"Life Changing"
"Formning a Family of Faith"
Devotion: A Third Cord

Core Value::Authentic Worship
After spending the month of November forging the bonds of Genuine Community among the Trailblazers, we felt led to gather for worship during the Advent Season.  The first week we welcomed 41 people and kids into a time of worship and reflection for Christmas.  As Wes shared, this was not so much a preview of weekly worship to start next year, but a preview of the genuine community forming where people get know one another and form new bonds.

The way this connects with Advent, however, is tremendous.  Advent is the season in which we wait and wonder about the birth of Jesus Christ, who was this small embryo in Mary's womb that began to take shape and form.  Ultimately that embryo was birthed into the life- changing person of Jesus Christ.  It is startling to consider that in the same way--with similar feelings of awe and fear as those in the birth narrative--we are watching the birth of a new body of Christ through this community.  What a privilege it is to watch it take shape.

In speaking with other non-pastors who have helped form new communities of faith, I was struck by how life changing the event had been for them.  As one man shared, "It forced him to enrich his prayer life" as he realized the honor and awesome responsibility it took.  His prayer life--his personal worship time--began to become more alive.  Worship was no longer something to attend, but something to participate in as a group of people, but also in private.  

As the Trailblazers gathered for worship, it was as if this Christ-child had kicked in the womb saying, "I'm here."--God is with us.  Not only because of those people who God brought together but also through the ministry partners who are praying for this community and financially supporting this community.

That evening, we considered Joseph and how his commitment to Mary and this unborn child caused his life to be radically reoriented.  What a gift God gave Joseph that he could parent the Son of God. 

The promise of Advent is that Jesus Christ is stepping into our world--our community, our homes, our lives--and radically changing us.  It is our prayer that as this community grows, Christ will step in and change us forever.

Ecclesiastes 4:8-12

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Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a passage from Ecclesiastes.  But I have been reflecting on this book for the past month in my devotions, and do think this section is relevant to our celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.


The first two verses tell us about a man without a brother or a son.  He is all alone.  And after toiling and laboring; working hard and living large, he begins to wonder, "Why" 


Solomon then compares this lonely man, with a man who has a partner.  A friend who can help each other through difficult times.


However, it is the very last part of verse 12 that tells us why Christmas matters.  "a cord of three strands is not quickly broken."


Alone=we struggle

Two=we survive

Three=we thrive


While we may circle up with friends and family, and find the companion of another.  It is when we wrap ourselves with this third cord--Jesus Christ--that we not only survive, but become strong.


How might you be strengthened this Christmas?  How can this holiday go deeper than time off from work, and time with family?

"If our security is totally in God, then we are free to ask for money.  Only when we are free from money can we ask freely for others" to participate in this life changing ministry. Henri Nouwen


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A Spouse Perspective:  

Forming a Family of Faith


SpouseI recently attended a parenting workshop where I do a bible study and the focus was on how to accept and parent the personality differences that God uniquely designed each person to have.  This resonated with me because I think we tend to respond to personality clashes by trying to change others or avoid them entirely, instead of considering how the unique strengths and weaknesses of each individual are used by God in the circumstances and situations of life.  


The theory I learned at this workshop has helped me with my perspective on my family, but also I think this is useful to apply to starting a church.  As we come together as a new community, we want to help people identify who they are and how God can use them.  And, a necessary component of genuine community is conflict-both it's mere presence and the resolution of it-because we grow through it.  


In this journey already, I've seen God bring together among our group natural leaders, quiet observers, visionaries, encouragers, relationship-oriented people, and those more detail-focused.  I see God providing for our needs before we even know we have them.  It's beautiful.  

In reality, our qualifications are not what matter, but rather our obedience. 

Wes and I have questioned ourselves at different points wondering whether we are qualified or suited for this calling God's given us.  In reality, our qualifications are not what matter, but rather our obedience.  Each of us face a daily choice of whether we will respond to God's leading in obedience or avoidance.  Whether you're considering joining us on this journey or whether you find yourself on a different journey in your life, consider the unique way that God has gifted you. 


Then, consider how you can put your gifts to good use.  As we help to build this community, we are not looking for a certain skill set or personality type.  Instead, we are simply looking for those who feel led to join us.  As I consider my recently improved perspective on my children, I see now that the very child who wears me out with his energy and liveliness is the same one who keeps our structured home fun.  Likewise, another child who can be demanding and precise is also one who is great at helping to clean up and sees tasks and projects through to completion.  


As I've seen the way God has intentionally placed the people in my home because of what they bring to the entire family team, I'm eager to learn more about who God has brought and will continue to bring into our church team with the same intentionality.   


A church for the overburdened and overscheduled by changing lives through genuine community, Biblical teaching and authentic worship.
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Charlotte, NC