5 Benefits of Small Town Living [Guest Post]

Sabryna Anstey: From City to Community

When I applied for the Children’s Pastor position in Glenwood, Newfoundland, I didn’t even know where Glenwood was. I just knew that there was a need in this community and I felt a call to fill that need.

Small Town Benefits

Moving from Paradise (20,000 people) to Glenwood (800 people) was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Not just for me but for my husband as well. I was fresh out of university, newly married, and had just started to get settled into my first apartment and new friendships. We are all called to something, but when God calls you to a place you’ve never been, a place with a population of 800 people, I can guarantee there is a struggle in your spirit.

During this time of struggle I couldn’t help but remember the part of 1 Samuel 15:22 that says “…obedience is better than sacrifice.” I was obeying a call that was completely out of my comfort zone and I was being thrown into the deep end.

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Planning a Communion Meal

Tips and Ideas to Help

Since our ministry began, I’ve asked myself some serious questions.  One of them — what constitutes a ‘church service’?  What I’ve learned, is that we tend to allow our tradition, and not scripture, to answer that question.  The Bible never describes a ‘church service’ as people reverently sitting in sanctuary pews, while singing hymns and listening to a well-dressed pastor.  Can a ‘church service’ look like that?  Sure!  But it’s not what actually defines a ‘church service’.

Planning A Communion Meal

The Underground Church

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of being a part of a short-term missions team.  I’ll never forget experiencing an underground youth group.  Yes, they sang songs.  Yes, they heard from God’s Word.  But other than that, the ‘service’ looked NOTHING like what the average North American would call a ‘church service.’

It was full of community, unity, friendship, authentic connection, love, and selflessness.  Their goal wasn’t to serve themselves and welcome Jesus to ‘their service’, their goal was to celebrate Jesus through their community and serve Jesus.

A ‘church #service’ is about #Communion together as we celebrate Jesus. #unity #community #Acts2 Click To TweetWhat did I learn?  A ‘church service’ is about communion together as we celebrate Jesus.  Outside of the basics, the format doesn’t really matter.  The only fundamentals we know of, include teaching the Word, breaking of bread, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42).

So, what if we planned a service around one of the most significant aspects of our faith?  What if Holy Communion was actually the focus of our service?  What if we didn’t just ‘partake’ together, but actually ate together, like Jesus’ and his disciples did during the Last Supper?  (Check out What Happens During Communion? for more.)

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What Happens During Communion?

Questions About Easter

Have you ever wondered what Communion is all about?  We probably know the basics — as an act of remembrance, Jesus told his followers to break bread and drink wine.  But is that it?  Is there anything else happening during a Communion service?

What Happens During Communion

Growing up I was taught about the symbolism and what Jesus did on the cross, but I missed out on how important and fundamentally central communion actually is.

Jesus modeled the Communion service

Communion is so important, it was one of the last things Jesus did with his disciples before his death.  We take the words of Jesus and model our Communion service after them word-for-word:

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Milestone: Thank You (03.2017)

Over 2000 Page Views in a Single Month


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I’d like to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to read the blog posts I publish each week!  The success of any blog is only achievable if people take the time to read, share and join in the conversation!  So, thank you!

Milestone - 2000 page views in a single month - march 2017

In the month of March, The Journey Holm hit a new milestone!  We’ve come close a couple of times, but we have finally had over 2000 page views in a single month!  That means during March, posts were viewed over 2000 times.  That might seem low (at least compared to some blogs), but this is only year two of consistent blogging, for The Journey Holm, and with an average of 1000 monthly views last year, it’s such an honor to hit 2000 in one month!

I’d like give a special thanks to Kathy Stock for writing a guest post during March as well! Since we are all on a journey, her honest response to Faith and Doubt is a must read!  See below for a link and preview!

Visit: http://andrewholm.com - #Christian responses to current events & our Christian #journey! Click To Tweet

Again, thank you for reading, sharing and engaging in conversation!  The blog can’t grow without your help!  If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the weekly update and never miss a post, by clicking here: SUBSCRIBE!

If you missed either of the posts that were published this past March, here they are:

March 3 – “My New View On Alcohol”

March 10 – (GUEST POST) “Faith and Doubt”

March 17 – “The Problem with Tithing”

March 24 – “What’s The Biggest Threat to Christianity?”

March 31 – “Difficult Days…”

 

Difficult Days…

When your day becomes unexpectedly challenging

Ever have an overwhelming day? Or week? Or month? Or maybe you’re still in the middle of a difficult day right now.  No matter what you’ve gone through, what you’re going through right now, or what you will go through, God will use the difficult days to make you into the person you need to be.

Difficult Days

Our household is in the middle of some “difficult days,” so this week’s post will be short and sweet.  My week started with the unwanted stomach flu, which has now turned into our three year old and four month old getting sick as well.  Just when one germ infested area is cleaned up, another shows it’s face!  Everyone is in different stages of sickness, except my wife — who is a trooper.  The house would completely fall apart if she got sick as well!

Much of my pastoral work can’t be delegated and is often timely (ie. Sermon prep for Sunday), so the push is on for me, and Deidre is in the highest motherly-DEFCON mode! Needless to say this week has been challenging to get through.

One of my mentors quite regularly mentioned James 1:2-4 when facing difficult days:

2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, ESV)

So we need to celebrate the fact that God desires to mold us into who he wants us to be — “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” That’s a difficult idea to digest in the moment (it doesn’t really help my frustration), but quite rewarding when looking back.

That said, I find we tend to compare our difficult days with the difficult days of others and disregard our personal struggles when others are going through “worse” days. Because we’re all on different journeys and have experienced different things, it’s impossible to compare stress and trials (even if situations are similar).

In our #journey we’ll encounter many #trials, but those trials will make us #stronger! #James1 Click To Tweet

Likewise, if you’ve already experienced what someone else is only now experiencing, that means you’ve already grown through it — it should be easier!  But that doesn’t negate the overwhelming day others are having for the first time.

James was encouraging early Christians who were spread out everywhere and who were facing “trials of various kinds.”  That means, everyone was facing something, but everyone wasn’t facing the same thing.  No doubt many were facing life and death situations, and yet others were challenged with the anxiety.

We might relate to James 1 in different ways, but the truth of the text never fails. In every part of our journey, we’ll encounter many trials, but those trials will make us stronger!

No matter what you’re facing right now, these difficult days will help you to become “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  And if you have to encounter a similar situation again, the strength gained today, will help bring you through.

Your turn…

What has helped you get through difficult days?


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