Discipleship Now starts tonight, and has been something I look forward to every year. I am excited to be a small group leader for the third year in a row and can’t wait to see what God has in store for the 10th and 11th grade girls I have this weekend!
While studying for the small group sessions, God unveiled my eyes to so many truths I had either simply read over or not understood before, but now make total sense… and present such convicting truth. This year’s DNow theme is “Exchange” and each session talks about the exchanges that occur in the lives of Christ-followers. Some parts that really stood out to me came from 2 Corinthians 5:17, John 10:10 and Philippians 1:21.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
When we are in Christ- when we have believed in Him and have experienced the exchange of death for life- we are no longer who we used to be. Nor are we a “better” or “fixed” version of ourselves. We are NEW! The old us, the old you, has gone forever. It has passed away and will not return. Through Christ, God has made us entirely new and has filled us with the Holy Spirit. That is something so incredibly amazing… I guess you could say I knew about it, but had never really thought about it. The amazing part about this truth is that we no longer have to worry about what we did in the past or wonder if we will lose our salvation. That is impossible because who we used to be before Christ is no longer there. It’s gone, dead and passed away. Who we are now is who we will be forevermore. Crazy, huh?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 ESV
This verse opened my eyes to another truth. A lot of the time we think of having life through Christ means eternal life in heaven… and it does! But Jesus made the exchange of death for life possible so we could also have a purposeful life here on earth in community with other believers. The life He gives us by His grace is rich and full. It’s not devoid of tragedy or pain, but it is a life where we can use our God-given passions and gifts to glorify God and bring the Gospel to the world. Instead of looking at your life after salvation as something to enjoy for yourself because you already have eternal life in heaven, look at is as a gift from God to be able to praise Him, glorify Him and talk about Him to others until someday you get to SEE Him, BE with Him and LIVE with Him in heaven!
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21 ESV
If we approach our life here on earth the way Paul did, how much would our perspectives on entertainment, future plans and temporal matters change? He said to the Philippian church that his life was defined, compelled, focused and committed 100% to Christ. Jesus Christ was his reason for being, and his focus here on earth was to glorify God. Death meant he no longer had the earthly burdens that took his focus away from God, and he was able to continue to glorify God forever and ever in heaven. Paul’s whole life was summed up in one word: “Christ”. Can we say the same thing?
I can’t wait for the weekend to start and to begin learning, teaching and sharing with my girls these next few days. Please keeps us in your prayers as we kick off DNow tonight, do the canned food drive and scavengar hunt tomorrow, during the large and small group sessions, and as we drive around town. Remember to pray for the group leaders, band, speaker and youth minister! It’s going to be a fun weekend, but also a tiring one!
A glimpse at DNows in the past!