I send out a weekly email to Advent to preview the weekend. I thought I’d begin to post it on my personal blog, as well:
A few months ago, Advent engaged in a study series called “This is Us” which highlighted five, critical practices for the Christian life in a post-Christian era. Those practices are highlighted in a short book Surprise the World by Michael Frost. For those who did not get a chance to read that book, we have a few more copies in our office area that we’d like to share with you.
Frost organizes these practices in the form of a handy acronym: B.E.L.L.S:
Bless three people each week, including one person who is not a church member
Eat with three people each week, including one person who is not a church member
Learn the way of Jesus by studying God’s word (especially the New Testament Gospels) each week
Listen to the Spirit by connecting with God through prayer and following through with how He leads you
Sending oneself into God’s world as a person on mission, not just hanging in the “Holy Huddle” of church life
As a pastor, I often wonder how far this series would go before it is placed in the library of sermons that we hear within church life. A few of the questions that fill my mind are:
Would it be good for just one month of Sundays?
Or will it “get legs” and continue to travel within the social consciousness of our church?
How could we have equipped our church to life into this more deeply during the series?
How much money would it cost to hire Michael Frost to fly over from Australia to speak at Advent so we have more exposure to this paradigm? (I don’t know about you, but the Australian accent makes things sound more convincing.)
I’ve been thrilled to hear the language (and practices) being used. Here are a few that come immediately to mind:
I hear of people going out of their way to bless others.
I am stoked by over 100 participants in the “Eating with Eight” event, recognizing it as a vital way of connection and fellowship.
I am amazed that our Cordova Wednesday EPIC curriculum will cover Jesus’ words in the Beattitudes of Matthew 5.
Just this past Tuesday, there were two groups discussing how clean water projects could be funded by Advent.
This Sunday, our Honduras mission team will host an information meeting for those interested in travelling as short term missionaries.
As we continue in our Vitals sermon series this weekend, we have another chance to participate with BELLS. Our governing theme for the sermon will be “the Heart of Christ,” that compassionate, merciful heart that never ceased to bind up the brokenhearted and to set captives free.
One unique way we will do that this weekend during worship is to pray for those seeking healing from God at the end of each worship service at the Cordova campus. Matthew 9 says that Jesus saw the multitudes and he “had compassion” on them and that he healed their sicknesses and diseases. The New Testament encourages the on-going ministry of healing prayer for the church, with specific instructions in James 5. At the conclusion of the worship services, the Elders and I will anoint anyone seeking healing with oil and pray that God would minister his healing work in their lives. We encourage those of you seeking healing to join us this Sunday and to bring loved ones that you have been praying for, as well.
What I am Currently Reading: God’s Long Summer by Charles Marsh
What I am Currently Watching: Season 9 of The Office
What I am Currently Listening To: The UnSeminary Podcast
An App I Find Helpful: Apple News