Sunday Main – Special Whole Group Session

Freedom from/Freedom to:  Freed to Love – Special Whole Group Session.mp3


 References used: II Tim. 3:1-9



We discussed:

  • The comparison between Jesus and Timothy in how they dealt with grief and sorrow. We also saw how Paul’s encouragement toward Timothy pulled him out of this state the same way Jesus came out of His.
  • What defines our value.
  • The difficulty of knowing academically who I am, but still not believing beyond the image in the mirror.
  • How true spiritual growth is measured.

  • Being a witness by simply living out of our union with Christ anywhere and everywhere we are is to spread the fragrance of God and His grace everywhere we go. Influencing others by our connection with God.
  • The way we compare ourselves among ourselves – the best of another against the worst of us.
    •  “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” – 2 Cor. 10:12
  • What is the difference in the focus between Deut. 30:6 and 2 Thess. 3:5.
    • One is God changing our hearts and the other is God’s directing our hearts.
    • One if convincing you of God’s love for you, the other is freeing your heart to love Him.
  • True agape love and what it looks like.
    • Jesus asked Peter if he had agape love for him following the resurrection while walking on the beach,

“Then when they had breakfasted, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a love for me called out of your heart by my preciousness to you, a devotional love that impels you to sacrifice yourself for me? Do you consider me more precious and thus love me more than these ? He says to Him, Yes, Lord, as for you, you know positively that I have an emotional fondness for you.” Jn. 21:15,16

  • You cannot agape until you have FREELY received it FROM the SOURCE of all AGAPE – our heavenly Father. – I Jn. 4:19.
    • You can only give from what you have received.

Doris read to us a quote our from Andrew Murray’s book, The True Vine which beautifully illustrates our dependance upon Him as our source of love and all good things.

“There is the lesson of absolute dependence. The vine has its stores of life and sap and strength, not for itself, but for the branches. The branches are and have nothing but what the vine provides and imparts. The believer is called to, and it is his highest blessedness to enter upon, a life of entire and unceasing dependence upon Christ. Day and night, every moment, Christ is to work in him all he needs. And then the lesson of undoubting confidence. The branch has no cure; the vine provides all; it has but to yield itself and receive. It is the sight of this truth that leads to the blessed rest of faith, the true secret of growth and strength: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. What a life would come to us if we only consented to be branches! Dear child of God, learn the lesson. You have but one thing to do: Only be a branch–nothing more, nothing less! Just be a branch; Christ will be the Vine that gives all. And the Husbandman, the mighty God, who made the Vine what it is, will as surely make the branch what it ought to be.”

We ended with the following song from Jason Gray which illustrated one of the three points we have listed as the ways in which our freedom to love can be expressed.

  1. In believing what God has said and not wallowing in the mud of our old self-identity any longer.
  2. Spending ourselves on others. – Phil. 2:1-18
  3. Forgiving our brother.

The specific point this song helps to illustrate is point #2 and reminds me of the example Kathy gave us of just being there for a friend in distress. It seemed empty to her because she had no answers to give, but the answer she gave was the love of a silent friend who was simply there…


Here is the link to the “studio” version of the song – LINK

Here is another song we sang on Sunday which is just awesomely in step with where we are and where we are headed. it is called, A Better Way to Live by Jason Gray. Thank you Jesus for artists who are living it and can sing from experience. Please support –



Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!