Monday, May 9, 2011

redefining normal

It's been a month since I last posted and 5 months since I preached a series "Redefining Normal." This is a good time to get back on track with both.

In this vision series, I offered the possibility that what many Christians think is the radical life is really "normal" in the eyes of Jesus. And, what many Christians think is the "normal" spiritual life would be considered quite abnormal from Jesus' perspective. What we need is to redefine what we think is normal. In the 3-part sermon series, I offered the normal, biblical point of view on connection, transformation and mission.

COMMUNITY | The normal spiritual life is lived in community with others. There's no place for individualism and privatization in the church. We were made to BELONG to Christ and each other. In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul writes that if we have been united with Christ and if comforted by His love and if we have any life-change...then pursue one another in selfless, humble community. He offers the example of Jesus who gave Himself completely to us. A Christian who "does" church but has no connection with community isn't normal.

CHANGE | Paul goes on in Philippians 2:12-18 to redefine change. The common experience for many Christians is the experience of incidental life-transformation. That is, the change that comes accidentally, by chance, simply because they happen to be at the right spiritual place and the right spiritual time. But, normal change the Christian should be intentional--choosing to join God's Holy Spirit in the life-long journey of sanctification. In 2 Peter 1:5-7, the author charges his readers to  "make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love… be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure." While the Holy Spirit ultimately brings about life-change, we have a responsibility to grow in vision, knowledge, character and skills.

CAUSE | The Christian who is connected in community and changed by God makes themselves available to be used by God to change their world. They have a cause worth living and dying for. To conclude chapter 2 in his letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions Timothy and Epaphroditus. These two men served faithfully and were even willing to sacrifice all for the Gospel of Jesus. They stand out as examples of the what it means to live life on mission. The normal Christian life gives itself away.

To listen to the three messages on "Redefining Normal," click HERE and scroll down the page to the sermon series. Finally, post a comment to get the conversation going. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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