As I was praying and studying the other day, I had planned to read Psalm 127. It had been mentioned by someone, somewhere, and I thought it would be good to dwell there a little while. I didn’t get a chance to read it though. My daughter awoke and the day began quickly, before I was ready.
I decided, last night, to write this post, knowing that I’d need to wait until the morning to write it. You see, I wanted to just show some Life Group love. As my pastor says (and I’m sure others), small groups are where life happens. At my church, we call our small groups, “Life Groups” for that reason. Some meet early, some later, some on Sunday nights, others in each other’s homes during the week. This post is not an attempt to bad talk “Sunday School”. In some instances, some small groups are operating like many of us think of when we hear “Sunday School”. Likewise, there are a few “Sunday School” classes out there operating like what we call small groups, or “Life Groups”. I think our pastor even joked about some of the older generations at our church still calling their “Life Groups”, “Sunday School”. Different people have different preferences, and there have been arguments over the two. There do seem to be some differences, and some overlaps… each group of believers is probably a little different and operate differently whether it is a “Life Group” (or any small group) or a “Sunday School”. I am not here to join that battle.
I do want to talk a little about some things I love about my Lifegroup. I do hope that this might encourage you to join a small group, become more involved and connected to your small group, or be challenged to grow what your group does and can be. We meet together once a week all year long. We occasionally might meet for breakfast instead on a holiday weekend when many are out of town, but we meet all year. Life doesn’t take a break for the summer and neither do we. We have a group of leaders who take turns teaching/leading the discussions and conversations, as we study God’s word together. We have just finished an apologetics study by RZIM. We pray for each other. We share our joys and struggles, our triumphs and set backs. We share. We care. We don’t condemn. We find opportunities to connect one-on-one for friendship and accountability. We try to meet regularly in smaller groups (gender specific) to study, connect and just love on one another, more openly, more intimately. We serve our community together. We get together for fun times every month generally, and we challenge each other to push those comfort zones and step out in faith. In fact, I’m excited about the ways we are out together, “moving needle” in our community, spreading THE Good News.
Our group consists of 20/30’s with and without kids, though I’ve seen thriving groups with various ages in the group encouraging, connecting and relating to each other and I think that’d be great! I’ve known others who have a time of worship together, with guitar, as they meet. I have heard of a church which gives each small group one of the missionaries they support to surround in prayer, send care packages and really love on in ways that might not happen otherwise. I think that is great! While we meet in a portable building at church during hours that have childcare (works best for us right now for sure!), I love the way some groups at Willowbrook (Madison Campus), and across the nation and world, meet in each others homes. It is yet another way to grow closer and be more intimate. In what ways are your small group where life happens?
In a moment’s notice, you can go from a mountain top to a life crisis. God carries us during those times, as we rest in Him. I surely know. Over the last several years, I’ve seen and experienced both for sure (and some in betweens as well). When you’re facing difficulties, your “Life Group” is there. God works through them. When you are experience loads of joy, your group is there too (speaking of which, I’ve got a baby gift to deliver). My husband and I are very close. We are the best of friends and love spending time with one another. I have recently started to understand exactly why, while that relationship is good, I must continue to cultivate others and find accountability with him, as well as with a friend or two. With my husband out of town on business and our hot water heater completely out of service… I needed some time that was not just me and our two year old, and a good hot bath for said two year old. Last minute, my Life Group filled that need. Two of our friends opened their doors, turned on The Lion King, welcomed us… even fed us. I’d been running low, and I was recharged a bit. God met my needs that night via those friends in my small group. We are so very blessed to have the opportunity to have a place like this, a group like this, where we can be completely honest, broken, ask questions, grow and find answers, lift each other up. Last night I had a dream that my husband and I were getting ready to fly out of the country. We were going to meet up with others from our Life Group, serve our Father together, making kingdom differences, sharing THE Good News, THE BEST NEWS! We were headed to London, and I’m not sure the length of the stay or if our child was coming with us. The important thing in the dream was that we were sharing The Good News, and it was a very cool, exciting dream because we were going with/meeting up with our Lifegroup to do so! It was just so cool.
I hit snooze for almost 30 minutes to stay in that dream longer. When I finally did get up out of bed (it was still early but just not quite as early as I planned), I thanked God for His hedge of protection around us, His grace and mercy, all because of His Great Love. I also thanked Him for such a nice dream and for our Lifegroup. Some days I read several verses/chapters of scripture, other times I read a smaller amount and just really study and dwell on it a while. While this is not all the verses I read this morning, I’m sharing much of what I read, as it pertains to what I’m sharing with you today.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
My daughter woke up and we prayed for my husband, her daddy, and thanked God together. I then finished reading Psalm 127 as she watched a video of a book in my lap, Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes on youtube.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
I pray for blessing on my husband, a hedge of protection, and more children. I pray for the great plans God has for him. For 10 years I’ve been getting glimpses of these plans, encouraging him not to be discouraged. Anyway, tangent for sure…
I just wanted to share a little about my special small group and encourage you to join, connect, grow and serve in your small group as well.
What special things do you do with your small group? What do you wish your group was doing? How is your group serving together? How are you connecting with and serving among your group?