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.

Message Preview | One is Greater Than Two | Part 3

By Matt Dawson


Nothing is celebrated quite like a wedding. Even today, it’s one of the most expensive, joy filled, dream-fullfiing events that we experience as adults. After you add on the honeymoon, it’s pure bliss. We send out invitations, we post announcements in the paper, we create online webpages that celebrate the big day. The wedding ceremony is something we invite EVERYONE to attend. The celebration (or reception) we host is a huge party! In some cultures, this party goes on for several days.

However, after the public celebration wains and life gets complicated many marriages feel as if they are alone in their struggles. It’s humiliating or shameful for some when they realize 1 year, 5 years, or even 11 years down the road that marriage is harder than expected. That their spouse has changed, or circumstance are causing division, so they isolate themselves. They keep their problems a secret, they hide behind fake smiles and old memories of better days. What was once a celebration for the world to see, their real marriage (the struggle) is hidden and they feel shame and guilt if someone finds out.

Marriage is hard. Sooner or later, the honeymoon ends and the real work begins. However, nothing should be more important than to get the help necessary to breathe life back into your marriage. Jesus brings absolute hope to a marriage that invites him to be the center, but the invitation MUST be made and the hard work MUST be done by you and your spouse.  It’s too important to keep a secret… it’s your marriage – a reflection of God to a watching world!

This weekend, we’re going to discuss the miracle that Jesus performs in a married couple’s life soon after they were married. Jesus is the absolute Hope for any marriage that is willing to invite Him to address the issues they hide from others.  I hope you will join us for the conclusion of our 1>2 Marriage Series.

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!

Message Preview | One is Greater than Two | Part 2

By Zack DeBerry


Marriage is one of God’s greatest designs for Human Beings to enjoy here on earth. The truth, however, is that as beautiful and great as Marriage is, it requires work, respect, and vulnerability. The hardest thing to do in the marriage relationship is to remain vulnerable in the times that we are hurt or disappointed in our spouse.

The truth is that true intimacy in marriage will only come when we are willing to be vulnerable with each other and risk everything for the sake of knowing our spouse completely and being known completely by them. It is scary and hard to be willing to lay everything out there and allow our spouse to see us exposed for who we really are, what we really think, and what we really feel.

In Genesis, something happens in the context of the marriage that changed how vulnerable we are willing to be. At the end of Genesis 2 we see the words, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.” They were naked, the most vulnerable you can be and they were not ashamed. Then comes Genesis 3, where sin and deception entered in and we see this beautiful picture of vulnerability change. After the deception of the serpent we read these words, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” They no longer felt safe to be completely vulnerable.

We have been fighting this change since then in the marriage context. The truth is that we will only experience intimacy to the degree we walk in the redemption of Christ. Only when we view ourselves and our spouse through the lens of redemption can we be completely vulnerable again. As we allow our spouse to see us as we truly are, then we can begin to experience a deeper intimacy as God designed it to be.

We will continue our 1>2 series this weekend at Journey Church. I hope to see you there or feel free to join us online.

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.

Message Preview | 1 > 2 – Part 1| What is Oneness?

By Don Gentry

Marriage?!?!?!?

Can God really make a difference in my marriage?  I have only been alive for 44 years now, but one thing I have noticed is that church people and unchurched people both go through ugly divorces, and lives get horribly damaged in the mix.  I have also seen some great marriages in and out of the church.  So, can God really make a difference in my marriage?

This coming Sunday we are kicking off a series called 1>2. It is all about helping us understand what God intended for marriage.  Marriage is and was designed to be an incredible gift to mankind as it was supposed to be a reflection of who God is and His love.  The problem of sin and selfishness, first evidenced in the garden of Eden, has destroyed marriages and relationships ever since. But it has also tarnished our reflection of God to this world.

How do Christians and non-Christians alike both have good marriages? Because they espouse the oneness that God intended for marriage to reflect.  If you don’t know what I am talking about then I guess you better join us on Sunday so that you too can enjoy the fullness that God originally intended through the gift of marriage.  Whether your single, single again, married, or married again, this series is for you as we uncover the truth of what God intended through the covenant of marriage.

The answer to whether God can make a difference in your marriage is YES, but you need to join us Sunday so you can find out how! 

I hope to see you then.

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!