April through June
Have you ever wondered why do we do what we do, especially in the Church? Do you find yourself wondering if are simply reacting against the past by either following in the same footsteps or setting off in the other direction just to prove our independence? I confess I can easily fall into two patterns of thinking that in reality are not that different. The first is an admiration of results that causes me to simply want to copy the “5 easy steps” to (insert goal here.) The other seems to be the opposite but in reality is very similar, in an effort to avoid results I simply go in the exact opposite direction. I think there is a much better way, what if we studied the circumstances and results of the past as well as studying the conditions and questions of the present and brought them together trusting the Holy Spirit to actually be present? So as we begin this next sermon series, A Church for This Generation, we begin with the basic question: “Why do we do what we do, what does it mean to be followers of Christ?”
As we do, we turn to another group of Christians, the first group in fact, asking the same questions, what does it mean to follow Christ in this current generation? Sometimes others write and frame the questions and conversation much more clearly then I can, so I will turn to Eugene Peterson writing about the book of Acts in his translation of the message (text effect is mine):
“Because the story of Jesus is so impressive – God among us! God speaking a language we can understand! God acting in ways that heal and help and save us! – There is a danger that we will be impressed, but only impressed. As the spectacular dimensions of this story slowly (or suddenly) dawn upon us, we could easily become enthusiastic spectators and let it go at that. We could become mere admirers of Jesus, generous with our “oohs” and “ahs” and in our better moments inspired to imitate him.”
“It is Luke’s task to prevent us from becoming just spectators of Jesus, just fans of the message. Of the original quartet of writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) about Jesus’ life and work, Luke alone continues to tell the story as the apostles and disciples live it into the next generation. The remarkable thing is that it continues to be essentially the same story. Luke continues his narration with hardly a break, a pause perhaps, to dip his pen in the inkwell. Luke writes the book of Acts in the same style, using the same vocabulary as he does his account in the book of Luke.”
“The story continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The work of the Holy Spirit does not end with Jesus. Luke makes it clear that these Christians he wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God – they are in on the action of God. God acts through them; God lives in them, which also means, of course, in us.”
I pray as we begin this series, we will be aware of God working, and living with in us. I pray that we will not remain spectators, but we will discover what it means to live and be the church in this generation.