Pursuing The One

Pursuing The One

 

Focus on the one… We have a saying at Renovation that we are committed to reaching the one with the hope of Jesus. The one represents the person that is close to you but far from Jesus.  In the well-known parable in Luke 15: 4-7,  Jesus conveys His heart for the one. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” In this passage, we are able to see Jesus heart for the one. Jesus pursuit of the one does not neglect or minimize His love for the 99. Rather, examples of his love for those who are far from Himself.  The one is not an exclusive singular term, rather represents everyone who is far from God. We are able to see how Jesus is always pursuing the ones that are far from Himself.

As a worshiper, pastor and leader, loving the one is my aim. To constantly surround me with those that are far from God. When we pursue the one, we are committing to loving them unconditionally without the affirmation of their sins or alienation because of their sins. Pursuing the one means we love them unconditionally. Loving them no matter what their stance is on what we believe. Over the past several months, I have been wrestling with how to continue to love the one even when their lifestyle or beliefs are contrary to Gods word? I believe this is an issue that the church must wrestle with today more than ever before. My conviction is that as the church we must radically improve how we love those who disagree with us while not neglecting speaking biblical truth into their lives.  Rosaria Butterfield says, “it’s a violence to have our words be stronger than our deeds.

 HOW TO LIVE THE ONE LIKE JESUS: Here are 3 truths I am learning about how to love the one like Jesus.

 

I MUST TO BECOME FRIENDS of THEM,  NOT SCOUT THEM:

A sports scout canvases the country for the next rising talent. Looking for someone they can invest in to get something from them. They have an agenda in their relationship. This is not to suggest that scouts are bad. Not at all, this is just the nature of their job. I firmly believe that our agenda should not be to change someone, rather, to love them as Jesus loves them and allow the Holy Spirit and God’s word to change them. Our neighbors do not need us to “fix them”, they need someone to be a light in their dark world.

I MUST AVOID STIGMATIZING THEIR SINS ABOVE MY SINS:

It’s easy to separate or even elevate sins based on ever-changing cultural opinions. Romans 3:23 is a great reminder for me that my sins equally set us apart from God as anyone else. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Even my most seemingly trivial sin (if there was such a thing), would be enough to set me apart from God for eternity. If it was not for the grace of God. We must avoid the language of, “how could they”, “I would never” or “I can’t imagine” less we remind ourselves that without the unmerited love of God we too would be left to our own ways.

I MUST SPEAK ABOUT REPENTANCE WITH FERVENTNESS AND LOVE:

The most loving thing I can do with my one is to love them enough to show them that Jesus has a better way and encourage them to live in God’s best. Here is where it gets difficult; then I must continue to love them even if they don’t agree.

Undoubted there are countless groups of people who have been scared by the out of context and unbiblical banter that has taken place around the topic of repentance. The call to repentance was ever meant to be a billboard slogan, a sandwich sign at a grand opening or yelled through a megaphone at a group of people. Rightly understood, repentance is a call to acknowledged Jesus lordship over your own and to commit to living in it.

Romans 2:4 has been a wealth of conviction and encouragement for me over the past several weeks, “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Paul is addressing the hypocrites of the Christian faith. He draws our attention to how people change. It’s by the undeserving, unmerited kindness of God. Paul highlights that God’s justness and kindness are not polar opposites. Instead, they complement one another.

My job is to love those who are far from God, even when they do not agree with my beliefs. To continue confessing my own sins to God and leaning on the grace of God for my life and in love, point those that are close to me to God’s better plan for them.

Who is your one?

MOORE FAMILY UPDATE

MOORE FAMILY UPDATE

The day has finally come where we get to share with you, our friends, about the exciting adventure God has been planning for our lives over the course of the last season (but really, perhaps, the last 3 years). But before I tell you, there’s an incredible back story in which God deserves the credit for writing.
Just 3 months ago, after great prayer, consideration and counsel, I choose to resign from my position at FBCJAX. Kisha and I simply waned to be obedient to God’s leading, wherever that calling led us. The journey to that decision had not been easy. But, with confidence, I knew it was the right decision for the passions God had placed in my heart. Trusting God, I stepped away from a community of people that we had done life with and invested in for almost ten years.
It was over the course of those 10 years at FBCJAX that God began stirring and forming a path that I still can’t quite believe I’m on. You see, almost every trip that our family would take to Wilmington or Myrtle Beach would take us right through Hampstead on hwy 17. For almost three years Kisha and I would talk about the amazing work that God is doing through Renovation Church and the friends we have who have been a part of that young church plant. We would often talk about the future impact of Renovation Church on Hampstead and surrounding communities. At that time we were simply champions for Renovation, never imagining that God would allow us to be apart of that very movement we watched take shape and prayed for often.
God is good! As we stepped away from FBCJAX, we decided to attend to Renovation Church for worship and to just recharge. During this season God began opening a door to a new possibility.  Every phone call, meeting, conversation and worship gathering affirmed God’s leading in our lives. And so, after much prayer and conversations (and simply, God moving in ways I can’t explain), we are excited to let you know that on Jan 1, I will be joining the team at Renovation Church (Hampstead, NC) as their Executive Pastor. Kisha, the boys and I could not be more excited about the next season of ministry for our family. I look forward to being a small part of a greater story for the glory of God. We are more confident than ever that this was God’s purpose in stirring our hearts and leading us to Renovation Church.  I can’t thank Pastor Jonathan and the leadership of Renovation Church enough in how you have loved my family and me during this process.
I’m forever thankful for my time at FBCJAX and the friendships that we built as they helped prepare me for the next chapter in which God had been working on in many ways and for many years. Throughout this entire process, Kisha and I have been overwhelmed with God’s goodness to our family. He has been far greater than we deserve.
To our friends and family, we want to say thank you for how you have supported and encouraged our family over the past several months. Continue to keep the prayers coming as the fun is just now beginning!
Anxiety on the Rise and Our Response

Anxiety on the Rise and Our Response

Over the years, I have met with and counseled more teens than I can remember on depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. The weight of those counseling sessions was always heavier for me than others. Most sessions left me with my head in my hands trying to figure out how we got in this place. How did we get here?

I will never forget the night. It was the night before we tore down a back wall of our student facility for renovation needs. That night we were talking about a phrase called, Stockholm Syndrom. At the end of the service, we encouraged students to write on the wall the things that were holding them captive. The things that they kept running to but wanted to be set free from. Little did I know, the weight of the words that would be written.

I remember sitting there with my head in my hands wondering how we got here. It seemed that every third note was about suicide, anxiety, depression or despair. The troublesome fact was, most parents had little to no idea. From my experience, most teens don’t tell their parents about their feelings or thoughts as it pertains to this topic until they are much older or it’s too late.

Teen anxiety has been on the rise since 2012. In 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million reports experiencing depression that impairs their daily function. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys–totaling 6.3 million teens–have had an anxiety disorder, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (times magazine). These stats are more than likely on the low end as most teens don’t express their need for help. A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20% of young people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment.

The reality is that our kids are growing up in a world that is very different than the world that we grew up in. They will never know a time where terrorist attacks, church shoots, school shootings are not the unfortunate norm. They are growing up in a digital world where they are constantly comparing themselves to everyone around the world in the blink of an eye. Not to mention the unrealistic pressures and standards that are placed on our kids by the educational system. To be successful you must do x, y and z.

So what’s the solution? What can we do as a generation to give hope to the next generation? I don’t have the complete answer yet, but I believe it begins with teaching our children when they are young about the sovereignty of God. Showing them that there is a God that loves them beyond their wildest imagination (John 3:16) and that He can be trusted no matter what happens in life

Isn’t it strange that our kids have no trouble believing that a fat man in a red suit can slide down a small chimney and give all kids in the world gifts in one night? What would happen if we invested the same amount of energy, from childhood into showing them why they can trust God with the circumstances of their life. When their life is the easiest begin teaching them about the sovereignty and provision of our the heavenly Father.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32).

Over the next several wks, I will be posting several times about ways to fight anxiety, worry, fear with trusting God. Let me know if this is something that you struggle with and if there is a particular area that you would like for me to speak to.

5 Ways To Trust God

5 Ways To Trust God

1.Regular Family Devotions & Prayer: Regular time with God increases our dependency on God. The more kids learn about the depth and breadth of the love of Jesus, the more they will have the confidence to lean on Him. Instilling a regular routine of scripture and prayer in our children’s lives is one of the more valuable spiritual skills we can hand our children. Family devotions don’t have to be 45 min’s long around the kitchen table. They can be but don’t have to be. The goal is for our children to be excited about their time with God. So, meet your kids where they are, on their level. Don’t be afraid to change it up. There are many nights that Kisha and I ask our kids, “what are you thankful for?” This one question opens the floor for some great conversation and we close by thanking God for those things.

Options: There are many great options to choose from.

  • ParentCue App: We will sometimes use the Parent Cue App because it helps reinforce the truths that kids our children are learning in their small group’s ar church. Check it out HERE!
  • Bible App: The Bible App by Life Church has some incredible family devotions for all ages. Check it out HERE!
  • A Good Children’s Bible: Jesus the Story Book Bible is a great tool for Parents. Check it out HERE! /

2.Be Involved in a Gospel-Centered Church that Values Your Family. As parents, Kisah and I are forever grateful for our son’s small group leaders. No matter what kind of week they had at school, their small group leader’s remind them that they are loved beyond their wildest imagination. A gospel-centered church is essential in helping children rightly understand God’s love and His might.

3. Memorize Scripture Together. The more our children know about God’s word, the more they will trust Him. Here are a few verses that are helpful to memorize.

  • 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
  • Psalm 33:4: For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
  • 1Chronicles 16:11: Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
  • Isaiah 41:10:  So do not fear, for I am with you. do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

4. Model Scripture. The more our children see us as parents keep our promises, the greater their potential will be to trust God’s promises. Try making some simple promises to your children that you can easily fulfill. Promise to buy them ice cream (for no reason) or take them on a bike ride. Whatever promises you make, be sure to follow through and remind them that just like you kept your promise so does God.

5. Do Something Fun. Set aside 15-30 minutes to play a fun game or activity that encourages children to trust God. Here are a few ideas: play the Blind Walk game or Bat and Moth game. At the end of the games discuss why it’s important to listen to God. Another fun activity is to read the story of Noah (Gen. 7-9) together. Spread out a piece of butcher paper or cardboard and draw a huge rainbow. As you are drawing have someone in your family tell a story of when they saw a rainbow. Hang the picture up as a reminder that becauseGod keeps His promises we can trust Him.

WHAT IS A LIFEGROUP COACH?

WHAT IS A LIFEGROUP COACH?

By: Jake Ferguson

Coaching has as many styles as there are coaches.  If the old cliché, “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” has any truth; it has truth in coaching.  It is recognized that coaches will lead and mentor LifeGroup Leaders according to personality, life experience, and unique relationships with God.  The relationships that the coach builds over time with their Leaders and Hosts will pave a way for spiritual growth and biblical fellowship.

What is a Coach and what does a Coach do?  In short, a coach is a leader whose intentional investment in the lives of other leaders encourages them to do and be better; better not just in their leadership role…but better, period.  A Coach calls out the best in a leader.  The relationship between Coach and leader is the engine that God uses to drive the leader to reach their God given purposes.

A coaching relationship is successful when the coach invests in the leader in such a way that the leader feels cared for and able to accomplish the task.  Four things that a Coach must keep in mind when mentoring a LifeGroup Leader and Host:

  1. They EQUIP the leader and host

2. They SERVE the leader and host

3. They SHEPHERD those under their care

4. And they further RECRUIT more leaders and hosts through relational development

SIMILAR BUT NOT THE SAME

SIMILAR BUT NOT THE SAME

By: Megan Saurman

Leading, mentoring and coaching. All these words seem to carry the same similar theme… moving people in a direction, aiming to reach a goal, implementing wisdom to help another person or group be successful. How each of these words accomplish that end result though is very unique.

If you are praying about what role is right for you and if you can be more than one of these in the same season lets explore their differences and the way each one works in its own method.

You can absolutely be all of these at the same time, you can be a LifeGroup Leader and a LifeGroup Coach simultaneously  – the key is to know how much you can take on and still be highly effective, and to pray about who in your sphere of influence needs you to be which role in their life.

Leading a LifeGroup means you provide a clear vision for your LifeGroup. You are growing a certain amount of people in God’s word, towards Next Steps in their faith. Your main priority is to love them where they are at, and help them be successful in reaching new levels in their faith and relationship with God. Cover them with support, and help them stay focused while their relationship with God is becoming deeper and more consistent.

Mentoring within a LifeGroup, which is part of the LifeGroup Leader’s role, is when you identify someone within your LifeGroup who has potential and interest in being a leader and you begin raising them up by not only leading them but also sharing your wisdom, life experiences, and your personal methods of growing closer to God and in God’s word. Intentionally take them along side you and tell them how you have been taught, share with them the positives and negatives of your own life experiences, and how to start being leaders themselves by slowly allowing them to participate in co leading with you.

Coaching a LifeGroup is a separate dynamic all together. The reason you can be a Coach and a LifeGroup Leader at the same time is because you will be coaching a different LifeGroup than the one you are leading. Coaching a LifeGroup means your role will be a listening ear to other LifeGroup Leaders and you will ask them a series of questions that draw an answer from within them, which will teach them to recount their observations, be objectionable about situations and learn to problem solve using the wisdom they themselves have learned. Yes, there be occasional times that you will have to offer your own advice, opinion, and fresh ideas to the situation.The best way to effectively coach is to be a sound board for the LifeGroup Leader you have been placed with, and to draw answers out of them so they learn to be a more effective leader who raises up more effective leaders.

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