Doing life togther in a small group is not always easy. Actually, at times it can even get messy, but the benefits usually outweigh the difficulties. I have grown in grace and in the knowledge of God through the small groups I have been a part of. Over the past eight years I have been in couples groups, mens groups and mixed up groups. Each one had high points and low points...advantages and disadvantages. I learned to love and I experienced love. I shared pain and learned of the pain of others. I had people rejoice with me and I rejoiced with them. I heard life stories that helped me understand people so much better. We did projects together, ate together, laughed together and shared our hearts. The experiences of those groups are highlights in my journey of faith. How about you? Do you have any blessings from small group life to share with others?
When you read the title you may have thought that this was going to be "True Confessions of Pastoral Life" or something like that. Maybe you thought I was going to do some whining or complaining about the church or ministry. None of that stuff here, sorry if you are disappointed. The title actually comes from our text for Sunday, July 25. John 12:25 reminds us that Jesus said that whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. It helps to know that two different Greek words are used for the word life in the text. Jesus is reminding people that they have to pick a life. We can either pick the one we design or we can pick "eternal life," we cannot have both. When I read about the life that Jesus offers both now and for eternity and I think about the consequences of choosing my way over His way, it really is a "no-brainer." I want His life, eternal life, divine quality of life...I cannot possibly have it without Him. Therefore I hate my life, my way, my self-will whenever it is contrary to His will. Life only works one way. I love His life. I hate my life. Have you ever let go of something that you thought was life only to find it was really death?