Today we continue our blog series of sermon reflections that we began last week. Our sermon this week focused on the story of Jacob, Israel's 3rd patriarch and their namesake, and his experience of God in the wilderness. When we catch up with Jacob in Genesis 28:10, he's on the run from his older brother Esau and it's all Jacob's fault. First, he tricks Esau into giving him his birthright. Then, he tricks his dying father Isaac (with the help of his mother!) into giving him the blessing that was due to Esau as the firstborn. Jacob's life up to this point was characterized by deceit.
Over the next few weeks of summer, the blog will be a place to reflect back on the past week's sermon. Hopefully, these reflections will help us process the messages we're hearing on Sunday by offering some further ideas and insights or maybe asking a few more questions. No worries if you happened to miss the sermon - you can download the audio recording along with the full text and slides for every sermon over on the Sermons page. As always, we invite you to interact with the blog posts by leaving a comment below.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading back through the New Testament with a friend of mine. We began with Luke and Acts and have just completed all 13 of Paul’s letters. The words of the Bible are alive by the power of the Holy Spirit who can reveal something new, something deeper every time we immerse ourselves in God’s story. This is what happened to me as I read through Paul’s letters one more time.
At the beginning of the year this year, my community group studied an oldie but a goodie: Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and man, was it good. I wanted to let you all in on one of my very favorite chapters from that book, which focused on the discipline of Solitude...stick with me here, it’s much different than you may think.
In the final sermon of our recent ANIMATE! series, Pastor Jason spoke about why it is so important for us to meet with God in the “Inner Sanctum” and meditate on God’s truth in that sacred place. He summed it up nicely with a quote from the Greek philosopher Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Why? Because an unexamined life is the same as a misdirected life because we are always in love with something, worshiping something, seeking after something. When we don’t examine our lives, we have no idea what or who that something really is.
In our blog last week, we took some time to investigate how we can practice some of the things we’ve learned during the ANIMATE! sermon series we just finished up two weeks ago. Remember? It was all about how God calls us to examine our lives so that we can be set free from the “veil of self” that keeps us locked in patterns of sin. This week we’re going to keep our focus on the everyday, practical stuff of the Christian journey by exploring a new/ancient practice that facilitates a transformative encounter with God.
This Sunday we talked about the importance of living an “examined life.” Remember Socrates’ famous adage, “the unexamined life is not worth living”? It’s a concept that’s affirmed in Christian thought too. How can we really live as Jesus did and be his hands and feet (Six:Eight’s vision statement, anyone?? :)) if we don’t stop and examine ourselves-our heart’s desires, our thoughts, our actions? As Pastor Jason said on Sunday, we must review, renew, and preview in the presence of God. Meeting with God in this way is essential in the change process.
Turning Points... You know them well. Those moments in life when it becomes clear that where you’re coming from and where you want to go have some distance between them. It’s then that you choose - keep doing what you’ve been doing and be forced to change your end goal; or dig in, do some work and orient yourself differently so you can shake off some junk and move forward towards where you know you want to go. Turning points come in clear moments or in a season of life.