Grace Debrief 4/14/19

There's only one reason Jesus died.

Relationship.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son.

God's love and his desire to have a relationship with us - his goal from the very beginning - is the motive for Jesus showing up, living a life, dying on a cross, and coming back to life. 

There is simply nothing about us more important to God than relationship. His first priority is that we would have a relationship with him. His second priority is that we would have a relationship with each other. (Check out Jesus' prayer in John 17 to verify this truth).

Is God concerned about other things in our lives? Is he concerned about my finances? Is he concerned about my job? Is he concerned about my health? Is he concerned about my ministry? Is he concerned about my obedience? Sure.

God is concerned about all that, and more. BUT ONLY AS ANY OF THAT HAS TO DO WITH RELATIONSHIP!

Jesus shed his blood for this: that you could have a relationship with the Father of the universe. Jesus died on the cross so that you and I could be welcomed into the family of God and call God "Daddy" - JUST LIKE JESUS DOES! 

This is the reason. God did this. Sink yourself into this truth and believe it. Trust it. Trust him. 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 4/7/19

Another great Kinship Service today! We sang out strong with the Grace Band in worship. We learned about Michael Weidner's amazing stack-up of miracles in his life, and heard about how his faith in Christ helps him deal with chronic heart problems. We prayed for one another and rejoiced at what God is up to in our lives. We talked about how together we can move barns and glorify God by helping our neighbors and living in harmony with one another. We shared Communion and a meal. It was a very good day of connection and worship. 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 3/31/19

The blood of Jesus on the cross provides a way for our sins to be forgiven. This forgiveness allows us to have a relationship with God. That's what we need, and it's the place for which we were created. 

But there's still a problem . . .

That problem shows up in the history of Israel. God's chosen people align themselves with his law, then get cocky and arrogant and fall into sin. Eventually they repent, and in his mercy, God forgives them and restores them and they align themselves with his law. But the whole thing happens again. And again. And again.

Forgiveness is offered through the blood of Jesus Christ. But it doesn't end there. What Jesus came to do goes even deeper. God wants to end the cycle. Jesus offers a way.

The prophets in the Old Testament record the words of God as he promises that he has plans for a permanent solution that goes beyond the forgiveness-sin-repentance-forgiveness treadmill. Grab your Bible and check these out: Ezekiel 36:24-27 and Jeremiah 31:33-34.

Then look at how the author of Hebrews sees these promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ - Hebrews 8:6-13. Do you see what God's ultimate solution is?

He wants to replace your heart. He wants to do a heart transplant. He desires to rip out your old, hard, stubborn, willful, obstinate, heart of stone and replace it with a soft, tender, responsive, and spiritually alive heart of flesh.

The only way we're going to escape the merry-go-round of constant sin-repentance-forgiveness-sin is to have a complete overhaul. Jesus offers us a lifeline through his blood. He provides a way that the Holy Spirit can . . .

Live around us? Live alongside us? Live near us? Nope.

Jesus provides a way for the Holy Spirit to live in us.

"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

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 3/24/19

In spite of all the jewelry, the cross of Jesus is not a popular topic for conversation, especially when we focus on the blood part. It's gross. It's disturbing. And it's clearly not politically correct.

But it's the pin that sticks God's offer of forgiveness to reality.

I don't have the space here to explain God, and besides - others have done that. And I don't have the will to defend him, and besides - others have tried. Here's the plain truth: from the beginning, God has engineered for our sin problem to be handled by shedding of blood. "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins." (Hebrews  9:22)

There are many prophecies of Jesus that point to the events of his life and death and resurrection. Perhaps none is so graphic and powerful as Isaiah 53. Take a look in your Bible and read up.

Here's what that prophecy tells us about Jesus and his cross and his shed blood:

  • He took our sin on himself. All of it. "All our iniquity."

  • He became an offering for guilt. The sacrifice for sin. "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

  • He provided a way for us to be counted as righteous. When we trust that he took our sins on himself, and that he made the ultimate and final sacrifice for our forgiveness, our names can be removed from the "sinner" column of his ledger to the "righteous" column. Not because of what we've done, but because of what he's done.

Billy Graham said, "Be assured that there is no sin you have ever committed that the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cleanse."

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 3/17/19

Sunday, I took an informal poll of Grace peeps during our service. I asked how many people had ever heard a sermon on parenting adult children. Results?

You got it. Zip. Nothing. Nada.

It's astounding, really. Especially now that I'm one of those parents, I understand that this is a whole different kind of thing than raising littles. When our kids were three, Linda and I found it pretty easy to set them right, fix their problems, correct their mistakes, mend their boo-boos. Now that they're all adults, the "terrible twos" don't sound so terrible at all.

Our kids aren't terrible - not at all. We're very proud of them and the people they've become. But we have had to alter our approach to parenting to adapt to their adulting. It's not that parenting is over (we've learned that never really happens), it's that it has to change or we'll lose our kids.

This is Paul's prayer for the Ephesians in the first page of his letter. It's a prayer that very much applies to what I want for my kids. When they were under age ten, I had the authority to enforce some of these things, kinda. But now, the most important thing I can do is, like Paul, pray.

Ephesians 1:17-19a

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

So we pray, YES LORD! 

What do our adult kids need from us besides prayer? Here are a few important things:

* Presence without pushiness. 
* Advice without pressure. 
* Generosity without expectation. 
* Love without condition.  
* Prayer on purpose.  

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 3/10/19

Parenting teens can be challenging, but very rewarding! How can we navigate the adolescent transition with grace? Here are four guidelines to help:

  • Re-create grace. An environment of grace matures and changes. The Bible tells us to "grow in grace," which implies that grace is something that evolves and changes us. When our kids approach the teen years, parents should adapt with more honesty, sincere confession, and mutuality - when we let them know they are assets, not liabilities. All of this might seem counter-intuitive.

  • Ease up on control. Don't ask where you can apply more rules, ask where you can relax the rules. "But I have to win every battle!" No, you don't. Try finding battles you can lose. Someone has said, "Rules don't create lasting, heartfelt obedience after age nine." Rules need to morph into guidelines.

For instance, at first you have a rule for your child: NEVER CROSS THE STREET!  Then, when the time is right, that rule becomes, ALWAYS HOLD MY HAND WHEN YOU CROSS THE STREET! That rule morphs into, NEVER CROSS THE STREET ALONE! Eventually, that rule might become, ALWAYS LOOK BOTH WAYS WHEN YOU CROSS THE STREET! But eventually, the rule becomes a guideline: Streets can be dangerous, so please be careful. Then, at some point, you want your kid to say, HEY! WANNA PLAY SOME CATCH IN THE STREET?! 

  • Grant more responsibility. Adolescence needs to be a safe zone for practicing adulting. That implies that mistakes will be made. WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOUR CHILD FAILS WILL COMPOUND INTO THE FUTURE! Remember, "Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo."

  • Promote free will. Think of free will as a muscle that needs to be strengthened, taught to move correctly, and stretched. The more we control decisions, the more we rob our kids of the exercise of free will. That muscle will atrophy, and they may not be able to follow through toward being an adult. Of course, as a parent, you still need control when kids are becoming adults, but the more we can allow them to use the muscle of free will, the more they will learn to adult.

And remember this: helping our kids through the teen years can be exhausting and perplexing. But God promises that, when we are generous with our attention to the task, he will supply. Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 2/24/19

In Colossians 3:21, Paul gives fathers (parents, actually) some very practical advice: "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged."

That provoking thing - Paul elsewhere says it leads our kids to anger. That anger is what prompts the discouragement, literally: the draining of spirit.

Our culture is filling with kids who are angry and are discouraged. I believe it's because we are missing the boat at giving our kids hope - real, resilient hope.

Three things are essential for hope. One is a firm trust that God loves us. The second is that we have relational connections with people who love us. And that we see these love relationships as unconditional and sacrificial. 

(Could part of our problem be that children are tolerated, at best, and that we let them know by our words and actions that their being around causes us no end of inconvenience and frustration?)

The third element that's needed for our kids to have hope is that we show them how to find their God-given strength, and help them to put that strength into practice as they mature into adulthood.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 2/10/19

Good walls don't happen by accident.

Discipline in the home can't be as effective when we don't approach it with great thought, great compassion, great grace. Just like God with us.

A grace-based home is not one in which the kids can do whatever they want. In fact, just the opposite is true: grace means that as parents we structure and manage our family life to reflect the desires of our holy heavenly Father. Scriptures like Hebrews 12 teach us that God disciplines us BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE, NOT IN SPITE OF HIS LOVE.

I like what Josh McDowell said once: Rules without relationship=rebellion. Tim Keller adds another parenting maxim that is just as true: Relationship without rules=resentment.

In the book, Grace-Based Discipline, Karis Kimmel Murray (Tim Kimmel's daughter) explains two ways of discipline: reactive discipline and responsive discipline. It sounds like not much of a difference, but if can be profound. When I'm out and about, I often see parents that are reactive - acting out as much as their kids with drama, emotion, panic, and shame. Responsive parents take the time to discipline with patience, mindfulness, intention, and grace.

"But you don't know my kid!" (In earlier times in my life, I probably would have agreed. Not anymore). The thing is - it's not about what kind of kid you have. It's how you apply graceful discipline to the kids God gave you.

Here's one of the biggest lessons I've learned about discipline over the years. I wish so much that I had learned this one forty years ago, but I'll pass it on to you. 95% of discipline in your family is not the discipline itself (spanking, time-outs, natural and logical consequences, etc. etc. etc.) Most of those things are what we think of when we talk about discipline. But actually, the most effective discipline you can apply in your family is to create an environment of grace and acceptance and unconditional love. The rest is just working out the details.

How can we accomplish this? Only by the grace of God.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 2/3/19

Yesterday we enjoyed KINSHIP! Great worship! (So thankful Grace Band was back to lead!) Sharing one another's burdens in prayer. Learning more about another "front-line" Jesus-follower: Amanda Carmien. Thinking about forgiveness. Sharing Communion. And actively fellow-shipping with each other over some pulled pork!

 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 1/27/19

As parents, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that our job - our most important task - is to say NO! After all, the world we live in seems so full of wickedness, and our kids are exposed to such strong temptation, and we know that Satan would just love for us to fail, so we exert all of our efforts into creating, maintaining, and enforcing rules that basically boil down to "No. You can't do that. Or that. Or especially THAT!"

It's interesting to ponder God's role as a Father in this regard. He loves us beyond anything we could ever accomplish with our own children. But he is not a big rule enforcer. Instead, he creates for us, his children, a realm of grace and truth where we can learn to trust him. And as we do, we grow into holiness.

You have to say NO to your kids. You have to have some rules, and those rules need to be reinforced. But that's not your most important job as a parent. Your most important job is to have kids who learn to trust you, to learn love, and to follow Christ. We don't get there through rules; we get there through grace. We get there by creating an environment of YES!

Start with these simple exercises:

  • When you absolutely have to say "NO," find a way to say "YES" at the same time.

  • When you say "NO," ask yourself why. Many times we say no because saying yes would be inconvenient. Or we say no because saying yes seems too indulgent, or somehow like we're "spoiling" our child. Or we say no because our parents said no a lot to us, and we think that's just good parenting. (It's not). So ask yourself why. Why do you say no, more than you say yes?

  • If you're brave (and your kids are old enough to answer), ask them this question: "When you come and ask me for something, do you usually think I'm going to say 'yes,' or 'no?' "

  • See how many times in one day you can say YES! to your kids. Or your spouse. Or your coworker. Or your boss. Or your mom and dad.

In your own family, and your own circles of influence, create an environment of grace. An environment of YES!

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 1/20/19

In his three years of ministry as a man, Jesus gave abundant evidence that, in a culture where children were less-than important, he considered them valuable as people - real people.

Just the number of times Jesus chose to heal children says a lot. And several times, Jesus used kids to show what real disciples should be like. (It seems there were always kids hanging around Jesus!)

And, much to the chagrin of his closest followers, Jesus welcomed children into the mix. In fact, he pulled them close, held them in his arms, and prayed for them.

Jesus considered children to be very important. And if he valued kids, we should, too. 

Our culture is hypocritical when it comes to valuing children. We say we consider them important, but our actions and words sometimes betray the reality. Abortion, child abuse, an overwhelmed foster-care system, and other indicators suggest that kids aren't really all that important to us. When our school teachers aren't paid enough, and aren't even provided the basics for educating our children, that speaks more to our treatment of children than our words.

Among God's people, there should always be the clear evidence that we value kids. Especially in our homes.

How do we show that we value our children? Here are ten ways. There are more, but even if we practiced these ten things we'd be moving dramatically forward: 

  • You are not designed to be the enemy. Be the advocate.

  • Consider them as the marvelous creations of God that they are.

  • Spend time on your children generously.

  • SHUT UP AND LISTEN! Stop lecturing so much. Don't end the conversation; extend the conversation. 

  • Validate their feelings. You can do this without budging on what they need to do.

  • NEVER TALK NEGATIVELY ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN TO OTHERS IN FRONT OF THEM!

  • Extend common courtesy and good manners to your children.

  • Honor their abilities and ongoing maturity. Let them do for themselves and take responsibility.

  • Respect their choices. (Note: We'll talk later about WHEN and HOW to provide choices).

  • Be consistent, over and over and over again.

At our house, we've always put our kids' pictures on our refrigerator. Maybe you do the same, along with artwork, good report cards, and love notes. There's something about a fridge and those pictures that shows we value our kids.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 1/13/19

Whatever we think about God will have a great deal to do with how we parent our kids and how we deal with children in general.

God often refers to himself as our Father, and we are even encouraged to call him Daddy. We are called his children, and his actions toward us are those of a parent. It's no surprise, then, that we would look at this arrangement with God as an example of how we should parent our kids. We should mimic God.

But how? We can't be God! So how can we be expected to parent like he does?

God is love, so the answer to the question must have to do with loving our children. To parent like God means to love our kids. Do you love your kids?

Stupid question. Ask any parent - even the ones who don't do a good job of it - ask them if they love their kids. OF COURSE THEY DO. Every parent would answer YES to the question: Do you love your kids?

But the real issue is not whether we love them or not; it's how we do it.

There are lots of models out there for loving your kids and being good parents. Most of us don't really pick one model, but we learn by the seat of our pants as we go along. We try different things, we pray, we pick up tips and advice, we read a book, we listen to sermons, we put together a patchwork of good ideas and bad ideas and make up our own ideas about how we should raise our children.

But what if we did it God's way? What if our parenting mirrored God's parenting? What if we loved like God loves?

We love our kids. God loves us. But in both of those relationships, there needs to be a delivery system to translate that love into lives. An infant who is ready for solid food can't be told, "There's the fridge - just grab what you want, whenever you need it. And don't forget to shut the fridge door."  No. There needs to be a delivery system. 

The delivery system that translates the love of God into our lives is called GRACE. The delivery system that can put our love for our children to work in their lives is - GRACE.

Want to get practical? Here are three ways you can build secure grace into your kids - INTO ANY KIDS - starting right away:

* Accept them just as they are, as distinct persons.
* Connect them into an honoring and loving family.
* Give them consistent, abundant affection without conditions.

GRACE IS THE TRANSFER MECHANISM FOR GOD'S LOVE TO US.
GRACE IS THE TRANSFER MECHANISM FOR OUR LOVE TO OUR KIDS.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
SACRIFICE.

Next week, we'll take a look at Jesus' life and ministry and discover the value he placed on children. And then we'll decide what to do about it.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 1/6/19

Well, this is not how I wanted to start the year. I sit here typing while worship at Grace goes on without me. I can't remember the last time I "called in sick," but believe me, you didn't want me blubbering and coughing and sneezing and hacking all over the place.

My biggest loss was not being able to hear Shirley, Sheila, and Leon tell their stories of God's grace! Thank you for telling your stories! I've heard it through the grapevine that it was a great day at Grace.

Listen: I am so excited about the series starting next week. Linda and I have been parents for a long time. But you know something? WE'RE STILL LEARNING HOW TO DO IT! 

Whether you have kids who are young, or have kids who are not young anymore; whether you're a grandparent or a great-grandparent or an aunt or uncle; whether you work with kids or teach kids or like kids or just have a kid who lives across the street - THIS SERIES IS FOR YOU! Freedom to Fly - Grace-Based Parenting will help you.

It really comes down to this: if you're a child of God, and he is your heavenly Father, you will learn about his grace and about how grace can be applied to the way we interact with other people - especially children, and most especially our own kids.

And here's an EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS! My wife, Linda, will be teaching Conscious Discipline Plus as a part of this series. Conscious Discipline is training that helps parents and child-care providers navigate the world of child discipline. Linda has been trained and has been teaching these principles for several years as part of her profession. The "plus" part is that Linda will weave Biblical content in with the stuff she teaches. This training will be provided over three Sundays, starting on January 27. The training will be held at Grace in the Atrium, from 1:30 - 3:30 each week. Please plan on getting in on this incredible opportunity.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 12/16/18

Guilt is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving all year 'round!

We may feel that guilt because of things we've done, regrets we have, plans we've ruined, and circumstances that will never be the same because of our sin. We could also feel guilt for things that we don't truly own - external guilt that comes from other people or the media or our own insecurities. Holidays and celebrations tend to bring those feelings to the surface.

The source of that guilt doesn't really matter. It still feels the same.

What do we do with guilt?

Jesus was born as the Savior. He came into the world to rescue us from the ravages of sin, guilt, and shame. Guilt - whether perceived or very real - is redeemed by the forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Sunday, we stuck our Christmas guilt into a gift bag and gave it to Jesus. I personally stapled those two bags up and threw them in the trash. (I have witnesses!). Whatever was on those slips of paper is forgiven, in the name of Jesus.

And now this is Christmas.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 12/9/18

One of the ways we can get tangled during the Christmas season is by wrapping ourselves into knots of expectations.

Expectations are like Christmas light strings. You try every year to get them to work, and get them in order, but they come back the next year more tangled up than ever. You can never seem to get to the end of them and have them all work at the same time. Every year you get tangled. Tangled up with expectations. 

How do we deal with those expectations? Here are ways some people suggest we handle them:

  • Kill them off. Just stop having any. But that doesn't work.

  • Ignore them. This sounds like a good strategy, but life won't let you ignore expectations. The people around you probably won't let you either.

  • Change them. This is a good plan. When we alter our expectations, we can wrestle them into reality. That's the goal, right? Our expectations will be manageable when they match up with reality. The problem is this: expectations are built on the future, and we can't know or guarantee that future. We can guess, and we can hope, but we can't build our expectations on a future that has not yet happened.

Here are two passages from the Bible for you to look up. The first one is Isaiah 61:1-3. It's a prophecy given hundreds of years before Jesus. It's a promise that God, through the first-person speaker, would bring about sweeping and positive change to the Jewish people. 

Now, look up the second scripture - Luke 4:16-19. Jesus here stands up in the middle of the synagogue - in his home town - and uses the Isaiah verses ABOUT HIMSELF. It's a profound moment.

Especially for those listening, and who would learn about it later. Those people - the Jews at Jesus' time - had expectations. BIG expectations. Expectations about God, and his restoration of their status as his special people. Expectations about the Messiah and what he would do to redeem Israel. And when Jesus stands up at church and claims that he is what Isaiah was writing about, he becomes the very realistic, very dependable location for all the expectations of those people. 

They didn't need to ignore, or kill off, or even change their expectations. They just had to RELOCATE THEM. They needed to put their expectations in Jesus.

There is no safer place for your expectations. Instead of fighting with them, trying to change them or tame them or kill them off, do this: relocate your expectations. Put them in Jesus. 

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 12/2/18

Another productive Kinship Sunday! We enjoyed some solid worship, talked about the importance of prayer for ONE ANOTHER and how prayer and Spiderman are related. (You had to be there!) We spent some time doing just that - prayer for one another (shooting those spidey-webs all over the place!). We celebrated Communion, thanking God that, because of Jesus, we can come boldly into his presence. Afterward, we shared a common meal of great chili (Thanks, LT!). A very good day.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 11/25/18

If you're on the trail, you're on a mission.

Before he returned to heaven, Jesus met with his followers after his resurrection. They were still in the throws and upheaval of all that had happened; some of them still couldn't believe what was going on. But even though they were still working it out, Jesus gave them their marching orders: proclaim the good news.

Here's Mark's version: "Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.' " (Mark 16:14-15).

There's an interesting thing going on with that word, "go." It's not strictly a command, but more an urging inside a statement of truth. My rough paraphrase would be "Go on with you, then, and as you go . . ."

Because Jesus assumes the whole "going" thing. He knows they'll go. And he knows that they will ask him for directions. And eventually - maybe not right away - they will head on out. But the "go" part isn't the command.

The command is in the proclamation. Jesus is saying, "Look. It's time for this party to end. You'll be heading out soon. As you go, let the amazement and the thrill and the excitement and the seriousness of all you have experienced pour out of you along the way."

That's what happened to the shepherds after they visited Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. They were so excited about what they had experienced that they could not contain the good news. That's what happens whenever people wake up and realize who Jesus is and what he's all about. Because Good News (the GOSPEL) is meant to be shared. 

This journey we're on - this hike along this trail of faith - is not a scenic walk. Sure, it's lovely sometimes. But it can also be scary and treacherous. You may know exactly where you're headed and what you're doing, or you may be scratching your head about the whole thing. But know this: AS YOU GO, YOU HAVE A MISSION. TELL THE NEWS. TELL THE GOOD NEWS. SPREAD IT AROUND LIKE PEANUT BUTTER. SHARE IT LIKE A GOOD FACEBOOK MEME. SHOUT IT OUT LIKE YOU'RE CHEERING FOR THE LIONS. NO - BETTER - SHOUT IT OUT LIKE YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN, YOU'RE A CHILD OF GOD, YOU'RE HEADED FOR HEAVEN AND LIVING A LIFE FOREVER STARTING NOW.

Go on with you, now. And as you go . . .

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 11/18/18

In the latest election, literally ALL of the candidates for any office in Michigan guaranteed that they would fix the roads!

The problem with Michigan's roads, and the problem with our own life-trails, is that having perfect roads is just not in the plans. It's not going to happen - at least not this side of heaven.

Over and over and over again, Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament figures teach us just the opposite about this life: they tell us that we can expect hardships; we can count on roads that are bumpy and scary.

Which begs the question: Why doesn't God make all our roads smooth and lovely and easy? It's because he has a plan for rough roads - a plan to use those roads to make us who he wants us to be.

Is your road rough? God wants to use that. Trust him and let him show you what he has in mind.

Because if the trail belongs to Him, and if the destination is determined by Him, and if you're on the road because of Him, and if He lives inside of you along the way, then there is nothing on this road that catches Him by surprise, and nothing on this road is wasted.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 11/11/18

This is a trail you cannot hike alone.

Over my years as a pastor, I've seen some try. They decide that they can handle walking with Jesus without close friends who travel the same path. The isolation that's created by going it alone often ends up twisting and bending their walking ability, and they become frustrated with the journey, give up on faith, or end up with very independent and very wrong ideas about following Jesus.

You need a buddy - someone to help you when you fall, encourage you when it gets tough, and challenge you along the way.

That's what Paul is getting at in Galatians 6:1-3. He understands that falling down is a very real concern. But he also knows that having someone with you on the road means that you don't have to face off with the hazards of the travel alone.

Because "alone" is not a good place to be.

Who is your traveling companion? Who do you have close to you who will pick you up and restore you gently back on the trail? Ask God to give you that person, and be prepared to BE that person for someone else.

Beth WiseComment
Grace Debrief 11/4/18

We had a great Kinship service yesterday! Worship with music, good time of sharing, and an interview with another Grace hero - Karra Landon! We observed Communion and shared a faith-family meal. If you've not joined us on Kinship Sunday, plan on it on December 2.

Beth WiseComment