Archives For Worship

One of the dragons, or enemies of a healthy marriage is busyness. Life can sometimes just sweep us away. There are times when it is obvious we are booked and scheduled up to our necks for the next X weeks. However, sometimes the busyness is subtle. Here’s another way of putting it:

Slaying the Dragon

Sometimes busyness marches down the street like an army on parade. And sometimes it crawls on its belly like a guerrilla.

I am not talking about something that is to be winked at, acknowledged and accepted. Busyness is a poison that can suck the very life out of many marriages. I know. I have counseled numerous ones with so much distance. Day by day, life and its busyness has eroded the fabric of their relationship. This enemy is more dangerous as a guerrilla because, like termites, it does a number on the foundation without you ever realizing it.

How to combat it?

1. Recognize the busyness in your life. Get it out of guerrilla mode. We all live in a busy world with busy schedules and little time for anything but what’s on the calendar. You do not have a bad marriage because you have a busy one. It’s how you handle the stuff in your life that determines the health of your marriage, your family and you.

2. Respond with an action plan. Here comes the C-word: yes, communication is essential here. Both of you simply sit down, calendar on the table, and choose when you will have your date, have that over-nighter, etc. Time together doesn’t just happen. Time for everything else seems to be that way, but not in marriage. This needs to be a joint effort. Both have to have buy-in because if you proactively set any time for your marriage, each of you will probably need to give up something. Decide together how you will address the busyness issue in your lives.

3. Revel in your progress in controlling the busyness in your life. Celebrate when you are winning the busyness battle! I have a fellow staff member that talks a lot about the weekly lunch date he and his wife have. How cool is that! When he talks about his dates he is celebrating their progress of managing their busy lives while working on their marriage.

Busyness is powerful but not insurmountable. Perhaps it cannot be eliminated (I don’t recommend becoming a hermit) but it can be managed with some advance planning as a team.

So get to it. Your marriage team is a gift! Protect that gift by working to manage your activities rather than your activities managing you and your marriage.

“So they are no longer two, but one.” Matthew 19:6a

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.

 

Our family moved to Brussels along with three other families to plant a church. We have a meeting place for our Sunday gatherings with LifePoint flags out front. We even have a great website. How do we get people to come inside? Moreover, how do we get French speaking Belgians to come inside?

Scattered and Gathered

Our Campus Pastor, Kyle Goen, recently said that “our gathering time will only be as fruitful as our scattering time“. This has motivated our team from the very beginning to be out in the community. The people of Brussels will not come inside until we go outside.

For each family it looks a little different because—thank God—we are different. Each of our unique abilities and interests make it possible to connect with a variety of people. Angie and I are intentional with leveraging our musical abilities for the gospel. This has opened doors to a new stream of relationships. People in Belgium love American music. It’s what you hear 90% of the time as you make your way through the city on subways or shopping. People are excited when they find out that we musicians from “Music City, USA”!

Late last year Angie and I formed a band. We are performing in restaurants, cafes, and other venues. We are connecting with fellow musicians, people who hire us, workers at the restaurants, and of course, those who come to listen. You see, many people we are in relationship with are not comfortable coming to a church gathering. They have a lack of understanding about a church like LifePoint. Their preconceptions about church and religious people often keep them from venturing out into the unknown. The Catholic church is really all they know. In many cases, there is a great disconnect between their experience at church and the rest of their lives. Our hope is to break down their preconceptions and show them that people of faith can have fun and be relevant to the world around them.

In January, Angie and I played at a restaurant and invited everyone we have relationships with, many of whom had not yet visited the church. It was incredible. I think everyone we invited actually came! They brought their friends, too. Fifty came to hear us in addition to an already full restaurant with their normal customers. We have already seen this event as something that has brought us closer to those who came . We are experiencing an increase in dialog around thing like church and faith. One family recently attended our worship gathering. One of the women who came has started to send her son to our youth events.

We are also leveraging our experience in music is through “meetups”. Meetup.com is a website designed to connect people with one another. In a diverse and transient city like Brussels, there are always people looking to connect. Angie and I recently started a musician’s meetup. We meet monthly at restaurants or cafes. It gives musicians here a chance to meet others like themselves, explore the possibilities of playing together, or at the very least, support each other in their endeavors. Late last year, we had a young man at our meetup named Aaron. He is a bass player who moved here recently from the Philippines. He is a new believer but had not yet connected with a church. After sharing about LifePoint, he attended our worship gathering and is now the bass player on our worship team. He has recently expressed a desire to be baptized and will be part of our very first baptism service later this month!

Of course, not everything we do is related to music. We have formed many relationships at the school that Phoebe and Ruby attend. Angie is teaching conversational English to some of the mothers from our children’s school and for a few the students in her French class. This is strengthening relationships and paving the way for the gospel.

We are privileged to be a part of seeing God’s church established here. We are excited to see lives and families being changed. Brussels is a place that needs to be awakened! Faith in God is not the reality here that we are all accustomed to in the U.S. Please pray that God will use us to share the life-changing, life-giving, and life-saving good news of Christ.

So…how do we get them to come inside? We must go outside!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

David and Angie Ebensberger serve as worship leaders at LifePoint Brussels. Prior to the relocating there in late 2011, they both worked in the Christian Music Industry during their twenty years in the Nashville area. For many years. they served as part-time worship leaders at LifePoint, Smyrna. They have four daughters: Abigail, Emily, Phoebe and Ruby. You can connect with David and Angie on Facebook.

The Five!

Jason Stewart —  October 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

Five Characteristics of a Christ-centered Life

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LifePoint’s mission is to passionately and intentionally point people to life centered on Jesus and His mission. As we all take steps in our journey to be Christ-centered, how can we describe what a Christ-centered life looks like? What is the target? What are the key components? What are the expectations that we have for our faith family; more importantly, what are the expectations God has for us? Our five characteristics are key ingredients that we find in Scripture that we feel best described a Christ-centered life. We want to live these out corporately as the Body of Christ and as families and individuals. Our leaders work tirelessly to create environments where we can grow in these characteristics. The ultimate goal is for each and everyone of us to incorporate these five attributes in our daily life, allow them to build more in our life, and to multiply them into others.

Worship

We are all wired for worship. Often we direct our worship to the wrong things—career, others, ourselves, money or other material things. We are God’s creation and He alone deserves and demands our worship: our mind’s attention and heart’s affection. At LifePoint, we best live out the characteristic of worship through weekly corporate worship gatherings at our campuses and through individual, private worship by reading God’s Word, prayer and other personal spiritual habits.

Biblical Community

Because we are created for community, we gather all ages into small groups for relationships built around God’s Word. In small groups, men and women of all ages are engaged in discipleship, community and service.

Service

It has been said we are never more like Christ than when we are serving. We recognize that each person has been shaped for service. We can’t grow without serving and we cannot serve without growing. At LifePoint, we encourage each person to engage in two arenas of service: 1. Ministry inside the walls of the church and 2. Missions outside the walls of the church.

Influence

The influence of Jesus extends across every continent, thousands of years and billions of lives. As Christ-followers, we each have the commission to influence our community and world as we “go” about our days sharing the love, justice and truth of God. At LifePoint, we best live out the characteristic of influence as we invest in people in our circles of influence and invite them to LifePoint or other next steps in their Journey—what we often call, “invest to invite.”

Generosity

Jesus modeled and taught us to give our lives away. Generosity with our time and treasures are often the greatest barometers of our spiritual journey. At LifePoint, we have found the Biblical practice and mandate of tithing is the greatest step we can take in the characteristic of generosity.

Christ-centered Journey

Jason Stewart —  October 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

Jesus said He came to give abundant life for all Christ-followers…a Christ-centered life. With energy and intention, LifePoint coaches and encourages each person to discover a Christ-centered life by taking next steps in their Christ-centered Journey. We each have a unique Journey yet the Journey is similar through the common stages we each travel spiritually. Through God’s Word, we see a Christ-centered Journey best defined by five characteristics found in the Bible and displayed by those who live a Christ-centered life.

Stages of our Christ-centered Journey

Exploring

People “exploring” Christianity are disconnected from God and have yet to begin a personal relationship with Jesus. God created each and every one of us so that our life would bring him glory. Sin separates us from God and we are in need of His intervention. We all start at this stage because of our sin condition. Thankfully, God is for His glory and as a result for us to be redeemed into a relationship with Him to display His goodness.

Beginning

This is where the “real” journey begins with a new and forever relationship with Jesus. A person can best be described as an infant Christ-follower. Much like physical development, spiritual development begins with dependence upon other Christ-followers for growth and development in their “baby steps.”

Growing

“Growing” in our Christ-centered Journey is a season where Christ-followers are beginning to take increasing steps in their spiritual journey, specifically through the five characteristics of a Christ-centered life. Often, their spiritual life can be described as enthusiastic about their faith with many significant steps still to be made.

Maturing

A Christ-follower in the “maturing” phase is moving into a God-first and others-first outlook. In comparison to human development, this stage resembles a young adult in development…making significant contributions to God’s Kingdom and assembling the beliefs and habits for a life-time of living for God’s purpose.

Christ-centered

A Christ-follower who is Christ-centered experiences the joy of Christ by defining everything in their life by their position and purpose in Christ. God is all they need and they live to be a reflection of Jesus. They are reproducing their faith and life in other Christ-followers in the preceding stages…on mission, in unity, with intention.