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Showing posts from March, 2007

Justice and Mercy Info

Dear LIFEGroup Driver,As you are certainly aware, we will be launching our new “Justice and Mercy” series at Calvary in a few weeks.I’m excited about this opportunity for us as a family to think more “missionally”.I hope your group will be able to participate.You have probably received a couple phone calls from Jacquie Finn over the past few weeks.She’s doing a great job trying to coordinate schedules and help me determine how many breakout facilitators we need, and when we’ll need them.If she’s still trying to get ahold of you, please try to return her calls.You can get plenty of information about this series by checking out our website at:justiceandmercy.comAlthough we are not requiring every LIFEGroup to be a part of this series, we are providing five different meeting times for your group to combine with other groups to study material pertaining to Justice and Mercy.Particularly in the Breakout Sessions we will be examining the injustice of racism, and discussing how Christ’s foll…

LIFEGroup Reflections

Cleaning houseThis week I experienced a LIFEGroup first. This week our LIFEGroup met at a home. Last week at the end of the meeting some asked “Where are we going to meet next week?” I immediately said “Why not my place?” I’ve been in Muskegon for over a year but haven’t really had any one over from church yet. When I made the suggestion to meet at my house my wife gave me a funny look which I understood immediately. Her look said “That’s fine if people come over but you’d better understand that you will make sure the house is clean.”I told my wife that I thought the idea of LIFEGroups was to share authentic relationships and it would be more authentic if they saw me as the slob I am. She didn’t buy it so I spent the whole week cleaning. As Sunday got closer I found my self more and more excited. Then I started noticing things around the house that needed to be done. I noticed I hadn’t given the bathroom sink a good scrubbing in a while. I noticed a few pieces of litter in the lawn. I…

What's in a Name

Connection Point 5: EngageHave you ever found something that you had to share? I remember when I first found G&L chili dogs. I was helping a friend put on a roof in Muskegon. It was late afternoon and we were getting really hungry. My friend’s girlfriend went out and got us food. She came back with the classic Greek chili dog special. Now I’m not much of a hot dog eater so I was a little skeptical. But when I took that first bite! Wow! I was an instant convert. When I got back to Grand Rapids I told everyone about the wonders of the Greek chili dog special. My dad loves a good hot dog so one Saturday afternoon we took the drive out to Muskegon just for G&L. When I moved to Muskegon I was very excited to finally be ever near a G&L. Whenever I have friends or family in from out of town I always make sure I bring them to G&L.Where are you in your spiritual journey at Calvary? Have you been the explorer? Have you attended Link-Up? Have you partnered and served with your LI…

LIFEGroup Reflections

I like math. I love the certainty that I can have in math. I love that I can actually prove that there are 180 degrees in a triangle. Think about it. I’ve just stated a truth. I’ve just stated a truth that is universally true for all time. There never has been, and never will be a triangle that does not have interior angels equaling 180 degrees. This is true in America, its true in China, its true in India. It is true everywhere all the time, never changing.In our LIFEGroup this week we asked the question “Can we have the same certainty about God?” Can we come up with a proof for God? Theologians in the past tried to create logical arguments that proved God. Anselm came up with probably the most famous logical proof for God. He said that God is that which nothing greater can be thought. The argument runs that though we are created beings we can conceive of great things such as infinity and ultimate goodness. Since as finite creatures we have no direct experience of infinity and ultima…

What's in a Name

The Five Points of ConnectionPoint 4: ServeThere is a great show on PBS called Grannies on Safari. Two Grannies who are best friends, travel the globe creating friendships and learning about the culture. In my favorite episode the Grannies travel to Japan. They visit the ritzy Ropongi Hills district. They participate in a traditional Japanese tea service. They even get to attend a sumo wrestling match. It’s a lot of fun watching these Grannies explore a new culture. The only problem is the Grannies never get to stay for very long. When people come to Calvary we don’t want them to just be explorers. Everyone starts out as an explorer but there comes a point when its time to participate in Calvary. When that point comes the explorer attends Link-Up where the person is introduced to the culture of Calvary and the person partners with a LIFEGroup.So what is next point of connection after partnering? Have you ever stayed an extended period with a different family or in a different culture?…

Bible Study in Community

jon sampson trains small group leaders. recently he posted about their church's new method, and why he enjoys Bible study in community. his thoughts really resonate with me because they are my experience.

read the article here.

jon writes:
Here's one observation from today's training. Our time is always more engaging and interesting when everyone gets the opportunity to participate. People learn more when I ask a question than they ever do when I pontificate on a point. Listening to a lecture (or even an excellent presentation filled with examples and stories) is just about absorbing something. When people answer questions, they're forced to process and create. The group comes to life.i think the one of the nice parts of Bible Study in community is that you aren't bound by a schedule. If you decide as a group that you need to come back to a passage because you aren't done with, you can do that. In one-way communication or with large groups, that isn't possib…

Prayer for Group Leaders

This post came from Heather Zempel at the Zone Gathering

The great reformer Martin Luther said, “I generally pray two hours every day, except on very busy days. On those days, I pray three.” Luther was a pretty busy man– defending his theology, translating the Bible into German, writing books, and leading a Reformation– so I imagine he spent several days in 3-hour prayer.

Prayer is one of the most critical disciplines of a godly leader, and it is a key component of solid spiritual foundations. It is ridiculous to think we cdo justice to this topic in one Thursday Leadership Lesson, so I will simply share some of the things that I am personally trying to practice this semester.

Prioritize Prayer
Prayer must become a priority for you as a leader. It isn’t an add-on or something to do when you’ve got the time. It must become the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night. In Mark 1:35, we read that “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, l…

What's in a Name?

Step 3: PartnerHave you ever been to a new country and experienced a totally different culture? In different cultures there are different languages, different rules, different ways to act. Different countries have different cultures but so do different schools, or jobs or churches. Every church has its own culture, its own way of thinking, its own way of talking, its own way of acting. When people come to a new church they'll have a cultural adjustment to make. People that encounter new cultures often go though an experience called culture shock.According to Dr. Kay Clifford from the University of Michigan there are four general stages of culture shock. In stage one the visitor is often excited. The new culture is interesting, the people are friendly and helpful, and the future looks promising. I remember the first time I came to Calvary. It was an exciting experience. The building is impressive. The worship is amazing. The message was great. The people who greeted me were friendl…

LIFEGroup Reflections

Haircut Theology

How much is too much for a haircut? You can get your haircut for $13.50 at the Walmart Salon. Last time I checked Borics was around 12 dollars. At Panopolous Salons a men's haircut can run from 18 to 40. If I wanted to get my hair died using the foil treatment I could spend as much as 100 dollars. If I had a couple hours to spare I could always take a chance and go to one of those student cosmetologists and get my hair done for 6 dollars. How much does it cost to feed starving child in Nairobi? Through Feed the Children you can feed a child for 8 dollars a month. Through the Christian Children's Fund you can cloth, educate and feed a child for 24 dollars a month. World Vision will feed, clothe, educate a child and make community improvements like access to clean water, agricultural assistance, medical care and more for 35 dollars a month. Can you guess what I'm going to say next? Are you expecting a lecture about the wastefulness of America's vani…

LIFEGroup Reflections

Last week I went to a Muskegon Fury game with my LIFEGroup. I love sports. I’ve always found the connection between a fan and a sport to be a strange thing. How is it that we get emotionally connected to a group of people who we’ve never met? How is it that we attach some part of our self worth to whether or not five guys can put more pucks in a net than five other guys?This phenomenon is especially strange in Michigan. When it comes to the U of M and MichiganState rivalry almost everyone has an opinion. What astounds me is that a great majority of the people who are passionate about the rivalry have never attended either school. When someone asks me if I root for the Green and White or the Maize and Blue, I ask them which of the two schools they went to. Fortunately I had the pleasure of attending MichiganState and I have had the first hand experience necessary to make such a judgment. The correct opinion is that State is the superior institution. The only proper way to evaluate a Un…

What's in a name?

Step 2: LaunchHave you ever been lost? I get lost all the time. I have a horrible sense of direction. I get disorientated very easily. It drives my wife crazy. I make wrong turns on the way to places I go almost every day. When we go some place new I always have a map. I can’t get anywhere with out a map.If you wanted to know how to grow at Calvary would you know where to go? If you wanted direction on your spiritual journey, would you know who to ask? Do you have a map? At Calvary we have five points of connection that help serve as a map on our spiritual journey at this church.The first connection point is the explorer. When you start your journey at Calvary you’re playing the role of an explorer. The explorer is the person checking out Calvary. The explorer is discovering the Faith and getting answers to those life questions everyone is asking.But where do you when you’re done exploring? Where do you go when you’ve got the lay of the land? Where do you go when you want to move forw…