Friday, July 27, 2012



When I was a brand new Christian God stirred me up to start a fellowship in our Army Barracks.  We went door to door in the three floor barracks and invited everyone.  The Day Room was cleared and we circled the chairs.  My friend Kathy would come and play "It Only Takes a Spark to get a Fire Going."  It was the one song she knew.  Then we would go around the circle and confess our sins, and pray for one another.  James 5:16 was the only verse we knew for a model of ministry.  We were just young and foolish enough to believe it.

James 5:16 (MSG)
16 Make this your common practice:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
so that you can live together whole and healed.
The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

We would go around the circle and soldiers would confess.  One shared about drugs, another about alcohol, and another about his latest illicit affair.  One horrific story of debauchery followed the next.  Men wept while their friends prayed.  One night the Army Chaplain came to see what we were doing.  He stood with his mouth open as men honestly shared the deepest sins of their heart with one another.  This was way outside his normal military realm of experience.

The amazing thing is that confession opened the door to relationship.
Relationship opened the door to encouragement and accountability.
Encouragement and accountability loosed the fruit of transformation.

The hardest thing was to open up and let it out.  The devil can hold us in bondage and beat us up with our secrets.  Our secrets separate us from the rest of the human race and are the seedbed for feelings of shame, guilt, and unworthiness.  When our sins see the light of day in the presence of trusted brothers and sisters they lose their power!  The hardest thing is to open up, and let it out!

God gave us a wonderfully progressive promise through James.

Confession to Others + Prayer = Healing and Wholeness

I pray you open your heart and mouth today and begin enjoying the liberating power of freedom through confession and prayer.  Be brave and honest.  Open your heart to someone you trust.  Let their love and prayers lift you to the throne of grace where true healing and transformaion take place!

Your Brother

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Honesty: You Want Me To Do What!!! - Pastor Chris

A - Admit Your a Sinner

I have spent my whole life trying to show everyone that I am "Okay." Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but probably not much. It starts with our parents, and then our teachers, and our pastors, and then spouses and bosses and then it comes full circle with our children. We want all these people to think we have it all together. In fact we sometimes believe that we can even fool God into thinking we are okay.

And when we finally decide to come to church, and we begin contemplating giving our life to Christ, the first thing they want us to do is admit that we are not okay. No wonder we have such a hard time with this. God wants us to be honest. Not just with him, but with ourselves as well.

But it does not end there. It is probably easy to admit you are a sinner when you first come into the church. (I'm not sure I was born in the 3rd row) But I will tell you, it gets hard when you have been there 5, 10, or 20 years. Or when you are a Deacon, an Elder, or even the Pastor (yes they sin too). We have to be honest through the whole process. We need to be honest first with God, then with ourselves, and then the others around us. When we are honest together, we can grow together, and we can accomplish amazing things together.

Ephesians 4:25 (NLT)
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.

Are You Okay?

Pastor Chris

1 John 1:1-4 Joy, Life, and Fellowship Notes

JOY LIFE AND FELLOWSHIP     1 JOHN 1:1-4     7/22/2012

Welcome:  Spend a few minutes having a snack, meeting new people, and connecting with those in your Life Group.  Unplug from the week and prepare to engage!

Worship:  Connect with God through songs, prayers, and creative arts.  Invite the Holy Spirit to move and minister in your group!  Be open to God’s leading and presence!  Enjoy this time with God and one another.

Word:   This week we began our series in 1 John.  John uses the word love over and over, but we are also going to find that he is willing to challenge the church.  In fact, we are going to find that his LOVE for Christ compels him to challenge the church.  He begins this letter with words of proclamation, and invitation.  The proclamation is about Christ!  The invitation is for us!  These opening verses lay an important foundation for where he will take us in the next four chapters.  Don’t miss them!

1.         Have you ever been the one to make an announcement?  Maybe to your family, or            to a class, or at camp.  What was it like?

2.         Today we are going to reflect upon the words of 1 John 1:1-4.  As we do, allow the Holy Spirit to speak life, joy, and fellowship into your life!  I pray that God will stir you deeply as you reflect upon His word!  This week use the Message by Eugene Petersen.  Sometimes working from a different version allows you to hear differently!

1 John 1:1-4 (MSG) 1 From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—
we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands.   2 The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen!
And now we're telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.  3 We saw it, we heard it,
and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.  4 Our motive for writing
is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

A.        Why do you think John takes such care to declare that they saw it, heard it, and touched it?  Why might this have been important to his audience?  Is it important to you?  Verses 1 & 3

B.        “The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes!”  Think about the gospel of John, and the other gospel accounts of Jesus.  If you had been with the disciples, which stories would have made you say, “The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes?”  Verse 2

C.        Explain the fellowship triangle that we looked at Sunday morning!  Verse 3


D.        John gives us one clear and final reason for writing this letter.
            What is it?  Verse 4

a.         How could this apply to a believer?

b.         How could this apply to a not yet believer?

Witness:         Have you had the joy of praying with someone to receive Christ?