Small Group

My wife Vikki and I lead a couples group on Sunday nights. Our current group has been together for almost a year. We just started a new study called Love & Respect. It is based on the best selling book by Dr. Emmerson Eggrichs. We have been having some great discussion about marriage and this idea of men loving their wives and women respecting their husbands found in Ephesians 5:33. It is very helpful to hear how other couples are working on their marriages and that we don’t all have it together. Every couple has hard times, conflicts and difficulties. In a small group we can talk about some of those things and we can have fun together. Building relationships and friendships has been very rewarding for Vikki and I. We have gotten to know quite a few people over the past 10 years through small groups.

We eat together, party together, serve together, laugh together, pray together, celebrate together, study together, encourage each other and care for each other when we can. Life change really can happen in small groups. I would encourage you to get into a small group if you are not in one. That is were life change happens best.

Here are some pictures of us hanging out after group. We have to make room for the furry friends as well.

John with Max on lap, Chad with Bubba on lap, and Jasmine in the background.


Casey
and
Cookie

Small Group Serving Story

On Monday night the guys from my small group joined together to help an elderly lady move from New Philadelphia to Dundee. I love getting out in the community and serving with the people in my small group. Over the last several years the groups I have been involved in have helped many people move and have also done other serving projects together.

These times of serving are usually an adventure. Nothing ever goes as planned, but the guys are always up to the task. On Monday night we ran into a water leak on the outside of the house we were moving out of. We also had to catch two cats to take along. John Troyer got that job! John also spent time talking with the lady and getting to know her.

Joel Stone was along to help with his dad Keith and Joel ended up driving her car to the new place. The car was not in very good condition and it even stalled a few times. Joel did a great job of getting her to the new place in one piece.

I just want to thank the guys that gave up an evening to go and help this lady move. She told me that this was the first time since she moved to Ohio that anyone helped her without wanted anything in return. After getting her moved into her new mobile home we prayed for her and blessed her new home.

That small act of kindness will have ripple effects we will never know about. When was the last time you helped someone without expecting anything in return? How is your family or small group making a difference in your neighborhood or community? You have to look for opportunities to bless and help people. It is so easy to forget about the elderly, the single parents, the handicapped and the sick. The local church, made up of small groups of people can really make a difference through small acts of kindness. There are over 120 small group at NewPointe Communty Church. Can you imagine what would happen if all those groups were intentional about helping and serving the people in our communities? Groups of people out touching lives every week!

Thanks again to John Troyer, Keith Stone, Joel Stone, Ryan Yoss, Daryl Kurtz, Greg Barnett and Phil Alleshire. They provided vehicles and labor that got this lady moved in one night.

Serve On!

Wedding community

This weekend one of the couples in our small group got married. Casey Miller and Jenn Margo were married on Saturday October 11, 2008. They have been in my couples small group for around 8 months. It has been fun getting to know them better and being able to participate in their wedding day. Most of my small group came to the wedding. I got to do the service as well.

We have been praying for Casey & Jenn as they start a new life together. We also did a study on the Five Love Languages earlier this year in our group. Having an engaged couple in our group was nice, because it helped the married couples remember what that was like for them. We all remember the falling in love stage of our marriages. It is neat to see different perspectives on marriage and relationships within our group.

I love community and building relationships. It is where the Christian life is really lived out. A small group that is real and authentic with each other is a special thing. Not many people get to experience and do life together. This wedding was a small taste of doing life together. Here are some pictures to enjoy:

This is John & Jennifer Troyer and their children, Amanda, Haley, Mitchel and Olivia. They host our small group on Sunday nights. The other picture is Keith & Tami Stone and Ryan & Carla Yoss with my wife Vikki.

Vikki & I

BIG GIVE at NewPointe

I am so excited to be a part of the BIG GIVE at NewPointe Community Church. I enjoyed watching Oprah’s Big Give, but this is way better. We are asking our small group network (100 small groups) to go give to their communities. We are giving away 40,000.00 to our small groups to go give. I can’t wait to hear the stories of what these groups came up with and the lives they touched.

I shared this with my small group last night and we prayed about what God would have us do as a group. Each small group can get a gift of 400.00 to go give back. I challenged my group to raise some more money to be able to give even more. We started brainstorming ideas on how we can take the 400.00 and make it grow.

My group has been very generous already. We have given to two families in need. One over Christmas and the other over the past few months. We are hoping we can continue to bless and encourage these two families.

I am also hoping that some groups can go together and pool their resources to take on some larger projects. The impact this has on our surrounding community could be BIG. My prayer is that God is glorified through all of this. If any small group leader’s are looking for ideas, please contact me.

The local church should be known for it’s generosity and love to the community. We are the example of how people view God. If we are not reaching out and making a difference, why should people reach out to God? Why should they think that God cares about them?

The other awesome thing that has happened is that last month NewPointe sent checks out to 11 local school systems. What a great way to build a bridge and develop a relationship with the schools. I am excited about what doors this will open for NewPointe to partner with the schools and impact students and administrations. Instead of complaining about what the schools are doing wrong, we can encourage what they are doing right and find common ground. Then we can help to equip the schools to equip the students. One thing we can do is help develop leaders and build character in the schools systems. This is a great way to partner with schools and build relationships that will matter.

Are you ready to GIVE BIG!

My Weekend

Wow, what a weekend! It was a very busy Saturday and Sunday for me, but it was all good. It actually started on Friday night with a rehearsal for a wedding. Jason Schmachtenberger (try saying that fast) and Ashley Brooker got married on Saturday here at NewPointe. The rehearsal went well and we enjoyed a great meal afterward at the Pro’s table (that’s one of the perks of doing weddings).

On Saturday morning I met with my men’s group for 2 and half hours. We had some great conversations and really opened up to each other. It was one of those times that you lose track of time because you are so into the conversation. We have been connected and getting to know each other much better over the past 6 months. I look forward to just hanging out with these guys on Saturday mornings.

After that I met with an engaged couple to get them started on our mentoring process. It happened to by my cousin Missy Miller. I am so happy for them, Cliff & Missy are a great couple.

After that is was home to get changed for the wedding at 2:00 for Jason & Ashley. This was a fun wedding, they are both laid back and we had a lot of fun. This was the first wedding that I did that when I asked Jason if he takes Ashley to be his wife that he paused and then huddled with the guys first. Of course he said yes.

I shared with them that the Bible has much to teach us about relationships and marriage. Much like learning to dance we need to practice and learn the right steps. Three dance steps from the Bible include:
1. Watching your words (Proverbs 12:18 says Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing)
2. Settle your Disagreements (learn to work through conflict and don’t ignore it)
3. Practice Forgiveness ( Ephesians 4:32, Be forgiving one to another just as God in Christ has forgiven you)

Here are some pictures from the reception at the Amish Door in Wilmot (I attempted to line dance):




I also met a couple of great guys at the wedding, Ryan & Kenny (both attend Bowling Green University). We played a joke on Kenny by putting a huge amount of mashed potato’s on his plate when he left. After he ate a little of it he created a giant Hershey kiss with the potatoes (Very Creative). Here are some pictures:



We ended our week by going to church on Sunday. What an amazing service. Dwight really challenged us to trust God. After the service my small group went to help a family move up in Canton. Of course we had to eat first, so we went to Chipotle in Canton, now that’s good stuff! Our small group consists of John & Jennifer Troyer, Keith & Tami Stone and Vikki & I. We are going to GroupLink this Saturday to add one or two new couples to our group. Requirements to join our group included liking to eat and liking cats.

The family we helped was Jennifer Troyer’s sister. Laura has the grey sweatshirt on in the second picture and her husband Kevin has the Browns Sweatshirt on. They have two children, Jessica & Logan. Jennifer & Laura’s parents were their as well (Jennifer & Her parents are in the last photo).

I think they were very surprised that we would want to give up a Sunday afternoon to come and help them move. It was a real blessing to all of us to help them out. We love to serve together as a group. It helps us get to know each other better and make a difference in other peoples lives.