Weekend Preview | Grattitude: Part 1 – Say It

By Chris Denning


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We’re only a few weeks away from incessant Christmas music on the radio and A Christmas Story being replayed a million times (thanks TNT). However, before we get to the jolliest time of the year, we’ve got the culinary marathon that is Thanksgiving to run first.

Of course we’ll take some time next week to remember the things we’re thankful for, but do we ever consider expressing this thankfulness the other 364 days of the year?

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Calculated Risk vs. Fear-Based Decisions – Part 1

By Don Gentry


A Man, His Daughter, & A Horse

My daughter was seven years old and we were at a friend’s house on vacation. They had two horses that were great with kids and we were excited about taking our children horseback riding.

Moments into mounting the horse, the horse began to buck violently. I was holding on to my daughter while we were being tossed too and fro while hearing the owner say his horse has never responded this way.

When I heard him say this, I knew that the saddle was not on correctly because I could feel it slipping beneath me. (I have ridden horses for several years, and while I am not a professional I am certainly not a novice.)

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Message Follow Up | Breathing Room: Part 3 – Margin for Finances

Breathing Room: Part 3 – Margin for Finances from Journey Church on Vimeo.
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“Life is Better with Room to Breathe.”

Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been in this discussion about the margin (or lack of margin) in our schedules, relationships, and finances.  After all of this talk – have you discovered what the answer is?  Have you asked yourself “Where do I need some breathing room?”

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I can’t help but bring up this verse in light of the past few weeks. This verse comes with a warning and a promise.  A warning that we are experiencing far to often and a promise that not many of us are experiencing enough of.

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Weekend Preview | Breathing Room: Part 3 – Margin for Finances

By Chris Denning


Click Here to Download Spotify


Over the past few weeks at Journey, we’ve talked about our need for margin in our life & in our relationships.  This weekend, we’re focusing on something that you might not be completely comfortable with: margin in our finances.

You might be thinking, “what can a CHURCH teach ME about having margin in MY finances?”

And to that, I would respond . . . Touché.

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Welcome to the Journey Church Blog

Welcome to the Journey Church Blog!

This is Journey Church’s home for online content.

Our aim as a church is to humbly point everyone to absolute Hope, and our goal with this resource is to do just that by providing helpful, encouraging, and challenging posts.

You can expect to hear regularly from leaders at Journey Church.  We’ll talk about our heart and passion as a church.  We’re going to put helpful resources right into your inbox.  We’re also going to give you some extra bonus content from our weekend gatherings that you can only get here, like Weekend Previews and Message Follow Ups.

(Click Here to Subscribe to get these posts directly in your email)

Just to keep you in the loop, here’s our normal posting schedule: Continue reading

5 Ways Participation Awards are Destroying America

By Matt Dawson


Participation Awards
Ok, so I might have been a bit extreme with the title.

I’m not exactly sure that we are “destroying America”, but I do believe that we are setting up the next generation for failure, in turn harming our future by NOT setting them up for success.

Let me start with a definition:

Participation Awards – showing up for a sport, activity, or event and receiving an award without merit, achievement, or success of any kind. 

Let me further clarify that there is no spiritual foundation for this post. I’m a Dad, and I do lead a church of some AMAZING kids and teenagers!  So, I care about this issue on a deep level.  Our church believes that we partner with parents to help raise the next generation to love and honor God, so how they are raised matters.

What are we telling the next generation with these awards?  What damage is being done by removing the structure of a reward system (see #3) from a sport, activity, or social event and simply giving it away to anyone who shows up.

I believe we won’t fully know the answers to these questions until it’s too late – and we might already be too late **cue the dramatic music – dun, dun, dahhhh**  –  but the following are 5 ways that I believe these participation awards are harming our kids. Continue reading

21 Day Challenge – Day 21

Doubting Thomas   |   Joel McNelly

Scripture: John 20:24-29

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. 

Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Observation

Thomas gets a bad reputation in the Bible for being the guy who is always doubting. Most people start out more like him than those who believe without seeing. Despite the fact that Thomas’ friends had seen the Lord, he had to see him with his own eyes to believe that he had been raised from the dead. The Bible records that a little over 500 people saw Jesus after he had been raised from the dead, but millions and millions of others have believed in him anyway. If you doubt like Thomas, you may be wondering how to overcome this.

Romans 10:9 says that “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” When they first followed Jesus, the original disciples did not have the basis to do this yet, because the resurrection had not yet happened. They decided to follow him anyway. And through that time Jesus showed them through his example, many miracles, and healings that he was indeed who he said he was. For Jesus to be able to show them who he was, they had to agree to at least go on the journey.

If you have never believed this, or you are one who still has doubts, Jesus is just asking you to follow him. He is saying “walk with me and I will show you who I am.” Be willing to read the credible accounts of who Jesus was and then look into lives of all the people around you who have been radically transformed by Jesus. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you that Jesus is who he said he was, and that he did rise from the dead just like he said he would. If you ask God to reveal himself to you he will do just that through his Holy Spirit. The Bible is an inspired factual historical record that testifies to who he was, what he said, and what he did. The testimony of others who believe in him also serves as proof in this day in age that he still works in us and he still transforms lives.

Application

When we decide to follow Christ as the Lord (the supreme ruler of our lives, who welcomes us into His perfect kingdom and has only our best interest in mind), the Holy Spirit, God himself, lives inside of us and continues to reveal truth to us.

Prayer

Father, I want to believe, but sometimes I doubt. Please reveal your truth to me as I walk beside you and learn from you. I ask you to remove the hardness of my heart so that I can be fully yours and come to a place of fully trusting in you.

Amen.

21 Day Challenge – Day 20

Jesus Cleanses the Temple    Don Gentry

Scripture: Matthew 21:12-13 (HCSB)

Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves.  And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!”

Observation

I would have loved to be there when Jesus cleaned house.  So many people in today’s culture picture Jesus as this weak, mild mannered, doormat type of guy.  How many guys like that do you know can go into the most important place of societal influence and start throwing things around and get away with it?

I am not suggesting that Jesus was a crazy man; however, I am suggesting that we understand the real physical and human strength that Jesus had.  His presence commanded respect.  That is not done by a “wuss.”  That said, we very seldom see him using his physical might.  A little side note, the only time we ever see Jesus using harsh words or angry actions it is always directed towards religious leaders or his disciples.  In other words it is directed to those who should know better.

Jesus was confronting and addressing the first church scandal of misappropriated funds.  He was infuriated by the sin that religious leaders were allowing in the temple.  Thousands and thousand of travelers would come from long distances and foreign lands to come to the temple and worship.  Some travelers would be poor, some would have only foreign currency, (which was not allowed in the temple treasury), and most travelers would not have been able to bring their animal sacrifice with them so they would have to buy their sacrifice on the spot.  To the entrepreneur, this was a prime market.

They then set up money exchange tables and at this time coins weren’t perfectly minted so they had to use scales to weigh the value.  The moneychangers used dishonest scales and weights to benefit themselves and they also charged outlandish exchange rates.  This was not acceptable.  Those who had animals recognized a sellers’ market too.  These people could not worship and offer a sacrifice without an animal so they started charging outlandish prices for their birds and animals.  Jesus was ticked off and he went “temple” on those that were violating his house.

We also need to understand that this is the second time he has had to “clean house.”  John 2 records the first temple cleansing.  The people knew better, but they took advantage of the system.   Jesus does not like unjust gain and He takes sin very seriously.

Application

Does your view of Jesus allow him to get angry at sin, or more specifically your sin?  Does your view of Jesus allow you to understand righteous anger?

I wonder what God sees when he looks down upon His church today?  The real issue in this story wasn’t that travelers needed to exchange their currency; it wasn’t that they even needed to buy an animal.  The issue was the people’s desire to capitalize and take advantage of another human beings need.  This especially makes God angry when church leaders take advantage of this.

We are fortunate to live in a capitalistic country but capitalism is heavily influenced by greed.  Many people who call themselves Christians work in environments where greed is often rewarded.  Is God honored by this?  We need to learn how to conduct business, make money, and not be corrupted by greed and money.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank you for being a savior who displays strength when strength is needed.  Convict me of any greed that may exist in my life, or any way that may be unclean in your eyes.  Help me to be sensitive to what you view as sin.  Forgive me for the times that I have capitalized unjustly on another person’s need. Help me to be aware of the times when I need to be strong and take a stand against sin either in my life or in society.  Help me to understand the difference between “anger and righteous anger.” Thank you for helping to guide me in all my ways. 

Amen.

21 Day Challenge – Day 19

The First Miracle  |  Matt Dawson

Scripture: John 2:1-11

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.  The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”  “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied.  “My time has not yet come.”  But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing.  Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons.  Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” 

When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.”  So the servants followed his instructions.  When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.  “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said.  “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine.  But you have kept the best until now!”  This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.  And his disciples believed in him.

Observation

It’s the first miracle.  Wine.

The wine is gone.  Everyone panics, and Jesus’ mother says ‘I got this”.  Jesus says it’s not yet my time WOMAN (this was not disrespectful like we think of it today). He tells them to fill the jars (160 gallons total) with water.  He performs his first miracle and the party is back on.

I love when the master of ceremonies says “most host will serve the cheap stuff later after everyone is drunk – but you’ve saved the BEST until now”.  WOW.  What a message to those at the wedding – that Jesus doesn’t slouch at the end of the party when people might not have even noticed – he brings the BEST even at the end.

It’s a story about a wedding.  Jesus.  Marriage. The Best at the END.

Application

Personally – this application applies to my own marriage.   I believe my wife and I brought wine into our marriage.  We brought as much as we had with us (all our love, expectations, and hopes) and we were convinced it was never going to run out.  I’ve had friends run out of “their wine” after 5 years of marriage, some 10, some 15 and crisis hits.  When we run out of wine, we get frantic, we stray, we get angry, we start looking for ways to compensate.  This is were we have the option of asking Jesus to step in.

When Jesus steps in, he takes what we have (water – the life giver that we take for granted) and turns it into MORE than we could even imagine in our lives. NEW WINE.  When Jesus gets involved in our marriages – our love doesn’t have to get old, stale, and cheap versions of the real thing.  Those things we take for granted everyday can become something new as He brings out the BEST even towards the end when we are at our most desperate.

Man… I love some of the new wine I’ve had in the last 20 years of marriage.  Here’s to knowing that even when I run short on what I have to offer – Jesus is there to bring out something BETTER!

Prayer

Jesus, show us where we need some new wine in our lives.  Don’t allow us to settle for cheap imitations or worse – hop from wedding to wedding trying to sustain ourselves on the wine we bring to the table.  Help us know you are there… just waiting for the invitation to step in and deliver a miracle.  Fill us with wonder as we taste what you can do in our lives if we simply ask for your help.

Amen.

21 Day Challenge – Day 18

Parable of the Talents   |   Tracie Dawson

Scripture: Matthew 25:24-30

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.  He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.  “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more.  The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more.  But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.  

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money.  The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’  “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’  “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ 

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

  “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.  I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’  “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’  “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver.  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.  Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Observations

This parable told by Jesus may be encouraging or troublesome depending on who we identify with most in the story!  He starts with a master who is going on a journey and the servants that he entrusts his property to in his absence.  Right off the bat, it is clear that this is a message of service and stewardship as the assets belong first to the master, not his servants.

As he delegates responsibilities to the servants, he gives five bags of silver (the equivalent today would be millions of dollars!) to one servant, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last.  He did this in proportion to their abilities.

Let’s not miss that part.  The master knew his servants, knew their capabilities, and distributed his resources to them based on their abilities.  Then he left on his journey.

When the master returned, the first two servants happily reported their success having doubled the master’s wealth.  His response to each of them was the same, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

But the third servant was not joyful at the master’s return.  He was actually insulting and accusatory.  “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.”

The master’s response is what makes this parable very troublesome.  He called the servant worthless, took his allotment, and gave it over to the first.  Then the master sentenced him to a torturous destiny.

As I stated earlier, this parable may be either encouraging or troubling depending on who we most identify with in the story.

You have probably surmised that this is a picture of God, the master, creator and owner of all things.  And he longs to entrust his kingdom to faithful servants- that’s us!  He does not ask of the servants what they cannot do—he gave to each according to their abilities.

He does not set his servants up for failure, but SUCCESS!  But how do we know the master is good and desires to see us succeed?

By his response to the faithful servants, “Well done, you’ve been faithful with this little bit, I’m going to give you MORE.  Now, let’s go celebrate!”

We will find success if our understanding of Him is correct – if we recognize His goodness and generosity, viewing ourselves as stewards of His things.

However, to those who misjudge and mischaracterize the master, believing Him to be harsh, demanding, or even unethical, they become fearful, expecting he has set them up for failure.  Not only do they not use the gifts, the resources granted by the master, but they bury them deep, ultimately rejecting the master and everything he represents.

This is frightening as ultimately, what little had been entrusted to the third servant was taken from him and given to the others.  I don’t mean to sound trite, but it’s a “use it or lose it” situation.  But there is great hope!

Did you notice that servants one and two both doubled their allotments?  It didn’t matter what methods they used, how they invested, or where.  We just know that they immediately set out to work doing the best they knew how.  And their outcomes were both favorable, doubling the master’s investments, setting the stage for even greater responsibilities and joyful celebration!

Application

Many of us would ask, but what has he entrusted to me?  I am not “rich,” according to Forbes, but compared to nearly every other country on the face of this earth, in America, we live like royalty!  One trip to our partners in Peru and Kenya will confirm that truth immediately.

I must admit, I often forget there are the other things He has entrusted to me besides monetary wealth…things like my home and vehicle, a garage filled to capacity with tools and random yard equipment, a “music room” filled with instruments that are rarely touched (much to my chagrin,) books upon books, iphones, ipads, ipods, and so much technology that it makes me want to take up skeet shooting just to see what buckshot can do to an ipad encased in an “indestructable” otter box.  But I digress.

He has also entrusted children to me.  They are His children—on loan to me to raise and  teach to know Him and live according to His way.

What other things can you think of that God has entrusted to you?  A career?  An extraordinary mind?  The ability to communicate effectively to large groups?

Paul asked the Corinthians, “For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive?”   (I Cor 4:7)

Ouch.

It is beginning to sound like everything we have, each competency, every capacity—even our resourcefulness are gifts from God!

The question we must ask is what am I doing with what He has given me?  Am I leveraging everything I can for His Kingdom or have I buried it all in fear of failure?  Do I trust that He already knows what I am and am not capable of and that He wants to see me succeed?

Can I look forward to hearing, “Well done my good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with little, so now I will give you more!  Let’s celebrate!”

Prayer

Father God,

Thank you for your goodness and generosity!  Please help me to see myself as steward over the countless blessings I enjoy in life.  Help me to not be fearful in using them for your Kingdom, but bold and confident that you long to see me succeed so that I can grow into greater responsibilities and opportunities to serve you!

Forgive me for thinking that what I have has been earned or is deserved or results from anything I have done.  It is all from you and I long to use it for your glory!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.