Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.
(Proverbs 22:6 “The Message”)
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us!
Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.
(1 John 3:1 “The Message”)
We are all children. As I have grown older and had children of my own, I have come to realize the truth in what I heard my parents say when I was growing up, “You’ll always be my son (or little boy, or child…).” If there was any doubt, I am sure that I can come up with substantial evidence to prove my childishness. But, that’s not really the point.
It is important, however, to see that we are not only children of our earthly parents, but we are children of God. Where our earthly parents are good examples, God is the perfection of being a loving parent. Think of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:9-11, “If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” On the other hand, if our earthly parents fail at loving us in that way, if they do give us sawdust instead of bread, we can at least know that God loves us and promises to be a loving and caring parent to us.
If we are God’s children, then we should be in the process of training ourselves regularly. For me, a major component of faith-training is studying the Bible and thinking deeply about God and how God interacts with humanity. Now that the “summer” months are over and school is back in session, I think it is time for us to get back to our regular study times within the life of the church.
So, Sunday school will return to “normal” beginning on September 1st, and on the 4th we will kick off our Wednesday evening activities. We will be having Sunday school opportunities for preschool children, youth and two different offerings for adults (plus Kelli will be working with the toddlers and twos in the nursery during that time.) Plus, on Wednesday evenings our youth group (Catalyst) will be meeting, as well as an adult bible study.
I wanted to give you some information about the adult bible study, and encourage you to come and share in the discussion. Each week we will engage two different scriptures, and think deeply about what they are saying to us. We will begin the week by taking a look back at the scripture and sermon from the Sunday prior. This reflection is helpful because it provides a way to share how our lives are being transformed by worship. This is similar to what the focus group did during Lent this spring. I will benefit from these open discussions by getting feedback and critique of my interpretation of the text, and my presentation. The goal is to engage us all more deeply in the scriptures, and to enhance the preaching and worship within the congregation.
After this time of looking back, we will look forward to the scripture for the upcoming Sunday. This will get us all thinking about what the scripture means, what it has to say to us, and will help (at least that is the plan) guide me in my sermon preparations. This step is vital because it allows the sermon to be “written” as a group, not in isolation. The idea is that this will help me to be a better preacher, and to communicate more clearly because we will have interpreted both the text and our community.
I do hope (and pray) that you will consider how you might engage your faith deeply through these educational (and fellowship) opportunities within the church. Join me as we journey together, feeding one another’s spiritual hunger through our study of the Word of God.