Exiles: Flourishing on the Margins (Fall 2019 Sermon Series)

It’s a helpful formula:
 
E + R = O
 
…which means:
 
Event + Response = Outcome.
 
Here’s the significance: we can’t control the events that happen to us, but once an event happens, the outcome will be influenced by our response… which happens to be the one thing we can control.
 
 
Our Event (E): Exile
 
An “event” for Christians on the North Shore at the moment is that we’re increasingly being pushed to the margins. More and more, our experience is that of exiles. We don’t have favored status anymore. Christendom is over. We’re not being persecuted yet, but it may be trending that direction. We’re a strange minority in a land not our home. Some of our neighbors who used to be annoyed by the morality they believed we were trying to impose on them now increasingly resent us because of our perceived immorality (i.e. intolerance, bigotry, hate).
 
Our Desired Outcome (O): Flourishing on the Margins
 
At North Sub, our hope is that we’d follow in the footsteps of 2000 years of Christians who found themselves on the margins in various cultures around the world. Often, these situations are precisely when the church has most thrived. In summary: if we must be on the margins, we aim to flourish there.
 
Our Response (R): Stand Firm
 
If we are to flourish in response to an exile event, there are two tendencies we must fight against. The tendency to respond by forming an isolated enclave is tempting, but we’re called to be in the world. The tendency to respond by capitulating to what our neighbors say is tempting, but we’re called not to be of the world. The third way we’re called to is “in” but not “of” – sojourners stopping through. Aliens and strangers, invested in our community despite having our minds and hearts firmly fixed elsewhere.
 
These are some of the themes covered in 1 Peter, which is written to Christians experiencing the beginning stages of ostracism, exclusion, and derision. This letter, which we’ll preach through this Fall, is a five-chapter-long answer to the question of how to respond in the face of exile.
 
Peter’s final summary of how to respond? “Stand firm” (1 Pet. 5:12).
Want to Go Deeper This Fall?
Here are some ideas to help you immerse yourself in our Exile theme:
 
1. Join us for Life Courses at 9:15 AM each Sunday beginning September 8th.
 
2. Sign up for a Life Group where you can discuss these issues in community.
 
3. Reflect on the theme song we will be using in worship during our Exiles sermon series.
 
4. Read or study one of the following supplemental resources:
 
Evangelism as Exiles by Elliot Clark (sign up for this Life Course to study it in community)
 
Take Heart by Matt Chandler (some Life Groups are using this resource) 
 
1 Peter for You by Juan R. Sanchez (discussion questions included)
 
1 Peter: A Living Hope in Christ by Jen Wilkin (video-based series)
 
1&2 Peter and Jude by N.T. Wright (discussion questions included)
 
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (classic dealing with the themes of this series; movie coming out soon)
 
Our Secular Age ed. Collin Hansen (a shorter book analyzing a 900-page classic)
 
5. Join us for our Fall sermon series beginning September 1st, and listen online to any sermons you miss!
 
6. Email Karen with stories about how you’re seeing this series connect with your life.