I’m preaching two sermon series this summer that I am really looking forward to delivering. The first one, “Living the God Life,” is based on Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia and is inspired by John Ortberg’s book of the same title.
The Galatians were becoming quite strict in the practice of their Christianity while at the same time forgetting the power of God’s grace and its ability to transform our every day lives. Paul opens his letter sweetly, “So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace,” but then he gets right to his point, “I can’t believe your fickleness.” Wow. Right there in the Bible we get an inside look at an early controversy.
Eventually Paul gets around to inviting them to consider what it means to live with the grace and peace of God at the center of their lives. In the third chapter he reminds them that there is “no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” That’s what living the God life looks like.
The second series this summer will reflect on the question “Would Jesus be a Christian?” That query is raised by theologian Brian McLaren. It sounds kind of controversial but at its heart this series will seek to look carefully at the teachings of Jesus as seen in the gospel stories.
The more I study Jesus the more amazed I am at the way he calls us to a pure and holy encounter with God. Religion at its best helps us surrender to the Spirit. Religion at its worst (and, yes Christianity must guard against this too) forces us into guilt and sorrow.
Your summer will no doubt be filled with time away and opportunities to relax but if you’re in town on Sunday I hope you’ll be in church too! And remember, you are the best church growth experts I know. When you invite a friend to join you on Sunday you will be doing a lot to spread our message of God’s amazing love.
See you on Sunday!