Series Preview | How to Be Jesus to Your Friends

By Chris Denning

So . . . Easter was awesome! Per usual, it’s always great to celebrate the miracle that is God’s great love for us, expressed through the sacrifice and victory of Jesus.

But now what?

Jesus is risen and reigning on high, but how do I take my personal decision and turn it into something that changes my life? What about changing my friends’ lives?

At Journey, we’re all about humbly pointing everyone to absolute Hope. That hope is Jesus. I’m basically asking how we do all that humbly pointing stuff. What does it look like day to day to live a life that reflects the truth I believe about Jesus?

In our new series, How to Be Jesus to Your Friends, we’re going to explore that very question. We want to help you have a better understanding of how to practically be Jesus to your friends. Jesus calls us to grow to be more and more like him, so how do we do it?!?

We’re going to learn that it starts with being TRANSFORMED. Before we can BE Jesus we must be transformed BY Jesus. To live intentionally, we must first become a new creation in Christ.

We’re also going to learn about the character of Jesus, to give us clear, practical direction in our day-to-day lives. Finally, we’ll learn that it comes down to finding the importance of living an intentional life. Being Jesus to our friends isn’t about ACTS of service, but rather living a LIFE of service to others.

We hope this series challenges you to look at how you live your life. I mean REALLY take a hard LOOK at how you’re living your life. Are you being Jesus to your friends? Or are you just another person they know?

Join us for this practical series where we’ll put some real handles to what it looks like to be Jesus to your friends.

Series Preview | Healthy Church, Healthy Community

By Chris Denning

Have you ever gone to a sporting event or maybe one of your kids competitions and found yourself high-fiving a total stranger? Or talking for a few hours while you’re there just because you had a common bond?

It’s strange how quickly we can become comfortable with someone like that. How quickly we can feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves.

This can happen at church too. You walk in, drop the kids off, grab some coffee, and the music sweeps you up with the voices all joining together. Hearing teaching from the Word and seeing what the church is doing in the community can really make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

And you are. But what if there was more? What if there was something BEYOND this casual community?

In our new series, Healthy Church, Healthy Community, we’re going to take the time to learn how we can trade casual community for something we call Intentional Community. Intentional Community is the kind of thing that doesn’t just change your life, but can transform you personally.

Rather than having shallow relationships and connecting with only a few people accidentally, we have the opportunity to create deep, meaningful friendships that challenge us to become a better version of ourselves, to be more like Jesus.

Encouragement when we are at the end of our rope.
Accountability when we need support to take the next step.
A friend we can call when we need help at 2am.

We believe that Intentional Community will not only transform your life, but the life of our church. If we have healthy community at Journey, then Journey will become a healthier church. And if Journey is a healthy church, then our community will be healthy and thrive. They work together, for our good.

I want to invite you to commit to coming the next two weekends. Just two Sundays. Ask yourself what it would be like to be involved in this thing called Intentional Community. How would your life be different?

Come here what we have to say and the stories of lives being changed by Intentional Community, and then take a step. Not just any step. But the next, right step, into Intentional Community.

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

(RSS – Click Here to Listen)

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Message Preview | Read Your Bible – Galatians | Part 2

By Chris Denning

This weekend we’re going to continue our look into the book of Galatians, Paul’s letter to a group of really well meaning believers who are holding way too tightly to their easily measured rules. More than that, we’re going to talk a little bit more about how we can make reading our Bible a regular part of our lives. That’s kinda the whole point of the series, right?

It’s not enough to take the time to read our Bible, but how do we build habits and routines to help making Bible reading a REGULAR part of our lives? That’s part of what we’ll look at this weekend, and I’m sure you’re going to walk away with some practical things you can do to start THIS WEEK!

As for Chapter 3 of Galatians, reading it again has reminded me of the importance of having a right VIEW or perspective of the law. A lot of people who grew up in the Church and left often leave because it felt like you were just being held to a list of rules you needed to follow. Honestly, I don’t blame them. When you look at the Old Testament, you see lots of passages where it’s JUST rules.

The role of laws isn’t to create an impossible bar for us to get over. Though Jesus provides us the way to get over that bar through HIS righteousness, the role of the law was to be our guardian, as Paul said. To provide guard rails for our life, especially before the Messiah (Jesus) had done His atoning work on the cross.

Also, rules are easy to measure. For instance:

Rule – Take Out the Trash on Thursdays

Result – Did they take it out or not?

Relationship and faith is much harder to measure, especially from the outside looking in. I believe that’s part of why some people tend to gravitate towards these rules or laws. It’s much more black & white or binary, if you will. There is comfort in rules, because you know the playing field and the rules of the game.

However, Jesus doesn’t call us to follow rules, but to a relationship that leads to transformation of our hearts, minds & lives. When you think about it, “come and follow me” is much harder than “follow these rules.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but I hope this weekend we’ll begin to see the law in the right light, as Paul teaches us. Come with an open heart, an open mind, and, for goodness sakes, bring your Bible 🙂

5 Guidelines to Be a Man

By Chris Denning

This Sunday is Father’s Day (heads up for all you late planners) and we’re also starting a new series called How to Be a Man. Fortunately for all of you reading, I’m quite literally the manliest man of all manhood than mans have ever manned up to man about . . .

Ok, that’s dumb. But part of what we’re trying to do with this series is help to dispel the myth that there is a one-size-fits-all picture for what a man should be. Instead, we’re going to talk about how God defines manhood and some principles that can help guide us to be more godly men.

With that in mind, we thought it might be interesting to start the conversation with some guidelines for being a man. And in this context, when I say man, I mean a godly man, or a man that is following God.

Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list or even a definitive list, just some guidelines that jumped to the front of my mind. Also, I’d love to hear YOUR THOUGHTS on guidelines to being a man in the comments for this post on Facebook.

Without further adieu, here’s 5 Guidelines to Be a Man:

1. Submit to God in ALL Things

This one seems like a no-brainer, but who knows now a days. To be a godly man, one must submit to God . . . in ALL things. It might be easy for you to submit to God when it comes to your spiritual life and maybe even on Sundays. But what about your money? Or in a situation where you can compromise your character?

As men, before we lead or take charge or do ANYTHING, we have to learn how to submit to God in all things. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did & continues to do, and he’s the son of God, so there’s that. Not only that, submission to God is the beginning of understanding and wisdom, so if we want to be wise, we need to start with submission.

2. Take Ownership in Your Circle

This next one is about learning how to take responsibility for yourself & those closest to you. More than that, it’s about taking ownership. Note that I didn’t say take control. Control & ownership are 2 different things. We can’t control everything, but you can take ownership of something without having complete control.

Taking ownership means that you’ve got a vested interest in the outcome or well-being. This might mean owning your wife’s needs during a crazy season, or owning a project at work, or maybe even owning those in need around you. Either way, seeing things through the eyes of an owner changes the way you interact with the world, and that’s what men of God do.

3. Express Strength Appropriately

Strength is a quality often associated with men. Don’t get me wrong, women are just as strong as men. All I’m saying is that strength is something that men need to understand and express appropriately. In the family unit, men are often a place where the family looks for stability and strength, much like the mother.

However, men (and women too) can misinterpret how to express strength. For instance, if you are too enthusiastic or oppressive with strength, it can be expressed as anger or machismo. Or maybe you undervalue the importance of expressing strength, and can be seen by your family as a passive or disinterested leader. Either way, men should understand how to express strength appropriately, that encourages and supports their family.

4. Express Humility & Gentleness Appropriately

Equally as important as strength, men need to understand how to express humility and gentleness, appropriately. This may seem off, but as a father of two young girls, I’m only just beginning to understand the importance of this.

I started to really understand the importance of humility as a husband. I married a strong woman who keep me honest, and I’m grateful that I have a partner who helps me to see how I need to pursue humility. Humility doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it, and I have to work at it all the time. But humility can save a marriage, if expressed appropriately.

Gentleness is also important for men to understand. It’s not about being that warrior 24/7, 100mph at all times. While that gear has it’s place and is important, try coming at your 2 yr old daughter with that kind of intensity when she is throwing her 400th tantrum of the day. Men should understand how to be gentle, in the right way, at the right time, with the appropriate people. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the spirit for a reason, because we need it.

5. Lead Your Family Well

Finally, men should understand how to lead their family well. This means knowing when to keep pushing for a goal. When to ease up and have fun. When to let your wife take the lead. How to motivate your family to meet a goal.

I think most importantly, a man needs to understand how to lead his family spiritually. Every family is different, so maybe you won’t be leading a nightly devotional before bed time. And that’s OK. You need to know YOUR family and ask the Holy Spirit to help you lead them well. Be proactive. Your kids WILL NOT disciple themselves. Lead your family well.

Message Preview | More Than Sunday Part 1

By Chris Denning

I’m gonna make this short & sweet because I’m writing this with a 1-week-old strapped to my chest #DadLife

This weekend, we’re starting a series called More Than Sunday, where we’re taking the time to better understand what worship is and how it fits into the life of a believer. Simply put, I believe that we don’t understand what worship means (truly), and our misunderstanding causes us to come to dumb conclusions.

For instance:

  • I don’t like to sing, therefore I don’t sing at church, because worship time just isn’t for me. WRONG.
  • I’m not talented in music, therefore I don’t like to go into service for the music, because I don’t enjoy it. FOOLISH.
  • Worship is just a time during a service, therefore I just need to fake it til I make it for 20 mins on a Sunday & I’m good. DUMB.

Worship is so much more that just something we do on Sundays. I know that some of you get that, but this weekend, we’re going to talk specifically about what worship is and how our time together on Sundays at Journey fits into that understanding.

If anything I’ve said has upset you so far, then you DEFINITELY need to come hang out this weekend. This isn’t going to be a rah-rah, bait & switch situation where I cheerlead you about how we need to sing more and then we do a few songs after the message to prove the point.

Nope. We’re going to take an honest look at what we believe about worship and how our time together on Sundays plays into it. Why? Because how we worship reveals what we think about God. Chew on that for a minute, cause we definitely will on Sunday.

Come and challenge yourself to open your mind about what you believe about worship, it’s going to be a great time together. Plus, I’ll probably show a baby pic or 2 because I can #CuteBabiesWin

Why 62.5% of Men Don’t Sing on Sunday

By Chris Denning

Yup, that’s right. 62.5%.

Ok. Maybe I made that up, but still, you get the point.

On the whole, a majority of guys don’t enjoy singing on Sunday. Trust me, I’d know, because I can see your faces each week from stage. #Busted

Now, if you don’t like to sing, don’t feel bad. I’m not into bashing people because they don’t like to sing at church. Mostly because I was one of you growing up. I didn’t start singing until later in high school and I used to think it was THE WORST.

The question still remains: Why? Why do a lot of guys not like to sing on Sundays? Here’s the Top 4 reasons guys don’t sing on Sundays:

1. They don’t like to sing . . . period.

Most men don’t really enjoy singing, especially in public. Maybe they enjoy singing the right song in the car by themselves, or maybe they can knock out a tune or two at karaoke, but singing around a bunch of other people isn’t the most relatable thing. This one makes sense to me, so one for the guys.

2. They don’t like to express themselves in that way.

Unless you’ve found yourself in a musical, most men don’t express themselves in song. Maybe Lin Manuel Miranda sings a song when he’s got something to say, but that’s definitely not what most guys do. Also, many of the songs we sing on Sunday express some pretty rich and deeply held beliefs, which can make one feel vulnerable when singing. That’s a good thing, but I can understand why some guys feel this way.

3. They don’t like the words.

This one is a song-by-song situation. There are some lines in songs that we sing that can make people uncomfortable with the intensity of emotion or faith that they convey. It could be that the line feels too flowery, or maybe that it expresses a belief/feeling that they don’t fully feel. I can respect this one, because I have felt a little phony before singing lines that I don’t fully believe in my heart. There’s something to be said about singing things in faith, but that’s for another post.

4. They don’t like the music.

Maybe they’re a country guy. Or a metal guy. Or an Eagles fan. Or . . . a million other things. I’ve been at concerts where the band isn’t quite my cup of tea, and even if they dropped into a cover of Purple Rain, I’m prob not gonna sing. (I mean, who am I kidding, OF COURSE I’m singing Purple Rain.) The music on Sunday might not be their favorite, which can lead to less singing.

These are all valid reasons but . . .

It doesn’t matter.

I really doesn’t. No matter their excuse for not singing, guys shouldn’t feel bad about not singing on Sunday. However, they SHOULD feel convicted about not engaging in worship.

Engaging doesn’t equal singing . . . necessarily. If singing isn’t your thing, guys, then pray the lyrics. Consider what the sentiment of the song is and try to meditate as the song plays. Find a way to engage your heart and mind with what is happening in the room.

You can be led in worship even if you don’t sing, but it’s up to you to allow yourself to be led. This weekend, I want to challenge you to take a step, however small that step is, to engage more in worship, in your own way. Consider what speaks most to you and make the choice to engage this Sunday.

Why Understanding Family Roles Matters

By Chris Denning

No matter your experience within a family, whether good or bad, you understand that there are roles within the family. However, your experience certainly colors your perspective of what those roles look like and entail.

In the series we’re starting this weekend, Ideal Family, we’re going to be talking about God’s ideal for the family and what that means for each member of the family.

While there is no picture perfect prescription for what a Father, Mother, Child, etc, should be like in a family, there are certain ideals that we can strive for in these roles. And if God created the family (and He did), then only He can define the ideals for these roles.

This begs the question: Why do these family roles, or ideals for these family roles, matter? Here’s 2 reasons why these family roles matter, and why understanding them for yourself should matter too.

1. They Help Us GROW.

If someone asked you to draw them a good picture, and that it better be what they’re looking for, then you’re in a pretty tough situation. How could you possibly know what they are looking for, or even what “good” means? However, if they asked you to draw them a picture of the Grand Canyon and provided you a picture to base it on, then you’d be on the right track (as long as you don’t draw like me).

God’s ideals for these family roles give us the picture we need to to discern what direction we need to grow in. Without knowing God’s ideals, we don’t have direction for our roles in the family. Knowing God’s ideals for Fathers, Mothers, Husbands, Wives, and even Children gives us a clear picture of what we need to grow into.

2. They Help Us LOVE.

Understanding God’s ideals for family roles not only helps us to understand how we need to grow, but it also helps us understand how to love others in our family even better. By understanding God’s ideals for these roles, we can better understand their motivations and actions, even when we don’t agree with them.

The better we can understand the role of a family member, the better we can love them through tough times and even tough decisions. When a child understands why a Mother makes a decision they don’t like, it makes it easier for them to love them. Understanding God’s ideal for the family helps to provide clarity when things are unclear. That clarity can help us love one another better in times of uncertainty.

I hope you’ll join us for Ideal Family, because no matter your history with your family or what life is like now with your family, understanding God’s ideals for the family will help you be a better member of your family.

While your family may not be perfect, God still has hope for what it could be. Join us and see what God says about the roles of the family and his ideals for them. It just might change your family tree!