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Showing posts from January, 2007


Holy Spirit Smoothies

Last night my group opened our new study of the book of Acts. Most of our discussion centered around the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a good discussion, with practical application to our lives. We closed, as usual with our prayer time and specifically prayed that the we would be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings in our lives. It was a good meeting.

What turned it into a GREAT MEETING was the magic bullet.

Yup. You've seen it on TV, now consider it one of the greatest "group builders" available. My wife brought some frozen fruit, a half-gallon of milk, some bananas, and whipped cream. We added ice and bingo HOLY SPIRIT SMOOTHIES.

Everyone was able to make their own however they wanted, and we were all able to sip them down throughout the meeting.

This is not a paid advertisement, but if you want a magic bullet, you can get it here.

Of course any old blender will accomplish the same thing, and really any dessert will liven up your meeting immensely!

LIFEGroup Reflections

Dare to ask.Have you ever had a question you were dying to ask during a sermon? Do you ever want raise your hand and get the preacher to clarify something? Do you ever wish you had a chance to give your opinion after the preacher gives his? Of course if we did that we would have an endless string of interruptions Sunday morning. We’d never get anywhere. We would never get that in-depth teaching we need. This week in my LIFEGroup we looked at a hard subject. We’re taking the next few weeks to study on hell. Hell isn’t a very popular subject to talk about right now. Even many Christians are uncomfortable talking about hell. It’s a hard subject. It’s hard to imagine people we know and love who aren’t Christians placed in eternal torment.As we discussed the justice of God in relationship to hell the discussion turned, as it often does, to those who lack the capacity to make a decision for Jesus Christ. As we went around the group we uncovered a few different view points. My view was in t…

Bible Study Software

More and more Bible study resources are available for your computer all the time. A great number of high quality programs exist which are useful for people at all levels of "biblical scholarship".

I haven't previewed "Bible Explorer Software" completely, but it looks to be a great program for those who do not desire to be "deeply scholastic" in their Bible Study.

Cool thing, it's free!

download a free copy

LIFEGroup Blog: What’s in a Name?

Why LIFEGroups?Have you ever had that moment when a familiar word takes on a new and exciting meaning? I said the words “I do” a lot of times before I actually said “I do.” Saying “I love you” takes on a new and exiting meaning when the woman you’re talking to isn’t your mother. And hearing the words “I’m pregnant” has a much different meaning when it’s coming from your wife.Have you ever had that moment with the word “church”? Have you ever sat there in a service on Sunday morning and wondered “Is this what church really is?” Is church just coming together for an hour and a half Sunday morning to worship and hear a message? What about the relationships? What about the people sitting next to me? In a Sunday morning you’re connecting with God through worship and His Word. When do we connect with each other?That’s why LIFEGroups. LIFEGroups help people connect at Calvary. When your experience at Calvary goes beyond Sunday mornings and into the lives of those around you, “church” takes o…

Alignment, Sermons, and Small Groups

CCC, a church in Chicago uses a "Big Idea" to really drive their spiritual formation. The Big Idea is the main point of the sermon, but is also the driving idea behind their small group meetings. Here's why, according to Jon Ferguson:
At CCC, we've experienced a number of benefits from using The Big Idea in our small groups. Here are three reasons why the Big Idea is a huge "win" for small groups:

# 1 The BIG IDEA Increases Application and Transformation

Without a doubt life change is most likely to occur within the context of community. Giving people a chance to sit in a circle with others on a similar spiritual journey to interact on the content of our weekend celebration services significantly increases the likelihood of people actually applying the topic to their life... because the topic of the discussion guide is directly tied to the topic for our weekend celebration services, every weekend our campus pastors and teaching team have a great opportunity…

LIFEGroup Reflections

You can’t live with out them.Have you ever noticed how many “one another” commands there are in the Bible? It shouldn’t be surprising. Right from the beginning God has created us to live in community with one another. Adam wasn’t complete until he was partnered with Eve. Have you ever noticed how hard the “one another” commands are to live out? I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise either. Look how Adam’s family fell apart after that first sin. So what happens when a group of broken people get together and try to live life as a redeemed community? It’s not always easy. I’m sure I’m not the only whose been hurt and disappointed with the way other Christians have treated me. Sometimes it seems like when it comes to Christians in the church, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. Think about the things Jesus asks us to do for each other, “be at peace with each other, bear with one another, be kind and compassionate to one another, love one another, encourage one another…

What's In a Name?

by: Steve Rodenburg

Do you have any questions about LIFEGroups? What is a LIFEGroup? Lots of churches have small groups, why does Calvary have LIFEGroups? What makes a LIFEGroup different from a small group? What's the difference between LIFEGroups and Sunday school? "What's in a name" will try to answer some of those questions you might have about LIFEGroups. We'll talk about what a LIFEGroup is and what makes Calvary LIFEGroups Special. This week will start a five week series on why we have LIFEGroups. If you have a question about LIFEGroups email us and we'd be glad to discuss it.

Have you ever joined a new church? Moving to a new church can be a challenging and alienating experience. Do you remember the first time you came to Calvary? My first experience at Calvary came on a cold January morning. I walked up to the front door which was being held open by a greeter. That's where I got my first hand shake. Then at the second door I received a second hands…

The Group that Prays Together...

A great opportunity is coming to West Michigan during the month of February. A few guys have rented a store front downtown for the sole reason of providing a place for people to pray. The goal is to have people praying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an entire month.

This would be a great chance for your group to go somewhere and spend an hour just praying together.

We'll continue spreading more info as it becomes available.

read more here.

Spiritual Growth Check-Up

Here are ten questions to ask to make sure you are growing spiritually.

Read the whole article here.

1. Are you more thirsty for God than ever before?

2. Are you more and more loving?

3. Are you more sensitive to and aware of God than ever before?

4. Are you governed more and more by God's Word?

5. Are you concerned more and more with the physical and spiritual needs of others?

6. Are you more and more concerned with the Church and the Kingdom of God?

7. Are the disciplines of the Christian life more and more important to you?

8. Are you more and more aware of your sin?

9. Are you more and more willing to forgive others?

10. Are you thinking more and more of heaven and of being with the Lord Jesus?

thanks to Heather Zempel.

Where everybody knows your name

by: Steve Rodenburg

Doesn't it feel good when someone remembers your name? When I worked in customer service our company had us take a whole class with the single focus of how to remember names. Knowing someones name creates an instant connection and rapport with the person. Remembering and using a persons name shows were interested in the other person. It shows we’ve paid attention to them and that we care about who they are. It shows we’re putting the focus on them and not on ourselves.

Think about the places where everybody knows your name. The list is probably short. My family knows my name, the people I work with know my name, and the people in my LIFEGroup know my name. The places where everybody knows us are the places where we spend our time, the places where we invest ourselves, the places where people care about us.

Among those places where everybody knows your name, the LIFEGroup is unique. At work youre there because you have a job to do. You may like your coworkers but…

Formative Activity: PRAY TOGETHER!

It's good to be back from vacation and getting in the saddle again. I know many of our groups are getting revved back up. One of my groups kicked the year off together last night, it was refreshing to be back together again!

New beginnings are a great time to start new traditions.

Pastor Mike is soon implementing "prayer journals" in our children's small group time. I thought that was a great idea.

You can get a cheap notebook at the dollar store, or maybe splurge a little and get something nice at Barnes and Noble. Appoint someone to keep the journal for the group and then track your prayer requests over time. This can be a great way to see how God has worked in your group over a long period.

You might even use the first pages for some ongoing requests such as:
an adopted missionarya local ministry agencyyour pastors and church leadersgovernment officialsetc...
LIFEGroup Reflections
The Group that Plays Together, Stays Together

A little while ago our LIFEGroup went bowling. Getting together just to play is a great way for people in LIFEGroups to get to know each other. You can learn a lot about someone when you bowl with them. Bowling is a seemingly simple sport. Roll a big ball and knock down ten pins 60 feet away. There are of course challenges. The lane is only three and half feet wide and on either side of the lane there are gutters for your ball to fall into.
We started bowling with bumpers up to prevent the balls from going into the gutter. Some used the bumpers more than others but almost all of us managed to break 100. We were laughing and having a good time. Everyone was feeling pretty good about themselves and the people around them.

Then someone had the bright idea of bringing the bumpers down. I hadnt hit a bumper all night but now on the very first throw of my second game, my bright electric blue ball was drawn to the gutter as if b…