When Tragedy Hits
by John Kelley on November 24th, 2023
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16–18That verse always sounds great, but how do we give thanks when the world is falling down around us? In 2007, I was called to do something that had always been in the back of my mind, I got to help plant a church. I partnered with a good friend to begin ...
Gratitude’s Greatest Enemy
by John Kelley on November 23rd, 2023
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:8–10One of the biggest issues for us as humans is the need to get everything we want. Many times, we feel lik...
by John Kelley on November 22nd, 2023
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking par...
When Thanksgiving Has legs
by John Kelley on November 21st, 2023
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.1 John 3:16-18Being thankful is so important for the Christian life, but what is t...
Remember the Blessings
by John Kelley on November 20th, 2023
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.Psalm 103:1-5This is the time of year when ever...
Good Friday Special
by Jon Welch on April 7th, 2023
While Jesus was praying in the garden, the mob led by Judas approached. Jesus was taken into custody, beaten, put on trial, mocked, beaten again, and finally sentenced to death on the Roman Cross.While he was innocent of all charges against him and innocent of any sin against God, he was treated like a criminal. As a result, he was put on public display to humiliate and dehumanize him.But this dea...
by Jon Welch on April 7th, 2023
After dinner, Jesus led his disciples to a garden called Gethsemane. There, he asked them to stay awake and pray. Then, going further, Jesus fell to the ground and prayed to his Father. When we read the accounts of this time of prayer, we see pain, anxiety, fear, worry, and stress. Luke points out that Jesus was so stressed, bearing the total weight of what would happen, that he sweats blood. This...
Holy Week #4
by Jon Welch on April 6th, 2023
The final Meal of Christ with His disciples was multifaceted: In this upper room, we receive two pictures of what Jesus will do. First, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet and then institutes what we now call “The Lords Supper.” Read Mark 14:12-16, John 13:1-20Wow- Did you catch John 13:1?Most translations say, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” One translation ...
Easter at Leesburg
by Courtney Vaughn on April 5th, 2023
We are excited to celebrate Resurrection Sunday with you! We are waiting with expectation for what God will do! Hopefully our campus will be packed with people ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To keep you in the loop, we thought we would share a few things with you. As you prepare your hearts for Easter Sunday, we encourage you to read our blog posts guiding us through the event leading u...
Holy Week #3
by Jon Welch on April 5th, 2023
Imagine you are a disciple who has traveled with Jesus for possibly up to four years. You have left your home, your family, and your job. You live on the graciousness of others, traveling from home to home, city to city. You have only the possessions that you carry around with you. While yes, you happily chose this lifestyle, there must have been times when you saw people who had more than you and...
Holy Week #2
by Jon Welch on April 4th, 2023
“They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. He was teaching them: ‘Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!’”Mar...
Holy Week #1
by Jon Welch on April 3rd, 2023
Its Sunday. In five days, Jesus will be crucified. Mark records Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Read Mark 11:1–11Look back at verse nine.“Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Mark 11:9Every year, as travelers approached Jerusalem for Passover, this phrase was part of a series of psalms the people eagerly sang to praise God...
by Jon Welch on March 11th, 2023
Peter leads a large group of disciples to a mountain where Jesus will once again give them their marching orders. Then they make their way back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit as the movement switches into its next multiplication phase. Let's look at these last two meetings.Read: Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-11What were the marching orders of Jesus? ...
by Jon Welch on March 10th, 2023
After rising from the dead, Jesus appears to His disciples on several occasions. Paul lists the appearance in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. He appeared to many people individually– to His leaders on several occasions and even to a group of disciples numbering more than 500. On one of these appearances, Jesus repeats a miracle that had changed Peter’s life early in the ministry. This is the last breakfast ...
by Jon Welch on March 9th, 2023
After laying His life down for you and me, two men come to retrieve His body and prepare it for burial. One is Joseph of Arimathea, and the other is our friend Nicodemus. As you read today, take special note of these two men. The Lord has risen indeed!Read: John 19:31-20:31; Luke 23:50-24:49; Matthew 27:57-28:15; Mark 15:42-16:18List all the verses describing the disciples’ mental attitude as you ...
by Jon Welch on March 8th, 2023
Jesus is identified to the crowd of people who have come to take Him away by Judas, who has come to betray Him. Judas kisses Jesus, and Jesus responds by calling him “friend” (Matt. 26:50). He was a friend of sinners until the end! Betrayed into the hands of the religious leaders, Jesus is led away to be questioned, lied about, treated unjustly, beaten, whipped, and, finally, hung on a cross betwe...
by Jon Welch on March 7th, 2023
Jesus shared a lot of cool stuff with His disciples that night in the upper room, besides the fact that He loved them and expected them to lead as servant leaders. He tells them once again that He will be leaving them but not to be afraid, that He will prepare a place for them. He tells them to remember that HE is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He shares the role of the coming Spiri...
by Jon Welch on March 6th, 2023
Sorry- I know this was intended to come out last Friday! Thankful for you all joining me in this study, and caring when it doesn't show up!We'll be wrapping everything up this week! What a journey! Jesus spends the week teaching at the temple during the day and communicating with His Father each evening on the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37). The things Jesus teaches this week are incredibly signifi...
by Jon Welch on March 2nd, 2023
As Jesus makes His way from Jericho to Jerusalem, He is about to receive an incredible gift from the Father– a king’s welcome into the Holy City. It is a day of celebration and great emotion. What will happen as Jesus enters Jerusalem?Read Luke 19:28-48; Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-26; John 12:12-19As you study these passages, how do you visualize the energy of this moment?How did Jesus respond to ...
by Jon Welch on March 1st, 2023
After spending several months on the other side of the Jordan River in Perea, Jesus makes his way back across the Jordan and into the town of Jericho, where he will reinforce many of the leadership principles that he has been teaching His growing team of leaders. He will live them out and put them into practice once again. Jesus was a person who did not just talk about things but acted on them. He...
by Jon Welch on February 28th, 2023
Jesus continues His teaching over the next several months. We only have time in this study to cover a couple of His lessons on leadership development. These days for Jesus are packed with incredible teaching on the development of leaders. One of the most important teachings that Jesus gives during this time is on being an unleavened leader. Read carefully and digest what Jesus is saying to His dis...
by Jon Welch on February 27th, 2023
Jesus leaves the Feast of Dedication and travels to the other side of the Jordan River, where John had baptized him three years earlier (John 10:40). Jesus will use this as a base for the next few months, awaiting His final entrance into Jerusalem and His pending death on the cross. What will he do in these last several months to ensure that the movement will continue after He returns to His Fathe...
by Jon Welch on February 24th, 2023
Jesus returned to Galilee, continued to train His apostles, and prepared the next group of disciples whom He would soon send out on their first mission trip. But there is another feast, the Feast of Dedication or Lights. This is not an Old Testament feast, but a new one added several years before Jesus arrived. This was in honor of the miracle when God supernaturally provided light in the lamps wh...
by Jon Welch on February 23rd, 2023
After meeting with Moses and Elijah, they went back down the mountain and"when they came back to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him" (Mark 9:14-15).Jesus comes off the mountain and is immediately confronted with the needs of the people. He ...