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You Are Never Boxed In!

By Garet Halbert

All believers battle sin. We all struggle to be and do as we ought in Christ because the desires of the old nature still linger in deepest recesses of our inner being. Whether you have been a Christian for a day or five decades, the Christian life of holiness is always a battle (though it does get easier the longer you’ve been fighting).

So in this struggle with sin, there will be times when we fall short of the desires and expectations He has for us. And in those low moments of sin, we tend to dwell on the causes of our sin. Often when we fall into sin and are either confronted by a fellow church member or convicted by the Spirit of God, the first thing we do is we justify what happened. What I mean by this is that we explain the events leading up to the sin and justify that our actions were caused by those circumstances. Maybe you are struggling with a porn addiction and you are thinking “I wouldn’t look at porn if I was (married, my spouse wasn’t so distant, or whatever your circumstance might be).” Maybe you are struggling with bitterness and covetousness towards others. “ I wouldn’t be so bitter if she would just admit she’s wrong” or “I wouldn’t be so covetous if I could find a job that pays more.” Whatever your struggle might be, the problem that we have is that we justify our sins.  Often we are more concerned with the circumstance than the sin itself. In a word, we act as though our sin happened because we were boxed in and had no other option than to do what we did (or maybe what we are doing even now).

Jay Adams, in his book Competent to Counsel, tells a story of a woman who has an irresponsible husband, struggles as a mother, and ongoing financial stress. In her struggle, she essentially shuts herself off and begins to neglect her responsibilities as a wife and mother. In counseling, the woman says, “ I can’t go on; I can’t take it any longer—I’m in a box and I can’t get out.” Here we see a woman heavy ladened with familial struggles, and she goes numb to her family because she feels she’s “in a box” and has no other choice and cannot go on. Though a tragic situation, the truth is she’s justifying what she’s doing by the circumstance she’s in. Maybe you are just like this woman. “I was boxed in…I wouldn’t have made that choice if weren’t for ________(fill it the blank).” We’ve all been there.

The problem with this thinking, as Christians, is that we are never boxed in. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” [emphasis added]. As Christians, one of the greatest promises God has given us concerning temptation is that there will always be a way of escape.

Brothers and Sisters, we are never boxed in! As Jay Adams said, “she needed to understand that God provides ‘a way of escape’ with every trial.” And he went on to say, “Christians are never in a box. God can make the walls of the box fall flat like the walls of Jericho; he can open the lid and reach down with his mighty hand and support one through the test; or he can make the bottom fall out. Whatever way of escape God may provide…we may trust that the way out will come as surely as the problem itself.”

What Dr. Adams said in this counseling session is something we all need to hear in light of our struggles. We can be sure temptation will come, but we can also be sure that the way of escape will be there too.

Now to some, telling a struggling wife and mother that she shouldn’t be acting the way she was regardless of her circumstances, is not the right way to address her. That by correcting her you are going to discourage her. There is some truth to that. There is a good chance the woman would be discouraged at this correction, but in all honesty, to confront her wrong thinking by telling her she is never boxed in as a believer is more encouraging than anything else you could tell her! Though the words “we shouldn’t let our circumstances dictate our actions” might seem like cow prods, in truth, they are the most healing words you could ever hear. You are not controlled by the things around you! You don’t have to sin when you are in those situations! Christian, you are never boxed in!

So next time when you are struggling and you think you have no other choice than to sin, remember that way of escape is as sure as the temptation itself. Your God is faithful and He will provide for you, that you may endure whatever comes your way. There is much hope in the fact that as Christians, we are never boxed in when it comes to struggles and temptations. Let the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 be with you next time you feel boxed in by your circumstances, for as Christians we never truly are.

Garet Halbert is a member of FCC and serves as an Elder in Training. He and his wife, Heidi, have two little girls, Selah and Sophia.

Posted in: Biblical Counseling, Christian Living

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Family Worship

By Deanna Hanson

Family worship has been so helpful for our family. It has changed as our kids have grown. It has also changed as their spiritual walk with God has grown. We go through seasons where everyone is engaged in it and excited for it to start and seasons where a few kids have groaned when it was time to start. Each family can alter their family worship to what works best for their family. I am excited to share a few resources we have tried over the years and hope to help those who have been wanting to start a consistent worship time, but wasn’t sure where to start.

My husband John read Don Whitney’s book, Family Worship, to get some ideas before our family started years ago. It was very helpful and does a great job explaining the historical and biblical foundations of family worship. In chapter three, he advocates three practices that should play a part in family worship: reading the Bible, praying, and singing. He also provides some additional suggestions to be used only if time permits: catechizing, memorizing Scripture, and reading other books. At the conclusion of the chapter, he encourages readers to remember to keep it short, do it regularly, and be flexible.

We followed Whitney’s example. When our kids were younger, we would read shorter chapters of the Bible at a time, or sometimes only a few verses a night, pray and sing hymns.  As they got older, we began introducing different missionary biographies by Janet and Geoff Benge in addition to our Bible reading, prayer, and songs.  We would read one biography at a time, reading one chapter per night. If your kids are readers, you can rotate through your family and have each child read aloud that week. These biographies are short and so hard to put down. They are wonderful! We also started adding Global Missions to our worship time. We would spend the month praying for one specific country and use the book Operation World by Jason Mandryk for prayer ideas. This book is an excellent resource because it gives you an alphabetized list of countries around the world as well as information about people group, geographic, economic, and political information for each country you are praying for. Our kids got excited to learn more about each country we prayed for.  Here are a few other resources we recommend to adding to your family worship time:

Do you have any other recommendations for Family Worship additions? What has worked well for your family? Please share it with us.

 Deanna Hanson is a member of FCC and helps with our website. She and her husband, John, have four children and own a small business in North Kansas City.

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“I say unto all, Watch.”

The following is from chapter 10 of John Owen’s book, known as Indwelling Sin In Believers, available for free at https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/owen_remainderssin.html

The author is trying to help us understand how it is that Christians continue to struggle with sin in their lives after being made new by Jesus, and how to overcome this “indwelling sin,” because Jesus didn’t make us new that we might remain under sin’s power. Chapter 10 is focused on the “the deceit of sin, in drawing off the mind from its attendance unto particular duties.” I always find the Puritans edifying, in that while they are intensely self-examining, they yet turn our attention away from our feelings, to focus on God, and they’re not afraid of the idea of duty — that we have means, tools God has given us in this great salvation, and that we are responsible before God to use those means, to persevere in the salvation that God has called us to. Does God promise to keep us to the end? Hallelujah yes! And He has given us everything we need in Christ to make it all the way.

The Puritans’ language can be heavy lifting, but if you take your time with it, it yields immense benefit.

– Joe B.

_________________

It is from the deceit of sin that the mind is spiritually slothful, whereby it becomes negligent unto this duty. The principal discharge of its trust in this matter is expressed by watching; which is the great caution that the Lord Jesus gave unto his disciples in reference unto all their dangers from sin and Satan: Mark 13:37,

“I say unto all, Watch;”

that is, “Use your utmost diligence and circumspection, that you be not surprised and entangled with temptations.”

It is called also consideration: “Consider your ways,” — “Consider your latter end;” the want whereof God complains of in his people, Deuteronomy 32:29. Now, that which is contrary to these indispensable conditions of our preservation is spiritual slothfulness, as the apostle declares, Hebrews 6:11, 12,

“And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful.”

If we show not diligence, we are slothful, and in danger of coming short to inherit the promises. See 2 Peter 1:5-11,

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; to virtue knowledge,” etc.

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” All this the mind is turned from, if once, by the deceit of sin, it be made slothful. Now, this sloth consists in four things: —

1st. Inadvertency. It doth not set itself to consider and attend unto its special concernments. The apostle, persuading the Hebrews with all earnestness to attend diligently, to consider carefully, that they may not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, gives this reason of their danger, that they were “dull of hearing,” chap. 5:11; that is, that they were slothful, and did not attend unto the things of their duty. A secret regardlessness is apt to creep upon the soul, and it doth not set itself to a diligent marking how things go with it, and what is continually incumbent on it.

2dly. An unwillingness to be stirred up unto its duty. Proverbs 19:24,

“A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.”

There is an unwillingness in sloth to take any notice of warnings, calls, excitations, or stirrings up by the word, Spirit, judgments, any thing that God maketh use of to call the mind unto a due consideration of the condition of the soul. And this is a perfect evidence that the mind is made slothful by the deceit of sin, when especial calls and warnings, whether in a suitable word or a pressing judgment, cannot prevail with it to pull its hand out of its bosom; that is, to set about the special duties that it is called unto.

3dly. Weak and ineffectual attempts to recover itself unto its duty. Proverbs 26:14,

“As the door turneth upon its hinges, so doth the slothful man upon his bed.”

In the turning of a door upon its hinges, there is some motion but no progress. It removes up and down, but is still in the place and posture that it was. So is it with the spiritually slothful man on his bed, or in his security. He makes some motions or faint endeavors towards a discharge of his duty, but goes not on. There where he was one day, there he is the next; yea, there where he was one year, he is the next. His endeavors are faint, cold, and evanid; he gets no ground by them, but is always beginning and never finishing his work.

4thly. Heartlessness upon the apprehensions of difficulties and discouragements. Proverbs 22:13,

“The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.”

Every difficulty deters him from duty. He thinks it impossible for him to attain to that accuracy, exactness, and perfection which he is in this matter to press after; and therefore contents himself in his old coldness, negligence, rather than to run the hazard of a universal circumspection. Now, if the deceit of sin hath once drawn away the mind into this frame, it lays it open to every temptation and incursion of sin. The spouse in the Canticles seems to have been overtaken with this distemper, Song of Solomon 5:2, 3; and this puts her on various excuses why she cannot attend unto the call of Christ, and apply herself unto her duty in walking with him.

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What Is Biblical Counseling?

By Julie Ganschow

I think people in the church often have the wrong idea about what discipleship counseling is. At Reigning Grace Counseling Center, we use the term “biblical counseling” more for those outside the church than in it. Because we live in such a therapy-minded society, the word “counseling” is attractive to those in our community, giving us an appeal to those who are looking for spiritual answers and guidance. However, biblical counseling and discipleship is nothing like secular therapies or even so-called “Christian counseling.”

Biblical counseling is a term that is often used for intensive biblical discipleship. The original phrase was “nouthetic counseling,” from the Greek verb noutheteo which means “to admonish, to warn, to teach or to counsel.” That term was coined by Dr. Jay Adams in the 1970s when, thanks to him, soul care began to return to the church. The word is found in numerous passages of Scripture and describes the manner in which we are to counsel and help other Christians.

I am afraid there is a great misunderstanding about the role of the biblical counselor in our larger church world. What we do is biblical discipleship – mentoring! We develop relationships based on Romans 15:14, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Galatians 6 and numerous other passages of Scripture. These are relationships in which two people sit down together and engage in teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training each other in righteousness, that they may be complete and holy before God. It is a mutual edification process.

Sometimes discipleship is general and takes place in an informal manner, like meeting in a coffee shop or over lunch. Perhaps a woman just needs to know how to handle a simple or maybe not so simple issue that she’s dealing with. The person who is called a biblical counselor is trained for that. Other times the issues people face are very large and complicated and require a more formal meeting in the office. The biblical counselor is also equipped for that. In addition, we also meet with couples who are facing a particular area that is troublesome in their marriage, and we help parents know how to biblically disciple their children. We use targeted studies, and teach them how to make personal application of biblical materials that are designed to address particular issues in life. Our training is in the skillful use of the Scriptures applied to the heart, and we know that is what brings about change in a person’s life

I will say it again; Biblical counseling is discipleship! Discipleship is biblical counseling! There are times I wish the word counseling wasn’t even used. I know people in the church are fearful of coming to see us because there is a stigma that goes along with seeing “The Counselor.” Other’s don’t come because they don’t think their problem or concern is bad enough to see “The Counselor.”

I would like to discourage the idea that biblical counseling is “only for people who have serious problems.” Yes, we do crisis counseling but don’t wait until it gets that bad! History has shown us that if people would seek us out for mentoring or discipleship before things got to a crisis level, they would find things are 1) more manageable 2) there are less complicating problems, and 3) take much less time to address or resolve. Waiting until an issue hits critical mass is never recommended in any area of life. The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is certainly true when it comes to issues in our lives.

People who do biblical discipleship counseling care about others. We want to help. We are a resource! People sometimes get the idea that because there are small costs associated with visiting a biblical discipleship counselor that we are professionals. One of my favorite lines was spoken by Dr. Heath Lambert who is the executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselor’s at a conference that I attended a year ago. He said to us, “Brothers and sisters, we are not professionals.” While every biblical counselor strives to be as knowledgeable as he or she can be, our role is primarily ministerial. We minister to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and we evangelize the lost.

It is true that everyone of us has specialized training, and I think you want that! You want someone who knows how to rightly handle the Word of God, and you want them to know how the Word addresses your problem. And more than that, you want them to be able to show you how the Bible addresses your problem, and how to change. We have been trained in theology and methodology that enables us to help people apply Scripture and biblical principles to the problems, concerns, and issues that we all face in life. We help people to realize that Scripture applied to the heart is what brings about changes in a person’s life.

Some people don’t think it’s right that discipleship counseling has any fees at all. Every one of us has been through years and years of training. All of it at our own expense. The Bible says that a worthy laborer is worth his wages, and anyone who does biblical counseling and discipleship will tell you that they are not getting rich off what they are doing. Those biblical counseling centers’ that have fees don’t exist for profit, they have fees because they would not be able to provide ministry if they didn’t! Very few are supported by their church’s budget. Many times the fees they charge are not paid to any salary but go toward expenses from running an office. If they can’t keep the lights on or pay the rent, they won’t be of much help to anyone.

So, what is biblical counseling? It is a one-to-one discipleship relationship where one Christian comes alongside another, using the Word of God to help them with issues and problems they are facing in their lives. If you could use some help navigating the storms and swells you are in the midst of, We would be glad to help.

Julie Ganschow is a member of FCC and Director of FCC’s counseling ministry, Reigning Grace Counseling Center.

Posted in: Biblical Counseling

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There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God

From C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning And Evening, available to download for free from Christian Classics Ethereal Library at https://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/morneve.pdf

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. Hebrews 4:9

How different will be the state of the believer in heaven from what it is here! Here he is born to toil and suffer weariness, but in the land of the immortal, fatigue is never known. Anxious to serve his Master, he finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is, “Help me to serve thee, O my God.” If he be thoroughly active, he will have By G.B. G.Son (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commonsmuch labour; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power, so that he will cry out, “I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied in it.” Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not forever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here, the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained. There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they have ascended to the bosom of their God. Higher they cannot go. Ah, toil-worn labourer, only think when thou shalt rest forever! Canst thou conceive it? It is a rest eternal; a rest that “remaineth.” Here, my best joys bear “mortal” on their brow; my fair flowers fade; my dainty cups are drained to dregs; my sweetest birds fall before Death’s arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the flood-tides of my bliss subside into ebbs of sorrow; but there, everything is immortal; the harp abides unrusted, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight. Happy day! happy! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin.

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These Have No Root

From C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning And Evening, available to download for free from Christian Classics Ethereal Library at https://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/morneve.pdf

These have no root. Luke 8:13.

My soul, examine thyself this morning by the light of this text. Thou hast received the word with joy; thy feelings have been stirred and a lively impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another; superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively impression of the word is not always a lasting one. In the parable, the seed in one case fell upon ground having a rocky bottom, covered over with a thin layer of earth; when the seed began to take root, its downward growth was hindered by the hard stone and therefore it spent its strength in pushing its green shoot aloft as high as it could, but having no inward moisture derived from root nourishment, it withered away. Is this my case? Have I been making a fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life? Good growth takes place upwards and downwards at the same time. Am I rooted in sincere fidelity and love to Jesus? If my heart remains unsoftened and unfertilized by grace, the good seed may germinate for a season, but it must ultimately wither, for it cannot flourish on a rocky, unbroken, unsanctified heart. Let me dread a godliness as rapid in growth and as wanting in endurance as Jonah’s gourd; let me count the cost of being a follower of Jesus, above all let me feel the energy of his Holy Spirit, and then I shall possess an abiding and enduring seed in my soul. If my mind remains as obdurate as it was by nature, the sun of trial will scorch, and my hard heart will help to cast the heat the more terribly upon the ill-covered seed, and my religion will soon die, and my despair will be terrible; therefore, O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and then cast the truth into me, and let me yield thee a bounteous harvest.

Posted in: Christian Living

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Nothing Can Compare to God’s Creation

by Jackie Rebiger

Superheroes are very popular these days with children and adults alike.  After all, they are powerful with superior strength and a cool disguise.  They fight the bad guys and rescue the good guys.  They defend the cause of “truth, justice and …”

Marjory Collins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

God has given us our imaginations and with them we have come up with some pretty incredible things like superheroes.  It is when we take these creations of our imaginations and hold them up against what our Creator God has designed that we find them to be inferior.

 

Consider His angels!  I am not suggesting that angels become our new heroes, but I am suggesting a comparison to give us cause to stop and think. The things we admire in these creations of our imaginations (superheroes) are actually in reality true of the spirit beings God has created whom He has called His angels.

The Bible tells us “their appearance is like lightning,” they cause men to “shake with fear and become like dead men,” they suddenly appear and disappear without a trace, they deliver prophetic messages, “reveal the truth in times of confusion,” and are given the power to destroy, kill, guard and protect. Shouldn’t this knowledge awaken within us a greater awe of God our Creator?

The way of superheroes and that of angels stand in stark contrast.  Superheroes tend to showcase their power and abilities and have their own agendas.  Angels never draw attention to themselves. They do not accept any praise or glory for themselves. All they do are acts of service and obedience to God, who created them, to promote His purposes and fulfill His will.  In this way, are we not to be like the angels?  As always we must remember we are never to worship anything created, but are to worship God alone!

It is important that we teach our children what the Bible teaches about what God has created and not rely on storybooks and movies that often misrepresent and distort the truth.  So what is wrong with the cute chubby cherub or the beautiful woman with long hair?  The Bible teaches us that angels are neither male or female.  An interesting note:  angels never appear in the Bible to people as women.  I think this is because in God’s design, His created order, it is men that are the protectors, the warriors.

Reading your children stories straight from the Bible is a sure way to avoid error.  If you use Bible storybooks with your children, use discernment and make certain they are biblically accurate.  It is our job as parents to equip and train our children.  We know that God’s Word is truth and that it can be trusted completely.  It is without error!

Next time you hear of angels, be it in the many references in Scripture or reference in song, take time to praise God for the creativity, power and watchcare over His people they represent.  Talk about them and share them with your children.  Nothing can compare to God’s creation and there is no one like our God!

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His Word, obeying the voice of His Word!  Bless the Lord all you His hosts, you who serve Him doing His will.  Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my Soul! Psalm 103:20-22

Jackie Rebiger is a member of FCC. 

Posted in: Christian Living

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Goals for 2018

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of
God”

~Christ Jesus

I am not a big fan of resolutions but I do have some goals for the New Year. One of them
is to increase my intake of Scripture. I want to utilize the technology at my fingertips and
listen to Scripture with earbuds and blue tooth speakers. And I just want to read it more.
I came across a very simple plan in which the New Testament could be read in 30 days.
Basically, if I read 8 chapters a day, I could cover the entire New Testament. That is not
an unreasonable investment of time – four chapters in the morning; four chapters in the
evening. So that will be my goal for the coming year – consuming many more spiritual
calories. As I read, I just want to listen to the Scriptures. I want to lay down my
presuppositions – and all that I think I know about the text – and read it as much as
possible like it is the first time. I want to listen to the Word of God.

1 – Matthew 1-8
2 – Matthew 9-15
3 – Matthew 16-23
4 – Matthew 24-28
5 – Mark 1-7
6 – Mark 8-13
7 – Mark 14 – Luke 2
8 – Luke 3-8
9 – Luke 9-13
10 – Luke 14-21
11 – Luke 22 – John 2
12 – John 3-8
13 – John 9-15
14 – John 16 – Acts 1
15 – Acts 2-8
16 – Acts 9-15
17 – Acts 16-21
18 – Acts 22 – Romans 1
19 – Romans 2-10
20 – Romans 11- 1 Corinthians 6
21 – 1 Corinthians 7-15
22 – 1 Corinthians 16 – 2 Corinthians 12
23 – 2 Corinthians 13 – Ephesians 4
24 – Ephesians 5 – Colossians 4
25 – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 1 Timothy 6
26 – 2 Timothy 1 – Hebrews 6
27 – Hebrews 7 – James 2
28 – James 3 – 1 John 1
29 – 1 John 2 – Revelation 4
30 – Revelation 5-22

 

 Dr. Timothy Juhnke is the Senior Pastor of Faith Community Church. In addition, Tim also serves as President of Faith Christian Academy, a Classical Christian school in Kansas City. He and his wife, Lori, have four grown sons and three precious granddaughters.

Posted in: Bible study, Pastor Tim

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Why Fellowship Groups?

by Jason Dawson

Why are Fellowship groups near and dear to my heart?  When I was in my early 20’s I was newly married and recently born again.  I was hungry to be mentored and discipled.  I remember enjoying the kindness, and friendliness of the church we found in Independence.   However, the longer I was there, I developed an urge to go deeper into the Word, to understand the things of God in deeper, more spiritual, and yes, even practical ways.  Finally, after two years, I started inquiring about different Bible studies, and an older gentleman told me that he held a men’s weekly Bible study at his home every Thursday evening.  I started to attend the Bible study in the inner-city of Kansas City.  Over the next seven years, meeting nearly weekly, I listened to these older gentlemen open their lives up to me, show me how they were reading God’s Word, and how they were applying it in their daily life.  I also began spending time with the men outside of the Bible study.  I could see how they treated their families, how they raised their children, how they had a love and devotion to read and understand God’s Word. That was what I longed to experience.   It was in the context of a “home group” that I began to see what was preached from the pulpit lived out.  As a young man in this gentleman’s home, I was admonished, challenged, even rebuked and reproved, and God humbled me enormously through these relationships.  This created in me a passion and an appetite as I have gotten older to do my best to encourage others to provide these kinds of contexts, and opportunities for spiritual growth within our own body.

Although one’s personal responsibility in sanctification is paramount (Philippians 2:12), sanctification cannot be accomplished in isolation. In other words, we weren’t made to do this Christian life by ourselves, and my experience has proven that. I was truly struggling before I found this opportunity for fellowship.  FCC Fellowship Groups provide a tremendous context for sanctification to occur within our own body. Fellowship Groups provide encouragement, correction, and accountability that cannot be attained through simply attending and receiving a message for one hour on a Sunday morning.

Hearing God’s Word faithfully preached is vitally important, however, it is insufficient without life change (James 1:22-24). Reading the Bible and listening to faithful preaching doesn’t bear fruit unless it penetrates our hearts. Fellowship Groups provide a context to apply God’s Word in such a way that further seeks to penetrate our hearts and allow intentional relationships to walk together toward this kind of spiritual growth and maturity.

Personal Care… Accountability… Transparency… Sharpening… Service, all benefits of fellowship groups.

One of the benefits of meeting in fellowship groups is the mutual giving and receiving of care on an individual basis. In Fellowship Groups care is spread out around the body, but on a personal basis, so that in our best effort no one is overlooked or neglected (1 Cor. 12:24-26).  This provides us opportunities to care for one another when we are sick, when a new baby is born, when we have a particular need and we want to share something with closer relationships within the body.  In our fellowship groups we have the opportunity to share the joys and struggles in our relationship with God and life circumstances as well as encourage and pray for one another.  These close relationships encourage us to be transparent with one another, sharpen one another with the word, and use the word preached to further penetrate our hearts for life change.  This is where we get to work out the details of application from Sunday’s sermons, God’s word, challenge each other when we sin, and celebrate with one another in the overcoming of sin!  These relationships afford us the opportunity to experience the Christian life as members of the body serving one another, and not simply being mere spectators.  Fellowship Groups provide the place for the  “one another” verses in the Bible.

The New Testament contains over 50 “one another” verses. Here is are just a few:

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another….Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves…..Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds….Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling…. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.”

Exercising the gifts within the body of Christ….

Fellowship Groups also provide context for our Giftedness to be used through living out those “one another” verses.  God has given spiritual gifts to every Christian (1 Cor. 12:1-7) and he desires that we use them for one another. But it’s simply not realistic in our three services for every member to use his or her gifts. In a smaller and more personal environment such as Fellowship Groups, each one can experience and express how God has gifted them by the Holy Spirit.

Things that are good for you aren’t always easy…..

Although FCC Fellowship Groups are a great context for sanctification, they aren’t always easy, but we are called to be in community.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”- Hebrews 10:24–25

There are sometimes challenges when you get into close proximity into the lives of people. It’s not easy to see people sin, and to speak the truth in love.  There are times when I am tired from the day, and being around a lot of people is sometimes difficult, but it is so rewarding when we are able to spend quality time with other fellow believers.

Change can be hard …..

When God brings change into our life, like new relationships, often our natural response is to resist.  However, I have realized over the years that there is often a war going on in our lives: my flesh vs. my new inner man that is in Christ.

Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Although there are difficult reasons and excuses we can come up not to join a Fellowship Group let me encourage you to fight through the comforts of this world. Pastor Tim has preached recently in his sermon “The Christian Athlete” we are like a Christian athlete; we must go and do these things we naturally don’t want to do.    Pastor Tim gives the example that our body wants to stay and sleep, but we need to get up and run.  We want to veg on the couch and watch TV, but we need to get up, go to the gym, and work out.  The next time your natural body doesn’t want to go to a Fellowship Group or “We don’t feel like being around a lot of people we don’t know well”, I want to encourage us to push past our flesh, and find a group, pour out our life, serve, love, and contribute to the body here at FCC.

If you’re interested in receiving more information please fill out the online form and we’ll be in touch soon!

Fellowship Group Ministry

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