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Posts Tagged ‘Life Group’

Reality 1 – God is always at work around you

God has always been actively involved in human affairs throughout history. Because of our sin, he is working to bring about redemption to those of that have rejected him. He wants to reconcile us through Christ so we can have a loving relationship with him. If we don’t open our spiritual eyes to what he is doing, we will remain blind to his presence.

I’m going through my second round of this study called Experiencing God. I am doing it with a men’s group and my young professionals group. Last week was more of an introduction. This week is reality one of the seven realities. It tells us that God is always at work around us. God was always at work in the life Moses from when he was a child to when he was in exile. God has provided me with many things like a good church and community so I can answer his calling for me. I am thankful he still uses me and I don’t want to forget what he has done for me in the past. I just want to be obedient to him so I can experience him more.

 

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A few years back I got to do the Experiencing God study with a life group that I was a part of. It was life-changing for me. I have been attending a men’s group at Cornerstone Chandler and they are going through an updated version of it with the whole church. I felt this is a good study for me to do to kick off 2017. We are also doing this study in my young professionals group. So I get double accountability while doing this series.

A God-Centered Life 

The Bible is God-centered. The Bible is designed to help you understand the ways of God. Then, when God starts to use your life in the same way He worked in Scripture, you’ll recognize that it’s God who’s at work. Below are the Seven Realities that identify ways God works to involve people in His activity.  (Hebrews 11)

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  1. God is always at work around you.

  2. God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.

  3. God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.

  4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.

  5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.

  6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.

  7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.

Below is a teaching video from Pastor Linn Winters on vimeo that will guide you each week of the Experiencing God study.

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If you love me, you will keep my commandments

John 14:15 (ESV)

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple

Luke 14:33 (ESV)

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“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

This comes from Day 1 of Experiencing God. Tonight was the first night of our small group (over 25 people – praise God!). I am excited to go through this workbook as I feel this study is perfect for this period of my life. Both my boys are doing the same study in their groups too. Last week I started reading Galatians to deepen my understanding of God’s Grace. I have been following along with Redemption church’s study guide and also been attending here and there to listen to the messages. My home church is studying the book of Hebrews for the year starting next week and we are going through the gospel of John in my men’s study group. I’m really excited to draw closer to God in my walk with these studies and to see what exciting things God has in store for me.

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Tonight I watched the movie “Courageous“. Sometimes these faith-based films can be a little cheesy, but they carry a powerful message. “Fireproof” and “Soul Surfer” were great movies too. I have had several men tell me I should see this movie. It’s about four law enforcement officers going through some tough trials in their family. They end up putting their faith in God and he works through all them despite their shortcomings. It really hit me hard as a man because I carry the responsibility to be the leader of my family. I have failed in so many ways over the years in this. I’m thankful to God that he continues to stick with me and work in me to grow stronger in this area.

I have been praying a lot lately to be a better example to my family. I pray every morning for an opportunity to be a better man and husband to my wife. But for now, I can be an example to my kids. Both of my kids have really got involved with their discipleship groups. I am blessed that they both have good Godly men leading their groups. Cornerstone is doing this church-wide study of Experiencing God. I started this study awhile back and never finished it. A small group contacted me and asked me to join them in their study and I have decided to do so knowing my kids will be doing the study in their own group. I have been praying for an opportunity to step up and lead my own kids in devotions. So we are going to spend each week discussing what we are learning in our groups together. I loved sitting down with Ty tonight and helping him look up verses in his Bible for his homework. I have spent so much time trying to find the courage to be a Godly example to my kids and now he had blessed me with that. God is working in my family – He is so amazing!

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A pretty God-filled week for me. God continues to reassure me in all I do. He blesses me so much with my Bible studies and the people he puts in my life. He continues to provide for me.
I had a fun week with the boys. Its been great having things back to normal with them. We saw Iron Man. I’m a huge sucker for summer action movies. Its fun when you have boys to go see them. They are wrapping up school and I’m now in the process of planning out my summer with them. We have lots of camping trips and California trips in the works.
We started to read Daniel in my men’s group. Its been great so far. I love reading about the faith that Daniel and his companions have in God. So encouraging. We have it made when it comes to persecution for our faith compared to back then. Pastor Royce gave a message on spiritual warefare the next night. It was an amazing message. I am sad that the Mine is ending for a break soon. I started a study on Discovering God’s Will in my Lifegroup. I’m very excited for it! Then I heard a message from Ron Habermas the following night. Probably one of the top Christian theologians of our time.
I did some volunteer work at Liberty House Saturday for our Second Saturday event. I love the heart of the people that come out for this. Crossroads Youth Intervention is such an amazing ministry. They take in intercity kids from the surrounding neighborhood (very dark and violent) and give them a safe place to hang out. They tutor them and share the love of Jesus at the same time. They even take them on camping trips over the summer as well. My good friend Mike Bhatti has been doing amaing stuff there as an intern.
I took my mom out for breakfast Sunday morning for mother’s day. My mom has been good to me. She lets me vent when I need to and helps me finanially during tough times when I need it. She has helped a lot in helping me raise my kids when I need a night off. She kept me in church as a child. It was that planted seed that brought me back to Christ recently. I appreciate her.
World Vision was at the church later that day. I’m a huge supporter of them. World Vision is making a difference in the world. I have been supporting their ministry in Uganda for some time. My heart goes out to the people who work for them and what God is doing in the world through them.
My very good friend Rob got baptized Sunday as well. Love that guy. A man who admits his struggles and just has a heart and passion for Christ. He got baptized with his sister. Just an all around encouraging moment for me.
I started a new group outside of church for some men at church that afternoon. Its just a purity group for men who have been through divorce. My hope is that some of these guys will take their situations and become better men of God through it. I had a good turn out for it and I look forward to meeting these guys every month.
That evening was my last Sunday teaching 4th grade Sunday school. I’ve been blessed to do that for 2 years now. It was the first ministry I signed up for after turning my life over to Christ. I will miss those kids. I am apppreciative of the staff for believing in me and allowing me to do that. It has given me the passion to share the word to others.
I capped off my long attending Praxis church that evening. I’m really loving that church. I leave spiritually filled everytime. Pastor Justin is so passionate about the word. We just finished a series on 1 John. A pretty straight forward message to Christians on the Christian walk. I’m considering taking them up on their leadership program this summer.
So that’s what is up with me right now. Counseling sessions with da ex and da boyz this week. Praying to God that was right decsion on my part. But for the most part just going to relax and enjoy my week some friends. Hit me up…

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Our church started a series on communication between men and females. Its more geared toward married couples, but still informative for those that are not. My lifegroup is also doing a similar series. We have had some very good conversations arise out of that group. Except our conversation is more based ..experience because we are all divorced. There are many ’if I had known’ and ’maybe next time’ comments.

As Pastor Linn spoke on stage and described the differences of how men and women communicate and listen to each other, it was like deja vu to me. I started to think of some of the fights and miscommunications within my own marriage. I honestly don’t think much of my marriage or my ex-wife anymore. Its pretty much in my past. So spending time thinking about those events kinda freaked me out. We were never good at arguing. We weren’t that nice to each other when we did. Those are situations I don’t ever want to be a part of again.

But the thing that scared me the most was the question.. can I do marriage again? Do I want to do marriage again? I have learned so much about myself and just relationships in general after going through divorce. I know what I can bring to a relationship. But it’s not always that easy or simple. It takes two people to be on the same page. Communication is huge. How we talk to each other is important.  I don’t really date and I love single life. I’ve only had feelings for one person since my divorce. So I really haven’t had the opportunity to experience or apply what I have learned.

Yet… I want so bad for things to be different next time…

I had dinner with three other divorced guys after the sermon. We spent a couple of hours discussing women and how they operate. But most importantly we spent time discussing how we can be better husbands next time. It was such an amazing conversation with fellow brothers in Christ. I’m glad I have guys like this in my life for me to lean on and learn from.

I’m a person that will give his all to his mate. I will work my butt off for that person. I at times will give tough love when needed, yet I’m pretty caring and compassionate (and a little romantic). But I also know I’m not perfect. I know I have a lot to learn. I know I can be better. I am blessed to have people and resources to help me out on this learning path. But it does take equal effort from both parties.

But most important is God. Without a God-centered relationship, its doomed from the get-go. It’s why my marriage failed. It’s why many marriages are failing. And sadly, it’s why my divorce group is so big. Problems, hard-times and disagreements need to be taken to Christ. Prayer is so vital to marriage and relationships. It needs to occur daily and often. God HAS to be the focus.

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