Last week we finished our Isaiah series, a rich time with one who is perhaps the greatest writing prophet of the Old Testament. Isaiah took us to the heights of God's glory and to the depths of human depravity and helped us see new aspects of Jesus Christ.
But what now? What is the plan for sermons to come?
Praises, Hallelujahs, and Monday Mornings
For the next two sermons we'll spend a bit of time thinking about worship. This Sunday we'll look at the Psalms, and then next Sunday we'll look think about worship as both a way of life and as the high point of the church gathered. If you can, spend extra time in the Psalms this week to prepare for these next two sermons. Particularly “Book Five” of the Psalms is inspiring for our worship (if you don't know what “Book Five” means, do a little web research).
On August 26th we'll refocus and consider the church's vision. It is easy to lose track of what we're about and drift—whether as individuals or as a church. We'll take a Sunday and think again about what it means to live a life of loving God, loving one another, and loving our neighbor. This will also give us a chance to say a few things the elders have been thinking about for the next year. More details will be coming later, but this message will help us communicate some of our burden for you and the church.
Experiencing God, Engaged in Mission: The Book of Acts
Then will follow our next long series, an extended look at the book of Acts. Luke's second volume (his gospel being the first) is a powerful combination of epic story, theological treatise, gospel presentation, call to act, and church charter. The elders have been excited for this series to allow us to think again about the glory of Christ's church, the importance of his mission, and what it means to live a life of truly experiencing God's presence.
To prepare for the Acts series, consider…reading it. Obvious, I know—but also helpful. Reading it aloud to your family or a friend can easily get you through it ahead of the preaching (we'll start this September but won't finish till next August).
You might also consider adding a commentary to your library. John Stott's on Acts is an engaging and solid exposition. A slightly thicker one but also outstanding is the Tyndale volume by I. Howard Marshall. Neither of these men are continuationists quite like we are, but on most passages and on the book as a whole they provide excellent handles to interpret Luke better. Authors a little closer to our position would be David Peterson in the Pillar series or Craig Keener's. Heads up on Keener: you'll need a room on your house and another mortgage to get it. It numbers 4,640 pages. But…he is a continuationist and as a reference tool, his work is outstanding.
We also wanted to recommend two books you might consider reading over the next year that will help you tap into the experiential side of Acts. Acts is a book that is meant to provoke us to a certain kind of experience and not merely a certain doctrinal position (though it does that as well!). Sam Storm's The Beginner's Guide to Spiritual Gifts and Lloyd-Jones collection of sermons called Joy Unspeakable will help push you to a deeper kind of Christian life. The elders read Lloyd-Jones for our April prayer retreat and were greatly encouraged by it. Lloyd-Jones is a respected expositor and Reformed thinker, so it was refreshing to have him so forcefully argue for a continuationist Christian life—even including the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You will be challenged and encouraged by his sermons.
Thank you for being a church eager to hear God's Word taught. We pray the next year of preaching will bring great fruit to your lives and, Lord willing, the lost to Christ.