Monday, October 17, 2011

10 Reasons to Get Involved in a Gospel Community

Being a part of RedeemerPampa and being in a Gospel Community are like porcupines and quills. They pretty much define each other. If you're on the fence, just curious or if you love your Gospel Community and want to add a comment, this post is for you! So here you have it, 10 reasons to get involved in a Gospel Community: 


10. Gospel Communities currently meet at 2 convenient mid-week times. The McKay's and the Cuellar's Communities meet on Wednesday nights at 6:30 and the Buck's meets on Thursday nights at 6:00. As the groups grow and multiply, we will continue to add meeting times that work for people. If you have a student (6-12th grades), they can attend the Student Gospel Community at the Buck's on the 1st and 2nd Wednesday of each month and come to your G.C. on the 3rd and 4th. 


9. The food's not bad, especilly if you find yourself in the McKay's Community. The fact is, eating together is probably the oldest form of showing hospitality and acceptance. We like to show these things any chance we get. 


8. Have questions about the Bible? God? Church? How Robin makes her food taste so good? Just ask! We promise you will not be met with eye-rolls. We certainly don't have all the answers but we WILL walk with you in finding them in God's Word. 


7. If you have kiddos, don't worry, you don't have to get a babysitter. I (Karmen) show up to the McKay's group each week to hang out with the younger ones (under 6th grade) from the Wednesday night groups. We will explore Gospel-Centered living and we will be challenging each other to live for Jesus. 


6. Our Gospel Communities are diverse, they have kids, students, young adults, parents and grandparents in them. We know you'll find some friends to link arms with as we live out the Mission to follow Jesus and make disciples. 


5. Gospel Communities are open groups. You are welcome and encouraged to invite people to come with you. This also means you are welcome to come check it out without feeling like you're committing the rest of your life to this group. (Though we think you'll pretty much get hooked right away!) So come any week, we're always catching each other up, you won't feel left out or behind! 


4. None of us is perfect. We all know that. But many times we put up a great effort to appear that way, even among our fellow believers. Gospel Communities are different. We seek to keep a transparent atmosphere where it's safe to say we're not OK. (Don't worry, noboby is going to call on you and ask you to share your deepest, darkest secrets) The Bible is clear that confession to others is healthy for our souls (James 5:16) and struggles will not be met with judgement but with encouragent and help along the path. 


3. Making a difference for Jesus in our community and in the world is in the DNA of these groups and we would love for you to bring your ideas and expertise to a group. 


2. We will mostly be talking through the implications of the Sunday morning message in Gospel Communities each week. We love this model because it forces us to continue to deal with the Word spoken as we walk throughout our week. It keeps us meditating on what we've heard from the Lord. It challenges us in specific ways to follow through on what Jesus calls us to each week. Each week's message is available online at www.redeemerpampa.com but is certainly not required listening for coming to a Gospel Community. 


1. We were created by a God who, himself, exists in community, (Father, Son, Spirit) and has made us for community. (Acts 2, Romans 12, Genesis 2) Let's face it, we need each other. In a world consumed by cyber-relationships, we could all stand to reclaim some real "face time." 


Are you involved in a Gospel Commnunity? How is it making an impact on your life?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't Run from God...and so much more


Who would have thought as we began to study Jonah that it would refine and challenge me in the way it has. Like most of the folks in our church, and probably most anyone, I felt like Jonah was going to be a quick, easy walk through a story from my Sunday School days. The whole (and only) point: Don’t run from God! Or so I thought.

Hidden inside this crazy story about a man who got swallowed by a fish are LOADS of deep spiritual truths that hit directly at the heart of who I am and what I truly believe. I would like to discuss a few of these.

1    1)      God is in control
            This one might seem pretty obvious (storm, big fish, vomiting), but there are some more subtle ways in which God reveals himself here that I believe are just as important. God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and proclaim judgment. What must Jonah have been thinking when he decided to hop the boat to Tarshish (in the opposite direction as Nineveh), “OK, so I know God called me, but I really would prefer not to proclaim judgment to these people, it just spells trouble. How about I just happen to get on this boat to Tarshish and see if maybe God will not notice and give me a new job once I’m far away from Nineveh?”  Yeah, that didn’t work out too well for good ol’ Jonah. But before we give him too hard a time, let’s think about ourselves. How often have I heard clearly from the Lord about a decision, a relationship, a task and I’ve procrastinated and let it fall by the wayside? Or have thought that I wouldn’t be able or capable of sharing with Jesus with someone so in the name of “praying for them,” never shared real words of truth? After I choose not to obey the Lord, I often find myself wondering why his presence is not as near, why I don’t seem to hear as clearly from him. I never connect it to the fact that I disobeyed him. As if the commands and callings of a Sovereign God were mine to pick and choose to obey! The consequence of my disobedience my never be as dramatic as being swallowed by a fish, but may I never forget that God is in control and He is serious about what he speaks to me.
      
       2)      God is merciful...in unexpected ways.
             I don't know why, but I just keep coming back to this thought that Jonah is IN THE BELLY OF A GIANT FISH when he prays the beautiful, heartfelt prayer in chapter 2. His tone is thankful as he remembers the feeling of sinking toward the bottom of the ocean and the despair he felt in those moments that it's easy to forget that he's IN THE BELLY OF A GIANT FISH. But I think we've all been there, we've removed ourselves from God's presence by our willful disobedience and we've found ourselves sinking, looking around trying to find which way is up so that we might even cry out to God. And just as with Jonah, God rescues us in our desperation. He most assuredly hears our genuine cries of repentance. Only sometimes, like Jonah, the rescue comes in a form that seems, well, stinky. May we always have the wisdom of Jonah, to recognize God's grace, even when it doesn't come in the form of a sweet, cozy moment with Him or an emotionally charged worship experience (those things are beautiful but are not God's only vehicles of grace). 

       3)      God uses broken people in the middle of their mess.
             This thought will be continued further as we get further into Jonah, but for now, I want to recognize that God saved Jonah from the depths of the ocean for a purpose. We will see in chapter 3 that God's expectations of Jonah haven't changed one bit. I'm not sure if the best way to look at this is: "Thank you, God, for pursuing us when we run from you!" OR "Oh no, you mean that word from the Lord won't go away if I run from him and try to make myself unusable!" I guess we will have to wait from Sunday's message.
       
      As we continue through Jonah, I will add some more thoughts. We welcome your impressions as well. How is God shaping and refining you through this beautiful story? 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 4, 2011 Jonah 1

Here's today's sermon from the first Chapter of Jonah if you missed it or want to listen again.