922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran

We were created for community. But how do you find the spiritual family that so many of us long for? In this message, Pastor Michael Ewart talks shares that James knows what bonds Christians together—Honest confession and sincere prayer.

Show Notes

We were created for community. No one, even those who appreciate great amounts of quiet time, want to go through life alone. But how do you find the spiritual family that so many of us long for? While there are many important answers to that question, James knows what bonds Christians together—Honest confession and sincere prayer.

What is 922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran?

The episodes are the weekly sermons from 922 Ministries (St. Peter and The CORE) of Appleton, Wisconsin.

How To - Week 2
Pastor Michael Ewart

Welcome to week 2 of our how-to series. I am really excited about this series. Going to think it is so incredibly practical. How many of you like to do Home Improvement projects, do-it-yourself sort of things freak Show hands. Quite a few of you did you know? Among our pastoral staff, there is quite a variety. I think, Pastor Tim would not be ashamed to say that he struggles to turn a screwdriver at The Other, Extreme is Pastor Jim. Who isn't afraid to tackle anything? I'm not sure where Pastor Mike Falls in that somewhere in between, maybe but we are currently remodeling our basement and not Remodeling and finishing it half of it anyway, and we've been doing this since January and it's not going overly fast because we're doing part of it ourselves and I am comedo curly handy, but I like to watch YouTube videos and learn things. So, I've learned, I've picked up a few things along the way. It's been an interesting process. We put up the insulation ourselves. I know not that big a deal put in some lvp flooring glue down, I had never done that before figured it out. Actually looks great. It's pretty amazing. And just yesterday I put in door handles for the first time and they actually turn and they doors actually open. It's pretty amazing. Yeah. Thank you. That's probably my wife leading, the Applause there. Anyway, so all of these things though, I learned just by watching videos, I learned it from people who know these things who have done these things, and they taught me how to do these things. And so, in this series is incredibly practical as we learn how to do these things that help us grow in our Christian faith, things that will help us grow in our relationship with Jesus. And here, it's not so helpful to YouTube a how-to video grow in faith because they're all across the board. Some are for some not so useful, but in these five weeks, you're going to learn some and tremendously useful tips for growing in your faith. So I am. I hope that for the message today, first of all, you are prepared you prepped up for this a little bit and I am so thankful to God that you showed up today to hear it. And now I'm going to ask you to listen up and maybe even take a few notes along the way. And then after today I would love to have you follow up and do something with what you're about to hear today. And if that sounds Vaguely Familiar, I just stole Pastor Tim's sermon from last week. So, if you missed it, make sure you go back and listen to that. Awesome message.

So let me start by asking you a tough question. How many people in your life really know you?

Think about that. How many people in your life know, the real you?

I bet you can think of tons of people who don't really know the real you is that true? It is for me. Around people that you don't know quite as well. Don't you tend to turn up your filters so that when you're around people that you don't know very well you will think twice about what's about to come out of your mouth and the way it's going to come out of your mouth you're gonna think twice about your behavior when we're around people that we don't know very well. We really turn up our filters.

And when we're around people that we don't know very well people that are no, don't know the real you don't. You also tend to put up a front, Put up this facade, where your life is altogether, where things are going pretty well, you put on this facade like you like everything is just great in your life because that's what you want them to think about you that you're a person who is strong who's capable, that's got everything together. So the front goes up. Now, can you think of a particular place where the filters and fronts are especially turned up too high? I would suggest probably the place that happens the most is Facebook or social media, right there, you have hundreds and hundreds of friends. Some of you friends who don't really know the real you.

And so because they don't really know you, you want to put on a front that looks really good for them. And so what goes on Facebook are the only the best pictures and only the best things that are happening in your life. Only your greatest accomplishments, only the good things about what's happening in your family and you don't talk about the fight you and your wife had the night before and you delete eight of the pictures and only put the one where everybody was smiling and not the one where there is the frown from the teenager because they didn't want you to even taking the picture, right?

So, we put on this front on Facebook, because most of the people there are not people that really But I would suggest to you, that there is another place where we especially see filters and fronts.

You're sinning.

It's not true. It happened to me today, even I'm not accusing you because I do the same thing, but you come to church. You see? Somebody haven't seen in a we go. Hey, how's it going? Beautiful? They're having right? Oh, it's going great. Thanks, how are you doing? I'm doing great too. Yeah, go Packers playing the night huh. Yep. Can't wait to watch that game and we put on this we put on the filters. Like everything is going great. We put on the front like our life is awesome. In fact, we have struggles, when in fact things are difficult. And we fail to share those things even or maybe even especially at church. In fact, I would suggest to you that, that is why some people won't go to church. And maybe this is your story. Maybe you're coming for the first time today because this is true of you. Or maybe you're a recently starting to come just to check things out. But the reason maybe you stayed away or whatever the reason a lot of people do is because they think I can't even turn my filters up that high yet. I don't I don't have a front that's going to be impressive enough for all those church people. I need to make some changes in my life and bring it up to a level where at least I can fake it good enough. That people think I belong there.

As I'm pretty sure right now. I don't think this is just a tragedy that people think this way. Because the truth is, this is exactly the place we need to be to be when our life is a wreck and went with when things are a struggle, this is exactly the place where we need to go to find help. There Was An Old Church Father who said it and a really great Way. Church isn't a place that you go to see a museum of saints. Well, this beautiful Museum, a saint to say all these Saints gathered in one place. It's like a museum of saints. He said, no, that's not what that's not what church is all about church is hospital for sinners. If you are a sinner, you are in the right place, and sometimes the church gets heat for that like, yeah, I've been to your church. I saw. Who is there? I know that they've done and they're at your church, like yeah. Thank God. They are. It's like walking into a hospital and saying, why is that sick person here? And look at that person who's got a broken arm? What are they doing here? Isn't this a hospital? Exactly. It's a place where people go to get better. And that's what church is ultimately all about. So I'm so glad you're here. Whether this is your first time or whether you're a lifelong Center and recognize that this is where you find the mercy and the peace and the Forgiveness of God.

But we want to find out today. What? I pray that by the time you leave, today we're going to have a mind shift when it comes to what we call around here. The group route, the group route is all about doing life together. It's all about Community how to community, is what we're talking about today. But my prayer is that you will have a mind shift when it comes to church. And that instead of saying I go to church and and isn't that what we sometimes say? I go to church. Did you go to church? Yeah, I went to church. Did you go to church this week? Yep. I went to church, too. I can't wait for next week when you go to church, that church has a location, you go to and you show up for a while, and then you go home and then you did church. Now church has done. And then you go back to your regular life instead of having that mentality that I go to church. I hope that by the end of our time today, that you will think this, we are the church, The church is people, we heard that earlier in the Romans 12 reading, right? The church is people doing life together. We are the church in the fact is this God forbid, this building burns down tonight. There is nothing that happened to our church.

Not a thing. Because we are the church. It's the Gathering of God's people, centered on him. Remembering his truth and his grace doing life together being authentic and real with each other as we walk together in this Christian faith, that is the church. We are the church and I hope you go today with absolutely convinced of that fact. So what does that look like we are the church? How do we what does that look like in practice to live out being the church together and to help us answer that question. Today I want to share with you a few verses from James chapter 5.

And we are going to pick. Up at verse 13, where James says, this Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Did you notice what it didn't say is anyone among you in trouble? Pretend you're not fake it. Is anyone among you happy? I have bottle it up. Nobody wants to see that. Used to annoy people? No, take the filters down. Let people know pray. Celebrate Rejoice, be your real authentic self in front of others, is what he's telling us. Then he says, this is anyone among you sick? And literally the word here means week and in the context, probably talking about physical sickness but maybe broader, he's talking about whatever is bringing you down, whatever is your struggle? Whatever in your life is making you feel weak right now. If anyone of you is sick, what should you do? Let them call the Elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

Sick. Post a smiley face on Facebook and let everybody think that everything's just fine be strong. Don't anybody see your weakness? No, that's not what he says. If anyone of you is sick, call the Elders and have them come and visit you now, who were the elders? Literally, the Greek, the word here. Means those who are older, but in the context of the way, the Bible uses this term, it means older in the faith, mature in the faith, not necessarily an old person. But somebody whose faith is strong, somebody who knows god well know, has his truth

His grace, his Mercy, his forgiveness, someone who is strong in their faith, have them come, when you are feeling weak, when you are sick, have them come and have them pray with you. And then he also says and have them anoint you with oil, which kind of a strange thing there. What it exactly is he talking about there? There are some churches that take this very, literally that they would consider this almost like a Sacrament, a ceremony that you should do. When you visit the sick that you apply oil to the forehead and that that this with prayer, Will cause healing. It's possible, but I wonder if there's something a little bit different men here. In those days. Olive oil is used for many different purposes. Some of them for health reasons. If somebody got a burn they would apply olive oil to it. If somebody had chickenpox they would put olive oil on the scabs, I'll have oil was considered an additional olive, oil was considered to be a healing agent. So I wonder if all James is saying here is, if somebody is sick. Pray with them. And help them with their physical meaning. Right? God made us Body Soul and Spirit. We have emotions. We have intellect. We have a, we'll all of these things are interdependent the way when your physical body is suffering. Does it affect your spiritually? It does mean when I am spiritually down and vulnerable, do I sometimes feel sick? Physically. Yeah and do all of those also affect your emotions. I'm sure they do right in your mental health. Yes, this is all interdependent. So he's saying, go pray with them. Support them. Encourage them spiritually. Also Serve their physical needs, while you're there. I wonder if we would say bring them some chicken soup or go get their prescription at Walgreens and bring it to him or whatever they need for their health right now. Provide it for them and pray.

With them, do this. All In The Name Of The Lord, all of this is an Act of Faith as we do life together, when a person is struggling, And it says the prayer offered in faith. We'll make the sick person. Well, the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven This is kind of an interesting verse write, it, we read it. We say so, is this saying that when a person prays in faith with another Christian and that person has a strong faith and they believe to that every time, God 100% of the time will grant healing. I don't think that's what it means because there are other places in Scripture that would indicate that that's not how God promises to operate. Jesus himself said in this world, you will have trouble. He didn't say you might if your faith is too weak you're gonna have some trouble? No he said you're going to have trouble no matter what but take heart because I have overcome the world Jesus said So in this world, we are going to be challenged the Apostle Paul faced the same thing. You can you think of a, if you think of a person with strong faith would be the Apostle Paul be near the top of your list.

And yet he had this physical ailment. We don't know what it was. He called it his Thorn In the Flesh. I think it's intentionally vague so we can insert our own struggles in that blank. He had this Thorn In the Flesh that he prayed to God. Earnestly. Lord. Please take this away in your in Jesus name. I ask you to remove this from me. Lord, please. He prayed in earnest. And he did it a second time and then on a third occasion he did it just as earnestly and intensely. And in the end the Lord said no. Paul my grace is sufficient for you Polly. I know you don't understand it. You don't see it, but let me just assure you that by not taking this away. My name will be glorified and you will see me face to face one day.

So does not always heal when we pray earnestly, not always because this world is fundamentally broken and there is a perfect world that is to come. So in second Timothy 480 and I think this is where we kind of get a hint as to what's going on here. It says this the Lord will rescue me. He will from what from every evil attack. How many evil attacks will he rescue from? Every. Not always from physical healing but from every evil attack. Yes, you will be. You will be saved and he will bring me safely to his, Heavenly Kingdom. That is God's promise to you. He will bring you safely to heaven. So, the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person. Well, and the Lord will raise them up. And what if it's just talking about them? Spiritually, their spirits. And I just tell you, as a pastor, I've seen this countless times. Hitting people who are sick, people who are struggling, people who are depressed. In fact, it happened very recently, I went to somebody in their home, I'll keep this generic so that I don't betray any confidences but this person has a physical ailment. They are struggling immensely with it. When I entered the house, this person's face, it wasn't just pain, it was anguish, It Was Fear. It was depression, all of it visible on this downcast face.

And we talked, And we remembered the promises of God. And we remembered the Forgiveness of Jesus and we remembered that God's favor rested upon this person. And that God didn't just tolerate this person, but adored this person and that this person was his dear child and we prayed together and when I left this person's face looked completely different. The sick person was well about the physical part was still there. But the spirits were sure they've did the Lord raised this person up just like you promised it happened. So, I think this is what James is talking about here. So how does he conclude this? Oh wait, what about that phrase? If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Did you know that there's kind of a close connection between physical suffering and sin. Well, sometimes there's a direct connection. If there's somebody that suffering in jail, it's probably because of a sin, they committed, right? So sometimes there's a direct correlation between sin and its consequences, but oftentimes, there isn't that you're not sick, you don't have this disease, you're not struggling financially.

Because of circumstances and it's because we live in a broken world but what tends to happen when you are suffering or struggling or sick? Is that your sins? Your life starts to replay in your mind, this ever happen to you and you start to remember all the wrong things, you've done the regrets of your life mistakes. You made your fault, your failures, Satan. Just brings them all back to you. When you're already pressed down, he loves to kick you when you're down. And it's at that time, you especially need to hear your

Sins are forgiven, The Father's Love For You. Is no less now than it was before, he loves you more than you can imagine. So that's why we forgive sins. Even if we visit somebody who is sick, didn't Jesus, do that by the way. Remember when he went up, paralyzed, man was dropped through a roof and it in a crowded room, right? In front of Jesus. And Jesus to this man who could not walk. He was, he was crippled. His legs didn't work at all. Jesus says to him. Your sins are forgiven take heart son. I think you missed out what he needs is to walk. And people started to think who is this? Who says, sins, your sins are forgiven, he does have the right to do that. Yeah, let me show you. Jesus said, take up your mat and walk the man gets up, his legs are whole, and he walks away. But what did Jesus address first? There's their sickness. And there's, there's, there's this guilt and which is he, which is more important, which does your red dress, first, the sin, the guilt and he forgives the man's sins, right? So now we're going

Verse 16. It says, therefore he says, thinking of all of this confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. And that word literally means to be renewed Confess and pray that you may be healed, the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective which bad enough itself you ever thought about that? That isn't that just almost too good to be true. It's amazing that God listens to the prayers of those who have faith in Jesus and are therefore righteous in his sight because of the shed blood of Jesus and you talk to God, the almighty creator of the universe. And he says, I'm going to listen.

I'm going to act. That's an amazing promise of God. Makes makes us Wonder, right? Why don't we pray more? Because God makes us this promise. So, he says confess your sins to each other. So, true or false. All Christians should confess sin. True. Right, everybody would say true to that thought even thinking, right? And if we hadn't read this verse first, and I said, true or false, all Christians should confess in true to whom should Christians confess him. I bet everybody was said God. Right, confess your sins to God, of course. And I'm not saying you shouldn't and I do. And of course we confess our sins to God. But what did James just say to us confess your sins to Each other. To which you say? Yeah, that's that's vulnerable little bit scary. I'm not sure. I want to do that. Why would James say, confess your sins to each other? When it's ultimately go against God that we have sinned against him. Ultimately why confess our sins to each other? And I think there's two main reasons. The first reason we need to confess our sins to each other. Is that we tend to minimize our own sin. We all have this inner lawyer that comes to our defense and justifies an excuse, as all the bad things that we've done. And so we tend to minimize it all. No, no sin here but if we confess our sin to another person there, yeah. Oh my God, there's more to it. Keep talking. And yeah well what about this? They help us to see our blind spots. They help us to truly confess. They help us to be accountable because now it's out in the open to us to another human being. And there's a second, really important reason you should confess to another human being. And the reason is that person can assure you that Jesus forgives. You say, oh yeah, I already know that part Pastor. Well then you're different than me. I mean I know that. Yes. But you know what? I can preach the gospel to you pretty well. And if I ever visit you when you're sick, I am going to preach the good news of Jesus to you and encourage you with it. But do you know who I really bad at? Preaching that news too. Me. So here's what tends to happen when I just confess my sins to God, which I'm not saying you shouldn't, you still should? But when I confess my sins to God, lord, I really, but I really blew it when I did this. And I'm so sorry about that and my tone, when I did, this was wrong and my attitude, Lord, forgive all of this. Have mercy on me a sinner and in response, I hear,

Nothing, maybe you're different but I have not heard an audible voice. But I have confessed my sins to God. It's not that God was silent. It's just I can't recall to myself. The good news of Jesus. Very well. I'm terrible at that. I need you to tell me. I need somebody outside of me to remind me. Yeah. Michael. You blew it? Yep. That was wrong. You did that because that was offensive to God for sure. And you by the way you hurt this person as well you should probably apologize.

To them as well. But now listen to me, Michael your sin. What you just talked about was taken to the cross and Jesus, God's perfect son. Took responsibility for it. He bled and he died taking God's anger. So you won't. You're forgiven. God loves you. You've got an eternal future with him in heaven. That is sweet relief to hear because I Don't Preach that to myself very well. And I bet you don't preach it to yourself very well either. But there are people in your life fellow Christians, Elders, mature in the faith people that when you confess your sin, they can assure you of your, of your forgiveness because of Jesus.

So what is James teaching us here?

What is the key to True community? How can we truly be the church together? How can we do life together? What is the, what is the Breakthrough that we need to truly be one and be a body and to interact with one another? In the way God wants, I think it's just the simple. The key to community is two things and James told us confess And pray.

Confess and pray. Well, that's simple, Pastor. Okay. Now be honest, how many Christians do you feel comfortable or do you regularly confess your sins to

With how many Christians do you regularly join in prayer?

If you are like most, not many, if you are like many none. Right, you might not have somebody in your life that you do that with.

But James could not be more clear.

We need each other. Confess your sins to each other. Pray with each other.

Because here's what I want you to remember today. Here's our big takeaway. Friends and forgiveness. Beat filters and fronts. Friends and forgiveness beat filters and fronts. Friends. Put a capital f on that. Because I'm talking about good. Christian friends. Why didn't you be Christian? Because only a Christian knows that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Only a Christian is informed by the truth of God is revealed in his word. True Christian friends, authentic Christian friends, friends, you can confess to friends, you can pray to true, friends are so much Bill turd better than filters, so much better than France and forgiveness that a friend that will announce when you confess your sins you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus is so refreshing. It renews you it. As you up, it's so much better than the filters and the fronts. This is the kind of community your Lord wants you to enjoy. This is the kind of community that will turbocharge your faith.

To which some of you are thinking that's all fine and dandy, but I don't have those kinds of friends and I don't know how to find those kinds of friends. Well, good news. Today is the last day where you can sign up for Life groups. See we recognized here at 1:51 Ministries that people finding those kinds of friends that are that vulnerable, that transparent, that honest with each other is an extraordinarily hard thing to do. So we put our heads together and thought, how can we create a space where that can happen? Because I'll be perfectly honest. It doesn't happen here and it really can't, right? You're not going to lean over to the person in the seat next to you, probably especially if there's a

Her and say, you're not going to believe the fight my wife and I had this week. And I was such a jerk and they're probably not going to Whisper back the blood of Jesus covers it. You're forgiven my friend it's probably not going to happen, right? This just isn't the environment for it in a crowd out there afterwards. Usually those kinds of interactions. Just are hard to do but in a life group this is what can happen. So life groups are our home. Usually, most of them are home-based. A group of, usually up to 12 people. It's a smaller. It's a more intimate intimate environment. You are getting to know each other.

Developing friendships. There is a facilitator who is an elder and by that, I just mean a mature Christian. Some of them are pretty young, somebody that will help create an atmosphere, where we have trust, where we can confess, where we can pray. And overtime. You will build this community. And you will grow in your faith and the time to sign up is now because after today, we have to close them down. The way you do that is you use our 92 to church app? That's the easiest way. You can also do it through our website as well. And if you're not sure how to do any of that or where to find the church app, we have some people at the table back there. Maybe you saw the balloons when you came in today. Somebody back, there will be able to help you and give you a little bit more information. And we can get you signed up for a life group today because we really want to get you connected in that way.

Now when I talk about the life groups and I suggest that people join them, there's some there's some pushback I usually get some challenges. Like a lot of people will say I don't have the time for that and you know my schedule. I'm so busy I can't And my simple response is we make time for what we value. And if you don't have time, I'm going to suggest that maybe your undervaluing what can happen for you in a life group. Other another common objection. I hear is I'm not a super social person or I'm an introvert. So it's not. I'm just too uncomfortable for me. I can't do something like that. Sorry, I'm an introvert to. So, yes, and some people, you laugh again, say you're up on stage. You're not an introvert. Nope, ask anybody. That knows me. I am a full-blown unquestionable, introvert. So so here's what, here's the truth. Let me be honest with you. If you're an introvert and you join a life, group Session 1 is going to be awkward and you're going to be a little nervous about it.

It will be you're getting to know some people. You don't know them very well yet, you're going to talk to him. You're going to have some icebreakers, you're going to leave feeling a bit better session to next week, you're going to meet them again. It's gonna be a lot less awkward session, 3. You're going to actually meet them and it's not going to be awkward. And you're gonna start hearing some stories shared as well. And session for, you're going to be eagerly. Anticipating they check me on this. If you're an introvert, you haven't done life groups before, do it. And then, let me know if I'm right or wrong, feel free to push back, but I think I'm right. Okay.

Then there's there's one more that I want to share with you two and that is this is usually from the guys I don't like to share my feelings, that's just weird. I'm not a feelings kind of guy model touchy-feely. I don't want to share my feelings, okay? So let me address that one. You don't have to Okay, now we journalize group. Okay, so you don't have to share your feelings. But let me, let me tell you what you do have to do you have to tell your story? You turned off, okay. Tell your story, tell your highs, tell your lowest, tell your background tell about you so that you can be authentic. And real gives other people are going to be doing that too, and if you want to leave feelings out of it, that's perfectly fine. But tell the real story is about you, sometimes feelings come out too but they don't have to okay, so join a life group, you're going to be blessed if

I know you. God promises you many blessings like what? You're going to be assured of your forgiveness, like you've never been sure before because some human being is going to remind you of it, and it's gonna be so beautiful. So sweet to hear that. Good news of Jesus, that it's for you, personally, you're going to be sure of your forgiveness you're going to have support for some of the biggest struggles in life that you have never had. Before your mental health will improve as a huge issue. These days if your mental health is struggling right now, a life group, it's not Designed for mental health. But as you connect with other Christians and you hear God's grace and truth, your mental health will improve And you're going to have some built-in accountability which we all need. Some people are a little bit afraid of that a word but but accountability is good for us as you talk about things going on in your life. And then they check in with you later about it. It builds in this accountability that we all need because we are supposed to do life with one another and there's one more blessing. The reasons I just gave you, they're all good. They're all blessings. Of course. But they're a little bit selfish because I'm telling you what you're going to get out of it. The last blessing is the blessing. You will be for

The house. So some of you are sitting there thinking, oh, I've already got my inner circle of Christian friends that are kind of like that already. So I'm good, maybe you're good but they're not. That is other people sitting in this room right now with you or joining us online. They need you and you're not there yet.

So, would you consider joining a life group? So, here is here, is my homework assignment for you. Here's your big takeaway, here's your as Pastor Tim taught us. Here's your follow-up for this message. Do one of two things. The one I already said join a life group. I'll be perfectly honest, I not be an evening or our time that works with your work schedule or whatever. You might not be able to join one. But I hope you'll try And if you're not in a life group here's the second thing. This one's a little harder than the first one. The first one is built to make these kinds of relationships but the second thing you could do, if you're not in a life group is to develop yourself, those kinds of relationships. So your homework would look like this. I'm going to invite a Christian friend and we've never really talked much more than the Packers and the weather. But I'm going to take them out for coffee and I'm going to ask them or maybe my small group of friends. Maybe three or four or five people come into your mind. You essentially are

So forming a life group, but you have to call it that you're getting together for coffee and you're saying, look, I heard this amazing sermon on Sunday and the pastor challenged me to try to build community with somebody else. And I'm wondering if you, if we might do that, I know we've never done this before. It's gonna be a little bit awkward at first but let's get together weekly. Let's talk, let's talk real life. We've got some things that we can share with each other. We can confess sins. We can pray together and I think it's I think it's going to be okay after two or three weeks. But, would you give it a shot with me? One of those two things. Would you try doing this coming week?

And I know God will bless you. So I tried to think of a an example that I could share of somebody who is blessed through life groups, blessed with doing life together with other Christians and I couldn't think of one example. I thought of about 50 and I didn't think you'd want to stay another four hours. But what here's the pattern that I saw and it's a pattern, Pastor, Mike will share with you as well, and it's a pattern I've seen in my own life. And it's this that when you have your group, when you are doing life together where there is confession and prayer with other Christians, what you're going to find is that if there is a wedding

The life group is there and one or two of them might be standing up in it and that when there is when you have a baby, your life group is bringing you some meals. And that if there is a death in the family, your life group is there and you've got a shoulder to cry on and they're going to show up for the funeral for sure. And that when you get a promotion at work they are celebrating with you and having you buy a dinner out for everybody. But whatever you're dealing with in life, if you're moving they are there to help pack the boxes and they're going to help you move. They are there with you through thick and through thin doing life together in authentic Christian Community and that is how to community. As you do that, your faith will be turbocharged. You will grow in your faith. God promises. So let's do life together.

It's better.

Dear heavenly Father in your wisdom, you decided that we wouldn't be Islands unto ourselves. That we would not be isolated that we would not be alone that we would not just have a personal relationship with you but that you would put us in community with other Christians. The you and make us part of a body that we would not be complete by ourselves, but that the gifts and strengths of others would complete us and strengthen us and that together, we would be healthy and functioning and happy as your children. Lord, thank you for that. You're so wise your Good. So help us to overcome the resistance, in our own hearts and lives. Help us to become vulnerable and honest with one. Another help us to find Christian friends that we can confess and pray to friends that will forgive our sins. Because Lord, you have taught us and we know it is true, that friends and forgiveness are always better than filters and fronts you with us and bless us as we do life together as your children, and in your family in Jesus name.