My friend, Margaret Feinberg [www.margaretfeinberg.com], has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God[www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck] (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video: https://vimeo.com/53953257.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Margaret Feinberg and her books for the last few years. I recently received the insider’s scoop about Margaret’s new book. Here are some highlights from the interview:
Where did the inspiration for the Wonderstruck book and Bible study come from?
Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything goes wrong, and when you think it can’t get worse, it somehow finds a way? Most people who have worked in ministry have experienced those seasons—some may be in one right now.
My husband, Leif, and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives. In the aftermath, as we processed the pain and loss, I had an unexplainable desire in my heart. I began praying for the wonder of God. In essence, I said, “God reveal yourself, your whole self to me. I want to know you as Wonderful. I want to know you as I’ve never known you before and see you in places I’ve never recognized you before.”
God did not disappoint.
What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?
Sometimes talking or writing about wonder feels like tying kite strings to clouds. It’s ethereal, and you can never quite get a grip on it. But if you look in the dictionary, the two main definitions of wonder are: “being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or speculate curiously.”
Those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.
In other words, the wonder of God isn’t about an emotional experience or having some cool story to tell your friends, but the wonder of God makes us want more of God—to go deeper and further than we’ve ever been before.
Why are you calling people to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK?
If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High? We even created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. For a free copy, email us at email@example.com and we’ll send you one.
Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [www.twitter.com/mafeinberg], Facebook [www.facebook.com/margaretfeinberg], or her blog [www.margaretfeinberg.com]. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wonder-struck-margaret-feinberg/1110904808?ean=9781617950889] for all you savvy shoppers.
This is the second part of the notes from our study on why FaithPoint has Community Groups.
In a CG, people are always glad you are there. A CG is unwilling to settle for anything less than redemptive community.
A FaithPoint CG right now is for developing you into disciples that make disciples and for you to build relationships with each other.
Your CG should talk about how you support the mission and the vision of the church. For you to do this, you have to know the mission and the vision. That is why we regularly share the mission and the vision with the church.
Celebrate with your CG when:
- a person is healed
- a person finds forgiveness
- a person repents and follows Jesus
- when there is a reason to celebrate
When a CG grows to a point of 12-14 people, then 4-6 people will covenant to start a new CG. This is how a CG multiplies.
In a CG, there is a CG leader and a host home. The host of the home is not necessarily the CG leader.
The host of the home may want to provide:
- food – supper
The host may also decide to theme a potluck night such as BBQ, Mexican, or Chinese. You may also decide to theme the potluck after a TV show or movie such as Iron Man, Fried Green Tomatoes, or Miami Vice. Be creative.
The host may also decide to designate a different person to provide food and drink every once in awhile.
In the event that a CG does not have a host home, you may want to seek out places such as restaurants or coffee shops to meet.
Wherever a CG meets, it needs to be the same day and time every week. You should not cancel a CG for any reason other than an emergency or an event such as Thanksgiving which might happen to fall on the day your CG meets.
As of the first Sunday in January, your CG as you know them now will change. There will be two, possibly three, CGs in January. As of Sunday, December 17, you will know who the two host homes are and who the CG leaders are. You will have the opportunity to join which CG you like.
Your CG will be an open group and people that are new or currently not in a CG may want to join you at any time. You do not need to bounce among the groups. Stay with the one you are in.
If you are interested in being a CG leader, be in prayerful consideration and talk to Pastor Jimmy.
FaithPoint CGs will not be curriculum driven.
Community Groups will be sermon driven.
We are reformed in our view of salvation, the church, and the city. So, your CG will also be.
When you join FaithPoint as a member, you sign a covenant and a doctrinal statement. Being sermon driven helps to keep everyone on the same page. Every group would be diving deeper into the sermon asking questions to push you to conforming more to the image of Jesus.
As a CG leader, your group material should consist mainly of notes from:
- FaithPoint sermons and Bible studies. Pastor Jimmy posts his sermon notes on his blog weekly.
- You may decide to also use Pastor Jimmy’s blog posts to discuss during CG meetings.
- Books that are approved by FaithPoint.
These books will be by authors that hold to our high view of Scripture and Jesus.
The new Community Groups start in January.
Asking All The Wrong Questions is an ebook by Ally Vesterfelt.
The book addresses questions that we ask ourselves when we are trying to justify pushing the envelope in sexual situations. Ally does a great job of getting into the minds of singles and couples and the kinds of thoughts that we have all thought when pursuing the opposite sex.
Instead of asking questions that would take you down a road that you would rather not venture down, Ally changes the questions. You are dating another person that has been created in the image of Christ. How are you pointing them to Jesus?
I wish that I had this book when I was 19. I made some mistakes that I wish that I could go back and change. I fall into the category of thinking that it was OK to have sex because my fiance’ and I were engaged.
It was fun at first. Then the relationship ended. I had given myself to become “one” with a girl that I was no longer going to marry. It took me learning the hard way to realize what a stupid decision I had made.
When I met my the woman that would become my wife, I had to do something that I never had to do before. I had to tell her that I messed up and made the dumb decision to have sex before her.
By God’s grace, she forgave me.
She extended love and forgiveness to me that I did not deserve. I am grateful to be married to her today.
We have been married now for 10 years and we have 2 little boys. I am a blessed man. Thank you Jesus.
Asking All The Wrong Questions is not just for singles and couples. I believe that you can still find value in it if you are married. Read it and tell someone else how to get their copy.
You can get Asking All The Wrong Questions here.
These notes came from our Wednesday night series on the church. This is the first installment on a two part study on what it means to be a member of the church.
Why FaithPoint Has Community Groups.
Our text comes from Acts 2:42-47.
Community groups are not Sunday School.
Sunday School used to be the place where people’s lives were transformed and they walked alongside you in helping to conform you to the image of Jesus.
Now Sunday School exists for helping to increase a church’s attendance.
The concept of Sunday School was developed in 1780. At first, Sunday Schools were parachurch organizations. They were not affiliated with any local church.
Once Sunday School moved into the church, the staff begin to lead in the area of Christian education.
In the early days, Sunday School was not a program. Sunday Schools did not normally meet on Sunday. They met almost any day but Sunday. Also, Sunday School was not a school. It was not solely purposed for knowledge intake.
Sunday Schools met in:
- in people’s homes
- in bars
- in other types of public buildings
In the early days Sunday School had a purpose and a clear, defining mission. Sunday School was the farthest thing from a dying program begging to not have the plug pulled on it.
Today Sunday School is:
A consumer, curriculum driven program that meets as a closed group. These Sunday School groups rarely multiply. They are designed solely for knowledge and education to people that may not necessarily want to be educated.
Sunday School is no longer about making disciples, theologically correct teaching of Scripture, building community, and gospel centered. Sunday School is no longer about the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
*Enter Community Groups
Community Groups are designed to fall in line with the overall mission and vision of the church. They have a purpose. Community Groups are not curriculum driven and rarely meet on Sunday.
Community Groups are authentic. The members in a CG covenant together to be honest, transparent, and trustworthy. If you lie to your CG, you have already lied to yourself and God.
Life is messy. Community Groups engage people in the middle of their mess. You come with your issues, baggage and problems. When CG members recognize that everyone’s homes, jobs, minds, friendships, and marriages are messed up at some level, they begin to feel safe about sharing their messes. You realize that in a CG nobody is perfect and if you try to act fake – you will soon be exposed.
In an authentic CG, people do not hide behind cliche’s and put up faith facades. They talk about where they are. They talk about struggles, addictions, past hurts, and idols are exposed.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
(James 5:16 ESV)
Confession leads to freedom
Many people want to be fake. They resist becoming vulnerable. They have this intense fear that what they have confessed will be used against them or broadcast through Twitter and Facebook.
In all truthfulness, a healthy CG comes alongside its members and laughs, cries, celebrates, and mourns with them. People experience forgiveness, healing and they learn that Jesus is the source for both. They learn that the gospel is for both salvation and sanctification.
In a CG, you willingly share your story, your pasts and how your relationship with Jesus continues to unfold.
Doing life together
Jesus never meant for the Christian life to be lived alone. He also never meant for you to just play church.
We all share more than we ever realize:
- Inner turmoil
- Struggles at work
- Things to laugh about
- Past baggage
- Miracles to thank God for
- Reasons to celebrate
You share needs, you pray for each other, you enjoy spending time together. You become a gospel centered family.
Knowledge is not enough.
In a CG there are high expectations. You will be challenged. You will be held accountable. You will probably be uncomfortable.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
(James 1:22 ESV)
God expects that we will know and live out Scripture. God sets the bar high for our attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and character. God does this for His glory and our good.
The Bible shapes your worldview. You live life through the eyes of faith.
Especially in your pain and struggles, let your CG get involved. We need the encouragement and accountability that will drive us to repentance and a deeper, satisfying joy in Jesus.
Develop a desire to change. Be transformed.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:2 ESV)
Look for the continuation of these notes on Friday’s post.
Two verses that immediately strike at the heart of this matter are Acts 20:24 and Luke 14:33.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:33 ESV)
For you to be able to account your life as having no value and for you to be able to renounce all things and follow Jesus – You have to believe at your very core that Jesus is everything you will ever need!
You have to believe that what the Bible says is true – Jesus owns everything. You own nothing. You control nothing. You manage what Jesus allows you to manage.
But we don’t believe it. It’s easy for you to say Jesus is enough but you don’t live like it. Why? Because you don’t really believe that Jesus is enough.
We would rather be compelled to go to Target, eat at our favorite restaurant, shop and spend all our money at the mall than be compelled by Jesus and live fully surrendered to Jesus.
We would rather go to Best Buy and find pleasure in the latest tech than to find true pleasure in Jesus.
When we are sad or stressed out, we would rather run to Haagan Daas then run to Jesus. Why?
Because deep down at the core of our heart…we don’t want Jesus to be enough.
Our passion is pathetic at best.
People are more passionate about football, food, and NASCAR then they are about Jesus.
How is it that a football game can spark our emotions?
How is it that movies can stir something within us?
How is it that we can be more passionate about a burger? Really? A burger?
Why are we not in awe of Jesus?
Those things are most likely idols. When you devote such a large amount of time, energy, effort, and money to them, you are reflecting what you worship. Anything that you are more passionate about than Jesus is an idol.
All of those things are fine if they are kept in their proper place. However, when those things are elevated to a place greater than Jesus, it is a result of the disease that still plagues our heart.
We make idols out of marriage, kids, stuff, jobs, food, and many other things. We are amazing when it comes to making idols out of these things.
Our hearts are sick.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
As mentioned in the Bible, the heart is not your actual heart. It is the center of where we think, make decisions, make plans and the like.
Our ability to do anything has been corrupted. By sin.
We have a tendency to make this life about us.
It’s really easy – if you pay attention to what TV and magazines and the American Dream feed you. There is no shortage of voices screaming – “It’s All About YOU!”
How fast do you become angry when something does not go your way? How often are you offended? How often do you need to offer your opinion?
This life is not about you or me.
When are we going to believe that Jesus is enough?
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 ESV)
Jesus will supply your needs. Not your wants. Jesus redefines your wants.
When you believe that Jesus is your provider, and he will lead, guide, and protect you, you are compelled to obedience.
You have no more excuses.
Sharing the gospel becomes more important because you love talking about your Savior. Prayer becomes audacious and vibrant not forced. Giving is not an issue because you believe Philippians 4:19.
- You give of your money
- You give of your stuff
- You give of your time
- You give of your self
When you truly believe that Jesus is everything – Savior, Lord, Redeemer, Majestic, Holy, Protector, Provider, Potter, Creator, Healer, Sustainer – You will LIVE like Jesus is everything.
Your life is in the hand of Jesus who holds all things together. Your identity is found in who Jesus says you are. Your destiny can only be obtained when you abandon your love for this life and embrace Jesus.
Jesus is everything.
Jesus is enough.