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Introduction: Graceful Living

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Jesus Christ said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus Christ presented himself as the answer to every need of the human heart. The New Testament writers unanimously taught the same. Multitudes of people throughout the centuries since have witnessed that he does indeed do what he promised for those who trust and follow him.

How Jesus Discipled Me

I have been a Jesus follower for more than 40 years now. Not once have I regretted that decision. I am a lifelong learner, a student of God’s Word and my Lord’s life. He teaches me in many ways. Recently, someone asked me, “How has Jesus discipled you? What has made the most impact on my life?” When it comes to knowing who I am and where I stand with my God, without a doubt, the best course I have ever taken was T.E.A.M. Training, created by Tim Stevenson and offered through Crossroads Bible Church in recent years. I found that this course effectively covered the foundational principles of Christianity—who Christ is, what He accomplished on the cross for us, what the resurrection means for us, and our identity in him. It communicated clearly and succinctly to me what I needed to know to live dependently on Christ and rest in my assurance of life in him and through him. Through T.E.A.M., I learned more about the purpose for the cross and the resurrection than I had ever heard before. I learned how to recognize the poison of legalism in a Christian’s life. It was through T.E.A.M. that I became aware that my flesh is not getting better the longer I know Christ. I need to depend 100% on him now as I ever did as a young believer in the 70s. Hundreds of others also found their lives transformed as they understood God’s grace toward them and active in their lives. They, too, experienced a life of freedom and joy!

Times change; people change; circumstances change. T.E.A.M. Training is no longer being taught. Yet, these truths are essential for every believer to enjoy the life God has planned for her. So, with permission from Tim Stevenson to adapt the course (given as a series of lectures) to a women’s Bible study, Graceful Living is the result and is freely available to everyone. The core of the study is based on what was taught in the original T.E.A.M. course, including many of the charts. I have revised the wording and added information where needed to make the studies flow better.

The heart of the course has remained true to the original—the message of God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ and the reality of “Christ alive and living in me.” This study will help you build a foundation for successful, enjoyable Christian living and to equip you for personal ministry to others. All based on “grace.” You will experience a life of freedom and joy!

Importance of the Theology of Grace

It is critically important for women who know Christ to have sound theology (rational, systematic understanding of God). Theology is inescapable. Any thoughts you have about God or information you receive about God is theology. We live according to our theology. Our theology can be based on truth or error. Truth and error lead to dramatically different results. Jesus told those who believed in him, “…If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) If truth sets you free, then the opposite is also true: it is error that binds you.

Jesus Christ invites you to follow him in discipleship—not to imprison you but to give you abundant life and rest for your soul. What Jesus offers to his followers is life full of his grace.

What is grace? In particular, what is God’s grace?

Focus on the Meaning: “Transformation takes place in the context of grace. Grace is commonly defined as unmerited favor…an undeserved gift. We understand grace is required for salvation and yet too often, grace is forgotten afterwards. We move into a graceless-centered life and instead tie our spiritual growth to works-based performance. God cannot love us more, and he refuses to love us less. Performance does not earn salvation, love, transformation or spiritual growth.” (Debby Rowe, The Disciplemaking Ministry Guide, “Navigate” page 9)

Understanding God’s grace given to you is essential to enjoying the life that God has planned for you. May our “Grace-giving” God completely fill your heart with his grace so that you become a “Grace-giver” in your life. “Graceful living” is life overflowing with his grace—a life of freedom and joy!

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