Starting the Day with Christ

January 12, 2017

There’s a Bible story about Jesus praying in the small hours of the night. While the Lord went deep into the garden to be alone, he asked his disciples to stay awake—but they failed. That’s an encouraging story for everyday Christians, because it shows that even the disciples who knew Jesus personally did not have a perfect record in following Christ. Neither do any of us.

But the story also shows that staying in touch with Christ takes effort. It’s not something that we can take for granted. Intentional practices like study and prayer are the disciplines that bring us closer to God.

There is one group of men at Galilee who have no problem getting out of bed early to meet their Savior. They are the members of the Thursday Morning “Son-Rise” study group, who meet at 6:30am at the Holiday Inn on Rt. 28 in Sterling.

AWAKE! Members of the Son-Rise study group: Bruce Vibbert, Steve Bryant, Dave Leroy, Jim Carroll, Jeff Appel, Seth Campbell. Photo by Tim Frank.

Six-thirty is pretty early! Why do it?

“Years ago, I discovered that it’s survivable to get up a little early if you’re making time for something important,” Son-Rise member Tim Frank explains. “My days and evenings get crowded with important happenings and good intentions to pray and study go out the window. But getting myself out of bed early one day a week is something I can easily control.”

Tim is a tireless volunteer who can often be seen setting up for Wednesday Pickle Ball or sitting in the sound booth during Sunday’s services. He’s also involved in the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group and Memory Cafe.

“Being part of Son-Rise has allowed me to meet and become closer friends with other church members. Some of them have been meeting at the Holiday Inn for fifteen or twenty years; others just started this year. We’re all helping each other along on our spiritual journey by contributing our own understanding of what we read. I look forward all week to Thursday morning.”

Finding Support

Jim Carroll is a retired educator who arrived at Galilee approximately twenty years ago. He says, “Morning discussions at Son-Rise enable me to share my views with dedicated Galilee men who have strong Christian views of their own. This has greatly broadened my faith. We share our ideas about religion in a highly supportive atmosphere. Just recently, one of our members was having difficult family problems and he felt comfortable bringing those problems to the group, seeking our advice. That’s an experience that I will never forget, as it encourages us all to bring our whole lives into contact with our faith.”

“It has been a blessing to find such a group,” Jim says. “As a result of my involvement with the Son-Rise-Group, I now read the Bible daily in addition to keeping up with the topics that we discuss during our study time.”

All Are Welcome

Jeff Appel, originally from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, has been attending Galilee since 2003. But he’s not someone who was eager to jump into a Bible study.

“I am an introvert and so I join groups reluctantly. But with strong encouragement from my wife, Jean, and college-age daughter, Mary Kate, I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t sure about the time commitment, since it would make me late for work. But I found that the return on my time invested was of value. I was welcomed by the group members and made to feel at home from the beginning. Son-Rise discussions stay with me throughout the week and it definitely helps one to keep a more “Christ-centered” perspective when dealing with daily challenges.”

“The group also gives me an awareness of some of the “behind-the-scenes” workings of Galilee, and with that, a greater appreciation of those who are quietly serving the Church in some way. That’s important to me, because Galilee has offered much to my family. Mary Kate has grown up here, going through the Confirmation process to become a member (even when her parents weren’t official members). When Jean was sick and undergoing treatments, Galilee friends prayed throughout her recovery. There are no words to explain my humble gratitude.”

“The Son-Rise group discussions are helping me grow in my understanding of what it is to be Christian. I still feel I am beginning my journey and have much to learn. Son-Rise helps!”

Current Study

The Son-Rise group is currently reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn. As Christians, we can get so lost in the daily humdrum of life that we forget all about the Promised Land. Alcorn’s book takes a look at Biblical answers to common questions about Heaven.

“It’s my favorite book of the books we have recently read and discussed,” says Jim Carroll. “It goes into great detail about the subject, including how we realize our destiny in heaven, understanding present faith as a type of heaven, grasping redemption, and anticipating resurrection.”


Please consider this your invitation to join the members of the Son-Rise study group as they enjoy study, prayer, and great fellowship. They always welcome newcomers to meet Thursday mornings from 6:30-7:30am at the Holiday Inn at 45425 Holiday Dr, Sterling, VA 20166.