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.
By Don Gentry
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.
By Matt Dawson
What does a multi-generational church look like?
As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Titus 2:1-7
The church I ministered to last weekend for LoveLife Charlotte was the a-typical picture of a multi-generation church. It was a small country church in Marshville, NC. They had a good amount of retired and elderly adults, several parents in their 30 s & 40s and their kids, and some young singles & young families with babies! This is what I was told a MULTI-GENERATIONAL CHURCH LOOKED LIKE.
After watching the message Don preached last weekend, I had an epiphany! Towards the end of his message he showed us that much of how we see spiritual growth matches what we see in physical growth. From infancy to adolescence, teenage years into adult years. This is the process of maturity. That’s when it became clear for me!
Journey is a multi-generational church in our spiritual growth!
We have many folks in our church (all different ages) that are living in spiritual maturity. This doesn’t mean they’ve “arrived”, but they are strong in their faith, solid in their theological convictions, and regularly apply God’s Word through spiritual disciplines. We have many folks (all different ages) in the awkward adolescent & teen years in their spiritual walk. They know enough to be dangerous at times, but they are FILLED with amazing energy and potential when focused in the right direction. We also have many babies (all different ages) that are BRAND NEW in their walk with Jesus.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT!
This epiphany has filled me with incredible joy and patience for our wonderful church body! Why? Because we are looking more and more like the church Paul describes in Titus 2! Maybe at one time, age and spiritual maturity went hand in hand in Titus’s time. However, in our current culture – spiritual maturity shows up in all different ages different. This means the path of growth for a 50 year old that is still new to faith LOOKS DIFFERENT than the 28 year old who’s been a devoted follower of Jesus since their elementary age.
The SIGN OF A HEALTHY CHURCH is ALL AGES & STAGES.
Many fundamental believers want to rush to the conclusion that a HEALTHY CHURCH is a church full of MATURE BELIEVERS. I don’t think that’s correct – not from what I see in Titus 2. We need ALL forms of growth to be happening in a healthy church. Do we need MATURE BELIEVERS? YES! However, we also need babies – NEW BELIEVERS that don’t know anything yet! We also need everything in between. We need the innocence of adolescent believers as they learn healthy disciplines…we need the passion and energy of spiritual teenagers that do incredible things for God (even as they struggle, rebel, and push the limits to make their faith personal).
Journey is a Healthy Church AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE GROWING!
It’s the reason we did this message series. Everyone experiences areas of arrested development along the journey. It’s okay…but it’s NOT OKAY TO STAY THERE! Our desire as a church is to see EVERYONE continue to GROW in their own faith journey and be ALL IN for the table God has prepared for them.
This weekend, I’ll close the series with the dangers of “playing it safe” with what God has entrusted to us when we experience arrested development! I hope to see you at Journey this weekend!
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!
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!
By Don Gentry
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.
By Zack DeBerry
Have you ever made the following statement, “If I knew then what I know now?” I know I have on multiple occasions in my life. There are so many things we learn in life by many different means, whether knowledge or experience. We have all wished we could do things a little differently in our lives perhaps. As we start a new series at Journey I hope you will keep that phrase in mind.
This new series will be focused on the Next Generation of our Church, Communities, and
Families. The young adults and children at Journey will one day be the leaders of our church and in our society. But what if I told you ‘One Day’ wasn’t really some abstract day in the future? What if I told you the young adults and children in our church are more than capable to be the leaders right now? It’s a crazy thing to think about, but the reality is that the future of Journey in being shaped right now in KidStreet, in The Garage, and at The Path.
The question is not about when, but rather about how. How will we influence our young adults and children to point people to the Absolute Hope of Jesus in everything they do now? That is the call to us as parents, leaders, and partners at Journey. We have been entrusted with a responsibility to train the Next Generation and empower them to be the leaders that God has called them to be, not just “Someday,’ but TODAY and into the future.
We will talk candidly about what our call from God to empower our young adults and children means, and how we can help them as they seek to be all that God calls them to be. I hope you will join us over then next two weeks and feel free to ask questions you have about this vital topic.
By Randy Belk
I have the privilege of wrapping up the Read Your Bible – Galatians series this Sunday. Over the past four weeks we have looked at how being a follower of Christ is based on faith plus nothing else, how we are free from the law, and how we operate from freedom, not for freedom. Along the way, we have talked about the importance of reading your Bible and how to use the SOAP method. As we bring the series to a close, we are going to spend some time looking at the practical application of how all of this should be lived out in the life of a believer.
Over the years, I have had many conversations where I explain to folks that becoming a follower of Christ is easy, but being a follower of Christ can sometimes be difficult. God didn’t make it difficult, we did. We have added rules, regulations, and expectations that can make following Christ seem like an insurmountable hill. In Chapter 6, we will see how that is not what God intends for us. This past Sunday Matt Dawson spoke about how we live from a place of freedom. In Chapter 6 Paul tells us what that looks like in real life, and I promise you it’s not hard. It may be a little counterintuitive, because it means being led by the Holy Spirit, instead of leading ourselves, but the end result is a life that draws us closer to God, frees us to live the life God wants for us, and allows us to truly focus on the well-being of others, as we put their needs ahead of our own.
I encourage you to be with us Sunday, or join us online at http://journey.churchonline.org/. I also encourage you to read ahead. Go ahead. Read Galatians Chapter 6 and try out the SOAP Method. See if you have the same observations that I have. If you don’t, that’s ok. That’s one of the cool things about being led by the Spirit. He speaks to us in unique ways that addresses where we are in our walk with Him. I look forward to seeing you all Sunday morning.
By Matt Dawson
How Do We STAY Free?
Galatians 5:1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
As we continue our “Read Your Bible” Series in the book of Galatians, I hope that you are being encouraged and challenged in your faith.
If you’ve not been able to attend the past few Sundays at Journey, I encourage you to visit our YouTube Channel or www.thejourneyonline.com so that you can catch up.. Obviously, you’re READING along and will hopefully have noticed the same theme coming up over and over again.
That theme is FREEDOM.
The church in Galatia isn’t all that different than modern day western churches. It seems to be a timeless struggle to understand the freedom we have in Christ and our call to live according to His Word. One seems restrictive and obligatory, the other seems to be carefree and unaccountable.
This Sunday, we’re going to narrow in on HOW we stay free. HOW we can live in freedom while holding tightly to the ideals and instructions we’ve been given by God. HOW do we keep ourselves FREE from adding our self-effort to Christ’s work, while still understanding our call to reject a sinful life and see the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
I hope you will join us this Sunday at 9 & 11am. I look forward to seeing you then.