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Category: LifeGroups

A Brief Overview of the Book of Hosea

When you hear the name “Hosea”, what images come to mind? For some, it may be one of those hard-to-understand prophets that we don’t spend time with. For others, they may know the story of his life, particularly his wife and children, and then the doom and gloom that comes from God’s prophetic word through his ministry. Or perhaps it doesn’t ring any bells. As we get ready to study not only the book of Hosea but the entirety of the minor prophets, let’s take a step out and look at some major themes throughout the book of Hosea.

First, unbridled sin leads to cold hearts.  Right from the beginning of the book, the “whoredom” of Israel as represented by Gomer shows a blatant disregard for the marriage relationship. Then throughout the rest of the book, we see the terrifying picture of what it means to forget about God and ignore His call. The bride of Christ was bought at a great price, and we are foolish to turn to anything else that distracts us from Him.

Next, God desires that all would repent.  We see a clear invitation throughout this book, that God is waiting for those who will repent to return to Him so He may restore and heal them. This is not a one-time call and then a list of awful sins that need repenting. Instead, this is a father’s call to his wayward child. We today must listen for God’s call to repent when we find ourselves sucked into the temptations of sin.

Third, We must be careful to guard our beliefs and practices against worldly influence. Since their inception as a nation, God warned His people about mixing with the people around them in regard to culture, worship, and general life practices. Yet it seems the world is always enticing and offers something better than what’s in front of us. Taken to the extreme in this book, we know that we too face the temptation to compromise.

Finally, God’s love and forgiveness is so much greater than our sin.
The picture of God over and over lamenting Israel’s choices, and His tempering His wrath with His mercy and love is a shockingly sweet message in the midst of darkness. But it helps us to understand just how vast the love of God truly is. If we take anything away from the book of Hosea, we should be encouraged and challenged by how deeply the Father loves us.

I pray that as we study both this book and the remainder of the minor prophets we will learn to understand just how great God’s love is for us.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Ben

Why we’re studying Galatians in our LifeGroups

Next week, we will begin a new LifeGroup study through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. To help us prepare for the study, our Elders, Pastor Matt and Pastor Ben, sat down together and talked a little about our upcoming study in Galatians.

Listen to their conversation on our main podcast channel or you can listen to it here.

To prepare for our study, go to or find our study on Galatians on the Grace Life App.


Community Matters: The Importance of LifeGroups

One of my favorite questions that I’ve heard over the past few weeks has been “When do LifeGroups start back up?” I love this because it shows the love that the people of Grace Life have for one another, the desire to step into deep community and to both encourage and be encouraged by the family into which God has brought us. This week resumes that practice of gathering together outside of Sunday morning, perhaps sharing a meal, and definitely sharing what Christ is doing in our lives and the struggles that come in facing this fallen world. So, as we get back into the weekly routine of LifeGroups, I want to remind you of why community matters and encourage those of you who maybe have not been a part of a LifeGroup lately (or ever!) to join in.

Gospel community matters because we are designed to do life together.

Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

From creation, man was never meant to be alone. Adam had all of creation to name, and communion with God, and yet God says that it is not good for him to be by himself. The directives that come to Adam and Eve as well as Noah after the flood are to populate the earth with more human beings. Humans need other humans! And Christians need other Christians, which why the writer of Hebrews says this:

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

To neglect to be with God’s people is a loss not only of how you might be encouraged and stirred up to love and good works, but also that you miss the opportunity to do that for others. This is one of the basic functions of the church.

Gospel community matters because we need to be reminded of the Gospel.

1 Peter 1:22-23 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.

The family of God we enter is connected solely through the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Who else can you talk to about such spiritual things if not spiritual people? The world seeks to confuse us, to ridicule us, or perhaps to leave us to our own “foolish” devices. But the community of fellow believers shares the perspective of seeing the truth about our world and how it works. God’s people are not exempt from struggles, and in those difficult times, the church reminds us of God’s ever-present help in those times. We get to share the reminder of God’s promise of new mercies every morning, of no condemnation for we who are in Christ, that God is working everything out for our good and His glory.

Gospel community matters because we need a place to confess and repent of our sins.

Galatians 6:1-4 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

We are not perfect people. We mess up. We do harm to others, whether intentionally or unintentionally. And we need to have a place where we can seek forgiveness without judgment. The beauty of being saved by Christ means that another who is also saved has seen their own deep faults and can offer forgiveness in light of that.

But the other side of the coin is that we have to be willing to forgive others in our faith tribe as well. We have to take stock in the great sin that seeks to destroy us and realize just how good Jesus is in forgiving all of those thoughts and actions known only to God. And from that realization, there is no offense to great that man can put on us that we cannot forgive, and to do so in a spirit of gentleness.

Gospel community matters because God calls us to be there for each other.

Colossians 3:12-15 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

This is not a suggestion, or just a good idea. We as the church are called locally to a people gathered together because of what Christ has done in our lives, and the picture of how we treat one another is found in the way in which we strive to love each other as Christ has loved us. This doesn’t mean that we will connect deeply with every single person, but it does remind us that whether we know a fellow believer a little or a lot, our posture should always be one of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love.

If you feel alone, if this type of community is tugging at your heart, if the Spirit is calling out your fear of being known which is causing you to miss out on the joy of being loved, join a LifeGroup. The imperfect people of God come together in a way that no other community can. You can find more information about LifeGroups by clicking here.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Ben

Do not neglect to (virtually) meet together

The book of Acts is the historical account of the early church and how God used the church to take the Gospel to the nations. At the end of Peter’s Spirit-filled sermon on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were added to the church. In Acts 2:42-47, we see the early church devoted to God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47)

From this text, we see the early church believers were committed not only to the Gospel, but to each other. They worshiped together, studied the Word together, ate together, and they served each other when there was a need. They were devoted to God and to each other because the Gospel of Jesus had brought them together. The church gathers together to worship the God who redeemed them through Jesus Christ.

The author of Hebrews writes on the importance of the gathering:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25)

Our church functions on three distinct strategies that helps us make disciples who make disciples: Grow in the Gospel, Connect because of the Gospel, and Influence with the Gospel. Everything we do is guided by our strategy. So when we, along with the entire country, were called to practice “social distancing”, we had to find a new way to deliver on our strategy; especially when it came to connecting and gathering.

One of the key ways we connect is through weekly LifeGroups. These home groups gather to encourage one another, study the Word together, and pray together. If LifeGroups are a core component of our church, then what do we do when we cannot gather in homes? If we believe gathering is essential to the church, then we must find a way to continue gathering together.

Enter Zoom Video Conferencing. For the next few weeks, we will be gather with our LifeGroups virtually. We won’t leave our homes, but we’ll still meet to encourage, pray, and study the Word together. The early church attended the temple together, we’re going to zoom conference together. Social distancing does not mean isolation and if we believe community is essential for the Christian, then we must do everything we can to keep community while we practice social distancing.

Here’s why you should join and attend a Virtual LifeGroup:

To be an encouragement

Hebrews 10:25 clearly states not to forsake the gathering because it gives us an opportunity to “stir up one another to love and good works”. There is no greater time than now to be an encouragement to someone in your LifeGroup. You can encourage them to fear not, look to Jesus, and to stay in the Word. You can encourage them by saying they’re doing everything they can given the circumstances. It’s a unique time to love and encourage one another! 

When you leave the virtual LifeGroup, you’ll know how to pray for those in your group. You’ll know how to encourage them and to serve them. You miss this opportunity if you miss meeting with them.

To be encouraged

If we are all gathering to be an encouragement to someone, then at some point, someone will encourage us. As we share our struggles, fears, doubts, and confess our sins, we will be encouraged to repent and trust in the Lord.

Again, social distancing does not mean isolation. We need one another. This is God’s design of the church; members joined together by unity in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). We are to be physically together but when we are called to not be together, we seek the gifts of grace such as the Zoom to gather together.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in his incredible work (available free on Cristian Audio), “The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him”.

To worship

We have made worship to be a reference to music when, Biblically, worship is all of life (Romans 12:1-2). Everything we do is an act of worship to God or it is an act of worship of ourselves or of something we have made an idol. So how does gathering virtually lead us to worship God?

We worship God together knowing that God is in control of all things and hearing how God is at work in the hearts of your LifeGroup reminds us of this. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)

We worship God together knowing that we are a family, united by the blood of Jesus. We were once enemies of God brought near to him by the death and resurrection. This is why the church gathers in celebration. It is a gift of grace to be united in Christ with other brothers and sisters.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer again states,

“It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the kingdom of God that any may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren”.

So don’t neglect the virtual gathering of the church. When your LifeGroup meets via Zoom on Wednesday night, join in. You need them and they need you and we will all leave worshiping God for the gift of the church.

Not in a LifeGroup? Join one at

**Your LifeGroup leader will post a link to the Zoom Video Conference on your LifeGroup Facebook page. Reach out to them if you need help!