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Ed's Blog

_DAN9141I’ll admit it I am more than a little sad that the LEAP OF FAITH series is coming to an end. Of course it was way more than a series

  • Our Small Groups were all working through the same questions every week
  • Personal Devotions in Mark every day… with an audio version that I LOVED
  • Mostly it was praying together – really pressing past the vague generalized painless, faith-free prayers that we (I) tend to settle into.

There were so many very cool stories of God working that we need to find a way to share with you.

So as we looked at Mark 11 we brought this thing full circle. Marks starts off his book with Jesus saying:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.Mark 1:15

The passion narrative to which the gospel story has been building begins with Jesus essentially saying the same thing without saying! The entrance into Jerusalem, the reference to Psalm 118, the Donkey… all saying, “the Kingdom and the King is at hand.” Our point: as we make our way toward Jesus, as we hear his invitation to LEAP, he confronts us with the reality of this KINGDOM thing. We are invited into a different, more real reality called the Kingdom of God. This is the death of our self-referenced life (a phrase I’m taking from Robert Mulholland’s book The Deeper Journey), our “Kingdom of Dirt” (that one’s from Nine Inch Nails J).

Ultimately to sustain a life of faith in times of quickly answered prayers AND times of painfully long delays we have to decide the PLACE of Jesus in our lives. At the end of the chapter, the religious leaders accidently ask the right question: “By what authority are you doing this?” Does God have the right over us to cleanse our Temple as it were? Mark’s shown us picture after picture of Jesus. Pictures that show us that He is powerful, good, saving, gracious, freeing, generous, quick to forgive… that He is deeply and unmitigatedly GOOD!

We CAN indeed trust him. Let’s LEAP!

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This was an amazing weekend at Journey.

Amy and Ryan Payton’s wild story of their LEAP OF FAITH was powerful and riveting! You can watch it again on the Journey website.

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Our band with Spencer Plant leading covered the song “SAFE & SOUND” and crushed it! The song featured our friend the great Calvin Price playing trumpet.

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I spoke on Mark 5 and the interwoven stories of Jairus’ daughter and “the woman with an issue of blood”. It’s one of those stories in the gospel that is filled with pathos and power. God was clearly stirring people. Fear will always be our greatest barrier when we are invited to LEAP! Our only option… leap anyway!

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This experience of Leap of Faith has been a crazy, wonderful, scary, fun and intense all at the same time. We have experienced the increased energy of the synchronized and unified focus. But this year we’re kicking it up a notch.

√ we’re in a single book of the Bible – Mark

√ we’re reading it everyday

√ we’ve got the bible, the commentary and the prayer guide all on audio

√ we’re preaching, as much as possible, on stuff we’ve read THAT week, in this last weekend’s case, that DAY!

√ our small groups are unpacking these prayers and readings and some cool REAL stuff is surfacing.

√ we’re seeing a noticeable increase in our already high number of new people that check out Journey. (Thus last week’s parking pledge).

 

This last week we found ourselves in the part of the gospel story in which “Jesus taught them many things in parables”. This was Jesus’ main way of explaining what the Kingdom of God was like.

We took a look at the longest, most explained, most repeated parable, variously known as the parable of the sower, the parable of soils, seed (you get the point). Jesus says that this is something of an interpretive Rosetta stone of the parables.

Mark 4:13   And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?

Interestingly, to me at least, this central parable is about “sowing” – scattering seed. Our leap of faith that Mark is encouraging us to take looks a lot like investing. To get some of the pathos of this story we need to remind ourselves that there was another thing the guy with the seed could have done with the bag of seed. He could have ground it up, made bread and ate it. But he cast it, threw it around knowing that the results were mostly out of his hands. Sounds like a LEAP OF FAITH!

Let me say again, it’s not to late to take this Leap of Faith with us. Go to www.journeycommunitychurch.com/leap and get all dialed in.

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We had an spectacular LEAP OF FAITH weekend at Journey. Jason brought a powerful message on Mark 2.

I’m loving every part of LEAP OF FAITH

* The daily DEVO

* The small group focus

* The Series

* Mostly the prayers of faith!

IT’S NOT TOO LATE. Jump into LEAP OF FAITH. On the Journey website you can get ALL the Leap resources. It it chalked full of great stuff!

http://journeycommunitychurch.com/leap/

Check out some great pics from the weekend.

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O.k. It’s no secrets, I love our weekends at Journey. I’m hopelessly biased. When I write up these weekend recaps, I feel a little self conscious about the fact that they are always great… except that they are. But this weekend was exceptionally fun and meaningful. We did our child dedication and knowing some of the stories, even miracles and knowing lots of the people makes it so meaningful to me.

 

Top that off with the fact that we are wrapping up a series on one of the subjects I most enjoy talking about, God communicating with His people!

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Then there is the music part… since we’ve switched up our format it’s like we’ve hit another gear.

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Here are some Child dedication pics

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Week 3 of our series was EPIC! Jason Denison brought a message on deciphering God’s voice in the midst of all the noise and how God inhabits the quiet, the space. “God digs space!”

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Once again the “My Journey” story brought the house down. Marissa Branca told us her story of connecting with Jesus. (it should be up on the website soon!)

 

Several of you wanted this series of ideas that wasn’t on the outline on CLUTTER AND SPACIOUSNESS:

 

Clutter has many forms

Clutter of space is – a mess

Clutter of sound is – noise

Clutter of thought – confusion

Clutter of feel – pain or discomfort at least

Clutter of emotion – stress, despondency

 

So does spaciousness

There is spaciousness of sound, we call this silence.

There is the spaciousness of environment, we call this expanse or space.

There is spaciousness of thought, we call this clarity.

There is spaciousness of feel, we call this comfort.

There is spaciousness of emotion, we cal this peace.

 

We unpacked 1 Kings 19, the story of Elijah and the “still small voice.”

This coming weekend we wrap up THE LANGUAGE OF GOD series looking at “How God Guides”.

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STILL SMALL VOICE and the Weekend that Was

by Ed Noble on February 12, 2014 · 0 comments

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1Kings 19:12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

I’ve become more and more convinced that it is essential that we learn to hear from God to walk with God or to live the lives that He has for us.
Dallas Willard opens his fantastic book (and I opened the message with his opening) with this ka-bam:

Hearing God? A daring idea, some would say – presumptuous and even dangerous. But what if we are made for it? What if the human system simply will not function properly without it? There are good reasons to think it will not. The fine texture as well as the grand movements of life show the need. Is it not, in fact, more presumptuous and dangerous to undertake human existence without hearing God?

 

Among the most common ways that God speaks to people, especially His people is through what’s been called the “Still Small Voice”.  It’s a phrase from the passage in 1 Kings (above).

 

I talked about some ways we may know that “the voice” is actually God.  I had to cut that part short, but here are a few additional thoughts.

√ Bible – It is absolutely critical is to be shaped by words from God’s mouth. The Bible not only speaks to us, it also gives us insight to HOW God speaks to us. It also gives us an idea of the kinds of things God tends to say.

√ Recurring – “by the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses a matter is confirmed”. The Spirit showed Peter the “lowered sheet vision” THREE TIMES”. Watch out for those words that keep coming around.

√ Confirmed – speaking of “confirmed” 1 Thessalonians 5 is invaluable.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good 22 abstain from every form every appearance of evil.

-       Don’t be that “poo poo” words from the Holy Spirit that someone may have. Don’t quench. Don’t be a spiritual arms-folded, eyes-rolled wet blanket. Don’t traffic in unbelief.

-       Examine everything: Use your brain, your understanding of scripture, your small group.

-       Grab on to what’s good.

-       If it appears bad… it probably is. Dump it! Ignore it.

One of my prayers for Journey, for US is that we hear from God regularly.

 Psalm 29:4 The voice of the LORD is powerful,

The voice of the LORD is majestic.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;

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LANGUAGE OF GOD and the Weekend that Was

by Ed Noble on February 3, 2014 · 2 comments

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It’s probably a lot about my own story with Jesus, but the stuff we are going to be talking about in our series “THE LANGUAGE OF GOD” is among my favorite things to speak about.

 

This week we asked the question, “Does God Speak to Ordinary People?” Of course, shock to no one; we argued that the answer is a resounding “YES!” I don’t know too many people who believe the Bible who would say that He doesn’t. But it’s interesting to me that many seem to portray “words from God” as exceptional, and feel more comfortable with a posture of mistrust of any communication from God.

Here’s the powerful and beautiful quote from one of my hero’s Dallas Willard from his book, Hearing God:

The ideal for hearing from God is finally determined by who God is, what kind of beings we are & what a personal relationship between ourselves & God should be like…understanding how God speaks to us should be sought only as a part of certain kind of life, a life of loving fellowship w/the king and his other subjects w/in the Kingdom of heaven.

So union with God – his presence with us, in which our aloneness is banished & the meaning & full purpose of life of human existence is realized – consists chiefly in conversational relationship with God while we are engaged as his friend & co-laborer in the affairs of the Kingdom of heaven.

Our sermon in one line was:

DESPITE YOU DOUBTS, DARE TO BELIEVE THAT GOD WANTS TO SPEAK TO YOU… and that’s a good thing!

 

I’m suggesting that we see February as a month in which we dare to believe this.

 

Think of this past weekend as a bit of foundation for the weekend messages that will follow. We laid out a “Trinitarian” overview of God’s communication to us.

CREATION – Father

WORD – Son

SPIRT – Holy Spirit

 

Let me give a few BONUS POINTS on “the Word”

√ The Word is Jesus. That’s pretty clear in the first few lines of the Gospel of John. Jesus is not only a historical person, but a “the LIVING ONE” (see Luke 24:5). He is continually revealing Himself to His people and even through His people.

√ We know about Jesus through the “graphe” (Greek for scripture). The Bible says about itself that it is breathed out by God (See 2 Tim 3:16). The point of the Bible is to cause us to connect with and trust in God through Jesus.

√ One of our 12 Journey DNA descriptors is “TRUTH AND SCRIPTURE”. We desire to be a community shaped by words from God’s mouth. So we honestly engage Scripture and seek to discern what God is saying first to those who originally read it (this takes a little work sometime) and then we seek the Spirit in living out what that means for us.

√ So “The Word” – the living Word, Jesus and the written Word – acts as a foundation and a filter through which we pass other “words” that we think are from God.

√ BUT the Scripture as a “living and active Word” is not just some kind of a grid or map; it is a PLACE WHERE WE MEET GOD. God meets us, personally and deeply in the Words of the Scripture. We are not primarily reading the Bible to gain information to use, but we are meeting God in that moment. Interacting with the Scripture is a way of “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” and thus we are “changed into that same image from Glory to Glory!” (See 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Here are some pics from the services

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RENEW, HOW PEOPLE CHANGE and the Week that Was

by Ed Noble on January 28, 2014 · 0 comments

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This weekend we wrapped up what ended up being a great series called Renew.

 

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We heard another powerful story, a window into Wendy Fenstemacher’s “My Journey”.

 

The message focused on two equally true realities about “Transformation”.

  1. It is the WORK of GOD
  2. We have a PART TO PLAY.

Our part is to create in our lives “SPACE FOR GRACE”.  This is the whole point of spiritual disciplines, practices, devotionals etc.: to create some space for God’s life changing grace. Put another way we expose our lives to the grace, power, presence, healing, love of God.

 

Here’s how Paul put it:

2Cor. 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

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We responded by planting seed of faith. Plans to put in our lives practices, rhythms, openings to experience the reality of God’s transforming grace. These are ways we learn to hold ourselves in His presence in an experiential way.
Let me give a couple of quick tips that on these plans that I didn’t get to in the message.

  • PRESENCE IS THE POINT. His presence not the practice itself is the point. It’s so easy to turn the activity into the point of it all. It’s only the vehicle.
  • PERFOMANCE IS PERIL. Stay miles away from this looking like performing for God.
  • EFFORT… GOOD. EARNING… BAD. It takes some effort to pray, to read the scripture, to fast, to show up to small group, to take a class, to serve etc. Duh. But we need to stay away from ideas of earning stuff from God.
  • MAKE A PLAN! DON’T MAKE A BLUNT FORCE INSTRUMENT. Planting seeds of faith and efforting toward them is good, critical, in fact, to moving on with God. But don’t turn your plan into something that you use to beat yourself up if you misstep.
  • CELEBRATE ANY PROGRESS – Some progress in the right direction is good. It’s more than you would have made if you didn’t even try. God knows you. He loves you as is and is actively at work in your life. You will win! Just stay at it!

 

The best statement of health and balance I know in the Bible about these “MEANS” is…

1Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

 

Yes! It’s God’s work. But we have a part! This is going to be exciting!

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Service Order Change

by Journey Community Church on January 24, 2014 · 4 comments

Imagine yourself entering a room of strangers that are singing songs A.) you don’t know, and B.) about a God your not sure you even believe in, let alone feel comfortable calling “good”?  We believe this is the experience of many of our guests on any given weekend.  And lets be honest, even seasoned followers of Christ can sometimes feel jolted into impassioned time of singing to God that, frankly, feels like it may lack a bit of context.  After thinking and gleaning the learnings of some other churches that share our heart for the outsider, we’ve come to the conclusion that every weekend has built into it an opportunity to describe in detail the reasons why we gather and even why we sing – the message.  In short, we believe the message wins people over to the idea of worshipping.  For that reason and a few other more practical reasons, we are shifting our service order from music then message to one song, message then more music.

If you have questions, please join us at the Q&A on Sunday, February 9 at 4:30 PM in Journey Java.

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