These were my notes from our 4/3/2011 church meeting.
Leader: Tim Harris
This Sunday marks the 1-year anniversary of our group's work together. If we can fit it in, I would like to discuss two topics this Sunday:
- What are your "lessons learned" from the past year? This can be anything spiritually-related, but the focus of my question relates to our work together. I'd like us to compile a collective list of our individual thoughts.
- What are some keys to dealing with disappointment? We all face situations where people and life events leave us down, disappointed, and depressed. How do you get over those things and move on? Draw from scripture and personal experience.
Here are the lessons I have learned over the past year:
- Following GOD sometimes requires tough choices that can be painful, but the result is always for my good and growth.
- A small percentage of people in our society today are actively seeking the truth. Although discouraging, we must preach the gospel in season and out of season. Our job is to be the light that the seeking person looks to in order to guide their way.
- You can talk about doing things differently without criticism, but as soon as you start doing things differently the critics begin to howl.
- Leadership is a lonely road that, along the way feels cold and filled with self-doubt, but at the end of the journey is sunshine and joy.
- Any problem I can think of is a small thing for GOD. The challenge I struggle with is remembering to give Him my small problems as soon as they arise.
- You can be around someone for a lifetime and never really know them. Relationships are more than being in close physical proximity to someone, or shaking their hand three times a week and asking, "How's it going?"
- It is next-to-impossible for one person to change the ingrained culture of a group. If the group's leadership don't buy in to the change, then you are kicking against the bricks.
- Participation plus a willing heart results in growth.
- Confession and accountability are the key ingredients to improving in areas of weakness.
- It truly is the parents' responsibility to teach our children. I must accept responsibility for their spiritual progression, just as in any other area of their life. If I want them to grow spiritually, I must make it a priority.
Others' Lessons Learned
The following list is a compilation of the thoughts of the rest of our congregation, including our children. Many of the thoughts expressed below aren't necessarily "new" to the individual expressing them; rather they express an overall feeling or summary thought based on personal experiences over the past year.
- Life is hard. Although life seems unfair at times GOD has a plan. Although life is hard, it isn't impossible with GOD.
- We must love our enemies.
- It is important to be friends with lots of people.
- Children must obey—and never ignore—their parents.
- Love and seek GOD!
- Pray more frequently.
- Magnify GOD in our speech and prayer.
- Each of us experiences different needs but no temptation is unique—others have experienced it too.
- People will disappoint you. (It's especially hard to get over disappointments of those close to us, such as family.)
- Look for the Hebrew/Greek word to get the real meaning of a Scripture.
- Not everyone is going to be open-minded and/or study for themselves.
- Being open with your family (church family) brings a closeness that I've never felt before.
- Stirring one another up really does work.
- Church meetings don't have to be boring. Assemblies don't need to be run in a pre-printed order like a program.
- Prayer really works! There is tremendous power in intense collective prayer.
- There is strength found when spending time with fellow Christians.
- GOD's ideas and plans for marriage work! Our way does not.
- Tradition is incredibly blinding.
- GOD is present with us.
- There is tremendous power in fellowship—joint participation with GOD and with one another.
- Open confession and embracing accountability leads to overcoming sin and personal growth.
- Spontaneity can contribute to more effective collective worship. It provides the flexibility to pray when we need to, sing when we want to, etc.
- The comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit is refreshing, once we accept that He is alive and within each of us. If we can learn not to quench the Spirit, He will do amazing things through us.
- I now know what it means to grow spiritually.
- I now know what it means to have a close spiritual family that I can "let in" to know me in ways I've never done before.
- I'm not "in charge;" GOD is!
- If we are still and wait on Him, GOD will reveal Himself to us.
- I learned what it really means to 'worship' according to the Bible. Worship is so much more than assembling with other Christians.
- Spiritual family becomes increasingly important when your physical family isn't there for you, or doesn't support your decisions.
- Never "close the door" on anyone because they could change. They could become your best friend.
- GOD provides for us—He steps in at times in our life and helps us.