Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Good Life

What is your plan for spiritual growth in 2012?

Let that question settle for a moment. I'm guessing there are some readers that have a plan. Some of you have worked a plan for years and you have seen incredible fruit from careful planning and committed action.

But I'm guessing there are others out there that don't know where to start. You want to grow. You've wanted to grow for years, but it seems that every year you look back and feel like you are starving for a closer relationship with God.

If you're looking for a spiritual challenge, I want to invite you on a journey with the Littleton Church of Christ in 2012.

I know what you're thinking. How can I journey with Littleton when I go to another congregation? When I live in another state? In another country?

Let me start by telling you about the journey our church (Littleton Church of Christ) is taking in 2012. (By the way, let's keep this secret between you and me until Sunday because our church doesn't even know about this yet!)

In 2012, Littleton is going to pursue "The Good Life" that Jesus pronounces in the Sermon on the Mount. That's right, I'm spending an entire year preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. More than just studying Matthew 5-7 for the sake of knowledge, we're going to seek to put "The Good Life" that Jesus preaches into action for the sake of the world. We believe God's word doesn't just need to be heard. We believe it needs to be seen.

Some of you have spent year after year trying to complete yearly reading plans. That works for some people. But let's be honest, how many of you have ended your year-long plan in the book of Leviticus (the graveyard of year-long reading plans)?

Maybe you're asking, "How could I focus on only three chapter for an entire year?" I'd challenge you to try it. Here's why:

The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus' clearest declaration of what the kingdom of God is all about. Jesus prays for his Father's "will to be done on earth as it is in heaven" in Matthew 6:10. It's the role of the church to display his will by being "salt" and "light" in the world. We demonstrate the kingdom of God as an announcement to the world that Satan's reign is on life support. We exhibit the "Good Life" of the kingdom in order to point people to God's future that is already on its way.

So, how can you journey with us? I'm glad you asked.

Each week there will be planned readings and a conversation on my blog about the upcoming week's sermon text. These weekly blogs will provide a place of conversation for members of the Littleton Church of Christ. But my hope is that many others spread across the country and the world will choose to join as online partners in this conversation. Add whatever commentary seems beneficial. I'd also encourage you to download Littleton's free sermon podcasts and listen to the weekly sermons through the iTunes Music Store.

The call this year is to action.

You do remember how the sermon ends, don't you? You remember the song..."The wise man built his house upon the rock...the foolish man built his house upon the sand."Do you remember the difference between the two? Unfortunately, that part missed the final cut of our children's songs.

The wise one is the person who hears Jesus' words and puts them into practice. The foolish one is the person who hears Jesus' words and does not put them into practice.

The purpose of this challenge is not just add to our faith knowledge, but to add to our knowledge action. Spiritual formation occurs when the fruit of our lives announces "The Good Life" of the kingdom of God to the world.

I also challenge each participant to commit to memorizing the entire Sermon on the Mount in 2012.

As you make your New Year's resolutions, consider how you will mature spiritually in 2012.

Are you up for the challenge? Let me know if you're willing to join in.



Lelo and Stitch said...

This is so awesome!!! I am so excited!

Rick Odell said...

"The call this year is to action."

We all "know" what to do... The challenge is for us to ALL to actually DO.

Dick and Peg said...

We are
'all in'!

Travis Akins said...

This is great Collin. We are spending the first six months in the Sermon out here in Winters, TX. I've titled our time there "Uncommon." I'm excited about hearing these words that are so uncommon in our world and the challenge from Christ to live in the Kingdom. Awesome stuff man. Blessings!

Collin Packer said...

Glad to hear that Travis! The Sermon on the Mount has become so central to my theology. This year I'm hoping to move it from the central place in my head to the central place in my behavior.