Discipleship #003: The Church

As educated Christians, we have often heard that a church is not merely a building. However, when we refer to a “church,” we still point at an ensemble of solid, concrete walls and elevated ceilings with a cross on top. For practical purposes, it is not wrong to do so. But this image is so ingrained into our minds that the practical definition of “church” as a building is more prevalent than the original definition of “church” as a gathering of Disciples.

Consider this: in the past, some churches were but houses of Christians, who offered their place up for worship and prayer. Even now, in different third-world countries, some churches start out as small, plain buildings made out of adobe bricks and bare grounds where Disciples of Christ meet. So what is a church?

A church is neither a building nor us. It is us in Christ. As A.W. Tozer puts it in Man: The Dwelling Place of God, “One hundred religious persons knit into unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.” And that Life we know as God.

The purpose of the church is then the purpose of the disciples that conform it: to be a place of discipleship, that is, to be disciples and make disciples together. This is how through the church, Jesus continues to live and give out the good news to the world.

Structure

One of the widely used Bible verses to describe how the structure of a church should look like is Corinthians 12:12-13.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[a] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Paul used the image of a living body instead of an inanimate machine for a reason. It was to show that a church should function organically, not mechanically. And indeed, in the passage of One Body with Many Member, Paul’s image of the church as the body of Christ deals with living, unique disciples working united in Christ.

But Paul was not the only one who used the image of the human body to show the value of an individual and the strength of togetherness. One of Aesop’s fables tells the story of the belly and the members. And this is how it goes:

One fine day it occurred to the Members of the Body that they were doing all the work and the Belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to strike work till the Belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two, the Hands refused to take the food, the Mouth refused to receive it, and the Teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two the Members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active condition: the Hands could hardly move, and the Mouth was all parched and dry, while the Legs were unable to support the rest. So thus they found that even the Belly in its dull quiet way was doing necessary work for the Body, and that all must work together or the Body will go to pieces.

In both Paul’s letter and Aesop’s fable, each part of the human body has a different function in contributing to the health of the whole. They are interdependent and definitely not self-sufficient. The church and its members are no different. As members of the church, we have different gifts we can use for the church, and we need each other to help each other in our brokenness and loneliness.

But in Aesop’s fable, there is no mention of the head. And perhaps it is the exact absence of this character in the story that the strike of the members happens. In the church, every member’s movement is able to become functional and work in harmony thanks to the coordination and guidance of the head, Jesus Christ. Without the head or without obeying the head, we would be as lost as the members of Aesop’s fable before they found out they had to work together.

3 Ways a Church Should Treat Its Disciples

We have said that the church is a place of discipleship. It is up to the church to foment discipleship and maintain a loving community of disciples. But how do we do that? How should we treat our disciples? Here are three great ways to consider:

  • Like Sons and Daughters: Paul was a great example of intimate involvement, and tender and disciplined love. In 1 Thessalonians 2 he writes that he did not only share the gospel but his life (v8), and in a similar fashion, missionaries dedicate themselves in sharing a life with the people of their new home shoulder to shoulder. Like both of them, we are not to act like distant supervisors to each other, but like a gentle “nursing mother caring for her little children” (v7) and “as a father deals with his children” (v11) by constantly encouraging, disciplining, and teaching each other our trades as disciples right next to them.
  • Like Siblings: When Paul writes to the church of Philippi, he addresses them as if they were family, calling them brothers and sisters. He urges them to think the same, love each other, and be united and humble (Philippians 2.1-4). In his commentary Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters, N.T. Wright writes that even in the midst of theological differences, resentments, variations in worship style, leadership style, and different personalities, Paul promoted a sense of belonging that should be found in the love for Christ and the gospel. Like a family united by blood ties, Paul shows that church members are united by Christ ties.
  • Like Individuals: This is a tricky one. In order to encourage discipleship, churches often engage in different practices such as bible studies, small groups, conferences, retreats, and out-reach programs. However, at one point we have started to rely on them to make disciples, as we would rely on a paper machine to mass produce sheets of papers out of living trees. It becomes all about making people complete tasks rather than the people themselves. It is essential to create programs tailored for intelligent, feeling individuals.  The nail clipper was made for the hand, not the other way around. So Bible studies? Instead of simply selecting a random book to study, let us discuss our spiritual needs and find something matching. Small groups? Let us not end them in answering prescribed questions but get to know each other’s lives through genuine interest. Retreats? Let us focus less on being on schedule and remember to build unity and community more than anything. Outreach? Let us see it less as a program but as an act of love for people.

There many other things to consider when it comes to the church. It is, after all, a complex, living thing. But what we need to remember is this: Without Christ there would be no disciples, and without those disciples there would be no church. In the very beginning and at the very end of it, the church is not really about the church. It is about Christ.

 

Michigan Area Discipleship Survey Results: 7 Things You Need To Know!

Thanks again to all who participated in Michigan Area UMC Discipleship Survey!  The results are in and we’re excited to share them with you.

So, here’s what we found …

1.  Keep it small and manageable.

The average size of small groups is 10 people and each church has an average of 7 small groups it conducts.

Chart_Q7_140414

2.  Innovation and Training aren’t just suggestions.

Only 13% of Bible Studies are viewed as being excellent.  Most of us are only moderately satisfied.  Resources used and group leader quality can make or break an experience.  It’s worth it to put in the time to find the best resources for your group and to train leaders to effectively develop discipleship.

Chart_Q10_140414

3.  Book studies are the way to go.

Studying a book of the Bible or a certain topic are great, but having a guide book and supplemental resources can heighten the learning and community experience.  Often the accompanying narrative allows readers to find themselves in the story and identify with the discipleship process.

preferred-study-methods

4.  Keep it regular.

Groups tend to meet weekly for about an hour or hour and a half.  This usually happens in the middle of the week in the evening.  This consistency provides accountability, a chance for in-depth learning and fellowship, and a respect for the hectic schedules we all tend to have.

Chart_Q12_140414

5.  Remember to be multi-modal!

The best learning engages multiple senses and is tailored to different learning styles.  The studies that are most preferred are those that come with DVDs and guidebooks.  There’s something here for everyone!

Chart_Q14_140414

6.  It’s good to know.

Collaboration with other churches, curriculum experts, and small group leaders allows you to stay up to date and to make educated decisions about which resources to use.

7.  We want you to be in the loop.

We compiled a list of the top resources being used by Michigan area UMC churches right now:

the-waylastwords

soulshift-measure-life-transformed-steve-deneff-hardcover-cover-artCrazylove_bookcover

the-life-youve-always-wanteddaniel plan

Beth-Moore-6NTWright 250w09Lucado_414006455

572_200Nooma

Thanks for helping us help you.  We’ll be conducting similar surveys for other states and denominations soon!
If you need anything along this journey of discipleship, we’re here for you.  Reach out to us with questions/comments/feedback at  contact@goodberry.net.

 

Discipleship #002: Discipline

Ever wondered why the words disciple and discipline sound similar? This is because while “discipline” comes from the latin disciplina, which means “instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge,” the word “disciple” comes from discipulus, which means “object of instruction, knowledge, science, military discipline.” Thus, a disciple refers to someone who is disciplined.

If Michael Phelps, as an Olympic swimmer, swam an average of 6 hours per day, 6 days per week despite having been diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) as a child, we ought to consider what discipline should look like for us.  As disciples of Christ, we must also have a dedicated approach to growing our spirituality.

Discipline is an extremely important element in every Christian’s spiritual growth. For one, it provides direction, as it allows you to focus on Christ and be like him. Stephen Eyre writes in his book Spiritual Disciplines, “More lies behind the beauty and swiftness of a sailboat than the wind that fills its sails. Discipline is required to keep it on course. The same is true of your spiritual life.”

Secondly, the different activities are mediums that can nurture you. They are essential, just like your three daily meals. You may not remember exactly what you ate a week ago and that food may be long gone by now, but what matters is that it has been digested. It is that food and the food you have kept eating until now that has nourished you, strengthened you, and pushed you forward.

In today’s post we will talk about one of the spiritual disciplines that goes by the name of Quiet Time (QT). QT is a time shared between a disciple and Jesus, and it traditionally involves two other spiritual disciplines: Scripture reading and praying.

Scripture Reading

As Christians we believe that every word in the Bible had been inspired by God, and we take it as our standard of truth. If we had to compare it to any other book it would be to a textbook, a holy textbook of sorts that has everything important you need to know in order to lead a righteous life filled of servitude.

Following the idea of the Bible as a textbook, the Bible should be read in alertness and be studied, not simply skimmed through. The Psalmist writes that our delight should be in the law of the Lord and we should meditate on it day and night like a tree which yields fruit in season (Psalm 1:2-3). In other words, we must love the word, for delight is found in love. When studying, we must ponder on the message it is trying to convey and its meaning while opening our hearts and mind to the Holy Spirit. And we must apply it to our lives, that is, produce fruits. Ask ourselves how does the message relates to us? What is similar? What is different? How should we act from now on?

There are different methods of reading and studying the Bible, amongst them the inductive method. However, for now we will leave it to examine it in more detail another time.

Praying

Brother Lawrence once said in The Practice Of The Presence Of God, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” It is true, because prayer is but an honest conversation with God, a two-way street in which God meets us halfway through Jesus. Us praying is a way of showing our faith.

You may have heard the four types of prayer that match the acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. However, there are also different forms of praying. Sometimes prayer consists of speaking in tongues or of fragmented and incomplete sentences. Sometimes it is wordless and is a humble laying down of emotions, like Hannah’s (Samuel 1). Other times, it is a song or a poem, a psalm, a holy sonnet.

Practical Tips

Being disciplined is not easy. To build a good habit takes time, a committed mind and heart, and, well, help. So here we have some practical tips that may aid you in making out of QT or any other spiritual discipline into a daily habit.

  • Put it into your schedule: Treat your QTs as an appointment you have with a friend, the kind you would write down in your agenda or to-do list. Set time aside in advance instead of making out of it a when-I-feel-like-it kind of thing. If a friend gets happy when you are intentional about meeting him, think of how it would please the Lord if you pull away from the busyness of your life to rendezvous with him.

  • Start Small: Psychologists say that if you get a person to agree to a modest request first, there is a higher chance of getting them to agree to a larger request later. They call this the Foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique, and if it works on others, it can applied to yourself as well. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of daily QT. The time will increase naturally and gradually, maybe even without you noticing it, as you mature in your faith and your love grows fonder. The important thing is to start and put that foot in the door. One day, that door will open wide. (For more psychological jinxes on how to create or break habits watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CojSlsMwDOg)

  • Pray: It might be strange to say to pray so you may pray in your QTs, but as we said previously, prayer is but an honest conversation with God. If you do not feel the desire to do your QT a certain morning, you may pray about it— tell God all about it. King David’s psalms were not only songs of praise and joy, but some of them were also full of calling, questioning, grief, and sometimes even anger.

  • Be Persistent: There will be days you will miss doing your QT. Things happen. However, not letting that one day snowball on you and discourage you from re-picking the activity up is important.  Do not succumb to guilt or embarrassment and simply quit. God knows about the frailty of human will and sent Jesus Christ in love. You must have courage and faith to accept grace. So if you missed QT once, twice, or even more, simply move on and do your QT that day.

  • Make It Your Own: Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that our QTs must be like the QTs of the people we look up to (Saint Augustine! My pastor! Jesus!) or our peers. However, just as we do not walk the same way or pace, just as some hop, others swag, some run, and others drag their feet, we must individualize our QTs in a way we will find them, not bothersome or chore-like, but enjoyable. QTs are after all a personal time with God, someone who loves you and understands the way you are.

  • Start today!

Spiritual disciplines are definitely a core part of discipleship, QT being only one of them. Even Jesus had QTs with God as specified in Mark 1:35. And if Jesus found it necessary, how much more necessary must it be for us?

But even when they are necessary, no one can force you into them. It is up to you. Writer Annie Dillard puts it like this in Teaching a Stone to Talk: “You do not have to do these things—unless you want to know God. They work on you, not on Him. You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary.”

Spiritual disciplines. Let us then practice them not only out of necessity but out of our love for the stars.

 

Discipleship #001: To Be & Make Disciples

Goodberry’s mission is to help brothers and sisters be disciples and make disciples.  We’re excited to introduce to you a brand new blog post series that will explore the concept of discipleship. To say we intend to make out of this a comprehensive guide to discipleship might be a stretch, but we present this project in the hope that it may be a starting spark or a handy lamp in your spiritual growth.

To kick-off, a good understanding about the concept of discipleship is due. What is discipleship? A state of being? A mentality? An identity? Let’s take a look at the definition.  “Discipleship” is “the position of a disciple” and a “disciple” is

1. a. One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.

b. An active adherent, as of a movement or philosophy.

2. often Disciple One of the original followers of Jesus.

3. Disciple A member of the Disciples of Christ.

In general terms then discipleship seems to consist of a dual role: being a disciple and discipling.

Being a disciple

Taking this idea into a Christian context, being a disciple means to be a follower of Christ. The twelve disciples of Jesus immediately come into mind, and not without good reason. But what was it that which made them be called disciples?

When Jesus was teaching at the lake of Gennesaret and asked Simon to let down his nets into deep water, there were other fishermen aside from Simon, James, and John. However, what distinguished these three from the others was that when they saw the miracle they responded to Jesus’ call. Luke 5:11 reads that “They pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” They left everything.  Everything meaning their jobs, their houses, their families, and their identities as fishermen of fish, husbands, and fathers, for the new identity of “disciple.”

This denial of self and the taking up of the cross is a foundational characteristic in a disciple. Greg Ogden explains in his book Discipleship Essentials that the denial of self does not imply a denial of self-worth, individuality, or one’s right to happiness, but a denial of “self-lordship.” In other words, the disciple freely abandons his current way of life in obedience to Christ, all in the wish to be molded into the person God wants him to be. The giving up of oneself to find oneself and true life has always been a complicated theological paradox to explain, but in a sense, it is just like the miracle Peter, James, and John experienced; it is extraordinary but very real.

Being a disciple does not end here. Responding to the call is just the first step. After Jesus chose his twelve disciples, he entrusted them with numerous activities. He wanted them to learn, and he gave them authority so they would drive out demons and cure illnesses. Above all, he entrusted them with the task of proclaiming the kingdom of God. As with the disciples in the Bible, discipleship proves to be more than a static identity but a way of life, which takes us to the second and yet more active part of discipleship: discipling.

Discipling

Discipling, the act of making disciples, is born out of the desire to share one’s faith to others. Like a child with a treasure map who is driven to share it with his loved ones and friends, when one truly understands the joy enclosed in the good news of salvation, it is hard to contain. It must be shared or it will burst.

Experienced people will tell you that discipling is a tactful art. The good news must not be thrown onto people like stones but carefully seeded and cared for. An intimate, intentional, and constant relationship with one’s disciples is needed in order to encourage and challenge them to grow toward maturity in Christ.

In the children’s book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a boy realizes that what distinguishes his rose from the other roses in earth is the time and care he poured onto it. He also realizes that because of this bond, he was responsible for it. Jesus chose twelve disciples and poured himself into them; he did not mass produced them only to touch the surface of their hearts. The apostle Paul did not take in Timothy as his pupil nor did he plant churches to forget about them later; he constantly sent them letters, so many in fact that there are thirteen books of them in the New Testament.

Speaking of those who practiced discipling, the best example we have is indeed Jesus. Jesus was the expert. He was an impeccable model, who inspired his disciples to imitate him. He taught about God using his perfect knowledge of the Bible and parables, he trusted his disciples with many activities (which we mentioned before), and he prayed for them and listened when they reported their experiences. And finally, he sent them forth saying, “19 go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Discipleship is not easy. Jesus never promised his disciples a rosy journey full only of sunshine and smiles. Therefore, in order to keep growing spiritually and practice discipleship one must be disciplined and intentional about it. There are practices that will help you to grow. Practices that sometimes may seem small and insignificant, but which with time prove their importance and meaning in life. Let us then keep reading the Bible, persist on our devotionals, seek out for quiet times with God, pray ceaselessly, question constantly not for the sake of cynicism but discernment and wisdom, imitate Christ, and above all, love God, the selves God has given us, and our neighbors.

None of this must be done alone. Company is a blessing in the journey of discipleship. Churches can help you engage in different services and practices. They can connect you to Bible studies and small groups (triads/quads, one-on-ones, larger groups), conferences, retreats, opportunities to volunteer and evangelize, and a loving community.

We’re prepared to equip you.

We, Goodberry, want to support you as much as we can in this journey. We can provide you with array of tools and resources that could serve as a springboard or help create context in the process of discipleship.  Discipleship is a big subject— more intricate and complex than what we often imagine. We have but grazed upon its definition; there are still many more caverns left to explore. As we go on with this series of discipleship, however, we want to cover as many related topics we can. We want to further explore with you how churches view discipleship, strategies and models of how to be a good disciple and how to disciple, pitfalls to watch out for, and more.

There are many things to learn and to do in this adventure called “discipleship.” So, Let us set off!

Encouraging Vulnerability

 

A few years ago, Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, delivered a compelling Ted Talk on the Power of Vulnerability.  This talk has stuck with me as the importance of vulnerability in developing relationships is a topic that keeps resurfacing, especially when it comes to forming effective small groups.  The potential benefits of small groups are endless, but they must have the key elements of comfort, communication, and trust.  And these are all things that must be cultivated.

Small group leaders occasionally miss the mark, thinking that these things will just grow as the group goes along, but it is important to pay attention and invest to create the best possible environment for growth.  So where do you start?  Brown’s findings suggested that the people who were living wholeheartedly simply had the courage to be imperfect.  “They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.”

For our purposes, perhaps the best place for your small group to start is in discovering who God says you are and how He feels about you.  In order to be vulnerably authentic in who we truly are, and to ever relate to others, we must first look to our Creator.  Start with this simple reminder in 1 John 3:1 which says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!”  Generate a discussion on how these truths match up with how we feel about ourselves, or what sort of impression we feel we must give off in our Christian communities.  I would even suggest creating a covenant of vulnerability in your group – solidifying your commitment to growth together.

A small group community can be an excellent haven for our humanity to emerge and for our quest to become more Christ-like encouraged.  Remember to encourage vulnerability, for Ephesians 5:13 says, “everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

 

Consider checking out the following resources for your small group:

God is Grey

The mission of Goodberry is to help Churches be disciples and make disciples.  That’s a pretty large responsibility and undertaking given the vast denominational differences, needs of the church, and varying stances on several issues, but we hope to be a resource that encourages dialogue, presents both sides, and points people toward God.

I believe that one of the things that allows us to do this as an organization is the discipline of questioning.  We’ve found that there can be danger present in saying that being a Christian is black-and-white, or that the Bible always gives us definitive answers to all of the questions and debates we face.  Being a disciple of Christ often calls for radical life change and open-mindedness that allows you to both see God’s truth and experience His love.

So how do we respond when we’re confronted with a question, or have been wondering something ourselves?  Where do we turn to find truth?  It’s easy to ask others, or even just to spout off our own opinions.  Sometimes, pressing the pause button might be necessary.  It might be more God-honoring to go through a mental checklist of sorts:  Are we sure?  Have you checked?  What has time spent in prayer revealed to you?  What information does the context of that particular verse provide you with?  Are you reading the Bible with an open mind, or is your interpretation clouded with your own biases/agenda?  What about those topics that aren’t even discussed in the Bible?  How do we know what to feel or think to that extent?

The circles us back around to the discipline of questioning.  To clarify, questioning doesn’t allude to doubting faith or turning away from God.  Rather, it involves principles outlined in Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  These practices are essential to discovering truth.

This discipline is one that I have personally been living out recently.  The beautifully frustrating and liberating thing that I’ve found in the midst of the questioning is that God is sometimes grey – not black and white. Often times this leads to more questions than answers, but you see, the beauty is in the process; it’s what God intended all along.  In the midst of the process, we are changed.  We have the opportunity to stand next to God and look through His lens.  How astounding is it to realize that God isn’t just somewhere far off in the distance, but that His word is living, alive, and active?  God dwells in and among us.  When we seek Him out, we grow to be less concerned with the answers and more concerned with the heart of God.  Maybe this is what G.K. Chesterton was getting at when he said “the poet only asks to get his head into the heavens.  It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head.  And it is his head that splits.”

Perhaps it would be easier (and debatably better) if the Bible was an actual comprehensive moral code, or if God answered our prayers with undeniable words carved in immutable stone tablets.  Or, would this actually be worse?  Would eliminating the mystery eliminate part of our relational ability with God?  Would we perhaps be missing out on the beauty, creativity, and artistic nature of the divine?  Remember that Jesus spoke in metaphors.  There are some truths that can only be fully expressed in song (the entire books of Psalms, for example).  The Bible is essentially a puzzle full of parallel, paramount context and culture, and intentionally decorated with poetry.  Jesus was less of a logician and more of an artist, and I would argue that the best pieces of artwork are shaded.

Donald Miller puts it this way:  “black-and-white, either-or thinking polarizes people and stunts progressive thought.”

Maybe it’s time we set our judgments and demands aside.  Maybe it’s time to realize that polarity doesn’t exist with God, because His love (and creation) is present on all points of the spectrum and extends to every corner of the earth.  Will you join us in asking, seeking, and knocking?  Let’s read.  Reread.  Pray.  Double check.  And ultimately, rest in the shaded grey in order that God may fill our hearts.

Christian the Lion remembers

I have learned that “it is very easy to lose focus on eternal, spiritual truths when everything around us pushes us to give all our attention to our immediate, urgent, and often seemingly more interesting circumstances. But when we honor God by focusing our lives on him by serving him to the best of our ability (2 Timothy 2:15), by maintaining love and unity among ourselves (John 17:11), and by standing firm in confidence and hope in him (Hebrews 3:6), we will find that our circumstances will certainly be no less interesting…” (How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens by Michael Williams)

And for some reason, ‘Christian the Lion’ came to mind. The image of a Lion after a long time in the wild makes his current circumstance predict him as wild and dangerous; not remembering his past owners. But yet, the outcome says otherwise. He remembers his ‘owners’ and greets them! It is definitely mind boggling.

As the quote from above, we may sometimes “forget” our relationship with our Heavenly Father and “give all our attention to our immediate, urgent and often seemingly more interesting circumstances” but maybe today is a start, a start to remind ourselves of our calling to…

  • Give Him our best (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Maintain unity among yourselves (John 17:11)
  • Offer our whole selves to Him (Romans 12:11)
  • Have firm confidence and hope in Him

Let us remember what our ‘owner’ has done for us and despite our ‘wild’ circumstances, let’s get back into focusing on our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

“Ugliest Girl on the Internet” Shares Her Story

God put you here for a reason and He wants you to share that reason no matter what

Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare disease that makes it impossible for her to gain weight. A few years ago so discovered that internet bullies cruelly voted her the “ugliest on the Internet.” Rising above her tormentors she has gone on to succeed greatly in life. Watch her give an amazing and Godly speech that will literally change your life.

How are you sharing your ‘reason’ today?  

Weakness is the Way

In the following video, J.I. Packer, renowned theologian and author of the forthcoming ‘Weakness is the Way,’ reflects on his experience of weakness, having been hit by a bread truck as a child and now facing the realities of aging.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9–10)

So lean on Christ, the lover of your soul, as Paul did, and in all your ongoing weakness, real as it is, you too will be empowered to cope and will be established in comfort and joy.
—J. I. Packer

In what ways will you lean on Christ today? He is waiting for us…

Caring For Friends

Doesn’t this video remind us of our calling to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters in need?
Who has God put in your life today that is in need of care?

Reach out and make a difference to someone’s life today!

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
-Philippians 2:4

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
-Galatians 6:2

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
-Ephesians 4:32

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”
-Colossians 3:12