I asked Kat to write about a recent incident at our house:
When Noelle and I sit down for breakfast or lunch on weekdays there is always something she wants to spend the entire time talking about. Usually she wants to talk so much I have to remind her to eat.
Yesterday at lunch she asked me to pray, but before I could start she said, “Mommy, I want you to ask Jesus in your heart again.” I told her, “Noelle, we don’t have to ask Jesus into our hearts more than one time. When we ask Him to come into our hearts, forgive us of our sins, He doesn’t ever leave us.” But she again said, “Mommy, I want you to ask Jesus in your heart just one more time.” I said, “Noelle, really. The Bible says that once we ask Jesus in our hearts nothing can ever separate us from Him. I really don’t need to ask Him to come into my heart again, He’s already there.” “Mommy, Please, I just want to hear you ask Jesus into your heart.”
It was then that I figured out what was happening. About three weeks ago she had asked Jesus into her heart. Now she just wanted to be sure that when “it was her turn” to go to heaven (as she says) that I was going to be there too.
So, I prayed and thanked Jesus that He had come into my heart, had forgiven my sin, cleansed my heart, and now lives in my heart until the day it is my turn to go to heaven and live forever with Him. That was apparently what she needed to hear because when I finished praying she smiled and said, “Mom, do you want to play Rapunzel with me?” (You can read more of Kat and Noelle’s story here.)
You may have questions about whether a 4 year old can understand enough to decide to be a follower of Jesus. I don’t have all the answers to that, but I’m not going to discourage it! What is cute and humorous in Noelle needs to be more real God's people: that is a tenacious desire to see not just family members, but people everywhere to pray to trust Jesus with their lives.
However, the text we will study Sunday doesn’t stop with that as the goal for God’s people. Jesus commands us to make disciples; to so introduce people to Jesus that they are amazed at who he is, how he suffered physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually for them, and that they then orient their lives around learning from him how to live and then live that way themselves. That’s the goal.
Sunday at Bethany Place I am continuing with our series on vision called Who, What, When, Where, Why. This week I will speak from perhaps the key text to think about what a church is to do and be. You can see the scripture, outline, and prayer guide below. I will post the audio and video here when it become available.
Part 2 of Who, What, When, Where, Why
1. Enroll as a full time student in Jesus’ school
Matthew 28:16–17 (ESV)
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
2. Orient your life around making disciples
Matthew 28:18–19a (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
3. Follow Jesus’ pattern for making disciples
Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
4. Rely on the promise of Jesus’ presence
Matthew 28:20b (ESV)
20 . . . And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Suggestions for praying the text:
- Pray that God would cause you to so experience the reality of his death and resurrection that you are consistently provoked to worship and awe.
- Pray that God would melt our hearts through the gospel that we can help but talk about it.
- Pray that God will show us how to lovingly and respectfully talk to people about faith in Jesus.
- Pray that God will show us how to think differently about what our goals as his people and his church need to be.