Archive for August, 2013
Does God give second chances? The large majority of Americans believe this to be true. According to a recent LifeWay Research survey, more than 80% of respondents “Strongly Agree” or “Somewhat Agree” that God gives second chances (84%). Among Christians, the number jumps to more than 93% believing that God gives second chances.
In some ways it seems like a no-brainer. If God did not give second chances, how would any of us still be alive? The writer of Psalm 103 may have had this in mind when saying,
“For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14, HCSB).
In another place we read the question,
“Yahweh, if You considered sins, Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:4)
God, in His wisdom, knows we will need second chances and sometimes third, fourth, and fifth chances as well!
Second Chance: Jonah
A clear example in scripture of God giving someone a second chance is in the case of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah. After a failed attempt to flee from God’s presence – and from God’s mission for him – Jonah found himself in the stomach of a large fish. While riding in his underwater taxi, the prophet had a personal revival. As a result, he found himself on the seashore, much closer geographically to his original assignment: preach judgment to the city of Nineveh.
Jonah did ultimately preach, and all of Nineveh repented. Even though Jonah was not thrilled about the revival itself, God did use him during his second chance. God’s will was accomplished, even if Jonah’s was not.
With scripture as a guide we can see this: God may extend a second chance when we repent of the sin that brought the need for the second chance. God will accomplish His will, and He does invite us to participate. However, He will not abide sin. Once sin is repented of, however, God may offer a second chance.
This second chance, however, is not guaranteed. Adam and Eve did not receive a second chance after sin entered the world (Genesis 3:24). Nor did Ananias and Sapphira receive a second chance after lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11).
The Big Picture
One important distinction to make is that God’s second chances may involve a larger picture than we see. That is, God may not extend a second chance on a specific failure. However, He may extend many chances over the course of a person’s life. Ultimate Christ-likeness is God’s goal, not our opportunity to get something right we got wrong the first time around.
We should approach life knowing that God has great patience, but let us not presume upon God’s patience. We should never assume any opportunity besides the one before us.
Bible Studies for Life takes the approach that life happens best in a community of believers. This helps minimize the need for second chances. However, our small groups exist to be your support when and if you do. As we spur each other on to love and good deeds, and disciple people with wisdom, our pursuit of God becomes more focused, and, prayerfully our sins less frequent. As the prophet Samuel said,
“To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas
General Editor, Bible Studies for Life
On Sunday, we introduced our first class for the Cross Church School of Ministry to our Cross Church Family. From five different states across the country, God has brought this inaugural class to us. It was an epic moment for our church to see this vision come to reality.
Just Seven Months Ago
Just seven months ago, I stood before our church family and cast the vision for this school. I stated we had zero students and did not know how many we would have, but regardless, we would give God praise. All I knew is God had put in my heart the vision for the school and who was to lead it.
By faith, Dr. Jeff Crawford left his pastorate at the Grand Avenue Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and became our first President. Since February, he has worked with academic institutions as well as many of us at Cross Church, carving the specificities of this vision. One student at a time, Dr. Crawford has cast the vision to that which was, at that time, nothing more than a vision in our hearts. His diligence to stay on task as he was working through endless details has resulted in our first eleven students.
One-Year Ministry Residency
Just as a medical doctor would spend a season of time in his medical training in a hospital, we have eleven ministers in residence with us for one year. We will pour into them, but much more important, we will lead them to do ministry, holding them accountable and preparing them to be used by God. For this residency, they are able to earn either master’s or bachelor’s level hours toward their desired degree. We have established partnerships with 12 different academic institutions.
Introducing our First Class
Two More Minutes Before You Go
There are two very important things I want to challenge you to look at and learn from. First, we have produced a short video to demonstrate one of the major reasons we are doing this school of ministry. Please take the time to watch it here. Also, I do hope you will navigate through our Cross Church School of Ministry website at crosschurchschool.com.
Send Us Your Students Next Year
We are already working on our class for 2014-2015. Therefore, send us your students. We will help them compliment their academic preparation with real ministry preparation. It is our hope that when they leave our school, we will launch a team of ministers that are ready to advance the gospel globally. We are one local church preparing people from all over the world to go to the ends of the earth to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd