Soul Training – Jonathan Worley

I recently read the book, “The Good and Beautiful God,” by James Bryan Smith. A couple of chapters in this book, in particular, stood out to me. One of those chapters is titled, “God Transforms.” This statement is one that any true, God-loving christian would latch onto. In this chapter, Smith writes about a man that struggles with the relationship of being a sinner and yet being sanctified by Christ. He speaks heavily of grace and forgiveness to release the chains and bondage of attempting to be holy.

Everybody likes this message. Am I right?

The thing is, Bryan follows it up with another chapter called “Solitude,” which suggests that solitude is related to “God Transforms.” The thing I really like about this book is that Bryan writes on a truth and then follows it up with an action or discipline in the next chapter.

I think the concept of understanding doctrine and misunderstanding what to do with it is common in the typical Christian’s life. A lot of times we can be taught a truth, but fail to understand how to get it from our head to our hands. Bryan formatted his book to combat this problem by saying “God Transforms,” but then requires you to do something.

This begs the question, “Is God transforming me or am I?”

The answer is yes. Scripture is clear that we are to “be transformed.” Romans 12:2 shows an interesting relationship between human action and God’s transforming power. On one hand, we all want to believe in a formula for transformation, which states that if I ask God enough times or ask with enough passion it will happen for me.

And on the other hand, God calls us to action beyond a prayer. I believe that the very essence of the gospels is action.

I read the solitude chapter with skepticism. I thought, “What in the world does solitude have to do with God’s transforming power?” To tell you the truth, I didn’t find that out until I did some purposeful application. In his book, Bryan suggests being in solitude for one to two hours a day, and based on the rest of the book I took that to mean no social media, no TV, and no books. I thought this was unreasonable, but as I kept reading I realized it wasn’t an all or nothing practice.

I started small with sitting in the shower for 15 minutes every morning with the purpose of allowing God to do His thing. I tried not to think about anything and clear my mind the best I could by listening to myself breathe or focusing on the sound of the running water.

This was difficult. I think starting small is the key. The discipline grew naturally without me forcing it. The 15 minutes turned into 30, and 30 minutes turned into 45. Before I knew it, my hot water heater was running out of hot water. My time with God evolved from the shower to the Bible, and from the Bible to journaling, which led to me understanding life a little bit differently. Who knew 15 purposed minutes would change the way I operate!

Although learning to clear my mind was helpful, my big discovery shed some light on something different. Let’s be honest, being silent is not a complex or revolutionary thing. My big discovery showed me the relationship between what God does and what I do.

To clarify, transformation took place somewhere between what I did and what God is doing. God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed me to participate in my own transformation process, and I think this is what He wants for all Christians.

Chasing Failure

If you could accomplish anything in the world, and you knew you could not fail, what would it be?

Would you write a book?

Would you start a business?

Would you start a blog?

So many times in my life, the fear of failure has limited what I have been able to do – simply because I would not give it a try.

What will people think if I fail?

Who will this affect if I fail?

Will I be embarrassed if I fail?

The truth is, I was limiting my opportunities to succeed because my fear of failure kept me from even trying.  For most people it is not the fear of succeeding, winning, or being recognized. Instead, it is the FEAR OF FAILING. We can become paralyzed from any further action to accomplish what we are being called to do, simply by mentally processing through a failure that MAY occur along the way.

The first thing we have to realize is that it is not by our own strengths that we accomplish anything anyway. None of us are smart enough, strong enough, or talented enough to do anything God has called us to do, the way He wants us to do them.

In 2 Corinthians 3:5, Paul tells the people of Corinth, “It’s not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own, our qualifications come from God.”

Paul realized after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus that he was not in control of what he was called to do. He knew that his calling was only going to be fulfilled by the power that God gave him through His Spirit.

God uses the personality (that He gives us), the spiritual gifts ( that He gives us), and our passions (that He gives us) to equip us to do what He is calling us to do.

When we change our perspective on failure, we expand our possibilities of success. Failure should never be a stopping point. Failure is a great opportunity to grow, sharpen, and expand the gifts and abilities the Lord has given us.

The common denominator in all people who succeed is that they were willing to fail. They did not allow failure to be the element that would keep them from success. We have all heard the stories of Sam Walton, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, and the list goes on.

What about the Bible? Well, there are a few folks in there who failed and yet went on to have pretty good success – like Moses and King David.

And, what about Joseph? This dude went through a roller coaster of successes and failures. He was born into a good family, had some dreams God gave him, made his brothers mad, was sold into slavery, got a good job with Potiphar, whose wife hoodwinked him, was put into prison, interprets some dreams, gets out of prison, gets a REALLY good job with Pharaoh, and saves tons of people, including his family and the people of God.

You and I will fail.

It is inevitable.

What will make the difference is our perspective of failure; it will keep us from or propel us toward success. Not worldly success, godly success. Succeeding at what God created and saved YOU to do.

Just as He did in Joseph, God uses those failures to refine us, so that He can use us to do what He saved us to do.

So, let’s change the question a bit: What would you do if failure was not a problem?

For deeper insight, check out the “Chasing Failure” study plan on the YouVersion bible app.

Easter and Family

Yesterday, Renea brought in the Easter cards for me to sign for my parents and her parents. I immediately thought about the impact of being raised in a Christian home where Easter was the foundation of our lives.

Joe and Mava Taylor taught me from my youngest days that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was the most important part of life – the eternal part of life. I hunted for Easter eggs, wore funny looking suits (they were perfect, Mother!), but was clearly taught that I needed to know Jesus in order to be saved.

When I reached the age of understanding in Houston, Mississippi, I was in church when an altar call was given. And to this day, I clearly remember asking Jesus to take away my sins.

Here are the words that I put in my card to my parents:

Daddy and Mother, 
A very Happy Easter to the two people most instrumental in pointing me to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Thanks for providing me with a home that will pay eternal dividends for me, my children, my grandchildren, and on and on…until He returns!
I love you, 
Terry 

I’m a 55 year old man with grown children, three grandchildren, and two more on the way. What a responsibility I feel to pass onto these future generations – the special Easter gift that was given to me!

I then reflected on what I would put in the card to Renea’s parents:

Cecil and Joyce, 
Happy Easter! Thank you for raising a daughter, mother, and grandmother who has a true personal relationship with our risen Savior! The foundation of faith the two of you poured into her is making an eternal difference generation after generation…
I love you both, 
Terry 

Easter is such an important day in the life of a church. My dad is 81 years old and pastors Ladd Springs Church of God just outside Cleveland, Tennessee. I will not be there with them, but from what I experienced growing up in my parent’s home, the church will look its very best on this Sunday morning, March 27. There will be great effort and attention to make the people who visit on this Sunday feel welcomed and important. 

That turns my attention to Family Church this Sunday, March 27. Our attendance has been growing rapidly and this Sunday will likely be “standing room only” with all the new people we expect to have for our Easter service.

Those of us that already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ have such a great responsibility this Sunday.

We will be asked to:

SERVE – many of us will be greeting, directing parking, holding babies, teaching children, leading in worship, serving on security teams, or just being Jesus to new people that enter our Worship Center.

SITTING – we will give up our preferred seat this Sunday to make room for people that walk in a little nervous about coming to church. We so desire to make it easy for them to find a seat.

FRIENDS – we will help people see that we desire to be more than just a friendly church. Instead, we want to be a place new people leave convinced they could find friends to do life with at Family Church.

I pray that I will need to stand up all service long this Sunday so that someone who doesn’t know Christ, or have the Christian background that I have, will have the opportunity to hear the message of Easter! I want other families to begin passing their faith to another generation.

Terry Taylor

Reminder: if you haven’t passed your Easter invite card to someone, please do so right now!

When Sorry Is Not Enough

Associate Pastor | Music Minister

Last year, Dylan and I planned a surprise for Cheryl and the girls.  He was away at college and Savannah was on the Homecoming Court.  We informed the girls that Dylan just couldn’t make it home because of scheduling and pressing issues at college.  They were all quite disappointed but certainly understood.  

The afternoon of Homecoming, Dylan came home to surprise them.  We were able to capture on video each emotional reaction.  It was a moving moment.  Each reaction to seeing him was quite emotional. It will go down as one of those “special moments” for our family.  

Click Here To Watch Video

After posting this video on social media, I was asked multiple times, “What did you do in your home to create an atmosphere where your kids love each other like that?”  I spent some time trying to answer this question.  After making lists and being thankful for the Grace of God that made up for our shortcomings as parents, this is where I landed on the answer to that question:  

One of the most important things we did to create peace in our our home was to teach our kids to appropriately apologize.  

It is so important for each person in your home to be able to apologize well!

In a world where the words, “I’m sorry” have become cheap and somewhat meaningless, here are the 4 components to a real apology that will lead to peace and reconciliation in your home.

  1. Say “I’m Sorry”

The first step is to say “I’m sorry.” When we say this, we are showing regret.  Regret is when we recognize that we did or said something wrong that affected the relationship with another.

When saying “I’m sorry,” we trained our children to:

  • look each other in the eyes  
  • speak clearly and with sincerity
  • control their body language when they said “I’m sorry” – meaning we would:
    • make them fold their hands
    • place their hands in front of them
    • then speak to the other person  

Doing this helped them settle themselves, which led them to “be in the moment.”

Always remember, the words “I’m sorry” should never be followed by the word “but.”  This is a bad practice and usually tries to excuse our behavior.  

  1. Say “I Am Wrong”

When we say “I am wrong,” we own the offense.  We cannot excuse it away.  

Our children had to name the offense.  If they lied, cheated or stole something, they had to say it out loud and verbally own it.  They were not allowed to make an excuse for their actions.

Saying “I am wrong” is so important to having peace in your home!  

Do you know anyone who always has to be right?  Do not be that person!!  When we always have to be right, we have the tendency to crush the spirits of the ones we love, we close relational doors and we narrow the path to reconciliation.  

Remember, the goal of a real apology is to restore the relationship not just “right” a “wrong.”

A home where people freely admit they are wrong is probably a relationally healthy home.

  1. Say “Will You Forgive Me?”

This is such an important part of an apology.  When we ask another person to forgive us, we take a position of humility and give up control.  Wow – I know those are concepts that we may not hear much about these days.  When we ask for forgiveness, we are placing it in the hands of the other person.  

Giving up control trains our children to have humility and helps them understand that life is not all about them, their desires and wants.  That is a good thing! 

It is so important to train your children that they are part of a family and the well being of this group is more important than the individual.  

In our home, after one child forgave the other, I would make them “hug it out” or sometimes I would pray with them. This would be a sign that they were forgiven and they could move on!

  1.  Change Your Ways and Make It Right

When we continue to apologize to the ones we love but we don’t change our actions or words, then it nullifies our apology.  If I lie to Cheryl, apologize to her, and then lie to her again next week – how does that make her feel?  

It is important that we remember a real apology is not to just “right the wrong” but, more importantly, it is to restore the relationship.  

That is why this 4th step is so important.  It solidifies that we are serious about making things right with those we love.

Doing all 4 steps should become an important practice in your family.  When we practice these steps, it closes the offense and buries it!  There is freedom when we are able to be freed from guilt and we are forgiven.  

When we let conflicts go unresolved…

When we don’t deal with the hurt…

When us being right is the highest value…

We are leaving relational trash in our home.

When we choose to live with this trash everywhere, the path to reconciliation with the ones we love becomes narrow.  

Here is the GREAT news!  It’s never too late to start saying “I’m sorry” and giving a real apology!  Start today – example it, encourage it, make it a part of your family’s culture.  You will never regret making things right with the ones you love!

5 Steps To Biblical Community

Have you ever said that you would like to experience true biblical community?

Like many others that walk through the doors of Family Church, I have felt lonely at times.

The exciting thing is that God’s Word has a solution for all of us!

Below, you will find five steps that can help you move toward biblical community.

The fun piece about the process of experiencing biblical community is that you do not have to do all five steps at one time.

Let’s take a look!

Step 1: STEP OUT – Building a great friendship and experiencing true biblical community starts with a first step. First steps can include:

• Listening and engaging in social settings.
• Focusing the conversation on the other person.
• Praying that people will sense your genuine care for them and their circumstances.
• Attending an event for women/men/couples or a series at your church.

Step 2: FOLLOW UP – Remember a detail. It catches the attention of other people when we follow up on topics that they spoke to us about in our first encounter.

• Ask how their doctor visit went.
• Bring up their favorite sports team.
• Be consistent in the follow-up. If we act interested in one encounter, and the next time we barely have a moment for them, they will immediately question our interest         in them.

Step 3: SPEND TIME TOGETHER – Meet up at Starbucks, McDonald’s or the Sporting Goods Store.

• Don’t Get Discouraged! Ask again. Then, ask again.
• Understand that you may catch someone in an abnormally busy season of life and it is truly impossible for him or her to get together.
• Find a natural connection.
• Have someone meet you for coffee before church or a church event.

Step 4: BE HONEST – It is important from the very beginning of the friendship to be honest about who you are and what is important to you. God is highest priority in your life and will, hopefully, be in the conversations from the beginning.

• If this friendship is being built between two or three Christians – make God a very comfortable part of the conversation.
• It is important to be authentic and real at a pace that fits for both people.
• Many people get scared away if they know everything about you and there are no secrets after a first or second talk. Remember, you are not in a hurry.

Step 5: STUDY GOD’S WORD TOGETHER – Wouldn’t it be great if God/Bible talk were a part of every meaningful relationship? Biblical community is greatly enhanced when it is not weird for God/Bible talk to be scattered throughout any conversation.

• If you are at an event – do the assignments and don’t just talk about last night’s ballgame or child issue.
• Agree to attend a women or men’s event that makes it easy to talk about God’s Word and its affect on your life.
• Ask this new friend to help you lead a small group and both of you bring a friend.

Now you have a foundation to build on. You can truly learn how to give to others, love others, serve others, care for the needy, and reach the lost – which will help you achieve true biblical community.

The years that follow will offer opportunities to love in a way that proves we are disciples of Jesus Christ.

John 13:34-35 – “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Repeat…Repeat…Repeat

Hope For The Discouraged – Pastor Beck Payne

James clearly states that in life trouble WILL come our way (James 1:2).  As believers, we will be opposed by the enemy, by the world.  In fact, “life” itself can be very, very difficult.

It is easy to fall prey to doubt, fear, and unbelief.  If we aren’t careful, we can begin to complain, whine, and blame others for our troubles.  If we look at our “troubles” through the proper lens, they can become an opportunity and not just a trouble with no end.

James goes on to say that JOY is something that comes from the inside out, not from our outer circumstances. Our circumstances will constantly change, but joy can remain whether life is good or difficult.

The enemy is after your joy. If he can snatch your joy, he can zap

The Law Of Sowing and Reaping

Although there are certain manmade laws upon the earth that can be willingly broken, there are also certain laws in the universe that cannot be overturned or broken. For instance, take the Law of Gravity. Most definitely, “what goes up must come down!”

But there is another particular law that is of the upmost importance — the law of sowing and reaping.

When we read the phrase, “sowing and reaping” we immediately begin to think of it in terms of finances. The Bible certainly teaches about sowing and reaping in the area of finances (2 Corinthians 9), but it also goes beyond that.

How often do we think of the term “sowing and reaping” as it pertains to our words and actions? Do we believe that the words we “sow” into others or say out loud just fall to the ground? Do we believe our actions just go away even after they are played or lived out?

Our words and actions can result in a harvest of great blessings or they can result

It’s Easter Weekend! That’s A BIG Deal!

In a few short days we will all break out our fancy pastel clothes, knee-high socks, and suspenders.

Okay, maybe not. So those were the outfits I remember seeing and wearing as a little boy growing up in church. Aly will probably not allow me to wear shorts or knee high socks on Sunday morning. Guess I shouldn’t test that theory.

We will however be there early and ready to welcome the visitors that will show up. Why?

Because Easter is an event to be excited about. This is a weekend we get to celebrate a Risen Lord.

Pastor Beck will kick off a series of messages titled “Overcomers: Hope Changes Everything!”

Here is a short video to give you an idea of why hope is such a big deal –

The message of Easter is HOPE.

Don’t forget – You have 3 more opportunities to join a serve team to reach our local community and invite them to our Easter service.

The times are:

  • Thursday at 6pm
  • Friday at 6pm
  • Saturday at 8:30am

We will meet in the RDFC parking lot and leave in groups from there as we place door hanger Easter invites on homes throughout our community.

It may just be that friendly face they see or just that invitation on their door that makes the difference in their eternity. I say that MATTERS, don’t you?

Let us begin preparing our hearts as we celebrate our RISEN king!

Join Your Church Family For A Chance To SERVE!

There is such excitement at Family Church as we build up to an incredible Easter weekend!

An exciting part of that is going to happen this week as we reach out to over 1,000 households around our property.

Here is how YOU can participate –

We have 3 opportunities for you to join a Serve team this week to pass out door hangers.

Options:

  1. Monday at 6:00pm
  2. Friday at 6:00pm
  3. Saturday at 8:30am

We will meet in the RDFC parking lot where you will be given a group and a nearby neighborhood to walk through and pass out door hangers.

Each of these times you will meet with a staff member who will answer any and all questions you may have.

Possible concerns –

  • Don’t want to knock on doors?
    • No worries! We are not knocking, we are simply placing the door hangers on the doors and moving on.
  • It may not be safe!
    • We will only be doing this in daylight, and we will be in groups.
  • What if they don’t end up attending our Easter service? Did we waste our time?
    • Absolutely not! Plus, most people that never a attend church are simply waiting to be invited.

These door hangers will be a very personal way for our community to be invited to an incredible Easter service at Family Church!

We are excited about what God is going to do this week and weekend at Family Church. As we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter, let us also serve and give others the opportunity to share in the celebration of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection!

Won’t you join us in reaching those that may be waiting on your invitation?