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Grace Notes: February Preview

January 29, 2020

The following article will appear on the cover of the February issue of Grace Notes, the newsletter for Grace Luther Church and School, River Forest, Il. The image is a painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna (c. 1250/1255 – 1318/1319): The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew.

Called to Discipleship, or How You Can Help

As Jesus went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Matthew 4:21-22.

We recently heard in worship this story of Jesus calling the first disciples. Amazingly, they dropped their nets and followed this teacher whom they had never before met. They followed Jesus; that’s what disciples do. Like the first disciples, we are also called to follow Jesus. What does that look like?

In this time of staff transition at Grace, many people have asked me how they can help. Thank you! I am grateful for your kind words of support and your offer to help GraceChurch  live out its mission and ministry. I have good news for you! You can help! How? By answering Jesus’ call to discipleship. To follow Jesus is to be one who is dead to sin and alive in Christ. To follow Jesus is to live a cruciform life. This means living our lives in certain ways.

Michael Foss, in his book Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church, paints a vivid picture of what it means to not simply belong to a church, but to be a disciple. The six attributes that mark a disciple’s life are daily prayer, weekly worship, Bible reading, service, spiritual relationships, and giving. If you want to help Grace, follow Jesus.

  • Prayer. Living a life of faith requires conversation with our God. Pray for Grace, and for the world we serve. Prayer for your congregation’s leadership and staff, for the soon-to-be-formed call committee, for pastors who may consider this call. Pray, and do so without ceasing.
  • Worship. I don’t think there’s ever a time when we need to attend worship less frequently, but being present for worship is certainly important during this season of our congregation’s life. Don’t fade away; lean in together. We need the gifts of Jesus given in the proclaimed word and in his body and blood. These are the lifeblood of our community.
  • Bible reading. It’s not just for pastors! If you are not in the habit of reading scripture every day, this is a great opportunity to do so. We will have devotional booklets available during Lent, and I can recommend other resources as well. Or just pick up the Bible and read! God’s Word is living and active; it will act for good in your life.
  • Service. As I do my job, you can do yours. We need more ushers, greeters, offering counters, altar guild members, soundboard operators. You name it, we need it! You can always talk to Karen Christopher in the church office; she’ll point you in the right direction to serve. When other service opportunities are offered, jump in and help.
  • Spiritual relationships. I often tell new members, “Worship is the most important thing we do as Christians, but if it’s the only thing we do, our faith will likely wither rather than prosper.” Join in other ministries at Grace. Talk to people. Come to Lenten suppers. Join the discussion during an Adult Education class. Volunteer to cook meals for Grace Care. You never know when a relationship will deepen into a spiritual friendship.
  • Giving. Yes! Generous giving is a crucial mark of discipleship. Jesus says that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I am thankful for the generosity displayed by the people of Grace Church, and part of a living, active discipleship is to give both abundantly and consistently.

There you go; now you know. That’s how you can help! Jesus calls you. He died to raise you up as someone who can faithfully follow. I pray that you will be the disciples that Jesus calls you to be. Not perfect, but faithful. May the marks of discipleship in your life be a witness to others.

Your fellow disciple,

Dave Lyle

From → Odds and Ends

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