Winter (7weeks): We will look at Jesus’ teaching on the practical matters of everyday life. What did Jesus say about money, poverty, marriage, parenting, and how to deal with broken relationships? We will be reminded that he taught “as one with authority” (Matthew 7:28-29). We will seek to surrender our own authority and autonomy to live under Jesus’ authority in communion with him, our spouses, children, and the church.
During this season of Lent, we will prepare for Easter by studying the Gospel of Matthew. In the first Gospel, Jesus teaches extensively on five specific occasions. His words challenge us to ponder the values of God’s Kingdom, and learn about true discipleship. Our hope is that by studying the five major sections of Jesus’ Teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, we will better understand the clear call Jesus makes on His disciples and learn how to put these important Words into Practice. As we continue to focus on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18 that the church is His and not ours, Jesus’ teachings will provide a proper blueprint to know what He wants His church to look like. Our prayer is that His words also ready our hearts in anticipation of celebrating His resurrection. Our series will be aided by several resources including N.T. Wright’s devotional, "Lent for Everyone – Matthew". As a body, we will study God’s Word through congregational blogs, worship services, community events and shared resources in an attempt to grow closer to God and each other during this 40 day journey.
We often use the phrase “my church” to refer to the community of faith that we call home. It’s common to discuss what I like about “my church,” what I don’t like about “my church,” how my “my church” is changing, and what “my church” is doing about the future. It’s common enough that we usually don’t think twice about it. But it’s worth a second look.
Following a major “a ha” moment with His disciples about His identity as the savior of the world, Jesus said to Peter, “…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). There is a lot that can be mined from this scene with the disciples, and a key nugget is Jesus’ claim that the church is His, not mine. The church exists to serve Jesus’ purposes, not our preferences. We are trustees, not owners. Do we see it this way? What are Jesus’ purposes for His church?
Jesus has made us stewards over His church—His primary vehicle for reaching and saving a lost world. In Matthew 16, Jesus concludes his declaration to Peter with, “…and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” Nothing can stop God at work through “my church” when it is truly His church. As we study this theme in 2014, may we dig deep into what Jesus desires for My Church.