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Asking For Directions

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Dustin Walker is the Families & Community Pastor at City Church. 

What do you do when you don’t know how to find something?

We’ve all been there. You experience a moment of slight (or major) panic when you can’t find what you’re looking for.  Perhaps followed by guilt, embarrassment, or even helplessness.  Think through each of the following scenarios.

You’re at the grocery store and can’t find the cans of diced tomatoes. Five, then ten minutes pass by as you pace the aisles and think, “Where are they hiding these things? I’m such a moron!” Or maybe you’re running 15 minutes late to an unfamiliar address and you CANNOT find the building. The whole time your heart pounds as you think, “Why can’t I find this place! They are going to be so upset with me for being late. This meeting was so important and I’m blowing it!”

Similarly, I can feel this way when I’m reading scripture, and I’m just not understanding it. There has to be some meaning to unearth but it seems as elusive as that can of diced tomatoes or office complex.

Maybe you’ve been there. If reading scripture is new to you or not, you may be familiar with that sinking feeling of not knowing what to do to understand a passage you’re reading. You’ve got questions but you don’t even know where to go to get answers.  

You may have quick responses for each of these scenarios I listed above.  And perhaps your mind doesn’t always go immediately to thinking these panicky thoughts.  But we’ve all been there at one time or another.  It is frustrating to not find what you’re looking for. The truth is that you probably have some quick ways that normally help you get past these moments with a little help. 

As you begin to begin journaling using the HEAR method you will inevitably come across passages in which you’ll need some extra resources to help answer your questions. Some passages are more difficult than others to explain and grasp their meaning. And this will be crucial to help you apply it. Here are some helpful tips as you venture ahead: 

Ask someone for help 

This is probably the #1 overlooked thing to do. Just like we might wander around a store for 15 minutes without asking an associate, we may neglect to ask the people around us for help. This is why reading scripture in a community of people is important. Ask someone in your community group. Send them a text or give them a call.

GPS-Style

The go-to method for most of us when finding an address is to type it into our GPS. Many times this gives us just enough immediate information to help us find our way. Likewise, it is good to have some quick bible references that you can find with ease.

Here are a few suggestions:

Online Tools

Study bibles and commentaries can be helpful in giving context and background information for a particular text.

 Websites

For example, if you’re wanting to know more about the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 you might search for this topic of passage among their articles.

The Road Atlas

Sometimes the trusted, old-school things work just as well. That’s why I would ultimately suggest that over time you begin to invest in some of these other bible tools. They aren’t free and they don’t lend themselves to quick search engine style responses. But they do deliver an overall understanding of scripture and the big story of the gospel God has painted throughout.  Here are some of those atlas-like bible resources for you:

Study Bibles

There are a lot of versions of study bibles out there that go along with several translations of scripture. I have personally found the ESV Study Bible and NKJV Study Bible to be helpful. Ask your community group leader what they recommend.

Commentaries

Commentaries are typically written by pastors and theologians and are chocked full of information. Since they’re expensive, I wouldn’t suggest buying a whole set. I would suggest you ask someone with formal theological training or a pastoral staff member for his input.

All in all, when we read scripture, we are looking for more than just cans of diced tomatoes or an address. We are trying to understand the heart and character of God. The goal of studying the bible is not knowledge and information. It is a person. We want to know and love the person of Jesus Christ.

Hopefully these resources will lead you to do just that.

Posted by Dustin Walker with

The Glorious Gift of Gospel Driven Community

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Chris Martin is a covenant member at City Church. 

Susie and I moved to new part of the Nashville area this spring.

When we were making our moving decision, we settled on two possibilities. Option A provided a shorter commute to work, but meager friendships and connections. Option B required a longer commute to work, but more opportunity for solid community. Each option provided about the same amount of house for the money, so that point was rather moot.

We went with Option B, which was my first choice, but not Susie’s. We were nervous, but we’re really glad we did.  

The first two-and-a-half years we lived in Nashville, we were really bad at making friends. We lived in an apartment and we more afraid of than friendly with our neighbors. We loved our church, but lived 25-minutes away from it and most of our friends who went there, which prevented any frequent hangouts.

But, praise God, since we moved in April and have gotten settled in our new town and our house, we have grown in our ability to make friends. We’ve met some neighbors, City Church gathers only ten minutes up the street, and our community group is just five minutes away.

Since moving and establishing ourselves in a new town and amidst a new community of friends and neighbors, I’ve been learning about the give and take of community.

Community Gives a Lot

Already, in just the last couple of months that our community group has been meeting regularly, Susie and I have been so blessed to remember what it feels like to be a part of a community that loves each other even though we aren’t lifelong friends. When we left Indiana, I was always afraid we would never make friendships that could compare with the ones back home. Already it feels like we have found a community of people that would do anything for us—God has so so blessed us in this way.

Before we even joined the church, a group of people from the church helped us move into our house. This is speaking my love language big time—I hate moving, and these people did it for us even though they had no idea who we were or if we would even come to their church.

Community gives a lot. 

Community encourages; community provides; community corrects; community sacrifices. 

In short, a community loves.

God has been so good and has so blessed us with a group of friends who will love us enough to encourage us when we need encouraging and correct us when we need correcting. We don’t have everything in common, but we have the most important thing in common: our gospel-driven devotion to one another.

Community Takes a Lot

With the blessing of receiving the gifts of gospel-driven community comes the requirement of investing in gospel-driven community. I do not say “requirement” to say it is burdensome…but it might be.

I have always marveled at how a group of Christians can come together, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, political stances, interests, or otherwise, and sacrificially love each other because of how miraculously they have been sacrificially loved.

If we are to benefit from the sacrificial love of gospel-driven community, we must also love sacrificially for the sake of our community.

This can be burdensome. Sacrificial love is rarely easy—after all, it is sacrificial. But, by the grace of God, sacrificial love brings joy in its wake. Loving others as Christ has loved us is a worshipful, God-glorifying experience.

My encouragement for those of you who are new to City Church is to jump into a Community Group.  Take the next step to getting into a group today by contacting one of our leaders or going with a friend to their group.  Come see for yourself what a glorious gift this kind of community can be.

To join a community group at City Church, click here.  

Adapted from “The Glorious Gift of Gospel Driven Community” at Millennial Evangelical

Posted by Chris Martin with

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