Grace Evidenced By Growth!

Lizzie Oleson is baptized into Christ! Pictured here are the sisters in the Tempe House Church who studied the bible with her!

By the grace of God Lizzie Oleson is baptized into Christ! Pictured here are the sisters in the Tempe House Church who studied the bible with her!

The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”  (Acts 11:21-23)

We are so grateful to see the Browns married! We are proud of them and encouraged by who God has made them as a couple!

We are so grateful to see the Browns married! We are proud of them and encouraged by who God has made them as a couple!

Prayer Builds Family, Inspires Grace, and Causes Growth

2017 was the “Year of Family” for the Soldout Discipling Movement.  2018 will be the “Year of Grace” for our church family worldwide.  This scripture in Acts 11 makes it clear that “Great number(s)becoming disciples isevidence of the grace of God!This was the evidence of the grace of God for the 1st century church.  We are determined as the church in the 21st century to imitate our brothers and sisters in the first century.  Therefore, a “great number” of people becoming disciples is our evidence of God’s grace as well!  Therefore, the overall goal of the church in Phoenix is to double our membership by the end of 2018!

Grace Inspires Daily Discipleship And Prayer

Jesus had a goal in Luke 13:32 and he broke it up day by day.  Jesus told the Pharisees “‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’  Additionally, the scriptures teach volumes about diligence and discipline along with the overwhelming necessity of  daily investment (Proverbs 6:6-7).  Paul’s very practical example of daily investment is seen in Acts 19:9, [Paul] took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus.”  This daily effort on the “campus” led to the evangelization of the entire province of Asia in just two year’s time!   (Acts 19:10)

Furthermore, Paul’s approach to daily discipleship is reiterated in his farewell to these same disciples in Acts 20:17-38.  In this passage there are many “nuances” that crystallizes discipleship as a “daily” activity.  “Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31 )  This principle of daily diligence inspires us to set a daily goal of every disciple sharing their faith every day.  We also want to set a weekly goal of every disciple being in a bible study at least once a week. 

We set our precedence in this while striving to walk in the footsteps of Christ.  The gospel writers record our LORD teaching his disciples to follow him and be made into “fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)  Jesus Christ himself said, “[He] came to seek and to save what was lost.”  (Luke 19:10)

A cute and candid moment with the flower girls and the bridesmaids! Nelson’s and Sydney’s wedding was an inspiring time!

A cute and candid moment with the flower girls and the bridesmaids!
Nelson’s and Sydney’s wedding was an inspiring time!

Daily Focus On The Bible Talk

The first thing to focus is on the bible talk.  Jesus built his ministry utilizing what many have dubbed “small-group methodology.”  Throughout the gospels, Jesus is often meeting in houses with his disciples and using a smaller group as a teaching platform.  In order to achieve the larger goal of doubling the church here, we need to start with the bible talk.  We must ensure that our bible talk leaders are being discipled well and discipled daily.  Then we can start focusing on the rest of the bible talk!  

The bible talk leaders must understand that they have the same kind of role that “Paul” had for the Ephesian elders.  Their role is also similar to the role of Jesus to the twelve Apostles.  The scriptures call us to “encourage one another daily as long as it is called today, so that none of [us] may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.(Hebrews 3:13.)  The Greek word here for “encourage” is “parakaleō” and literally means “to call to one’s side.”  The bible talk leader needs to call to their side each member of their bible talk on a daily basis!  This calling will build a sense of camaraderie and unity of spirit!  Leaders who encourage their brothers and sisters daily will instill purpose in them and themselves!  We will help each other grow in our love for the lost as well as love for one another! 

This year's Christmas Celebration with the Sunshine Acres Children's Home was a blast! A special thanks to Michelle Brown, Doug Hunt, Chris Schultz, and all the disciples who gave their hearts to the children at our 2017 MERCY Toy Drive event!

This year’s Christmas Celebration with the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home was a blast! A special thanks to Michelle Brown, Doug Hunt, Chris Schultz, and all the disciples who gave their hearts to the children at our 2017 MERCY Toy Drive event!

Daily Encouragement Of Our Bible Talk

This daily encouragement helps every bible talk member understand they are building together and working together on a shared vision.   Another powerful benefit from this daily “call to one’s side” is the principle that we “overcome evil” by “doing what is good” (Romans 12:21).  This is because “idle hands do the Devil’s work.

Two Useful Practicals For Our Bible Talks

In light of this approach, we are going to implement a couple of practicals that will lead to every bible talk bearing fruit and achieving the goal of doubling by the end of 2018.  The first practical is that every disciple will be asked every day if they shared their faith that day.  This daily accountability may seem like a “no brainer” for the campus or singles but it is not for the entire membership.  

The second practical, is getting every disciple in a study once a week (as a minimum.)  This does not necessarily mean they lead the study (albeit that’s the ideal), just that they are involved in a study at least once a week.  These two goals need to be impressed on every disciple by their bible talk leaders.  The bible talk leaders need to be inspired and encouraged by their house church leaders to hold on to this consistently throughout the year.  A church that has disciples that preach the word “wherever they [go]is a church imitating the faith of the first century church (Acts 8:4).

Doug Hunt shares a special moment with some of the children at the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home! That’s a NIIICE gingerbread house! (And a nice photobomb by Mr. Frosty the Snowman!)

Doug Hunt shares a special moment with some of the children at the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home! That’s a NIIICE gingerbread house! (And a nice photobomb by Mr. Frosty the Snowman!)

Make Disciples By Sharing The Gospel of God’s Grace And Our Lives

Jesus commands us to “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) God, in his infinite wisdom, calls us to relive the joys, the life-changing memories of our own conversion! It is impossible to make discipleswithout sharing not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8) Therefore ensuring that we are not simply living a life of obedience but filled with gratitude, contentment, purpose, reminders of God’s mercy and kindness in our lives,…a life to the full!(John 10:10)

We are family…by the grace of God!

Jeremy Ciaramella

JMC

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