New Wine in Old Wineskins

By Matt Dawson

Jesus was asked one day why his disciples didn’t follow TRADITION.

Luke 5:33-39 “One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?” Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

I love this set of verses. Jesus had such a gift of using practical illustrations to help people understand spiritual things.


I’m not against tradition. Some people might think I am because I am an “early adopter” when it comes to new ideas, technology, and methods of accomplishing tasks. However, I enjoy tradition sometimes. I enjoy having Christmas ON Christmas morning.  I enjoy some of the traditions in liturgy that the church has passed down from generation to generation. I would even say that I enjoy traditions that honors what should be honored (like the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem).

However, I’m NOT a fan of people forcing tradition ON ME.

When tradition is forced, sometimes it’s no big deal.  Like when I visit other countries and other cultures, I have no problem falling in line with what they want and expect to honor them.  As a matter of fact, I enjoy hearing about HOW and WHY those traditions took root in their culture.

However, Jesus is quick to help those in the passage above understand that TRADITION is very different than TRANSFORMATION. The initial argument over fasting is easy to address. Jesus says – when I’m gone, they will fast. It would be foolish for them to fast while I’m here with them.

But then He went on to talk about real TRANSFORMATION. We don’t use a NEW CLOTH to patch an old suit. It doesn’t match; it doesn’t work.  He was saying we don’t try to FIT SOMETHING NEW onto SOMETHING OLD.  He was, of course, speaking about the NEW COVENANT He was bringing to God’s people in contrast to the OLD Covenant of the Law.

He then uses the example of WINE. If we try to force new wine into old wineskins – it wouldn’t work!  New wine NEEDS new wineskins for both to work and be preserved. And as a FINAL DIG on the folks asking the question – he says that some who drink the OLD WINE don’t even want what’s new. “The old is just fine,” they say.


At the heart of these illustrations is the picture of real transformation that happens to those who follow Christ. We cannot accept the love and grace of God and try to ADD IT TO our old way of trying to make ourselves right with God by our actions and behavior. IT WON’T WORK.

Real TRANSFORMATION comes when the grace and love of Jesus that saves you (NEW WINE) is poured into a new life. A life now surrendered to the Holy Spirit, who’s living in obedience to His ways, and living out the mission of telling the world about Jesus (NEW WINESKINS).

Many people who are STUCK IN RELIGION, are stuck in the traditions of men and focus more on the outward behavior and if it matches their RULES and TRADITIONS.  If they don’t, they get bent out of shape and QUESTION why you don’t love Jesus!

Jesus spoke these words for YOU and for ME. We cannot take what Jesus has done for us and try to mix it with our old lives and traditions of men. Jesus gave us A NEW LIFE.  We are a NEW MAN in Him.  New wine MUST have new wineskins!

How to Make Reading the Bible Easy & Fun

By Matt Dawson

Before I start, I have to admit that reading the Bible hasn’t always been easy or fun for me.  I used to never really enjoy reading the bible.  I’m an auditory learner, so before the YouVersion Bible App,  most audio bibles had me asleep within the first few verses.

***SIDENOTE – If anyone from the YouVersion Bible App is reading this – I’d love to hear a German Accent read Revelation – I just think that would be awesome!

Anyway, the point is that I didn’t like to read the Bible.  Then, I learned a very quick and easy way to read the bible, enjoy it, and take something away from it every time I read it.  And I’m going to share it with you today.

Close your eyes. I want you to picture a time when you decided to take a drive – you know, the kind where you really don’t have a destination, just wanted to hit the road and maybe take in some sights.  Maybe you don’t do this anymore because you’re too busy with life, kids, church, hobbies, sports, etc, but try to remember the last time you did it.

Taking a scenic drive has 3 core elements to it:

  1. Deciding where (roughly) you want to drive.
  2. Seeing something (while driving) and stopping to take in the view.
  3. Driving home with a memory of that experience.

For instance, I recently drove to Charleston, SC and decided to take a short drive to see some sights before I came home.  While driving over one of the massive bridges, I saw a HUGE shipping dock. You know, one of those with thousands of containers being loaded onto a massive freight.  I found a road down to get a better view and stopped.  I remember thinking “I wonder what is in each container – there are SO many!”.   I drove home with this great memory and will never forget trying to think of how many different things were represented in those containers.

I take the same approach when reading the Bible for my personal quiet time and connection with God.

  1. Decide (roughly) where I want to read.  Example:  Ephesians 3.
  2. I SEE something while reading and STOP to take in the view.  Example: “Verse 18 – And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”  I think about measuring love.  How do you do this?  He said wide, long, high, deep.  As I ponder these measurements, certain things come to mind – Grand Canyon, a runway, the Empire State Building, the ocean –  and I am consumed with God’s love for me.
  3. I drive home the memory with PRAYER.  Example: Dear Lord, help me remember today how wide, long, high, and deep your love is.  May I see and experience examples of it today as I connect with people, do my work, and engage with my family.  Thank you Jesus for how much you LOVE ME!  Amen.

Now it’s your turn!  I hope this easy strategy can help you find reading the Bible fun and easy.  As the author of Hebrews tells us, HIS WORD is ALIVE and POWERFUL, so I know that if we develop the discipline and joy of reading His Word daily, then we will be changed by His Word.

Decide where.  See something.  Drive it home.

Open your Bible today!

My GroupLink Story

By Chris Denning

This Sunday evening, we’re hosting an event at Journey called GroupLink that’s designed to help you connect with others and find a LifeGroup. We’ve been talking about it non-stop recently because we believe that one of the best opportunities for you to see change and growth in your own life is in the context of a LifeGroup.

I know how intimidating or even scary it can seem to walk into a room full of mostly strangers with the idea of being in a group with some of these folks. Sounds kinda nuts when you break it down like that.

However, I’ve heard story after story of people who took a chance and have found some of their closest friends as a result of simply going to GroupLink.

I wanted to share with you my own GroupLink story and what happened as a result, and I hope this helps you to take the chance and attend GroupLink this Sunday evening. (You can register at the bottom of this post.)

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3 Reasons Your Last Life Group Stunk

By Zack DeBerry

One of the things I value at Journey is the push to get people connecting with each other beyond just the Sunday morning service. One of the ways that we do this at Journey is through Life Groups. Many people may have never tried a Life Group before and have no idea what it can mean to be involved in a Life Group.

I also know a lot of people that have tried a Life Group and it was NOT a great experience for them. For those who have never tried a Life Group I want to encourage you to take a step toward community at Journey. For those that have maybe given up on finding a Life Group I hope that you will give them another chance.

Check out these 3 reasons why your Life Group experience may have stunk or could stink right now:
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4 Free Apps to Help You Grow Your Faith

By Chris Denning

I think it would be fair to say that most of us are pretty connected to our phone nowadays. I recently lost my phone (ask me about the story sometime, its worth your time), and I was surprised at how often I caught myself reaching for my pocket when it wasn’t there.

I don’t think this is necessarily a good thing, but I do think we can leverage this tendency of ours to grow in our faith. By adding a small degree of intentionality to our device usage, we can use the time we spend on our phone to improve our walks with God.

What I’ve done is gathered a collection of 4 apps that you can download right now on your device to help you grow in your faith. Not all of these apps are available on Android, so sorry in advance! Here we go:

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6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Life Group

By Zack DeBerry

At Journey, we believe that Community and Life Change happen best in the context of a small environment that we call Life Groups.  The hard truth that we have to realize is that in order for Community and Life Change to happen, there are some things YOU MUST commit to do individually.

By the way, we are having a GroupLink on Sunday, Feb 8 at 5:30pm at Journey Church, where you can meet new people, and leave with a brand new Life Group that night!  CLICK HERE to Register for GroupLink.

The truth is that Life Groups are incredible and they can be work, which means they demand something from YOU.  Here are 6 ways to make sure that you are getting the MOST out of your Life Group experience.

1. Show Up

The first and maybe most obvious way to get the most from Life Groups is to SHOW UP.  It should go without saying that if YOU are not there YOU will not experience the Community and Life Change that is possible.

In an overly scheduled society, it means that we must make Life Group and Community with others a priority in our life.  Hebrews 10 talks about the importance of meeting together in Community for encouragement to get through the tough times in our lives.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

2. Share Humbly

It’s not enough to just show face, but YOU must be willing to share your life, thoughts, and opinions with others that are a part of the Life Group.  This is done in a humble and gentle way and with the attitude of both sharing and learning from others.

We are all trying to get through this life together.  The Bible has much to say about not being too proud or selfish to give yourself to a Community.

Live in harmony with each other. Don’€™t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Romans 12:16 (NLT)

Don’€™t be selfish; don’€™t try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’€™t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)

3. Show Respect

One of the things that goes a long way in developing authentic Community in Life Groups is showing respect to others.  No one has ever experienced life change and community in the context of a “heated debate”. We must be respectful and realize that many people are looking for answers, they don’t all have them yet.

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’€™t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.

Romans 14:1 (NLT)

4. Be Honest

If there is one place where we should be able to be honest about our life it should be in the presence of other Christians.  It’s easy to show up, to share humbly, to show respect.

What turns a social gathering into an authentic community is when we drop the facade and get honest about our triumphs and our trials.  The truth is we are all fighting the “Good Fight” of faith and we all need people to fight along side us.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

1 John 1:7-€“8 (NLT)

5. Show Concern For Others

What I love most about Life Groups is that they help us realize that they are not alone.  If we are the body of Christ that the Bible talks about, then we should care for others and offer support to those in need.  A Life Group becomes a Community and Family when we begin to show concern for others.

Share each other’™s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

1 Corinthians 12:26 (NLT)

6. Be Accountable & Hold Others Accountable

Finally, Life Groups provide a level of care and accountability that’s found nowhere else in your life.  It is a lot harder to skip a meeting if you know YOUR Community will be holding you accountable to your commitment.  We need each other if we are to experience life to the full as Jesus intended us to.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Hebrews 10:24 (NLT)

When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

Romans 1:12 (NLT)

Again, DO NOT miss out on your opportunity to jump into a Life Group at GroupLink on Feb 8, at 5:30pm.  Click Here to Register, and find out what it means to experience true community in a Life Group at Journey!

4 Ways to Humbly Point Everyone to Absolute Hope

By Chris Denning

If you’ve been around Journey, you’ve probably heard us talk about what we’re about:

We humbly point everyone to absolute Hope.

I love how this mission doesn’t really have an end point, nor does it wholly depend on what we’re able to do, but rather it’s centered around who Christ is and how we should respond to Him with our lives.

However, after hearing this for a while, you might be asking yourself what this practically looks like.

“How can I humbly point everyone to absolute Hope in my everyday life?”

I want to help by offering four simple actions that you can start doing today to help you live out our mission in your everyday life. I believe that these four simple things will help you grow in your faith and become more like Christ as you humbly point everyone to absolute Hope.

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Message Follow Up | We Can’t Stay Here: Part 2 – We Have to Change

We Can’t Stay Here: Part 2 – We Have to Change from Journey Church on Vimeo.

By Matt Dawson

Growing always brings CHANGE.

The Church of Jesus Christ is a LIVING THING.  It’s either growing and changing or it is stagnant (you can call stagnant things something else… DEAD).  Jesus was as clear as could be: GO and make disciples of EVERYONE!

Matthew 28:19

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Churches that experience success have a natural instinct to protect that success and resist change.   They become risk adverse because they have much to lose.  Meanwhile, church plants, missionaries, para-church organizations, with less to lose are willing to risk everything to innovate, take risks, and even fail in pursuit of the BEST POSSIBLE FUTURE.

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Dealing With the Santa in the Room

By Zack DeBerry

My family is kind of into Christmas.

People think we are nutty sometimes when we tell them we put up eight Christmas trees.  Yes, that was EIGHT, as in ocho or one less than a baseball starting lineup.

I love the Christmas season and all that comes with it.  I love the music, the lights, the tacky sweaters, the red cup at Starbucks, the crazy shopping malls, but most of all I love that it feels different.  It is different than other time of the year and that’s because of the excitement & anticipation that comes with it.

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