Summer 2018

Finding Your Way . . .
. . . in Spiritual Formation


June 3 - September 1, 2018

Introduction

Spiritual Formation is at the heart of the Christian life. In fact, the journey of formation is actually the journey of transformation for believers. We will spend the summer of 2018 learning about the process of transformation.

Back in 2011, I spent an entire year preaching through Six Growth Areas: Learn, Obey, Share, Love, Trust, and Worship. We are going to revisit those topics again this summer. We will re-focus our attention on the subject of God’s transforming power at work in us so that we might be formed spiritually.

Let me remind us all of what we have learned from Psalm 1. Here are the three priorities illustrated in the Psalm 1 tree: Deepening our roots, Transformed along The Way, and Bearing life-fruit. This summer, we will be reminded of the importance of what it means to be transformed as we find our way on The Jesus Way.

Let’s seek to establish an atmosphere of expectancy and hope. We are going to build into this process an expectation that people are going to get better and healthier. We are going to seek to construct an arena for accountability without compromising the grace that is so deeply embedded in our DNA as a church. We will hope that God will guide us as a relational, healthy family into our greatest days of obedience and usefulness.

In his book, Practice Resurrection, Eugene Peterson elaborates on the natural connection between birth and growth. We speak of new believers as being “born again.” Growth should follow birth: 

All of us are born. No exceptions . . . So, birth. Then growth. The most significant growing up that any person does is to grow as a Christian. All other growing up is a preparation for or ancillary to this growing up. Biological and social, mental and emotional growing is all ultimately absorbed into growing up in Christ. Or not. The human task is to become mature, not only in our bodies and emotions and minds within ourselves, but also in our relationship with God and other persons.
         -Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection, p. 1,
 
So, we are supposed to grow as believers. This is the consistent expectation of the biblical witness. God has redeemed us from our imprisonment and has freed us to live in a way that is worthy of our calling. We are now His children. He has justified us by His grace and He calls us into a life of sanctification. Theologian Shirley Guthrie puts it like this:

If I am asked whether I am a Christian, it is not enough for me to answer, “Yes. I am a sinner who believes that nevertheless I am accepted, loved and forgiven by God through Jesus Christ.” A Christian is not just a man who passively trusts God to accept him as he is, solve his problems, meet his personal and family needs, comfort and save him. He is a man who responds to God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance with thankful obedience in every area of his life. To be a Christian is not only to believe and receive, but to live and serve as a Christian.
         -Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr., Christian Doctrine, p. 330

So – I agree with Dr. Guthrie! The Christian life is about living, serving, being, doing, practicing, and becoming. It is a life-long journey of discovery and change. God is at work in us to transform us. He is working alongside us to conform us to the image of His Son. May it be so!

Daily Bible Readings
We will read a selection of Psalms in our Daily Bible Readings this summer. The collection of Psalms has long served as a worship manual for God’s people. It is a beautiful gathering of material that reflects the spiritual formation of its writers. We can hear the heart of King David as he journeys with God in his own process of formation. Other authors of the Psalms reveal various facets of spiritual formation in their writings.

So, I have chosen various Psalms to be read each week to enrich our journey together this summer. I will be praying for our church family as we experience God’s guiding hand on our lives as we seek to . . . Glorify God by Following The Jesus Way!


Finding Your Way . . . in Spiritual Formation

June 3:    Wardrobe Change –
Spiritual formation requires intentionality. It is a process that occurs over the long haul of our lives. It is rooted in a partnership between us and God. We will spend our summer together focusing on this pivotal process in all of our lives. We will learn more about this mysterious partnership between us and God as we follow Him each day.
Sermon Text:     Colossians 3:1-17
 
Daily Bible Readings
June 4:               Psalm 1
June 5:               Psalm 2
June 6:               Psalm 6
June 7:               Psalm 24
June 8:               Psalm 28

LEARN
Spiritual growth does not occur in a vacuum. There are all types of factors that contribute to the development of the spiritual life of a believer. Without question, the need for knowledge – both informational and experiential – is essential for any believer to move through stages of spiritual maturity. We must learn some basic truths as Christians --- but, we must never quit learning! The quest for knowledge is to be a part of our entire journey of faith.

June 10:  LEARN: Life in Christ –
This text is engraved on the wall in our Sanctuary. Obviously, it is a meaningful passage to our church family! In fact, we speak this text over the lives of everyone who joins our church. We believe it succinctly expresses the life we have discovered in Jesus Christ.
Sermon Text:     Colossians 2:6-7
 
Daily Bible Readings
June 11:             Psalm 32
June 12:             Psalm 33
June 13:             Psalm 34
June 14:             Psalm 40
June 15:             Psalm 63

June 17:  LEARN: Be Ready! –
As we follow Jesus each day, we are to be constantly learning more about Him and the life He has planned for us. We are to be growing in our competency to express what is all means. Our confidence grows as we more deeply understand the Christian faith. This knowledge also finds expression in just how we live each day!
Sermon Text:     1 Peter 3:13-17

Daily Bible Readings
June 18:             Psalm 73
June 19:             Psalm 74
June 20:             Psalm 75
June 21:             Psalm 76
June 22:             Psalm 77

OBEY
One of the sure signs of spiritual maturity is obedience. Mature followers of Jesus understand the value of obeying the Master. Our confession of faith at baptism is “Jesus is Lord.” That means we have accepted Him as the Lord of our lives. Obedience in our everyday life helps to solidify that commitment and it exhibits our humility as believers. 

June 24:  OBEY: Obedience Will Be Tested –
The Christian life is actually a demanding life. It is not easy to follow The Jesus Way. Our faith will actually be tested from time to time. Sometimes these tests are sent from God to measure our faith. Sometimes they are just the trials of life that everyone faces. Regardless, we have to learn to obey our Lord in the face of trying times.
Sermon Text:     James 1:12

Daily Bible Readings
June 25:             Psalm 137
June 26:             Psalm 138
June 27:             Psalm 139
June 28:             Psalm 140
June 29:             Psalm 141

July 1:    OBEY: Obedience is Everyday –
Obedience to God is not rocket science. We simply put into practice what we are learning. Obedience is one sure sign of spiritual maturity in the life of a believer. God’s will is always best and He desires for us to live in His will in our everyday lives.
Sermon Text:     James 2:14-26

Daily Bible Readings
July 2:                Psalm 50
July 3:                Psalm 51
July 4:                Psalm 144
July 5:                Psalm 145
July 6:                Psalm 146

SHARE
The Gospel is good news! In fact, the Gospel is good news worth sharing! Don’t you love to get good news? We all do. We even like to share good news. How often do we get to tell someone, “Hey—I’ve got good news”?? So, one aspect of our spiritual development is the discipline of giving witness to the Gospel. Jesus has commissioned us to share the good news. Let’s all pray that God will use us to share His good news with our world! 

July 8:    SHARE: Unashamed of the Gospel –
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news! We are obligated to share this message with our world. We should be excited to do so. It truly is the message of hope and life for everyone. There is no reason to be ashamed of the message of the Christian faith. God has used it to transform us. He can use us now as messengers of this news so others can be transformed as well.
Sermon Text:     Romans 1:14-17


Daily Bible Readings
July 9:                Psalm 103
July 10:              Psalm 104
July 11:              Psalm 105
July 12:              Psalm 106:1-23
July 13:              Psalm 106:24-48

July 15:  SHARE: Changed Lives –
Evangelism is not a task reserved for the professionals! We are all a part of God’s great evangelistic plan for the world. We can all learn to simply share what we know to be true about Jesus. We can all improve in the area of just giving a verbal witness about our Savior.
Sermon Text:     Acts 8:26-40

Daily Bible Readings
July 16:              Psalm 108
July 17:              Psalm 110
July 18:              Psalm 111
July 19:              Psalm 112
July 20:              Psalm 115

LOVE
As Christians, God has called us to live together in community as believers and in relationship with the broader world. Often, our relational context with the broader culture is strained, to say the least. Non-believers often know us more for what we oppose than for how deeply we love! Jesus challenged us to be known by our love.

July 22:  LOVE: Love One Another! –
Believers belong to a community of faith. We have been redeemed by the power of God and we now live together in the church. One of the hallmarks of the church family is love. We are to have a deep and profound love for one another!
Sermon Text:     John 13:34-35

Daily Bible Readings
July 23:              Psalm 130
July 24:              Psalm 131
July 25:              Psalm 132
July 26:              Psalm 133
July 27:              Psalm 134
 
July 29:  LOVE: What the World Needs Now –
How do you define love? It may truly be beyond definition. However, the deep love of God that can flow through us can be described. This text is an attempt to describe that kind of love. Love is a verb! It is to be seen in action through the lives of God’s people.
Sermon Text:     1 Corinthians 13

Daily Bible Readings
July 30:              Psalm 16
July 31:              Psalm 30
August 1:           Psalm 41
August 2:           Psalm 142
August 3:           Psalm 143

TRUST
We all struggle with our selfish tendencies. Those struggles often lead to poor stewardship practices. Trusting God is a learned discipline forged on the anvil of real life! We must learn to put our everyday faith in God and believe He knows best. We also must learn to trust His provision. We are to live as stewards of His grace, His goodness, and His resources. 

August 5: TRUST: Trusting that God Knows Best –
It is so easy to live our lives selfishly. It is so tempting to live as if our lives don’t affect others! We are tempted to just go our own way. We are tempted to just take what we want without regard to others. God is calling us to a different type of life. His ways are different than ours. But – His way is the way to real life.
Sermon Text:     Exodus 20:1-21

Daily Bible Readings
August 6:           Psalm 23
August 7:           Psalm 25
August 8:           Psalm 27
August 9:           Psalm 31
August 10:         Psalm 37

August 12: TRUST: Giving to God’s Work –
Because of our selfish tendencies, we are tempted to live life totally for ourselves. This can lead to a life disconnected from the blessings of sharing in God’s work. Poor stewardship is so often connected to a lack of trust in God. Poor stewardship practices often emerge from our selfish tendencies. The process of spiritual formation includes learning to trust God with all of our resources.
Sermon Text:     Exodus 36:1-7

Daily Bible Readings
August 13:          Psalm 38
August 14:          Psalm 39
August 15:          Psalm 43
August 16:          Psalm 44
August 17:          Psalm 62
 
WORSHIP
Foundational to all spiritual formation in the life of any believer is . . . worship! God has created us to worship Him. He has uniquely designed human beings to praise Him and give Him glory. Worship is at the center of our spiritual development. We are to worship God in our individual lives as a follower of Jesus and we are to worship Him in community with His people.
 
August 19: WORSHIP: God is to be Worshiped! –
God is the Creator of the universe. All of creation reflects His glory. However, He has invited human beings to give unique expression to worship. He is a God of glory and is worthy of our worship. Let’s worship our God together!
Sermon Text:     Psalm 96

Daily Bible Readings
August 20:          Psalm 8
August 21:          Psalm 19
August 22:          Psalm 29
August 23:          Psalm 42
August 24:          Psalm 46

August 26: WORSHIP: Honoring God with Our Worship –
God is a holy and righteous God. He is not to be approached without consideration. He is seated on His throne in glory. We are to approach Him with reverence, humility, and awe. Our worship is to honor Him in every respect.
Sermon Text:     Isaiah 6:1-8

Daily Bible Readings
August 27:          Psalm 47
August 28:          Psalm 48
August 29:          Psalm 96
August 30:          Psalm 98
August 31:          Psalm 100