Wandering away

 

wandering

It happens without notice.  It can happen to the best of them.  It’s happened to me and it’s probably happened to you also.  Wandering.  Questioning.  Searching.  Did God move or was it me?  How did I end up here?  

Here are 5 ways to get back on track in a hurry.  There’s no specific order to these tips, just do them and see what happens.  God wants us to stay the course and never give up.  He is on our side and pulling for us.  God understands when and why we wonder.  He knows our thoughts and motivations.  When we take these 5 practical steps, we jump back on the road to walking with Jesus.

1.  Get into the Bible.  Don’t put it off or come up with excuses.  When we read and meditate on the Word of God, our faith grows and we begin to re-gain our focus on him.  Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (NLT)

2.  Call and Encourage a Friend.  When we get the attention off our ourselves and our problems, we are putting others needs ahead of our own.  There’s nothing more uplifting than hearing from a friend who calls to tell you they are praying for you.  You can be that person.  Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily.” (NIV)

3.  Talk to God.  He desires to hear from you and wants to speak to you also.  When we pray to our Father in Heaven, we are communicating to the very One who created us.  Part of any relationship is talking and listening to one another.  Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)

4.  Surround yourself with people who will build you up, not tear you down.  The people that you allow in your life will rub off on you, like it or not.  Choose prayerfully and wisely.  Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.  Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” (NLT)

5.  Serve Someone.  When we surrender our selfish ways and re-focus on someone else’s needs, we discover joy and peace.  Part of our purpose is to bless others in this life.  We have a great model for this in the way Jesus lived his life.  Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV)

So the next time you feel yourself wandering, questioning or searching, try these 5 steps and watch what God does!!

Groups are where Growth Happens

 

LifeGroup Pic

 

Groups are where Growth Happens.

In my 19 years as a follower of Christ, I have been involved in larger and smaller churches. I have sat in services of 1000+ and services of 150. While both have their pluses and minuses, one thing they have in common is their inability to connect people in relationships how God has wired us.

You may hear a good sermon, listen to some great worship music but when it comes to truly growing in your relationships with God, others must be involved. Growing in your walk with Christ cannot just be vertical it must be horizontal. This normally happens in a Small group, Life group or Community Group, whatever you decide to call it. It is where people can get real with people and talk about spiritual thoughts in their mind and heart. There are not many places where talking about such things is acceptable but in a small group, talking about God is understood and expected.

The conversation should flow about life in general, but always point back to God. After all, He is the rock of our salvation. He is the main reason we are all getting together, isn’t he? Groups all have different ebb and flow, depending on their leader and culture to which the group is formed. But something happens when people get together in Jesus name, lives begin to be transformed. This is done intentionally and takes time.

 Here are 6 things a healthy small group does:

1. Pray. The leader must encourage other group members to have a special, personal time with God daily. They must also pray for ‘one another’. There is nothing more encouraging than knowing you are being prayed for by somebody else.

2. Meet regularly. Weekly is the goal to shoot for. If weekly can’t be done than twice a month can work, but is not the optimum meeting time. A lot of life happens every day, so meeting weekly gives group members a chance to be able to share what God has done and is doing in their lives.

3. Pick relevant material to study/discuss. You won’t hit a home run with every study you do, but you should be close to where people are living life every day in your group. Mix up the topics as well as the method you are choosing for delivery.

4. Making group members feel Valued and Loved. While everybody has a different motive to get involved in a small group, one thing is common, when group members know that you care about them, they will continue to attend group.

5. Plan activities outside of your normal meeting time. Make sure you schedule dates and times just to do life together. Picnic at park, game night, bowling, dinner and movies, you name it; just make sure you do something away from your typical meeting environment.

6. Plan to serve together. A healthy group is not strictly inward focused, but strives towards meeting other people’s needs. When you serve together in the community, it brings a sense of unity to the group that you can only experience by serving others.

These are just a few of the things that will grow your group stronger!