Arrive Early; Arrive Expectant

Do you expect God to do something significant in your heart this Fall?
 
Do you expect God to do something significant in the life of our church this Fall?
 
We hope you do. After all, when we aren’t living with hopeful expectation that God wants to move in and through us, our tendency is to drift.
 
Why? For one thing, the world around us is bombarding us with its messages every minute of the day… and in a thousand different ways. The TV tells us what we need to buy in order to be happy; our bosses tell us what we need to sacrifice in order to be successful; our financial advisors tell us what we need to accumulate in order to retire without burdening those we love. In such an environment, the default is not to grow in our faith! The default is to drift further and further away from our Lord.
 
As such, if we want to grow as individuals and as a church family, we have to be intentional. We must actively seek out voices that remind us of a different gospel than the so-called gospels of success, fame, and financial stability.
 
As church leadership, we want to take this to heart, so we’ve been intentional about the offerings we have planned for this Fall. We’ve worked ahead to plan out service elements, course offerings, and even sermon responses that will help us tune out the world’s voices and implant God’s voice at the front of our minds and hearts.
 
We begin our “Exiles” series in earnest this Sunday with the jump to a new Sunday schedule. I wrote last week with some ideas about how to make the most out of this Fall – please do prayerfully consider joining a Life Group, attending a Life Course, and joining in some of the other offerings listed in the right-hand column on that page.
 
Here’s one more idea of how to get the most out of this Fall:
 
Arrive early; arrive expectant.
 
What does “expectant” look like? Read the sermon text in advance. Pray as a family – maybe on your way to church – that God would minister to your heart and use you to minister to others while you’re with us on Sunday morning. In the first few minutes of the service, listen as we explain the theme of the day, and ask God to work it down deep in your heart as we pray and sing and sit under the preaching of His Word. Arrive early; arrive expectant.
 
Remember why we’re embarking on this particular series at this particular time.
 
In exile, our Christian identity becomes a source of both joy and grief.
In exile, social honor and respect are replaced by public shame and suspicion.
In exile, we’re pushed from the powerful center to the powerless margins.
 
As a result…
 
In exile, it’s a natural response to doubt.
In exile, it’s a natural response to be enticed by our former way of life.
In exile, it’s a natural response to give in to Satan.
 
In short, much within us and outside of us is conspiring to derail our faith during our time of exile. That would be a natural outcome for us… but we are praying for something better than what’s natural. May we fight together to stand firm in the true grace of God
(1 Pet. 5:12).