Growing Up in Your Faith

Zach Sewell, Christ follower and Member of the Kingdom of God and Brandon Bachtel, Lead Pastor of Stonepoint Church

Today, is April 16th.  For most of us, it’s simply another Tuesday.  However, for some it’s a birthday celebration, a wedding anniversary, or a day that brings heartache because of death, pain, or other memories.  For me, it marks one month since my best friend went to be with Jesus.  Today, it’s a day of memories; as well as laughter and tears.  As I write this blog, I can’t help but remember what Zach Sewell meant to me, his family, friends, and the body of believers at Stonepoint Church in Wills Point, Texas.

Zach was one of a kind.  He lived with such purpose, integrity, and joy.  He lit up every room he entered; he never met a stranger, and truly loved God with all of his heart.  Today, I wanted to share a blog that he wrote just days before he died.  Though he did not finish it completely, I pray that I will find the words to express his thoughts.  Zach and I had conversations like this many times, and I believe that God will allow me to fill any blanks that might of helped Zach drive home the point.

Zach’s words are italicized and in parenthesis.

“When you’re a kid, summertime is the greatest time of the year.  School is out and endless hours of fun lay ahead of you.  You’re able to grab breakfast, go outside and play all day, come back in and shower, clean up to have dinner, play with your toys or games, then hit the sack, only to do it all over again. When I was a kid I was afforded the free time to pursue time wasters like that and I enjoyed them.   As adults, we don’t get the opportunity to do that anymore because things have changed.  Used too, we enjoyed someone coming behind us to make our beds.  Breakfast was ready for us; and our parents cleaned up the toys long after we had fallen asleep.  Did I mention that in the midst of it all, someone is doing our laundry?  (I am doing laundry as I type.) 

“However, as we get older, our parents start preparing us to be adults.  They give us chores and responsibilities.  They teach us what it takes to manage our own lives, so that someday we will grow up. We spend our formative years getting prepared to be a productive member of society, so when it is time, we can step out on our own and put childish ways behind us.  Some of us learn faster than others, and we grow up at different rates than others.   I spent a good bit of time in college trying to learn these principles… but that information is for another day and another blog.”

“A lot of us never got the memo, but growing up also applies to our faith.  I certainly fell into this category.  I knew “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”, but my faith and spiritual depth stayed in the shallow end of the pool.  (That’s the simple way to put it!)  I went to church to be motivated to face the next week.  I possessed a kindergarten faith.” 

“Growing up I loved watching movies.  One movie in particular, was “John Wayne and the Cowboys.”  I watched it so much; I could quote all the lines of the movie.  “I knew where everyone was sitting on the fence when they took turns breaking the horse, as they prepared to ride on the cattle drive.“  Many of us can remember our favorite movies, parts of the Bible, and even the fact that God loves us.  However, many of us failed to apply the knowledge to areas of our faith.  Many of us have never grown up spiritually.  We’ve made church a habit and a ritual, but failed to mature or grow up in our faith.  “Going to church is a vital part of our faith.  It is an opportunity to get refueled, in order to go back into the world to reach people for Christ.  It’s not just a place to visit and feel good about yourself at the end of the day.  Once I started living a sold-out life for Christ Church all of a sudden it was relevant; and it became more of a training class than a motivational speech.”

Zach had definitely grown up in recent years.  Not only did he have a leash on his personal life, his spiritual life had emerged in the last several years.  Zach had left the elementary things of the faith, and moved onto maturity in Christ Jesus.  He had surrounded himself with Godly men who held him accountable.  He read the scriptures, not out of obligation, but because He yearned to know more about God.  When I think of Zach, I cannot help but think he would offer this statement from Hebrews 5:12-14, “12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

For many of us, we should be teaching and leading others at this point in our faith journey.  We should grow up and be an example.  However, for many of us, we are still yearning milk, when we truly ought to be growing in righteousness.  Zach was a wonderful example.  He loved seeing life change in people; especially when they left their Kindergarten faith and began growing deeply in love with Jesus Christ.  I believe if Zach were here today, he’d ask you these questions:

1)Have you chosen to follow Jesus with all of your life?

2)What steps do you need to take to begin maturing in your faith?

3)Is there anyone in your life that sharpens you and makes you better?

4)Is there anyone that you are making better?

5)What are you going to do about what you’ve just read?

My prayer is that you and I will grow in Christ; and begin to change the world.  We are surrounded with evil, darkness, and despair.  Our faith in Christ is our only hope.  Matter of fact, Christ has called us out of darkness and into light, so that we may impact others.   Zach Sewell was a light for Jesus Christ and his life and legacy have been felt around the world.

As I close, let me leave you with this one scripture as a prayer for us all.  A prayer that Zach and I have prayed for many people over the last couple of years.  Ephesians 1:17-19 says, “17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”