11. Become a Grace-GiverRelated Media
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Jesus Christ gave his life for you by grace, so he could give his life to you by grace, so he could live his life through you by grace. Knowing Christ’s love for you and the presence of his life in you should motivate you to “live for him” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20) and to serve him through serving others (John 13:1-15; Galatians 5:13-14; Philippians 2:1-4). Both are responses to God’s grace in your life. So is letting his life in you overflow to others around you, particularly those who need to know Christ.
Think About It: “Often we embrace grace, and then live according to works. If we choose to celebrate His grace and ALL of its implications as part of our daily worship, we become people who experience incredible joy and freedom that we LONG to give away!” (Judy Brower, The Disciplemaking Ministry Guide for Women in Leadership, “Navigate the Disciplemaking Pathway: Establish,” page 30)
Day One Study
Jesus Christ Calls Believers to Join in His Work.
1. Read Matthew 9:36-38. How does Jesus feel about the crowds? What does he declare to his disciples?
The evidences of human distress are everywhere around us. Women are in bondage to guilt, fear, destructive behavior, and fatigue due to the burden of responsibilities. Add to that erroneous views of God that leave them feeling empty, confused, and without meaning and purpose. Failure in relationships leaves women with a sense of rejection, worthlessness and extreme loneliness. Jesus Christ’s plan to meet that need for every woman is…himself. And, he communicated this plan to his disciples in “the Great Commission.”
2. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Discuss what Jesus is actually commissioning his followers to do.
The Great Commission has one single focus: “Make disciples.” Jesus Christ chooses to accomplish the Great Commission through people—ordinary men and women like you and I as we are “going” about life sharing Christ by word and action to those around us, baptizing new believers as a symbolic proclamation of their new life inside, and teaching them who Christ is, what he accomplished on the cross for them, and how they can live out their new identity in him.
Historical Insight: “MEN WERE HIS METHOD.... It all started with Jesus calling a few men to follow him. This revealed immediately the direction his evangelistic strategy would take. His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow...what is more revealing about these men is that at first they do not impress us as being key men...Yet Jesus saw in these simple men the potential of leadership in the Kingdom. They were indeed ‘unlearned and ignorant’ according to the world’s standard, but they were teachable...What is perhaps most significant about them was their sincere yearning for God and the realities of his life...Such men, pliable in the hands of the Master, could be molded into a new image—Jesus can use anyone who wants to be used.” (Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism)
Jesus chooses to have his followers tell his story—what he did for them and through them. You have a story to share. Through sharing your story, you become a grace-giver to those who listen.
Writing Your Faith Story
Focus on the Meaning: “People love to hear stories. This is evidenced by all the money that is spent watching movies, attending the theatre, buying books and by all the time that is spent watching the television. Telling your faith story is just that: your personal story about your faith. It’s an unobtrusive way to speak about the love of God in your life and the love he has for all people…Your life and story is the best tract to be written!” (The Disciplemaking Ministry Guide for Women in Leadership, “How to Share Your Faith,” page 21)
You are a “living letter of Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:1-3). Your story illustrates the power of Christ in your life. Your story allows you to become a grace-giver as our Lord extended his grace to you.
There are two ways to look at writing your faith story. Some may recall a dramatic event or specific point in time when they began a personal relationship with Jesus. Others may have grown up in the church and always knew who God was and their need for Jesus in their life as Savior. Yet, even they must make the decision to be Jesus’ disciple at some point in their teen years or adult life—a childlike faith that becomes an adult faith. Depending on how your story begins, choose one of these two ways to write your story.
3. Graceful Living: Begin working on your faith story using one of the two options given on the following “My Faith Story Worksheet.” Use the prompts to get you started. Just start writing. After you have collected information for your story, choose the highlights to make a “Five-Minute Faith Story” that you can easily share at a moment’s notice when Jesus gives you opportunity. The goal is to briefly share one “slice of life” you can use to give evidence of the working of Christ in your life.
As you tell your story, look for the one big idea you want everyone to walk away remembering. This is your main idea—kind of like a theme. “Jesus satisfied my loneliness” or “To live is knowing Christ in my life.”
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My Faith Story Worksheet
Grace-Giving Option 1: Specific Turning Point Leading to Salvation
Before I trusted in Christ
Although the tendency is to spend most of the time on your “before Christ” experience, only give enough information so the women know why you needed Christ in your life. Tell them what you needed so that some may identify with you.
1. Identify what your life was like. What were your attitudes, needs, and/or problems? From what did you get your security or happiness? How did those areas begin to disappoint you? To what source did you look for security, peace of mind, or happiness? In what ways were your activities unsatisfying?
2. Find 2-3 words to describe what only Christ could fill or do in your life (e.g. loneliness, feelings of insignificance, anger, rejection).
3. Briefly share a personal example that captures the needs and attitudes from this time of your life as identified above.
How you came to know Christ (point of salvation)
Share when and how you first heard the gospel and/or were exposed to Christianity. What brought you to the place of being willing to listen? Who influenced you? How and when did you decide to follow Jesus? Describe how you felt, what truths you heard, what you thought about them, how you felt after you made the decision. Give the gospel in this section. Use 1 or 2 relevant scripture verses.
My life after knowing Jesus
1. Spend the most time on this. What conditions before Christ has been satisfied by a relationship with him? What does it look like in your life to have a relationship with Christ? How long did it take before you noticed changes? What are your blessings? Where do you struggle? How do you depend on him through those struggles? What difference does having him in your life make during those times? Emphasize what you have learned about God’s grace to you.
2. Briefly share a personal illustration that shows the wonderful difference that Christ has made in your life.
Wrap up by inviting them to trust in Christ as you did!
My Faith Story Worksheet
Grace-Giving Option 2: Believer to Christ-Follower (Disciple)
Those who trusted Christ as children often feel they “have nothing to tell” because they don’t have a dramatic story. Yet, in the case of childhood believers, there occurs a later, mature decision to follow Christ as his disciple where more obvious life changes occurred. If you are in this category, therefore, focus on that later turning point in telling your story. Although the tendency is to spend most of the time on your “before” experience, only give enough information so the women know why you needed Christ in your life. You want them to be able to identify with you.
Before I became Jesus’ disciple
1. Identify what your life was like as a young Christian or living as just a believer not a disciple. Share when and how you first heard the gospel and/or were exposed to Christianity. What were your attitudes, needs, and/or problems? From what did you get your security or happiness?
2. Briefly share a personal example that captures the needs and attitudes from this time of your life as identified above.
3. Although the tendency is to spend most of the time on your “before” experience, only give enough information so the women know why you needed to trust Christ more with your life.
What brought you to decide to become Jesus’ disciple
What brought you to the place of being willing to listen or of wanting to be more than just a believer? Who influenced you? How and when did you decide to be Jesus’ disciple? Describe how you felt, what truths you heard, what you thought about them, how you felt after you made the decision. Give the gospel in this section if you haven’t already done so in the previous section. Use 1 or 2 relevant scripture verses that God used to draw you to himself. Emphasize what you have learned about God’s grace to you.
My life after becoming Jesus’ disciple
1. Spend the most time on this. What conditions before this time has been satisfied by a deeper relationship with him? How long did it take before you noticed changes? What does it look like in your life to have this closer relationship with Christ? What are your blessings? Where do you struggle? How do you depend on him through those struggles? What difference does having him in your life make during those times? What remarkable thing has Jesus done in your life (or in the last three years)?
2. Briefly share a personal illustration that shows the wonderful difference that following Christ has made in your life.
Wrap up by inviting them to trust in Christ as you did!
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4. Graceful Living: Write your five-minute faith story.
As you tell your story, what is the one big idea you want everyone to walk away remembering? This is your main idea—kind of like a theme. “Jesus satisfied my loneliness” or “To live is knowing Christ in my life.”
Whether you like to be spontaneous or need everything written down, it helps to script what you will say. It forces you to think through what you will say to maintain your main idea. It helps you to manage your allowed time.
Write it as you would speak it—shorter sentences, peppy words that are clear and simple. Use everyday terminology. For example, instead of saying “my testimony,” say “the story of my life.” Include specific illustrations that give them snapshots of your life, not only general descriptions of your life events. Practice saying your story several times. May eye contact with the listener to draw her into your story.
Write out your five-minute faith story in the space below. Remember only spend 30% of the time on your “before,” just enough to have them identify with your need at that time. Spend another 30% on the decision time, and spend the rest of the time on what knowing Christ has done for you. Always end with inviting them to join your adventure.
5. Graceful Living: Share your story often. After you have worked on it and are satisfied with it, write a condensed version (~365 words) to create your own “My Faith Story Tract” that you can carry with you. Print it out on one page and include your contact information on the bottom. Pray and watch for God to give you opportunity to share it. Courage and ability come as a result of the grace God gives through Christ. Jesus not only prayed for his disciples, he prayed for the disciples of his disciples (John 17:20). Live intentionally as a GRACE-GIVER to those whom God places in your path.