Athens

When You Put 40 Women In One House...

Image Last weekend, 40 women from Christ Community joined more than 21,000 other ladies around the world for the IF:Gathering

From Lindsey Hughes:

Wow. The Lord showed His graciousness and his strength this past weekend as 40 women sacrificed time (and sleep!) to listen, share, and dream within community. I want every one of our ladies to know that we prayed for you. We prayed for those that would walk through the doors, we prayed for those who, for whatever reason, were not able to make it. We prayed that the Spirit would speak to both groups (those present and those not). I feel an awakening and I know I am not alone in that.

The gathering we had was good, even great, but it is just barely the beginning of what God has in mind. Let's work together to not let the listening, sharing, and dreaming stop there. Let's press on into what He revealed and will continue to reveal to us as women of God. Let's trust God, knowing He is real, and knowing He has us in THIS city, in Athens, for a reason. Let's take the work He is doing in us and use it to BLESS this city.  It starts at home, ladies. The work He is doing in you starts right where you are. With your family, in your classrooms, with your neighbors. I pray that our eyes are opened to how little we have so that we can begin to ask God for more.

Also, I genuinely want to thank every husband that stayed home on Friday and Saturday with children in order to let your wife gather in community. Your willingness and support are not forgotten or taken for granted! Thank you!

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Three Ways To Pray For God's Kingdom To Come

Image As a church, we want to pray throughout 2014 for God's kingdom to come to Athens. I was reading Paul Miller's fantastic book, A Praying Life, and he mentions three kingdom prayers that we seldom ask:

  • Change in others - because it feels too controlling...too helpless
  • Change in me - because that feels too scary
  • Change in things that I don't like in our culture - because change feels too impossible

Miller lays out some helpful suggestions for praying for change in these areas on our own and reminds us that our underlying struggle in prayerlessness is an overconfidence in our abilities and a lack of confidence in God. Simply put, the reason we don't pray is because we don't trust God.

One additional practice to help us grow into kingdom prayer is to learn to do this together. Every week across our city, our church hosts prayer groups that we call community groups. They're great places to pray because you're in an extended family environment - eating a meal together - with the express purpose of connecting relationally and growing spiritually. So here are three ways that I'd encourage community groups to pray:

  • Change in us - pray for the things we share that we want God to change in our lives
  • Change in our church - pray for the things we see in our church family that we want God to change
  • Change in our city - pray for the things that we don't like in the people and places around us who don't know Jesus (yet)

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Sermon Review - Jesus and Children (Luke 18:15-17)

Image Big Idea: Will we trust Jesus with our helplessness and with the needs of the orphan and the unborn?

Summary: When parents bring their infants to receive a blessing from Jesus, his disciples try to keep them away from Jesus. Jesus takes it a different direction, inviting the children to come to him while reminding us that everyone matters to Jesus. Seizing on the opportunity to make a point, Jesus asks whether we will trust him with our helplessness the way that a baby trusts their parents? And since we're near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this story is a good place to talk about the orphan and the unborn.

Next Steps:

  • Whenever God speaks, we respond - either in obedience or disobedience. Doing nothing is disobedience.
  • Obedience to God is built on repentance and faith - honesty about our sin and hope in Jesus' work on our behalf.
  • The Holy Spirit fuses God's message to our life. How are you supposed to respond to what you heard this week?
  • Who is helping you follow Jesus this week? Discipleship in isolation is a recipe for frustration.

A few ways we can help you as a church:

  • If you're in a community group, take time to pray this week for the orphan and the unborn.
  • There will be lots of news over the next ten days about abortion. Pay attention.
  • Pick up a copy of Russell Moore's Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches. Pay attention.
  • Press into the needs that are immediately around you - in our church, in the city, in your neighborhood schools.
    • Thank you for the big and small things that you're already doing. Everything matters.
    • If you're not sure what to do next, email us (info@missionathens.com) and we'll start a conversation.

Build What You Love. After the gathering, we had an all-church meeting to say 'thank you' for 2013 and to encourage all of us to 'build what we love.' And what we love is helping each other follow Jesus together as a family. Are you connected relationally? Where are you serving? Let's build something great together.

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Sermon Review - The Parable of The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

Image Big Idea: Let's pray for it to be impossible for anyone around us to ignore the real Jesus in 2014.

Summary: During this week's gathering, we heard Jesus tell us in Luke 18:1-8 to pray and keep praying and then pray some more so that we won't give up. And while that's an invitation to be persistent about anything we need to pray about, the conversation Jesus has in Luke 17 about the kingdom of God gives us a clear application for prayer in 2014. While we wait for Jesus to return and for everything to flourish and for everyone to thrive both anywhere and all the time, prayer is how we express our faith in Jesus' promise to finish what he started.

Next Steps:

  • Whenever God speaks, we respond - either in obedience or disobedience. Doing nothing is disobedience.
  • Obedience to God is built on repentance and faith - honesty about our sin and hope in Jesus' work on our behalf.
  • The Holy Spirit fuses God's message to our life. How are you supposed to respond to what you heard this week?
  • Who is helping you follow Jesus this week? Discipleship in isolation is a recipe for frustration.

A few ways we can help you as a church:

  • Paul Miller's book, A Praying Life, has done more to help me understand prayer than anything else I've read.
  • If you're wondering who to pray for, start with the people who live next to you and work with you. The way we love our neighbor (BLESS) starts by B - beginning in prayer.
  • Our Prayer 2014 series continues each Sunday in January. Next Sunday we'll connect prayer to our involvement in starting new churches.
  • We've created community groups as a place for you to connect relationally and grow spiritually. If you'd like more information about community groups, fill this out.
  • We've created DNA Groups as the place for you to go deep in the Bible as you get deep with other people. For more information about DNA Groups,  read this and that; then drop us a note at office@missionathens.com if we can help you start a DNA Group or get connected with one that's already up and running.

If you have any questions or want to add to the conversation, look at the box on your left and 'leave a comment.'

Have a great week and thanks for allowing us to help you follow Jesus!

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Athens 3on3 Basketball

This August our city as well as our church will be apart of something special in Downtown Athens.

Connect Events will be putting on a Chick-fil-A 3on3 Basketball Tournament and Family FunZone on August 25, 2012. This event will host competitive 3on3 basketball tournament as well as provide activities for families to come and enjoy in the Family FunZone. 

 Our church will be one of the few host churches that will be directly involved with this event (Volunteering, Refereeing, etc.). 

So, with that being said, will you please pray for this event. Pray for our city. Pray that while more details come that God will be glorified. Pray that this will be an opportunity for us, as a church family, to interact with the Athens Community. Pray the Spirit of God would guide our steps as we seek to better display his love for all man.

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Easter Offering

Read this thank-you note from Ben Farnsworth for what our church family’s generosity was able to do for Downtown Ministries in Athens:

” Dear Christ Community Family,

Thank you so much for having us come share about Downtown Ministries and worship with you last month. The money from the Easter offering will enable us to continue to love and encourage hundreds of kids each year, and share the gospel with them through our sports and educational programs. We are also excited about parterning through the Jobs For Life program. Without some key leadership from CCC, this program wouldn’t be happening.

Thanks again for your support! Without gifts like yours we could not do what we do. We are thankful to have CCC as a part of the Downtown Ministries Family and look forward to continuing our relationship.

Grace and peace,

Ben Farnsworth” “

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Jobs For Life

Read this short description of Jobs For Life by member Todd Harrison:

My passion for Jobs for Life began almost two years ago.  I met David Spickard, JfL President, in Atlanta and heard about the transforming potential of the program.  I firmly believe that if we can help address employment issues among the poor then many of the other things we try to do for them – food, clothing, medical attention, housing needs, homelessness, etc – will become less necessary.  JfL is a primary way to help the poor among us with long term change.  And the good news is that through the JfL material the students will hear about the gospel, the truth that God has a purpose for their lives that includes their vocation and build Godly character that will help them get and keep a job. 

 

Here’s an opportunity to join me and others from our church in this exciting program:

  • Come to Redeemer Church this Sunday, April 15, at 1 pm. Lunch will be provided and we will talk about all the different ways you can get involved! E-mail jflathens@gmail.com to reserve a spot if you would like to come.

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