Series Preview – 21 Days of Prayer

By Matt Dawson


What could happen when you devote 21 days in a row to prayer? I’ll tell you what could happen…MORE than what you could ask or imagine. 

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:30

I believe God has MORE in mind for you this year than a simple New Year’s resolution. 

I believe God has MORE in store for your life than what you experienced in 2018 and before. 

I believe the reason we don’t experience MORE, is because we are not ASKING FOR MORE! 

We all ask God for what we want…so maybe you are asking Him for more, but you can’t experience more until you GROW to receive it. Even if God has MORE for your life, you need to keep stretching your faith, building your character, investing in relationships, and even making some ironclad commitments before HE CAN GIVE YOU MORE! 
It’s called EXPANDING OUR CAPACITY! 

This is what we are dedicating the next 21 days of prayer to. Asking God to expand our capacity to experience and produce MORE than what we could ask or imagine! 

I hope you are excited to kick off the new year at Journey Church. I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday! 

What Happens When Your Group Prays

By Zack DeBerry


The last few weeks at Journey we have been talking about Prayer in the context of “what to do when we don’t know what to do.” We all have those moments in life where life hands us more than we think we can handle. Whether that is a family situation, job situation, life situation, whatever it may be, there are moments we all face that create this tension in our lives when we don’t know where to turn or what to do. It’s in those moments where we have this amazing invitation as followers of Christ to engage in conversation with God.

Prayer really is a conversation with God, and as we converse and commune with Him, we must understand that we have access to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as we pray. Not only do we have access to the trinity, but they are working to intercede and empower as we engage in this conversation. That is an amazing gift that God has given us as followers of Christ. Not only do we have access to the God head, but God gives us other believers as a community called the church that join with us as we engage in this conversation with God.

At Journey we call this community Life Groups and it is our belief that as we walk through life and face the various challenges we encounter, this small group of people that God gives us partners with us as we pray and seek God’s will in our life. There are some incredible benefits when we join with others in Prayer. Here are just 3 great things that happen when we join with our Group in Prayer.

1. More Power

In Matthew 18 Jesus begins a discussion about how to deal with other believers, and at the end of this discussion he talks about the power that can come from joining together with other believers in Prayer. In Matthew 18:18-20 Jesus states this:

18“I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
19“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

What Jesus is saying is that when we have troubles and take the time to Pray with other believers we have access to incredible power.

2. God gets More Fame

When we partner with others in prayer we get the incredible opportunity to see God’s glory displayed as He works in our lives. When we see God at work we are able to see God get more glory and fame in other’s lives. Paul shares an incredible story of how by having other believers praying with him in his ministry, God was able to get incredible glory. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 has this to say:

8″We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”

What an incredible thing it is to share in the burdens of others in prayer and to celebrate as God shows up in their lives.

3. It Unites His Church

Lastly, when we Pray with other believers we are able to see what God promised in His church- Unity and togetherness. It is an amazing thing to practice unity in our lives with other believers, and prayer with others is one area where this unity can be seen. In Acts, we see the first accounts of God’s Church, and early in this account we see the power of unity in prayer on display. In Acts 1 we read this about the early church:

14They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.

Then later as the church continues to grow, we read this in Acts 2:

42All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

It was no secret that Unity and Prayer were an essential part to the incredible growth that the early church experienced. That same opportunity is ours when we partner with other believers in prayer.

The beauty of Life Groups is that you always have someone you can count on to join with you in prayer during the tough times of life, whatever they may be. When we join with others in Prayer we have the great gifts of added power to our prayer and the incredible opportunity to see God glorified as we unite in common purpose in prayer.

Weekend Preview | What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do- Part 2

By Zack DeBerry


Prayer is one of those things that we know we should do, but sometimes life just gets going so fast that we often fail to do it.  That is until there is a tragedy or something else that backs us in a corner and we don’t know what else to do.  So we pull out the ace in our pocket and begin a prayer that is usually centered around our best interest in whatever situation we are facing.

As we see in God’s word, that was never the intent of prayer.  Prayer was never intended to be last resort but rather a first act in our lives.  Prayer ultimately is an invitation to the greatest conversation that we could be a part of in our life.  It is a conversation with the Holy God that will ultimately align our lives with His greater will in all situations of life.  This invitation is there for us everyday, but many of us still fail to see it through. 

We have this amazing opportunity to commune and converse with the God of the universe and we often don’t make time until something negative happens in our life.  That is like being invited to a sit down with a president or leader of a country and gaining incredible insight on the affairs of the world, and blowing it off for a dentist appointment.  Prayer should be our first act everyday, not simply when life seems to gives us more than we can handle.

The greatest thing about a conversation is there are multiple voices involved and we can gain different perspectives from each voice.  The invitation to pray is the same.  When we pray to God and we have different perspectives in the conversation coming from Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and the Holy Spirit God given to us as we seek to do His will on this earth.  They each have different and unique roles as it pertains to prayer, and this week at Journey we will talk a little bit about these roles and how they can help us in our conversation with God.

Ultimately, though, it is about whether you will take the time to engage in this incredible conversation to which you have been invited.  Will you accept the invitation or just post it on the refrigerator door and never really think about it until it’s too late?  Our hope is that you would engage in this amazing conversation with God each and everyday to see the world as He does and to see His will unfold in your life.  Join us this week at Journey as we continue to talk about What to Do when you don’t know What to Do. 

Praying For More Than Good Test Scores

By Ryan Weber


I just started graduate school, and November is the time when every professor decides to assign the biggest assignment of the semester at the same stinking time! And for graduate school, the essays are not short; we’re talking 20 page essays that I need to sound smart on. And it’s difficult. And it’s changed the way that I pray:

Dear God, make the madness stop.
Dear God, help me fool the teacher into thinking I actually know what I’m talking about.
Dear God, give me an A. All I want is an A.

Prayer has a way of revealing our priorities. Do we only pray when things get super difficult and out of our control? If so, it may reveal that we are too self-sufficient and rely on our own strength. Do you pray about the things going on in your world (ie. Your job, your kids, your finances, your grades, etc.) but not about others? What may that reveal about your heart and priorities?

I’ve heard it said that if you want to know about a person’s priorities, you should look at two things: their day planner and their checkbook. How they spend their time and money reveals everything about their priorities. I believe the same thing applies to the content within our prayer life.

Prayer is about more than asking God for stuff, asking Him to intervene, asking Him to heal, asking Him to show up, asking Him to give, etc. During this time in your student’s life when finals are quickly approaching, essays are due, and they are drowning in the ocean that is homework, it’s easy to let their prayer life become restricted to the urgent.

They pray about what’s in front of them and what immediately effects them. And we do the same thing, right? We are so quick to forget the things that exist outside of the immediate blinders that we put on. And what is the result of that? The priorities that Jesus teaches that we should own (love others as I have loved you, seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, etc.) become secondary elements to my own kingdom of the now.

I love when Jesus exposed the intentions and priorities of the human heart in His conversations with people. He always found a way to steer the conversation to the main thing, regardless of how the conversation started.

He always pointed to our duty to actively love God and others and our call to proclaim the Good News. That’s the point, living Kingdom-minded and Kingdom focused. If Jesus wants us to live with blinders on, those are the blinders He wants us to use. And this is what an effective and positive prayer life looks like. How can I best align my will and desires with the will and desires of God?

Does that mean that I cannot pray about the things that are immediately effecting me? No! God wants us to pray without ceasing, and pray about everything. He wants to be the integral and driving force behind everything that you do. However, a powerful prayer life should demonstrate how our priorities are shifting to align ourselves with the character of God. How much are you legitimately concerned over the Kingdom of God above your own affairs? Have you owned the Kingdom of God like you own the Carolina Panthers? Or your business? Or even Journey Church?

Our ownership over the Kingdom of God comes when we prioritize aligning God’s will with our own. And the best way to do that is to pray. And pray. Then pray some more.

Weekend Preview | What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

By Don Gentry


?!?!?!Prayer?!?!?!

Have you ever really sat and thought about prayer? Many people will throw out a prayer in desperation or anger as a last ditch resort. As Christians, we encourage people to believe that there is a supreme power that guides and orchestrates this universe, has complete control, and yet allows evil to exist. Even Though we encourage the belief that He can do all things, our prayers of desperation don’t always seem to go our way. Often we are left questioning, “Do our prayers really matter anyway?”

Hmmm….. I wonder if there are any answers to the crazy concept of prayer?

Let me give you an even crazier idea of prayer. This God that orchestrates the universe, that we
as Christians say has a personal interest in our daily lives, tells us that we should rejoice
regardless of our circumstances, we should NEVER stop praying, and we should be thankful in
all things. He tells us that this is “His will” for our lives.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV2011)
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I find it easy to understand why non-believers think we are crazy! Join us on Sunday as we dig
into this idea of prayer and see what prayer can really do in our lives. I hope to 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!

Weekend Preview | How Do You Hear God?- Part 1

By Matt Dawson


How Do You HEAR God?

Is it an audible voice? An inner voice? Is it masculine or feminine? Do you just “sense” Him? Do you read His Words? Do you see His words in other writings…in nature…everywhere? Is His voice the same for everyone?

How do you KNOW it’s God’s voice that you’re hearing?

This Sunday we kick off a series about How We Hear God. It’s a HUGE part of our faith journey to understand and communicate with God.

One of my favorite verses about God’s voice is in Isaiah.

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:21

I always loved picturing God behind me talking as I made decisions – to the right or left. It gave me assurance that if I was really listening – I would HEAR HIM.

However, there are been plenty of times in my life where this hasn’t been my experience. I’ve spoken out loud… and heard nothing in return. There have been other times that His voice was so overwhelming that I was brought instantly to tears, pulled my car over, and just started walking and talking with Him.

After asking some of our leaders at Journey their own personal experiences of hearing God, they all shared something different. Some hear Him best while reading scriptures. Some hear Him when they go for a run in the morning because it’s just the two of them. Some hear Him in dreams and visions, while others hear Him through their conscience while meditating in prayer.

There is no one way that God speaks, but we have to be listening if we want to Hear God.

So join us over then next few weeks as we consider How We Hear God! See you on Sunday at 9 and 11am.

What if… Journey had not changed?

By Matt Dawson


What if…we had never changed?

In June of 2011, (many of you were not here, some of you were) as a church we were 4 months behind on our mortgage for this building… we really were not sure what the future of this physical space held for us (we had only been in it for 2 years). We were already a few months into carrying over credit card balances because we couldn’t pay it off every month and had put a SPENDING FREEZE on our ministry budgets.

People were leaving the church because the planting pastor had just left and was transitioning to Ethiopia on mission. We didn’t have a lead pastor, just an INTERIM pastor who had ZERO YEARS experience leading a church as a senior pastor and whose formal education was in Mortuary Science (AKA-the study and care of dead people). We had also just freed up our worship pastor and youth pastor to leave and go attempt a non-profit partnership together.

We didn’t know what God was up to, and we didn’t have a CLEAR or PRECISE MAP telling us what or how to change!

So what did we do?

We asked… What If?

What if God had something really, really BIG in store for us?

What if we believed He wanted to use US to make it happen at Journey?

So, what happened? I’ll share more with you this weekend about some of the amazing things God has done in 2015, how He’s answered specific prayers, and how we are starting to see Him do more than we could even ask or imagine.  It’s going to be an amazing Sunday celebrating together!

The big “C” Church had a “What If?” moment in Acts 15. We will spend some time this weekend considering how powerful (both positive and negative) this simple question can be when it comes to our future possibilities.

What if the Church had never changed?

Join us Sunday as we celebrate what God has done at Journey and in the Church at large in the last 2000 years and what this means for the FUTURE Church!

Weekend Preview | Why Christmas: Part 2 – Hope for the Hurting

By Chris Denning


Click Here to Subscribe on Spotify


Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year. Not because of decorating or things like that (because I HATE decorating for Christmas, just ask my wife) but because of what it REMINDS me of.

It reminds me of Jesus’ great love for me!

It reminds me of delicious smells and foods!

It reminds me of incredible memories with my friends and family!

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.

Continue reading