Welcome to Community Groups! Here we want to help you connect with others in a community of learners and leaders who seek to Love God Completely, Love People Authentically, and Make Disciples Globally. Our trained leaders look forward to hanging out and hosting Bible based discussions and times of prayer.
Starting in fall our theme is “Off the Map”, as we’re inspired by what God does with his followers as he leads them to new places, learning that we can trust Him too with the unknown in our lives. All groups go for 10 weeks and start at 7pm. You can join a group that meets on campus or meets virtually.
Author: Andrew Paulsen
Safe Fans for Bad Fans
“While I am a huge sports fan, I am also a terrible sports fan. The reason is that I often don’t show up and watch when the games matter the most. Last week my Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th championship, and I barely watched any of the games. It looked like they were going to clinch the whole thing during Game 5, so I made time to watch it, only to see them lose at the last second. My heart had been pounding, my blood was rushing, I was yelling at the screen; I was fully engaged. And I let myself care, I got emotionally involved in the outcome of the team. Now, this is why many people love sports: the emotion, the drama. It’s similar for people who have their favorite soap opera or reality tv show or movie: the feelings we get make us feel alive. But not me, I don’t want to be disappointed. So, I was glad I had an event Sunday evening and couldn’t watch the next game. I was nervous and didn’t want to be crushed again. It was easier to disconnect and be loosely involved; I was safe. And it showed I didn’t truly believe in my team.
In Acts 18 as Paul’s ministry starts to take off in Corinth, he gets nervous and anxious too. And the Lord speaks to him, telling him to not to be afraid and to stay for an extended period of time. We don’t know exactly why Paul was afraid, but as Pastor Brian mentioned, the messiness of working in that culture that we see in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians was probably overwhelming and daunting. It would definitely be easier to be less connected and involved. But that’s not how you build gospel centered communities. You show up, you care, you share your life with other people and show the true meaning of life found in Jesus. So let’s not make the mistake of avoiding community because it’s hard and messy and brings up all kinds of emotions. Let’s embrace allowing ourselves to be raw and real and allow Jesus to work in us, despite us, and be there for each other. Because when we do that, we show we believe in Him.
Author: Andrew Paulsen
In Common to In Community
“Me Too!” This was about the tenth time in the last 10 minutes my wife and I had heard this phrase. Charlotte and I were getting to know a young couple as part of giving them advice and perspective before they got married. The young bride-to-be was excited to be talking with another couple and was discovering more and more of what she had in common with one of us. Those similarities made her comfortable and more willing to share. This wasn’t forced or even strategic, it just was happening over a meal. And that’s something I think can happen at most tables around the world: if we take time and open up, we’ll find things we have in common with just about anybody. Of course, the opposite is true too: if we take time and open up, we’ll find differences with just about anybody. The question is, what do we do with those discoveries? Do we enjoy and build on those things in common, or become bored and dismissive? Do we find those differences fun and interesting, or reasons to avoid and hold back?
Paul in Acts 17 has the perspective to appreciate and work through differences he had with the Athenians as well as use the commonalities to make connections. He wanted share the love of God with them in a way as best he could so they would listen and be able to respond. If we’re going to share the gospel with the people around us, having a similar outlook on people will truly help. And if you think about it, commonalties are good building blocks for a community. And love is the best motivation to build. Let’s find the commonalities, appreciate the differences and let God’s love drive us to build gospel centered communities.
Author: Andrew Paulsen
Are You Tone-Deaf or In-Tune?
With distance learning going on at my house with my 2 sons, I get to be part of band class! As cool as that may sound, it’s really an interesting experience. I’m used to hearing my sons play as they practice. They of course are learning and make mistakes. But now I hear the rest of the class over Zoom and the mistakes are multiplied, the timing is off, and it’s just a melodious mess! (Some of you are literally cringing as you read this, I personally find it kind of funny.) You can quickly tell that many of these kids are struggling with being in-tune. They don’t have their instructor there to help them with their instrument or give them a quick one-on-one tip. They really have to work at being in-tune with the rest of the band and the band director. Otherwise, they are in danger of being tone-deaf, which throws off the whole experience.
We also can be tone-deaf in our relationships and in our community. There are lots of reasons why this happens, but the big
Just like a musician not paying attention to the music on the page or the director’s lead, we can be in our own little world and totally unaware of what’s going on around us. This leads us into doing things are are totally out of tune with what other’s are going through.
It’s hard to play good music without having an ear for music. And many musicians will train their listening skills to pick out the chords and notes to harmonize with. The same is in our relationships. We need to practice good listening skills, otherwise we’ll be tone deaf. Do we hear what our family members are saying? Do we notice the tone and posture of our co-workers and neighbors?
Paul in Acts 17 shows he’s in tune with the people of Athens. He’s aware of all the idols. He’s listened to their philosophers and leaders. And he goes one step further: he cares. It says he was stirred in verse 16. He let the tune affect him and he responded. He reached out and met them where they were at.
But like a middle school band, if you only listen to the people around you, it’s not going to go well. If we pay attention to God and listen to him, he will direct us so that we in His will. And when a community is in tune with Him and each other, that’s when we have harmony.
Author: Andrew Paulsen
Fellowship Found in a Hospital
Our church is not very far from a hospital. You can see it right from the freeway just a few minutes after you see Calvary Murrieta. Hospitals are interesting places. Some of the most intelligent people work there with the most sophisticated machines, yet it’s a place nobody wants to go... until they have to go. In hospitals you experience amazing joy and crushing grief, the beginning of a new life and the end.
Hospitals are also places of amazing support and community. Last week, as many of you know, the Collins had to rush to the hospital as their oldest son had an unexpected episode that led to lengthy CPR and an ambulance trip. The nurses and doctors at Loma Linda acted quickly and fortunately he survived. I was able to visit the family that evening and though things were still tense and a lot of questions had to be answered, there was such support and love from friends and family who were there even though they couldn’t go in. Literally we are all outside along the sidewalk. Jamie and Meghan Collins were planning on being Community Group leaders. They were excited and committed to helping people connect and grow closer to God and each other. I understand better why. They wanted to pass on what they had already received from so many. Grace...Prayer... Encouragement...Love. I was honored and humbled to be part of that group that night which showed such Godly support.
2 weeks ago in Acts 16: 25-34 we heard Brian teach about the jailer in Philippi was converted after he experienced the love and joy that Paul and Silas had while in jail, so much of it so that they didn’t escape when they could have but stayed to talk to him. Paul and Silas I’m sure had an easier time making that decision to stay because they had been able to pray and praise together. Praying and Praising God in a community is so powerful, and it often leads to a powerful witness. Like family and friends standing outside a hospital, praying and comforting each other.
Author: Andrew Paulsen
Off the Map
Have you ever wanted to know exactly where you’re going? Of course you have. It’s why map apps are some of the most used features on our phones. It’s why a generation ago Garmins were big sellers for people to have in their cars. It’s why a real long time ago AAA was famous for all its free maps and travel guides to its members (My mom still has a collection in the glove box!)
And many of us wish we had a map for our life. That we knew the route, the journey, the ups and downs ahead of time so we would be prepared. But unfortunately, God doesn’t give us a map for our lives. So what do we do?
Choose Adventure over Anxiety
Not knowing where we’re going can makes us feel anxious. We don’t want to get lost, we don’t want to make a wrong turn, we don’t want to have to waste time or energy. But let’s be honest. Even when we think we have the control and know exactly what will happen, we still feel anxious. And something usually does go wrong, and we realize that we don’t have control. So instead of being anxious, we can adopt the attitude of adventure. We can look forward to the unexpected blessings and challenges and enjoy the discoveries that come with them. If we accept the adventure and take pleasure in discovery, going off the map is good.
Choose the Maker over the Map
For those who believe God is in control, it can be quite frustrating when God allows the unexpected twists and turns into our lives. And often, we ask God for the map of our lives, of our future. We say “God can you just give the layout of what’s going on? Can I have a map?” And instead, God says, “Hey, I’m going to jump in the car and be your guide, we’ll go together. Won’t that be fun?” Most of us resist, “Yeah, but, can I know?” I picture God responding with a smirk and a twinkle in His eye “No, I’ll just tell you to turn left or right when we get to those crossroads.” In other words, God is in control, but if you’re like me, you don’t want to be in that place of dependence, you don’t want to need God to be your guide. But if we accept God as our guide, we don’t just get to have an adventure with amazing discoveries, but we have a relationship that is rich with moments and memories.
Acts 1:7 "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Our theme for the fall is "Off the Map". It fits the book of Acts we’ll be studying. Paul and the rest of his team were literally going to places they’ve never seen, experiencing things they’ve never dreamed about in the lives. God was fulfilling his promise in Acts 1:7 of going to the ends of the earth. That’s where Paul and Timothy and Barnabas and Peter lived in Acts, off the map. And that’s where Community Groups is going to live in the Election Year, Covid Crazy time of 2020. We bring our experiences and gifts with us, we go together and not alone, and we let God be our guide. He’s the mapmaker; He knows where He’s leading us.
Contact InformationContact: Andrew Paulsen
Email: [email protected]
Meeting InformationMeeting days: Various Days
Meeting times: Various Times
Meeting location: Various Homes