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Posts Tagged ‘Community Groups’

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After Chris Tomlin led off with this amazing song Once and for All that has really hit home with me, Louie Giglio went around and introduced the band members and the community group leaders for the week at Passion 2013.

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Community Group leaders

Louie and Shelly Giglio announce the final amount given to END IT

Louie and Shelly Giglio announce the final amount given to END IT

Students and leaders at Passion 2013 raised their voice for the 27 million people trapped in slavery and declared to the world that this generation is in it to END IT. Together, they gave more than $3.3 million to fund 23 causes with 19 partner organizations and shine a light on slavery around the world.

Total given: $3,327,658

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It was a quiet walk to community groups. I said my goodbyes to my friends that I had made in the neighborhoods on my daily walk. It was cool to hear them talk about Passion, our shouts and the beam of light from last night. As I passed through the plaza, I couldn’t believe that just 12 hours ago I stood here with my brothers and sisters in Christ shouting out for Freedom.

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My Community Group (minus two) all week at Passion 2013

This was our last time getting together as a community group. I felt very blessed that God put me with these people. Even though we had exchanged information, something in me knew this would be the last time I see all of them. It’s hard these days to stay in contact long distance. So I really tried to soak in the moment of being in fellowship with them for the last time.

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Gregg Matte giving out books

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As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:1

Gregg Matte gave out some books and CD’s to start off the morning. He spoke on the above passage about living a life (that’s already) worthy for the Lord. He talked about how we are like tarnished silver – if we continue to read God’s word, the junk starts to come off.

He then gave an illustration from a visit he had on a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He saw the painting Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne. The painting started off as a self-portrait and then he painted a picture of Christ over it. Then he painted over that with a picture of the apostle Paul. The cool thing is that you can still see the picture of Christ if you turn it upside down.

We’ve painted our own self-portraits. The face of Christ begins to seep through as we begin to grow. Now we can go out into the world with the face of Christ on our own painting (ministry, home life, work, etc). Gregg then had us answer some questions on how our week at Passion went. It was a time for me to reflect on how God had spoken to me while here. We closed with this verse:

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

Paul

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles

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Walking in silence

Tonight just blew me away. I didn’t even know how to begin processing what I experienced. That’s why I love the Passion walk back to community groups that they do on the last night. We were instructed to walk to our groups in complete silence the whole way. They really want us to take it the night and process. It was incredible to see this many students walk in silence. You should have seen the look on the security guard’s faces. When I got to my community group, we were given some questions to answer within our group by Gregg Matte. As we began to start, the one female of our group asked if we could pray for her. She was experiencing oppression from Satan the whole time at Passion. Instead of doing the questions, we decided to take turns praying for her. It was an amazing time for us leaders to come along side our sister in Christ and be there for her. This is why Passion does community groups, so we can do life together.

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I think I got five hours of sleep last night. I quickly got up, grabbed my $3 special and headed to community groups. John Piper met with us leaders to encourage us in our respective ministries. He spoke from Matthew 6:25-34 on this topic of anxiety. He encouraged us not to be anxious about tomorrow or this upcoming year 2013.

Dr. Piper first talked about scripture and three ways of how to approach it – Memorize it, Analyze it and Believe it. The original authors did not intend for the books to be split into chapters. He encouraged us to read scripture with the whole book in mind. If we don’t do this, will have a tendency to become moralists (one concerned with regulating the morals of others). He then talked about faith.

Eight key points from Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV):

1. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (v.25) Do not get caught up with physical things or outward appearance

2. Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (v.26) We are more valuable to God than the birds

3. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (v.27)We add more stress and trouble when we are anxious

4. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (v.30)God provides

5. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (v.31) – Don’t act like the Gentiles (unbelievers)

6. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (v.32)We can trust God – He is all-knowing

7. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (v.33)We have the promises of God for our needs – He meets them

8. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (v.34) –  Each day has enough trouble of its own. God gives us what we need to deal with the trouble for the day. We can’t run tomorrow’s trouble today. (Lamentations 3:22)

Pray and let your requests be known to God!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

One thing I took away from this morning was the importance of memorizing scripture. Just seeing Dr. Piper quote long passages of scripture showed me the importance of letting the words of God sink in. I pray that I will spend more quality time in the Word this coming year and truly allow scripture to penetrate me.

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What an amazing night session! I can’t believe all that I’ve experienced so far. Next up was time with our community groups to download and process the day. I know God was speaking to me in many ways and I needed to talk and journal about it.

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Community Groups

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“Isn’t it interesting [that] secular science is addressing the question, ‘Does man have a soul? Is there such a thing as immaterial reality?’ And it’s couched in the category of ‘is there life after death?

I mean look, you guys know I ride a motorcycle don’t you? So, at any moment, especially with the idiot people who cross the diamond lane into my lane, alright, without any blinkers, not that I’m angry about it, but at any minute I could be spread out all over the 210 (Freeway), but that’s not me, that’s my body parts. That key distinction undergirds the entire Judeo-Christian worldview and also your pursuit of reality.”

Francis Chan shared this audio clip tonight from radio KKLA host Frank Pastore. He had been a guest on his show. Three hours after saying this over the air, Frank would be involved in a motorcycle accident that would lead to his death. Our first question in community groups tonight is what we thought of this audio clip. For me, it was a reminder that death is real and that we could go at anytime. We need to live our lives knowing that we can go at anytime.

The next two questions focused on ‘trust’ and how our lack of trust in people can spill into our relationship with God and why should we trust in God’s promises. I’ve always tried to live my life as an open book because it’s my testimony. But at the same time, my trust in people has diminished over the years. Lately I have developed deeper relationships with some of my friends despite my guarded heart. I need to continue to maintain my trust in God as these friendships continue to grow. This is evident in scripture as God has always been faithful and trusting to us despite our shortcomings.

What did I take away from this day? I really appreciated hearing Greg Haugen. I also love that Passion doesn’t just shove stats down our throats and then to do something about slavery. We have heard these past two days of how faithful and trusting God is and that we can’t effectively do justice without grounding ourselves in who He is first. Learning about who God is allows us to to learn who we are and what we are created to do.

After our discussion, Gregg Matte had several people stand up if they had received Christ today. All of us leaders cheered and celebrated with our new brothers and sisters of the Kingdom.

Our focus verse for the evening:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

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For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19

After Francis Chan spoke, Gregg Matte led our community groups in this passage on leadership/humility:

Humility is the key to leadership

1. Paul kneeled before the Lord in prayer. This communicates humility (v. 14). False humility is when we accept praise but downplay it outwardly. It’s when we act like can’t do something even though we know we can. Humility is being self-forgetful.

“Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By jove! I’m being humble’, and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please.”

C.S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters

2. Realizing we are leading in the name of Jesus. Non-humility is when we are doing things for accolades and rewards. Only secure people can love – insecure people need something in return.

3. Deep strength comes from the deepest resources (v. 16, 17) – His glorious riches, His mind, His Spirit. We tend to minister out of our own power (our own experiences, personality, knowledge, etc)

MINE – think of this word when you think of Jesus looking at us. We belong to Him. Know that before you go out and minister.

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I had a nice quiet walk back to the Georgia World Congress Center. I was beat from the night before and was going on five hours of sleep. We start off each day in our community groups and I spent my walk preparing my heart for the day.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5 (ESV)

Francis Chan opened up our community group with this passage of scripture. We can’t do anything apart from God. Satan likes to distract us from abiding in Him by the thoughts he puts in our heads. We look at others and envy what God is doing in them. This is due to our own pride and arrogance. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and hope we are abiding in Him.

Francis gave the example of leaders. Do we follow them because of their knowledge and communication skills? If anything we should be paying attention to how they walk with God. There should be something attractive about them that we are not be able to describe. That’s the power of God shining through someone abiding in Him.

Insecurity and Pride go hand in hand

Even though I empathize with them, I truly believe this. Insecure people make life all about them and believe in the crazy thoughts that Satan puts in our heads. I know this from my own personal battle with insecurities and from others that I have done life with. Things like social media fuel our arrogance and make it hard to lead. We need to put those thoughts aside and just abide and rest in Him. Disconnect from the voices and get back to who you were when you first believed.

Now this is the part that really hit me. Francis talked about that child-like faith we had when we first believed and how we need to get back to it. I met with my community group and couldn’t stop sobbing. My mom used to work two jobs just so I could go to camp and other youth events as a kid. I remember at one of my first camps a bunch of us went wandering in the woods of Prescott and got lost (we were about 12 years old). After a few hours, there was this one kid that started to freak out and couldn’t stop crying. I remember walking up to him and telling him that God will pull us out of this and I prayed for him. I can honestly say I just don’t do that much anymore. I couldn’t stop crying because I don’t know what happened to that child-like faith that I used to have as a boy. I was the little boy who read the passage about having faith like a mustard seed and being able to move mountains and literally stood in front of a mountain and truly believed God would raise it up. That’s child-like faith – believing that God can do the impossible! The best and worst thing that has ever happened to me is I went into ministry. I’m always thankful of the opportunities I had but at the same time it fueled my insecurities. I pray that I continue to humble myself before Him and abide in Him.

Francis Chan

Francis Chan

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