The Seasons and Kingdom Living
I know many of us don’t want to hear it but it’s that time of year again when life returns to its rhythms. It has been vacation time. The warm months here in Bismarck are wonderful and important. That time of year when we can be outside for more than a few minutes. I haven’t seen a wind chill warning for some time. The kids (and their fearless teachers) have been out of school for a bit. Many of us have enjoyed vacations, camping, and time on the river.
We have a few more weeks of that, but it’s almost over and the rhythm of life will begin again. Papers, work projects, meetings – the daily grind.
These rhythms are important to our shared humanity. When God made mankind he gave us summer, winter, spring and fall. He wanted us to have reminders that there were seasons to our lives, to our existence on earth. This is to help us to live out our calling to know one another, to know him and to be known, yet also to rest.
As this new season approaches I want to ask you to consider a step of growth in your own humanity. The summer often represents what we want for every season of our lives. Relaxation, lowered commitment levels, and fun. But this is not the life that humanity is called to. In God’s grace he offers those things for a season, but he also calls us to work, to love, to learn and sometimes to grow.
Like everything in creation, we too are called to grow. We are called to change.
Think about how you will grow and change this fall and winter season.
The church staff has been working hard to establish more community groups and opportunities for personal growth for you. I want to encourage you to take those opportunities.
On Sundays beginning September 20th, we will have two services. During the second service (and possibly the first), there will be small group opportunities. You will be hearing more about those as the time nears. Consider coming to the first service at 9:15 and staying for a small group. There will be several options and if you don’t see the one you want I would invite you to start another!
On Wednesday evenings beginning September 23rd, our regular Wednesday evening programs will begin again. Ashlee is working hard to make certain there are opportunities for the children. Kris is working on the student ministries. But I want adults to consider joining us during this time as well. We say this often, but if you teach your kids from your example that church is for children, when they are adults they will follow your example. Instead, teach them that church is for the weary and the broken hearted of all ages.
Because we want Wednesdays to be for Adults too, starting on Wednesday September 23rd at 6:00 I will be doing a teaching series for adults. We will then use this time to go deeper into the word of God and in community. Nothing would make me happier than for that time to be busy. I want us to run out of space because too many of us are growing in Christ and in community.
Here is what I need from you. Will you give three hours of your week to the church this school year? Will you join us EITHER Sundays from 9:15-12 OR will you come to a service on Sunday and then join us on Wednesday nights?
Some of you will do both. I won’t try to stop you. Some of you will want to only come to a service on Sundays and then go home until next Sunday. I am asking you to deny that impulse.
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is at hand. This means that you and I should look like citizens of another kingdom. We should order our lives and our values around that kingdom. The kingdom of this world teaches us to value time and independence. The kingdom of the world says “that is my time” and “I am my own person.” The kingdom of God teaches that “all I have belongs to another” and “we need each other.” Let’s try to orient ourselves around living for another kingdom and let’s do it with just three hours this fall.
Increasingly more and more people are seeing the church as the place for Baptisms, marriages and funerals. Indeed we are that, but if that is all we are, then it is time we held our own funeral. We are the church. We are the staging area for personal growth, discipleship and kingdom living. Come and be a part of the things we are doing, the things God is doing through us.
Embrace the new season and give us three hours a week. See if God doesn’t work in you in that time.
Truly committed to your growth,