041 The Journey Online Podcast – The State of the Church

The Journey Online Podcast

In this episode, Zack DeBerry sits down with Matt Dawson, Chris Denning, and Don Gentry talk about the current state of Journey Church and what they’re excited about in the coming months.


041 The Journey Online Podcast – The State of the Church

 

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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!

Message Preview | Don’t Be a Baby | Part 2

By Don Gentry


Are You a Lopsided Gym Rat?

We are in the middle of talking about spiritual maturity in our current sermon series. One thing that I have found fascinating is that many Christians approach spiritual maturity in a why they would never approach any other area of life.

Can you imagine going to the gym and only doing exercises to build up your biceps because you want big arms. I have seen guys in the gym that forgot their back, tris, lats, shoulders, legs, and abs, and they look really weird. But I have never seen anyone in the gym only focus on one muscle.

Yet, when it comes to spiritual maturity, some of us go the spiritual discipline gym and literally focus on our biceps, and then we wonder why our relationship with God is so unfulfilling, frustrating, empty, nonexistent, or just plain weird.

I hope you come to church on Sunday so you can keep from looking like a lopsided gym rat! Seriously, join us on Sunday so you can see what you can implement into your life to experience spiritual maturity! As Matt said on Sunday, God has invited you to the big person table. It is full of amazingness, but there is only one way to experience all that God has for you!

I can’t wait to see you Sunday!

Message Preview | Don’t Be a Baby | Part 1

By Matt Dawson


“I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.
So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.”   Hebrews 5:11-14, 6:1 (MSG)

To be honest, these verses feel awfully CONDEMNING! Especially if there are areas in my life that I feel stuck in my growth and relationship with God.

However, after a great deal of study on several passages that use similar language – I’m convinced that God is not calling us OUT but calling us UP! 

There is a GRAND WORK of art that is available to those who continue growing in their faith. We do not have to settle for OR feel stuck in prolonged infancy.  God has more for us!  God has so much more in store for His children then we are taking advantage of because we’re stuck at the KID’S TABLE!

I hope you’ll join us this weekend as we start a new series entitled “Don’t Be a Baby!” We will discover WHY the scriptures use this language when describing what’s at stake when we remain spiritual babies and WHY God has so much more prepared for us and our future! It’s time to GROW UP IN CHRIST!

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!

Message Preview | The Next Generation | Part 2

By Don Gentry


Not Me

That is not my responsibility!

If you work in management, that phrase is one of the most frustrating phrases out of an employee’s mouth that you can hear. We have all said it in one form or another. Many of us actually say it to God on a regular occasion.

On Sunday, we are wrapping up a two-week sermon series on how to reach the next generation. Church people are notorious for thinking it is someone else’s job to serve, someone else will take care of those kids, I can’t stand kids, or the most spiritual thought is, “I am not called to serve children and youth.” These are all variations of “It is not my responsibility.”

I hope you all come out on Sunday to hear what the scripture says about children and the next generation. I am not saying you are going to change how you talk or how you view your responsibility, but maybe after you view children through the eyes of God you might change how you are going to serve them.

Jesus was the first children’s pastor. He changed societies view of children two thousand years ago. What he modeled and taught is still changing the worlds view of children. I am not even talking about church anymore.

I hope to see you all on Sunday as we learn how each of us can take an active role in impacting and inspiring the Next Generation.

Model It!

By Don Gentry


We are doing a two-part sermon series on how we can reach the next generation. We really need to understand the we are reaching the “current generation.” If we fail to reach this generation then the next unborn generation is without hope.

As we think about reaching our current generation we need to wrestle with the question of how do we reach them. There are two primary modes of reaching the current generation. The home and the Church. If we want to reach anyone for Christ these two components must work in unison.

I will forever be an advocate that parents/home trump the church when it comes to learning about God. I am talking about church going people. I am not addressing people living far from God. There are stories of people being saved and reached for Christ without having a good home life or Christian parents. That is an entirely separate conversation. When the church and the home are combined children/youth will gravitate towards what mom and dad do, not what church does or says. Let me explain.

If you ever say or think, “do as I say not as I do,” you are a hypocrite. I am not saying we must be perfect, but we do need to learn to apologize and repent when our actions don’t coincide with what we say are our beliefs. Don’t use the old excuse that I am just human and I am a sinner. The church is then designed to come alongside and support whatever is being taught in the home, not to replace the home.

Whether you are a parent or an adult that attends church the “next generation” is watching. Kids are always watching! They are watching you in the lobby at church, listening in the hall and parking lot, they are watching how you interact with others, they are listening when you are on the phone, watching how you drive, sneaking in on you while you watch TV and surf the net, on and on I could go. What you model is what they learn and do!!

Kids are sponges! They soak up everything, so be careful what you are leaking. The church is here to help lead the “current generation” to God, but the church can’t make up for toxic waste that was leaked at home. Please hear me, I am not preaching perfection or guilt; godliness and holiness should be the desire of our hearts. Kids will always be able to tell if they are expected to live out of a list of rules or if they are expected to live out of a love for Jesus. If you wonder what they are learning, just watch what is leaking out of their sponges.

Love you all and hope to see you on Sunday!