Repentance and its flip side, faith, are not only the beginning of the Christian life; they are also the engine of Christian growth. As we start our integrated series, we learn the uncomfortable truth about where repentance begins - in the gap between our created destiny and our lived reality. Hear how to grapple with the gap.
Have you ever felt like God is far away? Have you wondered if he remembers you? Have you prayed and wondered if anyone hears you? In psalms 42 & 43 we have a prayer of longing for God’s presence. It’s a song to sing in the darkness; it’s a song that we all need to sing in some seasons of our lives. How does this song help us to connect with God through dark times — to find what we so desperately need to survive — and even to grow more deeply connected to him through them?
We live in a pleasure/pain culture: what’s pleasurable is good, what’s painful is bad. Paul’s call to holiness in 1 Thessalonians 4 — to seek to please God more and more by living his way, even when it’s hard — doesn’t make much sense in a culture like ours. But what if pleasing God also brings pleasure? Paul believes it does, and shows us how pleasing God helps us to understand and express our sexual desires.
Loneliness, the social scientists tell us, is an epidemic in Australian culture. We long for deep connection with others, but we frequently fail to find it. In contrast, Paul and the Thessalonians share an astoundingly frank and affectionate connection — sticky; gooey; and yet able to withstand loving conflict. Where do they find the personal and spiritual resources to throw themselves into deep connection with one another, with vulnerability and without fear?