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Loving The Journey

Weekly Newsletter

Previous Loving The Journey Newsletter:

July 10 , 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Dustin Aagaard
"Mid-Year Update"

Dear Journey Friends and Family,

As we find ourselves midway through 2024, I am full of gratitude and joy as I have reflected on all God has done so far this year. This year has been marked by immense spiritual growth and bold faith. I am so proud to be your pastor, as I keep seeing so many of you saying “yes” to Jesus in so many different ways.

I continue to be humbled and amazed by all God is doing in and through you. It’s been eighteen months since I had the privilege of stepping into the role of Lead Pastor here at Journey Christian Church. I feel like I’ve got spiritual whiplash from all God has done in such a short amount of time.

By God’s grace and kindness, 2024 has picked up right where 2023 left off, with great momentum. We continue to see God move in the hearts of people in incredible ways. I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” 

God has truly done more than we could have asked or imagined. However, I have tasted and seen the Lord and it only makes me want more of Him, more of His presence, more of His mercies, more of His grace and kindness of His people.

As you can see in the infographic above, God has been so kind to us. One of the most exciting ways we’ve seen God move is through the amount of people saying “yes” to Jesus. Last year, more people were baptized in a year (411) than in the history of our church. So far this year, we have seen 282 people say “yes” to Jesus and get baptized.  That’s just incredible, and it’s ahead of the pace from last year, which is amazing! Only God!

There are so many great God stories, but hearing Dan’s story and watching how God rescued his whole family was inspiring. You can watch his story here.

His quote has been in my head ever since I first heard it.

“I’m thankful that God didn’t give up on me, because I had given up on myself.” -Dan DeJoy

Our heart is to find and gather all the “Dan’s” and introduce them to Jesus.

As good as things have been, I truly believe that the best is yet to come. As we have grown in every department and in every area, the need for financial growth is just as vital to keep up with all God is doing. We have seen a lot of people say yes to Jesus by beginning their tithing Journey this year. Our heart is to keep doing whatever it takes to reach more people with the gospel of Jesus. Your financial gift will continue to make an eternal impact both in Central Florida and around the world. You can learn more about giving by going to www.journeychristian.com/give.

I continue to be so excited about all God is doing in and through you.  

I am 100% loving the Journey!
Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church

July 3 , 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Kevin Monahan
"We Wear His Name"

Dear Journey Friends and Family,

As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, a day commemorating our nation's freedom, I am reminded of the greater freedom we have in Christ. Our earthly freedom is precious, but the freedom we find in Jesus is of eternal significance. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." This freedom from sin, guilt, and the fear of death is the foundation of our faith and the source of our hope.

This week holds special significance for our family, as my son embarks on a new journey at the Fire Academy. Watching him take this step fills me with pride and a sense of awe. As part of his training, he received his helmet, proudly bearing our family name on the back. This simple gesture holds profound meaning. As a firefighter, he will risk his life - his name - for the safety and well-being of others. This selfless act of courage and dedication is a powerful reminder of the love and sacrifice that define the Christian faith.

In many ways, my son’s journey mirrors the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. Just as a firefighter rushes into danger to save lives, Jesus willingly faced the cross to save us from eternal separation from God. He bore our sins, our shame, and our punishment so that we could experience true freedom. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13)

Our freedom in Christ comes with great responsibility. As we wear His name, we are called to be His witnesses to the world. Just as my son’s helmet signifies his identity and purpose, our lives should reflect our identity in Christ. In every action, word, and interaction, we have the opportunity to show the world that we belong to Jesus. Colossians 3:17 encourages us, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

This week, as fireworks light up the sky and we gather with loved ones to celebrate, let us also take a moment to reflect on the spiritual freedom we have been given. Let us remember that this freedom is not just for our benefit; it is a gift meant to be shared with a world in desperate need of hope and redemption. We are called to live lives that honor the name of Jesus, showing His love, grace, and truth to everyone we meet.

May the Lord bless each of you abundantly this week. Let us pray for our nation, our leaders, and for those who serve and protect us. Let us also pray for all those who are stepping into roles of service and sacrifice, asking God to grant them strength, courage, and protection. 

We wear His name,

Kevin Monahan
Executive Pastor
Journey Christian Church
June 26 , 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Dustin Aagaard
"Life On Mission"

Dear Journey Friends and Family,

This past Sunday, we kicked off a new series called A New Way To Be Human.  In this series, we’re spending six weeks studying the book of James and on Sunday we explored James 1:1-4.  You can catch the full message here.

One of the things we mentioned is living a life on mission.  One way to define being a missionary is to be someone who is living a life that’s on mission with the gospel.  James 1:2-4 and James 1:12 say,

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test,
that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised
to those who love him.”  James 1:12

Here are four takeaways from James 1:  
#1 - Know that trials will come.  
#2 - Trials grow your perseverance.
#3 - Perseverance leads to maturity.
#4 - You are blessed if you persevere.

Seeing the beauty in trials is never easy. However, it’s easiest to live out when we are living a life on mission, and that’s exactly what my daughter Callie Joy is doing in Australia and that’s what 24 people are doing right now on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  

If you missed the message Sunday, I share how my daughter, Callie Joy, is a missionary in Australia, and we got to hear from her and how she’s living on mission.  You can hear her share her heart here.  You can learn more about her mission by clicking here.

We also have 24 people living on mission as they serve with our mission partner, Camp Bahamas. But here’s the deal: we’re not all called to Australia or the Bahamas.  But we are called somewhere.  Wherever you find yourself this week, wherever God has called and placed you, be there on purpose.  Be there on mission.  

We’ll see you Sunday as we continue our series, A New Way To Be Human.  

I’m loving the journey,

Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church

June 19 , 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Dustin Aagaard
"Say So"

Dear Journey Friends and Family,

What a special Sunday it was this past weekend as we celebrated Father’s Day and concluded our TheThing Beneath the Thing series. If you missed it, you can watch it here.Last Sunday, Pastor Dustin's message on overcoming insecurities resonated deeply with many of us. Throughout our current The Thing Beneath the Thing series, we have been diving deep into uncovering and confronting the underlying issues in our lives that so often hold us back and distract us from the life that God desires for us. If you missed either Pastor Steve Carter’s or Pastor Dustin Aagaard’s messages the past two weeks, you can watch them anytime here.

On Father’s Day we saw all kinds of special baptisms. We saw a father and son get baptized, we saw a dad baptize his son, and we saw a son baptize his dad. Praise God!

This past week I got an email from a student that I’d like to share with you, but before I do, let me set it up…

In Journey Students, we have a night called “Say So” night. The idea comes from Psalm 107:2, “If the Lord has redeemed you, then say so.” This is an open mic time for our students to get up in front of their peers and share about their encounter with Jesus. “Say So” night took place this past Wednesday, and it was so powerful.

However, later in the week, I got an email from a student named Nicholas Wheeler.  He explained how he was sick and unable to share about God at “Say So” night. In his email to me, he attached what he would have said had he been able to attend. Here is a portion of that attachment:

“Camp was incredible.This was the first year I have been to camp, and it definitely won’t be my last. At first, I was a little nervous about what to expect and what we were going to do.

As the week went on, I continued seeing Christ move through so many of my peers and I just kept hearing these incredible stories of my life group peers having encounters with Jesus. They always described them as “I have never experienced anything like that before.” And as I kept hearing and seeing these stories, I couldn’t help but think, why haven’t I experienced this yet? I tended to see my dormmates in tears whenever we were at worship, and I was filled with joy for them and how they were experiencing God. But I just couldn’t shake off the thought of what it must feel like to experience God.  

It wasn’t until Thursday after REC that we had the option to say something to everyone. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to save it until that night when everyone from Journey was around. Little did I know I wasn’t going to get that chance. I remember the last person to speak at REC, Maddy Whitney. She said words I will never forget, “If you haven’t experienced a move of God, there is still time.”

When I first heard those words, I was reminded of everyone who had experienced God and how many lives I was seeing change, but not mine. Once we got to the worship room, I went and sat down next to my leader, who was there as well. I was so tired I couldn’t sing or stand. All I could do was sit and listen. It was maybe two minutes of being in the room that I realized I had tears rushing down my face. I tried everything, but nothing could stop them. It was at that moment that I got to experience God firsthand, and it was the first time I had ever experienced God. I was so moved by the music, and the lyrics it was like an overwhelming sense of peace had rushed over me. It was then that I had the ability to say that I had experienced God, and it was amazing.

About an hour later, I had to talk to the nurse, and then I was told I had heat exhaustion. I would soon miss the rest of the activities that were planned that night, and when my leader came to check on me around 10:00 at night, I was blessed and surprised to see that half of my peers from my life group chose to come with my leader and check on how I was doing. They all came and gave me fist bumps one by one, and when they all left, I was speechless. Not only did I get to experience God earlier that day, but my prayer for a community also came true. I will never forget this week of camp, and I wish I were still there. Everything flew by so quickly, and although I’m bummed it’s all over, God didn’t just stay at camp. He came back with everyone, but he definitely came back with me.”

Not only do I love Nicholas’ story, but I love his heart to share it. That’s exactly what we are called to do.  

Let me leave you with this challenge from Psalm 107:2,“If the Lord has redeemed you, then say so.” If God has moved in your life, don’t keep it a secret; let it out and share it.

I am excited for this Sunday as we’ll be kicking off a new series on the book of James called “A New Way To Be Human.”  I encourage you now to go ahead and read James chapter 1, and we’ll see you Sunday.

I’m loving the journey,

Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church

June 12 , 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Jeremy Tomlinson
"Happy Father's Day"

Dear Journey Friends and Family, 

Last Sunday, Pastor Dustin's message on overcoming insecurities resonated deeply with many of us. Throughout our current The Thing Beneath the Thing series, we have been diving deep into uncovering and confronting the underlying issues in our lives that so often hold us back and distract us from the life that God desires for us. If you missed either Pastor Steve Carter’s or Pastor Dustin Aagaard’s messages the past two weeks, you can watch them anytime here.

This Sunday, Pastor Dustin will be wrapping up this series by speaking about God's incredible grace. It's going to be a powerful conclusion to what has been an incredible journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth. This whole series has been inspired by a book by Steve Carter titled The Thing Beneath the Thing. I encourage you to delve even deeper into these ideas by purchasing a copy either from JourneyChristian.com/Resources or at either of our campuses on Sunday. Maybe even consider it for a Father’s Day gift!

Speaking of… this coming Sunday is FATHER’S DAY! And as a father of 5 (yes... I said FIVE) young kids, I have been reflecting this week on the significance of this day. It’s a special time to celebrate the dads and father figures in our lives, and it’s also a time to recognize that as true believers in God, we have been adopted as His children. That means no matter what our earthly situation might be, we have a loving heavenly Father that has accepted us and loves us and nothing can separate us from that love. In fact, John 1:12-13 says, “...to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” And even more, His love is perfect, and He knows you perfectly. Psalm 139:13 reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God's masterpiece, created for good works. Just as I love each of my children uniquely, so does our Heavenly Father love us individually and perfectly.  
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a dad in recent years is that loving my children does not mean loving them all the same way. Each child has unique needs, personalities, and ways of understanding love. Similarly, God's love for us is tailor-made to meet our specific needs because God truly and deeply cares about you specifically. Sometimes, we need His gentle touch, guiding us with tenderness and compassion. Other times, we need His firm hand, nudging us toward growth and maturity. Just as I nurture and speak to each of my children differently, so does God, our Father, interact with us in ways that best suit our circumstances because He knows us better than we know ourselves. We can trust that His love is unwavering and unconditional, even when His ways may seem unfamiliar or challenging to us in the moment.
This Father's Day, let us celebrate the fathers in our lives and reflect on the immeasurable love of our Heavenly Father. We hope to see you in-person or online this Sunday!

I’m loving the journey,

Jeremy Tomlinson
Creative Arts Pastor
Journey Christian Church