Overwhelmed by Doubts!

By Don Gentry


Life is unfair! Personalities are unfair! Have you ever noticed that? Doubt is kind of one of those unfair elements of life. We all face doubts of some sort. If you have never had a doubt about anything then I would venture to say that you are out of touch with reality, you are young, or you have never really been tested by anything and life has gone smoothly for you.

If you are like most mankind, something has happened in your life that has caused you doubt. But not all doubt is equal, nor does each individual handle doubt in the same fashion. You could have a husband and wife married for 30 years, going through the same experiences together, have seen God provide time and time again, yet one of them could be filled full of hope and the other one could be plagued with doubts. Personalities and life circumstances play a huge role in the way we process and manage our doubts.

Doubt can become debilitating and can cause us to make horrible decisions. You can doubt your gifts, talents, dreams, and abilities. You can allow the doubts to creep in – about whether you’re good enough, whether you’ll ever be ready enough, whether you’re lovable or desirable, whether God cares or even if there is a God. Once we entertain these thoughts, doubt easily turns into anxiety, and then you’re off to the races. There’s no stopping it.

Doubt can be driven by personality, or circumstances, but it is almost always driven by choice. When our choices drive us to the point of being overwhelmed, we need to seek appropriate help. It doesn’t always mean counseling because it depends on what we are doubting. We often need an outside perspective. Sometimes a close friend is enough to get our mind right, and sometimes we need to seek professional help.

Ultimately you need to properly diagnose your situation. Doubts are completely normal, but I would encourage you that if you ever find yourself being paralyzed by doubt find someone to help you gain a new perspective. Undealt with doubt can lead us to a very dark place in life.

This Sunday we are going to look at three very distinct types of doubt in our faith. I hope to see you Sunday as we discover how we can better answer the doubts that lurk within our minds!

What Does Partnering With Journey Mean?

By Chris Denning


The Journey Online Podcast

If you’ve been around Journey for any length of time, you’ve heard us talking about Partnering.  We don’t have members at Journey, we have Partners that help us accomplish the mission and vision of Journey Church.  Partners help to carry the heart of Jesus into the world by transformed people changing their friends’ lives by absolute hope.

In this podcast, Zack DeBerry and Chris Denning, talk about why partnering is such a big deal at Journey, what partnering looks like, and how you can take steps today to partner with Journey.  


021 The Journey Online Podcast | What Does Partnering With Journey Mean?  w/ Chris Denning

(RSS – Click Here to Listen)

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Is your faith shallow?

By Don Gentry


Many people say they are a Christian, but they can’t really explain it.  Simply put, their faith is shallow and ignorant.  Maybe yours is too.  If I said you need to have a better understanding of apologetics in order not to have shallow faith experience what would your response be?  Would you get mad and defensive or would you agree?

Many people resist the study of apologetics as if it somehow doesn’t apply to them.  Many also have a very poor understanding of what apologetics even is.

Every follower of Christ is and has been affected by apologetics whether they want to be or not.  And I strongly encourage every follower of Christ to have a good understanding of what apologetics is and how it affects their daily faith.  The question is, “do you care?”

Simply put, apologetics comes from the Greek word “Apologia” and it means to give a defense.  It was a common Greek word used for a formal speech, explanation, or rebuttal for charges being brought in a trial.  It is not a Christian word; it is a secular word used in law.

Our faith is put on trial by society every day. It is put on trial by family and friends, co-workers and peers.  We are expected as Christians to be able to articulate a defense for our beliefs.  Many Christians believe the lie that their actions are enough.  We need to be able to articulate why we act how we do with our words.  That is apologetics. 

Let me give you three extremely clear examples of apologetics in the scriptures.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV2011)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Peter uses the phrase “be prepared to give answer”. This is the word apologia.  It is a charge to us as followers of Christ that we need to be able to give a defense of our beliefs with words. 

Paul also gives us examples of how he literally had to use the art of apologia in a judicial setting.

Read Philippians 1:7 and read all of Acts chapters 24, 25, and 26.   He was literally making a defense for his life in the court of man.  Every time you see Paul saying, “let me give an answer, or a defense.”  It is this idea of apologetics.

Many people’s faith is shallow and ignorant because if most people had to stand before a court of law and defend their beliefs they would give a very weak defense because they have not properly prepared themselves to speak.  Thankfully we don’t have to defend ourselves to live freely in our land like Paul. Because we have not had much persecution we don’t even train ourselves to explain to our friends what we really believe about Jesus and why HE is the only ABSOLUTE hope! That is why apologetics should matter to all of us.

What is Apologetics?

By Zack DeBerry


There are some words we hear in the “Church” world that can create fear and confusion sometimes. Evangelism, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, you get my point I hope. One of the words we hear sometimes that can cause some fear and confusion is Apologetics. However, Apologetics should not be something that creates fear or confusion, but should be a point of hope for us.

Apologetics at its core is really just about a defense of our Christian faith. That is a simple and bare bones definition of what Apologetics IS, but it can leave a lot of room in how we interpret it. For some, Apologetics has come to represent “arguing” rather than a humble defense of why we believe what we believe. In 1 Peter, we see this humble defense described for us as followers of Christ, “but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Sadly, Apologetics has become a soapbox for many, rather than a Humble defense for the Hope that you have. As a church, we say that we are called to “Humbly Point Everyone to Absolute Hope.” In my mind that is Apologetics.

In our society with so many issues we are inundated with opinions and thoughts through social media and 24-hour news cycles. But lost is the art of defending our faith with Humility and engaging in discussions about issues to provide Hope, rather than being right. We are not called to point out where others are wrong, but to give a defense for the Hope that we have. As we begin a series at Journey based around Apologetics, we hope that you will consider what it is that gives you Hope and be ready to share your reasons for that Hope. In this series, we will address many issues, but what I am most excited about is we will share some personal examples of our struggles to understand certain issues.

Apologetics doesn’t have to be some fear or misuse. It is ultimately the vehicle that will allow us to have a deep understanding of our faith and provide a means to point others to the Hope that we have found.

Does intimacy really matter in marriage?

By Don Gentry


Intimacy is the key to making your marriage last for the long haul and keeping it enjoyable along the way.  I have seen many miserable couples stick together.  While I admire their fortitude there isn’t a bit of their marriage I desire.  The kind of marriage I want to have and that I want to model is the one where the husband and wife still love and adore each other all the way to the grave.  That kind of marriage takes work, intentionality, and forgivenessA marriage that stands the test of time is one that is built upon true intimacy.  

Josh Squires wrote a great article on the topic of intimacy.  You can read the article by clicking on this link.  http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/marital-intimacy-is-more-than-sexThe title of his article is Marital Intimacy is More Than Sex.   He goes on to give the five types of intimacy and why each of them are important and how they are all interrelated.

Why do I give you this article? Because intimacy at all five levels is crucial if we are ever truly going to be one as God is one.   Marriage is supposed to reflect the image of God. Dysfunction and divorce is not the reflection that God has desired for his followers.  Yet too often that is the reflection that we model to the world.

Redemption/forgiveness (you can’t have one without the other) is truly the greatest gift that God has given to mankind, but I believe he gave us redemption so that we could model it within the covenant of marriage. We need to learn how to become vulnerable in our marriages in all five areas that Squires talks about if we want to reflect the image of God.

Read the article and honestly assess where you are at in your relationship with your spouse.  Use a 1-10 rating scale in each of the five areas.  Score yourself and then have your spouse score your relationship.  Once you have an accurate picture of where you are in your relationship, determine to move your score up one point this month in one or two of the areas.  Don’t think you are going to go from a 5-10.  Marriage and intimacy takes work and intentionality.

If you really want a marriage that lasts and one that is fulfilling, then it is going to be found in this idea of intimacy.  You can only control your own efforts but even one person working towards intimacy in a marriage can yield great benefits.  When two of us are working towards intimacy then marriage becomes a reflection of immense beauty. 

We hope to see you Sunday as we continue to uncover the beauty that God designed in marriage!

Practical Tips for Cultivating ONEness

By Matt Dawson


You know what I don’t like?  I don’t like when people give advice that doesn’t have any practical application.  It’s short bumper sticker slogans like “I’m an Ameri-can, not an Ameri-Can’t”, or “Don’t be Eye Candy, be Soul Food”, or one of my favorites, “small changes make a big difference.”

It’s not that these inspirational one-liners can’t lift your spirits, but when a marriage relationship needs a tune up or a straight up overhaul – we need something a bit more practical.

I’d like to suggest 3 Practical things that EVERY MARRIAGE needs to work on, and keep working on “until death do you part” to foster ONENESS in our marriages.

1. Communication

This is the #1 issue in most marriages.  Too many emotions, thoughts, and intentions are “lost in translation” when a husband and wife don’t continue to work on HOW they communicate with each other.

Notice, I didn’t say WHAT you communicate – no, it’s HOW you communicate that really fosters ONENESS in your home. What you communicate will constantly change based on your life circumstance.  What my wife and I talk about today is DRASTICALLY different than 15 years ago, before we had children.

How we communicate is a practice each couple must master in order to properly balance what you are saying to your spouse, and what they are hearing!  So here are 2 practical tips.1.

1. NEVER TEXT important conversations.9 0% of what we communicate is non-verbal (body language, tone, eye contact) and EMOJIS simply cannot match the complexity of our range of emotions.

2. Know The EMOTIONAL language of your spouse. Facts are not nearly as important as the emotional language that each one of you speaks.  One might be an emotional SPEWER, or one might be an emotional STEWER.  Your LOVE LANGUAGE (read the book) also plays a high role in the way you emotionally communicate. Someone with a love language of “words of affirmation” will not understand or respond well to one who is speaking with an “acts of service” love language.

No matter what – NEVER stop working on your communication skills.  Tracie and I have 23 years of marriage under our belt and I really feel like we just started getting good at it within the last few years.

2. Leisure 

Everyone enjoys different things. Like two circles that connect and overlap, there are going to be things that BOTH of you enjoy together.  You may enjoy them in a different way, but you both enjoy them.  This might be 5-8 things that you and your spouse both love, OR you might only have 1 or 2 things that you both love.

No matter what you enjoy together, do as much of them together as often as you can for as long as God will let you. 

One INDISPUTABLE law of oneness is an enjoyment of being together and doing things together.  MOST women, it’s the being together that matters more.  MOST men, it’s the doing things together that matters more – but BOTH MATTER. For some it might be going to movies.  For others, its travel.  For many it’s simply binge watching murder/mystery television shows on the couch on Friday night.  Some enjoy working out together.  Some love working the yard together.  Some enjoy long walks with deep talks, while others enjoy big gatherings with loud distractions.

Here’s 2 questions to ask.

1. What do you LOVE to DO TOGETHER?

2. What keeps you from doing it dailyweeklymonthly?

After you answer those questions – start today.  Do what you love to do together as often as you can for as long as God will let you!

3. Intimacy

Most women reading this will assume I’m talking about emotional connect, and most men reading this will HOPE I’m talking about SEX! Well, you’re both right.

Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy go hand in hand with fostering ONENESS in your marriage.  God gave us the most beautiful gift of a man and women joining together physically for the purpose of emotional connection, pleasure, and procreation. That sounds pretty unexciting – but, Greatest. Gift. Ever.

I wish I could give you a 3-step process to increasing intimacy in your marriage – however there’s only one thing that can do it.

TRUST

Trust is the key to intimacy. To whatever degree of mistrust that exists between you and your spouse, intimacy will be lacking.  If you don’t trust your spouse to care when you share your soul, you’re struggling with emotional connection at home. If your spouse is manipulative and leverages the promise or rejection of physical touch for personal interests, your sex life is struggling.

The path to intimacy is TRUST. Trust is GIVEN and EARNED.  You must take a step to trust your spouse more and more each day and know that this trust will grow.  When trust grows, physical and emotional intimacy will also grow.

Communication. Leisure. Intimacy. 

Three practical things you can do today to foster ONENESS in your marriage.

What is 1 > 2?

By Matt Dawson


How many remember these drills in Math Class? 

(chose the proper > or < sign for the following numbers) 

4     5

7     6

3    10

9     8

I even remember when I was a kid being told that the best way to remember what sign did what was to think about PacMan.  The PacMan eats the larger number.  Or, the small end “points” to the lowest number. I did okay in math, but I always had trouble remember which sign meant what!

So why name a series 1>2 when clearly that flies in the face of math professors across the globe? 

Because in God’s economy when it comes to the topic of marriage, ONE is GREATER than TWO.

When Jesus spoke about marriage in Matthew 19, he quotes the Jewish scriptures (Genesis 2:24) “Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Jesus helped us begin to understand that when two come together…they become STRONGER…GREATER than the individual two.

There is something very unique about the way that God designed marriage. Paul talks at length about this in Ephesians 5:21-33 as he describes two individuals giving 100% of themselves to each other – and becoming ONE. Again, math wizards struggle with God’s economy. Paul also quotes Jesus words in Matthew 19 and Genesis 2 when he says, “As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Paul tells us this is a MYSTERY but also tells us it is a PICTURE of the relationship between Christ and His church.

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to discuss this paradox.  That ONE IS GREATER THAN TWO. That God has a design and plan for our marriage that is stronger and greater than what we could individually accomplish.  If you’re not married (single or single-again), we hope this series will strengthen your resolve to not settle for the way our culture has defined relationships – but to TRUST GOD’S WAY in marriage!

Spiritual Growth

By Don Gentry


On Sunday I had the opportunity to preach a difficult sermon. It wasn’t difficult to say, but difficult because I love our church and some of what I shared was hard to hear. As I said on Sunday, growing up is hard to do.

As a reminder, I had eight spiritual disciplines that I addressed that are necessary to help us grow and mature. If you weren’t there the disciplines were Prayer, Bible reading, Fasting, Solitude, Practicing a Sabbath, Giving, Worship, and Sharing your faith. As Matt shared two weeks ago most of us live in some form of arrested development in our spiritual walk. As you read this list there is a great chance that you may live in Arrested Development in one of these disciplines. (If you don’t know what I mean by arrested development then click here to listen to Matts sermon.)

The very awesome nature of the God we serve does not condemn us in our walk, but He challenges us to experience all that He has for us, as He has created us for greater things than we can possibly think or imagine. Because of His great desires for us, if you find yourself not quite as mature as you would like or as mature as you think you could be, then let me challenge you to a three-step process.

1. Don’t get discouraged. Maturity is a marathon not a sprint. None of us have arrived. We all get to spur one another on to better things.
2. Do an honest evaluation. Look at the list of the eight disciplines and use a scoring matrix of 1-10. 1 being the devil and 10 being Jesus. (That is a little bit of Donnie humor.) Then decide if you like where you score yourself. Don’t compare yourself to any other human. This is between you and God. The true measure of an athlete is not what he/she can do in comparison to others, but only what he/she can do in comparison to their own best self. This is true in athleticism and spiritual disciplines.
3. Make a plan. Start with a baby step. If you find yourself at a 1 don’t determine to be a 10 by the end of the month. Take a step toward a 2 then a 3. Be patient with yourself. A baby doesn’t skip childhood to become a mature adult. There is a necessity for each step in the process of life that we go through as humans. The same is true spiritually. There is incredible value in growing up in the maturity of our faith. If you struggle with making a realistic plan. Seek outside assistance, a loved one, a good Christian friend, or ask one of us on staff we would love to help.

Once you take these three simple steps ask the Holy Spirit to help you. The scriptures say the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak. You need the help of the Holy Spirit to keep you committed. Maturing spiritually is impossible without the Holy Spirit, Jesus sent His Spirit to help us in our walk because He knew we would need help after He left this earth. You have access to God 24/7 with the Holy Spirit. Seek His assistance as you develop in your faith.

Love you all and hope you have an awesome week!

Childish vs Childlike Faith

By Matt Dawson


If you’ve had the opportunity to be with us for the past 2 weekend, we took a look at how we can better understand and reach the Next Generation (or today’s church).

Don mentioned a very famous phrase spoken in “Christianese” that is centered around Matthew 18:3. For those who grew up in church, you’ve heard it a thousand times. “Child Like Faith.”

However, as we approach this new series entitled “Don’t Be a Baby” it’s important to discuss the differences in CHILDLIKE Faith and CHILDISH Faith. They sound ALIKE, but are very different in actual definition.  As we prepare for this new series, let’s talk about these 2 faiths.

CHILDISH Faith
The best way to describe a childish faith is one that based on conditional trust and a stubborn heart. It’s very us-centered, outcome oriented, and self-serving.  One with childish faith will say “I must have answers in order to trust You” and “I must get MY WAY in order to follow You.”

The primary issue with a childish is that it simply cannot withstand the grown-up problems we face every day.  Because it’s rooted in self and fueled by desired outcomes, we simply cannot GROW with a childish faith.  We’re STUCK.

CHILDLIKE Faith
The best way to describe Childlike faith is one that is based on complete trust and quick repentance. It’s God-centered, purpose driven, and focused on the Kingdom. One with childlike faith will say “I TRUST you even without all the answers” and “I’ll follow you even though I may not like the outcome.”

The primary benefit for Childlike faith is that God is now the center of everything. No matter how complicated and complex our lives become, we trust that God is always at work and He can be trusted to meet every need.

MIX and MATCH

People often experience both childish and Childlike faith as they are growing in their relationship with Christ.  It plays out in many ways throughout our lives.

  • Susan exercises childlike faith to help her overcome her natural anxiety, BUT is STUCK in childish faith when it comes to tithing and financial stewardship. She’s experiencing some growth in one area, but struggling in the other.
  • Bill exercises Childlike faith in his career, trusting God to take care of his future, BUT is STUCK in childish faith when it comes to his relationships and sexual temptations. He feels he’s growing in one area of his faith, but doubting God in the other.

As we dive into this new series “Don’t Be a Baby”, I want you to consider the areas of your life where you exercise a Childlike Faith and the areas where you’re stuck in a Childish Faith.

I hope to see you Sunday!