Sharing Faith

Sharing My Faith | Generosity Story

My husband went to middle school with Ryan Parker, and so when Brandon and I got married, I inherited the Parker clan. And we just became really good friends. And they invited us to Westside many times.

Back when we were doing the people you wanted to pray for, and you put people on a list, Brandon and Jodi were on my list.

Oh, I'd probably been invited Brandon to come to things for quite a while, after he went through a divorce with his first wife. I'd invite him to firesides or just whatever. And then just eventually that turned into invites with Jody, also, both of them. And just being there, as she was going through times after a loss of her grandfather.

Well, last fall my grandfather had passed away and he was a very, very important person in my life. And I felt a little lost. At his funeral, they had read his testimony and I learned so much about him, about different experiences in his life that I wasn't aware of. And his faith and love for God was tremendous and he helped so many people get to that point.

So I knew he knew something wonderful and great, and I really wanted to know what else was. So we decided to start going to church, and we decided to come here to Westside at the Speedway with Ryan and Michelle. And it's been a life changer basically.

You could tell that she was trying to absorb everything, and that she was like open to what was going on.

When I started coming to Westside, my first three attendances were basically in tears. But I had that feeling that one moment that all of a sudden I had this pain in my heart, and my heart just kind of opened up and I was like, "Is that a heart attack? Or is it? But it feels really good." I didn't know what it was.

But it was just my heart opening up to God. And it was pretty much at that moment it's like, "Jesus is my savior. This is where I need to be. This is my new life."

When I heard Jodi was going to be baptized, that's really cool because that's just such an expression of where we're at in our faith when we understand that we're dying with Christ to be raised again.

So of course I had to be there, front row and cry, and while I watched her get baptized because I was so excited.

Well, without the invitation that the Parker's gave many times over, I don't believe that I would be where I'm at right now.

Yeah, so Brandon's daughter came to the women's conference Saturday, his youngest daughter.

She accepted Jesus and she decided to be baptized. You know, the invitation from the Parker's extended to us, and then now it has extended to our daughter.

It is definitely so a God thing. And there's always these times in life where you feel like the Holy Spirit's telling you, "Hey, tell this person this or ask this person this."

I was very lost after my grandfather's death. And so that invitation was right there within reach. And it made it very simple for me to find a church. I love them and adore them. And thank you. Thank you.

When you're faithful in those things that God tells you to do, and then when he allows you the opportunity to have a front row seat to watch it come to fruition, wow.

Who Cut in on You?

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7

Paul loved to use the metaphor of running a race to describe the journey of the Christian life.
In his letter to the believers in Jesus who were living in the city of Galatia, he told them they were running a good race. That meant they were making progress, growing, on track, pointed in the right direction, winning.

Then he asked them, “Who cut in on you?” When a runner intentionally cuts in on you, they’re trying to take over your lane, slow you down, throw you off track or even cause you to fall. Back in chapter three verse one, Paul posed the same question in a different way. He asked, “Who has bewitched you?” Putting the two questions together, we might say that a person is “running off at the mouth” telling lies about Christ and the Christian way of life, and you are believing it. They’re “casting a spell” over you. When you take the bait, it throws you off track in pursuing the good race that leads to freedom and spiritual prosperity.

For the Galatians, it was the Judaizers. These were early Jewish Christians who were opposing Paul by persuading Gentile believers that they needed to follow the laws of the Old Testament, including being circumcised, in order to truly be a Christian. It’s really hard to believe that we can be freed from our sin and inherit eternal life in God’s presence purely on an act of grace through faith in Christ, but it is totally true. Anything else, Paul says, is a “different gospel – which is no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7). The Galatian believers needed to reject this distraction as a lie and get back on track moving towards the goal line.

What ways are people “cutting in” on believers today who are running a good race?
Here are a few of the dominant and persuasive voices of our day that are derailing numbers of believers:

• “You have to be stupid to believe there is a God.”
• “When you die, you just die. There’s nothing else.”
• “The Bible is a book of fiction and fairy tales, not a book inspired by God.”
• “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
• “Oh, nobody believes that anymore.”

These are the modern day Judaizers who draw us off track with God:

• The boyfriend or girlfriend who isn’t interested in spiritual things.
• The college professor who makes you feel small for believing in God.
• The addiction that draws you slowly down a dark path.
• The group of friends who won’t let you belong if you don’t do what they do.
• The co-worker or “friend” who is jealous of your success and life.
• The adult who abused you and convinced you that you are unlovable.
• The voice in your own head that believes you’re out of God’s reach.

How do we prevent others from cutting in on us and derailing the good race we’re running?

1. Know what you believe and why it matters.

Here are the top ten questions every believer needs to be able to answer with deep conviction. We have clearly and concisely answered these questions in the first ten chapters of the Believe journey. The challenge is to know these ten key ideas like the back of your hand.

a. Who is God?
b. Does he care for me?
c. How do I come into a relationship with God?
d. How do I know God and his will for my life?
e. Who am I?
f. How does God accomplish his plan on earth?
g. How does God see us?
h. What about the poor and injustice?
i. What is God’s call on my life?
j. What happens next?

2. Practice your faith with the discipline of a winning athlete.

When you engage your faith and practice the disciplines that Jesus modeled, it embeds the ten key truths deep into your heart. When a belief takes up residence in the heart, not just in our heads, it will shape us into the kind of person God intended us to be from the very beginning (Romans 8:29). Here is a list of the key practices found in the Bible:

a. How to worship God
b. How to pray
c. How to study the Bible
d. How to establish priorities
e. How to live a sacrificial life
f. How to live in community
g. How to use my spiritual gift
h. How to use my time
i. How to manage my money
j. How to share my faith

This is the focus of the second ten chapters of Believe. The goal is for every believer to not only know about these key disciplines of the Christian faith, but to be functionally competent in their practice of them. Every day that you practice your faith, you’ll get stronger and wiser. So the next time someone tries to cut in on you, you won’t let them. You will have the sense about you to spot their scheme, and you’ll have the skills to overtake them and stay focused on your goal – to win the race set before you.