Monday, December 29, 2014

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column + New Sermon Series

(This also represents--most likely--the last post of 2014.  I very much look forward to spending my 2015 pastoring and writing for all of you, and I wish you all a safe and happy New Year's!  -E.A.)

"Second Sundays"

Dear Church, The tinsel is tucked away and the tree has been taken down (unless you're like me and just decide to leave the thing up for St. Patrick's Day a couple of months from now), which means it's firmly New Year's resolution season. Gyms and fitness companies love this time of year, it's their bread and butter, and for obvious reasons--we tend to target with our resolutions some sort of least, until we give up on those resolutions by the Super Bowl (especially if your resolution is food-related. Super Bowl parties are meant to be decadent.)

So why not, this year, make a resolution that was about not simply self-improvement, but community improvement, or church improvement? Resolve to be more focused on time together with your family. Resolve to be more faithful in your charitable giving. Resolve to involve yourself more in any number of missions here in the local area. There are many, many ways to resolve to improve not just your life, but the lives of those around you, in the name of Jesus Christ.

In doing our part as a family of faith to help you do this, and after getting some feedback from several of y'all on Facebook, I've designed a new, informal, and casual fellowship circle specifically for younger, working adults (with or without families) as a means of providing discipleship and dicussion beyond the 60-70 minutes we spend in worship. I'm tentatively calling it "Second Sundays" because its first meeting will be on Sunday, January 11, after worship, but the name really is negotiable--what isn't is our requirement to meet the need for spiritual enrichment in smaller, less formal settings than worship--not as a substitute for worship, but as a supplement to it.

Our vision statement as a church begins with the words "To go and make disciples...," and I hope and pray that this will be a new and exciting way for us to be able to do that! So, I suppose our New Year's Resolution as a church would be something along the lines of to better try to meet your spiritual needs where you are!

What about MY personal New Year's Resolution, you ask? Well, I'd take up whittling, but I lack the fine motor skills, so I think I'll just stick with, I don't know, building a better mousetrap. Which obviously takes no fine motor skills at all.

Happy New Year, First Christian Church!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

My next sermon series begins on Sunday, January 18.  You can find my introduction and outline to it below if you care to follow along!  -E.A.

Starting on January 18, a new five-week sermon series begins, which will take us up to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the 40 days of Lent (which commemorates the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness). This sermon series will focus on, well, sermons themselves--some of the most famous sermons we know are sermons from the New Testament, and we will explore a few that were preached by Jesus, Peter, or Paul from the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. Each contain immensely famous teachings that are well-known to this day, and we will be able to take the time and see these teachings in their original Scripture settings as we talk about how they still apply to us today! I look forward to kicking off this new series with you!

January 18: “South Africa Rising,” Luke 4:16-21
January 25: “The Mountaintop,” Matthew 6:7-15
February 1: “The Prophecy’s Fulfillment,” Acts 2:14-21
February 8: “The Prophet’s Lifespan,” Acts 7:48-53
February 15: “The Areopagus,” Acts 17:22-32

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