Neighbors at the fenceSeveral years ago Randy Frazee and Rick Howerton launched me and my family into a lifestyle of making room for neighbors. That lifestyle continues today and we continue to see the multiplication as neighbors repeat the practice.

It all began with a 42-inch picket fence. Randy, in his book The Connecting Church, encourages the readers to not build privacy fences. He says to build 42-inch picket fences so you can talk over them to your neighbors. I even joke that 42iinch tall fence is perfect height to lean on as you talk. Fortunately, when we moved into our neighborhood, both our neighbors had 42-inch sectional fences.

For the first couple of years, I would make time for neighbors by talking to them over the backyard fence. Many times I would lean on their fences and chat. This investment over time developed into a deep friendship. The couple joined our small group. We ate meals together. We helped each other with projects, doctor visits, and service to other neighbors. We shared a lot of laughter about what God had done through our relationship that started by leaning on a backyard fence.

The time came when our neighbors had to move. It was a very sad day for us. We trusted God in what He was doing in all of our lives. They moved into an apartment in a much larger city, where they knew no one.

About a year after moving, I received a call from our friends. We caught up on old times. We laughed about the projects and ‘trouble’ we used to get into together. Then my friend mentioned our backyard conversations and how I leaned on his fence as we talked about projects, life, family and God.  He complained how he thought I had wore the paint off his rail fence by standing there so many times as we talked.  He then said “You know, I am doing that same thing with a guy who is far from Christ right here in our apartment building, except I am using a truck fender since we do not have a fence.”  We both laughed out loud.

God had used a fence and many conversations over time to draw an entire family to Him. Now, He is multiplying that practice to the next recipient hours away from where it started.

Spring is here and summer is near! Beautiful weather invites you to come lean on a fence.

Post by Eddie Mosley, GroupLife Pastor. The original post is from Eddie’s blog, Connecting in Communities, where you can read more stories and gain valuable tools for leading groups. Eddie has written a book with the same title as his blog, Connecting in Communities. Eddie brings an infectious enthusiasm for people to experience life-change at LifePoint as he gives direction and strategy to adult small groups and other adult ministries. You can also follow Eddie on Twitter and Facebook.

Someone once said that the grass is not greener on the other side. And the grass is not greener on this side.

The grass is greener where you water it.

Green Green Green Grass

Not bad marital advice. Every time you dream about that girlfriend of yesteryear, or that high school sweetheart stirred up by seeing him/her on some social network, you are watering grass on the wrong side of the fence.

Let’s look at how to water the right side. One of our Essentials of a Healthy Marriage is Pursue Passion. When you pursue passion in your marriage you are watering your own grass. It sounds good, but just how do you do it? How does one water the grass of a 5, 10, 20 or maybe 30 year old marriage?

So glad you asked. Here are a few ideas that involve talking and doing.

1 – Pursue enjoyment. This might sound a little selfish but hang with me. Find things that you like to do together. Ask each other: “What is your favorite activity we do together?” Then carve some time out – get them on the calendar if necessary – and do those things.  A marriage stays alive & fun by intention, not by default. Brainstorm, dream, explore together the fun things you enjoy as a pair. Who knows, a new activity might surface as well.

Not all of marriage is fun & games of course, however all marriages need some fun here and there. By identifying and doing activities you enjoy as a couple from time to time, you can keep your marriage from becoming stale. You’ll be watering the grass of your relationship!

2 – Pursue connection. Complete this sentence to each other: “I feel closest to you when ________”. You might have more than one thing to share. Then one at a time, do those things for each other to reinforce your togetherness. It’s not about keeping score but be sure to do something for both you and your spouse that you two have mentioned.

This is huge in terms of connecting in your marriage. You are a team and a team is only as strong as its security in each other. Doing that which makes your spouse feel closest to you is creating security, building confidence, and connecting.

3 – Pursue The Lord. We saved the most important for last. Pray together if you can. If not, then ask some questions pertaining to prayer and your relationship. Ask how you can pray for your mate today? Also, ask your mate to pray for certain concerns you may have. Pray for your spouse daily and let them know you are doing do. Ask the Lord what you can do today to be a better mate to your spouse.

At LifePoint Church we strive to point people to a Christ-centered life. It stands to reason that when both of you are making Christ the center of your marriage, it can only help solidify your marriage.

So water the grass on your side of the fence. Doing so can restore passion in your relationship while honoring The Lord. Talk about your win-wins!

Post from Rodney Wilson, LifePoint Marriages Pastor. Rodney has a passion for encouraging, counseling, and teaching men and women how to have great marriages that make Jesus famous. Rodney, and his wife Selma, have authored Extraordinary Marriage and The Parent Adventure. Rodney and Selma have two adult daughters, two son-in-laws, and in Rodney’s opinion the greatest grandson in the universe. You can connect with Rodney on Twitter and Facebook.

 

A LifePoint Brussels First

Kyle Goen, LifePoint Brussels Campus Pastor

On Sunday evening, May 5, 30 people gathered from LifePoint Brussels to experience our first Baptism Celebration. Four people followed Christ’s example of baptism. All of the guys who were baptized—Jonathan, Ario, Ryan and Ross—have a personal relationship with Jesus and now have identified with Him through baptism.

Brussels BaptismIt has been with much prayer that we have anticipated this incredible moment. Each person that was baptized took another step on their journey toward a Christ-centered life. Their first act of obedience was a true testimony to those who were witnessing the historic event. We know there will be others who follow on the same path toward being baptized as a result of their obedience.

Please pray for our new brothers as they learn to grow and follow Christ more closely each day. Please continue to pray for LifePoint Brussels as we seek to be “sent-out” ambassadors for the name and the glory of Jesus.

New Disciples Baptized in Lynnwood

Dale Braswell, LifePoint Lynnwood Campus Pastor

One of the greatest images of the gospel at work in the life of someone is baptism. Baptism is a symbol and expression of men, women and children taking a new form of how to be human in Jesus. Watching someone publicly declare their faith in Christ through baptism is powerful; an example of the spiritual transformation that has taken place within their life.

LYN BaptismsOn Sunday, April 7, LifePoint Lynnwood once again celebrated two people publicly profess their new identity in Jesus. Lindsey, and her husband Jason, began attending LifePoint two years ago because of an invitation of another LifePoint family. The couple quickly joined a small group and soon after began serving. It has been exciting to watch this family grow so quickly in their faith.

Chris began attending LifePoint Lynnwood three years ago with his father and older sister. Over the past several months, Chris was obviously growing in his faith. He knew the next step in His journey was baptism. Already at a young age, Chris demonstrates a sincere and passionate love for Jesus and a desire to devote his life to Christ.

Continue to pray for these families and others in LifePoint Lynnwood who are growing in their journey with Jesus. Pray for lives that will be impacted by those in our Lynnwood faith family. We desire to live out our calling to make disciples with boldness and passion.

If you would like to discover more about baptism, read more and you can also make contact to take your step of expressing your identity in Jesus.

 

“We really don’t know the impact of the small things that we do to touch the lives of people, but they make a difference,” says Scott Foster, the executive director of Journey Home, a ministry to the homeless of Rutherford county located near the center of Murfreesboro.

Sending Saturday

LifePoint Church sent 40 volunteers to the Journey Home to do Spring cleaning, painting, along with preparing and serving hot meals to 70 homeless men and women.

Scott adds, “We believe that having a nice place for people to come says we value you and think you are special. Many people have already commented this morning on how nice things look. There are many ways to love people, and God calls us to all of them. Please pass on to the congregation our sincere thanks for Saturday’s work as well as the ongoing monthly support for our community cafe. We are blessed to be able to work with LifePoint!”

The project at Journey home was part of a larger community event known as, “Sending Saturday.” LifePoint Smyrna and LifePoint Stewarts Creek sent over 150 volunteers to five different locations to serve in a variety of ways.

“This event is only one way our church connects with people in our local community,” according to Tim Patterson, Director of LifePoint Sending. “Through this event we want to highlight the great things happening in our community and Sending Saturday Mealdemonstrate how people can make a difference through simple acts of service. Our church scatters throughout our community every week to serve in multiple ways. Through Sending Saturday we hope to mobilize many more from our church to live sent wherever God leads them to serve.

Other projects from Sending Saturday included a packing party for ONEless Ministries, where over 40 from LifePoint put together hundreds of care kits for victims of human trafficking. Cortney Bartemus, Director for ONEless said, “I had some great conversations about people wanting to learn more and become more involved. We are honored and thankful to be a LifePoint partner. You all did a great job with Sending Saturday!” You can also follow ONEless on twitter.

A group of twelve adults and eight children worked at a local elementary school where over 60 percent of the families speak English as a second language. They painted five rooms and helped ten teachers from the school with Spring cleaning. One of the children commented to his parents, “Wow, I did not realize how much fun this would be! When can we do this again?” The principal was impressed with what the volunteers accomplished, “I wanted to express my heartfelt thank you for your assistance on Saturday. Your team was wonderful, and I so appreciate the assistance they provided in our building. I hope that we can work together in the future.”

Another project was with “Shepherd’s Closet,” a ministry that helps foster families with the practical needs that they encounter with foster children. A dozen volunteers spent Friday night and most of the day Saturday cleaning out and organizing the clothing closet for this ministry.

Wherry Housing Community Servants, a long-time partner with LifePoint in ministry with the local immigrant community, saw over 40 volunteers do renovation and construction work on several homes and a new ministry center. Melissa Wilhoite tweeted:

Had so much fun doing demolition work at Wherry Housing today! Enjoyed serving! @mjwilhoite

If you would like to learn more about local opportunities for serving in middle Tennessee, visit LifePoint’s Local Sending page or contact LP Sending Ministry Assistant Summer McKinney to connect with a local ministry. You can follow LifePoint Sending on twitter.

LP Kids: Patience

In May, LP Kids will learn Patience in our SoulStation series “Keep It Cool”. As a fruit of the Spirit, patience is a foundational way we reflect God’s character. When we show patience, we are less likely to hurt our relationships with others. We are more likely to trust that God has something better for us in the future. Parents, you can be prepared to point your kids to Jesus this month from the article below provided by the ReThink Group. Be sure to check out more resources as you point your children to Jesus: the Parent Cue App, GodTime Card, and Parent Cue Card.

From the very beginning, God has shown patience with people. All the way back in the garden, when Adam and Eve first chose their own way instead of God’s, God started His plan to give all of us a chance to come back to Him. And time and again, God is patient with us when we make daily choices that separate us from Him. He waits for us to turn back to Him.

Patience is waiting until later for what you want now. Waiting isn’t always easy. When having patience seems too difficult, the Lord will give us strength to wait. At its core, patience is fueled by faith. We trust that what we’re waiting for is best for us.

But patience is more than just waiting. It’s also about our attitude while we wait. A patient person can wait with joy even when the situation might be stressful or anxious. A patient person avoids searching or settling for a quick fix.

The monthly memory verse is: “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and don’t lose hope. Wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14, NIrV Sometimes it feels too hard to be strong while we wait, but our trust in God gives us the strength to wait well.

In Week One’s Bible story, Esau comes in from hunting and is very hungry (Genesis 25:24-34). Because he can’t wait, Esau ends up trading his entire inheritance for a full stomach. Our Bottom Line is: When you think you can’t wait, think twice. Don’t give up what’s best for something immediate.

In Week Two’s Bible story, the Israelites grew impatient waiting for Moses to finish meeting with God (Exodus 32:1-35) and asked Aaron to build an idol for them. Our Bottom Line is: When you think you can’t wait, don’t forget what’s true. God had put Moses in charge of the Israelites and led them out of slavery. But in a moment of impatience, they forgot everything they’d experienced.

In Week Three’s Bible story, Hannah wants to become a mother but is waiting for a baby (1 Samuel 1:9–2:1). Even through the sadness of her prayers, God gives her the strength to wait until the time is right. Our Bottom Line is: When you think you can’t wait, tell God about it. God wants us to talk to Him when we’re facing a difficult time.

In Week Four’s biblical principle, we learn the wisdom of being patient (Proverbs 14:29). Our Bottom Line is: When you think you can’t wait, don’t lose your cool. We can work hard to keep control of our words, actions, and attitudes while we wait. That way we can avoid doing something we might regret.

For God, it seems as though patience is all about relationships with people. Even after we sinned, He still pursued us. He waited time after time for people to repent and work to make things right. Something He still does today.

By Jessica McKee ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.