Tuesday, February 26, 2008
L.I.F.E. (Living in Faithful Evangelism) Groups - Bible Study Groups
This is part of my dear family - my brothers and sisters in Christ - God has brought us together to walk through difficult and joyful times of life with. I treasure these people with all my heart. Yes, I treasure Roger too - he's missing from the photo cause he had to go pick up the girls from gymnastics. Brandon took this photograph for us. Ever since Roger and I started going to Cornerstone, we've always been part of an evening Bible study group and have just loved it. So many wonderful people have come through our lives as we've lived and grown together in the Lord.
We come together and we talk, pray, laugh, and cry too, and study God's Word with. In these photos we're having a dessert and finger food potluck just before Christmas. It's so good just to get together and fellowship. We've gotten to know so many people through church and our community through groups like this - so many wonderful people have walked through our lives in these groups. What an important and exciting part of church life. If I didn't have groups like this, or Ladies Bible study groups, I'd find it very difficult - they've both always been such a huge part of my life/of our lives - it'd be super tough to live without them. :-)
The following is a report that I wrote up for an annual church book that gets printed each year with reports from all the different committees in it - it gives everyone a heads up as to what has been happening in our church all year and what each individual committee looks after.
Since L.I.F.E. groups/Bible study groups began so many years ago in our church, Roger and I have always been a part of one, it has always been a huge part of our lives. We've always enjoyed the fellowship, laughter and the learning of God's Word together with other believers. We've always believed strongly in the gathering together as believers to share our lives together - whether in joy, laughter, sorrow or hardship. Fellowship has always been an important aspect of our walk with God and in our marriage. It has strengthened us and it has taught us so many things of being part of the family of God. We learn and glean so much from each other and we share a bond with the people of God that can not possibly happen just on a Sunday morning each week. When there's laughter, we laugh together; when there's sorrow, we cry together; when there's pain, we carry each other's burdens together in prayer; when there's joy, oh how blessed it is to share that joy together. God never meant for any of us to travel this life alone, He's blessed us with people, with fellow believers to share the journey together with us all, to uplift and encourage each other.
Hebrews 10:25 says " Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
I'd say that this is the theme verse for Cornerstone L.I.F.E. Groups. We are not to give up meeting together. God wants for us to have the fulfilling fellowship with other believers. It has been such an incredible blessing in our lives. We have walked with others through the joys of baptism, graduation, reunions, weddings, birth of children or grandchildren, job promotions, and many other celebrations of life. We have gathered strength from each other as we've walked through and prayed through the sorrows and hardships of this life; death of a child, sicknesses and diseases, death of a spouse or loved one, children moving away or not following the Lord, chronic pain/illness, financial difficulties, the challenges of dealing with aging parents...and many others. Other times we've shared such laughter together that our guts hurt, especially when Pastor Russ Reid had to eat baby food blindfolded at a baby shower. :-) What a blessing it is to be part of the body of Christ.
In Fall 2007, Roger & I accepted the invitation from Cornerstone Church to become L.I.F.E. Group Co-ordinators. After being a part of Bible study groups for so many years, it felt very natural for us to become leaders at church in this area. We have been and we know we will be so blessed by accepting this call from God. We have learned so much already and we've only just begun this role. We were only in this role for a month when The Truth Project vision stirred in our hearts, in my husband's heart. I knew that was what God was calling us to bring to our church and to our communities. After attending the conference in November, we knew even more, that this was where God was leading us. Confirmation after confirmation has now gotten us to leading 85 believers in 5 different groups through this series, both in our church and in our community; leading them so that in turn, they can then lead others through the Truths of God's Word. When we receive teaching and truths from God, we are not to keep it to ourselves but to tell others about it and to share the Good News. "Go ye therefore into all the world" and to me that means into all our communities and homes too. In the homes is where transparency and lasting relationships often take place - a great place for Bible study groups and sharing a bond with each other through Christ. In John 8 verse 31b & 32, Jesus is speaking to the Jews who believed Him, and "Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." This is what the Truth Project is all about - setting the captives free - we are being held captive by many lies that our culture is feeding us and Jesus wants us to be set free. God wants us to live in freedom, not capitivity. When we are in God's Word, praying and acting on what we believe through Christ, we will be set free. When we learn and grow together through Bible study and prayer, we will be blessed.
We are excited with what God is doing in our church, in His church. We wait in expectation as we witness Him transforming hearts and renewing minds to become more like Christ's.
Lisa & Roger Braun