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An Invitation to Swim

Last week Miles and Linus had their first days of swim lessons.  Evidently the first day was fairly rough for Linus-- he cried through half the lesson.  But after only three days of lessons, the changes I saw in both boys were amazing.  Miles could swim across the width of the pool without his life jacket in water deeper than he is tall; and Linus could hold his breath, face under water, for much longer than I was comfortable watching!  The best part of our new house is a private community park with a shared pool-- no maintenance for me, and plenty of fun for the boys!

I often think of our life in Christian faith as swimming lessons.  A disciple is a student who follows a teacher, with the hope that one day the disciple will become a teacher of others.  As we begin life together in the fellowship of faith, a growing discipleship is vital.  Worship is the entry to a relationship with Christ.  It is our first way of knowing God, where we return thanks for all God has done for us, and where we are fed and nurtured by a loving God.  Too often, for many Christians, worship is as far as they go in their relationship with God.  Like those inflatable floaties kids wear in the shallow end of the pool, worship sustains us.  But the hope is always that we will, one day, take off the floaties and move to the deeper end of the pool.  Those first steps are how we learn to swim.

I am glad to hear of the conversation many are having at Oak Lawn about discipleship.  Our Lay Leader, Gretchen Toler, is leading a discussion in Sunday school.  Our Church Council, under the leadership of Mark Knight, is searching for new "Big Ideas" to expand the ministries of Oak Lawn.  If you can imagine it, we even talked about discipleship at a Finance meeting this week!  Making a decision to follow Jesus into a deeper relationship is not an easy one, but it is one that makes all the difference in our lives.  In my experience, the best way to grow in our faith is through Bible study.  And the best Bible study anywhere is Disciple Bible Study.  If you are looking for a way to transition from the shallow end to the deep end of the pool, consider taking Disciple.

When I was at Oak Lawn before we had a vital Disciple program that continued for many years.  Several of our members have taken it.  If you have taken Disciple I, the introductory course, and would like to form a new advanced class, please let me know.  We would most likely choose between Jesus in the Gospels or Christian Believer, a Disciple study of Christian doctrine.  If you have never taken Disciple we'll offer a new course in September on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.  Disciple is not for the faint of heart-- 32 weeks of intense study and commitment-- after all, discipline and disciple are related words!  But at the end of the course you will be most thankful for the journey, see tremendous growth in your faith and life, and be ready for the next course to begin.  After a couple months of rest, of course!

Miles and Linus showed incredible progress in the pool with just a few hours of lessons-- no telling how much more they will improve over the rest of the summer!  They are very excited to hear excitement about their progress from Mom and Dad. Over the years I have seen many lives changed by Disciple Bible Study.  People have been shaped into leaders.  They have grown in every aspect of their faith-- and the changes are obvious.  Better worship attendance.  Better financial support of the church.  More confidence in praying and sharing their faith.  And as their pastor, I've been able to marvel at their progress and say, "I am so proud of you!  Look at how you have grown!"  How about you?  Are you ready to see great changes in your life with God?  Are you ready to take those first steps into the deeper end of the pool?

Peace and Joy,
Pastor Frank

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