Series Preview | A Beautiful Mystery

By Matt Dawson


The Trinity.

No other religion in the world claims to worship and believe in a GOD who appears to have 3 different forms (which is a modalism theological view), but is actually 3 individual persons and is yet still ONE God (Trinitarian theological view). There are plenty of ancient polytheistic views on divinity (multiple Greek gods, Roman gods, etc.) but only ONE religion that claims to worship ONE GOD that is Three Persons – The Trinity.

As believers, we move so quickly past the incredible diversity of the Godhead, that we fail to appreciate its complexity and mystery. We also lose our understanding of the purpose that each member of the Trinity holds to each other.

Right out of the gate, Genesis reveals this Trinitarian God.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” Genesis 1:26

Then, to help clarify the “us” characters to this plot, a man named Jesus showed up over 2000 years ago claiming to be God in the flesh, however still referred to the God of the Covenant as “the Father.”

“Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” John 16:28

Jesus tells His disciples that the Spirit (remember from Genesis) will come after he leaves to help us accomplish the mission He is giving us.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Paul would bring it full circle in his letter to the church in Colossae that Jesus was actually present at Creation and was indeed also the Creator.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see“ Colossians 1:15-16

And if there were still any confusion of this Godhead, we see all three described at the baptism of Jesus.

“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:16-17

Often, we take our discussion of the Trinity for granted and it’s primarily because we really don’t understand it and have a difficult time explaining this God to others.

During this Christmas season, we’ve decided to engage in “The Beautiful Mystery” that is our God in three persons…the Trinity.  We know that some of you will miss the standard teaching of the Christmas story this season, but we hope that engaging in this discussion about the Trinity will increase your understanding, faith, and appreciation for the Advent of Jesus.

Can I Doubt and Still Have Faith?

By Matt Dawson


Yes.

However, you cannot remain in your doubts and grow in your faith.

Doubts test our Faith and allow us the opportunity to grow closer to God when we are able to move past them and settle them in our hearts.

However, many Christians struggle to be open and honest about the doubts they have because they have believed the lie that you CANNOT DOUBT and still have faith.

Jesus met a father of a boy who was suffering from demon possession.  This is not something we see often (or recognize anyway) in our western culture, but it was clear that the boy was tormented by a demon and the father’s heart was broken.  He brought the boy to the disciples to be healed, but they could not heal him.

When Jesus arrived, he asked them why they were arguing and it was because they could not cast out this demon.  The father asked Jesus to have mercy on them and to help them “IF” he can.

Mark 9:23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Jesus response to the father FUELS the NEVER DOUBT philosophy among Christians. Never doubt. Always believe. If you doubt, your faith is empty and God will not show up for you!

However, we see the father respond back to Jesus with the true intent of his heart. Jesus hears from a father filled with faith and asks for help with his doubt.

Mark 9:24 “…I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Jesus recognizes this father’s cry for help and responds to his faith. The point of this story was not to fuel a NEVER DOUBT campaign among believers, it was to help them understand that we MUST be honest about our doubts in the midst of our faith! 

CAN Faith or WILL Faith

You see, I personally believe the dad believed that Jesus COULD save his son. After all, that’s why he was there. He wouldn’t have taken the journey to find Jesus if he did not believe and have HOPE that Jesus and his disciples could perform a miracle and deliver his son from this torment.

Where was his unbelief?  The father didn’t know if Jesus WOULD save his son.

There are two systems of belief that many followers drift back and forth between.

One is that GOD WILL   fill in the blank)  .  God will heal you, God will protect you, God will deliver that person to you, God will give you what you desire, God will keep you from harm, God will do what you need done, God will do what we cannot do.

The other is a GOD CAN   (fill in the blank)  .  God can heal you, God can protect you, God can deliver that person to you, God can give you what you desire, God can keep you from harm, God can do what you need done, God can do what you cannot do.

If you grew up and were taught a God WILL faith, then there is NO ROOM FOR DOUBT.  As a matter of fact, most people in this camp of faith believe that if God DOES NOT SHOW UP and do something, it was because your faith was not STRONG ENOUGH and that you secretly had doubts and that it’s YOUR FAULT.  The caution I give those with a GOD WILL Faith is to recognize the difference between God WILL (faith in our provider) and OUR WILL (our desires & outcomes).

I believe that a healthy faith is a GOD CAN Faith. A GOD CAN faith allows us to be filled with hope and put all of our trust in our heavenly Father, while being surrendered to His sovereign will. This will require us to live with the tension of our doubts, but we do not have to remain there.  We have faith that GOD CAN, but struggle with the tension of if GOD WILL. This is the example of this father “I DO BELIEVE (GOD CAN), help me in my UNBELIEF (GOD WILL).”

I believe the dad of this son is our example of acknowledging the tension we will face with our faith.  We believe that God CAN do all things, but we will still need to surrender our desires and outcomes to His WILL. This is the mark of a healthy believer, and one who does not REMAIN STUCK in their doubts but is always willing to surrender them to God.

Join us as we close out our “Dealing with Doubt” series as we discuss what it looks like to embrace the unknown.

Series Preview | Dealing With Doubt

By Don Gentry


When talking about the Christian faith it is very common to have doubts. Many people think that doubts are bad in their faith. The reality is that our doubts can strengthen our faith or weaken our faith. When dealing with doubt, doubts are not equal.

This coming Sunday we are starting a new series called Dealing With Doubt. We want people to be able to better understand doubt, where it comes from and how to overcome it. We want people to be able to resolve their doubts by the work of the Holy Spirit and by practically working through their doubts. It is our desire that people feel empowered and equipped to identify and process through any doubts that might arise.

Over the next three weeks we will be defining doubt, we will be sharing ways that can help us overcome our doubts, and we will be talking about when all else fails how can we embrace the unknown. The reality is that as followers of Christ we all have beliefs. Our beliefs are only as strong as our faith. Your beliefs will be tested by doubts. Which leaves us with the question, “Are you prepared and will your faith make it through the trial?”

If you have followed Christ for any length of time you will know that it is anything but easy. We hope that this new series will help shed some light on dealing with some real-life difficulties when dealing with questions of faith.

We hope to see you on Sunday!

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

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Series Preview | We Church Not Me Church

By Matt Dawson


What comes to mind when you think of the word CHURCH? Is it a building? Is it a location or place? Or is it people, a group that you belong to?

When the church is a place we go, a thing we attend, or a place we serve at… it’s not a WE church.  It’s a ME and THEM church.  

When the church is THEM, it’s easy to separate myself and not get too connected. It’s easy to not attend when I don’t feel like it. It’s really easy to blame them when things are not going well.

When church is boiled down to ME and THEM (other people, leaders, organization structures) we lose sight of our intended purpose. My reach is limited to me.  My love is only as big as I can make it.  I can only accomplish what I can do in this world. It’s a small and meaningless endeavor when I’m a part of a Me Church.

The Church is the Body of Christ. It’s a We Church. Not a Me Church.

Every person is a part of this body, and only TOGETHER can the local church represent the body of Christ and fulfill its mission. Every part of the body matters, and every body builds the Body! As the body of Christ, WE can do greater things together than we can do on our own.

WE can reach farther!

WE can love bigger!

WE can accomplish more in this world!

That’s the beauty of the We Church.  We are simply better together as God intended us to be.

Join for the next several weeks at Journey as we launch the “We Church Initiative” and discuss how can reach farther, love bigger, and accomplish more, together!

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.

Series Preview – The Why Behind the What

By Matt Dawson


Is abortion murder?  Is being a homosexual a sin? What about a transgender?  Does God love terrorists?  If the Las Vegas shooter was a Christian, is he in heaven?  Did God really destroy the whole world in a flood?  Is Jesus the only way to Heaven? Is the “best” representation of the Holy Spirit the ability to speak in tongues? Is sin a behavior or a motive? What does the Bible say?

Let’s be honest, these are just a few questions that when posted online (Facebook, Twitter, Personal blogs) people would have comment after comment on their opinion of WHAT the answers are.  Everyone would start spouting their opinion, stuff they read online, memes created, and maybe even a new article or two.  All to try to convince us that WHAT they are saying is right.

Many Christians do the same thing. We spout our opinions on issues and try to convince others that WHAT we believe is right in order to convince everyone else that they are wrong!

However, that’s not what the Bible has called us to do.  We’ve been called not only to engage in the WHAT, but help people understand the WHY behind that WHAT. 

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV) But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV) Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer

We’re called by God to have a biblical defense for what we believe. Not only about salvation, but about every issue that we face in our lives. In the church, a biblical defense is defined as Apologetics.   If we’re called followers of Christ, we are not allowed to be satisfied by simply stating our opinion based on human intellect.  We’ve been given Absolute Truth (His Word) as a way to defend Absolute Hope.

Over this next series, we will be discussing how we engage apologetics towards specific issues (like the sanctity of life), how we use a biblical defense to redefine our personal convictions, andhow we can disgree with others while maintaining our apologetic beliefs.

 

It will be a great series to invite someone from your TOP 5 that you’ve been praying for and looking for ways to invite them to a church service. As always, we will approach these topics with compassion for those who do not believe, but will make a defense for the WHY we believe WHAT we believe.

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.