LIFE Groups start the week of 9/17. Sixty-Five (65!) people signed up and more will soon.
LIFE Groups are not just a Bible study. Group get-togethers are anchored by bible study but the goal is to foster relationship among the family of God. Christians need other Christians to grow. To love God truly, we must learn to love others fully. To love others deeply, we must learn to love God intentionally.
LIFE Groups seek to build Jesus followers in relational environments. LIFE Groups are:
Informational (bible study) yet Relational
United in format but responsive to personalities
Progressing from neighborly relationship to family-like relationships
Anticipating to branch (overflow into more groups) and invite more people in
To join a LIFE Group, come to Life’s Journey on Sunday morning and sign up and include the nights you are available. Groups will meet on Sunday – Thursday nights.
Stetson Spang shared encouragements from the story of Moses. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt under a cruel Pharaoh and yet it is a story of God’s greatness and faithfulness. It is a story in which we can learn how to see God’s glory even when circumstances around us are dark.
In the middle of great oppression, Exodus 1:12 tells us “the more [the Israelites] were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.” (ESV)
Be encouraged by the many insights Stetson offers from the story of Israel. With God you can see the blessing in any problem.
In the Old Testament God would often identify himself as the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. The story of God’s relationship with humanity spans across multiple generations. God chose Abraham out of all the people in the world and he gave him a world wide promise, but that promise wasn’t fulfilled until generations later. The plans of God crosses multiple generations.
The vision of the gospel is the vision of God. God’s vision is one which expands our own vision to see farther past ourselves. You will influence people in your immediate relationships to varying degrees no matter what you do or how hard you try. With Jesus, however, you can influence generations of people outside of your immediate relationships. Live with the vision of Jesus to build a Godly legacy for the generations to come.
We are often told in the Scriptures to “wait on the Lord”, but what does that mean? What does that look like? King David wrote many psalms that reflect a lifestyle of waiting on God. Also, the famous story of Job provides deep insight into an attitude of waiting.
The story of Job is often used as an explanation that bad things happen to good people under God’s supervision and control. But his story also teaches the why it is important to always wait on the Lord. Although Job never cursed God to his face, as Satan wagered he would, Job did stand on the edge of the cliff of despair.
Job experienced a turning point in his faith that each of us will come to. Under the weight of affliction Job cried out that God was good to him yesterday, but today he is not. He reached the point where he began to believe that God had stopped being good to him.
Maybe you’ve stood on that same cliff. If you haven’t, know that even the smallest of trials can take you there.
What God wants us to know is that while times are good we must dwell on the truth that he is good, loving, faithful and strong so that when times are bad we can cling to that same truth. Waiting on God means learning to be still in order to see the goodness of God around you.
Scripture Reference: Psalm 27, Job 29:2-6, 30:9-10 and 19, 38, 40:4-5 and 42:1-6
Last week, Rod encouraged us to not let a known personal problem or sin stop us from pursuing God. God meets you where you are, but calls you to where he is. This week, Rod explains some ways to keep our minds on God.
The pursuit of God is a journey. In the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote of this same topic and encouraged the church at Rome to pursue God. He wrote, “…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.
Remember, a living sacrifice will struggle to keep it’s own life. The old life, the old attitudes, the old habits that don’t honor God will want to hold on, but because of God’s mercy you can honor God and let go of the old. It’s not about rules, it’s about the redeeming and transforming work of Jesus Christ. Not about what you do, but what you allow Christ to do in you.
The transformation to be Christ-like, a little Christ, a Christian is a journey. Once you come to Jesus you become a good work in progress.
On Sunday morning (7/2), LJCF was encouraged to know that God does not give his heart or his love in pieces. Through Jesus, God poured out his full love on the world. The song we sang was “Pieces”, originally produced by Bethel Music. Hear it again, as sung by Amanda Cook, and remember this truth for your life.
You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us
Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious
It’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keep its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish
Your love is pure
Long ago in ancient Judah, King Jehoshaphat showed great faith in God when faced with an insurmountable challenge. Enemy armies surrounded Judah and the armies of Judah were not ready to meet the better equipped enemy. Instead of surrendering in fear or trying harder with human strength, the King turned to God first and God moved on behalf of his people.
Yet, a part of the king’s legacy was that he failed to “remove all the pagan shrines” in the land. The people had a great moment of faith but they never fully committed their lives to God. The failure of the king doesn’t outweigh his success but it became a part of his legacy. There was a “however”, a “nevertheless” in his life and there didn’t need to be.
What is the “however” or the “nevertheless” in your life? Some attitude or activity that God has revealed to you and given you the ability to change yet you have decided to keep it Don’t feel guilty and live with it. Rater, be encouraged and continue to give your heart, soul and mind to God today.
On Father’s Day, Rod encouraged us to honor our fathers. This can be difficult for many people due to broken relationships with their fathers. Regardless of past wrongs, God still wants children to honor their father. For the father wanting to instill an attitude of honor in their children, we are reminded that love is spelled T-I-M-E because rules without relationship leads to rebellion. That children and wives want face to face time with their dad and husband. That fathers are to partner with their child’s mother in raising their kids and not abandon child rearing to mom alone.
Whatever your relationship may be with your father or your child, it’s not too late for a child to begin to show honor to their dad. It’s not too late for a father to ask forgiveness and begin to rebuild a relationship. The call to honor doesn’t require that we first have a good feeling about our fathers, it simply starts with obedience and often times the feeling of love and honor will follow some time afterwards.
An encouraging message after Rod returned from a brief rest from preaching. In April, Rod suffered a heart attack and by prayers and God’s grace he is still with us and strong enough to return to preaching with the simple and powerful message of “Trust in the Lord”.
Trust is built on relationship. You cannot have trust in someone or something until you experience a trustworthy outcome from the relationship. As trust builds, it maintains a trusting bond even when disappointments in the relationship occur. In human relationships, trust can be broken but with God he will never break the trust. We may be disappointed by the outcome yet God will never break a word he gives. “God will fulfill every promise that he has ever given you.”