Do you ever feel like you are having a tough time living up to the expectations that you have placed on yourself? Do you ever feel that your best, simply isn’t good enough? Have you ever come to the realization that you are not perfect? Well, the good news is, if you’re like me, you have aced this test!
As I poured forth effort this past week to study our small group’s weekly passage found in Acts 4, I was in awe of the spirit-filled life of the Apostle Peter. My awe of the life of Peter exemplified in Acts 4, left me cut to the heart. Here are two men, Peter and John, who are “uneducated and untrained”, whom are clearly recognized as having been with Jesus after speaking with authority to the religious leaders of the day. They were initially observed as confident (Acts 4:13) and later exemplified boldness (Acts 4:20). My heart concurs for this to be the reality of my life, but then I am left to an honest revelation that I am no where near that “bold”. To be utterly transparent, I often look a lot more like Peter in Mark 14:66-72 (i.e. cowardly denial). Ever been there?
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for my small group, I was unable to teach past the point where God is dealing with me. Sometimes my desire to appear “educated and trained” gets in the way of “being with Jesus” (can I get an “amen” from the fellow “type A’s”?). Notice this is the exact opposite of Peter and John in Acts 4:13. To put it plainly, I often seek out answers for questions instead of seeking the Person who answers.
So this is where I stand, needing to place myself under the authority of God’s word. To spend time daily with my savior to know the heart of God, while I ‘m left pleading to God for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Not so that I would appear “educated and trained”, but so that I would appear as nothing but a vessel, and that I would only be recognized as one who has been with Jesus.
I must also realign my thinking for the questions that I opened this post with. For I should have no expectations but Jesus’ and because of Jesus I am “good enough” and one day I will be perfect (Revelation 21). Until then, I
put forth effort to be will make it my desire to be content with being recognized as having “been with Jesus”.
“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” ~ Acts 4:13
Another year of leading the Squires Lighthouse has begun. This month marks the start of the third year of the Squires Lighthouse and our fourth year involved in the Lighthouse (small group) ministry at First Family Church in Ankeny, Iowa.
I always look forward to fresh beginnings. A chance to kick it up a notch, get back on track. For one thing, we typically take summers off, so it’s refreshing to be back in regular fellowship with other believers. Secondly, the last four months have been a rather blur. Needless to say, with a three year old, two year old, and twin infants, regular adult fellowship was harder to come by this summer. My wife and I absolutely love meeting with fellow Christians and are so thankful for the opportunity to have Christian friends who we can meet with and enjoy godly fellowship.
Anyways…so what is exactly is the Squires Lighthouse you ask? The Squires Lighthouse is currently comprised of young married couples in various stages of life. We love the Lord and strive to have deep, godly fellowship when we meet Sunday evenings to study the bible, pray, and grow in the Lord together.
If you live in the Des Moines area and want to meet and join in our fellowship let us know!
I am so thankful for all of the friends and family who have helped my wife and I out during these past two stressful weeks (see here, here, here, and here). It been amazing to see how our family, friends and church has responded to us in our time of need.
My mind has just been reflecting on the events of the past few weeks and I realized that I am so grateful / thankful:
- that last week when we were in the hospital the “kiddos” were at my parents house
- a Pastor who cared to come visit us in the hospital (and other friends who offered)
- for the friends and neighbors who have sacrificed their time and groceries to prepare us a meal
- for Melissa for organizing to arrange for help and making a “grocery run”
- for fellow believers who have offered to pray for us on the hour during waking hours
- for our Lighthouse group at First Family Church at how we are able to encourage and humbly serve one another
- for the flexibility of my employer and the ability to work remotely (thank you technology)
- for the Lord’s financial blessing on our lives
- for friends who drop off extra carpet for our unfinished basement
- for my wife’s patience with me as I try to pick up some slack around the home
- for my wife’s mother coming to stay with us this week to help out with Angela and the kids
- for all of those who have offered to help and pray for us, so simply being the “body of Christ” to us and sharing in our joys and suffering
- for the blessing of children as a gift from the Lord
- for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and that Salvation is freely offered to all who believe upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
I’m sure that I’m forgetting some things, but these things that I have “listed” have given me a dose of grace in this time of need!
I believe that today represented Day #1 of retraining myself of what it means to “serve my wife”. My wife has been recently put on “modified bed rest” at 29 weeks for her pregnancy with our twins . While this week was extremely stressful for me (I’m thankful no one was trying to take my blood pressure), I have felt God’s surpassing peace in a real way. I have also come to a few very real conclusions:
1) My wife is a “super-mom” and “super-wife” (I knew this before now – just reiterated). In other words, she makes things pretty easy for me. While I work outside of the home, she works in the home preparing meals, doing laundry, keeping the house clean, taking care of the kids, paying bills, running errands, etc. This enables us to have great family time every evening without worrying about taking care of the daily tasks that she is able to tackle. Now that her “super-mom” and “super-wife” role looks different (i.e. bed rest caring for our newborn babies)…
2) I need to “fill” those shoes (as an act of love – Ephesians 5:25)
2) “I” cannot “fill” those shoes (not enough hours in the day). However, I am confidently claiming the word of God as authority on this situation, “I can do all things through Him, who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). The house may not be as clean and spotless, or the bills always paid on time, but I know that God will sustain us during this time.
4) I need the Lord to continue to teach me what it means to be a servant. I am thankful for God’s great shepherding in bringing about this area of sanctification in my life. I know that I need to serve more joyfully and the Lord has given me many opportunities, starting with the wife that I married 46 months ago and our two kids!
5) I am thankful for the body of Christ. Our families, Lighthouse group, and church family has been awesome and encouraging. Thanks!
God has been doing a mighty work in my heart. It was three weeks ago tonight, that our small group (Squires Lighthouse) kicked off. Nothing profound or supernatural happened that night. We just met as a group of believers in the name of Jesus Christ. We prayed specifically that night, as the Spirit moved, that God would empower us to be a group the met the physical and spiritual needs of our group and of those we came in contact with. Well…surprise, surprise God heard that heart cry (not like it’s really a surprise because God always hears and answers our prayers). The answer to prayer is not yet a finished work though. Because I sincerely feel that God is orchestrating circumstances for each man and woman in our group in order that we would prove ourselves faithful. To first prove ourselves faithful in the so-called “little things” and then allow God to use us as he so pleases to accomplish his will on this earth. God is faithful to our prayers…imagine that…
Lord, help us to “walk by the Spirit” so that we will not carry out our own selfish desires. Awaken your Holy Spirit within is us to battle our fleshly desires. Enable us to have the power to stand faithful and surrender ourselves to your will. Let us not be become boastful, but instead humble and gentle as we live by the Spirit of God!
Last night was the kick-off for our small group at First Family Church. Our small group meets on Sunday nights, and we are known as the Squires Lighthouse (Lighthouse is the name used for the adult small group ministry at First Family Church). We met at 5:00 pm for a shared meal, and then from 6:00 – 7:30 for discussion and prayer.
For me, there is a sort of nervous, excitement on the first night of leading a “new” group. I say “new” because our group was in existence last year, but we have added and subtracted some people. As I “un-eloquently” attempted to express my vision for our lighthouse this year, God stirred the hearts of the people in our group, to confirm a like minded passion among the members in our lighthouse. This passion manifested itself in many ways with several members confessing that they want to reach out and support the needs of people around them, a common burning desire for authenticity in relationships, and the agreement that we just don’t want to be “another small group”. The passion that I felt among the members in our lighthouse, was a passion to be the church, to be the body of Christ embracing the gospel and God’s call on our individual lives.
This kick-off event has dominated my thoughts and prayers for the last 24 hours, as I boldly pray to God to do a mighty work in and through the lives of the people involved in our lighthouse! I know that God is willing and able to fulfill that request. My overwhelming emotion can ultimately be summed up in one simple word: EXCITEMENT!
My wife and I met at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. There was one thing that permeated every aspect of the campus: godly fellowship! Like all Christian Liberal Arts schools, Northwestern claimed to have this type of fellowship, but after living there I experienced it first hand.
Reflecting back, its hard to pinpoint exactly what made the fellowship of believers on campus so great. Was it the required chapel, biblical classes, Christian professors, Sunday Night campus praise and worship? Now that I’ve been away from the campus for a while, I think I’m starting to understand. It’s not one aspect or the other, it’s the combination of everything and the relationships and fellowship that follow.
From Wikipedia I found the fellowship information on koinonia. Koinnoia is a Greek word that means “communion by intimate participation”. The essential meaning of the word koinonia embraces concepts conveyed by the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Koinonia can therefore refer in some contexts to a jointly contributed gift. The word appears 19 times in most edition of the Greek New Testament. In the New American Standard Bible it is translated “fellowship” twelve times, “sharing” three times, and “participation” and “contribution” twice each.
This godly fellowship does something to foster spiritual growth that no man-derived method of spiritual discipline can ever hope to recreate. I am a small group, “Lighthouse”, leader at First Family Church in Ankeny since last September. During this time, there has been some really neat relationships developed within our group. My wife and I are again feeling that same tight-knit community of believers that reminds us of our days at Northwestern, and that we experienced when living in the Cedar Rapids area. Godly fellowship is such a beautiful thing, and all Christians should strive for it and cherish it.
Acts 2:42 – “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (Koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”