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Fellowship Monrovia Thursday Men’s Discipleship Group

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This is not an official FM website but instead a personal endeavor to provide a space for resources, prayer and reflection on our shared journey of discipleship.

There is a unique type of encouragement and empowerment that comes only when men come together in the common pursuit of God’s healing with expectation of discovering God’s personal call on their life.

Whether battling addictions or walking in freedom and giving back, this is not a realm we ever outgrow or complete this side of heaven. It can however be like a favorite pub or table at your favorite restaurant; always welcoming and filled with relationships that breath life into the soul.

So pull up chair, you’re among friends, brothers, you are family in Christ.

As Iron Sharpens Iron – So One Man Sharpens Another

Proverbs 27:17

 

                     Continue to scroll down for the most recent blogs…

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Boundaries: Pray for Wisdom – FaithGateway

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As the Twelve Step movement grows within the church, Christians in therapy and recovery voice a common confusion. Am I powerless over my behavior? If I am, how can I become responsible? What do I have the power to do?

The Twelve Steps and the Bible teach that people must admit that they are moral failures. Alcoholics admit that they are powerless over alcohol; they don’t have the fruit of self-control. They are powerless over their addiction, much like Paul was:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing… waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. — Romans 7:15Romans 7:19Romans 7:23

This is powerlessness. John says that we are all in that state, and that anyone that denies it is lying (1 John 1:8).

Though you do not have the power in and of yourself to overcome these patterns, you do have the power to do some things that will bring fruits of victory later:

  1. You have the power to agree with the truth about your problems. In the Bible this is called “confession.” To confess means to “agree with.” You have the ability to at least say “that is me.” You may not be able to change it yet, but you can confess.
  2. You have the power to submit your inability to God. You always have the power to ask for help and yield. You have the power to humble yourself and turn your life over to him. You may not be able to make yourself well, but you can call the Doctor! The humbling of yourself commanded in the Bible is always coupled with great promises. If you do what you are able — confess, believe, and ask for help — God will do what you are unable to do — bring about change (1 John 1:9James 4:7-10Matthew 5:3Matthew 5:6).
  3. You have the power to search and ask God and others to reveal more and more about what is within your boundaries.
  4. You have the power to turn from the evil that you find within you. This is called repentance. This does not mean that you’ll be perfect; it means that you can see your sinful parts as aspects that you want to change.
  5. You have the power to humble yourself and ask God and others to help you with your developmental injuries and leftover childhood needs. Many of your problematic parts come from being empty inside, and you need to seek God and others to have those needs met.
  6. You have the power to seek out those that you have injured and make amends. You need to do this in order to be responsible for yourself and your sin, and be responsible to those you have injured. Matthew 5:23–24 says,

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

On the other side of the coin, your boundaries help define what you do not have power over: everything outside of them! Listen to the way the serenity prayer (probably the best boundary prayer ever written) says it:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In other words, God, clarify my boundaries! You can work on submitting yourself to the process and working with God to change you. You cannot change anything else: not the weather, the past, the economy — and especially not other people. You cannot change others. More people suffer from trying to change others than from any other sickness.

And it is impossible.

What you can do is influence others. But there is a trick. Since you cannot get them to change, you must change yourself so that their destructive patterns no longer work on you. Change your way of dealing with them; they may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.

Another dynamic that happens when you let go of others is that you begin to get healthy, and they may notice and envy your health. They may want some of what you have.

One more thing. You need the wisdom to know what is you and what is not you. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference between what you have the power to change and what you do not.

Excerpted with permission from Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, copyright Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

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Your Turn

“God, clarify my boundaries!” What a poignant prayer for those of us who blur the lines in relationships! Today, let’s get in alignment with God in prayer submitting to Him and working with Him to change ourselves and not anyone else.

 

Source: Boundaries: Pray for Wisdom – FaithGateway

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Wisdom Is Not Enough

Ephesians 1:17

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

wisdom and revelation

There is no doubt that True Wisdom comes from God’s Word and the discernment of the Holy Spirit within. As we ask God for direction and strength He will speak to us.

John 10:3-4

3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

But what happens when that voice from deep within our soul seems to be crazy?

Abraham should kill his son? Moses needs to go get in Pharaohs face? Ananias needs to go lay hands hands on Saul (Paul) and pray for him??? Willingly reduce an army from 3200 to 300 and bang drums?!?!

Oftentimes personal revelation from God as to a certain path or plan of action can seem like the complete opposite of Wisdom. How do you discern? How do you hear from God? Do you even hear from God?

This Thursday (August 17)  we will press into these questions and more as we finish off Chapter 6 of Waking the Dead. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

And if you’re following along Week 13 Study Notes are online

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Intimacy with God

knees

If you’re not pursuing a dangerous quest with your life, well, then, you don’t need a Guide. How’s that for an in-you-face opener of Part 3 of Waking the Dead?

Narrow is the path and many will say Lord Lord and He will answer, I never knew you.

So what does it look like to have an intimate walk with God? Is it bible studies, theology classes and faithfully attending church services every week? Millions of people do that, that would seem like a ‘wide path’, no?

So again, what does intimacy with God look like?

Don’t miss group next Thursday and remember if you’re following along but can’t attend group you can pick up your own copy of the workbook ($1.99 B&N) or download an in-house abridged version of the study guides used in our group.

See ya’ll next Thursday!

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Why is it so hard to believe?

freedom

Waking the Dead and God’s Word continues to challenge our group’s core beliefs about ourselves and our life’s purpose. Deep at the heart of this revelation is the seemingly blasphemous concept that “our heart is good”. How many Christian’s so easily profess “nothing good lives in me” and grovel in our inadequacies. It is a biblical concept however the Apostle Paul makes a critical distinction in Romans 8; “…it is not I who sin but sin that lives in me…”.  As believers and followers of Christ it is our new nature, new heart, new power through the Spirit alive in us which should dictate an outwardly visible transformation and new boldness of speech and action.

Look at Peter, one who denied Christ 3 times in his greatest time of need and who himself wrestled with shame yet at Pentecost led 3,000 to Christ with a bold sermon like never before… whoa, where did that come from?!?! Or Moses being veiled after his personal encounter with God, or Christ Himself revealed at the transfiguration.

Why then do we as Christian’s find it so hard to claim glory through Christ and proclaim the Good News with authority and boldness? Why do we find ourselves emaciated and silenced by fear of judgement or retribution by those around us and instead remain silenced and sidelined in almost complete apathy to the power we are given and the great need around us?

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Next Thursday we press deeper into the glory that has become our new narrative in Christ. We rebuke the old narratives of shame and powerlessness.

Let the sleepers awaken!
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SAVE THE DATE: Fellowship @ Bob’s

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PARTY AT BOB’S HOUSE!

Thursday June 15 6-9pm

Come join us for our summer kickoff. Good friends, food and fun!

RSVP here and sign up to bring some grub. Also consider lawn games or other favorite backyard bbq items.

For address or other info contact George, Craig or Bob.

See ya there!

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ALL-IN: Now What?

fully alive

Brothers! I don’t know about you guys but this book is rocking my world. I’ve been in ministry/recovery groups for over 6 years and yet there is something new stirring. There are new awareness’s taking grip.

Can you feel it?

As we press into the realities of spiritual warfare and not only our calling but our qualifications through Christ to engage in battle we find ourselves timidly asking, what does all this mean… now what?

I don’t have much time…

I’m not a very powerful speaker…

I’m not really comfortable being fully transparent…

I’m …. I’m not… but… but….

Regardless of the mountains of excuses or even valid (to us) reasons why we shouldn’t or “can’t” lead, God reminds us that it is not about our power or qualifications or plans but His alone.

You think Jesus wanted to go to the cross? You think Moses wanted to take on Pharroh? And we know how Jonah felt about Nineveh.

Mark 13:11 When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.

It is not a matter of if but when. We will find ourselves in a situation to be a peacekeeper, or protector, or evangelist, or provide financial aid or physical assistance or the opportunity to pray into someone’s pain or exhort them to great new heights. Or called to swallow our pride in a family fight for the greater good, or give up something we’ve cherished (time or possessions) for someone we love.

The point is if we are open and responsive to the Holy Spirit within each of us, we will be fully equipped in that moment to step in, stand up, and be counted among the faithful who answered the call.

We can’t do any of that however until we are operating with our own restored heart. And that is the greatest focus of the Gospel (many didn’t know that) and the focus of our next chapter: Our Hearts Are Central.

The study notes now include the page numbers both in the reading book and work book so you can follow along in this journey if you aren’t able to be present at the group.

Blessings in Christ,

George

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Things Are Not What They Seem

choice

As we peel back the layers on the first half of chapter two (Waking the Dead – John Eldredge) we are presented the parable of The Matrix.

A new reality is unveiled to Neo. He’s known all along that something is off; that what he is seeing in the world is not the whole story. He can sense it with every fiber of his being but can’t explain it.

Morpheus: Le me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain. You feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. There’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is. But it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Neo: The Matrix?

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

This past week was a powerful turning point. We are presented the biblical reality that there is a war of heavenly proportions existing in the spiritual realm and we are a part of it whether we choose to be or not.

And yet we do have a choice.

We can turn away from the reality of spiritual warfare and tell ourselves that we are insignificant and have nothing to offer or a role to play and just go back to doing our best to get through each day by the world’s standards (be a good worker, husband, father, church-goer, etc…)

Or we can answer the call God places on EVERY Christ follower and get in the game on a whole new level (become a prayer warrior, discover our spiritual gifts, find our calling, dig into the heart of God and follow His will for our lives, fight for the spiritual heart of our families and the world around us).

This week we were given a choice, the red pill or blue. We don’t get the luxury of being lukewarm and just dabbling in the spiritual realm. Either we acknowledge the war and stand and be counted or we slink back into the shadows.

It’s not an easy choice!

If you missed last week or to dig deeper for yourself read chapter two up to A Battle Is Under Way and download a copy of week four reflection questions.

Blessings in Christ,

George

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