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The Importance of Prayer in Your Christian Walk

As a Christian, prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. It's how we communicate with Him, share our hearts, and seek guidance and wisdom. But for beginners, prayer can feel daunting or confusing. Where do you start? What do you say? How often should you pray? 

I remember when I was much younger, I had a fear of being called on to pray in public. I remember hearing the older saints of the church that would pray with such power. I miss hearing the thunder prayers of those saints. Many of those older followers of Christ, who I would call prayer warriors, had to start somewhere. Today, I hope that you are encouraged to start at your “somewhere”. 

Ultimately, Father God wants to spend time with His children. He desires for us to talk with Him regularly. A couple of weeks ago, I was having lunch with my friend Rob Decker, Pastor of Triad Baptist Church in Kernersville, NC and he said, “You realize in your humility the best posture to pray is to cry out little boy prayers on your knees.” As the importance of prayer begins to grow in your life, please realize that God is your Father and you are His Child. He wants us to come before Him humbly. 

My friend Larry Pope, Pastor of Hope River Church in Gibsonville, NC often spends his time alone with God at his house by a chair and a foot stool. He has shared with me before that oftentimes, he will kneel down at the foot stool and talk to Jesus like He is seated in the chair right in front of him. 

In this guide, I want to share the importance of prayer in your Christian walk and offer some practical tips for beginners.

Prayer is Essential

First and foremost, prayer is essential because it strengthens our relationship with God. Just like any other relationship, communication is key. By regularly praying and seeking God's presence, we deepen our connection with Him and grow in our faith. 

Prayer is Helpful

Prayer also helps us to become more like Christ, as we align our hearts with His will and seek His guidance in our daily lives. Psalm 121:1 says, 

"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lordwho made heaven and earth."

Because our help comes from the Lord, our source, we should automatically go to Him first with every need. The more we rely on Him and grow closer to Him, the more we will be drawn into an intimate, life-changing relationship with Him.

Prayer is Worship

But prayer isn't just about asking God for things. It's also a time for us to simply be in His presence, worshiping Him and expressing gratitude for all He has done for us. In fact, the Bible encourages us to "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Prayer is Practical

So how can you get started with prayer? Here are some practical tips for beginners:

  1. Set aside a specific time each day to pray. This can be in the morning, before bed, or any time that works best for you.

  2. Find a quiet place where you can focus and avoid distractions.

  3. Begin with a simple prayer, thanking God for His love and provision.

  4. Be honest with God and share your heart with Him. He already knows what's on your mind, but He wants you to come to Him with your struggles, fears, and doubts.

  5. Use the Bible as a guide for your prayers. You can pray through a Psalm or use a prayer from the New Testament as a template.

  6. Don't be afraid to ask for help or guidance from others. Seek out a mentor or prayer partner who can support and encourage you in your prayer life.

Prayer is Powerful

Remember, prayer is not just a religious duty or a way to get what we want. It's a powerful tool that can transform our lives and draw us closer to God. As you begin to prioritize prayer in your Christian walk, I pray that you will experience the fullness of God's love and grace in your life.

Keep these important things in mind when it comes to prayer:

  1. Be persistent. Just like any other habit, prayer takes time and consistency to develop. Don't give up if you don't see immediate results. Keep praying and trusting God's timing and plan for your life.

  2. Remember that prayer is a two-way conversation. It's not just about talking to God, but also listening for His voice and guidance. Make space in your prayer time to quiet your mind and listen for His still, small voice.

  3. Be open to God's answers, even if they don't look like what you expect. Sometimes God's answers to our prayers come in unexpected ways or through different people or circumstances. Stay open to His leading and trust that He knows what's best for you.

  4. Don't limit prayer to just your personal life. Pray for your family, friends, community, and the world around you. Ask God to use you as a vessel of His love and to show you how you can be a light in the darkness.

As you make prayer a regular part of your Christian walk, I believe you will begin to see the transformative power it has in your life. You will begin to experience a deeper sense of peace, joy, and purpose as you seek God's presence and direction. 

Remember, prayer is not just a religious ritual or a way to earn God's favor, but a sacred and intimate way to connect with the Creator of the universe. If you’d like to discuss prayer further or learn more about how you can incorporate prayer more effectively in your life, let’s connect!

Grace and Truth: The Perfect Love that Brings Healing

Grace and truth are two foundational elements of Christianity that are often overlooked or undervalued. Yet, without these two, the message of the gospel cannot be fully understood or appreciated. 

Grace is the undeserved favor and mercy of God. Truth represents the unchanging and objective nature of God's Word. Together, they form a powerful combination that can change the world.

The world needs the truth, and indeed, truth is crucial in a world filled with lies and deception. 
However, truth alone is not enough. The Bible tells us that the truth will set us free, but it is the grace of God that draws us to repentance and salvation. In other words, truth without grace can be harsh, condemning, and divisive.

On the other hand, grace without truth can be misleading, compromising, and even dangerous. It is the combination of grace and truth that leads to genuine transformation and healing. 

Unfortunately, many churches and individuals tend to lean more towards one side than the other. Some may emphasize truth to the point of legalism and judgment, while others may emphasize grace to the point of compromise and permissiveness. However, it
is only when we embrace both grace and truth that we can truly embody the love of God and impact the world for Him.

Generally, we tend to see 4 different types of people when it comes to grace and truth.

4 Types of PEOPLE:

APATHY: The “DON’T CARE” type people. 
They couldn't care less about grace and truth. They don’t funnel grace or truth in their lives. They reject it. They have no interest in loving God or loving others. Some might consider themselves atheists or agnostics. 

In many ways, you can easily see apathy in our world. People are numb. They are going through life with themselves as the center and are apathetic to the things around them. They aren’t moved by the hurt, tragedy, and turmoil going on in the world. They are indifferent to the injustices that are in their own backyard. They are focused on one thing and one thing alone, SELF. 

These don’t care types of people sadly can be found both within the church and outside of it. Many people may feel callous toward religion and fail to connect with God due to a variety of reasons but regardless, their choice of apathy causes grace and truth to be absent from their lives altogether.

SHAME: The “TRUTH ONLY” type people. 

People like this only funnel truth. They talk about truth in a way that makes it sound self-righteous. They are normally very judgmental. 

Unfortunately, shame is very much inside the church in our day. Shame also brings about a lot of legalism in the church. Legalism places the focus all on what we, as humans, do and not on what Christ has done for us in regards to salvation. Shaming people is not the job of the church. 

We cannot shame people into following Christ! It just doesn’t work like that. John 3:17 says,For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

If Jesus Christ, who has ultimate authority, did not condemn, then his followers cannot, nor are we supposed to, condemn anyone. Truth only focused people tend to forget that everyone, including them, need Jesus’ amazing grace to save them from their sins and that nothing they can do can save them in their own strength. 

SYMPATHY: The “GRACE ONLY” type people. 

Sympathy is the “feeling of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.” 


Some people like to show sympathy for others because they have received grace before and want to give it. Ultimately, it is not bad to extend grace but we also can’t forsake the truth. Grace only people tend to extend grace to others but oftentimes lack holding people accountable for sin. They tend to stay silent over issues of sin that they see in others lives because they are afraid of being offensive. 


Grace without the TRUTH, leads to apostasy. People completely reject their faith because they did not completely receive the truth. You can see many leaving the church or not walking in the way of Christ because they have followed a false view of what it means to be Christ-like. 

People in this camp tend to be very social justice focused. They love to rally around a cause and give their lives and resources to humanitarian aid but they can sometimes detach this from following in the truth of God. Once again, being concerned for the injustices of the world is not a bad thing, but ultimately Jesus Christ is the only true hope of the world so the good that we do must be paired with the desire to bring glory to Him and Him alone. 


Empathy means to “enter into the feelings of another.”


Ultimately this is where compassion comes in. Compassion means “to suffer with.” The compassion of Christ shows us what both grace and truth looks like lived out. 

Jesus embodied this balance perfectly. John chapter 1 verses 14 and 17 tell us that He was full of grace and truth.

An example of this can be found in the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11. We see here how Jesus demonstrated empathy, which is the ability to enter into the feelings of another. While the Pharisees wanted to shame and condemn the woman, Jesus extended grace to her, telling her that He did not condemn her and instructed her to go and sin no more. This is a powerful example of how grace and truth can work together to bring healing and redemption.

People don’t need just sympathy and the reality is shaming never helped anyone. However, empathy is the full embodiment of truth and grace and helps heal hurting hearts. 



Truth without grace is mean. 

Truth without grace is cruel. 

Truth without grace beats up on people.

Truth without grace repels people away from Jesus.

Truth without grace tends to try to scare the Hell out of people…literally!

Truth without grace is not really truth.



Grace without truth is foolishness.

Grace without truth lacks honesty.

Grace without truth chooses not to confront sin.

Grace without truth is being nice at the expense of being real.

Grace without truth waters down the Gospel.

Grace without truth is not really grace.


Most of us tend to be more of a TRUTHER…or a GRACER! *Yes, I created these words, but they serve a purpose here. 

The challenge is to all walk in Empathy: Grace and Truth!

So, what does it mean to walk in empathy, which is the full embodiment of grace and truth? 

  1. It means to love others as Christ loved us, to be willing to enter into their pain and struggles, and to offer them the same grace and truth that we have received from God.

  2. It means to confront sin and speak the truth in love, while extending mercy and compassion to those who are hurting. 

  3. It means to be authentic, honest, and transparent, while also being kind, patient, and forgiving.

Grace and truth are a big deal. They are essential for anyone who wants to follow Christ and make a difference in the world. 

May we be a people who walk in empathy, embracing both grace and truth, and may our churches be known as communities of love and healing, where the grace and truth of God are evident in everything we do.

Watch Pastor Dustin’s full sermon on Grace and Truth here and if you are interested in diving deeper into the discussion, reach out!

6 Plays That Changed the World

At the time of this blog post writing, the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament is underway, and so many coaches are drawing up plays. Some of these plays will be successful but others will not. 

Yet when we think about life, God is the ultimate playmaker. There are six themes that run throughout the Bible that speak to the meta-narrative of scripture. 

Understanding these six plays that changed the world forever can be communicated with a sharpie and a napkin. It is so simple that even a child can understand, yet so profound that theologians will continue to work through these themes until the end of time.


The first play that changed the world was perfect. God, in Genesis 1, created everything in heaven and on earth. He spoke everything into being and said that it was good. Humanity was created in God's image. God's plan was for humans to be His earthly family and to image Him as we live into the mission that He gave us to do.

 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;  male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 ESV. 

Imaging God means being God's representation on earth. In the garden, humanity represented God very well until they didn't anymore.


This play changed the world, but it wasn’t a play that was originally drawn up by God. Everything was going great until it wasn't any longer. Humanity sinned and broke the right relationship that they had with God. From Genesis 3-11, one can see how brokenness happened when rebellion entered into the story. 

This play was not made by God but was humanity's way of trying to take control of the playbook. This is what happens when we become the play caller, motivated by selfish gain. 

The serpent tricked Eve and, in turn Adam, into thinking that they could be like God and control everything. When sin entered the world, they were ashamed of what they had done. Yet, their story was not over because God was still in control and desired to redeem them.


God's heart was broken because His human family had fallen short, but that did not stop Him from loving them. God picked up the playbook and began to draw a new plan. 

God picked Abraham, a man of character, to be God's representation to the world. God's goal was to raise up a family out of Abraham to redeem the whole world. This nation that God established through Abraham was to be a holy nation and a community of priests to reach the other nations that rebelled against God. 

God desired His people to walk in faithful obedience and be loyal to Him as they reflected Him to the rest of the world. Prophets, Kings, Priests, and many others would rise up to point God's people forward, yet many of God's family would continue to fall short. They continually would try to do like Adam and Eve thinking that they can make it on their own. 


Enter the true playmaker, Jesus! John 1:14 says that 

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." 

God, in the person of Jesus, puts on flesh and comes to do what only He could ultimately do. Jesus, the perfect image of God, shows the whole world how to truly live for God. Jesus does not stop there but does the ultimate play by going to the cross for the sins of the world, not the sins of Himself. 

Love does that. 

Jesus Christ came up out of that grave like He said He would do, so that we could have life once again as we had in the garden, not temporary but forever. 

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the best news ever – we can experience life forever because of Him!


The playmaker drew up perfect plays as He made disciples and called others to follow Him in the Kingdom way. The Church of Jesus Christ was established to be on a mission to reflect Him to the rest of the world. 

The Church is God's plan to show the world what love looks like lived out in community. God did not stop with the Church but continues to make the play of new creation. God's love is continuing to redeem others. God is at work, and as He says in Revelation 21:5, He is making all things new! 

The Church of Jesus Christ has been entrusted with the mission to continue the work of the playmaker, to spread the good news of the gospel, and to make disciples of all nations. This mission has been passed down through generations of Christians, and it continues to be the primary focus of the Church today. 

The Church is not perfect, but it is God’s plan to bring about the redemption of the world.


Finally, the sixth and final play is the ultimate redemption. God’s plan from the beginning was to bring about the restoration of all things. This final play is the culmination of everything that God has been working towards throughout history. 

In Revelation 21-22, we see a glimpse of what this ultimate redemption will look like. God will dwell with His people, and there will be no more pain, suffering, or death. This is the hope that we have as Christians, that one day all things will be made new, and we will be with the playmaker forever.

The 6 Plays Summarized

As Christians, it is essential that we understand these six plays and how they fit into the meta-narrative of Scripture. By doing so, we can better understand God’s plan for our lives and how we can participate in His mission to redeem the world. 

  1. The creation of humanity in God’s image to represent Him on earth.

  2. The fall of humanity and the brokenness that entered the world.

  3. God’s plan to redeem the world through Abraham and his descendants.

  4. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the ultimate playmaker.

  5. The establishment of the Church as God’s plan to spread the good news of the gospel.

  6. The ultimate redemption of all things when God makes all things new.

May we continue to seek the playmaker and follow His lead as we live out His playbook in our daily lives. If you’d like to learn more about God’s playbook and dive deeper into the 6 plays that changed the world, let’s connect!

10 Powerful Bible Verses to Encourage You in Times of Need

Life is full of ups and downs, and there are times when we all need some extra encouragement to get through the tough times. Whether you're facing a health challenge, financial difficulty, or personal struggle, turning to the Bible for wisdom and comfort can provide you with strength and hope in the midst of it. 

In this blog post, we've compiled 10 powerful Bible verses that can encourage you in times of need.

We need to turn to God’s Word at all times, but especially in difficult times. One thing that we’ve found helpful are these verses. It might be helpful for you to print these verses out and post them around your home or office or maybe keep them in your pocket or purse. Putting them into memory is often helpful as well. 

Try Finding Strength in God's Word Through These Verses: 

Verse 1:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." - Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

Verse 2:

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." - Matthew 11:28-29 (ESV)

Verse 3:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

Verse 4:

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." - Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

Verse 5:

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Verse 6:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Verse 7:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Verse 8:

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

Verse 9:

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." - James 1:2-3 (ESV)

Verse 10:

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28 (ESV

These 10 powerful Bible verses can provide the encouragement and strength you need to face any challenge that comes your way. Remember to turn to the Bible for wisdom and comfort during difficult times, and trust in God's plan for your life. 

Incorporating Bible verses into your daily routine can help you stay focused on the positive and find peace in the midst of chaos. If you're struggling with fear, doubt, or anxiety, try meditating on these verses and let their truth fill your heart and mind.

If you'd like to find out more about how God's word can bring encouragement and help to your life, let's connect!