God is just so good, guys; he loves us so much when we don’t deserve any of it, but he has blessed me in such an incredible way with my Lifegroup tonight. I can't even begin to describe just how amazing it is, but I will try, because I just had my last Lifegroup meeting of the year tonight and I want to try and capture a glimpse of what goes on in my Lifegroup every Thursday night. It is just simply life-giving, and I have grown so much in my Lifegroup over this past year that I just can’t NOT let everyone know. After all, let he who boasts, boast in the Lord.
So. Lifegroup. Lives get changed at Antioch Lifegroups all the time. Our worship sessions just go crazy with God's presence; they are generally a time for us to just honor God in whatever way feels right. Typically, we people shout at the top of their lungs, and dance, and pray. But we also have people receive words of wisdom or encouragement all the time, and they go and share these with the person they are intended for, and it is just so encouraging to me personally whenever I see my brothers and sisters lifting each other up so often. We also have a time for testimonies, where people can just share how God has been moving through them and in them within the last week or so. This is where we start to hear incredible stories of people being miraculously healed; we have head just about everything: ganglion cysts disappearing before our eyes, painful compressed vertebrae being realigned, cancers and STDs being completely removed, and even one guy's cousin who should have died in a four-wheeler accident going home from the hospital after 4 days. THIS is the power of prayer, and in sharing it, the power of testimony.
And that is really the only things that stay the same each week; the leaders just trust God to lead the Lifegroup, and so some weeks we will have a bible passage verse-by-verse, some weeks we will just talk about a specific subject, some weeks we will dedicate to personal growth in small 3-4 member discipleship groups (most weeks end with a short time of this as well), and some weeks are just fully worship and prayer. But it is not the things we do in our Lifegroup that make it so amazing; it is not the stories we hear, or even the people in the group. It is Jesus, and He is the only reason why this Lifegroup is so amazing. Jesus comes because we get a group of men and women gathered with the sole purpose of wanting to encounter Jesus and grow deeper in our faith with one another.
And man, everyone in this group has grown so much over this past year, I can see it in their actions and testimonies, and in their general level of joy they have in Christ. There are some of us who began the year very shy and quiet, and now I hear of--and see them--sharing the Gospel and praying for people all over campus. Some of us have struggled with stress and worry and God has brought them peace, and now they are just beautiful examples of men and women whose peace falls on everyone they meet. And there are many of us who have been able to grow so much during Lifegroup that God is revealing parts of His plan unto us. For me, God called me to be a pastor; one guy has been called directly into ministry now; and one of the leaders has been called to leave Antioch in order to be a light to another College Station church, bringing the same kind of life and growth along with him. There isn’t a single person who goes to this Lifegroup who has not left changed. Even those who only visit for a single night often tell us of how amazing our Lifegroup is and how they have been changed in that one night.
But the most incredible part of my Lifegroup is that it is not just my Lifegroup that is like this. It is not just the church of Antioch. In fact, there is nothing special about my Lifegroup, there is nothing preventing any small group setting to have the same kind of revival. Any congregation can be just as Spirit-filled if simply invite the Spirit to flood the place and fill the atmosphere. And so this is just my encouragement to you, to go and make your small group just as life-giving. Make it a sanctuary, where people can be vulnerable with one another, where true spiritual growth happens every week, where people leave just feeling incredible, and where your small group becomes the highlight of every member's week. Make it a place that people are just attracted to because of the growth they find in it, and let Jesus' presence reign down without end.
So this is really just a huge thanks, from me to my Lifegroup. You guys are all incredible, Godly men and women, and I would not be in the position spiritually that I am now if it were not for you guys. God has great plans for each and every one of you, and regardless of who will be in your Lifegroup next year, God is always going to be moving. So take what you have gained from this year's Lifegroup and never stop growing with it, and use it to help the incoming freshmen class and any new believers to have the same kind of radical growth that you have gained this year. God bless you all!