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Showing posts from May, 2007

THIS SUNDAY!

Contact Pastor David if you have any questions!

LIFEGroup Reflections

The Ultimate Walk of Shame
Have you ever had to take the walk of shame? Minigolfer.com gives this definition of the walk of shame: When a player retrieves a minigolf ball that they have hit out of bounds and replaces it on the run to retake their shot. And if the walk of shame isn't bad enough there is the ultimate walk of shame. The ultimate walk of shame is when a player hits a minigolf ball into a pond and is forced to walk back to the beginning and ask for a new ball.Our LIFEGroup played minigolf and one of our members was forced to take the ultimate walk of shame. The ball was hit too hard. It took a bad bounce. It leaped off the course and into the murky water surrounding the Craig's Cruisers minigolf island. I watched the poor man's expression change from joy to sorrow as he realized the journey he must now take. Now as you know, minigolf is the sport of gentleman. And as a LIFEGroup it is our duty to care for our brother as he undertakes the ultimate walk of shame. …

Sharing Life

This is a great article from the Zone Gathering about small groups. The excerpt below really nails my thinking, much better than i've ever been able to say it. My catch phrase is "sharing life", this puts meat on those bones:
Over the years in the American church landscape, there has been a movement toward building church community outside of the traditional Sunday morning service. To accomplish this, congregations have tried to install more meetings, events or groups that gather throughout the week. Out of this desire came the small group or cell group model. Unfortunately for many, this merely meant that “church” was now on Sunday and on Wednesday, therefore proving that the problematic thinking that “church” is either a place or a time, was never really solved.

To really grow in the renewing of our minds on this issue, we should stop thinking of church community in terms of ‘number of meetings per week’ and begin understanding it as a fundamental necessity of life. Th…

Studying the Bible

I received an email yesterday with an article about studying the Bible. You can read the whole article here. Below are several of the ideas on how to have a more diverse Bible Study...

1. Survey the Word
Whether it be the whole of Scripture, an entire book in the Bible, or a given passage, capturing the big picture makes a deeper engagement of the Word more accessible and productive.

6. Discuss the Word
Discussions about meaning, interpretations, doctrinal substance, and sheer trivia can be a productive means of engaging the Word and driving it more deeply into our hearts.

7. Hand-copy the Word
Hand-copying the Word slows the brain down and synchronizes the mind with the meaning of a passage. Bible on one side. Journal on the other. Copying the word is a tremendous way to nourish the spirit and align the mind with the thoughts of God. Take. Eat. Enjoy!

9. Cross-reference the Word
Cross-referencing one passage with another related passage can release as much light into the soul as o…

LIFEGroup Magazine

Check out the latest issue of our LIFEGroup Magazine:

LIFEGroup Reflections

If you participated in the Justice and Mercy series and the break out sessions, at some point you probably ended up asking yourself “What can I do?” The question is a difficult one to answer because racism has so many facets. Racism is about so many things. Think of all the places where racism resides.

Racism is about attitudes. We are racist in our thoughts and attitudes. We are racist in our actions and words. Our government and social institutions our filled with racism. Our schools and our churches are filled with racism.

Racism is about distance. How many of us actually live in the places that are most affected by racism? How many of us are involved in the communities that are hurt by oppression? How can we expect to help changes take place when we've decided not to be neighbors with our brothers and sisters?

Racism is about power. Where does the power reside in the current system and how is it used? Who has access to it? Are those with the power willing to examine the current s…

Thoughts on Being a Caring Community

Chapter Five of Why Small Groups is written by Mickey Connolly. The chapter features a section on Caring for One Another. Connolly writes:
There are many ways we can express care for others in our small group. Let me suggest five proven methods:

1) Comfort

How wonderful it is...to have committed friends who will gather around us, bring comfort, and help ease our burdens. The New Testament instructs us to "mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15) and to "comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Co. 1:4)

2) Counsel

By this I don't mean formal counseling, but sharing with those in need the wisdom, insight, and experience we have gained. Paul told the Romans, "I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another" (Rom.15:14) .

3) Encourage

We face times when life seems difficult, progress slow, or challenges insurmountable. H…

Four Key Questions

this is an article by Eric C. Puff, reprinted from Discipleship Journal.

Every time I prepare a Bible lesson, I use these four questions, asked from the perspective of my students. taken in order, they form a logical structure for teaching and discussion.

1. Why is this important to me?
To give students a reason to pay attention and to spark their desire for biblical truth, I try to highlight a troubling life experience, an area of confusion, or a nagging question they have. For instance, when teaching on Phil. 4:6-9 -- where Paul teaches the Philippians how to handle anxiety -- I might say, "Life can rob our joy and peace. What restores it?"

2. What do I need to know?
Next, I lead a discussion on the content and meaning of Scripture. The goal is to show students what the Bible says about God, life, and the world. In teaching Phil. 4:6-9, I might outline the following steps to peace: Pray about your anxieties. think about good things. Practice what you've learned.

3. Ho…

Faith in Action

Tim Tabor has informed us that the Corinthian Baptist Church on Peck Street will be hosting a Gleaner's Food Truck on May 24th at 1pm. Their church has expressed a deep desire for many of us at Calvary to join with them in togetherness of faith, fellowship and service that day.

If you would like more information on serving with your group or as individuals, contact Pastor David or Tim Tabor!

Inviting People to Join Your Group

The following article is by Carter Moss who is from Community Christian Church in Chicago.
Have you ever invited someone over to watch the big game? Or invited another couple out for dinner? Or invited someone to your Christmas party? It wasn’t so scary, was it? So why can it be so scary to invite someone to join your small group? In my years of small group ministry, here are the top 3 misconceptions (or “excuses”) I’ve heard about why people don't make invitations for small group:

1. “They are probably already in a small group.” – Don’t assume this! I’d say currently at CCC, based on our stats, only around 50% of our attenders are currently grouped, so there’s a very good chance that the people you talk to aren’t. And there’s a good chance that it’s because they’ve never been personally invited. Think about the worst-case scenario here: you invite someone to group, they’re already grouped, so they walk away feeling incredibly affirmed that someone else wanted to be in group with t…

Four Easy Ways to Ruin a Small Group

In the book Why Small Groups, Mark Mullery wrote a chapter on leading small groups. He gives the following simple instructions to ensure the ruination of your group:

1 -- Do it all yourself.
Don't take time to give leadership or responsibility to others. Allow the people in your group to be nothing but weekly attenders. They'll stop coming in no time.

2 -- Strive to become a self-contained mini-church.
Use your group to create your own following. Sprinkle in some gossip and you'll be well on your way to failure.

3 -- Have all the answers.
Rather than allowing the group to work through issues together, demonstrate to everyone that you are the expert. It won't take long for them to realize they have nothing to contribute.

4 -- Go easy on the encouragement.
Don't spend too much time building each other up or praying together. Keep your group from being too "touchy-feely". People will soon learn that your group is not a place they can expect to be cared for.

Evaluate our Justice and Mercy Series

We always want to learn how to do things better, and often we can gain great insight from you and the people in your groups. Now that we have completed the Justice and Mercy series, we've created a survey to help us evaluate how it went.

Will you take the time to do 2 things?

1) Click on the link below to take our survey.
2) Forward the link to the people in your group.

Thanks!


Take the Survey

LIFEGroup Reflections

This week we completed the break out sessions for the Justice and Mercy
series. As we ended the discussion we talked about some of the things
that we can do to fight against racism. Initially we had difficulty
getting started. The problem is so big; it's hard to know how to begin
to attack it. We started coming up with some good suggestions but at the
same time it seemed like we were continually addressing the symptoms of
the problem, rather than the cause.

What would it take for real change to take place? What would need to
happen to reverse the power structure so that people could be treated
equally in our country and in our city? The first step when solving a
problem is to understand the problem. Here are some facts about West
Michigan you might not know. Muskegon County is the fourth most
segregated county in Michigan. The Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon area
is one of the most segregated areas in the country with 84.1 percent of
African Americans living primarily in the urban areas of Gran…

Thinking Missionally

As we consider different ideas and possibilities for being missional in community, here are some more ideas. As far as I know the author of this article is not a Christian, but these are still great ideas for sharing Christ's love with others. These may also be great ideas for groups with people who may not be able to get out and do physical projects.

Read the whole article here.

Here are the highlights:
Become a virtual mentor. In less than a half an hour a week, you can mentor kids and teens through the internet. Help young people set goals, learn study skills, deal home or school issues, and plan for a happy future. Encourage teens interested in your profession through I Could Be. Encourage kids to be successful in school through Achievement Advocate. Or, encourage foster children through Vmentor.Send supplies to a rural family. Many families in rural America struggle to provide their children with the necessities of life. Project Box connects sponsor volunteers with families th…

Questions from this Week

1. Some Christians believe that the influence of God’s kingdom will grow greater and greater until it fills the earth and then Jesus will return (post-millennialism).Others believe that Jesus will establish His kingdom on earth after He returns (pre-millennialism).Which view seems to be supported by Matthew 25:31-46?2.In Matthew 25:35-45 Jesus says that by giving or withholding acts of kindness to the needy, people actually do or do not do those things for Him.Why is this true?3.Matthew 25:31-46 seems to teach that people will receive eternal life or be sent to eternal punishment on the basis of doing or not doing good works.How do you reconcile this passage with the Bible teaching that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by works (Ephesians 2:8, 9)?4.The teaching of the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 58:6-9) and Jesus put great emphasis on caring for the poor, yet many American churches and Christians do not.Why do you think this is?5.As Jesus encouraged His followers to he…

100+

Now that we're wrapping up Justice and Mercy, it's time to ask the question, "What's Next?"

Yesterday we talked about 100+, Calvary's plan to use the first 100 days of our next 100 years to engage in 100+ acts of mercy.

I hope every LIFEGroup will acively participate in 100+. Click the logo below for more info.

Summer Is Coming!

As summer approaches, you may have already started making plans for your group's activities while school is out. Many groups choose to stop meeting for the summer and then relaunch in the fall. Some choose to meet less frequently, and others make no changes during the summer.

As we approach this natural break time, here are some things to be thinking about and/or discussing with your group:
What can we do to be "missional" this summer? Calvary's 100+ campaign will provide a great opportunity for groups to actively minister in ways that show Christ's love to our neighbors. Your group should set up at least one or two times to serve together.Who can we add to our group this summer? If you use summer as a time to have informal get-togethers, you have a great opportunity to introduce new people into your group. Begin building relationships in these less threatening environments, so that when things get more formalized in the fall, you will have less "work&qu…

Justice and Mecy: What's Next?

in some ways, many of the seeds for my portion of the Justice and Mercy series were born in Chicago two years ago.

at the end of the trip, i wrote:
I can't say enough about this trip. It has been a beautiful end to a difficult journey, but it has also been an incredible start to what promises to be a very exciting journey! I wish I could walk this entire road with these kids because I have great confidence in them. I wish I could be the great influence on them for their formative years. I hope I have served them well and have been an acceptable steward of the time that I have had them for.so it seems fitting that we close this series with the same song we used to close that trip...and ask the same question:

if we are the body...?



be thinking about how your LIFEGroup will participate in 100+