No Biting

From:  Gurnall, William. The Christian in Complete Armour: A Treatise of the Saints’ War against the Devil … London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1964.
 
“What folly it is for us to bite and devour one another to make sport for the devil.  We are prone to mistake our heat for zeal, whereas usually the strife between saints is a fire-ship sent by Satan to scatter our unity and order.  United we are an armada invincible, and Satan knows he has no other way but strife to sink us.

 

When reproached and persecuted by wicked men, look beyond them. Spend your wrath on Satan, who is your chief enemy. Men are only his puppets. They may be won to Christ’s side and so become your friends at last.  Anselm explains it in the following manner. ‘When the enemy comes riding up in battle, the Valiant soldier is not angry with the horse, but with the horseman. He works to kill the rider so that he may possess the horse for his own use. Let us pray fervently, as Christ did on the cross, that the devil will be dismounted and those miserable souls delivered from him.”
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4 Directives For Victory – Priscilla Shirer – JRC

Opening Thoughts:

  • It’s amazing how your countenance changes when you discover what your enemy thinks about you.
  • When we understand where stand, who’s on our team, and how the enemy quakes when we come out in Christ.
  • Whether we believe it or not…Our enemy knows.
  • In the end we win.
  • Don’t live without the knowledge that we are victorious.

Ex. 14 – The people are released from Egypt and days into their journey.
Ex. 14:13-14 – But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (‭Exodus‬ ‭14‬:‭13-14‬ NLT)

  • The Lord will do the fighting for you…if you just stay calm!!!
  • We have the promise of victory.
  • There is no manipulation.
  • Victory has already been given to you. – Just stay calm.

Moses gives 4 Directives for Victory (Assured by Yahweh “I Am”)

1. Be Fearless (Do not be afraid)
2. Be Still
3. Be Watchful
4. Be Quiet/calm

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Life Groups: A Nutshell Perspective

There are a lot of books and articles that have been written and are being written about life groups, small groups, cell groups, community groups, impact groups, or egroups. I’ve even read a fair number of these books, white-papers, and blog articles.  Furthermore, I’ve been involved in small group membership and leadership, in one form or another, for years.  At this point in the church community small group revolution, I think I can safely say that small groups, life groups, or whatever you want to call them, are the salvation of the church.

Citing the classic, widely used passage of scripture in Matthew, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NLT),  I would even go so far as to state that the development of small groups within a church community is the most direct and honest application of Jesus’ command to make disciples.

The second most important need, after salvation, that every single human on the planet craves is community.  For the sake of clarity, I will define community as interpersonal connections, and life-affirming relationships.  I’m not going to spend my entire time within this article shouting out the gospel of small groups.  We are all members of small groups: family, classes, sports teams, job/career “teams”, marriages, etc.  Without group membership of one sort or another we, as indiviuals, slip into the morass of depression and lonliness. Yes, there are reams of studies supporting the need for personal connections.

We, in the church community, should all know by now that people don’t come to church and STAY in church because of a particular pastor’s powerful messages, or energetic and engaging worship presentations.  People stay in a particular church community because of the people they meet and the connections they make.  Conversely, people also leave churches because of their lack of meaningful connections and relationships within any given church.  Granted, powerful preaching, fantastic worship services, and amazing outreach programs do draw people into a church building, but they do not assimilate people into church community or grow disciples.  Small groups/life groups are the work-horse of church ministry.  Ideally, small groups are where evangelism occurs, tears flow, disciples are grown, and servant-leaders are shaped.

Ok, enough speechifying.  I’ll get off my soap box now.  Allow me to share with you what I personally consider to be key elements in sucessful small groups/life groups:

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