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We cultivate intentional relationships with our neighbors and others in the city of Lansing, seeking to meet their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, and creating environments for authentic community to help others know Jesus, grow in Jesus, and share Jesus with those around them.

God Grows: Come and Behold Him

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
~2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV

What does it mean to behold the glory of the Lord? What does that "beholding" look like as an everyday spiritual discipline and practice? And when's the last time I've actually spent time beholding Him? 

These are the kinds of questions I (Phil) often ask myself, God, and others. When I hear the word, "behold", I feel a posture of awe and wonder at something that is worth being in awe of. And of course, God is worthy of all of our awe and wonder. I want to spend all my time focusing on Jesus and really being in awe of Him every moment of every day, and my mind and heart are often baffled by the simplicity and abstractness of this practice.

Really think about your own words, how would YOU describe what it means to behold God? How do you know you're beholding Him? I would really love to hear your responses!

Practically speaking, though, prayer, worship, and reading the Bible are some obvious, concrete actions that allow us to behold God. But beholding Him by simply being with Jesus throughout our day sounds like a daunting task in which it's impossible to succeed.

But it's in this place of simply "beholding the glory of the Lord" that we are actively "being transformed into the same image [of Christ] from one degree of glory to another". The simplicity of this reality kills the analytical, work-until-you're-worthy, figure-it-all-out side of me. But I know it's in this place where we find our full life in Christ, and the peace and grace to sustain us. We're transformed by Christ Jesus when we simply spend time beholding Him.

Recently, God revealed to me through prayer and talking with Elizabeth that I had been operating my spiritual life out of the pressure and expectation to constantly be a better Christ-follower. I felt a place of confusion in my head, heart, and spirit that robbed me of peace many times throughout the day. I always felt this burden of "not enough". I believed that if I wasn't continuously praying for others, for myself, world peace, etc. always repenting of something, spending all my time reading the Bible, or helping others, that I clearly was not a good enough Christian. But He revealed this lie to me, cast it off, and replaced it with the peace that comes from "being" rather than "doing". 

By "being with" Jesus instead of just "doing for" Him, we not only behold Him but we also reflect Him and share in His glory as we are transformed by being and beholding. 

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
~Acts 4:13 NIV

Thank you, Jesus, for freeing us up from a life of striving to be more like you by our own efforts. Lord, we know that we can do nothing apart from you. Help us to remain in your perfect, unmerited love as your love remains in us. Reveal to us everything that prevents us from simply being with you and uproot it all in Jesus' name. Help us to behold you and spend time gazing upon you every day, that we may be transformed by you from the inside out and reflect your glory, life, and love to everyone around us. Remind us of your Grace for us whenever we fail, get distracted, and lose sight of you. We're yours, Lord, keep us close to your heart! Let it be so, Lord. Amen.

November and December have been crazy busy and incredibly eventful months where we've seen God's hand of goodness and direction! Here are some of the many times where Jesus showed up in weird and wonderful ways:
  • Phil spent time discipling men in their 20s and working with Network 20 International by writing lessons and being involved in discipleship conversations. Many breakthroughs while being with Elliott. (Top photo)
  • We had a friend of a friend stay with us for a week who had a very unique and scary life story. We listened, talked, encouraged, and prayed with her constantly, and she was also an incredible answer to prayers and was an important ministry partner to us. One of those days, we had our Summerplace soccer team over for a pizza celebration, and she picked up the pizza for us and helped serve the kids, and Elizabeth and I would not have been able to do these things alone!
  • In that same week, Elizabeth had our friends Emmanuel, Anna, and Anna over for a game night to build relationships with and encourage the young girls in our neighborhood. (Middle left photo)
  • Elizabeth had her middle school Impact girls over to make fun Christmas crafts and they grew closer together.
  • We had breakfast with new friends in our neighborhood and had many meaningful conversations.
  • We spent Phil's birthday weekend with his mom in Holland enjoying the Fall colors and being challenged and refreshed.
  • We had an end-of-season Soccer celebration at Soccerzone in Lansing with all the Summerplace United teams and coaches and the kids and teens had lots of fun! (Bottom photo)
  • We had the girls from our neighborhood, as well as other neighbors and friends, come over and make Christmas cards for our neighbors, family, and friends. (Middle right photo, and below)
  • The neighborhood girls came over to make snowflakes and put up Christmas decorations, and we even had a snowball fight in the front yard.
  • We wrote many Christmas cards with prayers, encouragement, and our contact info, and passed them out to neighbors!
  • Elizabeth and Heather had some of the girls from our soccer team over to do their nails and they had a blast. (Bottom two photos)
  • Phil went to Defy (trampoline park) many times and God continuously opened up opportunities to get to know, love on, and pray for the people who work there.
  • We had friends over to sing Christmas carols and celebrate Jesus around the campfire and we were greatly encouraged.
  • Fellowship and Bible study with close friends; we left refreshed and encouraged after talking about beholding Christ.
  • Phil started a bible study for some middle school boys from church
  • We went to a prayer and worship night at the church down the street and met a guy who was seeking freedom from pain, trauma, and alcohol, and Phil talked and prayed with him to receive Christ.
Ways to Pray:
  • Guidance, discernment, and direction in our relationships with others. We have many new relationships that God has brought us into, and we want to be faithful to invest in whom God wants us to invest in and have direction moving forward in how to invite them into something deeper.
  • Abiding peace and trust in the Lord's pace when things feel slower or faster than we'd like. 
  • For God to move mountains in peoples' lives that we've been praying for; in stressful, pain-filled situations that others are going through, that Jesus would bring life and freedom.
  • That we would not get tired, disheartened, or discouraged in contending in prayer, trusting in the Lord's goodness and faithfulness.
  • Partnerships with local nonprofits and resources in the Lansing area that we can learn from and partner with to better serve the city.
Partner With Us Financially
Would you prayerfully consider a partnership with us in this organic, relationship-driven ministry? Join us today with others who are saying, "Yes, we're in!" to a disciple-making way of life by giving a special end-of-year gift of any amount. Partner with us in making a difference to help Christians and non-Christians in the Lansing area come into an abiding, fruitful, personal relationship with Jesus. Your gift enables us to continue journeying WITH others step-by-step, day-by-day, trudging through the messiness of life with Christ in us. For giving options, click the link above.

Ministry Coaching, M.D. is a qualified 501(c)(3) mission organization. Gifts are tax-deductible. For options to donate click on the button above.
Link to Info Page and Past Newsletters
Phil and Elizabeth Stepnowski
God Grows: The Stepnowski Family on mission in Lansing with Jesus
Our mailing address is:
5010 Conners Ave, Lansing, MI 48911
Our Contact Info:
Phil cell: (708) 698-4404, Elizabeth cell: (517) 290-6955

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MCMD · 11929 Upton Rd · Bath, MI 48808-8426 · USA

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