Last night, as we met for dinner for our men’s First Tuesday gathering, I was talking with Curtis Thomas about his upcoming Romans study, which will start a week from Sunday. If you need more details or you’re interested in being part of the study, contact Curtis and let him know. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study is is for believers and unbelievers alike. It’s something Curtis has done over and over again for decades, taking hundreds of people through the book of Romans. He’s seen many people put their faith in Christ and in the process.
Where did the idea for this study come from? The answer to that question goes all the way back to Pine Bluff Arkansas in the 1950s. When Curtis was in high school and not yet a Christian, someone offered to take him through Romans. That study was the spiritual turning point in Curtis’ life. It’s how he became a Christian. So it just made sense to him to follow that same pattern with others.
Talking with Curtis got me thinking about the people who were integral in my own spiritual journey. I thought about Debbie Rose, who was a junior when I was a sophomore. In the fall of 1972, she asked me if I was interested in coming to her house on a Tuesday night for a Young Life meeting. I didn’t know what Young Life was, but you can be sure I was interested in going to Debbie Rose’s house anytime! The idea that I now had an excuse my parents would approve of to be out with friends on a school night was icing on the cake!
It was at those Young Life meetings where I first heard the gospel in a way that made sense to me. Those were the early spiritual seeds that were planted in my heart that would later bear fruit.
Jump ahead to the summer of 1977, when I was attending a college Bible study. One night after we were done, a guy named Steve asked me if we could get together sometime. He said he had some questions he wanted to ask me. I agreed, and met him at his apartment one afternoon a few days later.
Some of you know this story. Steve had heard enough from me at the Bible study to conclude that there were some things about God and the Bible that I didn’t have right. Some key things, like my understanding of sin and of God’s grace. That afternoon in his apartment, Steve read through Romans 3 and started explaining in a way I hadn’t understood before the truth about my spiritual condition and how God, by His grace, saves us not by works of righteousness, but according to His mercy (Titus 3:5).
God used both Debbie and Steve in my life. They were willing instruments. Debbie faced the risk of rejection or ridicule for inviting someone she barely knew to come to Young Life at her house. Steve was even bolder. He and I had never had any kind of substantive conversation before. We were not friends. We were acquaintances. But he was concerned enough about what he was hearing me say and what I believed that he invited me over and confronted me. I am so grateful that he did.
I want you to think for a minute about the people who were instrumental in your life spiritually. For some of you, that list would include your mom and dad. But I’m guessing all of you had people who, like Debbie and Steve, were instrumental in your journey. People who invited you to go with them to church or to hear a speaker present the gospel somewhere. People who took you through a Bible study or who explained the gospel to you in a way you hadn’t heard it before.
Can you come up with a list of people? Can you remember their names? Can you remember what action they took that God used in your life?
And here’s the big question.
Have you ever done for others what those people did for you?
When was the last time you invited someone who doesn’t know Christ to come to church with you?
When was the last time you had a spiritual conversation with someone who doesn’t go to church regularly?
Have you done with someone you know whatever someone else did in your life that God used to bring you to faith? How often? How long ago?
Each of us has a Kingdom assignment from God. We’re called to make disciples. Step one in that process is to share the gospel with people who haven’t heard it, don’t understand it or who have rejected a caricature of the gospel.
I know that assignment can be intimidating. But I’m glad Debbie and Steve weren’t intimidated. I’m guessing you’re glad whoever God used in your life wasn’t intimidated either.
Can you think of someone you know, right now, who you could talk to or invite or do whatever someone else did with you that God used in your life? And trust God with the outcome?
Ask God today to help you determine who you’ll reach out to this week. Ask Him to give you a divine appointment. Do it, and let’s see what happens.
A big thank you to all of you from Pastor Cole and our students for your generosity last Sunday at the Bake Sale. We received a little less than $1000 in donations! That money will go towards scholarships for student ministry events/mission trip.
And Cole asked me to pass this along as well.
Thank you so much for all your prayer and support for this weekend. D-Now was a great weekend filled with a lot of intensive discipleship. I can’t wait to see how God continues to use this weekend for their good and God’s glory. During our service projects, we spent time at the church disinfecting and cleaning the nursery, reorganizing/rearranging the student room, and we wrote letters of encouragement and support to several of our missionaries. Again, just a really great weekend! Huge shoutout to our volunteers who not only volunteered their time and energy but also their homes! They are the lifeblood of this ministry, and I am forever indebted to investment.
It’s almost game time! And by game time, I mean bowling!
If you’re night signed up yet for the Super Bowling Saturday night fun, you can let us know you’re planning to come by clicking here.
And have you decided what soup you want to bring on Sunday, February 11 for our annual all church Soup-er Bowl Sunday lunch?
Bring a crock pot with you when you come to church, take it to the kitchen and we’ll take care of the rest.
And of course, plan to stay for lunch and fellowship on Sunday.
Four weeks from now, we’ll be heading about an hour east of here for our Spring Men’s Retreat. We have space for 32 guys at the Cross Heirs Retreat Center, Trust me, it will be a great weekend. My friend Pastor Trent Griffith from Orlando Florida will be joining us that weekend.
Registration is open. Click here for more info or to sign up. It’s one night away from home. The cost is $100 and that includes four meals – from Friday dinner through Saturday dinner.
Also that weekend, all RCC members are invited to our annual Church business meeting. We’ll be updating you on our finances, sharing about ministry plans for 2024 and beyond, and taking questions.
Yes, cheesecake will be served.
Sunday, March 10 at 4:00 pm. I hope you’ll plan to come.
And for those of you who keep track of such things, this is our anniversary week at Redeemer. It was 16 years ago this week when we had our very first worship service.
Seeing how God has worked in our church through the years is a source of great joy for me. I hope it is for you as well. I’m praying for many more years of gospel fruitfulness through Redeemer!
If Jesus handed out spiritual report cards to local churches, what kind of grades do you think Redeemer would get? That’s a sobering question, right? As we turn to Revelation 2 this week, we’ll see the spiritual report card Jesus gave to the church in Ephesus in the first century. There’s a lot we can learn from His message to them.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!