Impact: Decision (Day 6)

  • When did you decide to follow Jesus?  Take a few minutes and think through why you decided to follow him.  What were your thoughts and feelings during that time?
  • Read the story of the rich young ruler again (Matthew 19:16-30; or Mark 10:17-31; or Luke 18:18-30).  
    • Jesus realized this about the young man – that he was trying to add Jesus to his life.  Jesus wanted the young man to make him everything in his life.
  • How have you tried to add Jesus to your life?  Or another way to ask that question is, “How have you tried to keep control of part of your life?”.
    • What have tried to keep control of in your life?
  • What makes you trust Jesus?  If we have decided to follow him, that means that we trust him.  Think of areas in your life where you do trust him.  
  • There is a direct correlation between trust and decision.  If you trust that Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then he has to be the one who guides you and  helps you.  One of the amazing things about God is that he loves you, wants you, wants to help and guide you but will only do as much as you allow him to do.  So if we decide to not trust Jesus with areas of our life, he will push, want and encourage you to trust him, but he will not decide for you.  We must have faith in him.
  • Know that God loves you and has purpose for you.  Trust him and decide to follow him completely.  
  • Psalm 37:5
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Romans 8:28
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • 1 Peter 5:7
-Myron Klesner

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Impact: Decision (Day 5)

Life is filled with big decisions! You would think by the time everyone reached adulthood, they would be “pros” at making decisions, but we all know that it isn’t the case. Following Jesus is one of those big decisions. Actually, it is the biggest decision that you can make. It should not be a half-hearted one, but a complete and total commitment to following The Way, The Truth, and The Life. 

There are a few things that get in the way of following The Way.

First is Ignorance.

You could be unaware of how God wants to change your life and how incredible it actually is. The Old and New Testament are filled with these stories! God is a professional at making broken things new again.  

Second is Fear.

Total commitment can often bring fear because we have to completely surrender to the will of God. We are afraid of the unknown and what’s to come. We don’t like the fact that we don’t have complete knowledge or control of how God is going to use us. This unknown is actually a beautiful thing because we limit ourselves so much! God will surprise you and use you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. Don’t let fear hold you back!

Third is Apathy.

It is the feeling of, “I’m okay where I am right now.” You could be in the bottom of a pit, but you just don’t care to get out of it. Jesus said he that he came that you may have life, and have it to the full! (John 10:10) Don’t let past disappointments get in the way of what God has planned for you. 

These three things keep people from really committing their life to Jesus. Here are a few questions for you to ponder today:

  1. Has ignorance kept you from really committing your whole life to Jesus?
  2. Is fear of the unknown something that you’re afraid of?
  3. Are you satisfied where you are now and don’t want God to change you?

 Jesus wants all of us, not half of us. Don’t let anything get in the way of that decision.

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for being the master planner, the one that I can completely trust with my life. If there is anything keeping me from really following you, please help me identify them and work through them because I know your will is so much better than mine. Amen.”
 
-Kendall Beye

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Impact: Decision (Day 4)

To be alive at the time of Jesus and meet him face to face, can you imagine how great that would have been? Don’t get me wrong, I know that having the Holy Spirit is better, because Jesus told us so. Yet to be able to walk and talk with him in the flesh, that would’ve been something special to experience (to say the least). 

One of the reasons I think we like the idea of being in the physical presence of Jesus so much is simply this: answers. If you asked him a question in person, you’d expect that he would quickly respond. How many of us would love to be able to talk with him just so we could get instant answers? 

There was a man in Mark 10 that we refer to as the “rich young ruler” because we really don’t know a lot about him. He asked Jesus a question, a great question, actually the best question he could ask: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” If you’ve got only one question you can ask Jesus, I think this would be the one. But here’s the dilemma, when Jesus is asked a questions, often times he presents the asker with a decision to make. He told the man to sell everything he had, give it to the poor, and then to follow him. Unfortunately scripture tells us that the man went away sad. This was a decision he made and unfortunately his wealth won. That’s Jesus though. We know that the decision to follow him will cost us everything ultimately. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

The decision costs us everything, but the decision is also worth it.

What decision might Jesus be challenging you to make?
 
-Adam Green

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Impact: Decision (Day 3)

All through the Bible people had to make decisions!  

– Adam and Eve to obey God or decide to sin!  Genesis 3:1-24

– Cain and Abel had to decide what offering they would give to God.  Genesis 4:1-8

– Noah and his family had to decide to build the ark like God asked them.  Genesis 6:9-22

– Abraham had to decide to follow God’s direction for his life to a new place.  Genesis 12:1-5

– Jacob decided to show favoritism toward Joseph which made all the sons jealous and angry toward Joseph!  Genesis 37:1-4

– Joshua decided, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

– Elijah told the people of Israel to decide between two opinions!  “If the Lord is God, follow Him.”  But if Baal, follow him.  I Kings 18:20-24

– Jesus told the tax collector named Matthew to decide if he was going to follow him. Matthew 9:9

– Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24

We all must decide will we follow Jesus or not!

In Wichita, Kansas on Woodlawn Street was a body of believers that called themselves the Woodlawn Christian Church.  My family was very active in the church.  I still remember the Sunday in 2nd grade that I decided to follow Jesus by going forward and telling everyone that I believed Jesus to be the Christ and being baptized into Christ.  I have been following Him now for 50 years!  

How long ago was your decision to follow Jesus? God will take care of you when you follow His Son! 
 
-Jeff Davis

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Impact: Decision (Day 2)

It was an early morning in the hotel breakfast area with my wife as we were getting ready to head to a conference with the Boldt’s. I didn’t think much of the splashing sounds coming from the pool area nearby.  When much to my surprise, through the breakfast lobby walks Nathan in his swimming trunks and towel, barefoot, still dripping from his dip in the pool.  As he walked past each table, an awkward moment was exchanged between him and all the breakfast eaters. I couldn’t help but think…could you at least put a shirt on or maybe wait till the breakfast area isn’t full of innocent bystanders?
 
Have you ever wished people would make better decisions? I don’t know so much about other people, but I know there’s been many moments in my life that I regret choices I’ve made.
 
We make decisions everyday that impact our future, family, careers and most importantly our relationship with Christ.  So, today what choice can you make that has a direct impact on you or someone else’s relationship with Christ? Today, choose well. Next time, I might make the wise choice: to stay at a different hotel.

Joshua 24:15 “…choose today whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
 
-Doug Songer

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Impact: Decision (Day 1)

Not everyone says “yes” to Jesus.

King Agrippa said “no.” The rich young ruler said” no.” Some were too busy for Jesus. One criminal on the cross came to Christ, while the other one didn’t. Even his own home town rejected him.

John 6:66 “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

John 1:11 “He came to his own people and they rejected him.”

Why?

Following Jesus is a decision that effects every area of your life. And not everyone wants every area effected.

Most want Heaven, but not everyone wants a take over. And that’s what making the decision to follow Christ is.

Jesus never diluted his invitation. We do today though. We try to make it easier to follow Jesus than what He made it. At times it seemed that Jesus was working hard to get people NOT to follow him.

From the get-go, his invitation has been an “all-in” invitation. And nothing less.

 
-Nathan Boldt

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Impact: Forgiveness (Day 6)

It was January 2013 when I got the call.  The car accident was really bad. I got to the hospital just in time to pray with the family before they life-flighted her to Wichita. My friends from high school and now fellow church members and family friends had no idea their day would be like this.  At that moment, I didn’t know how she would be by the time we made it to Wichita. 

Little did I know that things would turn out amazing! Despite the major head trauma, days in the hospital, physical therapy, and thousands of dollars in medical bills she made a full recovery. But in this case the full recovery doesn’t just mean physical recovery. 

It would have been so easy to be bitter, unforgiving, and vengeful. It was only natural really. So when she could have laid on guilt or planned ways to pay back, no one would have blamed her!  You can imagine my surprise when she said she was meeting with the person who ran into her car that day. Not to lash out, but to come alongside someone who was struggling thru life with addictions and hang-ups.  She didn’t want to just be that person that was hurt in the wreck. She wanted him to see Jesus through her.  

I don’t know about you, but I love stories of forgiveness. There’s something incredible and unique about each one. Maybe I’m drawn to them because I’m aware of what forgiveness means in my own life. God could have been vengeful for my sin that put His son on the cross, but instead he came alongside me through my addictions and hang ups in life. Next time you have the opportunity to choose bitterness or forgiveness, can I encourage you to consider what Jesus did for you.  

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NLT

-Doug Songer

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Impact: Forgiveness (Day 5)

(Luke 17:3-4 NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Jesus doesn’t put a limit on our forgiveness. It would be so much easier if he had! I’m a big fan of the NIV translation but not in this case. Jesus’ words in the original Greek seem to be much more exaggerated. The result is not “seventy-seven times”, but “seventy times seven”. Jesus simply isn’t saying after many many many times of forgiveness, eventually that is enough. No, he is saying that you’ll never reach your limit of forgiveness because there isn’t one. Jesus wants us to be radical in our forgiveness because of the forgiveness that we’ve received from Him!

When we radically forgive someone, God is glorified in that moment. The Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians said that his imprisonment was used by God to advance the Gospel. So can your story of forgiveness!

I apologize if this story is a little touchy for some, but it’s true in the life of two people I hold dear to my heart. Radical forgiveness is possible. I have a friend who had an affair and they were forgiven by their spouse. It happened a second time. It happened a third time. The spouse chose to completely rely on Jesus to make it through this incredibly tough time in the life of their family. It took years to heal, but God is using this marriage to advance the Gospel in ways that most could never imagine. 

When Paul was in prison, it didn’t make sense that this could be used for any good at all, but many came to Christ because of it. When my friends were going through this time, forgiveness didn’t make sense, but their story is now used to strengthen marriages and glorify God. It didn’t make sense to the disciples when Jesus was lifted up on the cross, but thankfully, three days later it did!

“Heavenly Father, my sins against you equal a debt too large for me to pay. My sins were countless, yet you’ve forgiven them in full. I want to forgive others because of the way you’ve forgiven me. I need help! Teach me to extend your grace and mercy to others. Amen.”
 
-Kendall Beye

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Impact: Forgiveness (Day 4)

Have you ever become used to not forgiving someone? I know I have. It is especially hard when they continue the same actions that gave us the hard feelings in the first place.  One of the biggest lessons in my life on forgiveness happened before I came to Tyro.  There were two men in my church that got a bur under their saddle about me.  Instead of talking to me about it, they talked about me to others.  It eventually became so bad that I quit my ministry and moved to Kansas.  It took  months, if not years for my heart to forgive them.  Here are a few things I learned – 
  • God has something better for me when I forgive someone.
    • Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
  • Unforgiveness hurts me more than than them.
    • Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
  • Forgiveness is not easy, but is a must for my relationship with Christ.
    • Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
  • I become more Christ like when I forgive.
    • I John 1:9- 10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
  • Unforgiveness changes my behavior to those around me.
    • Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The Bible is full of help and instructions for us to love, forgive and care for others.  That doesn’t mean that it is always easy, but it is the best for us, for those around us and for those who look to us as an example.  Remember when the lawyers asked Jesus what the great commandment of God was? Matthew tells us “22:37-39 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 
 
These two commands have everything to do with forgiving others whether they deserve it or not. 
Dwell on them in your life.
 
-Myron Klesner
 

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Impact: Forgiveness (Day 3)

Airline fees. Two words that can quickly strike panic in our hearts. (Or just fees in general for that matter) While preparing for any upcoming service trip, I had to make a name change on one of the airline tickets. I did my research to see if there would be any complications to this process. It seemed straightforward enough, except for one small thing: a $125 fee attached to making any changes to the existing itinerary. I dreaded this. And honestly, I put off the call for a bit because I knew how it would turn out. There hadn’t been a death or anything, so I was preparing to find a way to cover the $125 fee needed.

I finally made the call and connected with a seemingly friendly agent. Though I thought it was futile, I explained the situation: An original member of the group had sustained an injury and was told by his doctors that he couldn’t fly anytime soon. The agent was kind and quickly replaced the name on the ticket. She then asked if there was anything else I needed before the call concluded. Sheepishly, I asked if there were any fees involved in the change. Much to my delight, the agent told me that she had waived the fees because she felt bad for the injured young man. Forgiveness of the fee was what I had hoped for, but definitely wasn’t what I was counting on. $125 may not seem like a lot, but in a trip with college students, it can make a big difference.

We can pretty easily grasp what it is to be let off the hook for a fine or fee (Have you ever received only a warning when you were sure you would get a big speeding ticket?) But what God has done for us is so far beyond that. The many ways that Christ has forgiven us expands so much further any amount of money that we can attach to the idea. We have been given the ultimate forgiveness, being washed clean in Jesus’ blood, and given an invitation into eternity with Him. There is nothing so awesome or precious as the forgiveness that we have in Christ.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace -Ephesians 1:7
 
-Adam Green

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