How Small Groups Can Embrace Word and Prayer

When Jesus spoke, people listened. He didn’t come to put an end to the Old Testament law but instead to “fulfill” it—to bring it to completion and fullness by rooting God’s ways in the hearts of God’s people.

In our community groups, we can encourage one another in a number of spiritual rhythms—Bible study, confession, prayer, and so on. But how might our small groups actually learn together how to meditate on God’s Word?

The Rhythm of Scripture

Our community groups can go beyond increasing knowledge to actually cultivate and practice devotional Scripture reading together. Devotional Scripture reading, or biblical meditation, has often been described as a middle road between reading and prayer: Our minds are engaged in God’s Word, yet our words come directly from our heart and are expressed to our Father in prayer. This is a reading for the purpose of increased fellowship with God together.

Learning to Meditate Together

For centuries biblical meditation has been practiced both individually and communally—and we can restore this practice in our small groups today. The church fathers spoke of “descending with the mind into the heart”—a helpful phrase describing biblical meditation. Meditation engages the mind by focusing it on God’s Word. In the midst of a thousand concerns and thoughts, it directs our minds to stillness on God’s Word in his presence. Like a centripetal force, meditating on Scripture slowly pulls us inward toward the center of communion with God.

The best place to begin Scripture meditation—whether individually or in a group—is with the Book of Psalms. We must remember the Psalms were written for congregational use; they were penned to be read aloud, sung aloud, and prayed aloud with others. As Eugene Peterson once noted, just as a farmer uses tools to cultivate the ground and produce crops, so we can use our prayers to stir up our hearts and become more like Christ. In other words, if our prayers are tools, the Psalms are our toolbox.1 God has given us 150 rich, impassioned songs and prayers for our devotional life. Unlike any other genre of the Scriptures, the psalms enable us to express ourselves, understand our own hearts, find perspective for our circumstances, give language to our emotions, and pray God’s Word back to him.

In our group prayer, we can pray the psalms to our Father in a powerful way—together, we can descend with our minds into our hearts.

Here are three recommendations for making the most of these prayers.

First Reading: Content and Meaning

Gather your group and introduce the topic of biblical meditation. Before beginning your reading and prayer time, ask the Lord to bless your time of reflection together.

In this first reading, read the psalm aloud. Since it was written to be read (or sung) aloud, there’s likely a natural rhythm and flow to it. The first time through, get a feel for the psalm’s content, and pause for a moment whenever you see the word Selah. After the first reading, take about five minutes to ask basic questions about the psalm’s content and meaning. What was the psalm’s original context? Was the psalmist primarily writing a private prayer or a congregational song? How would you put the message of the psalm into your own words?

Second Reading: Application and Meditation

Remind one another that the goal of devotional reading is increased fellowship with God, not merely understanding the psalm. With a basic understanding of the psalm’s content and meaning, now read the psalm aloud again, this time more slowly and with longer pauses. As one person reads the psalm, the rest of the group can follow along in their Bibles or simply close their eyes and listen. The goal is to personally absorb the psalmist’s prayer as much as possible. When you reach a Selah, pause for a few moments and reflect silently on the previous stanza.

After this second reading, take 20 to 30 minutes to discuss the psalm’s movements in a more personal way. How do you resonate with the psalmist’s cries for help? Where do you see yourself similarly in need of God? What aspects of your life are driving you to seek refuge in the Father?

The Rhythm of Prayer

Descending Into the Heart

After your discussion time, close with prayer together. A great exercise for our prayer lives is to learn to reword and then pray the psalm aloud. Take turns doing this, putting the most significant or applicable part of the psalm into your own words and praying it to our Father. Use the language of the psalm and add your own requests, praise, and prayer for others. (This exercise will be awkward the first time or two, but don’t get discouraged.)

In our groups, we have found new life in this historic pattern. Slow, meditative reading of Scripture, heart-level discussion and application, and deep personal prayer has drawn us closer to God and to one another. Groups can practice this kind of Bible-based prayer with visitors and non-Christians present, so long as it’s explained well. We’ve found that outsiders expect us to be doing spiritual things, and are refreshed by a group of people who long to be more deeply connected to God’s presence.2

Prayer Together

Of course, prayer in community group doesn’t always feel this majestic. In most community groups I’ve been a part of or led, prayer has become just a way of listing others’ needs out loud to God. We try hard to summarize Frank’s work situation, try not to be condescending as we pray for Jim and Amy’s struggling marriage, and make sure we “lift up” Sue’s second cousin’s knee soreness. My goodness, this doesn’t feel significant at all.

So, why is praying together important as a community group?

Think back to Jesus’s life and ministry again. In his famous teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:5-15, it’s important to note that the Lord’s Prayer seems to be instructing us in a prayer that we could offer together: “Our Father… Give us… Forgive us.. Lead us…” Prayer certainly can and should be practiced in private, but it’s instructive that the pattern our Lord gives us in his most famous prayer is a shared prayer.

In the same way, our heavenly Father wants us to come to him together with our needs and problems. Following the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer, we have the opportunity to pray for each other’s needs and so intercede on their behalf. As we pray for others in their presence, they feel God’s love and presence. Similarly, we can pray boldly together for God to advance his kingdom and then live that prayer by faith together.

Think about it: Where did you learn how to pray? Probably from watching another person praying for you or around you. I learned prayer from my father around the dinner table, from my earliest community group leader when we blessed dinner, from my wife when our sons have been sick, from my pastors when we have gathered to plead with God for renewal in our midst.

Praying together is an essential aspect of community life and, along with the other rhythms and practices, it enables a life of growth in Christ.

In the next article, we’ll look at the rhythms of fellowship (connecting with one another) and hospitality (connecting with outsiders).

1. See Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer.
2. This section originally appeared as “Three Steps for Meditating on Scripture in Small Groups” at The Gospel Coalition.

*This article is Part 3 of an eight-part series on community groups and their importance that will run this summer. Read the full series here.


Editor’s Note: The Theology in the Everyday series seeks to introduce and explain theological concepts in 500 words or less, with a 200-word section helping explain the doctrine to kids. At For The Church, we believe that theology should not be designated to the academy alone but lived out by faith in everyday life. We hope this series will present theology in such a way as to make it enjoyable, connecting theological ideas to everyday experience and encouraging believers to study theology for the glory of God and the good of the Church. This week, angels.

Christianity is a supernatural religion. That may sound obvious, but Christians in the modern world often seem overly skeptical about things that defy material explanation—things like miracles, the soul, the afterlife, and the topic of this post: angelic beings. Our world has become (as many philosophers and theologians have noted) disenchanted, demystified, and despiritualized. But against this materialist mindset, biblical Christianity is irreducibly and unavoidably and gloriously supernatural.

So just what are angels? Angels are immaterial beings created by God to worship him, to communicate his word, to protect his people, and to otherwise serve his purposes in the world. God, who is immaterial by nature, made some things unlike him (material creatures like birds, planets, and amoebae), some things both unlike him and like him (human beings, composed of body and soul), and some things that are more purely like him (immaterial angels). Angels can appear in physical form but are by nature immaterial and incorporeal (that is, they don’t have bodies). They are invisible creatures with power beyond our imagination. So, from one perspective, angels represent the highest order of creatures that God has made; they round out, so to speak, the manifold wisdom of God.

The Greek work for angel (angelos) simply means “messenger” and may mark out one particular type of spiritual being. But the English word “angel” also serves as a general description for all such beings. Other words used in the Bible for celestial beings include cherubim (e.g., Gen. 3:14; Ex. 25:18), seraphim (Isa. 6:2, 6), spirits (Heb. 1:7), archangels (1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 9), and (perhaps) Paul’s listing of thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities (Col. 1:16).

The Bible doesn’t give a detailed account of the angels’ creation. Presumably they were made at some point before the creation of the earth in Genesis 1 (see Job 38:7). In any event, we know that they were in fact created by God (see Col. 1:16); they are not eternal beings. The fall of a certain number of the angels is also not explicitly recorded in Scripture but rather assumed (Gen. 3:1; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Isa. 14 and Ezek. 28 may also have the fall of Satan in the background as an analogy for downfall of certain human kings). Fallen angels are referred to as demons or evil spirits. The powerful and personal being called Satan or Beelzebul serves as their prince (Matt. 9:34; Eph. 2:2). They are permitted a certain degree of power to tempt humanity, but they operate under the ultimate authority of God (Job 1) and their doom is certain (Matt. 25:41). The “elect” angels (1 Tim. 5:21) who did not rebel were confirmed in their original righteousness and always live to do God’s will. The risen Lord Jesus Christ serves as the supreme head over all angelic powers (Col. 2:10; cf. Col. 1:16; Eph. 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 15:24).

Angels and demons appear in every phase of the biblical story. In the Old Testament, angelic beings appear to the Patriarchs, to Moses, to the judges and kings, and to the prophets. In the New Testament, angelic (and demonic) activity is especially clustered around the incarnation and ministry of Jesus Christ: at the annunciation, the nativity, the temptations, the miracles, the passion, and the resurrection. In Acts and the Epistles, we read of angels supporting the church and demons waging war against it. In Revelation, we read of the ultimate end of both angels and demons, in everlasting glory or everlasting destruction, respectively.

So, why should Christians be concerned about the angels? What use is the doctrine of angels and demons? There are many, but I list three: our prayers, our worship, and our wonder. First, we are instructed in the Lord’s Prayer to ask, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). The Greek word here, ponēros, is masculine, indicating a personal agent. Thus, Jesus teaches us to pray against the schemes of the devil. Further, knowing that the elect angels guard and protect God’s people, it is also fitting to pray to God for their aid and comfort. Christians are engaged in a spiritual battle, and prayer is one of our key defenses (Eph. 6:18). One historic nighttime prayer expresses well this use of the doctrine of angels:

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Second, our worship of the one true God is informed by an awareness of these spiritual beings. Indeed, the celestial realms join in worship. According to the writer of Hebrews, New Covenant life and worship bring us to the “heavenly Jerusalem,” where we take our place alongside the glorified saints in heaven and “innumerable angels in festal gathering” (Heb. 12:22-23). The city of God, as Saint Augustine would remind us, is not two cities—one angelic and one human—but one united kingdom under the headship of Christ.

Finally, the study of angels leads us to wonder. Philosopher Peter Kreeft suggests that the first reason we should study the angels is because it’s fun! Maybe “fun” isn’t the best word, but an awareness of the angelic realm can elicit in us a sense of wonder and intrigue at the power, wisdom, and goodness of God in making such magnificent creatures. So, in the end, studying this aspect of God’s creation is not just a means to some other end. In one sense, it is an end in itself: wonder at the glory of God, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

For the Kids:

 As we learn in the very first verse of the Bible, God made everything (Gen. 1:1). He made some things that you can see, like your fingers and toes and the tree in your yard and your pet cat. But he also made some things that you cannot see, like the soul inside you, the part of you that can never die. Another thing that God made that you cannot see is a wondrous kind of creature called an angel. These invisible and powerful beings exist to worship God and to do his will in the world. They appear quite often throughout the story of the Bible and especially around the time of Jesus’ coming into the world. Sadly, some of these beings rebelled against God and try to lead us away from him. But in the end, they cannot defeat God’s power through his Son, Jesus Christ! The holy angels guard and protect God’s people. Jesus even says that “little ones” like you have angels in the presence of the Father who protect you even though you can’t see them (Matt. 18:10). What a wonderful thought!

Rhythms of Healthy Small Groups

In this short article series, I hope to help cultivate—or, perhaps, restore—your hope for biblical community and your heart for local church small groups ministry. (In these articles, I’m using the phrases “small groups” and “community groups” interchangeably.)

I want to do this by helping you answer two questions for your context:

  • (1) How will our small groups cultivate mature disciples of Jesus?
  • (2) How will our small groups grow and multiply to sustain a healthy church?

Both questions will mean moving past small group as mere fellowship and Bible study. They must become the primary place of discipleship. But what do I mean by discipleship?

Discipleship is the life-giving process of being with Christ and becoming like him together by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Discipleship to Jesus involves these multiple elements:

  • Process: It is not an immediate or overnight transformation; it’s a long, slow process of growth
  • Being with Christ: The goal of discipleship is nearness to Jesus
  • Becoming like Him: The process of discipleship involves increasing conformity to him
  • Together: We don’t conform to the image of Christ alone; as relational beings, we grow best in community
  • By the Holy Spirit: Discipleship is a Spirit-initiated and Spirit-led process; when we welcome the Spirit’s presence and role in our lives, our process of growth is quickened and multiplied

If all this is true, then one immediate implication is that our small group rhythms matter greatly for our personal and community formation. How so?

Why Our Rhythms Matter

Let’s acknowledge with a depressing reality: While the message of Jesus is clear, life changing, and wholly rooted in everyday life, it has largely become disconnected from American church experience. Why?

Of course, disobedience and rebellion have deep roots in our hearts. But could we also be missing the immense power and practicality of Christ for our moment-by-moment lives? I believe our vision of the new life with God is lacking, and as a tragic result we Christians and churches are largely powerless.

What we need is two-fold: We need a fresh vision of Christ and our life in him (discipleship), and we need the practical habits to develop new behaviors and rhythms of life in the church to make discipleship stick.

To quote Dallas Willard in Renovation of the Heart, “The really good news for humanity is that Jesus is now taking students in the master class of life.” We can do this!

In order to grow in our conformity to Christ, we need to embrace new rhythms of life. We need new habits.

As many researchers have shown, we can only develop new behaviors through the repetition of practices reinforcing those behaviors. To be a great musician, time must be spent studying sheet music and practicing chords. Often, a mentor is needed to make the most of practice—and a supportive community to provide encouragement and accountability.

We all have some vision of a better life, and our habits reveal exactly where our desire lies. If we want to become like Christ, we have to set our eyes on him, create rhythms of life that reinforce that desire, and remove any old ways of life that work against our new vision.

So what rhythms will best cultivate discipleship in Jesus? What habits can our community group embrace to spur one another toward conformity to Christ?

The three discipleship rhythms are: Word and Prayer, Fellowship, and Hospitality. To put it another way, to grow in Christ, we embrace the habits of:

  • (1) Word and prayer—Connecting with God
  • (2) Fellowship—Connecting with one another
  • (3) Hospitality—Connecting with outsiders

I deeply believe that following Jesus’s patterns will transform the way we do small groups and ensure that our discipleship is effective. These four rhythms—also discovered in the life and ministry of Jesus—give us the necessary habits to make disciples in our community groups. Like Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, think of these are your “Three Habits of Highly Effective Community Groups.”

Please hear this: The point is not whether you meet weekly or bi-weekly, whether you meet in a home or a coffee shop, if you discuss the sermon weekly or monthly. But whatever form it takes, we encourage you to do life together, apply the Scriptures, meet with God in prayer, and create space for outsiders.

How you contextualize these three practices is up to you. But in my experience, a community group that neglects one of these four rhythms will struggle to be and remain healthy and life-giving.

I hope you find this series to be life-giving in your noble effort to lead others into maturity in Christ through community groups.

May God bless your sacrificial service more than you could ever ask or imagine!

*This article is Part 2 of an eight-part series on community groups and their importance that will run this summer. Read the full series here.

The Ordinary Means of Grace

Editor’s Note: The Theology in the Everyday series seeks to introduce and explain theological concepts in 500 words or less, with a 200-word section helping explain the doctrine to kids. At For The Church, we believe that theology should not be designated to the academy alone but lived out by faith in everyday life. We hope this series will present theology in such a way as to make it enjoyable, connecting theological ideas to everyday experience and encouraging believers to study theology for the glory of God and the good of the Church. This week, the ordinary means of grace.

The Christian life is supernatural, but it is not always sensational. God’s work is amazing, but it is not always immediate. In fact, God often chooses “what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27) and provides the “treasure” of the Gospel “in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 1:7). That is why many Christians throughout the ages and around the world have cherished what are called the ‘ordinary means of grace.’

What are the ordinary means of grace? They are the outward practices God has prescribed by which He promises His nourishing presence to His people when they participate by faith. Put more simply, the ordinary means of grace are God’s prescribed proclamations of the Gospel, and they include Word (preaching, teaching, and evangelism), water (baptism), and table (the Lord’s Supper).[1]

These are means of grace, which comes from God alone and must be received by faith (Eph 2:8–9). So, we should not think of Word, water, or table as magical practices that work in us automatically or work equally to all every time.[2] There are many who hear the Gospel preached but do not believe (2 Cor 3:3). There are some who undergo ‘baptism’ without having been truly transformed (and thus do not receive any spiritually benefit from their ‘baptism’; 1 John 2:19; cf. 1 Pet 3:21), and there are some who are never baptized and yet are redeemed (Lk 23:42–43). There are certainly times God’s people partake of the Lord’s Supper and yet do not benefit from it spiritually because of a lack of faith or faithful living (1 Cor 11:29).

However, these are nevertheless God’s means of grace, and He has ordained that we use these ordinary (outward, tangible, and often very simple) elements: words, water, bread, and cup (Rom 10:13–15; Matt 28:19; Luke 22:19–20). So, we should not brush aside these practices, expecting that God will only work in us mystically and immediately (without mediation). We need God’s natural creation (including our brothers and sisters in Christ) to partake of His supernatural grace; that’s how He designed it and us (cf. 1 Tim 4:4–5).

How do these ordinary means of grace actually benefit us when we participate in them by faith? In them, by the proclamation of the Gospel and the power of the Spirit, we confess our weakness and cultivate our confidence. We confess our weakness: we all speak with a stammer, we all drowned in the waters, and we are all beggars at God’s table. Yet God saves through imperfect messengers, raises us to new life in Christ, and feasts with us. So we cultivate our confidence in God through His ordinary means—not skill, spectacle, fad, or funds—to nourish us and our churches. Having begun by the Spirit, we are being perfected by the Spirit (Gal 3:3) as we proclaim the Gospel of God’s Son through His ordained means.

For the Kids:

When you or your parents go to a church service, there will be some unusual events! They may look ordinary, but they may sound a little strange. You will see someone preach, which is a little like a school lesson. But you will hear him talk as if Jesus told him what to tell you! You may see people baptized, which is where they get dunked in water and brought back up again. But you may hear someone say they died with Jesus and are walking with Him now! You may see people take the Lord’s Supper, which is when they eat a piece of bread and drink from a cup together. But you will hear them talk about Jesus’s body and blood and the day He comes again! When you see a package wrapped up that says “to: you” and “from: dad,” you know it is a gift. All of these church practices look ordinary, but God says they are His special gift. So, when you see Christians preach, baptize, or take the Lord’s Supper, and you hear them talking about Jesus in it, God is calling you to trust Jesus for forgiveness and new life—His special gift.

[1] 2 Tim 2:15–17; Col 2:11–14; Matt 26:26–29. Though Roman Catholics traditionally list seven ‘sacraments’ and many more ‘holy’ objects (‘sacramentalia’), Protestants have generally viewed these three as God’s ordinary means of grace. Though some have listed prayer alongside these three, it is better to think of prayer as the natural response of the Christian to God’s means of grace, overflowing from faith. Of course, there are many other vital elements of Christian obedience that flow from our faith, like fellowship, generosity, service, confession, etc. Though there are other important aspects of these three practices to consider (like the nature of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper or the proper mode of baptism, for example), when we talk about them as ‘ordinary means of grace,’ we are talking about their priority for a life and ministry that is confident in Christ.

[2] For a longer discussion of the errors of either a ‘magical’ or a ‘mystical’ view of the ordinary means of grace, see Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, edited by John Bolt, translated by John Vried (Baker, 2008), 441–5.

What Should Churches Do for the Fourth of July?

What should churches do on the Sunday of the Fourth of July? The Fourth of July can be one of the most perplexing dates of the year for many pastors. Unlike Easter and Christmas, the Fourth is neither a universal, nor a specifically Christian occasion. It’s only celebrated by Americans, and non-Christians can enjoy the day as readily as Christians can. Nevertheless, there’s a long tradition of observing American independence in church. Pastors often have members who expect them to recognize America’s birthday. Doing so is part of what scholars call “American civil religion.”

I’ve attended enough churches in my life to have seen a wide variety of Fourth of July celebrations. At one church in Texas, a Fourth of July service featured patriotic songs extolling America, the pastor wearing his old military uniform, and an honor guard carrying flags and guns down the center aisle. (I don’t think the guns were loaded!) At the other extreme, a church service we visited in Michigan said literally nothing about the Fourth of July, except at the last second. When dismissing the congregation, the worship leader bid us farewell by saying “happy holiday!” But the holiday in question was never named.

Some critics would suggest that the blending of American patriotism with Christian worship is a distraction at best, and a distortion of the gospel at worst. Although it’s not just an American phenomenon, Americans do seem to have created an unusually religious version of their patriotism. Maybe this religious patriotism is a product of Christianity’s success in America. By the time of the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s, an unusually high percentage of Americans were affiliated with churches, and that high level of adherence persisted at least until the 1960s. The Cold War of the mid- to late twentieth century also taught many Americans to think in terms of a Christian America fighting against the officially atheistic power of the Soviet bloc. By the 1960s, Americans had become used to viewing themselves as a Christian nation. Why not celebrate the nation’s birthday in church?

Baptists have always been a little wary about blending Christianity with the state, however. Our Baptist forefathers warned us about the danger of corrupting the church by entangling it with government. But in the twentieth and the twenty-first century, many Southern Baptists became among the most zealous celebrants of “God and country” days on the Fourth of July. This zeal has endured even though signs everywhere suggest that America is becoming a post-Christian nation.

What, then, should pastors do this Fourth of July? Much of this dilemma is a matter of conscience and of cultural context. What makes sense to do in suburban Dallas probably won’t work in downtown Seattle. Pastors will also tend to find that older people in a congregation – the children of the Cold War – will be more comfortable with civil religion than younger attendees are.

Acknowledging the Fourth of July does not require devoting the whole service to it. Pastors might consider setting aside a special time of prayer for the nation and its leaders, in accordance with I Timothy 2:1-2. Pastors can thank God for the indisputably good aspects of the American tradition, such as our nation’s heritage of religious liberty, and the principle that “all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” as the Declaration of Independence put it.

One of the most useful exercises when thinking about the Fourth of July at church is imagining that you have Christians in attendance from a foreign country. Of course, many pastors will not have to imagine this at all. Many churches in urban settings, or in college or border towns, undoubtedly will have people in attendance who are foreign-born and are perhaps non-citizens. Americans, like citizens of all nations, have a natural fondness for the land of their birth. But Christians know that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven. In that sense, American believers have more eternally in common with a brother or sister from Nigeria, China, or Brazil than we do with our unregenerate neighbor next door.

Therefore, churches should do nothing that would give our global brothers or sisters reason to feel like they don’t belong in our Fourth of July service. Such things could include the indiscriminate blending of worship songs with patriotic anthems, making it unclear whether we’re supposed to praise God or the American nation. Another would be to suggest that America is a nation uniquely favored by God, as if it is the latter-day biblical Israel.

By all means, let’s thank God for the good things he’s given us in American history. Foremost among those things is the freedom to practice our faith in accord with biblical truth. Let’s pray for our leaders to possess and employ godly wisdom, so that the people of God may be allowed to live a “quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (I Timothy 2:2) But even on the Fourth of July, let’s remember that America is not a believer’s eternal home.

The Whole Gospel of Mark in a Single Verse

Editor’s Note: This post is excerpted from A Ransom for Many by John J.R. Lee and Daniel Brueske (Lexham Press, 2023). This book is now available for purchase.

On the evening of Thursday, February 28, 1889, Charles Haddon Spurgeon ascended the steps of the Metropolitan Tabernacle pulpit in London, England, to preach a sermon that would come to be titled, “The Whole Gospel in a Single Verse.” Spurgeon’s text was 1 Timothy 1:15. In this verse, Spurgeon sees “the great truths of the gospel … pressed together by a hydraulic ram,” and he goes so far as to claim, “[T]his text contains the gospel in brief, and yet I may say that it contains the gospel in full.”1 We believe something similar could be said about the place of Mark 10:45 within the narrative of the Second Gospel. Mark 10:45 is not just one verse among many; it is a key verse for understanding Mark. It summarizes Mark’s thematic emphases in brief, and yet we may say that it contains the core of Mark’s message in full. As a result, Mark 10:45 carries implications for how we read and interpret Mark’s Gospel as a whole.

But there is a problem. Even though many scholars recognize the importance of Mark 10:45, not much discussion exists as to why or in what sense this verse is so crucial. There are brief remarks here and there, but most offer no more than a few lines, mentioning the matter almost in passing and then quickly moving on to other issues. The significance of Mark 10:45 is, thus, usually assumed rather than explained. In this study, we aim to move from simply presuming and asserting the significance of Mark 10:45 to demonstrating it and, ultimately, to considering how proper attention to this verse should guide our reading and interpretation of the rest of Mark’s narrative. Such a task must include a careful examination of the verse and its context. Moreover, a careful reading of Mark 10:45, integrated as it is within the Second Gospel, requires some understanding of the setting and intention behind the book’s composition. No writing exists in a vacuum, and Mark’s Gospel is no exception.

Therefore, in what follows, we will explore both the occasion (chapter 2) and the purpose (chapter 3) that gave rise to the Second Gospel. There is little consensus regarding the specific occasion for Mark’s Gospel, but we believe some details about the audience are more plausible than others. Given the uncertainty of Mark’s occasion, our argument for his purpose will be built primarily on the narrative itself. Nevertheless, reading Mark’s Gospel with some regard for its historical setting helps us imagine how Mark’s message would likely have been received by his earliest audience. We will argue that a composition in the middle to late 60s CE, though not certain, is more plausible than alternative suggestions. We will also contend that Mark’s earliest audience was likely facing either the prospect or the reality of suffering for their faith in Jesus of Nazareth.

In exploring the author’s purpose for writing (chapter 3), we will survey the entire narrative of the Second Gospel for indications of the author’s concerns and goals. Unlike Luke (1:4) and John (20:30–31), Mark contains no explicit statement regarding his compositional intention. Therefore, careful consideration of the total narrative is prudent, especially given the strategic placement of Mark 10:45 within the structure of Mark’s Gospel (a point we will advance in chapter 5). We will give particular attention to the Evangelist’s competence as an author, which is implied by various details found throughout the narrative at both the macro and micro levels. If Mark were rather careless in his composition, then determining his purpose would be a presumptuous goal. However, Mark’s thoughtful and deliberate handling of his material justifies our pursuit of his purpose and, ultimately, the pursuit of our target verse’s meaning and significance based upon both its content and its location within the narrative. Readers will not be surprised to find that Mark’s narrative focuses on the person and work of Jesus from its opening to its close. Who Jesus is (his identity) and what he has done (his mission) comprise the content of this gospel. However, Mark’s narration of this Jesus story is not meant simply to offer historical data or theological beliefs about Jesus. Mark is persuading his audience to remain faithful to Jesus even in the face of suffering and trials.

Following the discussion of Mark’s purpose, we will proceed to the interpretation of Mark 10:45 itself (chapter 4). We will offer observations about the narrative context of Mark 10:45 and then move on to a phrase-by-phrase analysis of the verse. Through our investigation, we will note that Jesus directs the attention of his disciples toward the supreme model of honor and splendor, that of the “one like a son of man” from Daniel 7:13–14. And we will see that even this glorious Son of Man is not too exalted to serve others and to suffer shame and abuse in order to “give his life as a ransom for many.”

Chapter 5 will then highlight this verse’s critical function within Mark’s narrative and its contribution to our interpretation and appreciation of the Second Gospel. We will explore the strategic placement of Mark 10:45 at the conclusion of the carefully crafted threefold cycle of passion and resurrection predictions (8:27–10:45). This arrangement situates our verse at the climax within the Journey section (8:22–10:52) and also enables it to set the tone for the subsequent Jerusalem section (Mark 11:1–16:8), especially the narration of the Messiah’s passion (Mark 14–15). In addition to the strategic location of 10:45 within Mark’s narrative sequence, we will also discuss the value of this verse as it relates to the purpose of Jesus’s mission and the meaning of his death. We will then consider several implications of this verse’s crucial role within Mark’s narrative, giving particular attention to the prominence of Jesus’s atoning death and the inseparable link between his passion and the necessity of servanthood among those who follow him. We will also consider other ramifications, such as the significance of Mark’s literary characteristics for its proper interpretation. Finally, we will close with a reflection on how today’s readers can and should apply the message of Mark 10:45 here and now.

1 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 39 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1893), 134.

Small Groups Are Hard—and So Worth It

I’ve been on a long journey with community groups and have arrived at a strong conviction:

Community groups are the best place for us—as relational beings—to become mature disciples of Christ.

I have spent fifteen years leading and hosting community groups, including seven years of serving as a community pastor at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky and now five-plus years as the lead pastor of Trinity Community Church in Columbia, Missouri. I’ve been to numerous small group conferences, listened to podcasts and interviews, and at one point, gathered a few interns to read and summarize every single book on small groups ever written. (Don’t be impressed: It’s only about 40 books.) After all this, I am more convinced than ever of this truth:

There is simply no substitute for people to grow in Christ-likeness together than the trenches of a local church’s small groups.

But consider your own experience: Perhaps my statement rings a bit hollow for you. How many community groups have you been a part of that were truly life-giving? How many times have you left thinking, “I am so blessed to have these people in my life”? Many of us have been in different forms of small groups and Bible studies throughout life, and if we’re honest, we have walked away more acquainted with their challenges than their life-changing power.

Why are Community Groups So Hard?

Community groups are hard. Let me count the ways:

1. COMPLEXITY: People are complex, of course, so it’s not surprising that organizing and leading a small group of people could pose some difficulty.

2. PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS: Most believers have participated in some type of small group—whether in the church, at school, or in the marketplace—and bring some preconceived notions of how the group should operate.

3. HIGH STAKES: The stakes are even higher for new church plants. If groups are going well, the church is almost sure to succeed; if your groups are struggling, then the church will likely fail to thrive.

4. CATCH-ALL MENTALITY: In most young churches, community groups expand to become a “catch all” for everything the church wants to do—discipleship, leader development, counseling, theological growth, and local mission. Doing just one is hard enough! Doing them all is a prescription for overwhelmed leaders.

5. BURN-OUT: When leaders are also hosting the group in their homes, the commitment also includes hospitality and possibly meal preparation. Thus, the burnout rate of leaders is understandably higher than other volunteer ministries.

6. MULTIPLICATION: Even when a group is successful and grows to the capacity of the host home, a new challenge emerges: How do we multiply this group without damaging the types of relationships we’ve spent months encouraging, stewarding, and loving?

7. NEW RESPONSIBILITIES: Similarly, when a church grows to about five to eight community groups, the lead pastor can no longer adequately provide oversight of each group, so another layer of leadership must be introduced, typically pulling some of the best group leaders out of their role into a new responsibility—leading leaders.

8. LACK OF TRAINING: Pastors are typically ill-equipped in small group ministry. Despite the high prevalence of groups across American churches, pastors can spend years in seminary and not hear a single lecture—let alone a whole course—on small groups.

Finally, with the blessings of growth come a new set of questions:

  • Should we pay for childcare so parents can attend?
  • Should we do sermon discussion or develop content?
  • How do we integrate mercy and local mission into our groups?
  • How much should groups provide for benevolence needs in their midst?
  • How do we respond to chronically absent members?
  • When do we hire “a groups guy”?
  • What do we do with teenagers?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but we have enough complications to make the point: Community is messy.

Are Community Groups Worth It?

The challenges raise a logical question: Are community groups still worth it today? Discouragement around community groups is common.

Although I can’t authenticate the original use, Tim Keller has reportedly said: “Small groups don’t work at all, and we’re totally committed to them!”

That’s exactly how I feel. Despite the challenges, I believe, now more than ever, that the thesis that I wrote several years ago in Life-Giving Groups: How to Grow Healthy, Multiplying Community Groups.

Community groups are the best place for us—as relational beings—to become mature disciples of Christ.

Over a series of articles, I want to call you to a biblical view of community and to refresh your vision for discipleship in groups. I want to plead with pastors, leaders, and ordinary believers: Pour your hearts and souls into your community groups.

If you are a pastor: You will not regret a minute spent in prayer, reflection, or planning for your groups. If you can cultivate healthy, multiplying groups in your congregation, you will reap decades of spiritual transformation and church health.

If you are a small group leader: You’re doing hard but incredible work! Continue to prayerfully, intentionally shepherd your group toward maturity in Christ. I hope these articles are encouraging and helpful.

If you are an ordinary church member and group participant: I want to compel you to see your group as an essential (not optional add-on) part of your life, calling, and spiritual growth. No, being part of a group isn’t easy. But with the right perspective and a whole lot of stick-to-it-iveness, it can be a conduit of God’s amazing grace in your life—not to mention the source of lifelong friendships and community.

Let me say it again: Your investment in community groups will pay off exponentially in the souls of your people and the culture of your church. Community groups cannot be an afterthought.

Over these articles, I want to help cultivate (or, perhaps, restore) your hope for biblical community and your heart for local church small groups ministry.

Dear friends, community groups are hard. But they are also so, so worth it!

*This article is Part 1 of an eight-part series on community groups and their importance that will run this summer.

The Eternity of God

Editor’s Note: The Theology in the Everyday series seeks to introduce and explain theological concepts in 500 words or less, with a 200-word section helping explain the doctrine to kids. At For The Church, we believe that theology should not be designated to the academy alone but lived out by faith in everyday life. We hope this series will present theology in such a way as to make it enjoyable, connecting theological ideas to everyday experience and encouraging believers to study theology for the glory of God and the good of the Church. This week, the eternity of God.

All of humanity shares a common shackle: time. Every morning our alarms go off, we’re reminded of our ever-pressing schedules. We clock in to work. We’re late to appointments. We are creatures bound by time. But how does God relate to time? Scripture, preachers, and theologians often teach of our Triune God’s eternity. As the supreme Artist, God has not only created time but is altogether uncontained by it. He is no distant deity but intimate and fully present in all time simultaneously. But what is God’s eternity? In 500 words or less, here’s how I would explain the eternity of God.

Thomas Aquinas illustrates God’s eternity like “one who is perched on top of a watchtower, seeing at once the whole transit of travelers passing by.”[1] Since God is unchangeable, He cannot be restricted to individual moments (Ps 90:4). God’s eternity is His “possession of endless life whole and perfect in a single moment.”[2]

Depicting God’s creative authorship, C.S. Lewis clarifies that, “His life is not dribbled out moment by moment – with Him it is still 1920 and already 1960.”[3] The eternal Christ is as present in your daily responsibilities as He is in the creation account!

We see God’s eternity all throughout Scripture. In their desert wandering, Moses reminded the Israelites that “the eternal God is your dwelling place” (Deut. 33:29). Job beheld God’s infinite timelessness by declaring, “the number of his years are unsearchable” (Job 36:26). As Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, God’s eternal character emphasizes His authority to provide for His church (Rev. 1:8, 22:13). As the eternally begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Christ defines eternal life as knowing “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

When morning alarms rattle our slumber, it can be difficult to glimpse God’s eternity in the ordinary. The seeming urgency of our schedules blind us from God’s eternal character – our present and abiding rest. To participate in eternity, we must know Christ and Him crucified, the exact imprint of the Father. The extent of our investment in knowing God, His Word, and the care of souls demonstrates our participation in eternity.

When the accuser impresses guilt of former sins upon our hearts, reminders of Christ’s past and complete justification renews the soul. When we struggle to remain present with friends, family, and ministry appointments, Christ’s present intercession grounds our restless thinking. As we worry over career paths, pondering our next moves, the river of God’s future provision is the saint’s sweetest delight!

Our eternal Christ timelessly knows us better than we know ourselves. Only He can “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12). God’s eternal character satisfies us in the morning with steadfast love, reconciling our relationship with time (Ps 90:14). “What might have been and what has been point to one end,” writes Eliot, “which is always the present.”[4]  Dear Christian, abide in the eternal presence and character of your God.

For the Kids:

Hey kids! Did you know that God has no beginning and no end?? He has always existed! This is what it means when we say that God is eternal. A picture of God’s eternity can be seen through a parade of floats. Who’s been to a parade before?? Me too! What do you do at a parade? That’s right! You sit and watch all the floats go by. As we sit on the sidelines, we only see a small part of the long line of floats that go by one at a time. But God is so big that He sees all the floats in the parade at once! And He delights in each one of them all at the same time! This is how time works too. We can only see a small portion of time at a time. But God sees all of time at the same time!

Since we’ve been created by God, we know time as past, present, and future. In the past, Christ has forgiven us by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8)! In the present, He is praying for and helping us (Heb. 7:25)! In the future, God will provide exactly what we need (Phil. 4:19)! God’s eternity reminds us that it is always God’s loving plan to save His people through Jesus (Eph. 1:3-14). God’s other attributes are made bigger by their connection to His eternal character! He is always exactly who He is! Just as He sees the entire parade at once, He planned the way it would move and how He could keep it from disaster. God’s eternity is good news! (Though a deep well of transcendent truth, God’s eternity is not too lofty for children!)

[1] Thomas Aquinas, Compendium of Theology, Entry 133, Page 105.

[2] Boethius, Book V, VI. Mint 147.

[3] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperCollins, 168.

[4] T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets.

Cynicism Isn’t a Spiritual Gift

One of my favorite verses in the New Testament is a bit of an odd one. James, writing about prayer and dependence on God, makes this statement: Elijah was a man like us (James 5:17).

Now, I’ve gone to church my whole life and have learned a lot about Elijah. He’s the wild wilderness dude who called out a wicked king in Israel, Ahab, and his equally wicked wife, Jezebel. Think about this. To this day, in 2023, Jezebel is a euphemism for wickedness. There is even a trashy magazine with this name!

Not only did Elijah have the courage to call out wicked rulers—at a time when doing so usually meant you would die—but he challenged the false religious leaders of his day to a special kind of duel. He called down fire from heaven on Mount Carmel in an epic display of God’s power. As a kid this was always a favorite story in Sunday school and vacation Bible school and summer camp. Elijah was an example of boldness and courage, almost like a Bible superhero. He even made flannel graph exciting.1

So, when James says, “Yeah, Elijah was like us,” I do a double take. I’ve built a nice bonfire in my back yard, but I’ve never called down fire from heaven. I’ve written some pretty snarky social media posts, but I’ve never stood in the court of a king who could cut my head off and told him he was wrong. I had to walk half a mile to the showers at camp, but I never lived in the wilderness like Elijah. I’ve prayed that it wouldn’t rain, especially when we lived in Nashville, where rain is its own season, but I’ve never prayed a prayer that stopped all precipitation for three and a half years. So how is Elijah like me?

Well, to see the humanity of this superhero, we have to go to a passage of 1 Kings that is usually left off the flannel graph. Here, Elijah kind of does look like us. He’s burned out. He’s tired. And he’s pretty cynical about the people of God.

You might say that if he had social media, he’d be complaining about being the one person standing for truth. Or he might be the person who stays home on Sunday because “no church is preaching the gospel right.” Or he might be the guy at the office who grew up in church and now says that Christians are a bunch of hypocrites.

Elijah, in one chapter, has turned from prophet to cynic. Fresh off an epic battle where he called out the false prophets and God sent rain again after a famine, Elijah fled to the wilderness because Jezebel still wouldn’t repent.

God’s messenger is discouraged and defeated. He’s weak and vulnerable. His heart is crusted over with layers of suspicion and contempt. “I’m the only one,” Elijah complains to God. “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:14).

What’s strange about Elijah here is that he has just come off a spiritual victory where he witnessed the power of God to move the hearts of Israel from idolatry to true worship. And yet all he can see is the one person in Israel who refuses to worship God: Jezebel.

Elijah was a prophet of God. Prophets are often called to do hard things, to stir up the people of God away from sin and toward righteousness. It’s often a lonely task to say hard things. We need prophets in our day, gifted and godly men and women willing to say things that are hard to be said, to call out wickedness.

And yet there is a difference between being prophetic and being cynical. Prophets wrap hard words in hope. If you read Isaiah and Jeremiah and John the Baptist and Micah and others, you’ll read rebukes, but you will also read words of hope and comfort, a path forward from sin to salvation. Cynics aren’t interested in salvation or transformation. They’re only interested in an endless self-loathing ministry of doom.

A prophet speaks to people he loves with tears. A cynic disdains the people he is called to confront. A prophet’s desire is to see transformation. A cynic’s desire is to bring attention to himself.

Today, cynicism is contagious. It has become a movement, a niche lifestyle, a way of being.

God’s words to Elijah are sobering. “Seven thousand men have not bowed the knee to Baal” (v. 17). In other words, “Elijah, you are not the only one doing the right thing.” In plain English, God is telling his servant to get over himself. What’s more, God tells Elijah to get up and prepare to meet his successor. What a humbling moment.

God is telling this prophet that not only is he not the only one following Yahweh but also someone will come after him who will carry on his ministry. Elijah, by yielding to cynicism, lost his voice.

And so do we. We think we are telling it like it is to other Christians. We get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and see a spiritual hero. But God’s word to Elijah and to us is this: “You are not the only one following the right path. I have many others. This is not about you.”

Nonprophet Ministry

God’s word to Elijah wasn’t that God’s people don’t need prophetic voices. Throughout Scripture, we see the Lord raise up leaders to speak hard words to stir God’s people away from sin and lethargy. In the Old Testament, the words of the prophets to wayward Israel are words we should read today and take to heart. And in the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles were unsparing in their denunciations of sin and calls to repentance.

And yet there is a way that prophetic words should be delivered. They are words designed to build up and not destroy and are to be delivered not with glee but with humility. Consider the way Paul urges young Timothy to engage the church with hard words. In the midst of his urging Timothy to be bold against the incursion of false doctrine and sin in the church (1 Tim. 1:3–11, 18–20), he is transparent about his own fallenness. Paul remembers that before he was the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament, planted churches around the world, and was persecuted for his faith, he was “once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” But “I was shown mercy,” he writes of his conversion, “and the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly” (vv. 12–13).

Paul’s prophetic ministry was born of his brokenness, of his love for the people of God. He wasn’t coming in hot, trying to score rhetorical points or speak hard words for the sake of speaking hard words. Paul resisted the urge to make himself the center of things. Writing to the church at Corinth, which was steeped in carnality and sensuality, Paul’s spirit was of a humble, almost reluctant prophet: “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling” (1 Cor. 2:1–5).

The apostle wasn’t spoiling for a fight. His aim wasn’t more notoriety but repentance and the building up of the people of God. Paul saw the church the way Jesus sees the church, as the bride of Christ. So even as he penned tearful letters of rebuke, he wrote from a place of love.

Today, loathing seems more in vogue than love. Some prophets are worth listening to, but I find much critical commentary on the church today to be dripping with disdain. And the digital algorithms on social media reward this negativity.

In my experience, when I write something positive about the church or about a local church, I get negative feedback. But if I write something critical about the church, especially a wide, sweeping condemnation (I am writing fewer of these lately), it almost always goes viral.

Ironically, I find that the Christians who fight each other the most in public seem to share a cynical outlook. Either these would-be Elijahs see themselves as mighty warriors for justice, rooting out racism and sexism and every other bad ism from among deplorable Christians, or they see themselves as righteous guardians of orthodoxy, more courageous than those soft compromisers. In their minds, the church is either drifting toward heresy or embracing injustice.

How easy it is for us to lament, whether in our online discussions or in our conversations with fellow Christians, “the state of the church” than to talk about the good things God might be doing among his people. It’s easier to think that every church in town is weak or doesn’t preach the gospel or doesn’t do enough in the community than to roll up our sleeves and get involved and to lift our eyes to see the Spirit at work.

There is little market for the reality that the church is both messy and beautiful, sinful and sanctified, wonderful and wayward. Pastor Jon Tyson said it best recently: “There is a fine line between the prophetic and the cynical. One brings needed critique, the other brings unneeded criticism.” 2

1 – Read the complete epic story in 1 Kings 18:16–46.
2 – Jon Tyson (@JonTyson), “There is a fine line,” Twitter, March 12, 2022,

This excerpt reprinted with permission from Agents of Grace: How to Bridge Divides and Love as Jesus Loves. Pick up your copy using the link below.

The Spirituality of God

Editor’s Note: The Theology in the Everyday series seeks to introduce and explain theological concepts in 500 words or less, with a 200-word section helping explain the doctrine to kids. At For The Church, we believe that theology should not be designated to the academy alone but lived out by faith in everyday life. We hope this series will present theology in such a way as to make it enjoyable, connecting theological ideas to everyday experience and encouraging believers to study theology for the glory of God and the good of the Church. This week, the Spirituality of God.

How often do you think of the spirituality of God? After all, Jesus upheld God’s spirituality when he told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well that “God is spirit” (John 4:24). But do we know what that means? For many, the term ‘spirituality’ has become a vague and perhaps fearsome notion used by new-agey folk to describe their ever-elusive conception of God or ‘the divine’. Others hear the word and recall the famous (though just as vague) phrase, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” All the while, the biblical and time-tested doctrine of God’s spirituality fades into the fog of misconception, leaving us in desperate need of what Lewis called ‘the clean sea breeze of the centuries’1 to blow through our minds and re-awaken us to the beauty of this doctrine.

One strong sea breeze, called the Westminster Confession of Faith, upholds God’s spirituality in this way: “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions. . .” (2.1.). Notice the logic: the spirituality of God—His being a ‘most pure spirit’—necessitates that He is ‘invisible’ and ‘without body, parts, or passions’. The former characteristic is somewhat easier to grasp, for it lines up well with our everyday experience of faith in Christ: “Though you have not seen him, you love him… and believe in him” (1 Pet 1:8). The latter are slightly more dicult to grasp, for they beckon us beyond human experience by reminding us that God is not confined to such tiny things as space and time and physicality. Instead, God “exceeds all in the nature of being… [having] nothing gross, heavy or material in his essence.”2 Thus, to uphold the spirituality of God is to bask in wonder at His infinite perfections and eternal glory. To deny God’s spirituality is to “exchange the truth about God for a lie, and to worship and serve what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever” (Rom 1:25).

The spirituality of God reminds us that we—created, physical, and finite beings—must continually remember two things as we ponder His majesty. First, we must let our thoughts of the One who is an infinite and eternal spirit rise above all that we can see, taste, touch, hear, and smell. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we must never grow dull to the reality that this same infinite, invisible, and immaterial God “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

For the Kids

Hey kids! The spirituality of God is another way of talking about the invisible bigness of God. As part of God’s creation, you and I are small and fragile and made up of (rather funny!) things like arms and legs and fingers and toes. We even get mad and upset and angry from time to time. Thankfully, God is not like us.

Since God is the Creator and not a creature, there was never a time in the beginning when someone said, “Let there be God!” As amazing as it sounds, God already was, and since He already was, He is not made up of anything in the whole world. This is why God tells Moses, “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14). There’s simply nobody like our invisible, big God!

So, when we say that God is ‘a spiritual Being’ we are saying that God is [kind of] like the wind. Think about it: you can feel the wind on your skin; you can hear the wind in your ears; and you can see the effects of the wind on things like trees, leaves, and dirty dusty streets! But at the end of the day, you can’t actually see the wind, can you?

The same is true of God. We can’t see Him with our eyes, and we can’t hear Him with our ears. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t know God with our minds or feel God in our hearts or see God at work in the world around us! In fact, because God is a spiritual Being, He can be anywhere He wants to be and do anything He wants to do, whenever and wherever He wants. Our God simply has no limits!

So, kiddo, the next time you go outside and feel the wind blowing all around you, remember: you worship an amazing, invisible God!

1. C.S. Lewis, On the Incarnation.
2. Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God (Vol. I), 271.