So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thess 2:8
Something stirred deep in my soul the first time this verse stood out to me. Sharing the Gospel? Yes! Loving others enough to share my life with them? Letting them in? Now that was a completely new level of selflessness and love.
I stood at her sink, my arms covered with suds up to my elbows when it hit me – Maybe THIS is what both sharing the Gospel AND my life could look like. At this point, I was discipling a lot of women in one on one Bible studies each week and it was a beautiful thing to share the gospel with them, but my heart was beginning to hunger for more. I couldn’t get the verse from Thessalonians out of my heart.
She had three small children, so sometimes it was easier for me to come over to her house as we made our way through the book of John. And while the kids were getting ready for bed it was the most natural thing in the world for me to pick up the dish towel. We started doing life together. Not just studying the Gospel, but living out the Gospel in our every day lives with each other. If she and her husband had a fight or a bad day, I saw it. If I was grumpy or stressed out from work – they saw it. We lived real, raw, life where we could each see it and point the other back to Jesus.
From that friendship and several others I began to see the power of what I now affectionately call ‘lifestyle discipleship’. It’s inviting people “in deep”. Into your story, into your life, and at times into your home as you walk life together with the Lord. The discipleship side of it is “come learn” as we live life. Sometimes it looks like formal Bible Studies and Small Groups, but other times its – come over for dinner, watch how we parent our children, go for a hike, pray or play games. Sharing life is just that. Sharing life.
Starting at the Discipleship House has taken this verse to a whole different level for me as I not only get to share my life with everyone here, but also create a place where they can learn to begin to share theirs. To learn its ok to cry, to shoulder one another burdens, and to laugh.
Oh the laughter! It’s my favorite part right now! I love our teaching times, when the students are engaged with and in the Word, but I find my soul smiling when the halls ring with laughter. Our God is a joyful God!
We recently were given the opportunity to drastically reduce our mortgage on the Discipleship House if we can come up with 20K by the end of October. One of the fun ways to spread the word about our fundraiser is that everyone is doing a dance challenge. “How would you dance if you were given 20k?” and then they nominate their friends etc. Its been hilarious as everyone has been trying their best ‘dance moves’. (Oh the laughter we hear then!)
Tonight I’m thankful for my brother Sam who not only loves me, but will also share in whatever crazy adventure I’m doing in life. Below is our dance video. (Something else the Lord is working on “in deep” in me? Freedom. From pride, self consciousness, reserve etc. A few months ago I probably would have died at doing this video!)
“Our lives as well” is Day #5 of ‘In Deep’ – a 31 Days Series