Purpose of CTK Monroe: To create a family of Christ followers who are devoted to making disciples of Jesus.

On this page, you will find a description of the culture that we are working to build within CTKM.  It does mention beliefs and touches on some of our shared doctrines, but the primary purpose is to describe the “feel” of this group of Christ Followers.  Admittedly we have not fully achieved this culture but it is what we are striving towards.  

Why do we use the term “Family” in our purpose statement?  We use the term family in our purpose statement because that is how we see the early church functioning in the New Testament.  We think that disciples are best made within relationships that function like family.  The early church was NOT a weekend or Sunday event but an everyday adventure.  It was highly relational.  The emphasis of Acts 2 is on people meeting, eating and praying together.  Breaking bread and fellowship are on par with the Apostles teaching and prayer.  The church was cellular like a family.  The big was made up of the small.  It was joyful.  When the first church got together it was a happy experience.  Words like “glad, sincere, enjoying” speak to the fact that they were a happy group.  The people cared about each other.  In the first century church many people were getting their needs met because believers simply noticed that each other had needs and responded to them.

All of us come from a human family that is less than perfect.  What might be normal in our family experience might not necessarily be healthy.  What we have experienced in other church experiences might also not be healthy.  So, we have attempted to describe how we are trying to function as a healthy family of Christ followers who are devoted to making disciples of Jesus.

This family has a deep sense of commitment to Christ.

This commitment to Christ supersedes any political affiliation, traditions or loyalties to human leaders.  The name of our church pretty much says it all, “Christ the King”.  Our commitment to Jesus is what unites us.  A biological family is related by blood.  This family is also related by blood, the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross.
  • “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus.  Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:13

This family has a deep sense of commitment to each other.

In a healthy family you won’t find members tearing each other down or hurting each other due to their own insecurities.  Brothers and sisters in Christ look out for each other and look for ways to encourage each other in their God-given gifts and callings.

A key factor in being committed to each other is, knowing each other.  As this family grows and more members are added it becomes difficult to know everyone intimately, but we are committed to knowing some intimately and allowing ourselves to be known.  This is achieved by making and taking opportunities to listen to others.  
  • “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
  • “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  1 John 3:16

This family makes family time a priority.

Much of our time as individuals is spent “scattered” throughout the week.  We work, go to school, sleep, and spend time with friends, on hobbies and with our own biological family.  Time scattered is where God most likely will use us to connect to people who do not have a relationship with Him.  So, just like the members of a biological family will prioritize family meals, play dates, family vacations and so on, a healthy family of Christ Followers prioritizes the few times a week they spend together.  They block out this time so that relationships and priorities don’t deteriorate.  Being together and making ourselves available to love and be loved strengthens relationships.  Sometimes family members face challenging times and gathering with the family is hard.  We want to always send the message that someone is missed, without implying that anyone is disappointed in them.  That’s just not who we want to be.  If someone says, “I’ve missed you” in a healthy family you never have to apologize.  No one is looking down on you.  They simply want you to know that you are loved and it’s better when you are around.  So, feel free to reply with, “Thank you!  I’ve missed you too!”

If we don’t prioritize family time we quickly become a collection of strangers who happen to share some beliefs.  When we do get together it feels awkward and uncomfortable.  When we look at the New Testament church we see that they prioritized time together and a family culture developed.  We think that is a great environment for making disciples.
  • "All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer."  Acts 2:42
  • "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:25

This family communicates in ways that are healthy and constructive.

There is always a need to communicate within a family.  Sometimes we simply need to share information.  Other times we may need to listen to news that is hard to hear or we might need to figure out how to work together.  Regardless of what needs to be communicated we want to be clear and constructive.  We want to give others the benefit of the doubt if we believe a mistake has been made.  We want to ask questions to make sure that we understand a situation clearly before we assume something negative.  We want to avoid passive-aggressive behavior like avoiding someone, giving them the silent treatment or making broad announcing statements that really should be addressed to an individual.  A foundation of healthy and constructive communication is listening.  It’s easy to become upset and confused, and before we know it we are reacting and speaking.  A lot of damage can be done with our words.  Before we speak to someone else about a situation, we want to pause and ask ourselves, “Is it true?  Is what I plan to say helpful?  Am I planning on speaking to the right person?

If we are simply sharing information, texts and emails can save a lot of time.  If we suspect that what we have to say could be misunderstood or potentially hard to hear, then we want to speak directly to a person.
  • "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."  James 1:19
  • "They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone." Titus 3:2
  • "We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire."  James 3:3-5
  • "Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29

This family builds each other up, and demonstrates sincere appreciation for one another.

It’s super easy to spot flaws and mistakes.  What takes effort and skill is the ability to build up someone else.  We want to be “gold miners” in this family.  We don’t want to dish out shallow empty praise, but we do want to keep our eyes open to see what good things God is doing in and through others.  We want to put courage into one another.  We want to catch each other doing good and acknowledging it often.  Any time that we gather together there are hundreds of opportunities to be thankful for who someone is or what they have done in our family.  We want to be on the look out for an opportunity to encourage someone or show that we appreciate who they are, and what they do.  A Pastor who had been in ministry for 50 years was asked, “What do you wish you had done differently?”  His response was, “I wish I had spent more time encouraging others.”  Life is filled with challenges, pain and difficulties.  God chose to create each member of this family and we want to acknowledge their value, worth and gifts.  
  • "One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours." Romans 1:10-12
  • "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3:12
  • "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

This family looks out for each other.

Members of a healthy family operate in humility, gentleness and patience.  We want others to be safe, experience healing, fulfillment and growth.  We don’t want a controlling culture of distrust, but we do want to protect those who need protecting, encourage those who need courage, comfort those who need comfort and be of help to others spiritually and physically.  This requires that we frequently take our eyes off of ourselves to check on those around us.  We don’t look at others for reasons of comparison or competition, but rather with a motivation of love to make sure that they are ok.  

We want to believe the best of others but unfortunately sometimes people will slip into a church with bad motives. They may function like a predator physically, spiritually or both.  Some churches display signs that say, “All are Welcome” or “Always a Place for You!”  We understand the heart behind those types of statements but the truth is that not everyone is welcome in this family.  We have plenty of grace and mercy for those who make mistakes and who are repentant and teachable.  However, we love the members of this family and if someone tries to stir up disunity, wants to point others away from Christ or has intent to hurt others, then we have no problem telling them to “bounce”.  
  • "Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.  If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important."  Galatians 6:1-3
  • "Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."  Ephesians 4:14-16
  • "And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them."  Romans 16:7
  • "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:34-35

This family resolves conflicts constructively and quickly.

Wherever there are people there will be conflict.  Every family experiences conflict and it is no different within this family of Christ Followers.  We all have different preferences, schedules, gifts, challenges, opportunities, opinions, fears, strengths and struggles. Being committed to resolving conflict constructively and quickly is vital to functioning as a family of Christ followers who are devoted to making disciples of Jesus.  If we find ourselves in a conflict we want to take the lead on resolving that conflict.  It’s our job to lead the way.  It’s up to us to engage the conflict.

The first question we want to ask ourselves “Is the conflict sin?”  What really happened?  Has the other person sinned against you OR is it:
  • Poor communication – Some disputes arise because of misunderstandings, or jumping to conclusions.  We hear part of a conversation or get secondhand information.
  • A difference in responsibilities – Others have different responsibilities than we do and this may cause them to make decisions that leave us feeling like they don’t care about us.  They might have more to consider in some situations than I do.  Have I been sinned against OR did I simply not get what I wanted?  Sometimes those with more responsibility can’t give us what we want because they have to consider a bigger picture.
  • How we feel about ourselves – Am I interpreting an action as an offense towards me, because I don’t feel good about myself?  If I am feeling insecure or negatively about myself it’s easy to misread the actions of those around me as being aimed at me.
  • An issue of timing – Did I get a “snarling” response from someone because they are feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired?  If I get behavior that seems out of character, it’s wise to pause before embracing an offense.  I might choose to ask, “are you okay?”  A potentially toxic conflict with someone might be avoided by taking the time to see if someone is in pain.
    • All of these questions require that we pause.  Pausing can often keep us from making a difficult situation worse.

Next we want to ask ourselves “What is my motive?”  If someone has done something that hurt me and I I’m going to confront the issue, it’s important to be clear WHY we are going to them.  Am I going because I value the relationship?  Am I going to correct them?  Am I going to them because I want to punish them and make them feel the pain that I’ve felt?  Do I feel self-righteous?  It’s easy to be blind to my own sin when I feel self-righteous.  Self-righteousness is the opposite of humility.  Humility creates solution space.  Am I going in anger?  If I’m angry it’s easy to sin against others.  I might even find myself sinning against the person that I am confronting about sinning against me.  We want our motive to be to restore our relationship with the other person.  

Then we want to lead ourselves and take action.  We don’t say to ourselves “let the other person come to me.”  They might not have any idea there is a problem.  We don’t want to avoid conflict.  Avoiding conflict is “faking peace”.  In Matthew 18 Jesus gives instructions on how to deal with conflict and they can be summarized like this:  When conflict arises you go to the person in private and discuss the problem for reconciliation.

When it’s time to go and talk with the person it’s best to keep it “personal”.  If we believe that someone has sinned against us our feelings are probably hurt so we need to remember that they are a person.  When we engage them, we want to engage them as a person, not as a monster, not as an enemy. A person just like you.  Our anger tends to dehumanize the person that hurt us. 

We want to begin in private, just between us and them.  If you talk with a third party you run the risk that you will spread an offense.  If you realize you were wrong, the correction rarely gets spread.  The third party you talked to might “borrow” your offense.  They will be angry at the someone FOR YOU.  

Next you want to be able to name it.  What sin has been committed against you?  If you can’t name it, it’s not time to bring it up.  If you can’t communicate what sin a person has committed against you, how can you expect them to respond in a helpful way?

Consider your approach.  If you blew it, and sinned against someone or they thought you would you like to be approached?   Try to express your desire to open a conversation because your relationship with the person is important to you.  Be prepared to listen as well as talking.  Are you interested in getting something off your chest or do you want to figure out a problem so that the relationship can be restored?
  • "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back." Matthew 18:15
  • "And "don’t sin by letting anger control you." Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,  for anger gives a foothold to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27

This family laughs and plays together often.

We see that those within the early church enjoyed each other.  Laughter and play is common within healthy families.  We want to laugh with each other and not at each other.  We want to be a family that takes following Jesus very seriously and we understand that laughter and play are vital in keeping our relationships with each other strong and healthy.  Laughing together and playing together often has a healing affect on people who have carried great burdens and have suffered pain.  Joy is one of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit so it makes sense that a family of Christ followers who were filled with God’s Spirit would be a joyful group.  We see value in activities that allow people to laugh and play and take a break from the burdens that they carry.  When people are playing together they often share who they are.  Important conversations and friendships often grow as we are playing together.  So, you may find this family playing a game together, having a picnic, going on a hike, or laughing at something goofy.  We want to be people who don’t take ourselves too seriously.  Being able to laugh at ourselves keeps us humble and approachable.  
  • "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength."  Proverbs 17:22
  • "They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved." Acts 2:46-47

This family cries together.

When you love someone you often feel they’re pain.  Life is full of joy and it is often full of disappointments and sorrow.  We find out who our truest friends are when we are crying.  In the Bible a man named Job suffered terrible loss and three of his friends showed up and for several days they simply cried with him.  It was the best thing they could have done for him.  Unfortunately they stopped crying with Job and started lecturing him.  In the New Testament we are instructed to “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)  Before we can do this we have to allow each other to know our pain.  Many times when someone cries in public they will often say things like, “I’m sorry”.  We say this because we feel like we have done something wrong and have burdened someone else with our emotions.  We want to be a family where people don’t feel the need to apologize for letting their pain show.  We can be a comfort and encouragement to each other by simply being present with them as they experience sorrow.  There are many situation where we are not able to fix a problem or situation that causes tears for someone else.  What we can do is acknowledge their pain and walk beside them.  

This family is devoted to God’s word, the Bible.

Everyone needs to find “true north”. At CTK Monroe, we believe in the trustworthiness of God and His word. Our trust in God’s Word is based on the belief that there is a God, and that this God has taken steps to reveal Himself to us. We believe the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind. As such, the scripture is our final authority for what we believe and practice.

The Bible itself is the best evidence for what it claims to be, the very word of God. The Bible is “alive” (Hebrews 4:12). Because the words are the breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16), the Bible is useful for teaching (“this is the right path”), rebuking (“you are on the wrong path”), correcting (“this is the way back to the path”), and training (“this is how you stay on the path”).

At CTKM we interpret the Bible “normally” – at face value according to its literary style and context. All our teachings are Bible based.  We don’t toss out what the Bible teaches when it conflicts with the culture or social norms around us.  If we are going to fulfill our purpose of making disciples, then as a family we must remain devoted as individuals and a corporate body to God’s word the Bible.  

You’ll notice that we devote time during the Sunday morning gathering to teaching from the Bible.  We also provide Bible reading plans and encourage everyone to read the Bible for themselves.  Often when we gather to pray we might ask, “How should or could we pray in light of what we’ve learned from the Bible?”

This family is devoted to prayer.

Prayer is simply communication with God.  As followers of Jesus Christ we want to be talking to God all the time.  We talk to God when we gather, and when we scatter, in groups or as individuals.  We want to talk to God about every aspect of life because when we pray we are inviting God’s involvement in our lives.  We are not really concerned with impressive words while praying, we just want people to talk openly and honestly with God.  We realize that as we engage God in conversation we ourselves often are changed as a result.  

We see instruction in scripture as to the importance of a healthy personal prayer life for individuals.  We also see that as early Christ followers gathered they prayed and God responded.
  • "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. " Matthew 7:7-8
  • "Pray like this:  Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one."  Matthew 6:9-13
  • "But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him."  Acts 12:5
  • "When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them."  Acts 20:36
  • "Then they all prayed, 'O Lord, you know every heart.  Show us which of these men you have chosen.'" Acts 1:24

This family desires to grow. 

If a family doesn’t keep having “children” the family eventually ceases to exist.  This family wants to grow, and it wants to grow because disciples of Jesus are being made. “Family” describes how we want to function.  The purpose of our family is to make disciples because that is what Jesus told us to do before He returned to His Father in Heaven.  As a family we want to keep our “Arrows Out”.  We view the time that we are “scattered” as being just as important as when we are gathered.  Discipleship is a process that can begin as a friendship with someone who is not currently in a right relationship with God.  Sometimes within a biological family people will become threatened or insecure when new babies are born.  They fear that there isn’t enough love and attention to go around.  We don’t worry about that in this family.  We know that there is no limit to God’s love and our love for each other will grow as the family grows.  

We want God to use us to build relational highways between himself and people.  When someone is courageous enough to visit us at a gathering we want to make sure that they know that they are welcome.  We also take Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” seriously.  We are willing to be used by God outside of our gatherings to build relational highways between people and Jesus.  
  • "Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
  • "Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,  'Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.'"  Mark 9:36-37

This family wants to be Spirit-led.

Christ is our primary example and we can clearly see in scripture that he was led by God’s Spirit to do the Father’s will while he was on earth.  Jesus’ earliest disciples relied on the Holy Spirit to lead them and empower them to do God’s will.  We never want to claim that God’s Spirit was leading us to do something when the idea or motivation began with us, however we do expect God to speak to our hearts and minds.  We want to be sensitive to His direction and wisdom.  We want the attitudes of our heart and our approach to life to echo “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.  Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.”  
  • "After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”   Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil."   Matthew 3:16-4:1
  • "Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. " Acts 16:7
  • "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives."  Galatians 5:25
  • "Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts." Ephesians 5:17-19

This family values spiritual maturity.

Spiritual maturity is the goal of every follower of Jesus.  We want to become more like Jesus.  This happens as we apply the truth of His word (The Bible) to our lives and as we spend time with Him in prayer and worship. 

Because spiritual maturity is the goal of every Christ follower, God in His wisdom designed the members of this family to help each other mature and grow.  Sometimes we are able to help others grow because of the gifts and abilities that God has given us.  Sometimes we grow in love and patience as we deal with one another’s imperfections.  Spiritual maturity requires a teachable heart and the courage to consider who we are today and what needs to look more like Jesus.
  • "Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.   Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."  Ephesians 4:11-16
  • "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory."  Romans 8:29-30

This family is grace-based.

What is grace?  Grace is God’s unmerited or unearned favor.  Grace is getting what we don’t deserve from God.  "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." - Ephesians 2:8-9

What do we mean by saying we are grace-BASED?  Base is the place you call home.  It’s the place you repeatedly return to, the foundation from which you build.  Everything we do as a church is built upon God's grace.  God extends grace to us so that we can have a right relationship with Him.  We extend grace to others, so that they can have a right relationship with God.  Failure does not have to be final.

We see in scripture that grace is paired with Truth.  Grace and Truth are like the handrails of a suspension bridge because they keep us from falling into error.  We are determined to be full of Truth and Grace.  You might find that people that gather with CTK Monroe haven’t completely surrendered all aspects of their life to God.  We’re glad they are here.  We are holding onto the handrail of grace.  You might find that we allow people to belong here before they believe, because we are holding onto the handrail of Grace.  You might notice that when the Bible calls an action or an attitude a sin, we're going to talk about it and teach about it.  If the Bible calls an activity or attitude sin, then we call it sin too even if it’s countercultural or unpopular, because we are holding onto the handrail of truth.  

How we respond to the sins of others is determined by where we are based.  We have three choices:  We can be Legal Based, License Based or Grace Based.
Some groups are:
  • Legal Based
    • They view failure as final.  They recognize how destructive sin is but their attitude is “Jesus already forgave you once…don’t mess up again!”
    • There is a lot of FEAR for those who are legal based.  When they do fail/sin they hide it and when sin is finally revealed it has usually grown/multiplied.
    • Because they are not resting in and enjoying God’s grace, they tend not to pass grace on to others.
    • Is heavy on Truth, light on Grace. 
    • Feels like you're being policed.
      • Not "protected" but watched for error.
    • Insecurity runs high
    • A lot of comparison
    • In a legal based group TOO MUCH EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON OUR BEHAVIOR because they ignore or forget that it’s Jesus’ righteousness that saves us.
      • End Result
        • No, one experiences life change.
        • No, one begins to look more like Jesus.
  • License Based
    • Treats the grace of God as a “license” to sin.
    • Failure/sin is ignored or even celebrated.
    • Doesn’t want to talk about sin at all, “Let’s just talk about the love of God.”
    • Love to talk about grace but not truth.
    • Because they view sin as inconsequential when anyone does bring up sin they are quickly accused of being “judgmental”.
    • Often the only “sin” that is called out is being “intolerant”.
    • Sin is left up to us as individuals to define.
      • End Result
        • Sinful behavior goes unchecked along with it’s destructive power.
        • No, one begins to look more like Jesus.
  • Grace Based
    • Failure is not final.
    • Our Position has been changed, we are saved, we are safe because of our faith in Jesus, AND, We are in process of becoming more like Jesus.  (Sanctification)
    • Love each other enough to tell the truth (word of God)
    • Views people as being saved AND being transformed.
    • Overcoming sin is celebrated.
    • When someone fails/sins, we offer them a hand so that they can get back up and keep following Jesus.
    • We see that this is how Jesus operated w/ people.
      • Jesus meets a guy like Peter and tells him, “Follow Me”.  Later, when Peter failed, Jesus didn’t treat him like it was final.
      • Jesus meets a guy like Matthew who was a notorious sinner and tells him, “Follow Me”.  Matthew’s life is so transformed that he records Jesus’ teachings.

We want to be grace based…we return to grace…it’s our home…because the Bible repeatedly “sweeps” us away from Legal and towards Grace.  It sweeps us away from License and towards Grace.  This “sweeping” calls us to question our behavior.  The Bible teaches us to enjoy God’s grace without abusing it.
  • Away from Legal:  Ephesians 2:4-10
    • But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,  that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
      • Why does Ephesians say this?  To sweep us away from basing our lives in legalism and to rest in Jesus’ work.
  • Away from License:  Romans 6:1-14
    • "Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.  Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.  Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace."
      • Why does Romans say this?  To sweep us towards grace and away from licensing sin.  Our behavior has a positive or negative impact on our relationship with God.  The correct response to God’s grace is always repentance or turning away from sin.


Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little more about this family.  We are a work in progress and we hope that we can become more and more effective in making disciples of Jesus.