As pastor of discipleship at Westwood, I have been struggling with something for some time now. I believe our Life Groups are vital to the health and growth of our church Body. I have heard many testimonies about how they have strengthened individual believers. My family has benefited from taking part in our own Life Group. I know that most people at Westwood know just how important Life Groups are in my view. However, I want to make something clear. Life Groups are not and can not become the end for Spiritual Growth and discipleship. Let me explain what I mean. Although we focus on three very important values within our Life Groups–those being discipleship, ministry and mission–we simply cannot pursue all areas of discipleship within that one small group program. Life Groups are wonderful for connecting families together, reflecting and applying what has been taught from the pulpit, intentionally ministering to each other’s needs, encouraging each other in the area
A couple of days ago, as is often the case, I found myself having to delete some stuff off of my iPhone in order to make room for a new update. If you have an iPhone, surely you can understand that process! First, you open the ‘usage’ part of the settings to see if there are any space-hogging apps that you can part with. Second, you go ahead and start hacking away at all of the temporary stuff, like photos and videos. One thing that I have found out about myself is that I am a picture hoarder. I hate deleting photos…especially ones of my kids! But, you gotta do what you gotta do, so you spend what feels like an eternity scrolling and checking pictures that can go. The worst part about this process is that with each rep it seems like you delete almost everything on your phone only to find out you have only freed like .02
Our purpose statement at Westwood includes 3 elements: Grounded in Christ, Growing together in God’s Word, and Going for God’s Glory. We desire as a church to see people grow as a disciple in these three areas, and we seek to shape everything we do as a church body around this vision.
My good friend and partner in the gospel, Ron Young (Church planter in Quebec), posted an article on Facebook this past week by Dr. Albert Mohler. The article is linked below, but offers an overview of the evolution of public education. This evolution has not been a good one, and Dr. Mohler clearly offers a solemn warning to parents whose children roam the halls of public schools in the present day. I very much appreciated Ron posting the article, and even more the brief discussion that followed. As I continued to think through that conversation and this issue, I sat down and began typing some of my thoughts out. I understand this can be a touchy subject for many, but I also believe that just because an issue is touchy shouldn’t mean that we as believers have to avoid it. I hope that you will see in my thoughts below that I am not using this post to advocate a
I admit I just do not get Lady Gaga or the fascination so many have with her. But whether I ‘get’ her or not, she has become more than a singer or performer. She has become a movement. Arguably her most adored hit, “Born This Way,” has evolved from lyrics sung to a full fledged foundation. On its website, the foundation states its purpose as “building a kinder braver world that celebrates individuality and empowers young people.” I have been amazed at the response of our younger generation to this mission. Watching this movement unfold has awakened a reality within me concerning the way we approach discipleship with young people. Today’s young people are passionate about two areas: self-identity and self-expression.