring what you have."

You may tell God, "I am not someone that meets that kind of need, I am somebody that prays for somebody to meet that need. I'm just a prayer warrior" But God says "I don't care, bring what you have."

The disciples did what they knew how to do trusting that God would do the rest. They stood there in front of Jesus and took a little bit of food from him, they turned around, faced the crowd and handed the food to somebody. They walked back to Jesus and somehow he had a little bit more food to hand them to pass out.

Your faith muscle gets flexed when you say yes to something that God is urging you to do despite the fact that you feel inadequate, scared, or lacking resources. Every major move of God is accomplished through somebody that feels inadequate, somebody whose faith muscle is being stretched, somebody that believes they can't do it apart from God.

Have you felt that God was urging you to serve yet you refused because you felt unprepared or inadequate? Are you willing to do what you know how to do so God can do what only God can do? If you do you will experience God in a brand new way but if you don't you will never know what God would have done through you.

God wants us to build gospel communities all over Atlantic County and that means that we each have to take on a personal ministry in an area that God is saying to you "You feed them."

Amazing Faith - Private Disciplines


Matthew 6:1-8 "Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.

When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do--blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

"When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

"When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!

Matthew 6:16-18 "And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Discipline is a four letter word to most of us, we don't like being forced to do something that we do not want to do, it doesn't matter if it is exercise, budget, a diet or learning to play an instrument, we want to do what we want to do.

Sometimes we don't even like disciplined people, sometimes they are inspiring but a lot of the time they get on our nerves because they seem more motivated than we are, they make us feel bad, so we try to persuade them to be more like us.

Discipline is for our own good and that is even more true of spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are another tool that God uses to help us grow closer to him. Our faith and trust in him will grow as our relationship with him develops, this doesn't happen by accident, there must be an intentional effort. This is the heart of what it means to be a disciple here at Grace Falls. INTENTIONAL EFFORTS that come from an OVERWHELMING BELIEF in who God is and what He has done for us.

Students are to be like their teacher. - Jesus (The one who INTENTIONALLY CAME TO US - so that we could be reconciled to Him!)

A disciple of Jesus is someone who is learning to be like him, most of that learning isn't easy, our nature doesn't naturally want to be like Jesus so we fight against what he wants to teach us. It is a struggle to "not be conformed to this world." We have to take deliberate action to "be transformed by the renewal of your mind." (Romans 12:1-2)

Don't mistake the purpose for private discipline, you are not trying to earn God's favor by checking off a bunch of good deeds, doing these things does not change the fact that you have been saved by grace alone.

Becoming a better disciple is our goal and it is only by His grace and the gift of His Holy Spirit that we get the opportunity to do that.

Amazing Faith - Providential Relationships


Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.

We have probably all heard the warning when we were young that we need to be careful who your friends are and who you hang out with. Few of us realize when we are young but by the time you are old enough to be a parent you finally get what your parents were talking about and now you are telling your kids the same thing.

Relationships are a powerful influence in life, most of your relationships are not neutral, most of the people we know will have an impact on us. We can easily adopt their way of thinking and their values can easily become our values. Looking back you can see relationships that were good for you and some that were not.

The wise person will be very careful in deciding who gets to influence their life. Will you choose to have a wise person shape your thinking? The Bible teaches us that a fool is a person that knows the difference between right and wrong but they just don't care. They do not care that today's decisions have an impact on tomorrow.

Your friends will determine the direction and quality of your life. - Andy Stanley

Providential relationships are relationships that God brings into your life that ignite and grow your faith. The kind of people that challenge you to see new possibilities and understand new truths spiritually in order for you to grow in your faith. You usually see those relationships the easiest with hind sight, you look back and say to yourself, "thank God that person came into my life and helped me."

Maximizing the relationships in our lives for the purpose of growing in our faith is only half the picture. God also wants us to have a positive impact on others lives and he wants us to be of benefit to their faith as well. Sometimes we are the wise one that needs to go have an awkward conversation with a friend that is blind to something. We can pray for our friend but if something is breaking your heart in their situation then maybe God is prompting you to do something about it.

We can't force a providential relationship to happen but we can leverage this Biblical principle:

✔  Be intentional about who you spend time with ✔  Be intentional about moving into situations where relationships will be built ✔  Initiate interaction with the wise people around you ✔  Invite that wise person to speak into your life

Close relationships are the means that God uses to provide us with the opportunity and accountability to live out the truth of his Word. God has placed people in your life to help you by challenging you to be more like Christ.