Why Do We Pray?

By Zack DeBerry


In this series, as we have been talking about Spiritual Disciplines being the key to Getting More from God, it is important to realize that these disciplines are rooted in relationship. Nowhere is that more true than the discipline of prayer. Prayer is one of the things that many of us tend to forget about or only do during a meal or when life brings challenges that become difficult for us to bear. But, the true beauty of prayer is that it is an invitation to communicate and get to know the God of the universe better. That alone should be reason enough to make prayer a part of daily routine, but many people don’t. So, I want to give a few more reasons why Prayer should be an important part of our day.

1.  Prayer Gives Us a Picture of Who God Is. I mean if you want to know about someone you better spend some time not just reading their Facebook posts, but spending time in conversations with them. Many people fail to see prayer as just this kind of interaction between them and God. Many churches have made praying so formal that it has lost it’s relational meaning. I know it sounds weird to say that we get to know God more, but the truth is as we begin to talk and express our love, devotion, need for Him in our lives, He begins to reveal Himself. As we open our hearts and minds to communicate with Him regularly, we are able to see more of His nature.

2.  Prayer Invites God Into Our Mess. When we communicate with God through prayer He already knows our situation, but it allows us the freedom to truly trust Him in the midst of our life. Prayer doesn’t inform God of anything new, but it helps us to know Him and know that He is there with us. Many times this comes as a sense of peace while your are praying; other times your mind may be led to a previous situation or even a passage of scripture. God is all knowing and longs to be involved in what we are going through and prayer is the avenue that releases His love and peace into our lives.

3.  Prayer Allows Us to See Things From God’s Point of View. One of my favorite Psalms is 119. There is so much good instruction for how to follow and obey God. One verse that always stands out to me is verse 18. It reads, “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.” (NLT) This stands out to me because Psalms is really a collection of prayers and praises to God. When we pray something like verse 18, God will begin to “Open our Eyes” so that we can begin to see things as He does and thus change how we live and interact with those around us.

There are many other benefits to making prayer a daily discipline, but the most important thing to remember is that we have been invited to spend time with God. Can you imagine being invited to an incredible dinner somewhere with someone you always wanted to hang out with and blowing it off to cut your grass? That may seem a bit extreme, but that is how many people approach prayer. They don’t understand the power of the invitation that lies before them in prayer. As individuals and as a church, the greatest thing we can do is spend time in conversation with God. To know Him, to invite Him into our mess, and to gain His perspective as we try to move for Him. I hope that you will begin to accept the invitation and spend some time with God this week in prayer.

The Journey Online Podcast | The Romans Controversy with Zack DeBerry and Matt Dawson

In this episode, Zack DeBerry sits down with Matt Dawson to talk about some of the controversial subjects that come up in the Book of Romans (from our Read Your Bible series).

The Journey Online Podcast

 


The Journey Online Podcast | The Romans Controversy with Zack DeBerry and Matt Dawson

 

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Is There Hope for My Messed Up Teenager?

By Zack DeBerry

As a parent now I have a different point of view when it comes to life.  I must confess that I was a “mess” as a teenager.  As I have grown older and now a parent I realize the struggles and pains I probably caused for my parents as a teenager.  I look back now and am amazed that they stuck by me and never lost hope for what they knew they had taught me about life and the love of God.  Many parents of teenagers probably find themselves in situations that they maybe never saw coming or more realistically never hoped would come.  What I have learned in my short time on earth and even shorter time as a parent is that you can’t control everything.

As much as we want to dictate and control the things our kids get into and who they get involved with, a lot of the time these things tend to get beyond our control.  There is that period where our children begin to gain independence and they begin to make choices for themselves. It is the most frightening part of parenting to me. But, in those moments where I may lose hope, or be totally freaked out and even angry at some of the choices they make, I have to remember that I was just like them. I made poor choices and bad decisions. I suffered some consequences that could have easily been avoided. I think the key when it comes to all of this is to really release them to God and trust that HE has a better plan than we could muster up if they were completely under our control all the time.

In my case, I am grateful for parents that were firm, but fair. They were obviously upset with my choices, more times than I can write about in this blog, but I can honestly say that they had Faith that God was bigger than my attitude and choices in life. My mom was a praying woman and my dad was a firm believer that the Bible was true and powerful. As cliche as it sounds they definitely represented the scripture found in Proverbs 22:6 that says, ““Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

I love that word “Direct” that is used in this version. There is a difference in directing and dictating. I think a lot of the disconnect in parents and children sometimes come when we become dictators rather than directors. Dictators create either clones who can’t survive on their own or rebels who will do anything to be the opposite of what they see. Directors offer insights and advice, but allow for others to interpret and find their way in the process. Just as we talk about Guardrails in our life I think it’s important as parents to set some guardrails around how we will interact with our children. I truly believe that if we can be people who trust God to be who says He is and to do what He says, He can change our attitudes as parents to be directors rather than dictators.

The question we always ask and want an answer to in those moments of crisis and teenage angst is really about Hope. Is there any hope for him or her? Have they totally blown it? Will they ever come back to church? How could they forget what they know is right? The truth is there are no easy answers for those questions, but take it from one Messed Up Teenager that with Prayer, Faith and Direction there is Hope. I am still not perfect, but I know that I am secure in my relationship with Christ, and I have my parents to thank for that. As a parent now I pray that I can offer direction and truly trust God to do what only He can in my children’s life, even in the darkest of times.


3 Ways to Share Your Faith

By Zack DeBerry


As we continue to talk through what it means to share your faith in our world, I am reminded of what the verse 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (NLT) I think this is a great verse to rest in for 2 reasons. First, it reveals that our life begins and ends in the worship and service of Jesus Christ. Secondly, it challenges us to be prepared to explain why a life that is rooted in Jesus Christ gives us an overwhelming sense of hope in this life. As followers of Christ it is not only important to live a life that is rooted in Christ, but it is our call in this world to share the reason for our hope with those who need to experience it in their lives. Here are 3 Simple Ways that we can share the faith that we have in Jesus Christ with others.

1. Live It before you Speak It.
It can be said that people watch what you do before they ever listen to what you say. As someone who proclaims a faith and a hope in Jesus Christ, it is important to realize that people will watch how I treat my family, friends and the world, long before they give any thought to what I might have to say about Jesus Christ. One of the easiest ways to share your Story is to Live a Life that would make them wonder how you have the hope and joy that you do in this life.

2. Start with Those Close to You.
We call this our “Top 5” at Journey. What we mean is that if we are to really have the opportunities to share our story in this life, it will most likely be with someone that you are already close to. Whether it’s family, neighbor, co-worker, gym member, or whoever it is, there is a greater chance they will listen to your story because you are already personally invested in their life. I am convinced that the closer we are to folks the greater the impact our story can have on their life for the Kingdom of God.

3. Keep It Real
When it comes to sharing your story you have to be careful not to over spiritualize things. There is great value in just being yourself and allowing people to see the fact that you may not have it all together, but the Hope you have is not in yourself, but in Jesus Christ. People are given “Real-Life” everywhere now, from social media to reality tv, so it is only natural for them to see Real People living a life of Faith. It is our responsibility to be honest and real, even if it means they see some of our faults and imperfections. When people see the real you it allows them to share their struggles too.

It isn’t easy to share your story, but that is our call as followers of Jesus Christ. If we can become people that live a life worth sharing, continually invest in the lives of those close to us, and dare to be real with people, it will give us opportunities to share the Hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

Why the Old Testament Matters

By Zack DeBerry


I love doing series like Eat Your Peas at Journey. I love being reminded of the rich history and incredible stories that are present in the Old Testament that sometimes we forget about. To me you should have a good grasp on the Old Testament to truly have a proper understanding of all that is great about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. There are several reasons why I feel the Old Testament is incredibly useful for us to study today.

  1. It is the beginning of a Grand Love Story.
    The Old Testament was never intended to be read by itself, it was like Act 1 of a great story. We tend to love Act 2, but without Act 1 we can’t fully understand the totality of the story being told. The Bible is ONE Story told in 66 books by a variety of voices and stories across different times and places.  To fully appreciate the Old Testament, we must have the view that the story would be incomplete without understanding it.
  2. We see the Human Condition
    In the Old Testament we see the human condition from Genesis 3 to Malachi. We see the sins of the nation of Israel as well as many individuals on display. We see nations and families at war. We see the same problems we face today in the stories of the Old Testament. The reason for this is that we all suffer from the same problem, Sin. Sin is the great problem that must be dealt with in our lives and it had to be dealt with in the Old Testament. We see this common theme of the human condition throughout the stories of the Old Testament.
  3. We get a glimpse of God’s Character
    In the stories of the Old Testament we see God’s character of Love, Mercy, and Grace on display. Israel had a history of messing up, but God had a plan and His love for His people never changed. In the stories of the Old Testament we see this on multiple occasions. God’s love ultimately culminates in the person and work of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, but God’s character and nature are fully displayed in the writings of the Old Testament.

So, those are just some of the reasons I believe the Old Testament is valuable to us today. I hope that as we continue to share some of the history and stories of the Old Testament over the next few weeks together, that you would see the beauty and importance of the Old Testament in our lives today. I pray that as we see more of the story of God’s Love toward broken humanity, that we could see His loving nature more clearly, and become people that share that love and hope those we encounter daily.

What is Apologetics?

By Zack DeBerry


There are some words we hear in the “Church” world that can create fear and confusion sometimes. Evangelism, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, you get my point I hope. One of the words we hear sometimes that can cause some fear and confusion is Apologetics. However, Apologetics should not be something that creates fear or confusion, but should be a point of hope for us.

Apologetics at its core is really just about a defense of our Christian faith. That is a simple and bare bones definition of what Apologetics IS, but it can leave a lot of room in how we interpret it. For some, Apologetics has come to represent “arguing” rather than a humble defense of why we believe what we believe. In 1 Peter, we see this humble defense described for us as followers of Christ, “but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Sadly, Apologetics has become a soapbox for many, rather than a Humble defense for the Hope that you have. As a church, we say that we are called to “Humbly Point Everyone to Absolute Hope.” In my mind that is Apologetics.

In our society with so many issues we are inundated with opinions and thoughts through social media and 24-hour news cycles. But lost is the art of defending our faith with Humility and engaging in discussions about issues to provide Hope, rather than being right. We are not called to point out where others are wrong, but to give a defense for the Hope that we have. As we begin a series at Journey based around Apologetics, we hope that you will consider what it is that gives you Hope and be ready to share your reasons for that Hope. In this series, we will address many issues, but what I am most excited about is we will share some personal examples of our struggles to understand certain issues.

Apologetics doesn’t have to be some fear or misuse. It is ultimately the vehicle that will allow us to have a deep understanding of our faith and provide a means to point others to the Hope that we have found.

Message Preview | One is Greater than Two | Part 2

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.

Message Preview | The Next Generation | Part 1

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.