Sunday, August 13, 2006

 

Power of a small group -testimony

At the age of eighteen, I entered the United States Air Force, and spent nine years there. I had grown up in a Southern Baptist church, and knew all the rules, speech and even many of the stories. Although I was a believer, I began to question foundational beliefs such as the existence of God, and the validity of the Bible. I began to watch the people around me, and I noticed the differences between my sheltered childhood and the real world; or should I say their real world. I began to notice that they were determined to defy the control that God had on their life. They were not happy with who they were, nor were they happy with what they had or didn't have. They were never satisfied.

I attended church services regularly on Sundays, but that was not enough for me. Then, the Lord showed me a serviceman's center. This was a ministry that reached out to the military and their families. I began to function as a member of a small group. I had already been prepared by the Air Force, because we worked as a team. This team concept transfered to my expression of faith easily as I attended the serviceman's center.

As a group, we studdied Navigator's materials, memorized Bible verses together, ministrered to others together. We also studied Precept Bible study materials written by Kay Arthur. I learned
to witness in church as a teen, but had lots of practice while serving alongside my brothers and sisters there at the serviceman's center.

During the time that I attended the serviceman's center, I also attended church and Sunday school as regularly as possible, however, growth, accountability, effectiveness, and life-changing strength came from our Lord, funnelled through my brothers and sisters in the faith that I rubbed elboes with daily.

As time passed, I grew in my walk with the Lord, and was eventually relocated to Alaska, where I served my last two years in the Air Force, for a total of nine years. During those last two years, the Lord gave me the privilege of discipling 8 other GI's who were younger in the faith, and life than I was. God allowed me the privilege of seeing His power funnelled through our group to change lives, mine included. During this time, He taught me to respect authority.

By the time that I left the Air Force, I had grown in the faith, was sure of what I believed and why. My faith had been tried through the fires of doubt, and the heat of Military lifestyle. As a result, I was sold out on the New Directions' idea of small groups of people meeting together outside a building and callling it church. God works through the elements found in a simple church, and there is no way to hide. I studied the concepts of New Directions while in Seminary at New Orleans (NOBTS)1992-2001.

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