Check our Facebook page! We're still actively posting recaps for each Large Group, but they will be posted on our official FB page from this point onward. https://www.facebook.com/acfwm
Grace Min traveled from VCU to WM this week to talk about accountability.
Starting with James 5:16, she shared that one way to find healing was through confessing sins to one another and praying for each other. There is power in confession. Admitting sins to brothers and sisters makes it easier to bring them before God because you've already accepted that you don't want to and can't handle it on your own.
Referring to David Platt's book, Follow Me, Grace gave us a powerful reminder to love one another enough to interfere and not overlook friends struggling with the excuse of "it's not my business." Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us also to love and encourage one another. However, encouragement can look like a lot of things at times including rebuking. That makes it easy to get defensive, but the purpose of accountability is to point out sins and struggle together.
Don't choose to watch someone suffer and fall deeper into sin. Let's all commit to be brave and be accountable for one another.
Marisa, Megan, and Jisung bravely shared about their personal experiences with God to the entire fellowship. Many hearts were deeply touched.
Marisa asked, "Do you believe in science?" She shared that her journey deep into science while at W&M has revealed much about God and His character. A paper she had read about synthetic biology suggested the key to a sustained life system was to remove tight controls. As someone who finds comfort in control and planning (as are many in ACF), Marisa began to see power in letting go and allowing randomness by placing her trust in God.
Jisung bravely shared her testimony about God's redemption through a relationship she had freshman year. When she was in darkness, God spoke to her through a retreat. "No matter what sin you've committed, you are cleansed by the blood of Christ." And in the following weeks she began to rediscover God's love and grace through Scripture and intimate prayer. She encouraged and inspired many in ACF to be vulnerable about deep sins. When faced with agape, shame and fear cannot prevent us from loving one another. We are called not to judge and condemn but to offer grace and understanding by meeting others where they are and being with them. We are so thankful that God used Jisung and her testimony to open many doors in ACF.
Megan asked everyone to close their eyes and listen a song she had written called "Shepherd Voice". The lyrics were inspired by Genesis 3 (The Fall of Man) and describe God's powerful love and call to hear our voices - even when we are in sin. We are invited to come before His throne in repentance. In that way, God knows us fully but still offers unconditional love.
Pastor Dennis returned this week to talk about how Christ’s identity, intimacy, and intent is revealed in John 10: 11-16. Throughout the Bible, God refers to people as His sheep. Our initial response might be to think we look like cute little fluff balls to Him. But sheep are helpless, dull, and prone to wander. Sheep can’t fend of predators themselves and aren’t creative finding food.
It’s possible to live a life for God but not with God. How are you living?
Our guest speaker for our Bring Your Own Friend to Large Group was Pastor Dennis from Grace Covenant church; his message was from Zechariah 3. Pastor Dennis described the setting as a courtroom where Satan was accusing Joshua of great sin. A question here was “why was Joshua dressed in such dirty garments when he was a high priest?” Pastor Dennis brought up the fact that no matter what, we will always be imperfect in the eyes of God. Still, we wrestle with the fact that we are not clean enough, but we are getting it backwards; we think that after we are clean we will get pulled up from “hell.” Instead, we first get pulled up by God’s grace then cleaned. Not only does that apply to ourselves, but to the friends we bring before God as well.
Our first guest speaker to kick-off the semester was Fred from Williamsburg Christian Church (WCC)! Fred shared about fear from Matthew 8 - that it is fear that comes head to head with following Jesus. We fear even when Jesus is in the boat or casts out demons. Often times, our response to fear is fight, flight, or freeze. And we are stuck in the cycle of fear, self-protection, and isolation.
The answer is not to fight fear but to submit to the lordship of Christ (Colossians 1:15). Reflect about who/what holds your hope because the same thing holds your trust. We must trust in Christ and know His love. In that way we are being refined and molded to be mature in love modeled in Christ - agape. Practically, we mature in love by how we love others, as described by the commandments that go hand in hand to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Pastor David Lim (PD), his family, and Jesse Kim came to visit from SSCC. He shared a visual of "honeycomb ships" with many compartment shields to prevent sinking. This is how many of us live our lives. If we sin, we seal it off and continue partying on the ship. However, that's not how sin works. From Haggai 2:10-19, PD shared that:
And so we concluded our last official large group of the semester! That night, the girls had a sleepover in Tucker. And the boys had a hangout around the campfire.
Presidential election results were released this Wednesday. It spurred an increase in going to God in prayer and faithfulness - specifically praying for unshakable hope in Christ and unexplainable love to cast out fear on our campus.
Pastor Chong came back this Friday to share about the Importance of Prayer for the Inner Man. After sharing his testimony about moving to Kansas City and working with IHOP (International House of Prayer), Pastor Chong explained that prayer is a place of encounter with God in close relationship. He shared that "The Lord loves to hear your voice." and that "God commands us to pray." It is the moment where our weakness is met with the power of God so that in experiencing His love, we are able to fulfill the second greatest commandment in loving others as well.
He shared three ways to develop a consistent prayer life:
Another great way to pray is through praying scripture. If it's a truth, you thank God for the truth and ask for more revelation and if it's an exhortation, you commit to the command in obedience and ask for strength/grace to obey.
Pastor Chong's love for us spilled over into laminated and personally hand-cut prayer bookmarks that we each now have to carry around. Thank you Pastor Chong!
Scripture: Daniel 10:13, Revelation 4, Philippians 4:6, and Isaiah 3:30.
This past Friday to Sunday (11/4 - 11/6) twenty six ACF members traveled to Pine Creek Retreat Center in Gore, Virginia to attend the annual Servants Retreat hosted by our overarching ministry known as Servants Ministry. For these three days, Pastor David Larry Kim (P. DL) from Orlando, Florida served as the Guest speaker for the retreat.
The first night, P. DL encouraged us by talking about how no one is never too lost for God. He said that it was "never too late to come back to Jesus no matter how far you've gone" and he invited us to something amazing at the retreat. (Key verses: Luke 23: 34 - 43)
The second day, P. DL talked about how, sometimes, it seems that unbelievers are more blessed in some ways whereas Christians were leading a more difficult life following God. He went on to say however that there is a bigger picture of heaven, and how that the people of this world are excited about worldly things because the world is the closest they will get to heaven. "Wicked may have a lot of things, but they do not have God." (Key verses: Psalm 73). P. DL also gave a seminar in the afternoon delving into the book of Jonah (aka the Key verses), where he stated that God calls all of us to our version of Jonah's Ninevah. He stated that there is a price to pay if we don't go to Ninevah and that God will do whatever it takes to get us there.
That night, P. DL talked about the question of "What Does it Mean to Follow Jesus?" He said that:
1. We need to be a followers of Jesus, not fans. Fans leave when things are not good.
2. If we are follower of Jesus, then we have been enlisted in the mission of God.
3. Following Jesus comes with a price.
(Key Verses: Luke 5: 1-11)
The final sermon was on Sunday morning and it was about how ordinary habits train one to meet with God on an ordinary day. He talked about Daniel, and how he was able to be saved from the lion's den because he had been praying to God for three times a day everyday during his life. He also talked about how it was important to be deeply rooted in loving God and how God wants us to be privately devoted. "Ordinary habits over an extended period of time lead to an extraordinary life." (Key verses: Daniel Chapter 6)
This retreat was such a blessing for all the ACF members that went, and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us for the rest of the year.
This past Friday, Pastor Choi, a missionary in India for over ten years, came to speak about his testimony and seeking intimacy with God.
He explained how doing missions was an act of making worshipers of all nations, and that Jesus came to receive and not give in the Bible. He further went on to talk about how we, and some of the people of the Bible, tend to:
enjoy healing but not love the healer,
enjoy gifts but not love the giver,
enjoy blessings but not love the blesser
and enjoy bread but not love the true bread of life.
In conclusion he stated: "If we hunger and thirst for Him, He will fulfill us. Let Jesus be the center, vision, life.... everything."
We will be praying for Pastor Choi as he continues to do God's work in India!
Key Verse: James 4:8
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."