3 Lies You may be Believing about SMC

You made a great decision to come to SMC 2022! Do you still believe that?

You inevitably begin to think more about your decision to go to SMC the day after Christmas than any other point since signing up. The only thing between you and the conference is New Year’s day, so it is customary to begin processing what you think your SMC experience will be like.

I have found that your perception of SMC can sometimes be quite a bit off from the reality of what you are going to experience.

3 Common Thought Processes

1) I have bitten off more than I can chew with SMC. Did I make the right decision? 


Try to think back to Late Night when you most likely signed up for SMC. There was a hunger to know more about God and grow closer to those around you. Dane reminded us of all the benefits, and you were excited. 

Christmas break has a numbing effect on a lot of people. Something about being at home and spending time with old friends has a way of shadowing the excitement we once had for spiritual growth. 

When that first Main Session starts at SMC, you will have two thoughts running through your head simultaneously. The first will be how glad you are that you decided to come. The second will be how grateful you are that you didn’t back out. 

God reminds us in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” It takes faith to come to SMC for the first time, and every year I watch God reward those people who show up!

2) I don’t want to grow in my faith anymore; I think I will stay home.

Be very careful here.

There are two root reasons why I believe we have this thought process. The first comes from John 17:3,

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

It may be that we have forgotten or possibly never realized that knowing God is the very purpose of our existence. When we invest in knowing God, we feel like a fish back in the water! 

Another possible root cause comes from Ecclesiastes 10:18, which says

Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.

The principle here is that laziness has consequences. There are apparent physical consequences when we are lazy, but there are also less obvious spiritual consequences. Prioritizing knowing God and building a relationship with him is hard work. A lazy attitude will always avoid hard work. 

Don’t let a lazy heart dictate your decisions over the break. If you are in this camp, staying true to your commitment to SMC may be the breakthrough moment you need to crush the idleness and apathy in your life! 

So often, in my experience, something incredible is right on the other side of some hard work and effort.

3) Am I going to feel lonely? I don’t know many people going to SMC…I don’t even know who I am rooming with.


If you come to SMC with an optimistic mindset and participate in the things SMC encourages you to do, it will be three days filled with new relationships and life-changing content!

So many people I know and love who are thriving in life on many levels say it all started with the decision to go to SMC. I am not saying it is the secret to a successful life, but I will say that the SMC environment is designed to help you succeed!

And I would argue that staying home by yourself has much higher odds for you feeling lonely from Jan 2-5th.

Final thought

There are three things that the Bible teaches that are eternal. God, God’s People, and God’s Word (Bible). When you are considering an investment, you should always consider the return on investment (ROI) in anything. Most investments have risk involved that causes many to be hesitant. For example, one of my family members has been encouraging me to invest in crypto-currency, but my lack of confidence in the outcome gives me cold feet.

What is the ROI of SMC? Well, SMC is built around God, God’s People, and God’s Word, the only three things that last forever. Do you know what this means? Your time, energy, and money investment in SMC is a sure thing! You can’t lose! The only loss would be not to invest by not coming to SMC.

We are so excited to see all of you soon and experience this amazing conference together!

Why Finish to the End?

I want to start by saying that there are many reasons we must follow Jesus to the very end.

Hebrews 3:14 reminds us that, “We have come to share in Christ if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”

Matthew 25:13 reminds us that, like the disciples of Jesus time, “…you do not know the day or the hour” that Jesus will return. Therefore we must be alert and ready until the last breath.

These could be a factor in why you continue in your faith until the end or, as I like to say, finish.

In this article, I would like to highlight, what I believe, is one of the strongest motivations from the scriptures to finish strong in your discipleship. Let’s look at a few places in the scriptures that this motivation is seen. 

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD. All the families of the nations will bow down before Him (Psalm 22:27-28)

It is written: “‘ As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” (Romans 14:11)

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelations 5:9)

Why would you finish strong in your faith today, this week, this month, this year, or a better way to say it? Why would you finish strong in your faith until your last breath?

Because God’s purpose for your life is to spread the gospel to all peoples of the world!

Jesus lived and died for this purpose. He reminds us at the end of Luke 19 that he came “to seek and save the lost.”

The cross was designed for this purpose.

God did not spare his own son for this purpose (Romans 8:32)

It is because of this purpose that the Apostle Paul says,

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation (Romans 15:20).

And this should be at the very core of our motivation in every step of faith we take to love God and love people.

The Life of Adoniram Judson

Hanging behind me in my office is a picture of a man named Adoniram Judson. I bring him up because as we consider the idea of finishing to the end, there are few men that we could point to that would model this same quality more than Judson.

I want to introduce you to this man, his life, and his ministry so that we can be inspired by his willingness to finish out of a motivation to reach people who have never been reached.

One man who was present during the death of Judson is famously quoted saying,

Few men die so hard.

Here is his story.

The Story of Adoniram Judson

Adoniram was born into a faith-filled family. His father was a minister, and his mother was known for her strong and deep faith. As a boy, it was evident that Adoniram was no ordinary boy. At age 6, he was reading entire chapters out of the King James Version of the Bible.

At the age of 16, he went to Brown University and graduated as the head of his class.

His parents didn’t know it at the time, but while at Brown, Judson was beginning to lose his faith. He had befriended a guy by the name of Jacob Eims, who was Diest. This is someone who believes in the existence of a Supreme Being, but that this Supreme Being does not intervene in the Universe.

Jacob Eims influenced Judson tremendously, so much so that by the time Judson would graduate, he would openly identify to his friends at school that he was not a Christian. The only problem he still had was that he had not yet told his parents, and he had even managed to word his valedictorian speech in a way that kept him from exposing his new beliefs.

But on his bday, August 9, 1808, Judson broke the news that broke his parent’s hearts. He told them that he was never a Christian and wanted to go to New York to pursue playwriting and theatre. He asked his father to pay for him to purchase a horse so that he may leave immediately with friends to carry out these dreams. Broken-hearted, his father obliged.

New York was not the dream he hoped. His so-called friends he went with turned out to be a group of reckless vagabonds who would deceive, cheat, and steal from anyone and everyone they could. This bothered Judson so severely that he decided to leave New York.

He left on horseback and headed into the country to his uncle’s house in Sheffield, MA. When he arrived, instead of finding his uncle, who was gone on a trip, he found a pious young man who stunned him with his firm Christian conviction. It left quite an impression on AJ.

Judson recalls this moment when he was left wondering if there was another way to be a Christian. It still wasn’t enough to convince him, though, so he set off for home.

The trip was far enough that Judson had to stop for the night at Inn. The Innkeeper informed him that he was out of rooms, but after some pleading from Judson, he agreed to let him share a room with another man. The keeper warned him that the man in the room was very sick and unlikely to make it through the night. But Judson was desperate and didn’t want to spend the night in the open darkness out of fear of being robbed or killed.

Judson did not sleep that night because of the horrendous screams of pain as the man on the other side of the curtain was grasping for life. Adoniram began to ponder his death and if he was ready for it.

The following day he found that the man next to him had died, and it struck Adoniram to the core. As he was walking out, he said to the keeper, “do you know who he was?” The keeper replied, “Oh yes, a young man from brown, his name was Jacob Eims.”

Judson was frozen. For 3 hours, he sat at the Inn in disbelief and terror. He thought if Jacob Eims was correct, then all of this life is meaningless, and no matter how hard he tried, Judson could not believe that life was meaningless.

Although Judson did not immediately become a Christian at that moment, this experience played a vital role in his decision to follow Jesus a few months later.

He enrolled in Andover Theological Seminary and read different books about the cultures in the east. He couldn’t get past that so many of these places had no access to the gospel. His heart latched explicitly to the people of Burma.

With his newfound love for Jesus came a new passion for going to the Burmese people to proclaim the good news of Jesus

After coming to grips with this in heart and mind, there was no stopping Adoniram from finishing out his calling! On June 28, 1819, he and four others presented themselves to the congregation of foreign missions to ask to be sent out as the first foreign missionaries from America to the east. The assembly agreed, and it was on this day, he became ordained as a missionary and the day he first saw Anne.

Adoniram and Anne’s relationship began to blossom. Still, in the back of his mind, Judson knew the day would come when she would have to decide to stay in the comforts of America or risk her life as a missionary in the disease-ridden, lawless jungles of India.

Anne decided to give up the comforts to spend her life in the world of the heathen. The only person left to convince was Anne’s Father. Here is was the letter Adoniram wrote him said.


I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring. To see her no more in this world, whether you can consent to her departure and her subjection to the hardships and the sufferings of a missionary life, whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India, to every kind of want and distress, to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this for the sake of him who left his heavily home and died for her and for you and for the sake of the perishing immortal souls’ in the glory of God? Can you consent to all the hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory with the crown of righteousness brightened with the acclamation of praise, which shall resound to her Savior from the heathens saved through er means from internal woe and despair?


Her father gave her the decision, and a year and a half later, they were on a boat heading to Calcutta, India, with the hopes of getting to Rangoon, Burma, as soon as possible.

The missionary journey was a total of 33 years.

[Here is the questions I would like for you to ask in your head as we move into the missionary experiences of the Judsons. What are you willing to do to endure finish until the end? Maybe a better question, who are you ready to endure for till the end?]

Anne gave birth to their first son on the trip to Calcutta, the child died before they reached their destination, and the child was dropped overboard. Their second child, Roger, died at 17 months. It was after the death of Roger that Anne wrote this,

Our hearts were bound up with this child, but God saw that it was necessary to remind us of our error and to strip us of our only little awe. Oh, may it not be in vain that he has done it. May we do much to improve it that he will stay his hand and say it is enough.” [how many mothers do you know that would respond this way?]

They reached their destination in Calcutta and told some of the missionaries in India their plan to go to Burma. William Carey, a famous missionary to India, said to AJ,

don’t go there; it’s useless…all missionaries that go either die or quit…

Burma was filled with fierce enemy raiders, zero religious toleration, diseases unknown to any American, and an absence of any medical education.

But William Carey did not deter them. The hope of ALL PEOPLES echoed through the mind of the Judsons, and against the counsel of many, they arrived in Yangon in 1813.

His first convert came in 1819. Six years before a single person follow Jesus [makes a semester not seem so bad]. By 1822 there were 18 converts. He spent much of his time during these years working on producing Christian writings, translating the Bible from Greek/Hebrew to Burmese, and setting up events to have a religious dialogue with the Burmese people.

Between 1813-1831 the price was enormous.

[Few examples: Adoniram got sick, and the solution was saltwater and warmer weather. Was supposed to be gone for two weeks, but because of storms and wind, didn’t come back for six months // It was two and a half years before they heard anything from someone in the United States// Anne got so sick that she traveled back to the US for two years, during that time she wrote a book that would lead the sending of hundreds of more missionaries and large amounts of funding to overseas missions // the suffered immensely about of pressure from the community to be silent //their lives were threatened on a continual basis]

In 1823, the Judsons moved from Rangoon to Ava, the capital city, to influence the emperor who had complete authority. Including the power to remove the head of anyone who approached him with a request.

Little did they know that Britain was going to attack Yangoon in May of that year during that time.

Immediately every Western man was considered suspect and thrown into prison, including Adoniram, who had just found out that Anne was pregnant with their 3rd child.

The prison conditions were beyond what our minds could even imagine. Every prisoner was bound in shackles across their ankles, and each night the guards put a bamboo pole through the shackles. The bamboo pole was raised to suspend each prisoner upside down so that only their head and shoulders touched the ground. This happened every night!

Anne spent her days visiting the prison and walking 2 miles, pregnant, in the 108-degree heat, to the palace to plead with the emperor for better living conditions for the prisoners.

A year later, as the war became more intense, the prisoners were moved to another prison in the middle of the night. They laid them down in the new prison cell, but now the prisoners completely wore their feet with sores from walking. One prisoner described it as “being eaten alive” by the mosquitos that would come in off the rice patties in the evenings. If it wasn’t the excruciating pain from the mosquito bites, then it was the screams of the prisoners that would keep AJ from sleep each night.

Anne had followed the prisoner, now with a new baby that had been born. She became as thin as AJ, and her milk dried up. AJ begged the jailer for mercy and the jailer allowed him at night to take the baby and walk through the village to look for anyone willing to nurse the baby so that the baby would live.

Suddenly after 17 months of this torture. Judson was instantly released. Rangoon and Britain were attempting peace treatises, and Judson was needed to translate.

Eleven months later, Anne died from the tole that the previous 17 months had taken on her. 6 months later, their baby girl died. Three months later, he received a letter informing him that his father had died.

Dark times fell on Adoniram.

[He retreated more and more// the burning of all of his letters // gave away all of his wealth // build a hut in the jungle to live alone // for two years he was in total isolation // dude his own grave to sit by and contemplate existence…said in a letter “I believe in Him and find him not”]

While he was in isolation, he had news that his brother El Nathan had passed away, and ironically this was the news that reignited his spirit for the Lord.

The reason was that when Adoniram walked to the ship to sail to Burma, he was accompanied by his brother. During that walk, he pleaded with his brother to put his faith in Jesus but wouldn’t. The fantastic news of his brother’s salvation came in the letter he received about his brother’s death.

This brings us to 1831. Do you think this was an accident? It was designed.

Very truly, I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (John 12:24)

The outpouring that came after 1831 was because Adoniram had all but died to himself.

But that was just the beginning of his suffering, there’s more, but I will have to bullet point for the sake of time.


Sarah Bordman

  • His 2nd wife was Sarah Bordman, a widowed missionary who took her baby into tiger-infested jungles alone to preach the gospel.
  • Married 11 years and had eight children (2 died).
  • She got sick and had to make the trip back to America; Judson was told he must accompany her because she was too weak to go alone.
  • They were headed for New England. Three oldest kids came, three youngest were left behind (one died).
  • As they rounded the tip of Africa, Sarah dies. The boat docks just short of New England, barely long enough for AJ and kids to dig a grave, say goodbye, and sail on. With three kids crying on his neck, he comes home…33 years later.
  • Mom and dad are both dead.



  • 29 years old, with her entire life ahead of her, gave up everything to go to Burma with AJ
  • One child
  • They were married for four years, and the nagging sickness began to overtake AJ.
  • AJ took a boat trip, but Emily was pregnant, so he was accompanied by a man named Thomas, and they headed for the Island of France.
  • The suffering was unspeakable. Convulsions followed by vomiting over and over again.


On April 12, 1850, Adoniram Judson died at sea away from family and church. The ship crew assembled quietly in the evening; there was no prayer because the crew was unbelievers. Instead, they slid his coffin into the ocean in the night a few hundred miles west of Burma, and the boat sailed on.

Ten days later, Emily gave birth to a dead baby. Four months later, she went home. Three years later, she died at age 37 because the journey to Burma had damaged her health.

Few men die so hard.

And as you hear this story, you may have a similar question that I had.

To what end?


Adoniram’s Legacy

  • The entire OT and NT translated into the Burmese dialect.
  • For that, AJ had to learn the language, know Greek and Hebrew fluently, and then translate it all on his own! [hidden in a pillow]
  • Not only did he complete a Burmese Bible, but he also finished half of a Bible dictionary to help understand the text for the Burmese people.
  • When AJ came to Burma, there were no known Christians, and the population was generally Buddhist/non-religious. At his death, 100s of Burmese converts were leading the church, and today there are 3700 congregations in the Burmese Baptist convention.
  • About four-fifths of the country’s 3 million Christians are a part of this convention.


Judson wrote a letter at one point in his life to those who were considering going overseas to do missions; here is what it said,

Remember, a large portion of those who come out to the east die within five years, walk softly, therefore because death is narrowly watching your steps.

I share this story because I think it is common to look around at others doing ministry. When we see someone’s life, it either encourages us to keep going or discourages us because we see a lack of faith.

Most Christians never die to themselves. Most, at best, give chunks of their time for a small period of their lives to dabble in spiritual growth and help others.

But the call to finish is the call to die daily for the sake of people on the other side of the earth to hear about Jesus.

I am not sure what your motivations typically are when you consider things like…


  • Why should I work hard to prepare those last three bible studies?
  • Why should you share the gospel or follow up or process the gospel a few more times with that guy or girl?
  • Why should I commit to finishing strong in my spiritual disciplines, bible reading, prayer, scrip men, fasting…
  • Why should I fight to have that invite convo with that guy/girl that still hasn’t heard or been given a compelling reason to come to SMC?
  • Why should I stand firm against that sin that has been luring and enticing me all semester?
  • Why should I stay in the game when many around me seem to be throwing in the towel.
  • Why should I do DMT? It’s such a high commitment… other places would ask less of me.


You may answer that question in many ways, but tonight I want you to see that for Judson, the answer was because the people on the other side of the globe are depending on you too!

Your ability to finish by dying today, and then tomorrow, and then the next day, is the process by which you become a disciple and make disciples. Disciples being raised is the only hope of someone giving their life to going overseas! Disciples going overseas is the only hope for over 3.16 billion people in the 10/40 window, many of who will be born and die without ever hearing a single word about Jesus.

That is why we finish; what you do during the semester matters! Finishing matters!

What would it look like for you to die-hard this last month! Spend 5 minutes answering that question in your journals.


What Does it Mean to have Faith?

What does it mean to put your faith in Jesus?

This question caused tension in my life as I was growing up. You see, I had many experiences with God through Bible studies and church groups that left me feeling very spiritual, but then months, even just weeks later, I was back to my old way of doing life. It seemed like my relationship with God depended more on my feelings and experiences rather than true faith.

True faith, what does that even mean? Was I suppose to blindly accept what I heard about God and the Bible from church and friends? Should I have a funny feeling in my stomach or be able to perform miracles? It was all very confusing.

Many people in my hometown claimed to have faith, but their lives looked very similar to those who didn’t believe in God. Outside church attendance, nothing about their lives demonstrated the faith they claimed to have.

This caused me to investigate the question: what does it mean to have faith in Jesus? I believe the answer to this question can be summed up in three steps.


  1. Hear – The true message of who Jesus is must be told to us through something or someone (Romans 10:14).
  2. Believe – To accept something as true with your mind (John 1:12).
  3. Trust – To commit to something through your actions (Luke 9:23)

These three steps must all be present to experience true faith. Imagine a military general standing before 100 soldiers as he prepares them for battle. With a look of determination and grit, he stares over them and says, “Tonight, we will march together into battle! It will be tough, some of you will lose your life, but without victory we will never experience freedom!!!”

After finishing his speech, the 50 soldiers sitting at the front of the group cheered with excitement and passion while the 50 soldiers sitting in the back quietly stared at the grass beneath their boots. The soldiers were dismissed and told to return at 6 pm to march into battle.

That evening the General was shocked to see that only 25 soldiers had come prepared for battle. There was no option to turn back, so the General marched into war with the army that he had.

Let’s use the soldiers in the hypothetical situation to help us diagnose true faith. After the General finished his inspiring speech, 50 of the soldiers sat quietly. Why? Because they were in the back of the group and couldn’t hear the General. They didn’t show up for the battle because they weren’t aware a battle existed. Many will never experience an authentic faith in Jesus because they will never hear the truth about Jesus.

The 50 who heard the speech shouted with passion and excitement because they had intellectually agreed with the General’s statements. They agreed that it was necessary to go into battle to win their freedom in their minds. Therefore, they heard, and they believed. Many people who claim to have faith are in a similar situation. They have heard the

story of Jesus through their parents or a church group. They have been to Sunday school and know all the right answers. Not only that, they agree with what they have learned.

Yet, only 25 of the 50 soldiers who heard and believed showed up to march into battle. Why? Because only 25 of them trusted. It wasn’t enough to hear and believe. True faith only comes to fruition when we have all three steps: hearing, believing, and trusting.

The same is true when it comes to putting our faith in Jesus. To experience the fulfilling life that Jesus has to offer us, both here on earth and in heaven for eternity, we must have all three steps.

Discussion Questions

– What do you think the difference is between believing and trusting?

– Which of the three steps have you taken in your life up to this point? (hearing — believing —


– Why do you think it is not enough to hear and believe?

– Based on the article you just read, do you think you have true faith?

– What would be a good next step in light of how you answer the questions above?

Accessing the Grace of God

If you were to ask me what was under the hood of my car, my response would be, “the engine.” We could lift the hood of my car and factually agree that there is indeed an engine. But if you were to ask follow-up questions such as, “how does an engine work?” I would have trouble giving you an answer because the truth is I understand that my car is powered by an engine while simultaneously not understanding much about how it works.

Something similar happens in the minds of most Christians when you say the word grace.

I mean that we all feel comfortable using this word in the same way we feel comfortable claiming that there is an engine under the hood of our car. But when you begin to ask questions like, “how do you access grace?” or “in what ways does grace impact your day-to-day walk with Jesus?” We all of a sudden find ourselves realizing we know less about this word than we initially thought.

What is Grace?

Grace is unmerited favor from God upon sinners. It is the compassionate response of the superior, God, to the inferior, us. Without grace, there are no Christians because it is only by grace that we are saved. Grace is also the only way we continue to grow in our faith and become more like Jesus.

It is impossible to overstate the necessity of grace in the Christian life. It is, hands down, 100%, no questions asked, the single most important word for anyone who follows Jesus. Romans 5:2 puts it this way,

Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

To “stand” in grace means that we are surrounded. We can take no pathways as a follower of Jesus that isn’t initiated, carried along, and finished by grace.

Is Grace only significant for Salvation?

This is a common misunderstanding of grace for young followers of Jesus. For them, grace becomes limited to the moment they believe in Jesus for the first time. They realize their need for grace to save them from the punishment of their sin but fail to realize that grace is the only hope for living a life of following Jesus. Look at how the Apostle Paul speaks of grace.

1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

You see a life consumed by grace in this passage; grace is what makes Paul who he is. He says, “But by the grace of God I AM WHAT I AM…”

How did you get to where you are right now? I bet you can come up with a lot of different answers to this question. That answer would be filled with stories of human effort and self-determination for most of us, but not for Paul. Paul is who he is because of one thing, grace.

How did Grace impact the life of Paul?

What was different about Paul because of grace? It is evident from his NT letters that grace saturated every area of his life. Here are some examples.

  • Grace fueled Pauls Obedience to Jesus (Romans 1:5)
  • Grace Justified Paul before God (Romans 3:24)
  • Grace freed Paul from the burden of the law (Romans 6:14-15)
  • Grace was the means by which Paul was chosen (Romans 11:5)
  • Grace gave Paul the confidence to speak boldy to other Christians (Romans 12:3; 15:15)
  • Grace is means by which Paul recieved his spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6)
  • Grace gave Paul the ability to do ministry (1 Cor 3:10)
  • Grace gave Paul identity and allowed him to work hard (1 Cor 15:10)
  • Grace simplified Pauls ministry approach (2 Cor 1:12)*
  • Grace increased Pauls thankfulness (2 Cor 4:15)
  • Grace made Paul spiritually rich (2 Cor 8:9)
  • Grace is what Paul ministered to others (2 Cor 8:19)
  • Grace was how Paul abounded in every good work (2 Cor 9:8)
  • Grace gave Paul power in his weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9)
  • Paul was called to Jesus by grace (Gal 1:15)
  • Grace qualified Paul to do ministry with the other apostles (Gal 2:9)
  • The absence of Grace was enough for Paul to claim some had been severed from Christ (Gal 5:4)
  • Paul looked ahead to the fullness of God’s grace in Heaven (Ephesians 2:7)
  • Grace was the thing Paul stewarded to others (Eph 3:2)
  • Paul was made a minister of the gospel through God’s grace (Eph 3:7)
  • The power to preach the gospel came from Grace (Eph 3:8)
  • Grace is what Paul wanted to insert in others lives with his words (Eph 4:29)
  • Grace connected Paul to other believers while he was in prison (Philippians 1:7)
  • Grace is from the Lord overflowed to Paul with faith and love from Jesus (1 Tim 1:14)


Grace was everything to Paul! It consumed his whole life, but it was also what he hoped would consume others. Every single letter Paul wrote has the phrase “Grace to you…” in the introductory sentences.

“Grace to you…” Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

It was of first importance to every letter Paul wrote to those in his ministry. He wanted grace to go to them! Why? Because as we read in all of the examples, grace was the twin-turbo engine that powered every spiritual thing in Paul’s life.

Listen closely. You can not follow Jesus outside of the grace he supplies to follow him. You can try, but you will only experience burn out and frustration.

If Grace is this important, how do we access it?

How do you get this grace? Where do you find it? Is it something that happens or something we seek out? Do we have to work for it, pray for it, or wait for it to “fall on us?”

The long answer.

We access this Grace of God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit as we employ the spiritual disciplines modeled and commanded by the pages of Scripture.

That shorter answer.

We can access the power of Grace through the spiritual disciplines! Things such as prayer, Bible reading, fasting, scripture memory, generosity, service, solitude, silence, celebration, and more.

How does Grace connect to the spiritual disciplines?

What purpose do things like reading the Bible, prayer, fasting, scripture memorization, and fasting have in your life? I assume you have tried some or all of these disciplines at some point.

For some, these activities are just what Christians are supposed to do. Maybe someone told you this is how you become a “good Christian.”

Others see these things as healthy habits that will make them better people.

Still, others are searching for some mystical experience that might take place as they seek God through the spiritual disciplines.

Let’s not forget those who pursue knowledge in an academic sense; those who feel insecure that they know so little of God that they open their Bible in the same ways they open their school books.

Do you relate to any of these? There is danger in the subtlety of these pursuits. They are noble and typically praised by many. But sadly, they miss the spirit of the disciplines and keep you from accessing the power of grace that you so desperately need to follow and imitate Jesus.

Here is how the disciplines are supposed to work

The purpose of the spiritual disciplines.

Each of the spiritual disciplines opens the opportunity for the grace of God to work in your life. Here are a few examples. 

  • Reading/Studying/Meditating/Memorizing the Bible is an apparent discipline that God commands us to pursue. As we open our Bible and engage in any of these disciplines, God’s grace becomes available to us. It may be that He convicts us of sin or encourages us to be obedient in an area we have never considered, but without opening the Bible, we will not have that opportunity. We must open the scriptures for this to be possible. 
  • Prayer is a spiritual discipline. As we communicate with God, we experience grace. This grace brings us peace from the worries of the world, it brings comfort and healing as we confess sin, and it brings hope as we trust God will do more than we can imagine (Eph 3:20). These are all a product of God’s grace in your life. You only experience them as you pray. 
  • Fasting is purposely removing food from your life for a spiritual purpose. As we fast, we become desperate for God in a new way. We come face to face with our dependency on food and replace that with dependence on God. We feel the constant hunger pains and tell God this pain is nothing compared to the pain of not experiencing whatever we need God to do. We tap into the grace of God in a new way when we participate in this discipline. 

And we could go on and on with the different disciplines. We could discuss disciples such as study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, submission, solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, and sacrifice. I do not share these to overwhelm you but to open your eyes to the potential of God’s grace that could be working your life. You must learn more about these disciplines and practice them to experience the abundant life God has for you as you follow Jesus. 


  • How have you viewed the spiritual disciplines wrongly in the past?
  • Have you ever consider grace as a power that can work through you? How does thinking of it this way impact your relationship with God?
  • Which of the spiritual disciplines are you most familiar with? Which are you not?
  • What is one new spiritual discipline you want to learn about and apply to your life?