Posted by: Philip Rushton | July 5, 2011

Introducing Our Summer Discipleship Series

Julie has broadened my culinary horizons with all sorts of experimental and exotic dishes. She is a wonderful cook! One of our favorite genres of food has become Indian food made with lots of curry. The problem, however is that the smell tends to linger for the few days that follow our Indian food experiments. It sort of hits you like a wall when you come back into the house. You open the door and your back in India again. What is interesting, however, is that after about 5 -10 minutes in the apartment the smell becomes less noticeable. In fact, we sometimes convince ourselves that the smell is gone. That is, of course, until you leave and come back and it hits you with full force once again.

In many ways, this sort of thing happens when we inhabit not just a home, but also a culture. The culture we live in becomes very normal once we have stayed a while. We no longer have the ability to perceive whether our environment is negative or positive. We simply absorb the patterns and practices of the world around us.

Jesus says in John 17 that we are to be in the world but not of the world. This is somewhat of a biblical paradox. On the one hand Jesus does not call us to flee from our world completely. He wants us to be engaged with our world and embedded in our culture. However, Jesus calls us to live a type of life that is distinct from those around us. In the words of Paul we are not to be “conformed anymore to the patterns of our world.” (Romans 12:2). Instead we are called to follow the patterns of Christ. We are called to model and live out a way of life that is redemptive and life giving to those around us.

The purpose of our summer series, then, is to step back and evaluate some of the patterns and practices we have inherited from our modern American culture. As we do so we are going to explore how Jesus leads us in a counter-cultural direction.

During the first week we are going to look at how we can move from isolation to interdependence. Technology, commuting, excessive television watching are just some of the factors that insulate us from community. By contrast we are going to explore in John 17 how Jesus calls us to live life together in community. As we unpack this text we are going and discuss practical ways that we can foster deep relationships in our daily lives.

The second week we are going to explore how we might move from consumerism to contentment. We are going to expose the anxiety and frustration that comes with a life driven by unchecked consumption. Based out of a text in Luke 12 we are going to discuss how we might replace consumerism with contentment by practicing simplicity, generosity, and creativity.

The third week we are going to explore how we might move from distraction to devotion. In a fast paced, busy world it is often hard for us to carve out time to pray and be still before God. Based on a story from Luke 14 we are going to explore how the daily distractions of life can prevent us from participating fully in the kingdom of God.

On the last week we are going to talk about moving from self-interest to service. The American dream is often framed as a pursuit of individual happiness. Life is about finding comfort and setting up our own personal oasis. We are going to explore Jesus’ paradoxical idea that true life is gained through losing it. We are going to discuss how we might find meaningful ways to serve our community.

We would love to have you join us for this series! It begins on Monday July 11 and will continue for four consecutive Mondays. Even if you can only make one or two please feel free to come.

We are going to start with a BBQ out on the lawn so bring your lawn chairs! We’ll provide burgers and hot dogs (suggested donation 1$ to cover costs) and we invite you bring something to share – salad, chips etc. We have fun things for kids planned during the Bible study. Everyone is welcome to come, and feel free to invite your friends!

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