Truth: Defending the Faith – Part 2

Under Roman persecution in the beginning years of the early church, stories of powerful and inspiring faith emerged. The truth of the Gospel was spreading through the Roman empire and people whose lives had been transformed by Christ refused to deny Him no matter the threat. Perpetua, a young lady from Carthage in North Africa, recorded her experience as a Christian facing the might of Rome. Her story inspired many to stand firm, and inspires followers of Christ just as powerfully today no matter what opposition we might face.

3 Easy Ways to Create a Welcoming Environment in Your LIFE Group

Part 2: Two Excellent Reasons To Wear Nametags

by Susan Hill

It has been said that human beings enjoy hearing their names being said above all other things. I’m not sure whether this is true or not, but I know people long to be known and recognized in a group setting. Undoubtedly, people join a LIFE Group to engage in biblical community where others know them and they have the opportunity to cultivate relationships. Obviously, the first step of building a relationship with someone is learning his or her name. This seems painfully simple but, in a LIFE Group, it’s not uncommon for group members to come week in and week out and not learn everyone’s name in the group.

Wearing nametags in your LIFE Group sends the message that you are anticipating and welcoming newcomers. It’s a simple gesture that will create a welcoming environment that people appreciate. Also, nametags demonstrate that your group places high value on hospitality and makes it much easier for newcomers to learn names.

While it’s true that nametags are beneficial for visitors, nametags also have value for longtime group members as well. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you can’t remember their name even though you’ve spoken to them multiple times? It’s an awkward situation and you hesitate to ask them their name because you should know by now. In social settings, this happens more frequently than we would like to admit. Wearing nametags eliminates this potential situation and puts people at ease.

Using nametags is a simple step your group can take in making sure your LIFE Group provides a welcoming atmosphere for guests and group members. LIFE Groups are all about Christ follower’s coming together to study his Word and build relationships with one another. Knowing each other’s name is the first step of any relationship. Let’s be intentional about creating an environment that cultivates relationships, puts everyone at ease, and makes first-time guests want to come back.

 

The Source of Truth: Getting To Know Jesus

by Roger Severino       

Last time, we considered that the truth is not a philosophy or religion, but a person: Jesus Christ.

So, if Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (see John 14:6), how do we get to know Him? Fortunately, the Living Word (Jesus) has been captured in the Written Word (the Bible). For a scholarly yet reasonably accessible study of the reliability of Scripture, check out Craig Blomberg’s new book Can We Still Believe the Bible?

Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the most obvious places to get to know Jesus. Here, you will encounter eyewitness accounts of the teachings, character, personality, deeds, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Book of Acts: Here, you will read about the earliest followers of Jesus and how they began to spread His message throughout the Roman Empire. The first half of the book focuses on Peter and the Twelve disciples, while second half centers in on the miraculous conversion of Saul, who goes on to become Paul the Apostle, and great missionary for the Christian faith.

The Letters of Paul and the Rest of the New Testament: In these books we find the reflections and interpretation of the Christ event (Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection) by these Spirit-inspired writers. Typically, these are letters written to specific churches in a given city. Often these letters have two sections:

  1. “You Are” — who they are in Christ
  2. “Therefore, Be” — how they are to live out their faith

The Old Testament: You may be surprised that I would suggest you can discover Christ in the Old Testament. But do you remember what Jesus taught on the road to Emmaus: “Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”[1] Jesus read the Old Testament (Moses and all the Prophets) as pointing to Himself. This fall our church will do a study of “God’s Unfolding Story” which will help us see how all of Scripture points to Jesus and the New Covenant.

Next Steps: If you are new to the Bible, I would encourage you to begin with the one of the Gospels. Other great places to go are Philippians, James, or 1 John. The Psalms and Proverbs are also great ways to begin reading the Old Testament. If you prefer a selected daily Scripture passage with devotional thoughts from someone in our church, go to our web site and read the JourneyOn Today reading. There’s also an app for that.

Take Away: Whether you are a Bible scholar or brand new to the Bible, nothing can replace a regular study of Scripture to grow in your relationship with Jesus.

One More Thing: During this emphasis on apologetics and truth, videos are available to view at: http://adults.journeyonleadership.com/training/video-training/

For several weeks, we will look at how early Christians defended the faith during difficult times in the Roman Empire.

[1]The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Lk 24:26–27.