Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Good Books: The Externally Focused Quest

The Externally Focused Quest, by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw
One of the occupational hazards of small group leadership is becoming internally focused and forgetting that your group does not exist in a vacuum. Surely, every group should serve its own members' needs--but not exclusively. When we neglect the community around us, we become irrelevant to all those who are seeking what we have to offer.

Small groups are among the church's most effective resources when it comes to meeting needs in the community. Whereas service projects are often hamstrung by the need to publicize a cause, recruit volunteers, arrange convenient meeting or service times, as well as by the lack of cohesion that often occurs when strangers undertake a project together for the first time, all of these factors are eliminated or minimized when small groups take advantage of their existing relationships, schedules, and networks by serving together.

This book answers the why question: Why should we be concerned about what's going on in the community outside or group? and Also the how question: How can we get started.

For more details or to order, click here.

Resources: Unlock Spiritual Gifts

Whether your theology includes 16, 23, or even more spiritual gifts, your group is missing out if you're not talking about them. This Training Tool will show you how to help your group members discover and embrace their spiritual gifts. The first two articles will give you a great foundation for talking about gifts—whatever your theology. The rest of the resource includes articles that help identify spiritual gifts, give creative ideas for using your gifts, and share how you can model using your gifts appropriately.

To learn more or to order, click here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Resources: When We're Afraid to Forgive

As Christians, we are awed and humbled by God's gracious forgiving of our sin and failure. Yet we seem reluctant and sometimes rebellious when the Lord commands us to forgive those who have wronged us. Why do we hold back? What do we fear? Who suffers most when we hoard God's mercy for ourselves and withhold it from those whom we refuse to forgive?

Click here for more information or to download the study.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Resources: Abiding in Christ

In this download, authors such as Richard Foster, John Ortberg, and Adele Ahlberg Calhoun share the ways they stay centered in Jesus Christ, the vine (John 15). Whether it's through the practice of spiritual disciplines or simple daily acts, you will find renewal as you discover both the peace and power that comes from remaining in Christ.

Click here for more information and to download the study.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Summer Reading Ideas...

Spring is upon us and before long summer vacations will be uppermost in our minds. God’s creation has a certain rhythm—warmth follows a chill, and recreation follows a job well done. And so it is that spring typically brings a lull in many of our church activities, and perhaps in your personal spiritual growth.

Rhythms are good. Rest is a blessing. That’s why God created the Sabbath. But at the same time spring and summer do not need to be times of idle fruitlessness. For example, a good book can enhance the relaxation we feel on a long summer afternoon, or while enjoying the sun on the beach. 

Last year I recommended two books for you to read over the spring and summer, and was pleasantly surprised by the number of you who took up the challenge. So this year I'd like to suggest two more titles that might just change your outlook on your relationship with Jesus. Maybe you can add them to your reading list. And also like last year, I want to make you an offer I hope you can’t refuse! I found each of these titles to be so good, and their messages so badly needed by Christ’s church, that I’ll pay for you to read them. If you are willing to pick up a copy of either book for yourself and bring me the receipt, I’ll reimburse you for the cost. That’s how badly I want these words to be heard, digested and, hopefully, acted upon.

This year's titles are:
Not a Fan, by Kyle Idleman, and;
A Worship-Filled Life, by Marcos Witt

Enjoy the change of season!
Pastor Bruce

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Good Books: Not a Fan

Not a Fan, by Kyle Idleman 
If Jesus were to sit down with you right now and have a DTR (Define the Relationship) conversation, how would you respond? Are you truly his follower or just a fan-or perhaps someone who doesn't even care about the difference?

Not a Fan invites you to make Jesus not merely the object of your admiration, but the very center of your life. Through biblical teaching, anecdotes, and humor, Kyle Idleman explores what it means to truly be a follower of Christ. He also shares several powerful Not a Fan stories--testimonies from fellow followers who turned to Jesus. Don't miss this wake up call to radical discipleship!

Not a Fan calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple. With frankness sprinkled with humor, Idleman invites you to live the way Jesus lived, love the way he loved, pray the way he prayed, and never give up living for the One who gave his all for you.

For more information or to order, click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Resources: The 4-Step Method that Works for Any Group

A simple but revolutionary way of doing small groups is sweeping the world. It started in India, but you can also find it in the suburbs of San Francisco, throughout the slums of South America, and among the Muslim tribes of Africa. Through this simple method, the lost are being won, disciples are being mobilized, and churches are multiplying. The Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) is a modern-day phenomenon, but it's really just a return to principles Jesus taught 2,000 years ago.

To learn more about this method and whether it might energize your group, click here.