It was a cold, dreary Sunday in January. I was going about my business on a typical Sunday morning praying and preparing for my sermon at the theater. I preached my sermon and at the end of the service I gave the invitation to come forward for people who wanted prayer. What happened next shocked me. I noticed someone in the middle section who I had known for years, but hadn’t seen for 3 years, who had never come to 217church. That day he came forward, and made a pathway STRAIGHT TO ME to pray. As I watched him come forward, it was like watching him walk in slow motion. I said, “what do you need today?” He replied, “I need Jesus to save me.” 13 months later, he is still serving Jesus and still drug free.
“Spiritual growth demands a rigorous approach.”
Embracing Ray after his baptism Easter 2015
I just talked to Ray this morning. He is working away, slugging out his life, working two jobs and about 60 hours per week, His son suffers from a kidney disease. There are lots of reasons for Ray to just give up. You’ve been there, right? But one thing is different now about Ray from when I knew him before, he has hope. Going into these next 40 days and our relaunch series, I want you to have hope.
When your heart changes, you are willing to do whatever God wants you to do and make whatever changes are necessary to grow. There are some baseline changes that need to take place though in our habits. What habits do we need for spiritual growth? Let’s get one things straight, I am not saying if you do these things growth happens automatically, nor am I trying to be legalistic. But why wouldn’t you take EVERY opportunity to grow? Here are three habits that just seem to flow from a maturing relationship with Jesus.
Three Habits That Just Seem Logical
Habit #1 – Weekly Worship – Celebration – YOU NEED to worship with the body of believers. There is nothing quite like being together with a larger group of people from the church family and community singing, worshiping, hearing the word of God proclaimed, being prayed for, and receiving communion. When you come, you will be inspired by the Holy Spirit. What would happen in your life if you prioritized worshiping with your church family every Sunday? Better yet, what if you came ready to do ministry, pray, encourage, show hospitality and love to all who were coming to the worship service? What an incredible Sunday this is going to be! #Relaunch217
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together,” Hebrews 10:25
Habit#2 – Small Groups – Community – YOU NEED a small group of believers to FIGHT FOR. I want you to experience true biblical community. I’m not talking about a club bible study where only the mature get in and understand, but a home where people are loved, known, and empowered to be sent out and bless the neighborhood. Our small groups meet in homes. Places where people are empowered by the Gospel to serve the community together, learn the Word, invite friends, care deeply and pray for each other, and oh yes don’t forget, EAT AMAZING FOOD! Why are we so afraid of biblical community? This should be normative for us. #Relaunch217
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” Acts 2:46
Habit #3 – Journal Daily – Solitude – YOU MUST separate from world to hear from God. The world hums forward at a frantic pace. The priorities and values of the world marching ahead with virtually no regard for you as a person. But there is a savior who loves you, died for you, lives in you, and wants to talk to you. There is a Little acronym we use called S.O.A.P. It is a four step tool to study the word individually and write what God is talking to you.
- S – Scripture – Get a bible reading plan and follow it. Choose a specific scripture passage then write a phrase or verse that jumps out at you. Youversion.com has incredible resources and reading plans.
- O – Observation – Write your thoughts. What do you think God is saying to you in this Scripture? What do you think it means?
- A – Application – This is where you make personalized action steps to what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life.
- P – Prayer – This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this Scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Who comes to mind that you need to pray for? Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say first.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
I want you to grow. Let’s grow together. Day #1 of #Relaunch217 40 days starts Sunday!
Week #1 “Praying God’s Plan”
Our first 217church #Relaunch Sunday celebration is Sunday February 7, 2016
We are officially #Relaunching @217church after 6 full years of ministry on March 20th, 2016. Our first Sunday services will be Sunday February 7, 2016 and we are already preparing for this amazing celebration weekend! Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00. Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, we would love to have you join us. Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here