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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
As we continue our journey through Luke's story about the life of Jesus, we walk in on Jesus talking to us about hard days and what to do when we want to throw in the towel. It's part of our Prayer 2014 series in January that helps us start off a new year with a renewed focus on prayer as we live our lives, help start new churches, and pursue justice for orphans, the unborn and victims of racism and classism.
I hope to see you tomorrow. Here's how you can get ready:
Sunday Gathering: This entire month we're focusing on prayer as we wrestle with:
- January 5 - Making it impossible to ignore Jesus here in Athens (Luke 18:1-8)
- January 12 - Why we want to start new churches (Luke 18:9-14)
- January 19 - Becoming a radically diverse community (Luke 18:18-30)
- January 26 - Protecting the unborn and the orphan (Luke 18:15-17)
Community Groups start back up this month:
- If you're already part of a group, help make it better.
- If you're not in a group, fill this out and let us help you get connected.
DNA Groups are the place where we go deeper in the Bible and with each other:
DNA Groups* exist to be that place and to provide that kind of help. We call them DNA Groups because this is where the heart of our life with God is stored: 2-4 people who meet weekly for drinks or a meal to talk about the Bible.
Tomorrow, we'll introduce some principles and practices that will help your DNA group thrive. For today, here are two things you've already been working on for 2014 that will help you take the next step into a DNA Group:
- You already know what you'll be talking about since our church is going to be using the ESV Study Bible reading plan.
- You've been thinking about 2-3 people that you would want to meet with regularly to help you follow Jesus.
So, your next step is get in touch with the people you had in mind and set up time in early January to talk about being in a DNA Group together. Four ways this works best:
- Don't wait to be asked. If you want to be in a group like this with someone, ask them.
- Start with where you are. Community Groups are a great place to find people to be part of a DNA Group
- Think outside of your life stage. DNA Groups are fantastic environments to invest in relationships with someone older or younger than you.
- Be generous but don't be a liar. If someone asks you to be in a DNA Group, take the time to consider the offer. Be willing to be part of a group with people you don't know well. But if you come to the conclusion that the group won't be a place you can thrive, be honest and say, 'No, thank you.'
*DNA Groups are similar to what we've called Fight Clubs in the past.