Lately I’ve been thinking about the fundamentals of our faith. After all, what we believe directly dictates how we spend our lives. For most of us, this means spending part of our lives going through various routines and habits. In fact, many of us tend to re-evaluate our habits in the new year and set goals for the summer months.
So I’ve been thinking about the habits of faith we have developed and how our faithful habits align with scripture. So, in February our sermon theme will focus on our “Habitual Faith” and what habits we can develop for our faith journey. This includes an in depth look at how we approach scripture, pray with a purpose, worship with willful abandon and how we enter into fellowship with one another.
To start, we will address the all too common barriers to reading scripture. For many of us, we do have an abundance of time, opportunity, and a desire to know what the bible has to offer. However, even when we do read, we often feel lost in translation, overwhelmed, confused, challenged, or alienated. Therefore, we will be offering some basic tools for excavation. Here are a few suggestions to try in the meantime
· Don’t read alone: multiple readers bring multiple perspectives and this doubles as a time of fellowship.
· Read different translations/versions of the bible.
· Don’t jump around: try reading the same book, yes, the whole book, several times.
· Pray for humility and patience before reading. This book spans several thousand years, it is rich in history, spanning numerous cultures, written in several languages, it spans multiple literary genres, smaller stories are woven into larger narratives, some details seem small yet are incredibly important, and the whole thing is still being interpreted today!
Next, we will look at our prayer habits. Prayer is an earnest, intentional, mindful and expectant dialogue with God. Scripture has a great deal to say about prayer and I would strongly encourage you to read Jesus’ sermon on the mount that teaches ‘how to pray’ in Matthew chapter 6. In short, relax, pray with great humility, and know that God knows what you need even before you ask.
Once we have explored the scriptures and responded with prayer then we find and claim every reason for worship. One is driven to worship as a response to God’s presence and labor of love in our lives. Ideally, worship should characterize our every action and identity. Thus, we attend worship as a regular ritual for removing our old self, along with its practices, and seek to reclaim who we are called to be. Grace has delayed judgment; grace has defeated death; grace invites all of us to walk together in this faithful journey.
Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”
Quote from ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan
Thus, we are all invited to taste, see, and take part in the body of believers! This body is broken, the blood is shed, the stone is rolled back, the invitation remains open. God’s kingdom is already here, but the kingdom work will not be done until everyone has had an equal opportunity. Therefore, we cannot claim the completion of God’s work until every last one of us has had an opportunity to come taste, see, and proclaim the love of God poured out. Thus, in our final sermon for this series we will identify and recommit to God’s good will together. Until then, remain faithful: love God and neighbor. Shalom friends!