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At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.  Hebrews 12:11 (The Message)

5 Years...HELLO! This past Friday night we held our 5 Year Alumni Event on the top deck of the Grand Lady Riverboat in Grand Rapids (highly recommend). It was such a great night seeing the majority of the students who have went through EC in the last 5 years come together for one big "Family" celebration. There have been 74 students who have embraced the call to do EC over the past 5 years, and each one has been marked by God in a unique way. Those of you who are doing EC next year are stepping into a family with a legacy that has been passed onto you...and we couldn't be more thrilled to have you! As the event drew to a close, after all of the stories, pictures, memories (and even myself swallowing a bug in the middle of my prayer), something seemed to resonate in my heart...

IT PAYS OFF!

What pays off you might ask? It's spelled: "D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E." Everyone of the students who have went through EC had to step out of their comfort zones and "do hard things." They willingly signed up for a discipleship program that "goes against the grain" of what the world has to offer them.  Gosh...they were even pushed to their limits and had to lean solely on God. They desired intimacy with Jesus and it came in a package of discipline. Yet, as I talked with so many on that riverboat, none of them would trade it for anything. This scripture in Hebrews 12:11 has become a reality for so many of them. What at times was tough has "paid off handsomely" in their lives. Being well trained does lead to a mature relationship with God.

So...maybe you are having second thoughts about this journey called EC. Maybe you think it will be too tough to do EC along with everything else you have going on in your life. Or maybe you are nervous about where the money is going to come from.  The easy thing to do is to run from it or make up excuses to justify why you "can't do it." The honorable thing is to put your trust in God, stick to your word, give discipline a big bear hug and hold on for the most incredible year of your life. Be encouraged today that what God calls you to He sees you through! You too will be able to stand at an alumni event someday thankful that you were well trained and have a mature relationship with Christ!

Is it worth it? Just look to those who have went before you. Five classes of students have went before and their lives declare a resounding YES!

IT PAYS OFF!

With Love,

Pastor Eric Giesow

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