Joy in Community

Joy in Community

Living out the Gospel in community can bring us overwhelming joy. When we reflect on the forgiveness of our sins through Christ and the eternal hope we have because of His resurrection, the very rhythm of our life becomes an opportunity to respond with gladness and generosity. This is exactly what we see in the early church as recorded in Acts 2:42-47 NIV:

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

The joy of the early church was found in the everyday response to the Gospel. They were a witness to those around them and the Holy Spirit used their testimony to draw others to faith.

The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart. – John Calvin

When we acknowledge the community around us by bringing intentionality into things we’re already doing, it allows us to see the Gospel played out through the very rhythms of our life. We start sharing meals with our co-workers. We start inviting neighbors over for game nights. We start serving those around us instead of binge-watching the latest show. We start Gospel conversations during play dates. We start enjoying community because it has an intentional, deep purpose to it that foundationally is a response to the Gospel in our own lives.

None of this happens all at once and it will look differently from person to person because our lives are all unique. However, as we begin we quickly see a new sense of joy from being in community, living out the Gospel, and joining God in the redeeming mission of His people.

Saltiness: Matthew 5:3-16

In Students this week, we looked at Matthew 5:3-16. This passage covers the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount and more specifically, the Beatitudes which means “blessed sayings.” We had great discussions in our small groups around this passage with great feedback and questions.

If you missed this week, you can download the questions here: Student Questions

I would encourage parents to review with students some key points in the passage. You can download some review questions here: Parent Review Questions


3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Read all of Matthew 5

Glory to God

Lakeside Church

I often read Pastor Mark’s blog from Mars Hill and came across a recent post titled, 7 things you should know about pride and humility – which I read. One of the things stuck out to me and thought I would share it:

Pride is about my glory, humility is about God’s glory.

I often recite the idea that once you know who you are, you’ll know what to do. This relates to everything we do and this thought from Pastor Mark is very fitting. When we settle within before we act who will get the glory, it settles everything. From not only what we do, but how we do it.

Resolve to give God the glory, and you’ll know the answer to the vast majority of the decisions in your life. What you do, why you do it, how you do it, when you do it—humility considers every decision by asking, “Who gets the glory?”

I love this and especially love how clear God’s Word is on the issue of pride and humility. In James 4:6 the bible says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” In all occasions, it can be difficult to naturally take on a spirit of humility and give glory to God, however we know that in those occasions God’s grace is upon us when we do.

Try and take on a spirit of humility today and ask the question, “Who gets the glory?”

Poor in Spirit


I read a passage yesterday in the Gospel of Matthew and it hit me in a way that it never had before. The passage was Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

At first, I was taken back at the reality that I had never truly internalized what Jesus was saying here. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Have I lived my life in way that reflects that?

In Matthew 13:44 Jesus tells this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”

To be poor in spirit is to realize that nothing we have is worth more than the kingdom of heaven. This includes not only our material possessions, but our relationships, aspirations, reputations, careers, and more. In Luke 14:33 Jesus says, “No one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” This idea of “possessions” is so complete that it includes everything we hold valuable. Nothing is to be more valuable to us than Christ.

My challenge to you is to take on this spirit of poverty and be willing to part with anything, knowing that nothing is more valuable than the hope and grace we have in Christ Jesus.