Walkin’ With Jesus

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

We’ve had quite a few new members recently, so I thought we all could use a quick refresher on Grace Church’s Discipleship Pathway. At Grace, we believe that every believer should be striving to mature in their faith, growing more like Jesus. Our Discipleship team (working at the same time as our Vision team) wound up creating a definition of a disciple very similar to our vision statement. Fortunately for us, that means we only need to remember one statement instead of two.

A disciple of Jesus loves God, serves all, and changes lives.

Over the next couple of weeks, I want to take the time to look at each piece of the statement and give you some examples of different ways you could be growing your faith. Every person’s faith walk is different and everyone is at a different point on the pathway, but all of us should be moving and supporting one another along the way.

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

Summer, Kids, and God…It Can Work

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

On Grace’s Discipleship Pathway, the Change Lives portion is often associated with going outside the walls of Grace as the hands and feet of Jesus. Today, I want to challenge you to narrow that focus from the community at large to your own home. You see, Changing Lives in its most basic sense is offering the hope of Jesus to someone, and as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. we are the primary discipler of the children in our lives. With Memorial Day gatherings this weekend, and summer vacation right around the corner, now is the perfect time to add discipleship to your time with the kids in your life, after all, Jesus loved a party! To help you out, here are 20 Bible Truths to Tell Kids That Will Change Their Life Forever. A couple of ideas: you can use them on place cards at your holiday gatherings, lunch notes as they go off to daycare/camp, or topics for bedtime prayers. How ever you decide to use them, make sure that you have a conversation with your kids. Don’t worry, the Spirit will guide the conversation, you just have to take that first step.

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

Rest

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

As you journey along this Pathway, spending time with God in worship and rest is very important. This Sabbath rest, as it’s called, is a rhythm that God set into motion right from the beginning. (See Genesis 2:1-3 NLT) Kerri Weems gives a beautiful description of this in her article Sabbath: God’s Metronome. So, enjoy your weekend of rest and don’t forget to join us for worship on Sunday! 

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

Books! Books! And, More Books!

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

Today, I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into my reading life. I’m one of those people that reads lots of different things at the same time, depending on my mood. As you read through the list, if there’s any that you decide to read as well (or have already read), let me know. I’d love to chat!

The One Year Coffee with God: 365 Devotions to Perk Up Your Day I happen to know the author of this devotional via her husband Tom, a UMC pastor in the Lansing area. It’s been fun getting glimpses into her life through daily devotions, prayers, and poetry.

It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba This is the book that the Saturday morning Coffee & Christ small group will be reading starting April 29th. Join us!

PRAYzing!: Creative Prayer Experiences from A to Z As many of you know, prayer beads are a current fascination of mine. So, I’ve taken to reading all kinds of books on prayer looking for ideas.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream I must admit, I just got this book on Tuesday, so I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I’m already hooked. It’s a easy read, but I’ll warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart. It poses quite a challenge for our everyday faith.

National Geographic Of course, I had to throw this one on the list. If only to prove that not everything I read is faith-based. Remember, back in the day, I was a math major, computer science minor, working on a Master’s in physics education.

The Low-FODMAP 28-Day Plan: A Healthy Cookbook with Gut-Friendly Recipes for IBS Relief Sigh…the new diet the doctor put me on. I have to admit, I do feel much better, but such a challenge!

At the Sign of Triumph: A Novel in the Safehold Series And, my very favorite sci-fi/fantasy author. I’ve had this one sitting in my stack for a year now. It’s a good 3-inches thick, so I’ve put off reading it because I know that I’ll get sucked in to the story and not do anything else until it’s done!

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming!

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

Today is Good Friday. Oftentimes, today is a day of quiet reflection and mourning. For us, looking back through the lens of Easter, Good Friday really is good. For the disciples however, it was anything but good. For them, their beloved teacher and friend is gone. They’re in hiding, literally and figuratively, fearing for their lives and filled with shame. They’re also dealing with extreme disappointment. In their minds, Jesus was supposed to overthrow Rome and bring back the glory days of Israel. Everything was supposed to get better, not worse.

Once again, the disciples missed the point. Like us living in the “already, but not yet,” they wanted Jesus to hurry up and fix it all and make their lives paradise. Jesus, on the other hand, wanted more than just them in that paradise; he wants everyone! Oh, if only I could go back in time and tell them, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

Who Do You Think You Are? The Queen of…

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

My small group is finished until after Easter, so I started an Esther Bible Study  on my own, keeping the habit going. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the story, Esther is a young, Jewish girl living in exile in the Persian Empire. She is unwillingly entered into a beauty pageant where the winner is to become the next queen. As the heroine, of course she wins. During her time as queen, an irrevocable decree is passed to annihilate the Jews still living in the Empire. Up to this point, she has kept her identity as a Jew a secret. Given her position in the court, her cousin asks her to intercede. Her first reaction is self-preservation, so she says, “No.” Her cousin replied, “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) There’s a happy ending with the bad guy being executed, the Jews being allowed to fight back during the attempted genocide, and Esther and her family being celebrated even today by Jews during the holiday of Purim.

All of that said, I started thinking about identity. When asked, “Who are you?” The automatic response is your name, but if someone were to dig a little deeper and ask for a description, what would you say? How early in the conversation does “a Christian” show up? For me, “a Math Teacher” used to come up right away. It was my identity, kind of like Esther’s identity was Queen of the Persian Empire. It’s a long story that I don’t have room for here (feel free to ask if you’d like to know, I tell it freely), but I lost the identity of Math Teacher.

God used that time to press into me my true identity of “a chosen child of God.” He pointed out that having an identity in anything other than him was to be of the world, not of His Kingdom. He also pointed out that he had placed me here, in this moment, for a purpose, that hiding my identity was not serving him anymore than Esther was by hiding that she was a Jew. The journey to accept that identity has not been easy, but in the end, the joy found in my Kingdom identity far surpasses the fickle security of my worldly identity.

So…who are you?

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

Change Lives? Me? Taking Another Step

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

Last week, I wrote an article encouraging you to step onto the Change Lives part of the Pathway. This week, I want to encourage those of you that have already made that step to take another. You see, discipleship is a journey where we grow closer to and more like Jesus with each step that we take.

Right now, on the horizon at Grace is the community Easter egg hunt. This is an event that we host each year involving crafts and snacks and, of course, an Easter egg hunt for the kids in the neighborhoods around us. One of the stories that we tell at Levi’s Table (our Monday evening gathering) each time we meet is the story of Jesus calling Levi the tax collector to “follow me.” The first thing that Levi did was throw a party and invite all his friends to meet Jesus. This Easter egg hunt is our party and we’re inviting everyone to come meet Jesus!

This year, we have the added excitement of a second campus and a whole new neighborhood to reach! That said, this is truly an “all hands-on deck” event. You see, not only are the children the “future of the church,” but they and their parents are the “now” of the church and we want them to experience Jesus to the fullest. There are lots of ways that you can serve. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 25th, groups are gathering at each campus at 11am to walk the neighborhoods putting flyers on doors inviting people to come. You can help set up in the evening of April 7th or clean up after the event on the 8th. On the day of the event, you can host a craft or activity table, man the Easter egg hunt, or serve in the kitchen.

However you choose to serve, remember we’re called to reach the least, the lost, and the lonely, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and what better way to do that than to throw a party!

How is God calling you to serve?

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.

Going…Going…Gone

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

Holy cow! You folks are awesome! I was checking the Lenten Devotionals at the Welcome Center and after the first week, two-thirds of them have been picked up. Hopefully, you all remembered to start them on Ash Wednesday. If not, no worries just start today!

If you forgot to pick yours up (or, like me, prefer to see them on your phone), here are a few suggestions for online devotionals:

Redeemer – Lenten Devotionals These are devotionals written by the staff at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. You can view it each day through this link, or there is an app.

The Gospel of Mark Online Bible Study If you’re looking for a slightly more intense study, here is a study on the book of Mark. There is a workbook to purchase, but it’s a great online community to support you through the six weeks.

Featured Plans: Prepare for Easter, Find Jesus, Rediscover Tradition, and more This one is my personal favorite because, with the Bible App, I can set a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget. I’m working through Preparing Our Hearts for Easter: A Lenten Devotional and Lent: Journey According To Luke.

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.