June 4, 2018
Veronica Podbury has written about five keys from the Bible for sound decision-making. She says that the dangers and long-term consequences of making the wrong choice can be huge. Fear of being wrong can force us into not making a decision at all, while desperation can lead us into decisions we’ll live to regret.
The apostle Peter had to make a quick decision one dark night when he saw Jesus walking on water towards the fishing boat he was in. Full of faith, he called out, “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you” (Matthew 14:28). When Jesus did, Peter stepped out of the boat. We look to this as a great example of courage even though “when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water” (Matthew 14:30-32). The great thing is that, for a while, Peter’s bold decision to trust Jesus enabled him to walk on water! How many of us would love to do that! Peter had Jesus there right in front of him, calling him to come. For us, deciding what to do generally is not so clear-cut. We can, however, draw out five key principles to guide us.
1. Keep God involved.
It sounds almost too obvious, but when we are in frightening circumstances it’s tempting to fall back on purely rational thinking to solve our problem and inform our decision-making. God has given us our minds to think things through sensibly, but there’s a danger that, at the time we most need to rely on God for guidance, we can behave like nonbelievers.
2. Seek guidance from Scripture.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living” (2 Timothy 3:16). God will speak to us through his Word, often leading us to a particular Scripture that will bring fresh light to our situation.
3. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Jesus promised us he wouldn’t leave us without guidance, but that the Holy Spirit would come and guide us into the truth (John 16:13).
4. Seek the advice of wise and experienced believers.
People around us may give useful advice in their areas of expertise, and friends may try to tell you what to do, but the “counsel of the saints” has a different level of advice and shouldn’t be neglected.
June 19, 2018
Carey Nieuwhof says that the most effective churches change constantly. He goes on to say there are certain signs of churches that are resistant to change. Here they are:
1. They keep having the same conversation over and over (and over) again. Talking about an issue—even talking passionately about an issue—and doing nothing about it is a complete waste of time. Awareness doesn’t solve problems. Discussion doesn’t solve problems. Insight doesn’t solve problems. Action does.
2. Every time someone raises a new idea, someone lists 3 reasons it won’t work. In 1876, cash-strapped Alexander Bell offered to sell his new invention, the telephone, to Western Union for $100,000. They rejected it. This was their report: “We do not see that this device will be ever capable of sending recognizable speech over a distance of several miles. The idea is idiotic on the face of it. Furthermore, why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States? This device is inherently of no use to us.”
3. Small things always become things. You never reach any big things because the small things always become big things. The debate on whether you should have carpet or hardwood lasted six months. And then they decided on carpet. Which itself then became the two-month discussion on what color the carpet should be. Which then became the four-month debate on who should install it. Break in one night and install it yourself!
4. “We’ve Never Done It That Way Before” has become a theme song. It’s easy to get smug and think “only super traditional churches fall into traps like this.” Successful, growing churches struggle with this tension too. You become so afraid of breaking what’s working that you resist change. The greatest enemy of your future success is your current success. When your church becomes about your personal preferences, you’ve lost the mission.
What to do? Start by personally owning your resistance to change. We all resist it, and our resistance might be born out of fear. Realize that change IS possible because not everyone is actually opposed to change. Don’t let the 10% of people who are opposed to change determine the future of the 90% who aren’t.
June 23, 2018
“Amazing.” “Awesome.” Incredible.” I’m having difficulty finding the words to describe the Christ-like hearts of the 193 people who served in our JourneyCares Week!
It was a tremendous week of spiritual development and of experiencing meaningful community within our church family, and, of course, we hope we helped our partners accomplish their mission! Here are the community organizations with whom we served (besides construction projects on individual homes.)
Angels of Assisi
Boys & Girls Club
Child Health Investment Partnership
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Meals on Wheels
Rescue Mission of Roanoke
Roanoke Valley Greenways
Ronald McDonald House
Virginia Veterans Care Center
Collectively, there were 717 hours of community service volunteered by our Journey family last week! According to independentsector.org, the value of an hour of volunteer service is $24.69. That means our JourneyCares week of serving our community had a value of $17,702.73!
I’m so grateful for the servant hearts of all those who were a part of this outreach initiative!
If you served, but you were not able to get your t-shirt, please see a Journey staff member on a Sunday morning.
We’ve already begun planning for a JourneyCares weekend in the fall!