From Small Groups to Missional Communities

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Woodbury Community Church has set an aggressive goal this year to see 75% of the people who attend our weekend services involved in small groups by the end of this year. Our eventual goal is that 125% of our congregation’s weekend attendance average would be involved in small groups. Why? Because we believe that nothing changes a person more than being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and that disciples are best nurtured in the context of a small group. Small groups allow us to strip away false pretense. Healthy small groups mean that we are known by others. It means that we have a place to be real about our failures and people with whom to celebrate our victories. Life is hard. It was never meant to be lived alone.

My Dad sent me an e-mail last night. The e-mail is an interview with Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California. In the interview Rick says, “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfortGod is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.”

This year, our church has been studying The Sermon on the Mount. In His revolutionary sermon, Jesus gave his listeners the secret to a life that was blessed by God. Blessing doesn’t always mean happiness this side of heaven. Sometimes blessing means that we get on God’s anvil, and He chisels away the things in our life that need to be formed into something new. The process may hurt, but the end result brings blessing.

Small groups help us through the process. They also help move us to action; away from complacent Christianity and into the spiritual battle. This 4 1/2 minute video by Matt Carter, the pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas talks about being a people who live in missional community. It’s a video that has encouraged me today, and I hope it will encourage you.

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I Love My Wife

cyndibri
I Love My Wife . . .Cyndi has been with her Mom and Dad in Colorado for the past week. She is there to help her Mom recovery from foot surgery. With each day that passes, I’m reminded more and more how much I love her and how much of a difference that she has made in my life and the life of my children. I can’t imagine what life without my precious wife would be like.She is the sunshine who brightens our home, the constant who brings order to chaos, the counselor who listens with tender ears and speaks with God-given wisdom, the culinary diva who continually creates amazing meals that rival those of any five star restaurant, the coupon queen whose extra time researching saves us hundreds of dollars a month. She is my best friend, the woman of my dreams, the sweetest person that I’ve ever met. I’m still captivated by her beauty, drawn to her presence, and in awe that she said, “Yes.”

Thank You, Lord. She is all of this, because she is first, Yours. You have done a wonderful work in her and I’m a different man today because of it.

Sermon Manuscripts and Sermon Based Small Group Questions Now Online

People regularly ask me if the sermons that I preach are available in manuscript form. You may now download .pdf versions of my sermons at the Woodbury Community Church website. You may also download small group questions to help you dive deeper into the content of the sermons. The new sermon and small group content is available by clicking here.

The Challenge 2011

The Challenge Is Coming!
In 2010, over seventy people at Woodbury Community Church tookThe Challenge, a challenge to read through the Bible over the course of one year. Many of those who took The Challenge completed that challenge yesterday. Many did not, but in taking The Challenge, they read more of the Bible in 2010 than they did in 2009.In 2011, I want to challenge you once again to attempt to read through the Bible. There is nothing that will change you as much as God’s Word. D. L. Moody once said, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book,” when referring to the Bible. When we spend time in God’s Word, we are changed.In 1959, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, the minister of Westminster Chapel in London wrote, “There is nothing more important in the Christian life than the way in which we approach the Bible, and the way in which we read it. It is our textbook, it is our only source, it is our only authority. We know nothing about God and about the Christian life in a true sense apart from the Bible. We can draw various deductions from nature (and possibly from various mystical experiences) by which we can arrive at a belief in a supreme Creator. But I think it is agreed by most Christians, and it has been traditional throughout the long history of the Church, that we have no authority save this Book. We cannot rely solely upon subjective experiences because there are evil spirits as well as good spirits; there are counterfeit experiences. Here, in the bible, is our soul authority.” (D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Second Edition, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1976, p. 6.)One of the common requests that I received last year was for a reading plan that would allow us to read through the Bible chronologically. This year we’ll use the Chronological Reading Guide, which was put together by Back to the Bible Ministries. You can download your copy of the Chronological Reading Guide by clicking here.