Posted on 2nd January 2015 at 09:38 by Mark Herbert in Pastors’ Blog
What is your New Year’s resolution?
A quick Google search revealed that the most common resolutions involve some sort of diet, exercising more and catching up on failed resolutions made in previous years! Although many such desires may be beneficial and worthy pursuits, it struck me that so much of the focus of our well-intentioned resolutions are ‘me’ centred.
Could I suggest an alternative? Worship God more wholeheartedly. This may seem very obvious and yet if you are anything like me, you will be aware of your struggles to sustain a consistent and passionate zeal for God, especially when the demands of life can so easily take over.
In order to help with the above, can I suggest three books to consider reading as well as explain the plan for our New Year teaching programme?
1. Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller. Published in 2010, this is a very readable and helpful book in which Keller exposes the subtle power of living for idols which he describes as ‘good things that seek to replace God as the source of our satisfaction’. He particularly focuses on how love, money and power offers so much but always leave us longing for more. If you only read 10 Christian books in your lifetime, this ought to be among them.
If you have read this and want something a bit more stretching and developed, have a look at….
2. We become what we worship by Greg Beale (2008). It is a longer book and requires a reasonable understanding of the Bible to get the most out of it but I found it gripping and extremely challenging from a personal point of view. Beale exposes the destructive power of living for anything other than God’s glory and does so by connecting a multitude of examples from God’s Word and modern culture.
3. God in the Whirlwind by David Wells. This book is clearly a distillation of a great deal of thinking and engages admirably with God’s character and how Wells defines what it means to worship. He writes on page 113: 'Worship is primarily an expression of the worth of God. It is a God-centred thing. It is primarily for God and about God'. This may seem very simple and yet, as Wells exposes, such simplicity is quickly being eroded in our society as we allow our feelings and personal desires to take precedence.
In addition to this suggested reading, we plan to use the morning services to look at the 'I am' sayings in John’s Gospel. The aim of this is to warm our hearts and grow a deeper love for Christ, as we look forward to celebrating Easter in April. We also want to use the evening services over the next quarter to help one another understand God’s Word better. This is vital because we often assume knowledge and yet in reality, if we are not listening to what God has said, we too will get swept along by the appeal of a post-modern agenda and will wrongly become the centre of our worship of God.
In response to the questionnaires that were sent to the church family in the Autumn, we aim to provide some teaching and workshops looking at how the Bible was put together as well as address the issue of the trustworthiness of God’s Word, and also unpack why the Bible continues to be relevant and authoritative today. In addition, we will be launching a new resource called the Word one-to-one which will help us all have greater confidence in reading the Bible with a friend.
Please make it a priority to come to these meetings. We have an exciting year ahead and a great God to serve. Don’t miss out!