Categories: Pastor's Blog

Kingdom People

The new year is upon us! When I was a kid, I think I had the idea that by 2017, I might be living on a space station (or at least that a lot of people would be). But most of us find ourselves turning our calendars over while still very much earthbound. This new year doesn’t have the excitement and hype (and Y2K notoriety) of 2000, and in fact seems marked by turmoil around the globe and a lot of anxiety closer to home.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we could see this as just another year to keep rolling along, or perhaps to hunker down in the midst of political, social and economic uncertainty. As a community here at Redeemer, we could write 2017 off as a transition year, since there are several staffing and ministry elements in flux. Or instead, we could choose to embrace 2017 as a unique opportunity to serve God and grow in faith, perhaps in ways different from what we did in 2016 and unlike what we might do in 2018.

For six weeks beginning January 1, we’re going to journey together through a sermon series based on five essentials of a growing Christian faith and a healthy, God-honoring life together as a faithful community. We’ll consider how, in this new year, we might live increasingly as kingdom-oriented people centered on worship, service, forgiveness, spiritual growth and fellowship. Each week we’ll dive deeply into one of these themes and explore what it could look like if, by the power of God at work in us, we individually and as a congregation commit to growth in these areas in 2017.

As a worshiping community, we honor God with our praise as we gather together, and point to Jesus Christ through lives devoted to him. As a community that serves, we demonstrate to a watching world that our faith isn’t stuck in our heads, but results in lives oriented increasingly toward blessing others and seeking to establish the kingdom of God here on earth.

As people who with increasing grace receive and offer forgiveness, we demonstrate the freedom and open-handedness that is cultivated among a congregation of Christians who know how graciously and completely they have been forgiven by God. As people who look to the Word of God not only for comfort and to bolster our beliefs and positions, but also to allow God’s Spirit to shape us (even when it’s not comfortable), we are committed to growth in our walk with God, freely admitting that even if we’ve been Christians for decades, we desire that 2017 be yet another step forward in our journey toward Christlikeness.

Lastly, we’ll explore how “fellowship” doesn’t just refer to enjoying each other’s company over good food or coffee (although that can certainly be part of it!). Deep fellowship is cultivated when we lean into our unity in Christ more heavily than our personal preferences or natural affinities. We unite with brothers and sisters who may have little in common with us because we recognize that it is God himself who has formed the Body of Christ and who has gifted us with just the right mix of skills, gifts and passions necessary to do that slice of kingdom work he has established for us in this place and at this time.

The sermon series will begin and end on Sundays when we have the opportunity to gather around the table of the Lord’s Supper. It is at that meal that the fellowship of the body of believers is perhaps most eloquently demonstrated. As we partake of the elements that so poignantly point to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we are reminded again of our reliance on Jesus, the depth of the forgiveness and renewal we have received, and the high calling we’ve been given to live differently because of Christ.

Please join us on this journey from January 1 to February 5. May God bless you powerfully and unmistakably in 2017 and beyond!

Pastor Ben