Message Preview | Storytellers – Part 3

By Don Gentry

I am excited to share on Sunday about how to tell your story. There are many reasons why we don’t really share our stories, but it can be narrowed down to a couple of primary reasons. For example, many people don’t share their story because of fear. Many people are afraid of what people may think of their story. Once we are confident in our relationship with our Creator then we can boast about Him and His work in our life. Look at how Paul talked about his story.

2 Corinthians 11:27-30 (NIV2011) 
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV2011) 
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Paul shares his weaknesses with others. This type of sharing often freaks people out because they are afraid of what people will think of them. Paul suggests regardless of what people may think about us, when we are vulnerable with others about our weaknesses it points to the sufficiency of Jesus in our lives! We must trust that it doesn’t matter what we look like to others. In our “post the best pose” social media driven society, this type of vulnerability doesn’t really compute.

This fear of being vulnerable it just one example of what we must overcome to be able to tell our stories. I hope to see you on Sunday so that we can further understand how to tell our stories that have been changed by the greatest story ever told!

See you Sunday!

The Sound of Silence

By Matt Dawson


There is a popular song from the 60’s called “the Sound of Silence.” It’s recently been covered by a rock band named Disturbed, and it’s a powerful rendition of the song. The meaning of song itself has been lost, as it was originally written to address a time when people’s minds were being influenced by digital and visual input rather than personal interaction and the arts. I’m not sure of the original intent of the lyrics, but the ominous chord structure brings me to a place of FEELING the tension that SILENCE brings to each and every one of us.

Let’s face it, the majority of us don’t like silence. REAL SILENCE.

Sure, some introverts would rather crawl into a nook with a good book, but that’s not actual silence. That’s just LESS NOISE.

I’m talking about the kind of silence when our mind STOPS spinning like an over-worked hard drive and we remain in a place where the only thing echoing off the walls is silence itself.

Here are 3 reasons I believe we hate silence.

  1. I know why we don’t like it – it feels POINTLESS.  In a culture as driven as we are, doing nothing just FEELS WRONG.  To allow ourselves to STOP THINKING and STOP MOVING, we feel like every second could be used for something better.
  2. We also don’t like what we hear.  That’s because we hear NOTHING.  No praises, no critiques, no sarcastic phrases, no passing whims of conversation about weather or football.  At least at the beginning, it’s NOTHING.
  3. After we hear nothing, we are left with our own thoughts, feelings, and voices.  Many of us don’t want to know what is really going on under the surface of our daily facade.  For many, it’s depression, anger, or hopelessness in our lives.  For some, it’s a time of peace and communion, but those others thoughts still rise up to distract us.

However, I do believe that SILENCE is necessary for all of us to practice, experience on a deeper level, and do it on at least a weekly basis. I struggled with this experience over my sabbatical this past summer as I placed myself in solitude for a week – all the while knowing I was going to struggle with it.

Jesus made it a habit to consistently GET AWAY from it all for prayer and rest.

Luke 5:16 “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
Luke 6:12 “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.”
Mark 1:35 “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”

I know it might be a struggle, but here are the 3 of the BEST REASONS to Seek Silence & Solitude on a weekly basis.

  1. Soul Rest – One of the most powerful things that happens when we stop moving, stop thinking, and stop fronting is SOUL REST! The primary purpose of silence and solitude is to REST. Don’t even approach it with an expectation of that God’s going to reveal some deep spiritual thought to you. He might, but that shouldn’t be on our agenda! It’s not about what YOU’RE GOING TO DO… It’s about what GOD IS ALREADY DOING AND WANTS TO DO IN YOU.  It’s Soul Rest in Jesus!
  2. Clear Identity – When we submit to silence, we REMOVE all of the things we use in life to prop us up, cover the sides we don’t want people to see, and mask our motives.  When we get silent, our identity is revealed.  WHO WE REALLY ARE SHOWS UP.  Maybe that’s a struggle for you if you don’t know who you are or you don’t have a relationship with God.  Nothing changes if we don’t know who we are.  We can’t love our wives better, parent our kids better, or even succeed in enterprise if we don’t know who we are.  Understanding our identity (in Christ) is the foundation we need to recognize and remember every week (daily even) so we can grow and change into the people we desire to be.
  3. Hear God – We’re in a series that’s all about How We Hear God and why it matters to our faith.  Many of us pray one-sided prayers with requests and complaints, and we never take the time to LISTEN for His response.  This takes time, rest, SILENCE.  God can get our attention – that’s not an issue for Him.  However, He desires to meet with each of us and talk… that’s what prayer is.  A conversation with a friend!  If we want to Hear God on a more consistent basis, we need to find those times of silence and solitude to read His Word, pray, and spend time listening to what God has to say about what’s happening in our hearts and lives.

 

I’m still working on all of these things in my life. If you’ve got time, ask me about my one week alone on a solitude retreat this summer. It was awful and amazing. It was everything I was worried about, and it was better than I could have imagined. It deepened my resolve for more time in silence and solitude in my daily life to find my soul’s rest, remember who I am in Him, and hear what God wants to say to me personally.

I challenge you to do this today!

How To Deal With Uncertainty

By Zack DeBerry


We’re a month into a new year and many of you may have made some resolutions and have some dreams that you want to fulfill this year. If you’re like me, you may have reached the point where a level of uncertainty has started to creep into your thought process. There are several big goals that I want to accomplish this year, but I have found myself fighting that little voice inside that causes me to doubt myself. Can this really be done? Are you the person to do this? What will happen if this doesn’t work out? These are just a few of the questions that continually roll through my thoughts on a daily basis. So, in the midst of taking bold steps and fighting the voice of doubt in our thoughts, how do we deal with the uncertainty that exists as we take these steps of faith?

Let me start by saying that I am not sure you will ever fully escape uncertainty in your life. This is especially true when you make an attempt to do something big and take steps of faith. I want to be clear about that. If you are after certainty and a sure thing, then you will find it hard to take steps toward the big things in your life. But, I do think there are some things we do in the midst of uncertain times that can keep us calm and focused on taking the next step in our journey. Here are just a few things that have been helping me lately as I try to deal with the doubt and uncertainty in my own life.

  1. Learn to Embrace the Adventure- It is easy for me to feel overwhelmed when all I focus on is the end product. What I have found helpful is to truly begin to embrace the adventure. Remember when you were young and would go exploring just to see where you would end up or what you might find? You didn’t know how things would turn out, but you didn’t hesitate to go and explore. Part of dealing with uncertainty requires that we take this same approach. Don’t think too hard about outcomes, but rather live in the moment of adventure and keep your head up- you never know what you might find or learn along the way.
  2. Ask What’s the Worst that Could Happen?– This might sound crazy because we’re usually taught from an early age to avoid the worst case scenarios of life. However, asking this question at the outset of the big things in your life CAN create a sense of peace. When you start out with this question it allows you to think about the negative possibilities that could happen, and it usually is not as bad as you think. By going down the worst case path you can eliminate some of the anxiety and fear of the unknown when we take big steps of faith.
  3. Realize Who Called You to This Dream- I have a deep belief that God is ultimately in control of my life if I am trying to follow Him and please Him with everything I have and do. This should carry over to the big steps I take in life, but sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking that making things work is all up to ME. The best thing I have done recently is to rest in the promise that if God has placed this dream in me, then HE will continue to work in me, through me, and for me. When we reorient our thinking to “it’s not all about me, but about what HE can do through me”, it can free us from doubt and uncertainty in our dreams. You may doubt yourself at times, but as a follower of Jesus Christ, we can never doubt the work that has been accomplished on the cross and the promise that HE cares more about our lives and dreams than we can imagine. Sometimes we need to stop looking all around us and just look up.

When we take steps of faith and dream big dreams in life there will always be a level of uncertainty that comes along with it. It is in how we respond to and deal with that uncertainty that determines whether we move in faith or stand still in fear. As followers of Jesus Christ we should never let fear dictate what we do or how we live our lives. We serve a God who continually breathes life into our soul and whispers “Fear Not” loud enough to overcome any voice of doubt and uncertainty that exists in our minds. So, take the step, embrace the adventure, don’t fear the outcomes, and focus on the God who called you to dream.

Weekend Preview | What if there is Nothing to Fear?

“The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (1st Inaugural Address)

FDR’s famous words have been repeated throughout the years as an anthem cry to those who desire to push past the fear that they face in life and overcome their circumstances.

Contextually, FDR was addressing our nation about the Great Depression that we were facing in our country, he needed people to trust in their leadership if they wanted to see our nation move forward in the midst of uncertainty. This is his full quote:

“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

I really love his quote – but I LOVE the follow-up statement even more.

The way he describes fear is a “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Last week, we discussed the power of asking “What if?” and the power of those words to help us believe that anything is possible.

The #1 enemy of our “What if?” questions that are filled with dreams and possibilities is FEAR! A nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes our efforts and keeps us from moving forward!

FEAR
– it keeps us from making necessary changes
– it keeps us from living out our heart’s passion
– it keeps us from risking and trying something new
– it keeps us from fully trusting God alone for everything.

This week, we will be asking a very important question.

“What if there is nothing to fear?”

In your marriage, at your job, in your relationships, with your kids, in your finances… what if there is nothing to fear? How different would our lives look today? What kind of different decisions would you make today? In what areas would you experience freedom today?

Join us Sunday, as we consider this next “What If?” question. If you need to catch up on our celebration and introduction to our “What if? Series” last weekend, click here.

Message Follow Up | It Is: Part 3 – It Is Finished

By Matt Dawson



I hope you were able to Join us this past Sunday for Easter at Journey Church.  What an incredible weekend of celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus as a church.  (Check out the message above if you were not able to join us live or livestream.)

There are 2 verses from yesterday that I would love for you to MEMORIZE and plant deep down in your hearts and mind:

1. FREEDOM

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

If your version of Christianity or the Christianity that you’ve rubbed shoulders with in the past doesn’t help you understand and feel MORE FREE – then YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

Freedom is a big deal for me.  It is the way we define HOPE here at Journey.  To humbly point everyone to absolute HOPE is to help people see and experience the FAME/GLORY of God and the FREEDOM that comes to us through Christ! Continue reading

Message Follow Up | It Is: Part 1 – It Is Coming

By David McNeely



Don’t you love guarantees?

Whether it’s a service or product, I love to hear about a guaranteed outcome.  A guarantee implies I get what I want, doesn’t it?

Actually no.  Not every guarantee means I get what I want.  Sometimes the guarantee is only for certain parts to function in a way that is promised.  This is true for many things, like appliances or tech equipment like phones and computers etc.

Nowhere in life do we want a guarantee more than in relationships. While preparing for part 1 of It Is: It Is Coming, I was struck with how much I desire guarantee from God that redemption is coming for those I love, especially my kids.

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What to Do When We Can’t Do Anything

By Matt Dawson


In the past several months, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have no doubt been reading headlines concerning ISIS, radical Islamists, and the brutality happening in the Middle East.  It has been the source of conversations, social media arguments, SNL satire, and personal pain for the families connected to victims and soldiers currently serving in this part of the world.

As Christians, sometimes we “jump on the bandwagon” of whatever position and opinion we somewhat align with, with little regard to how this represents or reflects our life of faith.

What are we supposed to do?  What are we supposed to say?

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Message Follow Up | Fracture: Part 4 – Living A Bigger Story


By Matt Dawson


So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things?  If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it.  But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story.

Romans 4:1-3 (MSG)

A few weeks ago, I asked a few of our leaders at Journey WHY they think we struggle to abandon the story of our own lives and step into the Greater GOD-Story that He wants to use our fractures to help write.  Here were some of their answers:

  • Apathy/Complacency
  • Pride
  • Unaware of the Bigger Picture (can’t see it)
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Fear of Risk and Failure
  • Don’t Know How to Connect Our Calling into His Story
  • Busyness and Lack of Control
  • Laziness and Entitlement
  • FEAR

I think one of the greatest tactics of the enemy (who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy) is to convince us that our fractures MOVE US FURTHER AWAY from the Greater Story that God is writing in our lives.

THIS IS A LIE.

God often wants to leverage our fractures as a new beginning to launch us into a much bigger story than what we have been currently living.  We cannot allow our fractures or fear to keep us from stepping into that greater story.

I hope that you have enjoyed the conversation in our church over the last few weeks about the fractures in our lives.  My prayer is that you continue the conversation in your life groups and with others in your lives.

If you are experiencing a fracture TODAY, I pray that you will choose HOPE and not despair.

If you’ve been struggling to deal with a past fracture and think that it has moved you further from God, say a prayer today and choose HOPE.  God is NOT finished with you yet!

In John 10:10, Jesus said “I’ve come to give life and life to the full.”  May we wake up every morning on purpose and choose to live in His greater story!

Weekend Preview | Fracture – Part 3: Difficult Circumstances

By Chris Denning


 

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Have you ever been in the middle of a storm?

I’m talking about a thundering downpour that makes you worry about your safety.  I grew up on the coast, and these kinds of storms were not out of the norm, especially during hurricane season.

There were times when I was out playing with friends, and I was caught in the middle of these storms.  These storms were simply overwhelming.  They came on quickly, and I couldn’t see the end of them.  Worst of all, there was nothing I could do to stop it.

These storms are similar to difficult circumstances in our lives.

Often times, these circumstances are simply overwhelming.  They can come on quickly, and its terribly hard to see the end of them.  One of the hardest parts of these circumstances is that they are most times completely out of your control.

It seems like you can’t do anything to fix things, and it feels completely hopeless.

While this may be true, and you may not be able to change your circumstances, you have the ability to determine your perspective of your circumstances.

Your perspective of your difficult circumstances often determines your outcome.

  • This DOESN’T mean that you are in control of the outcome, because ultimately God is.
  • This DOESN’T mean that you are in control of others, because they have free will.
  • This DOES mean that your perspective has a great deal of influence over your attitude and your ability to weather your storm.

If you can see your current circumstance as a way for God to change and grow you . . . 

If you can understand your current circumstance as a divine part of your story . . .

If you can believe that your current circumstance is going to be worked out for your good, because of His love for you . . .

Then you have the opportunity to walk through your circumstances with joy, rather than spite, with confidence, rather than fear, and with hope, rather than despair.

Take joy.  Take heart.  Take hope.  Ask God to help you change your perspective of your circumstance, because it will change the quality and direction of your life.

My Fracture Story | The One Decision That Changed My Life

By Chris Denning


A few weeks ago, Matt, Don, Zack and I were brainstorming about how we could create a few posts for this month centered around our series, Fracture: Finding Hope in the Pain.

We wanted to do something that would be encouraging to read, but also help whoever read them better understand what a fracture is in our stories.  We decided to take a chance and take a moment to share a bit of our own stories.  

Over the next few weeks, you’re going to get to read a story from each of us about how we experienced a fracture in our story, how it impacted us, and how we ended up responding.

These stories are pretty honest and raw, and our hope is that you will see that if you’re going through a fracture right now, you’re not alone.  This isn’t the end.  There is hope.  We’ve found an absolute Hope in our pain, and we know that you can too.


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